Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer!!! (Almost...)

Well, despite my puffy red eyes and sanctifying snotty nose that causes sleepless nights, a tired Mrs. Butts is a happy Jamie today. I can take off my teacher hat for a few months. There is a 2 week training for the teachers starting on Monday, but I think it won't be that bad. I am sad to say goodbye to another class, but excited for them. It's neat to see them get a hard-earned summer and head on to middle school. Hopefully, we have prepared them as much as we can!

Thankfully, EVERYTHING is basically done here, except a few small things, and I can leave at 3! Then... we're starting our move tonight. We'll just be moving the un-boxed items tonight and going out to eat to celebrate the end of the year.

Our plan is that next year will be my last year of teaching (at least any time soon). I'm thankful to work at a great school.
Okay... enough sappy stuff. I'm not going to lie... I'm pretty happy to say goodbye to the children. :) I love them and all, but seriously... it's time!

(This is an old picture and a little fuzzy, but this was my crew from this year. Yes... someone gave me bunny ears.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Trusting God With Allergies (or other trials of various kinds)

I have had allergies all my life. As a child, it was actually nosebleeds. Really bad-take you out of church or school-carry kleenex (or toilet paper) with you at all times-sitting there with your head up (or is it down) for hours. Then, my nosebleeds evolved into allergies. Go to weird Dr. ________ (I'll protect his name)-get tested with the pokes on your back-find out your allergic to a page-long list of things from certain weeds to certain trees-the top-ranking grasses being the ones that were in our yard-take shots-feel nerdy-blow your nose a hundred times a day-allergies. We never had a real Christmas tree. My sister's are worse than mine! They were bad at Camp. They were bad in Texas. They are bad here. They are just kind of part of life. Moving across the country hasn't really made things much better. It ends up that the Ohio River Valley gives basically everyone allergies, not just the extreme sneezers like me. It's actually a topic of conversation around here, would you believe it? We talk about things like the pollen count at recess. I learned that Louisville is the 12th worst city to live in in the US for allergy-sufferers. I am now taking eye drops, nose spray, Wal-Mart-brand Zyrtec, plan on trying the whole "local honey" (people swear by it) thing, and I'm making a summer appointment with an allergist (hopefully not so weird).

The good news is they are basically seasonal. The bad news is... they are a pain. And, boy, they come right at the busiest times. And, I love going outside in the spring. I love Field Day! Why now, I'm tempted to ask, even about something as small as allergies.

But isn't that something of what is meant by these "trials of various kinds" that James mentions in James 1:2. Or, Peter, again reminding us that we rejoice, "though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your fatih-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Hmm... I need to get this through my thick skull. Josh Harris has this link on his blog called, "Trusting God With a Migraine" and I just like the title, although I've barely visited the blog. I don't face any persecution right now. I don't have a disease that is life-altering or cancer threatening to take my life. I don't even have my mom's horrific migraines. I have other various trials. Allergies. PMS. (Ha!) But they are not insignificant. And, as John Piper might say, they aren't to be wasted. I'm sitting here not able to sleep, frustrated and yet something feels WRONG about being frustrated. I long to trust God with the small stuff. Embrace my lot, if you will. Of course, I long to trust God with the big trials of life, but the little ones are OH so easy to complain about.
Scripture has answers for it all. Do everything without complaining. Trust God... with sleepless nights, migraines, allergies, PMS, finances, marriage, singleness, etc. Trust God. Show the watching world that He is trustworthy. Why was Joni's biography so encouraging to me when I read it recently? She did just that. I think... surely, I can trust God with allergies.

But it's hard, isn't it? It's hard to trust God in the little things just like it is in the big things, because it takes a supernatural work of God to change what we naturally feel and how we naturally think, act, respond...

Oh, that I could get the truths I know in my head to pierce my heart and transform my thinking. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who works in His children. He can change me and my thinking and my perspective. His Word can renew my thoughts. His Spirit can cause me to trust him with allergies.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Simple Week!

