Blessed

As the Christmas season approaches and I begin to think about Christmas cards and our family letter I cannot help but feel blessed. Even the word blessed seems like an understatement. RuffNovember2017edited

God is good.

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Silent Prayers for Veterans

I experienced one of the most beautiful moments in my teaching career yesterday. Our school had a wonderful program and invited veterans to attend. The school live streamed into the classrooms since we could not all watch it in person. After the second grade chorus sang the screen in my classroom went blank. I knew it was coming. I knew the school would not stream one of our assistant principals praying for our veterans. With all of the upset about coaches praying with their teams in the news lately, I knew the school would not stream a prayer into my classroom. I have cried and prayed for our schools, teachers, and coaches with this new upset about prayer in public schools. I have been upset, angered, and disappointed at where our country is headed—away from God. But as my screen went blank and I explained to my students why, I became filled with a peace as I encouraged my students to use the silent screen time as a chance to pray for our veterans. To my amazement, every head in the room bowed, every eye closed, and my students began to pray. My eyes were filled with tears as I also began to pray for our veterans, soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and country. I praised God for the chance I was given to witness such a beautiful moment, a silent praying class who wanted to lift up our veterans even when no one was leading them in prayer! 


Happy Veteran’s Day!

Dream for You

Do you have dreams for your life? Or maybe for your children’s lives? I have several for our family, for Hannah, for me! I’ve been listening to Casting Crowns a lot lately and Dream for You is one of their songs. It is about David and how his shepherd sized dreams were changed into king sized dreams. And Mary’s dreams of marrying Joseph and then starting a family were not exactly what God’s plan for her life was. The chorus says, “So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you; I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you; So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand; I’ll show you what I can do; When I dream for you; I have a dream for you.”

This song has caused me to think about David’s story a great deal lately. It is a whirlwind story that no one could have imagined happening, especially him. King Saul had lost the favor of God and Samuel went looking for who God would anoint as King. “Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.” (1 Samuel‬ ‭16:11-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬) David is the youngest son of Jesse. He is a shepherd and wasn’t even on the radar of becoming anything great amongst his family. David probably dreamed about becoming a big time shepherd, owning a lot of animals, and maybe one day hiring young guys like himself to shepherd his flocks. But God had different plans for his life. God’s plan for our lives means that we may have to let go of our dreams and plans. I’m sure David never dreamt about becoming King and without God he never would have been king. God’s plan for David was so much bigger than being a shepherd.

David spent years as a servant of Saul’s, a soldier, and then running from Saul. David and his family knew he had been anointed by Samuel but it’s not like it was posted on Instagram for all to see. God’s plan for our lives means that we have to trust God with our dreams, and trust that He will make His plans come true in His time. “So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.” (2 Samuel‬ ‭2:2-3ESV‬‬) “Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.'” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.” (2 Samuel‬ ‭5:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬) David went from a young shepherd boy to a servant of the king. From a servant to a soldier and from a soldier to a man running from the king. The entire time he knew God had Samuel anoint him as king, but he wasn’t king yet. Now he is the king of Judah and Israel. God’s plan requires us to be obedient. David found out he would be King long before it happened. And I am sure along the way he was unsure how he would ever get what God had told him would happen, but David trusted God and His plan. David was obedient and did as God directed him. God took years to place David as king of Israel and many times David was faced with enemies who wanted to kill him. But David knew God would fulfill His promises and trusted God.
I am having to let go of my plans for my life, Hannah’s life, and our family so that I can trust God and His plan. I know His dreams for us are King sized dreams instead of my shepherd sized dreams. I am letting God carry me and going to be obedient to His word and let His dreams for me take root in my heart and trust that His plans are better than my own!

We are Missionaries 

A few weeks ago Kyle said he was going to live in Calhoun as if he were a missionary. Ummmm…okay. Those were my thoughts at first. We aren’t that far from where he has grown up. It’s 30 minutes away. We are living life very similarly to how we lived in Cartersville. We both work. We have a normal home. We are active in church, but missionaries? I wasn’t so sure. 

But the more I thought about his statement the more it makes sense to me. Jesus gave believers a task before he ascended. “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””‭‭(Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬) 

We are missionaries. We are living with a purpose to infiltrate our community with the gospel. We are here to take every opportunity to share Jesus with the people of Calhoun. We moved 30 minutes away to be missionaries. But truly, we are all called to be missionaries. We do not have to move to spread the gospel. We can share right where we are. We can shine Jesus even if we are living in the same neighborhood we grew up in. So yes, we are missionaries in Calhoun. Where are you a missionary at?

