What do I have in common with a breakdancing gorilla?

Did you hear that? That was me breathing a huge sigh of relief.

I finally finished four huge papers for my Master’s Degree. I’ll have a few weeks off and then I’ll be back to the grind of writing papers again.

In the meantime, I may or may not have celebrated like this exuberant gorilla. I’ll wait while you watch:

That looks like so much FUN. I want to get right in there with him. Don’t tell me animals don’t have emotions. Look at that joy!

Speaking of fun, I’ve been making myself indulge in some. My husband has figured out how to get the pool water the perfect temperature and I have had wonderful evening swims with the grandchildren and even by myself. Swimming is my favorite.

July 4, 2017 with the grandchildren and granddog! That’s Mr. Himself in his robe. Hee hee.

In other news, my next book launches next week! Stay tuned for some giveaways and spread the word! If you can come to the launch parties, I’d love to see you! Here’s the info:

Official launch day is July 25! 

The twins are so excited. I am trying not to be nervous. But as Mr. Himself said, “You’ve worked hard your whole life for this moment. Enjoy it.”

Okay. Breathe. Breathe.

Until next time: dance like a gorilla! Splash  in a pool! Get out there while you can, kick up your heels and have some FUN!

Please tweet: Get out there and dance like a gorilla!

Princess in training

I’ve been interviewing for a day job for months now. I want the day job for which I’ve sacrificed and gotten my degree. I know that job is out there. It just hasn’t found me yet.

I was asked recently in a job interview what two most important lessons I’d learned in the past year.

My answers: Humility and Perseverance.

I was a student teacher and a long-term substitute teacher last year. By humbling myself and submitting myself to learning from others, I reached my goal of obtaining my teaching license in special education and elementary education.

In the process, I was rejected from time to time — by other teachers, administrators, what have you. Anywhere you work, you’ll experience rejection. News flash: not everyone is going to like you.

Writers get rejected a lot, too. And as a writer, I’m a little thin-skinned. Writers must be emotionally vulnerable to have insight into the human condition.

Rejection is painful, but for highly sensitive people such as myself, it’s brutal.

Another reason rejection is difficult for me is because I struggle with not internalizing it and letting it label me. As a child who was rejected in the womb, left at the hospital by her mother (for whatever reasons, good or bad), rejection is the ugly thorn the enemy uses the most to torment me. He pokes at my insecurities and whispers:

“You’re never good enough.”

“You’ll never measure up.”

“You’ll never get a teaching job. You’re too old. Washed up. You have no future. Give up, already. Crawl in a hole and just die, why don’t you? No one gives a flip about you or what you have to say.”

“You’re not worthy.”

“Who do you think you are?”

I have two choices when these demons do a jig on my self-worth . I can listen to them, wallow in self-pity and consume copious amounts of chocolate, or I can stand up to their bullying.

Who do I think I am?

I am the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). If God is for me, who can be against me (Romans 8:31)? If God favors me, what does it matter what others think (Psalm 5:12)? I am not what others think I am. I am what God says I am.

God formed me with His hands and breathed in my nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). I am created in HIS image (Genesis 1:27). Before I was formed, He knew me and knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139: 13 & 16). He knows the number of hairs on my head and before I say a word? He knows what I’m going to say (Matthew 10:30, Psalm 139:4).

I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)!

I am worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31) and have been crowned with glory (Psalm 8:5; Genesis 1:26).

Cool! I love tiaras! Crowns = princesses. I’m a princess in training. Take that, ugly demon  of rejection. You’re messing with royalty here.

God loves me so much that nothing can snatch me out of His hand (John 10:29) and He will never leave nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).

Yes, it’s been a humbling twelve months. But I’ve also learned how strong I am. I’m stronger than anyone ever imagined, including myself. Not because I’m spectacular, but because I  know where my help comes from.

I don’t live by my own power or understanding. I’ve learned this past year that I  have tons of plans, but it’s God’s purpose that prevails (Zechariah 4:6; Proverbs 3:5). It’s not my might, but His Spirit that gets me through the day and guides and empowers me (John 16:7, 13; Acts 1:8, Galatians 5:16).

