Welcome to my blog! To get an idea of what this blog is about you might want to read the "About Me and My Family" page as a starting point. You can browse through the archives or head over to the "Articles" page to read on specific topics I've written on over the years. Keep checking back because I'll be posting new articals from time to time.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sunday School Helps

The amazing prop room at ITG
When I went to In The Gap last year I learned so many valuable ways to communicate truth to children. We never taught a lesson without some kind of visual, hands-on activity, song, poem, or object lesson. Children simply don't want to listen to a 30-45 minute lesson, they want to see, feel, and touch. The more they can experience it themselves the more they will remember it and they more it will make sense.

Now that I am teaching Sunday School at my church I have tried to apply this to every lesson to some degree. Oh how I would love to have In The Gap's prop room at my house or church but since I don't, I have had to come up with my own resources.  Flannel graph is used every Sunday morning in children's church so I avoid using it to give the children variety. Some times it is hard to come up with ways to make the lesson come to life and since I have been using curriculum that has already been used years ago I don't have all the recourses that came with it.

So here are two recourses that I have found to be very helpful in preparing my Sunday School lesson.

Creative Object Lessons e-book
This  one isn't free, but it can be used over and over. I've used some of the object lessons they recommend and it has helped me come up with my own. When you run out of ideas and imagination, this book can spur on new object lessons.

Free Bible Images
This has to be one of my favorite (and most used) recourse. Before I found this website I would spend so much time looking for images to print up for my lesson. Some of the images would be to cartoonish, some were too small, while others weren't descriptive enough. This website offers 8x11 colored pictures that can be opened up by several different files and printed right at you home. They cover every aspect of the lesson and have such great detail. They always have more pictures than I would ever use so I pick and chose which ones I want. Just for the story of Joseph interpreting Pharaoh's dream there are 14 full size pictures. They also have a collection of real life photos if you prefer not to use the illustrated stories/ clipart. It's great! But I have noticed that I can't use these every week because the children will get bored after a while. I still have to incorporate new ways of keeping their interest.

Did I mention that they had EVERYTHING?

It was even organized!
 This week I was reminded to do everything with my whole heart. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Col. 3:23. I realized that for so long I had unconsciously  interpreted that to mean all my energy or effort, but there is a big difference between effort and heart. There are many people who can do something very well because they see it as their duty or because they are trying to please someone, but doing it with heart takes love, compassion, and commitment.

You may not teach Sunday School or help out in any children's ministry, but there are things you can do with all your heart. Find a way you can help out in church and do it heartily as too the Lord!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

When our pastor started getting this year's Christmas cantata put together he asked Bethany and I to do a piano/fiddle duet for the program. I'm thinking this is going to be no problem, we could do O Holy Night like we did another time or something similar. But a few days later Bethany e-mailed me the link to the Piano Guy's sheet music to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Ugh! I don't like sheet music! It's so much work. Why can't we just come up with our own arrangement by ear? But I knew this was something Bethany really wanted to do so I ordered the music download (all 9 pages of it!) and we got to work. We both thought we would only do half the song since the second half was a harder key, but we pushed ourselves through the whole song and now I can't imagine only playing half of it!

Looking back at the experience I am reminded that there are rewards when I do hard things. If I had never ordered the music I wouldn't have the pleasure of playing such a beautiful song or the enjoyment of blessing others with our melodies. Bethany and I also had the joy of spending many hours together laughing at our mistakes and  sharing our excitement over how much fun we were having! I am so glad we did it!

Since this is probably the biggest song we've done together, we decided to video it. We transformed our piano room into a recording studio complete with Bethany's camera lights and tri-pod. Amy was a great videographer! It was a lot more work than we expected and a lot more fun! Three hours and seven videos later we finally had to take a break so I could give a piano lesson. We thought we would have to resume our project the next day, but we found one that we all agreed was good enough.

The first video is our complete song and the second one is the bloopers. You may not find them unamusing, but we thought they were funny and it will give you an idea of how it came together. :)

I hope y'all have a merry Christmas!

Bloopers! : )

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Song In My Heart

One of my favorite types of music to listen to (Christian, of course) is piano instrumental. Listening to beautiful music inspires me to practice more so that I can play what I hear in my head and feel in my heart.

My newest CD is Hannah Rose Stahl's A Song In My Heart. Hannah and I met online through blogs and other social medias and found out that we had similar interests like our love for Jesus Christ, modesty, and music! Maybe that is why I like her CD so much, I know the values she has. I also know that a lot of work goes into making a CD like this which shows that she is not afraid to do hard things which is not very common these days.

But it's not just her character that I like. . . her piano playing is beautiful! Some of the hymns have a classical touch while others are very bouncy and fun! You can go to her website and hear some of the songs and order a CD. And while you're their, check out her blog!
I hope y'all have a great week!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Hey everyone! Yesterday while I was looking at my blog I thought, "Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted anything on here!" You know, it's just one of those things that once you stop doing it, it's easy to continue not doing it. So this week I took the plunge and started back. You know the first step usually isn't near as hard as we try to make it out to be.

I updated my About Me and My Family page but also thought it would be good to post it here since so much has changed. I'll not post all of it (you'll have to go to the page to read the rest) I'm just posting the part about what is really in my heart as I get back to blogging.

"I have been a very unfaithful blogger this past year, but I hope to get back into posting simi-regularly. I have nothing profound or deeply spiritual to say, just the thoughts in my heart as I try to be real. My life is not perfect and I face daily hardships just like everyone else. There are days when I really don't want to do the things that God has so graciously trusted me with, but I am learning that this is a struggle I will be faced with for the rest of my life. I hope to portray an honest view of my life so that others will be encouraged to keep fighting the good fight. I pray that this blog will not cause anyone to become disillusioned to what the real Christian life is about. It's hard . . . but it's worth it!"

Another picture taken in the Smoky Mountains this past October.
Seasons of life are sure to change. You can count on it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Help Thou Mine Unbelief

Do I really believe God's word? A year ago I would have boldly proclaimed that I believe every inspired word that is in my King James Bible, and today I will still say that I do believe it is true . . .  that is . . . with a head knowledge. But do I believe it with my heart? If I believe something, shouldn't it change the way I act and the way I think?

In Mark chapter 9 we can read about a man who is desperate for God's help. A man who so dearly wants his son to be delivered from the devil that is ruining his life. Verses 23-24 says, "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." I fully believe that there are times when God sees our feeble attempts to draw near to Him or our half hearted pursuit of Him due  to our own weakness and broken heart, and He in his great loving-kindness draws us close to Him despite our lack of whole hearted devotion. But I also believe there are times when we need to be desperate for help. Like this man who cried out to Jesus with tears, I often feel like there is nothing I can do to become the woman God has designed me to be and all I know to do is to cry out to God, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!" I believe this is a prayer that God is pleased to answer!
Picture taken in the Smoky Mountains this past October.