Overwhelmed by Tomorow

I’m trying to process through tomorrow. As I sit in my quiet home, I am overwhelmed by the meaning behind what is coming in the morning. Tomorrow is Hannah’s baby dedication at church, and my heart is bursting with joy and my cheeks are damp with tears. 

For years I prayed for this sweet baby and God has given us the happiest little girl, and now it is our turn to give her back to God in front of our family and church. Hannah’s name is special for many reasons, but today I am reminded again of Hannah from the Bible. In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah asks God for a son and then promises to give her son back to serve God. God hears Hannah and blesses her with Samuel. Later in the chapter it says, “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.” (1 Samuel‬ ‭1:27-28‬ ‭ESV‬‬) 

Tomorrow we are giving our daughter, and the life she lives, back to the Lord. We are going to be charged with raising her in a godly home, living a Christ-centered life in front of her, and teaching her all about Jesus! I am so excited for this moment! A moment I was unsure would ever come! These tears are tears of joy! My heart is so full! I will gladly and whole heartedly dedicate her to the Lord!

First 5 From Afar

I love the First 5 app! Do you have it? It’s a free app that has amazing devotionals to do in the first five minutes of your day.

Image result for first 5 app

I have been using this app on and off since it started more than two years ago. About a week ago though I had a new idea about how this app could be used to help me minister to young ladies I do not see often anymore.

I was texting a student who was in our former youth group and realized that she wasn’t attending church the way I had hoped she would be. She admitted it and I encouraged her to attend somewhere, but I wanted a way to be able to have a spiritual conversation with her daily. I cannot see her nearly as often as I used to so I asked if she would be interested in going through a reading plan together and she was thrilled with the idea. I told her about First 5 and we chose a plan to go through together. Our deal is that each day we read before 8 PM and then we text each other something from the scripture or devotional that stuck out to us, taught us something, reminded us of something, etc.

I wasn’t sure how it would work at first. I mean, who wants a 29 year old texting you about the bible everyday, and I honestly have never had a 17 year old accountability partner before, BUT we are trying it. So far I have loved it and she has too! We are both learning about God and the Bible, but we are also learning about each other and how to be better sisters in Christ.

My hope is to be able to continue this with her and encourage her to do this with someone else too. Maybe someone her age, or younger, whom she can encourage in Christ and be there for. I definitly want to be doing this with more girls though. This has been a great way to minister to a young lady in a very comfortable setting.

How are you discipling others? Are you able to sit down face to face with someone you are discipling, or do you have to get creative like me in order to minister to someone?

We Bleed Purple

For six years I have been learning how to bleed purple. When I was first hired at Cartersville Elementary I can remember many times being joked with for being a county school kid (I went to Woodland). I had a ton of navy and white clothing but very little purple. One Friday during playoffs two years ago I ran out of long-sleeved purple to wear to work and was playfully shamed for it. Needless to say I was given a ton of purple to wear that year for Christmas. Cartersville has this unique tradition of raising their kids from pre-K to twelfth grade to bleed purple! They are purple Hurricanes for life and as a person who didn’t have that, it was different at first. Then I fell in love with it! There is so much pride within Cartersville Elementary for all things Hurricane! As I began to pack, sort, and get ride of my school stuff I struggled to give away my purple, but I won’t be needing it anymore. It was even harder to pack my classroom and move it out of the building I have called home for six years. Leaving Cartetsville Elementary in May was emotional for me. To walk the halls one last time, with very few people in the building (thank goodness), remembering each classroom (I had 5 of them), student, teacher, and friend was very reflective for me. 

But as I have been able to go to my new classroom in my new school I have been able to see all of the ways God has been showing off in my life this year! He provided Kyle with a full time ministry position. Then he sent me a teaching position at the school I wanted to be in. Within hours He sold our house. Now he has sent us our dream home in Calhoun! I still can’t believe it!!! I serve an amazing God who will provide for all our needs and shower us with blessings!

So although I had learned to bleed purple with pride, I am going to learn how to be Jacket Gold at Calhoun Elementary and hopefully it won’t take as long 😜.