Rejection is painful but it won’t kill me because I won’t let it. I know I’m strong because I keep getting back up and trying again. I have always believed it isn’t the most talented that persevere and succeed but the most determined.

My crown might be a little crooked. There are a few gems missing, and there are a few scratches that need rubbing out. Even when I fall, it manages to stay on my head. It gets bumped and bent but that doesn’t mean I’m any less of a king’s kid.

I’m not what negative thoughts and spirits say I am.

I am what God says I am.

A child of the king.

You are, too, if you follow King Jesus. Never, ever forget it.

What are the two most important lessons you’ve learned so far in 2017? Weigh in!

Princess in Training first appeared on KarlaAkins.com.

Karla Teaches

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As you may or may not know, I’m nearing the end of my journey toward my degree in Special Education! If I make it through student teaching I’ll graduate in December. Yay!

If you’d like to follow my adventures, you can do so here at KarlaTeaches.com 

If you have ever been a student teacher and have tips for me, I welcome them!

I could also use your prayers for stamina. I sold my book on autism right before student teaching started and edits are due very soon. All I need is a clone, right? Anyone know where there’s a good deal on one?

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Tweet this: Superpower: teaching; passion: writing, sleeping: ?

All the shiny things

SHINY

Blogging is like exercise. It’s too easy to get in the habit of not doing it.

I love to blog. I’ve blogged since the 90s and have had at least a dozen blogs over the years. My problem is finding a focus. 

I tend to lead life that way, too. There are so many shiny things that distract me: theology, writing, music, history, conspiracy theories, politics, entertaining, disabilities, advocating for children (my CASA work), my church ministry–and I haven’t even begun to brush the surface of my family, job and college responsibilities.

Barking dogs

Because I’m attracted to so many things, I’m easily distracted. Sadly, I remind myself of that verse in Daniel 12:4:” Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Sure, I run to and fro doing regular human stuff, but I also go here and there indulging my insatiable appetite for knowledge. How far I run! Via google I can browse the National Palace Museum in Taipei and then fly over to Venice and purse the Ca’Rezzonico. If I want I can squeeze another couple of hours at the British Museum before sauntering over to study the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. 

many shall run to and fro, and knowledge

So, dear reader, I’m learning I have a need to get focused.

Right now I’m in the throes of college math exams — working on my degree for Special Education — another shiny thing that is important to me. Just as important as writing.

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And, to be honest, there’s also a family crisis in our lives right now that is emotionally draining.

But as I sit here in the library waiting for my granddaughters to get out of one of their summer fun classes, I’m filled with gratitude for a patient, loving God. I know He’s waiting for me to quit running around like a toddler and settle in and pay attention. (I’ve always said you can’t teach a moving target. Is that what I am, Lord?)

-Be still and know that I am

I may not have been here writing very much these past few weeks, but one thing I’ve managed to keep up with is prayer and bible reading. I’m thankful for that. I don’t think I could survive the buffeting without time in His Word. I’m so thankful for the hunger God has given me for Him . And I wonder — is that what He’s calling me to focus on more?

My heart is so full. I have so much to share with you. But where do I start? How do I begin? And just what is it you want to know?

Your Questioning Servant,

Karla

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Tweet this: Help! Shiny things and barking dogs!

Ruminations on the “F” word

fbombWhen I was growing up the F word was the one forbidden word that no cussing heathen ever said in the presence of a lady. And a lady certainly never used such language.

Elegant-lady-with-a-bouquet-of-roses

Today, F bombs are used as casually by the youthful masses as toothpaste. Their vocabularies have become so limited that it’s the most accessible word on the tips of their tongues. In casual day to day conversation it can be heard a myriad of times. Movies, music and other media have certainly contributed to this.

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Call me old-fashioned, but I still find it offensive. The only word I find more offensive is taking the Lord’s Name in vain.

I’m not better than someone who uses the F word or the Lord’s Name as a curse, but I do hope I never become so accustomed to such language that I don’t cringe the way I do now when I hear it. I stray from movies that use those words because they cause a visceral reaction in my gut. I. Do. Not. Like. Them. Call me an old fuddy-duddy but that’s where I am on the matter.

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It occurred to me that people who use the F word may not realize there are other options. So I’m writing this post to solve that problem. I propose that society replace the current F word with the following:

“What the floccinaucinihilipilification were you thinking?” (floccinaucinihilipilification: setting at little or no value ).

