Thursday, August 30, 2007

My Holiday

I'm sitting here in my classroom during a short break and find myself really worshiping through this song. I wanted to share it:

You are my holiday.

You are right in the middle of me.

You are my hideaway.

You are home.

I'm calling out your name

oh, my holiday.

You make my heart new

and I love you.

What it is I'm trying to say....

is you are my favorite

part of me.

Shane and Shane debuted this at their cd release concert the other night and it's quickly becoming one of my favorites on this album. I highly recommend it....and them.

Their music has a way of leading my eyes upward and my heart to delight in who God is quickly and without much striving. What grace it is to me right now!

A few other "must-hear" titles to worship to from this new album: "Vision of You," "Beg," "We Love You, Jesus" and a BEAUTIFUL rendition of "Before the Throne of God Above."

"Awaken what's inside of me. Tune my heart to all you are in me. Even though You're here, God come. And may the vision of You be the death of me."

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Tomorrow is the first day of school and I feel so unprepared! I'm starting to think that I don't have the mindset of how to teach little ones yet. I'm not all that worried about my 4th-6th graders. I also have a lot of information and resources on the K4-1st grade range, but I feel absolutely clueless on how to teach my 2nd and 3rd graders.
I have heard that for elementary kids in general you need to plan lots of different activities and keep them moving. I can definitely do that.
My questions are mainly: how long is their attention span at these different ages, what concepts are they capable of grasping (the NC standards are helping here), what discipline challenges do they have at these ages, what activities do they usually enjoy?
I know that it's different with different kids and that I'll learn a lot as I go. I would just like to get an idea of where I'm going in the next few weeks and plan a little.
I have a plan for getting me through tomorrow and a start on Thursday (the next day I teach). There is a TON of information and ideas that I have found online...I'm just not sure what to pick yet.
I'm basically asking for those of you who have or had kids in this age range (4-9 yrs) to give me some observations you've made of them (esp those of you who teach them)....even if it doesn't pertain to music. And again, I fully realize that your child(ren) is unique (and highly gifted, of course) and may not fit with the kids I'm teaching, but anything is better than nothing!

Friday, August 24, 2007

I went, I saw and lived to tell about it

After Kelly's enthusiastic post on it and The Charlotte Observer's coverage on it I, along with another family, made the 45 min trek out to the new Trader Joe's to what the fuss is all about.

And oh, what fuss!!!

There should have been some sort of sign at the entrance about entering a very primitive, survival of the fittest environment....and believe me, pushing a whining child in a stroller does not rank well.

A few observations about the "brands" of people there:

1. The spandex-wearing, fresh out the gym, health nuts

2. The very hippy, boho, granola type

3. The up-ity, head-to-toe Gucci, don't touch my shoes type

4. The elderly

If I sound cynical it's because I am. Maybe it's the location of the store, but people were rude except for the sweet older people who smiled at Isaiah and said hello.

Other than that, I really liked the store. I couldn't get to all that I wanted to look at, but what I saw was impressive. I sampled the lemonpepper pasta with capers and the Ethiopian coffee...both were extremely good (and I'm usually a tough coffee critic). I would definitely buy both and will in the future.

I came home with a make-your-own salsa kit complete with tomatoes, peppers, etc., fresh sushi, pineapple salsa, the famous Two Buck Chuck, and bananas (19 cents each!). I'm really excited to try it all!

The store associates were extremely personable and friendly despite the long lines...though, sadly, they said the Prosperity Rd store won't open until December.

If you don't want to wait to check it out, you can head out to the new store (bring your best attitude), or try some of their recipes here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The upper room

My personal little haven of serenity

Now, I do love my monkeys!

That's what they call my room at Covenant because it's the only room that on a second floor. It's pretty big with 3 windows that overlook the gym....but it ain't pretty. I share it with the art teacher, which I'm grateful for....otherwise I would be totally isolated.

Bach and Beethoven and Mozart and Handel with be in this room along with countless others... famous opera singers and jazz legends. Hopefully some African drummers will join us too and maybe even a Mongolian throat singer!