Wrapping My Head Around It

I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts for weeks now about moving. Maybe find the words to describe my amazement in how we accumulated so much stuff (Oh My Goodness at the STUFF!). Or wrap my head around balancing the many hats I have worn this summer (mom, wife, daughter, packer, mover, teacher, youth pastor wife, friend, etc.) The problem is that so much is moving, so many hats are being worn, too much is changing. It’s like my brain can’t decide how to process it.

This past Saturday we moved out of our home in Cartersville. Most of our stuff went to storage in Rome (because Calhoun storage units were not available). The stuff we need for the next few weeks moved to my in-laws with us (we are all here one week, hannah and I are at my parents next week while Kyle is on a mission trip, then we are all back at the in-laws for a week). I have several bags of stuff to move into my classroom. Plus we had to leave Kyle’s mission trip gear out too. It’s a lot to process.

Kyle asked me on Saturday, as we were finally laying down for bed, how I was doing. (He knows I don’t do well with change.) The amazing part is, I was excited! This temporary move gets me one step closer to my dream home. It’s one step closer to being obedient to what God has told us to do. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve cried (for many reasons) and laughed. We’ve shared stories about our home in Cartersville and sweat more than we ever thought we could while moving out.

Cartersville, it has been my pleasure to call you home for 19 years. Calhoun, watch out…cause we are coming!!!

Lord, I am Coming

I saw a beautiful picture on Instagram yesterday that said “My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk to me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”” (Psalm 27:8) 


I had to screen capture it and this morning as I looked at the image again I wanted to read Psalm 27. This Psalm is David’s and is titled The Lord is My Light and My Salvation. It is such a beautiful prayer to lift up, but verse 8…how many times do we feel the draw of the Lord and actually go to Him? I know so many times I get distracted. I’ll spend time with you when my coffee cup is empty (I want to be fully awake for Jesus). I’ll spend time with you when my daughter is napping (what if she needs me while I’m doing my quiet time). I’ll spend time with you when my favorite show is over (I don’t want to be wondering what is happening in the show). I’ll spend time with you before I go to bed (so that you’re the last thought before I sleep). So many excuses! Why can’t I respond immediately with “Lord, I am coming” ? I know I am probably not alone in this struggle, but today my prayer is to put God first, before the boxes I need to pack, before the DVR, before my caffeine fix. God is first!

Camp Daddy

I debated whether or not to come to camp this year. I’ve never been away from Hannah at night, so I wasn’t about to go without her. We were not sure if we could get a room for us as a family, so why go? Kyle wouldn’t get to see us much. Hannah sleeps from 8 pm to 6:30 am. She naps twice a day for two hours each. So he would see us at meals…maybe at free time…and the start of service. 

The week I was debating backing out of camp, I ran into a sweet lady whose husband had been Kyle’s youth pastor. I can remember trips with them, and their kids were always there. I asked her if it was worth it? Her response was quick and easy, “Yes.” She went on to explain that seeing the kids at meals made her husband’s week better. He would slip away for bedtime prayers and play a little during free time. My conversation with her made it clear, Hannah and I would go to camp.

As the week drew nearer, I was nervous about sleeping for Hannah. I was anxious about when I would get to shower (cleanliness is next to godliness after all 😉). I was trying to drop all expectations for Kyle. I wanted to be happy with whatever time, energy, and help he could give me. I wanted to be grateful for the amount of worship I did get to attend. I wanted to be present and participating with the kids but know that Hannah’s needs were first!

Now I am here, at camp, sitting in the room while Hannah plays with an empty bottle (we brought toys, but some things are more interesting than toys 😕). We have had all of the meals with the kids. We have visited during games and free time. We have sung in worship and heard some preaching. But the amazing part, the blessing, is my Camp Daddy! Kyle has been the best daddy and youth pastor at the same time! His balance of family and students is beyond impressive!

Kyle has taken care of us. He has visited with us. He has loved us with acts of service. Kyle has been with the students during games, free time, service, devotions, meals! He is leading this group and bonding with them each moment of the day. I have been so impressed with his ability to be both Daddy and Pastor. God has blessed me with an amazing man. 
(BTW I didn’t get to finish this in one sitting because bottles, meals, and Daddy time is more important. Hannah is napping while I finish this now. 😜)