Why Sunday Will Be Your New Fave Day

When was the last time you RELAXED? Like completely, totally RESTED? If you answered that question and said “I’m not sure the last time I rested” it’s time that you do just that!
When I first married Brad, it took me a long time to understand how to honor the Sabbath Day. I still slip up and do laundry sometimes, but I had to put resting on Sunday into action. He was taught not work on Sunday, and because of that, I chose to start enjoying Sundays with him too. I had to wean myself away from doing lesson plans, vacuuming, and cleaning the house on Sundays. After I started observing the Sabbath Day the right way, it has become my favorite day of the week. I look forward to doing most of my chores on Saturday and cleaning floors on Monday instead. I highly recommend that you begin resting and relaxing on Sundays as well. It has changed my life for the better by allowing me to fill up my cup spiritually, physically, and mentally. Just that one day during the week makes a lot of difference in my work week especially being a school teacher. If God rested during the Creation, shouldn’t we follow His example and rest? Most of us use the excuse of being too busy! It does take some time to shift into honoring the Sabbath Day by resting, but the sooner you start this habit, the more blessed you will be by it because God commands us to honor the Sabbath Day! Before tomorrow gets here, you should plan to spend it resting, going to church to fill up your spiritual cup, and reflecting!

Don’t Swallow

I used to hate Dr. Pepper. Either you just thought I was crazy for never liking it in the first place or you don’t know why I like it now. Over the course of these last 5 years, either I was forced to drink it because there was nothing else or I would try it randomly because one of my roommates absolutely loved it. Even though it wasn’t my favorite drink back in the day, it has slowly turned into my first grab because I was exposed to it & tried it for awhile! The reason I am bringing this up is because I’ve noticed a trend with people in my generation in particular…
Things that we shouldn’t agree with are being thrown at us at all different directions….things that we don’t want to swallow but feel forced to swallow. After so much exposure from being on social media, watching the news, and what have you, I have seen people throwing in the towel on fighting for what’s righteous and Godly. It is disheartening to me, so I wanted to offer a bit of encouragement to y’all who are standing for what’s right and what follows the Bible.
Y’all, we cannot give up on standing up for Jesus and His truth. He lives in us. We need to stop falling into the sinful junk and start making our first grab the Bible instead of our phone. There’s pressure to agree with all the things of this world, but you see, that’s the problem: THEY ARE THINGS OF THIS WORLD. We are supposed to be different from the world. We are supposed to shine Jesus’ light in the darkness and sinfulness of this world NOT FALL CAPTIVE INTO AGREEING WITH WHAT IT HAS TO SAY.
Ground yourself in the truth. Continue to love people. Be kind to others. Express joy. IT’S TIME TO SHINE. And don’t let people or the Devil try to dim it because that’s the goal. ‘nuff said.

A Teacher’s Lifeline

CONVICTED and I must share…
Hours and hours have gone into planning units for my classes, planning individual lessons, watching classroom management videos, pinning cool experiments and projects, getting a head start on my Interactive Notebooks that I will be using this year, and so forth. But y’all know what I haven’t done yet? I have yet to pray over my kids, over the school year, over my attitude, over the interactions that will take place in my classroom this year.
Why haven’t I made time to pray? My priorities haven’t been right. There, I said it. I want these kids to succeed and do well on their state tests, and I decided to immerse myself so far into planning lessons that I haven’t MADE THE TIME to pray for these kids, our school, administration, their families, etc.
Y’all, I’ve been believing that the more work I put into these lessons and the more prep I do, the better. That’s the total wrong formula for a successful school year…it should be: God + work = success.
When God is left out of the equation, I WILL FAIL. I will not make it if God is placed on the back burner of my life because sometimes, negative comments are made, mean words are said, or discouragement from not getting control of the class can tear and pull at me. I noticed that last year, I didn’t spend much time praying over my day or school year. I hardly prayed for my students at all. I need to change for this upcoming school year because if I don’t give God the glory in all I do or seek Him first in my life, if I don’t give Him my day EVERY DAY, I will allow myself to become swamped, drained, and overwhelmed.
Tonight, I’m praying for you if you are a teacher or student. Being in either role is tough in these dark days. I pray that you will be a light in the darkness and that you will shine Christ’s love to others. I pray that you will stand up for the Lord and that He will give you strength. ❤️ If you’re a teacher too and haven’t prayed about your school year or haven’t prayed for your students, stop what you’re doing, and PRAY NOW. Let’s start the school year off right, shall we? Prayers are MORE POWERFUL than lesson plans, friends.