I'm trying to make the room more suitable for them but I have a long way to go.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

If any of you lacks wisdom...

...let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and He will give it to him. -- James 1:5

This verse has been coming to my mind over and over again in the last week (and not because I really meditate on scripture like I should). I have never felt more in need of wisdom in any other season of my life. It makes my head hurt thinking about it.

I know that I'm a wreck without wisdom and I see how the consequences ripple through so many different areas of my life now because so many more are affected by my having wisdom or not having it. Each of these areas are chock full of daily challenges, it seems like, that require much more smarts and know-how than I have, leaving my head spinning and me wondering when and where this wisdom is going to come....because I need it NOW.

The areas I feel it most:

--my marriage and how I relate to Josh
--how I love and discipline and train Isaiah
--how I prepare for and teach the K4-6th graders that I will see twice a week
--how we make decisions financially so that we're being good stewards

I'm tired and overwhelmed with these responsibilities right now and have to believe the end of that verse...."and He will give it to him [her]." God has been kind to remind me to ask boldly and often, that His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in my weakness. I hope to share what that grace looks like in these circumstances really soon.

(but I definitely need prayer if you think about it)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

LOTS and LOTS of birthday pictures

I have to say, I'm very proud of this cake.

Josh made it and crawled into bed at 5 am!

Thank you, Baby!

Our fun table.
Mom lent me the palm tree from her classroom.

Grammie holding Karis

Doria, Torrie and Duree

My neice Trinity

Little cousin Evan

Cousins Serenity and Evan with my Mamaw

Meghann, Jake and James...friends from church

My darling aunt Duree

My sister in law Lora

My sister Doria, best friend Meghann and my mom Denise

My brother in law Dee and neice Kayla (not his, obviously)

Aint Bee (Torrie)

My mother in law Patti

(who graciously volunteered, cleaned and help decorate her beautiful house

for us to use...and then fixed us dinner!)

and her sister Carlene

Josh's 92 yr old grandmother "Sassy"

Meghann and my sister in law Stacey

My sweet Mamaw

My new neice Kayla in her hula girl outfit

3 generations of Hartness boys....Randy, Kayden, Chris and Josh

The Gaston Clan aka our card playing partners

Cole, Corey, Laura and Lainey

Sassy and Chris, my brother in law

Chowing down like it's his full time job!

(first taste of cake and ice cream)

After a full day of birthday

All tuckered out in Pop's arms

Pee and chocolate = war

I saw the pee in the hallway first (moan).

Then I walked into the living room and saw part 2 (ugly word).

That's the combination present Max left for me in the carpet when I got home this afternoon. He had found a package of chocolate ice cream mix I had just bought to use in my new ice cream maker that I got for my birthday and had himself a party. I was so mad I didn't (and frankly still don't) care if it made him sick. He totally deserves it.

This is the dog who graduated at the top of both his puppy and intermediate classes, who was recommended to go on to canine good citizen training, and considered "highly trained." The dog that we have loved and treated as our child for 3 1/2 years now. I'll admit that things greatly changed when Isaiah was born, but come on now.

I think he's got some anger and bitterness issues with me, and now I have them with him.


"For you have done a foolish thing and now you will be at war." --2 Chron. 16:9

Friday, August 17, 2007

Milk and honey = war

Monday I start my new job teaching K4-6th grade music at Covenant Classical two days a week. A week from Monday the students will come. And our finances will change.

The Lord has brought me several opportunities to work part time over this past year and nothing has panned out or felt right until this came along. I feel 100% that this is from the Lord as His provision. And more and more my heart has been stirred about future plans Josh and I dream about (more children, possible adoption, overseas travel), and how they aren't possibilities with debt.
So now we have the opportunity to pay off our debt this year, but if I'm really honest, the idea of not having to live so tightly,buying a bigger house, eating out after church occasionally, splurging at Starbucks, more elaborate date nights, or just feeling a little more room to breath has become very alluring.

