Teacher, Preacher? Maid, Nurse?

January 30, 2012

Who am I? I thought I had figured that out a long time ago. And to some degree I have. But, I find myself explaining myself way too much when people ask me where I work. It's like I don't want them to think that I'm not smart enough or that I'm too lazy to go out into the world and keep a job. So, I always seem to give my resume. Like I have to explain to them that staying home and raising my children is my choice! It's not the default.

I take my job as a mom very seriously. I'm always looking for opportunities to grow as a mother. Recently I've been thinking a lot about what I'm supposed to be doing in my job as a parent. It's so much more than sitting around and watching raunchy soap operas all day long {which I don't do} in my pajamas {which I might do}.

I am charged with more than the housework, which is a big deal and a large part of the job.

I also have to keep my kids fed and healthy, safe and happy.

I have also taken on the responsibility of being their teacher. Not only do I have to teach them their ABC's & 123's, I have to teach them all about everything. From how to treat others, how to be responsible, how to manage your money, how to cook, how to forgive, to how to play and love. It's my job to instill a healthy dose of fear into my kids in a moment and then spend the rest of my life trying to undo what I thought was such a good idea in the first place {see this post}.

Sometimes it becomes easy to get complacent and lose focus. Sometimes, I let precious opportunities for learning slip through my fingers. I tend to forget that even though the days are long, the years are short.

I find that complacency is most evident in the area of teaching them all about God. Sure, we talk about God a lot. We work on applying His Word in our lives. We talk about prayer. We faithfully attend church. But I feel like I need to be doing more. So I am going to begin a short Bible study each morning. We'll go over a scripture and talk about it briefly. I'm sure my new plan will be met with whining and resistance, but it will be the perfect opportunity to introduce my very first mini-Bible-study:

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.' Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain." Philippians 2:14-16


How Big Foot Ruined My Life

January 26, 2012

It was a dark and stormy night. Not fit for man nor beast. When suddenly.... this Momma had a hair brained idea! You see, she got the crazy notion that if she told her 4 year old daughter, who just so happened to be fascinated with the tv show "Finding Bigfoot", that big foot was in the woods behind the camp and he liked to eat little girls who whined, it would transform her whiny toddler into a properly behaved little girl.

Can you say "BACKFIRE!!" What have I done? My little girl, who was once the bravest child in my house, now won't even play in her room alone. She's always played in her room alone. It's how I am able to home school my kids! It's how I function. It's how I manage to brush my teeth and sweep my floors and do my laundry!

You'd think that I would have learned my lesson about scaring my children into behaving. I have three kids older than her and the two boys are paralyzed by the dark. They sleep with the big light on in their room EVERY night! And if I sneak in after they've fallen asleep and turn it off, when I wake up in the morning, it's back ON!

I had to give her a can of "Monster Spray" {aka air freshener} to convince her that she could go to the bathroom by herself. I've been trying for weeks to do damage control by drilling into her mind that "Our home is a safe place to be. It is not dangerous. Big Foot does not exist. He is a myth. Nothing scary lives here. God is here, not Big Foot. God will protect us always." She can recite back  to me the whole spiel. But, somehow, she's having a hard time buying it.

The Lesson? It's way harder to earn trust back after it's been lost. So, don't lose people's trust. Amen.

I'm trusting that God will remove this fear from her real soon!


Toilet Paper

January 25, 2012

Today I'm sharing  a post from one of the blog's that I enjoy so much. I hope you'll check it out here.


I Am Free to Be Me!

January 23, 2012

I've been reminded lately of how I've felt judged most of my life. When I was very little, family members would often imply that I was the "wild one" of the family. I was sassy and outspoken. I had a voice. I had thoughts and opinions. Maybe they didn't match up with what made my family comfortable. I was searching for myself. Trying to figure out what made me special.