Well, folks, we are getting our move on. My grading is done (but don't tell the kids... they still have 1 and a half more days) and MOST of our boxes are packed. I'm thankful. We declared this week "simple week" and have enjoyed gourmet meals (taquitos, fruit, lean pockets, pizza, etc) on fine china (paper plates and paper cups) to celebrate (help us survive) the move and end of the school year. We get the keys for the new place on Friday night and pick up our moving truck early Saturday morning. We should have plenty of help, and we are getting an e-mail out to local friends and church family with the clever subject line of "Move Your Butts." I made it up myself, but I still keep laughing. I really love our name.

I'm wrapping things up at school. I'm making the kids the promised cookies right now and finishing jotting my letters to them in their writing journals. This is the time of the year as a teacher where you are tempted to wallow in your misery of all of the things you should have or could have done differently... but you just have to trust in the Lord and then gear up to make appropriate changes and be MORE encouraging, prepared, intentional, etc next year. It is nice to have fresh starts. I see growth each year I teach, but I also see SO MUCH room for growth! It's not really the time to analyze though (too frazzled to be helpful)... I just have to know that the Lord can use me in spite of me, if that makes sense. Kids at school make me have a glimpse into the life of a mother... they really see your kindness and love as well as your bad days when you are short, unorganized or distracted. I have to apologize to the little guys often (and probably not enough), and that is humbling, people!

Well, I'd better get back to work. Next up... student profiles for their files.

I guess I'll write again sometime after we get our move on! =)

Happy "Simple Week" from the Butts! By the way, I highly recommend planning simple menus when you know a week is going to be extra-CRAZY!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pray for Steven Curtis Chapman's Family

Any death is hard. Any tragedy is hard. This one especially tugs at all of your emotions and compassion. I have always been a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman's music, especially when I was a little younger. One of my favorite songs of his is A Miracle of Mercy.

Their family is really hurting right now
with the tragic death of one of their adopted daughters. (I don't mean tragic like tragic as if it caught God by surprise (it didn't), but how we feel about it on this side of heaven. Tragic. Hard.) I do pray that the Scripture-informed songs on this very topic bring comfort to their hearts. Lyric like Grieve with hope or Only God is God.

These sobering reminders are wake-up calls that life is short... so fleeting.
Pray for them and fix your eyes even more firmly upon Christ, your hope and strong comfort in the storms of this life. One day, all the tears of God's children will be wiped away.

Pray for the big brother.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Once Dead Poet

My wonderful husband said he posted today! You should comment, so he'll be encouraged to keep it up.

We both hope to post about once a week in the summer and occasionally to the Booked Blog. We both really like to read, and so we might as well be challenged to reflect and share about our books.

My goal at this point is NOT to post. Not until after we move and my grades are turned in...

Newsy Stuff

Shaunna and Laura are having their babies THIS WEEK, Lord willing. I'm thrilled out of my mind, as my friend Erin says. We're praying for you, Cozarts and Dawsons!

This is me and my friend Deana at Huber's Farm last October. She has been one of my dearest friends here, and I'm incredibly thankful for her. Her family moves next week. I get real sad when people move. And I can miss people... a LOT. But then I remember that God can use them in other places like He used them here. I have so many friends and family scattered abroad (some across the globe), and I have to trust that God will bless others through knowing them like he blessed me through knowing them. That's exciting!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Friday Link!

I'm incredibly glad it's (finally) Friday. How about you?

A quick link for you...

My friend Vivian Risse organized this blog for her church. She considers herself a "blessed church member" - which I think is really great. She wanted me to pass on the link, and I'm happy to do so! If you head on over here, she has posted some book reviews and sermon summaries from her church. They look really great, so check them out.

Happy Friday!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Modesty Matters!

Here is a link that is important for all women... fathers, too. It is a sneak-preview chapter from C.J. Mahaney's upcoming book, Worldliness, on the topic of modesty. The picture is courtesy of Girl Talk, the Mahaney ladies' blog. The Girl Talk Blog also does a great job of discussing an important and daily-relevant topic. I've enjoyed reading this chapter of his new book.
(See the post below for some good news! Two posts in one day... wow!)

