Category Archives: teaching

Once upon a time, I was a music teacher…

Some Thoughts on Evangelism.

Evangelism is something that used to scare me. In my youth, to me it meant that we would go around handing out gospel tracks, or randomly starting conversations with people, so that we could pray with them, hoping to lead them to Jesus. It had less to do with fostering a love of Jesus or a desire to worship him, and more of a way to get another tick on our evangelist’s counter.

As you might imagine, this didn’t work very well for me.

As an adult, the word still scares me a little bit, because I don’t quite know how to put my feelings into words. The scars are still there from my misinterpretations as a youth. But there is so much hope, for me and for you, to be able to overcome the scars of myself and others, and continue on into the love of Jesus in a true sense, and then share it with the world.


Recently, during my quiet time (I’ve been studying through the Psalms, in case you didn’t know) I was convicted as I read Psalm 71. I’ll put the part I’ll focus on here so you don’t have to look it up…

Psalm 71:14-18
But I will hope continually,
and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.

Well, I have to begin by saying that the psalmist surely stirred up some excitement and laid a healthy burden on me to share more of the Gospel. Our mouths should tell of His righteous acts and deeds of salvation! We should proclaim His wondrous deeds and His might! It not only encourages our brothers and sisters in Christ, and not only spreads the truth of the Gospel to all ears, but it fosters our believing but sometimes wayward hearts by proclaiming and declaring what we know to be true.

Let’s talk for a moment about “proclaim” and “declare”. As a worship leader, sometimes I am moved during a song to encourage the congregation to proclaim or declare some of the lyrics we’re singing. There’s a slight difference between those words, and so it’s important to do both, sometimes. To proclaim is to announce something openly, publicly, and officially. To declare is to solemnly and emphatically say something. Another definition even says to reveal one’s intentions or identity. To proclaim the righteousness of fearsome and loving God, and the salvation attainable through Christ Jesus are things that should be proclaimed, shouted from the pulpits, platforms, and rooftops. To declare that death has been defeated, and that we are made new in Christ is a truth that can reveal our identity, and alter our intentions.

So as I read those verses of Psalm 71, and then read them again, and then prayed them then and there over my life and my vocation, I was convicted. I was reminded that we, as followers of Jesus, are called to live by his example, which was indeed proclaiming God’s righteousness and mighty acts, proclaiming His wondrous deeds to every generation and all those to come. In one of the books I’m reading (Lioness Arising. Lisa Bevere. Find it. Buy it. Devour it as I have done.) she encourages us to use our circles of influence to share God’s truths and Jesus’s words. While I’m on the platform, every Sunday, worshiping the Lord, and hopefully bringing everyone in that journey alongside me, I have even more opportunity than I allow myself (or at least remember that I have) to actually speak Scripture and truth into the congregation. I have this very site where I share funny quips from my kids and what we ate for dinner last week, but I shouldn’t neglect the possibilities this site provides for the sharing of God’s Word. I have family members, friends, acquaintances, and sometimes strangers that I can come alongside and encourage, pray for/with, and speak truth into. Why should I be scared of being an evangelist? Why should I be nervous to do what Jesus did?

Currently

Hey there, and welcome to my weekly Currently post! I link up each week with Becky at Choose Happy. And I’m sure by now you’ve seen my posts, but we have currently been….

Traveling || to DisneyWorld and back! We spent two days in Disney and loved every minute! We flew early Tuesday morning last week, and flew back late Wednesday night. So obviously everyone was exhausted but they loved just being there. It was a first time for J and EK, so they were overwhelmed but excited. My mom was sweet enough to keep D at home so we could have a little less to do ūüôā 

I’ll write a more detailed post on the trip soon. AND I’m getting a few of those really lovely pictures their photographers take while you’re there, and I’ll upload those as well – since mine are all blurry!

Teaching || music at my kids’ preschool! It’s just four short classes a week, but it’s been fun to be back in the classroom a little bit. I’m doing toddlers and twos, so it’s pretty much a show, and/or a dance party! I get to teach J’s class, which is fun for me. 

Enjoying || the weather and our garden! We have two more truckloads of dirt to get for the last bed, but we’ve got three full beds and we’ve already been eating our romaine! I’m glad we planted some things early.


Well that’s all for now. What are you up to currently?

So Long, Sweet Briar.

My heart is breaking. I can’t imagine how I would feel, as a 20-or-so year old, finding out that my college, my home, my world, is closing. Sweet Briar College, a women’s institution founded in 1901, is closing its doors, due to “insurmountable financial challenges”.

sweet briar

I know that during my time at Salem College, I lived in that bubble in a serious way. Yes, I was venturing out and about, and learning about my world and how I would contribute to it, but I was also surrounded by some of the most wonderful and inspiring women, living in an architectural (and sometimes cultural – in a good way) time capsule, and my world was revolving around classes and projects and events and meal times. I can’t imagine someone telling me that all of sudden, my education is in jeopardy, I have to find a new home, and I can’t come back to the place I love.

Wow.

Luckily, I know that women’s colleges across the country are not closing their doors. They are preparing for more women to transfer in, and make the most of an experience that’s been forced on them. I know that Salem is probably not alone in preparing to welcome newcomers from Sweet Briar. We’ve had an anonymous alumna volunteer to pay the application fees of any Sweet Briar transfer applying for this coming fall. That’s huge, y’all.

I posted an article on Facebook yesterday about 10 other women’s colleges that are thriving in the midst of this sadness. They listed Sarah Lawrence College (which got a shout out in 10 Things I Hate About You), Salem College (my sweet, fantastic alma mater), Mills College, Simmons College, Bryn Mawr, Spelman College, College of St. Benedict, Mount Holyoke College, and Converse College. However, they didn’t add Hollins, Meredith, Agnes Scott, or Wellesley. And those are just the ones that I know off the top of my head and didn’t have to look up! Women’s colleges and universities are thriving all over the country, making women more and more awesome as we speak. I’m proud, ecstatic, and thrilled to be one of those women.