As I got older, the judgement continued. I was old enough to separate from my family and venture out on my own, but I still felt terribly judged. I would sit in church and look around and see people just like me. I knew how they lived their lives because I'd seen them outside of the church pew. I heard them talk. I saw what they did. But, on Sundays, man they were different. And I wondered... if you have to be someone else on Sunday than you are on Monday through Saturday what's going on?

I was confused. I felt afraid and ashamed. Yes, part of it was the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But, a big part of it was judgement by my peers. Family and friends who were sinners, just like me. I felt like I could not move without being a failure. I felt condemned by people who were also imperfect. I loved Jesus. I wanted to serve Him. I had accepted Him as my Savior. But, something held me back.

No matter what I did or didn't do seemed to fill me with fear and guilt. I was convinced that I would never be good enough. I couldn't be a Christ follower. I would never measure up. I thought that being a good Christian was impossible for me. I cannot even begin to describe the weight of the affliction from other people's sinner's
opinions about me.

Becoming a parent made me realize that if I could feel this much love, compassion, and forgiveness for my kids, how much more does my Heavenly Father feel for me! I muddled through as best as I could for as long as I could. But, the tugging on my heart became too much to ignore. I wanted more. I had to search for it. I had to go on a hunt for it. I wanted it. I needed it. I knew it had to be out there! I had to have been looking in all the wrong places all this time.  I was determined to find Freedom! And I did.

I've discovered God is not in religion. That's man's doing. But, God is in churches all over the world. He meets us when we gather to worship Him. He shows up at the party! I found the place where I can live in this broken world as a broken girl who needs a Savior! I am good enough despite the fact that I am not worthy. He loved me that much. He knew my shortcomings. He knew my sin. He has touched me where my imperfection glues me together. He's kissed the scrapes and bruises. And He hung on that tree. For me. Sassy and outspoken. Thoughts and opinions. Lost and searching. Broken and imperfect. Forgiven.

Do I still feel judged? Yes. From time to time. Those same people have those same opinions. Or maybe they don't. Maybe it's my perception. But, no matter the case, they don't get under my skin and into my head anymore. There is no room for them. My heart is full because of the communion I have with God.  I know that because I have a relationship with Christ~ the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit~ nothing else matters. It's not what the world thinks of me that is important. What really matters is my willingness to be obedient. When I have a conviction or a question, I look to His Word now. That's the only rule I care to follow. And I have found freedom there. So, if you're feeling the same oppression as I once did, you know you don't have to settle for that. Freedom is waiting for you, too! You just have to look for it! It's waiting.

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36

"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32


The man that walks the streets

January 19, 2012

I'd love it if you'd hop on over to Finding the SONlight and read my friend's latest blog entry. It's sure to give you pause!


Be Sweet

January 18, 2012

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." Proverbs 16:24

The other day a friend posted a bible verse on my Facebook wall with a little note saying that she loved our friendship. It probably literally took her less than one minute to do. But let me tell you, my heart was so touched. It was satisfied. It smiled! It made me feel really good that she loves and values the relationship that we have. It made me feel really special to be part of something that matters to someone else.
There are so many times that I will think something about someone else that would probably bring a smile to their heart and possibly make a difference in their life. But too many times I refrain. Why do I do this? Maybe it's because I think that it won't make a difference to them. Maybe it's because of that crazy self-esteem competition thing that girls sometimes have going on that makes me think crazy thoughts about her being better than me? 
{What? I am the only one who ever has that issue? >insert giant embarrassed face here<}

Too many times I have had a conversation with a friend where she shared with me that she's dealing with an insecurity and I quickly realize that had I given her that encouragement, that compliment that was actively on my mind, it would have helped her so much in that moment. That gets me thinking. If I had no idea that my best friend was struggling at the time, then what about people I don't know so well. Just because someone looks like they have it all together on the outside, doesn't mean they've got it going on on the inside!
The Illusion
The Reality

I've said it many times before. Our job, my job as a Christian is to show people the love of Jesus. Maybe God puts it on our hearts to share things with others because He knows the impact and the difference that those words can make on a hurting heart. Maybe He's testing our obedience to follow wherever He may lead. Whatever the case may be, sharing a lovely thought, a kind word, a compliment has the potential to do so much good.  