Flight Delay and Answered Prayer

I sat in the Indy airport watching the time to board my flight push up. I had a connecting flight from Charlotte to New Orleans to make it back home. The time of my first flight was pushed up too far for me to make my next flight, and I was so scared that I wasn’t going to be able to come home until the next day. As soon as the first plane rolled in, my first flight updated on my airline’s phone app. It advised me to cancel my connecting flight because the time of the flights overlapped. The app gave me directions to book the next flight to New Orleans and to confirm it. I was in line to board my plane at this point and for some reason, my phone app wouldn’t let me book the next flight. It showed me that there was only one flight left into New Orleans for the day scheduled to leave at 10:30 pm, and I just felt that I would be stuck in Charlotte. I thought I would need to get a hotel. The whole airport was delayed, and I became sick to my stomach knowing that the seats to the last flight in New Orleans were going to fill up before I would be able to book my next flight. I boarded the plane and took my seat. Earlier that day, another ag teacher showed me that she was able to receive a QR code on her phone to board her plane online. I hurriedly went online instead of using the app to try to book the last flight. I typed in my info, and it brought me to a similar screen like the app.
I prayed over it to work. I prayed that God would let me come home last night and to help me book this flight.
Unlike the app, the website didn’t tell me I had to see an agent to confirm my flight, and I was able to book it. In just that short amount of time, I saw that almost all of the seats were taken. Even though my connecting flight was delayed another hour and half and my plane pulled in late to avoid storms, I made it home at 3 am.
We may think that praying over something silly or small in our lives may not work, but I’m here to tell you that it does. God is listening. Sometimes, all it takes is for us to call out to Him for help and have faith that He will come through for us.

The Acne Struggle

I had bad acne in the beginning of college from the food I was eating in our cafeteria, the bad water quality on-campus at the time, & probably hormones. I never left to go anywhere without nothing on my face. In high school, I had great skin and not a single blemish. I would wear makeup every day just because I enjoyed putting it on and liked to play with it. It wasn’t bc I felt like I needed it, but all that changed in college. I found myself looking back to my high school years when my skin would never break out & wondered why I had to struggle with acne NOW. I was so annoyed! I became obsessed over covering up my blemishes and acne to the point that my obsession with it almost controlled my life.
-summer time…no, I can’t go underwater in the pool because my makeup will come off
-mornings…I have to wake up at least fifteen mins earlier to put on my makeup
-while eating…*dabbing carefully with a napkin so I don’t mess up my makeup so no one sees*
Y’all, it was BAD! My skin took a couple years to “clear up,” and even though I still break out from time to time, it was nothing like those first couple of years in college!
I found that I was placing my confidence and identity in makeup instead of Jesus. I was scared of how boys would look at me and that I would get the wrong kind of attention bc of the acne on my face. None of us like acne but if you feel that you HAVE to put on makeup to be beautiful, it means that you are choosing to believe you aren’t beautiful without it. I was placing my looks on such a high pedestal and believing & feeding the lies that I HAD to wear makeup!
No, girl! You don’t HAVE to wear makeup to be beautiful.
Now, I apply makeup still for the fun of it and not bc I feel like it’s a necessity. I catch myself wanting to cover up one stupid little pimple and put on a full face just for that one spot! Ugh! God has been working on changing my perspective about makeup for the longest time now. God looks at the heart & what goes in the heart is reflected on your countenance. If you fill your heart with scripture and truth, then it will show because you are placing your identity in Jesus and God’s Word instead of in makeup!