I catch myself day dreaming and without realizing it, making little plans in my head about how I'm going to make up this past year to myself. It sounds completely awful and self-serving when I write it down, but it creeps into my daily thoughts so subtly.

Don't get the idea that I'm making a lot by any means, but a little feels like a lot when you're used to little.

I know God knows the temptations I deal with and I came across an article (written when I was 2 1/2) that really got at my heart.

The warning:

Take heed lest you forget the Lord your God, by not keeping his
commandments and his ordinances and his statutes which I command you this day: lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply,
and your silver and gold
is multiplied
, and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be
lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of
Egypt.... who fed you in the wilderness with manna which your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.

Beware, lest you say in your heart: "My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth."

Piper continues the warning:

He led them in the wilderness, it says, to humble them and test them, to do them good in the end. What good? The full stomachs, and houses, and herds, and flocks, and silver, and gold?


You don't need 40 years in the wilderness to teach you how to get wealth. The good that God aimed to do through the wilderness testing was to make the people intensely, deeply, and lastingly conscious of their total dependence on God for everything. God aimed to give them experiences in the wilderness which would make it impossible for a reasonable person to say, "My power, my might, or my hand has gotten me this wealth."

The real testing ground of life is the promised land of prosperity. The wilderness is the boot camp, the land of milk and honey is where the battle for the heart is finally fought. There are more scorpions and fiery serpents in the goodly houses, and flocks, and herds, and gold, and silver on this side of the Jordan, than there ever were under the rocks in the wilderness...

Though I'm sure a much more intense wilderness will come one day than what we've experienced this past year, I don't want to waste what it was. I did learn that God is faithful. I did learn that He is for me and that He alone is my Provider. I saw Him part the seas for us on numerous occasions, and I know that He will never, ever forsake me.The battle for me is to not forget the above paragraph when I'm tempted to believe that life is in riches and comfort......and full stomachs, and houses, and herds, and flocks, and silver, and gold.

God, you have brought us through a wilderness that you might humble us and test us, to do us good in the end. You have been kind and merciful over and over and over again. May I not pridefully hoard and take credit for and put hope in the milk and honey you give us.

You are the rich reward.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My husband was dumped.... Scarlette Johanssen. Here's the scoop from some girl somewhere....

Scarlett Johanssen and Josh Hartness broke up. Dunzo. Finito. Kaput. Well, who cares. I don’t like Josh, I’ve never liked Josh, and I never understood all the hubbub about him..."

And I am a vet and a scout troop leader

Go know you want to waste time googling yourself.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Let the games begin!

I find myself feeling this way often now. I feel like I can handle keeping a baby's schedule, feeding, diaper changes, analyzing cries and rashes...for the most part. But this discipline thing has got my head spinning a bit.

Honestly, I think I'm further into it than I thought I'd be at this point. I wanted to have read several books by now and had long conversations with every mother I could throw a rock at. My little boy is smart, determined, curious and sinful. I knew all of those things early on, but I didn't know how much they would demand my response at just one year (er, 12 months).

I'm constantly wondering, "should I discipline for that," "does he even understand me," "that's not a big deal now, but will it be later," "what things should always be a no-no," "when I have to discipine how should I go about it (esp. in public or at other people's houses)," etc. etc. etc... (And if you're from Crossway...yes, I did take the parenting class. Perhaps I was sleepy).

So, at the advice of several, I'm reading "Don't Make Me Count to Three" by Ginger Plowman. I read the first 3 chapters as soon as I got it home, and so far she's laid a great foundation for my thinking...addressing the heart issues in your child and not only the behavior....which is definitely my tendency after teaching middle school where you don't have much time or authority to get at the heart. She's written about working from the inside to the outside and training your little one to reflect on their own motives and sinful hearts so that they might truly repent and think like a Christian.

However, I'm struggling with how to apply that to Isaiah at this age. I looking for practical "this is what you do" kind of answers. I know there's not a manual (or mine got lost in the mail). I know that this is a season of training for us so what are the important things to begin instilling in him?