Good News!

Today seemed like a good day to share the news... we're moving!

On June 1, we will be moving to an Old Louisville home that has been made into a 5-plex. We'll have one of the bottom 2 units - a 2 bedroom apartment that is just perfect for us! We're so thankful. Some of the neat things about this apartment include its massive closets, a kitchen that is a galley with a small breakfast room and the original china cabinets. It has a huge brick fireplace mantle. It also has a column entry small foyer-type area. It has lots of windows and the inside has a touch of the wonderful victorian "Old Louisville" feel that we love! The Master Bedroom is huge and the 2nd bedroom is so cute and cozy with great windows, perfect to be a guest room or Lord willing, one day perhaps double as a nursery! :) Also, the laundry is down in the basement instead of in another building. Still no dishwasher, but I'm used to that.

The amazing landlady is recarpeting, repainting, getting us a new frig, tiling the "foyer" area, etc. In short, she is spoiling us tremendously. Her excellent reputation preceded her as we heard about her from some church friends. This is a steal of an apartment, being only $25 more than what we would pay at our current apartment and potentially lower utilities, evening it out to what we pay now, because she has weather-proofed it so well. Most Old Louisville homes are a pain to keep warm in the winter.

But the main thing we are excited about is the location! Beautiful trees and quaint, historic homes, but that's not the main thing. It has been wonderful, and convenient to live on campus, but we are itching to be in a neighborhood close to church, and boy are we! We are 2 blocks away from church; we'll be able to walk. Dustin can also walk in the other direction about 2 blocks to go to the Basketball/Bible Study he leads on Thursday nights. We'll be right close to U of L and hopefully get to know some college students from church and ones not from church.

You have to remember that I went to a Christian middle school, high school, college and then moved to a seminary campus. I am really excited about this move! All of our neighbors in our building, from what we know, are not believers and the potential for hospitality to them and Dustin's Basketball guys is really great, as well as our church family. It's just such a blessing, especially considering that it's often really difficult to get into an Old Louisville home. In one sense, it just "fell in our lap" - coming together in a matter of a week, but we know the Lord was and is behind it all, orchestrating the details. We don't want to purchase a home at this point, because we still don't know exactly what the Lord has for us post-seminary... missions, moving, staying in Louisville, etc.

So, for now, this is a great way to spend our time that we know we will be here. I hope it doesn't sound like we're bragging about this place or saying it's better than living on campus. It just fits our desires for this season. I'm sure it has its quirks (longer commute to school, for one) as well. Any home does, but we are mainly excited about the location and the opportunities it will have to branch out a little and share the best Good News with new neighbors and friends who don't know Christ!

And other good news... 12 and a half more days of school. Well, and then, a 2 week summer teacher training for some new curriculum, but still... it's exciting to wrap things up for another year. Pray for perseverance to finish strong and have time to pack and move! AND... it's Friday AND a Marble Jar Party day. My kids have had testing all week, so they deserve it!

Long post - thanks for reading...

(That is not a picture of the home, but the only one from the area I could find that I liked.)

P.S. We'll miss you Leslie, David and Jameson.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Welcome, Isaiah!

I had the privilege of meeting Baby Isaiah, the newest little baby in our church family. He's so fun. I got to hold him for about 40 minutes... such a treat.
Congrats to the Bartletts!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Offended? Angry? Using the Silent Treatment?

This is my summary of what mainly stuck out to me from church yesterday. Hope it's as helpful to you as it is to me.

When we are angry, it is usually because we feel we deserved better. Therefore, we are crushed, disappointed, bitter... hoppin' mad. Anger can also be seen in giving someone the oh-so-ugly silent treatment or acting one way on the outside while steaming on the inside... it's an issue of the heart, and when unchecked, it can and will lead all the way to murderous hate, like Cain. Do not be like Cain. Remember, you deserve death. Those last 2 sentences are what I hope and pray I'll remember the next time I'm tempted to huff and puff over my so-called rights being violated... I deserve death.