Thriving Thursday

thriving thursday reading your bible

One of my goals this year is to FINALLY read my Bible allllll the way through. I actually found a great reading plan on Pinterest and Huff the Hubs and I have been reading the passages at night, together. I’m telling you, if you want to help build up the foundation of your marriage–read your Bible together. Its done wonders for HtH and I. Now, there have been some nights we’ve missed reading them together. Sometimes kids need extra cuddles at night, lunches need to be prepped for the next day, or one of us is so exhausted we pass out before the other one comes to bed.

When those situations happen, I’ve been improvising when I feel rushed. The ONE moment in the day I get peace is when I shower. Mostly because I make a conscience effort to do it while the kids have their allotted tablet time. They have their screens and I have a nice, hot, uninterrupted shower. I’ve been opening my Bible app and listening to the audio of the Scripture while I shower. I’m able to focus and really hear what’s being said. Its awesome!

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Maybe your goal isn’t to read the Bible more, maybe you want to work on your prayer life. There are a ton of prayer challenges and resources on Pinterest (like the ones here, here, here, and here).

Maybe there are a lot of things you have on your mind and feel like there is no way you can possibly remember all of them when you’re finally in a quiet place to pray. Last year, I wanted to be sure I prayed for my family–immediate and extended–as much as possible. I grabbed a few popsicle sticks and wrote their names on them. I placed them in a small jar by my bed and every day I’d grab a few sticks out of the jar. I pray over each person by name. Then, when every stick had been taken out of the jar, I placed them back in and started over the next day.

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I also added in other things I wanted covered in prayer (wisdom for our finances, friends, and anytime I got a prayer request for someone who was ill I added their name as well) and put them in the jar. This was a great way for me to stay disciplined and also just to remember everyone!

The Bible app also has several daily devotionals and reading plans that can help you with whatever your spiritual goals are this year. I hope and pray that you reach your goals and feel uplifted by whatever plan you choose!

Do you have any goals related to your spiritual walk? Share in the comments below!

 

Mommy Monday

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The other day, I read a great article about praying for your child as they head back to school. Which I feel is very important. As parents, we should constantly be covering our children in our prayers (and not just in a “Lord, help me not smack this child” kind of way–ha!). I also think its very important to cover your child’s teacher in prayer.

Teaching is a very noble and draining profession. I don’t just mean physically draining, I mean draining in every area of life: emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and financially. With educators in my family and having many friends who teach, I see first-hand the effects (both good and bad) teaching can have on a person. If you’re wondering how to pray for your child’s teacher, I have a few starting points for you!

Pray for your childs teacher

 

Their Mental Health 

“…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Ephesians 4:23 

In a 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey in which over 5,000 teachers from all over the country were polled, teacher’s reported poor health. To elaborate, this was pulled from the poll’s website: “Sixty-one percent of the teachers said their work was always or often stressful. Over half agreed that they didn’t feel the same enthusiasm as when they started teaching. They reported experiencing poor health and being bullied at work — by superiors, colleagues, students, or parents — at rates far higher than are reported for other professions. And the vast majority said they are sleep-deprived.” 

You may say, “Yeah, well, my job is stressful too.” And I get that. However, these men and women are literally working to prepare your child for the world and they are getting push back from a myriad of places–their superiors, the district, students, and parents. Not only that, but teachers are having to fight for attention from their classes–many of which are way overcrowded. With social media, YouTube, and gaming right at students’ fingertips, its difficult for teachers to cut through the noise and cell phone usage to actually teach the 30+ students in their classrooms!

What to pray: Pray for your child’s teacher(s) to get adequate rest, to be surrounded by encouraging and uplifting administrators and peers, for a stable and peaceful home life, and that they practice self-care, helping them de-stress. Pray for them to be filled with joy, hope, and renewed zest for their job.

 

Their Financial Situation

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

A study by by the National Association of Colleges and Employers revealed that the national average of  a first-year teacher is $30,377. Not only was teaching found to be one of the lowest paid professions, but the study also concluded that the more years a person taught, the more the wage gap grew.