Be a God-Pleaser

With sweaty palms, I gripped my guitar for dear life as I approached the front of my church. I go to a missionary baptist church where ladies are “supposed to wear skirts,” traditional instruments are typically only used (the piano and organ), and there’s little technology. I had never been so nervous to play and sing with my guitar before. To give y’all some background, I heard from church members (not from my church but others in the same denomination) that playing the guitar in church is wrong because “honky tonk” music can come from the guitar. I had no idea if I was about to walk right into a bee hive. Thankfully, I wasn’t singing by myself and three other girls were singing with me which calmed me down. I started to play, and before I knew it, the song was over. I placed the guitar down and searched the faces of everyone to see their reaction, and when I saw smiles across the building, I knew that this was right. I didn’t do it to please the people in my church, no. I did it to sing praise and worship God. I had no clue how they were going to take it, and I honestly didn’t want to hear criticism, but it was worth trying! My nervousness had melted away as soon as we started singing because I knew that no matter what would be said to me or anyone else afterwards, that it simply DID NOT MATTER!
I let my insecurity keep me from playing for a little while, and when the girls told me they wanted to sing a song to guitar, I got fired up and excited. I love to worship the Lord playing and singing with my guitar & I want to use it all for Him! I’m so glad that I stepped out so others can worship too.
Your church denomination shouldn’t be the reason you hold back. Don’t be afraid to do what people may not expect or may not even WANT. We are supposed to please God only-not people! Playing instruments, doing sign language, singing, dancing…if none of it is done to praise and worship the Lord, then it is done for men and in vain. Share your gifts and talents! God gave them to you to bring glory to Him. ❤️

You Aren’t Just a Number

I will be that person who names every animal we own including the cattle. Rango is our new bull on the farm. Most farmers don’t see a point in naming their cattle because they will either put them up for sale, trade them out, or send them to be slaughtered for food. They usually identify them by their ear tag number and never give them a name. Understandably, it is confusing when a farmer has 300 head of cattle in all the same color and breed…that’s why the ear tag numbers are so important! If one of them becomes sick, they can identify the cow more easily to pull it out from the herd for treatment. But since we are just starting out with only a few cattle, I like names, not numbers.
By 2050, it is predicted that there will be 9 billion people on the earth. Right now, there about 7 billion. God forms us in the womb, fashions us before we are born, and knows all of our names….yours & mine. He doesn’t need ID tags/numbers to know who we are. Even though we are both on this earth with 7 billion other people, He doesn’t just kinda sorta know us…HE REALLY KNOWS US. He knows our every thought, our burdens, our mistakes. The Bible describes Jesus as the good shepherd & us as His sheep.
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” -John 10:11
He takes care of us and gives us life…eternal life if we accept Him as our Savior.
You are not defined by the number of mistakes you make or what kind of mistakes you make. Your mistakes can be cleansed and forgiven. Jesus may know what’s in your heart and the mistakes you’ve made but He also offers to forgive you for what you’ve done. He doesn’t just want to know you, but He wants to have a RELATIONSHIP with you. Sin stands in the way of your relationship with Jesus, but no sin is too big, dirty, ugly. No sin is unforgivable.
But, for real, aren’t you glad we don’t have to wear ear tags? 😅

Living Intentionally

An intention means an “aim or a plan”. Add ‘ally’ to the end of the word to make it an adverb and the definition changes “to deliberately or on purpose”.

God has a plan/purpose (aka “intention”) for all of our lives (Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”). Figuring out what that purpose or plan is may not be an easy task, but His plans for us unfold over time and in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”). At the end of this post, you will find that there is one common purpose He has for all of us (Colossians 3:23: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Colossians 3:17: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”).

As far as my specific purpose goes, I can only see so far…meaning from one minute to the next (LOL). That’s true for all of us! I do know that God has always wanted me to be an agriculture teacher and to impact lives in and out of the classroom. This was made clear to me during my freshman year of high school. When I began college, I had the goal of becoming an agriculture teacher in mind because I recognized the need for them and personally had agriculture teachers that changed my life and pushed me. Because of the difference they made in my life, I was inspired to do the same. But see, beyond that, I saw hurting students. I saw students who were longing to be loved because they didn’t get attention at home. I saw students working night shifts falling asleep in class because they were trying to pay their families’ bills. I saw students losing parents and loved ones, some of those being friends of mine. My eyes were opened to not only the statistical shortage of agriculture teachers across the nation and state but the shortage of just GOOD teachers. I stepped into agricultural education with my intentions being that I could shed a light in someone’s life…that I could possibly help change their perspective, attitude, behavior, and even their current direction of their life to a more positive direction.