I mean, isn’t that a lot more impressive? It has 28 letters! And surely our counterparts would be dazzled. Their word has only 4  measly characters!

Untitled design-7Okay, so maybe the meaning isn’t all that great. How about this one then:

“Oh, fadoodle!” (fadoodle: nonsense). This one may not appeal to the younger masses because it sounds exactly like something an old granny like me would say. I like it. I’m going to adopt it.

Let’s consider these instead:

“Fiddle-faddle!” (An oldie but goodie; means trifling talk. It’s also some really great popcorn! My favorite is butter toffee. What’s yours?)

fiddlefaddle

“Fiddlededee!” (Scarlet O’Hara used this. If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me. Means nonsense.)

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“Flapdoodle!” (Means gross flattery; nonsense.)

“Flexiloquent!” (Speaking ambiguously or using words of doubtful meaning. This one is rather appropriate, I think.)

“Futtock!” (This one sounds way too similar to the offensive word. Besides, it means the rib of a ship, and in context of swearing would be a little silly.)

new-ribs

As for me, I’m sticking with floccinaucinihilipilification ?/fläks??nôs??n??hil??pil?fi?k?SH?n/. The next time one of my younger counterparts uses their F word, I’m going to use mine. By the time I get done saying it, they’ll nod off.

And my ears will be singed no more.

(For more impressive F words check out The Phrontistery.)

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acriddle.com

 

 

Tweet this: What the floccinaucinihilipilification are you talking about?

 

 

“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” Colossians 4:6

Taking care of Mama Ellen

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I’m ashamed to admit it, but my gift is not in nursing.

In fact, my husband says that if he ever gets a bad disease, he’s definitely not counting on me to help him through it. And he’s right not to. I’m a lousy nurse.

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I have a suspicion as to why I lack the ability to nurse others. I won’t go into those here because to discuss them would require divulging secrets about other people, and I’m not into that.

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And it’s not that I’m not empathetic. I am, perhaps too empathetic. I can’t stand to see people suffer. In fact, when those ASPCA commercials come on TV, I have to turn the channel or I’ll cry and be depressed the rest of the day. I simply can’t handle knowing an animal is suffering. I also have to redirect my thinking on world hunger and disease on a daily basis. It causes me great despair that I don’t have enough resources to cure all that causes pain and suffering in this world. Seriously. You have no idea how much that bothers me.

ASPCA

So, what is the main barrier to my being a good nurse?

Squeamishness.

Funny-Scared-Baby

When my kids got hurt growing up, if they were bleeding, I sent them to their father. It wasn’t the sight of blood that got to me. It was that I truly felt their pain. My stomach would drop to my knees.

scareddog

Then there’s the squeamishness of having to touch or smell icky things.

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And that’s where my lack of wanting to nurse Mama (my mother-in-law who lives with us) comes in.

It’s not that I don’t love her. It’s not that she’s not deserving. She is a delightful person and the most appreciative woman I’ve ever known, which makes me feel even worse about my lack of desire to be her nurse.

It’s this:  handling her false teeth grosses me out.

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It’s not that I don’t feel sympathy or compassion for her life of lost memories (she has Alzheimer’s and Dementia). It’s that bathroom accidents truly make me sick.

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It’s not that I feel I’m too good to handle such things. It’s that I have a tactile defensiveness to anything squishy or dirty.

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I thank God every day for gloves!

Mr. Himself is out of town for almost two weeks. The bulk of the care he’s always done (thank God) is falling to me now.

To overcome my horrid selfishness, I’m choosing to praise God as I brush her false teeth and change her into clean clothes. This is an opportunity for me to grow. I don’t like this squeamish side of me that runs from opportunities of service such as this.

artificial_teeth_on_glass_with_waterBut he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. Matthew 23:11

If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. Mark 9:35a

Do you have a weakness to overcome? Something that bugs you about your personality? If so, leave me a comment so I know I’m not alone!

twitter-bird-1-300x300Tweet this: I see what you did there and I’m grossed out!

Tweet this: What makes you squeamish?

Tickled pink!


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter P!

p

God is so cool.