Now the next thing I say might get some pushback from even Salem graduates. But it needs to be addressed. Are you also sad that Sweet Briar is closing? Or that Randolph-Macon Women’s College became co-ed in 2007? Or that Peace College began admitting men in 2012, and then changed its name a couple of years later? There’s an easy way to help. Donate. Give.

Home-Give

I know, I know… you feel like there was one experience you didn’t feel was a positive one. Or maybe you feel like you were forced to stay there by a parent who told you that transferring wasn’t an option. Or maybe, like me, they don’t even offer your degree anymore, so why give? Those are selfish reasons. If other women are getting a great education, being shaped into incredible women, why not give for those women? Why not donate even a little bit for those women? Or so that your degree¬†won’t¬†be discontinued? Or that those crappy dorms can be updated? Anyone can donate to any college. There are annual funds, capital campaigns, tons of funds to donate to for every school. Your small gift can mean that one more woman can be set up for a successful and happy life. It’s that simple.

I have no “back to school”.

But isn't it nice that I'm with this gal all day?
But isn’t it nice that I’m with this gal all day?

It’s fall. The weather is cooling off (thankfully), the pumpkins are out in front of every grocery store, Halloween decorations are popping up everywhere, and all I hear on the radio is that¬†the stupid fair is coming soon. My daughter has started preschool. Church activities have been going for weeks. But something feels… weird.

It’s the first time in my life that I haven’t gone “back to school”. When I graduated high school, I went to college. When I graduated college, I taught middle school chorus for three years, then¬†elementary school music for three more years. And here I am. Not back to school.

I’m not regretting this decision at all.¬†I am happy to be working part-time at my amazing church, and spending the bulk of my time loving my children and my husband well. But still, as I am settling into a schedule (mostly by force – I¬†need¬†that routine!) I still have so much unstructured time. I’m used to cramming my lunch in 18 minutes, multi-tasking like a boss, holding my bladder for an abnormally long time, and changing what I’m teaching (read: living, breathing, doing, thinking about) every 40 minutes – and often sooner¬†than that.

But you know what else I was used to? Being drained at 3:00pm. Working some nights after working all day. Thinking about the needs, wants, thoughts, and jibes of hundreds of children that weren’t mine. Missing my own children all day while I was off taking care of someone else’s. Feeling bad that I had nothing left for my family after I’d spent myself on my job.

That last one was my kicker. Because truly, I enjoy working. I love having a schedule (there it is again), having a reason to leave the house every day, and sowing into something outside my home and family. I love teaching, and the opportunities the job gave me to really love on some kids who needed it. I love instilling knowledge and love of music into kids who need something at school for be good at, when math and reading don’t come easily. But for right now, Hubby¬†and¬†my own kids are what I need to focus on.

I respect you, working moms – especially teaching moms, because I have been among your ranks, in those trenches with you. But I am incredibly grateful that I could make the decision to leave you for a while. I’ll return, but right now, I’m thinking of you as a wrangle my ridiculously strong son into his clothes for the day, make several breakfasts and eat whatever the kids don’t, and microwave my coffee for the third time. ¬†I’m thinking of you, because I know many of you are happily at jobs you love, knowing your kids are happy in their schools and day cares or with daddies and nannies. I’m thinking of you, also, if you’re wishing you were doing what I’m doing but it’s not possible. While it’s weird that I’m not back to school, I choose to rest¬†in the unstructured craziness and enjoy it.

A Toast To A Bittersweet Ending

Here I am, sitting on my school laptop, on my very last day at school. ¬†It’s definitely bittersweet – with a little more bitter than I expected. ¬†Don’t get me wrong… it is SWEET! But I have a few tears in my eyes as I think about this part of my life drawing to a close. I have made some sweet friends here, ones I hope I don’t lose. ¬†I have gained a lot of experience, professional and personal, that I plan to be able to use again once my kiddos are all in school and I’m back in the teaching saddle. I love this school. I love the kids. I love the parents. I love the staff. But things are changing; there was bound to be an overhaul here, and I just happened to go out right at the time of the changes. Maybe the timing was for the best – God knows what I need, so I guess it really is.

But I will say this: It’s been long and hard. In some ways, it’s gotten easier (my feet are wet, I know what I’m doing, and I’m more comfortable in the classroom every single day). In a lot of ways, personal/family-wise ¬†(being a working mom, nursing while working, missing milestones, scheduling around my work and Hubby’s work) and job-wise (lack of job security in NC, frozen pay scale, more and more requirements with no return) it’s gotten harder every year. I’ve been out on two maternity leaves with barely any pay (if you’ve taught less than ten years, you don’t have much time accrued to spend on long-term leaves), I’ve breastfed babies after going back to work, one of whom (EK) didn’t nurse. ¬†I’ve missed first steps, giggles, get-togethers, and family time. Lord, how excited I am to be around for all of that. To nurse my baby several times a day instead of pumping all the time. To see J crawl, and then walk for his first times. To take EK to her first day of preschool instead of just hearing about it from Hubby. I’m going to be a full-time mom! Woo!

So, in honor of the day my life is totally changing, a toast. I likely will be toasting this with Hubby, with a drink in my hand, around 3:00pm today. Here’s to God’s timing being perfect, to working moms who are missing things, to stay at home moms who are sacrificing everything to be home with their little ones, to teachers in the trenches who do way more than they get paid for, and to my family, who supports me, loves me, and makes it possible for me to do what I love. Cheers.

DSC_0290 DSC_2644
and to the silly ones that make my life complete.