Do you work pretty hard at not comparing yourself with others? At least I try to catch myself when I'm doing it... because to fall into that pit never ends up well.
But there is some comparing that's good to do. I read this today:
None can compare with You.
No deeds can compare with Yours.
For who can compare with the Lord? Who is like the Lord?
It's actually a GREAT idea for me to compare things to my God. When I read those verses, I know God says, "Go ahead and put anything you're worried about up next to Me and My promises to you. See how big they seem in comparison to Me."
Is there anything I'm facing that's bigger than He is?
Do I have the one need that He can't meet?
Is there any problem that He's not capable of working out?
I want to make this a habit - comparing stuff with my all-sufficient God. He made it all. He holds it all together. He knows the end of the story. He influences peoples' hearts.
The stuff I'm worried about? It fits in His hand. It's under His authority! It is subject to His plan.
My phone rang and it was my lovely next door neighbor. She is a single mom raising two active and extremely polite junior high boys. She told me she had an Amish bread starter and would I like some?
To be honest, I didn't. But I LOVED that she wanted to share it with me!
A few minutes later, she knocked on my door and handed me a ziplock bag with what looked like pancake batter and a printed recipe for the bread.
I handed her a huge bunch of fresh cut peonies.
My house is full of these right now. If I don't cut them, they fill with rain water and turn brown!
Because it's Juneuary here in Oregon.
I love having neighbors to share Amish bread starter and pink peonies with!
If I don't use the starter, will I be killing something?
You know, like breaking a chain letter?
Or not forwarding the email about the 10 good things that will happen to you if you send it on to 10 of your friends?
Oh well. I'm not Amish so I think I'm okay.
But it's sitting on my counter as a reminder of how nice it is to have (and be) a good neighbor.
Teaching a classroom full of third graders who are already living the summer dream of sleeping in, bare feet and no work to do:
Following lesson plans in math, language arts and history as a substitute teacher for those same kids:
I always hear so many funny things when I sub but Thursday was especially good. Any excuse not to work was on the table. During "seatwork time" I had a line of kids who had something critical to tell me.
Many asked if they could go see the nurse - it was a room full of sick and wounded children. When I asked one inventive girl (who was clenching her teeth and gripping her wrist) why she needed medical attention, she said:
Which, of course, prompted a chorus:
Did they think they were dealing with an amateur?
"Sit down and get back to those contractions!"
Not to be deterred, a pair of friends approached the bench during math, arms draped over each other's shoulders. Perhaps they thought they could appeal to my love of friendship and goodwill between all men.
"Um... no. How about repairing things at recess? But nice try though!"
One brainiac little guy decided he might be able to distract me with his incredible recall of obscure factoids...
Of course I had to check this out and the kid is right for the most part. It's actually Turkmenistan but hey, I give him an "A" for effort!
When I got the call asking if I could sub, my first thought was, "Oh no. It's the last week of school." I came really close to saying no. But then I pictured playing Heads Up Seven Up, Around The World and drawing summer vacation destinations. When I found the teacher's lesson plans included very little fluff and that she wanted me to successfully impart division with remainders, estimation and possessive nouns, I knew what I was in for.
We may not have completed very much actual work but this substitute received an unexpected blessing. A mother of one of the students apparently brings in one of these to this lucky teacher every single day:
So guess who got to sip a caramel macchiato while reigning in all of the exuberant end-of-the-year behavior? Pretty nice bonus for an impossible task!
Or maybe you didn't even notice I haven't posted in a week.
I've had a few things on my plate...
My husband got home from three weeks in Ethiopia on Friday. I don't like to post on here that he's gone during his time away because, well, there are creepers who take advantage of all the personal information people advertise online about where they are or aren't. I wasn't going to let the whole criminal world know that I was home alone in this big old house. I had my hands full trying to make it look like there was lots of activity going on around here - even though I was alone inside the house talking to myself.
Jeff's homecoming has meant, among lots of other fun things, I've had a TON of work updating photos of the children in our orphanages, processing paperwork and sending out new photos to adopting families who are waiting for their court dates in Ethiopia - how much fun is that? This is why I love my job!
We have a daughter graduating from college this weekend (can I get a WOO HOO?) and I had to find the cap and gown that we're recycling from our oldest's grad ceremony two years ago. This is one benefit of having all three of your kids graduate from the same college. I'm sure there's a savings there of approximately $60. We do buy a new tassel for each one, however. Because we're nice like that.
We also have a wedding coming up next month.
Don't ask me why we're doing this now but we're painting our living/dining room, entry and hall. (Oh, I know why - we got blinds for the windows in there which means spackling the holes where the curtain rods were which leads to the need for painting the entire room.) So we're moving furniture, washing walls and will start taping soon. (I say "we" in its most singular tense - as in "Jeff.")
The yard is gushing weeds. Is yours? I could have a garden tour and showcase an incredible variety. But the poppies (see photo above), iris and nasturtium are forcing their way up in between and putting on a lovely show. All of my dahlias must have succombed to the record wet winter - not one came up this year. Sniff. I know that you're supposed to dig up the tubers each fall and store them safely in your basement where they won't rot. I didn't.
I'll leave you with some shots of the dahlias last year and mercifully end this post about why I haven't blogged - because you were dying to know!
Emily is with a group of bloggers on a Compassion International trip to the Philippines. Her post is so well-written and achingly conveys all of the emotions that would overwhelm you in a place like this.
And for the educational portion of my post...
In case you're like me and have trouble telling the difference between Great Britain, the British Isles and the United Kingdom, enjoy this quick little lesson...