The other day I was sitting in my office in my HUGE office chair. I’d bought it because it was sturdier than chairs I’d bought in the past and was hoping it would last longer.

And while I did admire its sturdiness, it was just too big. I couldn’t turn it around in the little crawl space behind my desk.

My office area is tiny. “Lord,” I casually whispered. “I need a smaller chair.”

A few days later, Mr. Himself found this PINK CHAIR WITH DIAMONDS on sale at a furniture store marked waaaaay down!

pinkchair

Squee!!

Apparently, there isn’t a great demand for pink, blinged-out office chairs!

Now, Mr. Himself knew nothing of my prayer. And when I’d prayed for a smaller chair, I didn’t have anything this dramatic in mind.

But God is the God of delight. He loves giving us the desires of  our hearts. I had no idea I wanted a pink office chair with diamonds. (Okay, so they’re not real diamonds. But still–they sparkle!)

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So sparkly!

Pink is one of my favorite colors. Without meaning to on purpose, I tend to choose pink accessories:

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My pink iPhone case

My pink kindle sleeve

My pink kindle sleeve

pinkcup

“My” pink “Frozen” (the movie) cup. Okay, it’s actually the granddaughter’s but I use it so the cat won’t drink out of it.

pinkshoes

My pink walking shoes.

My pink planner

My pink planner

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Would you look at that? My book is pink, too!

My love of pink is obvious. But pink’s only my second favorite color.

My first favorite color is purple–and it also starts with P!

I have a purple coat, leather jacket, kindle cover, purses, earrings, shirts and blouses. I usually write with a purple ink pen. I even shop at a purple store!

But today, I’m tickled pink about a chair I had no idea I’d be so happy to have. I’m thankful to a God Who hears all our prayers and exceeds our expectations! (P is also for Prayer!)

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Tweet this: I’m tickled pink about the goodness of God!



 

 

L, M, N, are probably not going to get me noticed in search engines. O Well.

LMN

When my computer crashed, I missed the weeks of L, M, N in our A to Z blog hop. Horrors! And now it’s already time for the letter O!

So here goes.

L

L is for lazy. I had a very lazy Christmas holiday. I slept tons. I mean, I never knew it was humanly possible to sleep as much as I did and still be alive and breathing. If there’s such a thing as Christmas Coma, I invented it. I was utterly and completely exhausted. For this reason, I’m sure God had a plan for my computer crashing and burning. And I’m grateful. My life is a steamroller of expectations and responsibilities. It’s something I’m working on changing.

M

M is for movies. I was going to watch a bunch of them over the holiday, but L for Lazy interfered with that.

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N is for noshing:

noshI did far too much of that this holiday and while I don’t really know how much weight I gained, I know that I did gain a few pounds simply because of the way my clothes feel. (The scale is broken. And I hear you laughing. No, I didn’t break it. “Not me” broke it. “Not me” also starts with the letter N.) Now my stomach feels all rumbly and icky and while I promised to detox from sugar after the holidays were over, I’ve yet to make the complete and final leap. (See letter L.)

Finally we come to this week, which is brought to you by the letter O.

O Well

O is for “O Well.”

I’ve been using this phrase a lot lately. Living three weeks without a computer taught me a few things about submitting my day to the Lord and going with the flow.

Admittedly, I have had more opportunities to learn how to go with the flow as the mother of twins with autism and the caregiver of a mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s. (Did I forget to mention the son with bipolar and the husband with ADD?)  Going with the flow should have been something I mastered long, long ago.

StayCalm

But there’s still that rebel inside of me that wants what I want when I want, how I want. There’s that ornery little imp that kicks and screams and throws a fit if things don’t go her way.

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What, me? Rebellious? Nah.

Instead of throwing up her arms and saying, “O well, that must mean God wants me to _________.” She stomps her foot and says, “Fine. Then I’m going to play 55,000+ games of Words with Friends and pin 783,278+ pins on Pinterest via my phone.”

O Well would lead me down the path the Lord has lit for me to walk. As in, “O well, my soul is O so very well, and God has a better plan.”

But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?

Why is it so difficult for me to submit to the O Wells in my life?