When I think a nice thought about someone else, I'm going to say it to them. 

"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17


Something Beautiful

January 16, 2012

"How do I get to Heaven?"

The answer is simple. 

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

This is arguably the most well known verse in the Bible.

So is believing enough?

I think it is. But, I also think that it's not that simple.

Once you believe, once you ask Jesus to come into your life, once you make that decision, something happens. Something unexpected. Enter the Holy Spirit.

If you are sincere then you will begin to feel the tugging on your heart. You will begin to hear the whispers of God. You will begin to grow hungry. You will begin a beautiful journey. One that you did not anticipate.

Is this journey always easy? Absolutely not. 

Sometimes I think that this is too hard for me. But, in the same instant I consider the alternative. I realize that living without God is even harder. I would much rather walk through this life with God than try to escape it without Him.

We all travel at different paces. I know some people who accept Jesus as their Savior and within mere months they are so on fire that they are blazing trails and influencing hearts along the way. Others, like me, make that decision and spend years "wandering in the wilderness". Teetering between submission and rebellion. But, once I gave in to the call for my whole heart, I have been filled with such a peace and a hope and a help. I don't ever want to go back. 

Am I a "Jesus Freak"? Well, that is left up to the observer, I guess. I do know that I am absolutely in love with God. You know how the love you feel for your husband (wife) and children is almost tangible? Well, I have that for Jesus, too. I am completely, utterly in love. I am in a committed relationship. 
I have found Something Beautiful!

Does that mean that I always get it right? No. I often do things, in regards to God, my marriage, and my parenting that I wish I wouldn't have done. But that's okay. We don't run off and get divorced if we make a mistake. We apologize. We forgive. We try harder. We move forward. Same thing with our parenting. And it's no different in our Christian walk. I tell you. Sometimes the hardest thing is learning how to forgive yourself when you've disappointed someone. 

My job as a Christian is not to get it right all the time. {Thank you Jesus!} My job is not to hit the streets preaching fire and brimstone. My job is to love and to serve. I just need to love others the way Jesus did and to serve others the same way Jesus did. Yeah. It's easier said than done sometimes. Lord knows I have come across plenty people who are just plain difficult to love. Sometimes it would be way easier to hit them in the face with a skillet. {Don't do that!} But, God didn't say for us to love the lovable. We are to love everyone. He didn't say for us to do for those who do for us. We are to serve everyone. {That can be really hard.} But, God will use our obedience to change hearts and lives. And isn't that worth it?

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10

"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God, whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies- in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." 1Peter 4:10-11



January 12, 2012

As long as I can remember I have had a dream for the adult Dana. I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was a very good student. Learning came easily to me. I breezed through school with good grades and little effort. In high school, I began thinking about college options. I even made the 900 mile journey to visit Liberty University, applied there, and got accepted to attend upon graduation. It seemed that I could choose any career path that I wanted because I certainly was a qualified student. And then, something beautiful happened.

God put my heart's desire into motion. He took that tiny seed of a dream and began watering and cultivating it. It was {very} slow growing and required a lot of weeding and hard work along the way. The road to this place required obedience, perseverance, and a lot of faith,  but I sit here today with the highest honor of owning my dream job! After not attending Liberty University ~ After getting married very young ~ After moving my little baby self half way across the country to a city where I knew no one ~ After getting a degree in Travel and Tourism ~ After working for several years at this job that I was pretty good at ~ It happened ~ I was offered the position of a lifetime. Finally! My dream job. I was getting a promotion and her name is Karli Blayne!

I am here. I am someone's wife and someone's mother. That's my lifelong ambition. Not to be a doctor, or business owner, or librarian, or cook, or rocket scientist, although I am smart enough {well maybe not for that rocket scientist part}. My heart ached for a family of my very own. One that I could pour every ounce of me into.