Some people think, “They knew what they were getting into when they started teaching.” My response to that is quoting Marie Madison from a piece in Tulsa World: “The problem with the phrase “They knew what they were getting into” is that it ignores and dampens hope. It assumes that because we knew we were walking into a difficult situation, we shouldn’t have hoped that we could improve it; that we shouldn’t have hoped that our state would see its children struggling and decide to do something at last.”Our teachers are counting on politicians to make good on promises to fund education, thereby improving their working conditions (i.e., giving them what they actually need to do their job) as well as improve their pay. Something I learned from the teacher walkout earlier this year is that educators would rather have fully funded schools with the resources their students need than get paid more. Teachers around the nation spend an average of $500-$1,000 out of their own pockets to supply their classrooms with basic needs such as pencils, paper, notebooks, and erasers. So not only are teachers paid the bare minimum they also have to buy the basic necessities they need to perform their job. Don’t you think that would add some stress and worry to their day?

What to pray: Pray for the local and federal legislatures to fund education, increase teacher pay, and hire more teachers, creating smaller class sizes. Pray for financial wisdom for your children’s teachers, for donations to be made to their classroom (perhaps that’s something YOU can do), and that the teachers would be blessed financially.

 

Their Physical Safety and Health 

“I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” Psalm 57:1b 

We face a sad reality: school shootings have become more and more present. With a sister who teaches and a mother who works in a school office, I’m always full of worry for their safety. I never thought I would have to worry about my family being shot because they worked at a school. I know this is a fear of many educators but I also know that every single one of them would put their lives on the line for the safety of every child in their room. The chances are slim, I know, but it is still a reality in which we find ourselves living.

What to pray: Pray for the safety and security of your child’s teacher(s) and school. Pray for teachers and students to be attentive and aware of any potential dangers and for them to speak up if anything seems “off”. Pray for security measures to be put in place at your child’s school to ensure the highest level of safety (another area in which you could volunteer!) and for your child’s teacher(s) to be physically healthy and take care of themselves by staying hydrated, physically active, and eating healthily.

 

What are some prayers you would add to the list?

What’s The Deal?

With prepping for new baby, dealing with morning sickness, and general everyday stuff, its been hard to keep on my blogging. I forgot to do a Try It yesterday and I thought about skipping today because I wasn’t really in the mood to write. Then, my news app blew up.

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Early this morning, I saw the news about a gunman opening fire during a live news broadcast. The gunman, later identified as a former employee of the news station, killed a reporter and camerman and injured one other before taking his own life.

 

In Oklahoma, we’ve seen a rough week. Our Labor Commissioner was brutally murdered by his own son at an Oklahoma City restaurant.

 

Just a few moments ago, a man broke into a church–a church– on the northeast side of town.

 

And yesterday, a student held a teacher and a classroom of students hostage. Thankfully, the teacher talked the student down and convinced him to let his hostages go.

 

I just don’t understand why the world has gone so crazy. It makes my heart ache to think of the world that I’m bringing Huff the Babe up in as well as her younger brother or sister. When I was growing up, I don’t remember the world being this crazy. Maybe it was and I wasn’t so aware of it as I am now, but it scares me sometimes. It scares me so bad that there are times I lie awake at night and imagine all the horrors that tomorrow could bring. I mean, my brother-in-law is in the military, Huff the Hubs works with the military, and my mom and sister work at a school. I feel like these places that were once safe are now full of horrible possibilities and are constantly in the news because someone decided to go on a rampage and hurt innocent people. I fear, not only for my future, but my children’s future.

Then, I remembered this:

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For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP)

 

Now, I can boldly look toward the future and know that, no matter what happens, it’ll be okay. I know that not everyone is a “praying person” or a “spiritual person”, but I hope that you can be comforted by these words, too. I also hope that you’ll join me in praying for our nation. America was once a great place and I’d like it to continue to be for future generations.