I believe that anything that is a strength, is also a weakness when it’s used incorrectly. God has given me a stubborn streak that serves me well when writing books, finishing college courses as a full-time online student pursuing a degree. I have the tenacity of a bull dog when it comes to the goals I believe I’m to pursue.

Tenacity is good,rebellion is not

But that same ability to hang on to a dream raises its head as rebellion when I’m asked to diverge from my plans.

God can’t bless disobedience. Why can’t I get that through my “N is for noggin?”

God has my best interest in mind. If I keep that at the forefront, I’ll be able to say, “O well, this is the way God wants me to go today, and it is good.”

Psalm 37 (KJV) has a lot to say about God’s best interest for us:

Psalm 37:3-7; 23-25

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass…

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread…”

O WELL O WOW!

If I obey, my steps are ordered of the Lord. How much more relaxing it would be if I’d simply walk peacefully in those steps instead of stomping through them.

What frustrates you the most when things don’t go your way? Am I alone in this submission thing? Weigh in!

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Tweet this: Beware: Your strength is also your weakness

 

 

 


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

 Find more info about the A to Z meme here.



Kris Kringle and Kittens


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

This is our first Christmas with kittens.

spook

Spook imitating a lounge lizard. His twin sister looks exactly like him — only she’s smaller and naughtier.

kittens

Hogging my lap so I won’t waste time writing on my laptop.

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Making themselves at home on my granddaughter, Maggie’s, sleeping bag.

Mr. Himself is not very happy about it. He’s worried about broken Christmas ornaments and decorations.

We’ve not put our tree up yet and I keep assuring my neurotic husband it will be fine. Don’t worry. Be happy! And then I sent him this video to cheer him up.

What do you think his reaction was?

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Tweet this: Was it right or wrong to send my husband this video?

 

 


G is for Gratefulness


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

This post is brought to you by the Letter G

Gratefulness.

It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

My life is in an uncomfortable place financially. I get discouraged that at my age, I’m still struggling.

treewind

Of course, this is because of choices we’ve made: to minister in the rural United States. We have no retirement because of this choice. We have no savings. No insurance. And it’s easy sometimes for me to feel afraid and scared if I think too much about the future and “what ifs.”

If I’m not careful, I can get into a mode of whining instead of praising.

nowhining

I can get into a rut of trying to figure it out and fix it myself. Applying for jobs (as if I have time for one more job), looking for a greener pasture, begging God for an answer, feeling neglected because I don’t have a nicer house, or car or whatever temporal thing the enemy throws up in my face to cause me to think God loves others more than me.

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But as I’ve wrestled with this season of discontent, God has sent me answers: Be Still. Be grateful. Trust.

Be still? BE STILL? That’s hard for a fixer and a doer! Very hard! But He has confirmed it to me in several ways. First, through a message preached on a Sunday morning, and through scripture I’ve read. Then, in a tiny gift I received weeks ago but just today found and opened. It was a magnet that said, “Be still and know that I am God.. Psalm 46:10.”

bestill

I laughed when I saw it. Okay, God. I get it. I get the message. You’ll take care of me while I obey. I trust You even when it doesn’t make sense and all around me is debt and bills and a scary economy. I trust You the way the little birds do. You are up to something good on my behalf. I receive it. I need only to be still (Exodus 14:14).

goodGod

How fitting at Thanksgiving time that God would remind me of the need for gratefulness in overcoming fear for the future. I believe that gratefulness is what leads to contentment.

givethanks

The little sparrows aren’t fretting about tomorrow. They aren’t thinking that God loves them less because their nest isn’t as fancy as an eagle’s. They aren’t looking at those eagles and wishing for bigger wings.

bird

If the little birds can praise Him in their humble nests, then I, too, must praise Him and be grateful for the innumerable things He’s given me. My list of things I do have outnumbers what I don’t. This life is but for a season. I’ve lived most of my life with this realization. And I need to recognize when the enemy comes to fill my thoughts with fears and discontent.

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I may never have a white silk couch or a beautiful mansion on this earth. But my ultimate destination is much more than I could ever imagine. When I’m feeling neglected because my furniture is worn and my car is rattling, I need only remember the priceless gift of His love.

His grace is more than enough.

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All the more reason to give thanks with a grateful heart.

twitter-117598_640Tweet this: God is up to something good!