My intentions are still the same now that I’m graduated and have one year of teaching under my belt. I didn’t truly live intentionally though.

I can see what you’re thinking…. “Emily, it sounds like you have done what you were supposed to do. You’ve become an ag teacher now. This seems like you ARE living intentionally.”

Yeah, that’s what I thought too until during the first year of teaching, my vision became clouded. I kept focusing on problems, on negativity. I was looking at what was wrong in my classroom and what I was doing wrong instead of cheering myself on for what I was doing right. I was very critical of myself. I knew that I could be better. I knew that I wasn’t the best teacher, and because I was telling myself this and feeling this way, I was draining myself emotionally.

I noticed that from the beginning to the end I went from caring and loving on the students to solely stressing over lessons and how awesome they were going to be. There’s nothing wrong with having amazing lessons that engage the students. It shows them that you do care for them because you want them to learn in a fun way and be successful. But I wasn’t asking them the important questions, “How are you doing today?” “How are you feeling?” “Is there something wrong?” “Is there something you would like to talk to me about?”

I was forgetting to make connections. I was forgetting to make personal relationships with them. I was trying too hard to have GOOD-AWESOME lessons because in the midst of creating the lessons and gathering materials I was losing my personal touch with the students. I cared more about what my evaluation score was going to be at the end of the year.

And I hate that it happened.

You’ve noticed by now that even though my intentions were the same, the actions said otherwise. My actions spoke loudly of my intentions being more focused on LESSONS than connecting to and establishing relationships with STUDENTS. Ehhh.

You can have all the right and perfect intentions for whatever it is that you desire in your heart. It’s the ACTIONS that follow the INTENTIONS that make the difference.

Whoa.

For example, if a guy stops by a flower shop and buys a fresh bouquet of roses on the way to pick up a girl for their first date (the action), he’s showing his intentions to her. He is communicating to her that he thought about her before their date, is excited for their date together, or he would like for her to think about him after their date is over and be reminded of it. Sweet, right? His actions are displaying his intentions.

Intentional living has not only been something that God has made clearer to me through teaching but also in my daily life. I am learning to put down my phone to have quality conversations with people. When was the last time you left your phone in your pocket or purse while on a date or at a family function? I encourage you to begin this habit. Leaving the phone behind says that you are making time for the people in front of you instead of the people behind a screen. I am very much the girl who loves to take pictures of everything and share them (I mean, I do have this blog…haha). But even so, God has been nudging me to savor more moments with the people present in my life, to leave my phone behind, and to use it as a tool for Him. How can God teach you things if you’re always stuck in another technological world? He uses the people there with you to teach and direct you or places them there for you to minister to them. Don’t pass up these opportunities on account of looking for comfort and avoiding awkward moments by staring into your phone.

Yes, I still take pictures. Yes, I use my phone to text and call people. Yes, I use my phone for social media. However, God has convicted me to be more careful about when to pull out my phone and when to pick it up. Managing your screen time correctly can lead to living a life more intentionally.

Intentionally praying is another area that God has been placing on my heart. There have been countless times in my life when I’ve prayed quickly to begin eating the plate of food set before me. I would say the prayer to simply get it over with, so I could eat my food. I don’t think I’m the only one guilty here! My intentions were to rush through my prayer and say about three sentences to eat my food because I was hungry. God wants more than that from me, from us. He wants to know what’s on your heart, the things you’re struggling with, the sick and lost people in your life, your relationship and friendship troubles, your big decisions, and the simple small stuff that you may think He may not care about to help you with.