I'd like to think that I do a pretty good job of taking care of my people. It's a demanding job most of the time. And I've often run out of me to give. But, over time, I have learned that I must take time to refuel every so often. Four kids can deplete the gas tank fairly easily if you're not careful. There have been many days that I've fallen into bed at the end of a hard day and cried because I was so incredibly tired and I  knew that I was going to fall asleep and wake up all too early, still tired from the night before and have to do it all over again.

I am still learning. I'm learning that as your kids grow, you have to grow too. I'm learning that there is no one right way. I'm learning that I am going to get it wrong sometimes, and that's okay. I'm learning that there is great confidence to be found when you seek after God's own heart. The learning never ends. Right now, I am learning about getting my priorities right.

In the craziness of the day and in the midst of the responsibilities it becomes all too easy to get your priorities completely out of order. I'm pretty good about deciding if I should cook supper or scrub the toilets. But, sometimes, I forget how important it is for me to save some of me to give to my husband. It's easy to let that relationship get pushed down the list of priorities. But that's not what God wants for our lives. I need to make sure I remember to take care of my love relationship with my husband, my life's partner. Doing so, or not doing so has the potential to be either a source of great energy and inspiration or a like leech, sucking the life out of me. If my marriage is good, I feel more confident and stronger, happier and fulfilled. If there is a disconnect in my relationship with my husband, everything is off whack. I have less patience and I feel discouraged and beaten down. And besides, my kids deserve to see, live, and learn what a good marriage is all about.

Yes, my kids need me, but so does my husband. He needs to know he's valued. He needs to know he's important. He needs to know that he's higher on my list than scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush! And you know what? I need him, too! I need to know that I am still beautiful to him after all these years. I need to know that he still wants to be with me. I need to know that to him I am lovely and lovable. Why wouldn't he need the same? He needs to know that I am still glad that I said "Yes!"  He needs to know that I would do it all over again. He needs to know that I only have eyes for him. He needs to know that I think he's all that and a bag of chips.

So, for all of you who are like me, knee deep in kids, trying to get it right and do it all, don't forget to not only put your husband on the list, but move him up a few notches!

"Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make a helper fit for him.'" Genesis 2:18

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." Proverbs 18:22

"submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." Ephesians 5:21-22

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10



January 11, 2012

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17

"You however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him." Romans 8:9


An Unwelcome Guest

January 10, 2012

I've made it well known how much I LOVE fall and the CHRISTmas season. It just feels so family and love and cozy to me. I have not, however, talked about what my least favorite time of year is. {Yep. You guessed it. This is it.}

I usually try to focus on the good. I am a natural born optimist. I am a glass half full kind of girl. But, every year at this time I feel something festering inside of me. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what it is. The root. The source. The trigger. It's almost as if the chemistry of my brain begins to change. I have, a few times before, fallen into an actual depression that required medication for a short period of time.

The memories from the year before start haunting me in late December usually. And I whisper a prayer and make a resolve that this year will be different. No funk. No fog. No despondency. And a couple weeks into January, uninvited, she shows up. Maybe not with as many bags as the year before. I usually end up letting her in, if only for coffee and a snack. But, even though I try to turn her away, she doesn't take the hint and she shows up each year ready to settle in for a little mini-vacation. I have grown more aware over the years. I know she's probably gonna invite herself over. But, I have gotten better about not letting her move in. There is just no room for her.

This year was no exception. She tried again. And with practice, I am getting better at keeping her away year by year. I am not letting her in. No coffee. No dessert. {I'm on a diet.}

I know that I am not the only one who {has had} struggles with this. It's often very difficult and shameful to talk about. It carries with it a certain stigma. "He's crazy." "She's weak." "Loser." But I am here to tell you, none of this is true. I believe in most cases, it is an absolute attack on your soul by the Devil himself. You are not crazy. You can overcome these feelings. You are not a loser. Don't let Satan tell you any different. There is hope. Your life is meaningful. You are important. So whether you are experiencing little nagging feelings of sadness and despair, or debilitating depression do not be discouraged.