So moms....please respond and tell me what your manual says :)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

12 months vs. 1 year

It's almost midnight and we just got home from a day filled with leis, palm leaves, pineapple, hawaiian music, and lots of people. We had Isaiah's very first birthday party today - although his actual birthday is Monday-and it was such a blast (pictures to come)! Now both of my boys are fast asleep and I'm left with my thoughts so I thought I'd write them out as a way of clearing my head.

Tomorrow will be the first time in a year that I will have the opportunity to sit through an entire church service without having to take Isaiah out to be fed, changed or to play. He's now old enough to go to the 1 year old (the age that our nursery starts) class room in children's church.

It's got me thinking about how at first people describe their child's age in weeks and then that eventually changes to months. For example, I think I started saying Isaiah's age in months somewhere around 14 or 15 weeks. Instead I would just say 3 months. Nobody ever says, "He's 64 weeks"...and if you do, please stop.

I remember when I stopped talking in weeks and how it felt like the end of something so sweet in his life as a baby. So now I feel faced with whether I will say Isaiah is 12 months or 1 year. I know some people continue talking in months for awhile, but eventually that will stop too and their once teeny tiny 2 month old will be described in years for the rest of their life.

I'm kinda doubtful that many other people think about stuff like this, but I guess I'm saying that I'm not quite ready to give up months yet. The "months" phase of his life has been so sweet for me and I can't say goodbye to it right now. Isaiah is now 12 months. He's only 12 months. He's just 12 months. He's still very little.

These past 12 months have been precious to me beyond what I can describe with words....but you know. I love my little boy and have truly loved watching him grow into an adventurous, energetic, busy, inquizative, funny, flirtatious, smiley, beautiful, healthy 12 month old. This year has been a gift from the Lord is so many ways. I have to say that it started with much fear, uncertainty about our finances and whether or not we could afford for me to stay home, and nervousness about being responsible for another life.

Oh how God has met me! What grace He's poured out on us so freely! I have never seen God provide so clearly in circumstances where we truly couldn't have made it any other way. This year has been a Red Sea for me, and I saw God part the waters...mainly in our finances. I needed to see Him do that....fulfill His promises, provide for our every need and equip us for the task He was calling us to. Not that He hasn't always done that, but this time there was no place for us to pridefully try to take credit. The numbers simply didn't work out on paper, but every bill was paid and we never were close to hungry. I'm still in awe of what He did and fight the urge to go back and try to figure out the numbers again as if there has to be a concrete, logical explanation.

I'm sure more Red Seas are to come and now, I'm sure more than ever, that God will again part the waters.

So, I'm grateful for the last 12 months....the first 12 months (~52 weeks) of precious Isaiah's life that have given me greater joy, happiness and assurance of God's faithful love to us than I ever expected last August.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wait....I was supposed to go SOUTH?!?

Yes, this was what I said on the phone with Meghann (best friend) for over two hours of missed exits and traveling in the wrong direction on my way back from hanging out with her in Raleigh (though I now know where Henderson is). It took me 4 1/2 hours to get back. I have no idea what happened to me since I had no problem whatsoever getting there.

Anyway, Josh gave me the sweetest gift of taking care of Isaiah for a few days while I hung out with Meghann for her birthday. I had never left him (Isaiah) overnight before. I admit that there were a few tears on the drive up, but it was so good to get a break. We literally wined and dined at Rockin' Robin, The Grape and The Cheesecake Factory, and when we weren't eating we were chatting about all of our upcoming life decisions and lingering things on our hearts, reading (I finally started Don't Waste Your Life...two years of good intentions preceding), watching a movie, shopping, analyzing relationships....all girl stuff. And, it turns out, both of my boys were alive and happy when I got back.

Now, I'm back and hitting the ground running with Isaiah's first birthday already here.


My heart hurts a little every time I type that, but what an amazing year God has given us with this little guy. What a treasure he is, unique in so many ways and custom made by the Creator for our little family.

I'm sure I'll write more about that later....