Living intentionally can look different for everyone since we all have our own unique gifts and purpose that God has given us. No matter what living intentionally looks like specifically for you, we are all united towards accomplishing the ultimate intention that God has for us: to do everything for the glory of God and share Christ with others (1 Timothy 2:3-4: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do al to the glory of God.”).

Let’s put forth the actions to match our intentions.

XOXO,

Emily

 

Here are some questions that you can reflect on:

What does living intentionally mean to you?

What is your calling from God or what do you think God is calling you to do?

How can God use your gifts to bring glory to Him?

What are some ways that your actions may not have communicated your intentions well?

What steps are you willing to take to live more intentionally?

Battling Negativity in the Classroom

On a daily basis I witness interactions between teenagers. I witness harshness and competitiveness more than anything else between them as sad as that is to admit. Very rarely do I witness togetherness and kindness. The talk I hear in my classroom disgusts me at times. In between lectures when kids are supposed to be working on the assignment I have given them, I hear…”No, *name* doesn’t rap near as good as I do.“ “I lift more weights than he does.” “I think *name* is so much better at basketball. He scored more points than *name* the other day. There’s no way *name* can make it on the team.” I teach almost all guys. I always thought that girls were tough on each other, but I guess I didn’t realize the amount of competitiveness between guys too. Why do we feel the need to see the next person as our competition? Why can’t we see them for who they are…a human that deserves respect and love? We gossip and spread rumors sometimes unintentionally hurting others in the process. I hear negative comments about other teachers in my room which leads me to believe that all they can possibly be saying about me is negative as well. Much of what is said between them is discouraging and is meant to tear down instead of lift up. Before the end of the year is over, I’m actually going to bring this matter to their attention. What is discussed between a small group of people leaves that group until the larger population knows about the business discussed. If that business is nothing but negative, it can cause fights and broken relationships and friendships. Although I see this happening in my classroom and school grounds, it is only a reflection of what’s happening out in the world. But we can fight it. We need to go against the grain and instead of encouraging negativity, battle it with positivity. Show what it means to be positive, to love, and to respect another person. We are supposed to be followers of Christ and to be a reflection of God’s love that was made known to us. There may be mess and drama everywhere, but we have to be the ones who clean it up and start the change.

Lessons from Honeybees

“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” -Proverbs 16:24 🐝🌼 Honeybees can only sting once because they die shortly after. They must be selective of what or who they sting to defend the hive/queen. They are constantly working to provide food while also pollinating flowers. We should learn from honeybees. Our words can sting like the honeybee or be as sweet as a honeycomb. Instead of saying what first comes to mind, we need to think about their lasting impacts. What if they are the last words we ever say? The honeybee chooses to be patient because it knows that stinging someone or something will be its last time. Let’s go about our business as honeybees do and not be easily provoked to say words that may be hurtful. We can also look to the honeybee as an example for defending our faith. Have you ever been afraid to express your faith to people and tend to shy away from taking a stand? It was probably your pride or being afraid of receiving judgment from others. Again, once the honeybee stings their enemy, they die shortly after because the stinger leaves the body. Now, I don’t think we should go around stinging people with our words, but when we feel the Holy Spirit nudging us to defend Him & our faith in Him, we shouldn’t back down! We need to be more tactful than the honeybee and rely on the Holy Spirit to give us the words to say, but we need to be as INTENTIONAL as the honeybee. 🐝 Once provoked to protect the hive, they are willing to lay down their lives for it just as we should “lay down our lives for our friends.” (John 15:13, 1 John 3:16) If we truly care about the people in our lives, we will share Jesus to them regardless of what they might think. And by the way, if they totally space out from you and won’t talk to you again…does that make them a real friend? The honeybee works knowing it’s purpose is to provide & store food for later. While it’s out working, it’s also spreading pollen from one flower to another leading to the reproduction of flowers. 🌸🌷🌼 We need to work, work, work to build the kingdom of God which means spreading His love, light, & the Gospel to those who need to hear it all while saving up treasures for ourselves later in Heaven. So the next time someone asked you what all the buzz is about with this Jesus dude, this is an opportunity presented to you to share Him with this person! (So punny, I know)