God loves you. "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

He wants good for you. "'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

He is more powerful than what you are facing. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2Corinthians 12:9

He wants to help you. "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

He can see you through it. "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1Corinthians 10:13

{Depression can be triggered by many different life situations. Clinical depression, however, is a physical condition that must be medically diagnosed and treated, caused by a physical disorder. God can cure any disease or disorder, however, in some cases, seeing a doctor for depression is no different than seeing a doctor for an injury or other medical condition. I am in no way encouraging anyone who suffers from depression or any medical condition to forgo professional medical help. My opinions expressed here are strictly to offer Hope in an often disconsolate place.}


Optimistic Pessimism?

January 9, 2012

Freddie and I were talking the other day about a certain event that happened and how the media influenced public opinion on the matter.  Generally, it is the media who steers popular belief in one direction or another. What a great responsibility. Unfortunately, all too often, opportunities are missed to do good and make a positive difference. Usually "news stories" are angled to fulfill selfish agendas and promote criticism and scoff.

On a smaller scale, we each hold the same power in our lives and the lives of many around us. Without even knowing it, often you can guide someone's thoughts and conclusions about a given topic. We voice our judgments and interpretations and sell our point of view. The question is, does our point of view advance the Kingdom of God or not? Do we encourage others or do we rain down despair and gloom? Is the glass half empty or is it half full?

No matter how thin, there are two sides to every pancake. You can make a choice to see the good or the bad in any situation. Your focus has more influence than you might be aware of. We must all make a decision to be conscientious of how we allow ourselves to react to any given circumstance. We need to be particular in  our outlook. We must be encouraging and positive.

This new year, 2012, I have claimed to be my year of Service. {Trust me, not because of my own choosing, but God has laid it upon my heart and is leading me there.} Part of Service is serving others ~ my family, my friends, and my community. But it is also Serving my King. If I am going to Serve my God well, I must be deliberate and steadfast. I must make myself aware of how my words and my voice can either give hope or promote despondency. I have to make a choice in advance to see God in everything and bring that Hope to life!

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2



January 4, 2012

Surprise! I am back! Thought I died? Quit bloggin? Got eaten by BigFoot? Went missing in the CHRISTmas tree behind the 426 balls that I hung on there? Or, maybe you didn't notice I disappeared at all. That's okay, too.

But here I am. A new year. A new adventure awaits. I'd like to say that I have a {re}new{ed} energy and excitement for my blog. Truth is, I don't. I have missed blogging. But, I've also enjoyed the break. I do wish that there were not a gap, but only for the benefit of my children. After all, this is their blog. They are why Calverette Chronicles was created. A record of our lives. An insight into their mother and her heart as I did my best to raise them up in the ways of the Lord.

Quick catch up. I absolutely ENJOYED the holiday season! I inhaled every single minute of it! I did not wish one second away. It was wonderful! I survived shopping- the traffic, fellow shoppers, toiling over the decisions for just the perfect gift, the wrapping, the lines! I called an extended CHRISTmas vacation. I moved some school days around, added a couple days a week into June and July and, POOF, it went  from 2 weeks off to 3 weeks! {Next year I am just going to automatically give us at least 3 weeks off.} My baby turned FOUR years old. We had a swimming party for her at a local hotel with an indoor heated pool. She had so much fun! It was really nice to celebrate HER! I even hosted a party for 80 in my little 1290 sq foot home! {I am still thanking God for beautiful weather so we were able to spread the party out into the back yard.} Yes, I even gained a few extra holiday pounds. {Which reminds me, I have got to get busy getting those off.}

We are slowly falling back into a schedule. Though I find myself resisting. Schedules. Appointments. Responsibilities. Next week we add school back into the mix. And I am planning on blogging again.  I just know God has some wonderful things in store for us! I hope you'll join me!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2Corinthians 5:18-19