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Archive for July, 2011

Today starts a month-long series devoted to teacher’s.  Each week, a teacher in our area will share from her heart about her passion and her career.  And to further encourage our private and public school teachers, we are holding a Resource Give Away, with gift cards to help five teachers resource their classrooms.  There are more details at the end of this blog on how to register to win, but now let’s hear Part One of the interview with our first teacher.  Part Two through Six will be found Monday through Friday at our Daily Devotional link:  A Dream Fulfilled.

What inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?

I always knew at a young age I would become a working mom.  I dreamed of days of going to work at an office with a desk and all those desk supplies readily at my fingertips. I dreamed of getting dressed up and making important phone calls. But mostly, I dreamed of a way out of a volatile home life.

At one point in my life I decided I wanted to be an investigative journalist. I loved getting into the minds of people. I wanted to know what made people do the things they do…why did they act a certain way. It was an attempt to help explain why the people in my life did what they did to me. I was about 12 years old when I gathered all my little cousins in the basement and we played “school.” There were about 6 of them altogether and I played teacher. The slight difference was that I taught them the alphabet in Arabic. We learned simple phrases and greetings. At one of our many large family gatherings the kids “performed” what they had learned. What fun they had! And for me, it was exhilarating! I had found an “escape” from the neglect and loneliness I was suffering as a child. In the quiet of our musty basement, I asked God to help me be a teacher one day.

Fast forward to high school graduation. I was an average student but college was not an option for me. I needed to work to help support my family. My parents were both older.  My mother’s limited English and low self-confidence confined her to the home. My father was simply too old to continue driving a produce truck. My brother was already hard at work to help maintain the household and my younger sister was still in school. My income was needed. My father got me a job at a local fruit market. I started as a cashier and enjoyed the routine of meeting new people everyday as well as forming relationships with regular customers. Dreams of college soon faded as I was needed to help at home. I became a manager and was well-respected by my bosses. Still, I longed for the job of working with children.

About 5 years later, I ran into my high school journalism teacher. She asked me what I was doing with my life and I was instantly ashamed. What had I done with my life? I explained my situation to her and she encouraged me to take night classes and work towards a degree. I took her advice, applied for financial aid and began classes…my boss at the time worked around my school schedule so that I was able to attend during the day. I started at the community college and then transferred to a larger private teaching college. I worked 45 hours a week and carried 5 classes. I even made the Dean’s list each month. And each month was a financial challenge. Living on my own was rough.  Every night  I prayed. “God, if you want me to be a teacher, please help me make my rent this month.” And He did. With support from my brother and boss, I was able to pay rent each month. I just scraped by, but in the end I knew it was worth it.  I graduated from college, did my student teaching and landed a position in a great school district 3 weeks after I completed my student teaching assignment.

Never did I think I would be starting my career as a teacher at the age of 30. But as I look back, I see God’s hand in my journey. During my  years in a retail market, I rededicated my life to Jesus, healed family issues and met my future husband. It was not my plan, but God’s.

In their hearts humans plan their course,  but the LORD establishes their steps.  (Proverbs 16:9)
To hear more of this interview and to register for the Resource Give Away Monday through Friday of this week go to this link: A Dream Fulfilled.

*More Details about the Give-Away: .  This Resource Give Away is intended to bless private and public school teachers as they resource their classroom…please respect that purpose and don’t register unless you qualify.  One free gift card, valued at $50, will be awarded at the end of each week in August. Register by leaving a comment on each weekday’s  DailyDevotional posting that includes the grade you teach and/or the school where you teach.  One comment per day and per person, please.  Inappropriate comments will not be published or entered in the contest at the blog administrator’s discretion.  Don’t worry…your email address is hidden and can only be seen by the blog administrator. You may use your initials if you like instead of your full name. You will be privately notified by email after Friday of each week if your comment has been randomly chosen to win.

Want this blog to come to your email?  Feel free to subscribe at the top right of this page.

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For the month of August, we will be running a series of interviews with local teachers who will share stories from their heart about their passion for teaching. Sunday we will introduce you to the teacher right here at Given the Time, and Monday through Friday we will continue with their story at our Daily Devotional site.

In addition, we will be giving away $50 gift cards to public and private school teachers who have a classroom to resource.  Teacher’s, to register just go to our Daily Devotional site Monday through Friday of each week in August and leave a comment that includes the grade you teach and/or the name of your school.  At the end of each week, a teacher will be randomly picked from the list of comments to win that week’s gift card.  The winner will be notified by email by the blog administrator.  All email addresses are kept confidential and only will be seen by the blog administrator.  The blog administrator reserves the right to not publish inappropriate comments.

So pass the word along to all your teacher friends about this great series as we spend a month blessing teachers and getting to know a little bit more about A Teacher’s Heart.

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I put my cell phone back in my purse and walked back to our table in the restaurant, wondering if there was any way to take “the drama” out of the  bad news I needed to deliver. I would sound like one of the  T.V. medical show’s we always avoid watching but there was nothing to do about it.

“Sweetie, we have to leave.  I need to go the ER right now.” 

My husband looked at me, at his steaming hot food just delivered, and calmly asked the waitress for our bill and some take-out boxes.

In the half hour drive to the ER, we had plenty of time to discuss how unnecessary this whole “field trip” was going to be. I had hesitated to call the doctor with my symptoms on our way to lunch. After all, blood vessels more visible on the left side of my chest and a left arm that felt a little strange, perhaps even swollen, seemed pretty tame.  Probably a pinched nerve or something…  And when my Doctor returned my call, insisting I go to the ER immediately and to not finish my lunch date, I was even more hesitant. I wasn’t in pain, so what is all the rush?

We arrived at the hospital and went through the first round of nurses.  I described my symptoms multiple times, but still felt pretty comfortable we would be heading home soon to eat cold leftovers. The ER staff revealed no panic or indication of anything serious during this time so we felt pretty comfortable.  Even the ultrasound tech was quiet and efficient, nothing alarming as she went about her job.  I was starting to feel like a hypochondriac when the Doctor eventually showed up in our little ER cubby hole to verify the good news.  But instead of saying you are free to go we heard him explain I had a blood clot in my left clavicle and they were admitting me immediately and indefinitely.

What?  It was the week of Thanksgiving, the beginning of my busiest time of the year, and this was how our holiday season kicked off. Why, God? Why?  I have lots going on right now!  I don’t have time for this!  

To read five Daily Devotionals that continue this story and show how God held her hand through the hard stuff, click this link to go to our Daily Devotional site.  

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“Though they stumble, they will never fall,

for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

Psalms 37:24 (NLT)

This week we continue our summer series on women who have been “held by God’s hand” through challenging life circumstances.  The story for this week concerning the challenges of parenting a prodigal is a great follow-up to last week’s story of the prodigal who found her way back.   Real Life of a Real Woman faced with Real Truth! 

I prayed Hannah’s prayer pleading with the Lord God to give me a child.  I wasn’t just barren spiritually, but I was a broken-hearted woman as I endured repeated miscarriages.  I promised the Lord if He blessed me with a child, the child would be dedicated to Him just as Hannah dedicated Samuel. (I Samuel 1-2)

God did bless me with a wonderful daughter and for more than 28 years, regularly heard around our home and in public was that she “made us look good” because she was everything a parent could desire in terms of a tender-hearted, loving, sweet-spirited servant leader who openly worshipped and served the Lord Jesus Christ every day.  We had no teenage rebellion issues or challenges with many matters families grabble with such as drinking, drugs, curfews, or disrespect.  Then, life through her a curve that we, as parents, could not fix and her level of anger at God and at us suddenly thrust on me a new level of understanding of the challenges parents face, but more particularly it has given me a deeper appreciation for the father of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15: 11-32 and my own role as a prodigal to my Heavenly Father.

Interestingly, we have all heard the saying “what goes around, comes around”, well, I was that child who challenged my parents authority and questioned at every turn their guidance and wisdom.

As we continue our series on women who have faced tough circumstances (real women, real life and real truth), I will share my journey of discovering how strong God’s hand is when He was all I had to hold on to because I could no longer “hold” my child.  “Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”    Psalms 37:24 (NLT)

Please join us each day this week at our Daily Devotional site for the rest of this story:  Parenting a Prodigal.

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“Though they stumble, they will never fall,

for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

Psalms 37:24 (NLT)

This week we continue our summer series on women who have been “held by God’s hand” through challenging life circumstances.  Our friend’s story starting today and continuing this week at our Daily Devotional site  is frank and honest so be prepared for the Real Life of a Real Woman faced with Real Truth!  

When I was asked to share my story and how God has lifted me up even when I have stumbled and fallen, I was excited. Then I got started thinking about it, and questioned myself. Why would I want to put myself out there for others to see the negative things I have battled in my life? Hello, Pride, not so nice to see you.

Here’s the thing… it’s a very humbling experience to expose yourself – especially the things that you have struggled or are struggling with. But I have faith God can use even my most embarrassing moments to inspire others and to remind myself where I came from. More importantly – that He loves me exactly where I am at this moment, where I have been in the past, and for the potential He is waiting for me to fulfill.

This week, I want to share with you my struggle with control and my journey. I am a self-admitting control FREAK. There is something in my human nature that requires me to have the reins in my hands at all times, in each and every situation and relationship.  I have a tough time with the saying “let go and let God.”  He’s still teaching me to cast all of my cares, worries, and anxiety onto Him.

1 Peter 5: 6-11 says this,  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.   And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Just click on the above Daily Devotional link Monday through Friday of this week to hear more of her story.  See you then!

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“Though they stumble, they will never fall,

for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

Psalms 37:24 (NLT)

This week we continue our summer series on women who have been “held by God’s hand” through challenging life circumstances.

It is appropriate in this patriotic week celebrating our country’s freedom to hear the story of a lady whose military experience speaks to the spiritual freedom she knows in Jesus Christ.  To read her story in five Daily Devotionals click here:  A Time For Everything.  Her story would make a great plot for next summer’s bestselling beach-read novel, but it is the Real Life of a Real Woman and she shares Real Truth she has learned along the way. We hope you will find daily encouragement as her story unfolds.  We hope that you will be inspired this week to look at your own story, the unique experiences God has allowed you to live through, and find purpose and freedom in your relationship with Him.

Happy 4th of July!

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