Saturday, November 25, 2017

find the joy

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i was on a random app and don’t even know what company/ad to attribute it to. {although that’s not what nudged me to glance down at my phone anyway}
but on our drive back home today these words flashed across my phone screen and then froze in my heart to remind me (and maybe you) that THIS is what this season is about.
dislike your circumstances? 
ok. find your joy anyway.
hard to get through the holidays?
ok. find your joy. it’s attainable.
not crazy about the people in office?
ok. are you going to let them steal your joy too?
the second i start losing focus on things that matter and begin focusing on the “wrong” in my life or in the world at large, the more the enemy is able to steal what belongs to me.
and for me...that’s joy. because even in the hardest moments and the most difficult times He has remained faithful. all i have to do it recall one of the many moments in my life that i have been covered by grace and my heart starts bubbling over again. sometimes i can do that on my own and sometimes a sweet friend texts, or calls or just gives me a hug to remind me...don’t discount those “little things”!
seasons come and go but the Lord never changes. and His JOY is my strength.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

me: ugh, if you roll down the window my hair will be all over the place.

he: let's just stop at walgreens and get you some hair ties.

Friday, January 13, 2017

I moved quickly and efficiently though my classroom, first doing a quick sweep of the hall, shutting the curtain, locking the door, and turning out the light.  I had already instructed all my students to remain calm but stay absolutely silent and move away from the windows, even though we are on the second floor. My heart racing, I pulled down all three blinds in my classroom, murmuring to each student who I felt was sitting too close to a window to move a bit further away.

Finally, I ran to my office to pull down the shade in that room, surveying quickly to see if we would all fit in case I felt it was necessary. (But moving there might draw attention, so I'm really going to have to judge the situation as it develops).

I returned to my desk, noting the large eyes that grew larger as they saw a shadow moving outside our classroom door. Fear sparked in their eyes as they realized the knob was moving.  I tried to smile reassuringly, but the dark figure in the slim window rattling the door was disconcerting.  

Students remained still and silent as my thoughts raced.  I tell my students often that my first and most important job is keeping them safe.  Normally that is safe from emotional and social threats, but this is a reminder that I am absolutely responsible for their physical well-being as well.

Thankfully the drill was over within a few more minutes.

Fire and tornado drills do not affect me this way.
They do not affect the students the same way either.

Being shot at school is not something we should have to prepare our children for literally from birth.


Monday, April 4, 2016

monday's memory: the one with the return home

ok, it's been awhile. so i'm just jumping back in. and i'm going to use my normal "monday memory" slot to catch up on what's been happening in our lives the past couple of years.


i worked at an amazing inclusive preschool for 4 years. i learned SO.MUCH there about myself, about managing others, about children with needs far beyond what i would have imagined, and about dealing with the drama of working with a staff of 80% females! 

for awhile i could seriously imagine myself doing this forever.

and then it happened.

i realized, as i taught music to the children (ages 6 weeks to 7 years) how much i LOVED and MISSED teaching music.

and so i began daring to dream a little. it was as if God was whispering in my ear to hope.

i had always kept my application current with my former school system, but nothing seemed to materialize. i had applied in other systems as well, but nothing piqued my interest.

and then a friend who taught at the very elementary school i had passed many times on the way to teach piano lessons told me their music teacher was leaving.  it was an elementary school in the one of the most affluent counties, with a great population to work with, unlimited resources and parents who were highly involved.

i interviewed. i realized about midway through the interview that i didn't want to work here. as much as the school was amazing and i would be working with a wonderful group of people...i just did not want that job.


my current boss called me into her office in the midst of this and told me that i would be able to teach in a classroom in the fall if i wanted.  the open room was the 4 year old room, and i knew it would be challenging but great. and it was what i had truly wanted to do for a couple of years. i accepted, knowing that if i found out anything from the school system i would be able to tell her in plenty of time for her to put a deserving assistant teacher in that role.


and yet, i felt like i heard the Holy Spirit whispering "keep dreaming..."

in may i attended a conference at a church nearby, and was really encouraged by several of the messages.  but on my way home one night i found myself talking to God...really baring my soul to Him.

i told Him that i knew He placed the desire and talents within me to want to teach middle school, and that He knew my heart was to teach in my former system again. i had been searching daily and there were NO middle school positions, so i was so frustrated so i literally asked Him to release me from this deep desire or to let it materialize.

i wasn't despairing. but i was weary.

and two days later i received a message from a former assistant principal of mine that there was a potential opening in her {middle} school that was 10 minutes away from my house.

through her communication i finally leaped the last hurdle with my application and got the green light for interviews.  the music dept head for the system was incredibly impressed by my credentials and told me that she would be thrilled to have me back.

and i interviewed at the school. and it was fine. and while i was in the interview i got a voice mail from the principal of the school down the road, the one only 3 minutes from my house, the one connected to the greenway that i had literally walked dozens of times and prayed over the school and the people in it.

{talk about sowing into your future!}

and she interviewed me over the phone on a saturday while she was on vacation. and by the end of our conversation she told me i would have an email by day's end on monday with an offer.

i've been there since august.
and no, not every day has been wonderful. not every student has come to me and showered me with praise about what an amazing teacher i am.
[who am i kidding...i teach middle schoolers. they give me major attitude on a daily basis!]

but i am where i belong.
i am doing what i am supposed to be doing.
and i am thrilled.

over a 3 month period, God literally let me have a chance to do the things i thought i wanted. and continued to encourage me to dream bigger.

i'm so glad i took His challenge.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

emi: the day we said goodbye

it's been nearly two years, but it affected me far beyond what i could have imagined.
and it is the reason my voice went silent for awhile on this blog.
and since she was so much a part of my life, i feel i have to finish her story here.

shortly after moving into our house in march of 2014 we realized that emi was ill.
and after a few trips to the vet the worst was confirmed.
she had cancer.
and if we chose to treat it we *might* get six months to a year more.

we chose to make her as comfortable as possible.
we asked a friend to do a photoshoot with her
we took her on one last trip around nashville to visit the place where i first saw her and the home where we first became a family of three

and we loved on her as much as possible.
and i prayed over her every day, begging that it wouldn't be so.

she found me. she chose me, and she rescued me as much as i rescued her.

and on a sunday morning, more the middle of the night, she slipped away from us.
we both were sleeping in the den with her as we couldn't bear to let her spend her nights alone
and we both petted her and kissed her as she took her last breath assuring her through our sobs that we loved her.

i still visit her little grave in our backyard a couple of times a month. i still find myself saying hello to her when i drive in after work. i still smile when a patch of good sunlight hits "her" spot just right.

and although a little over a year later a kitten came into our lives and our hearts
our emi will always be special

to you, darling girl.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016


yesterday i broke an important thing. 
i am really blessed to have several of my grandmothers kitchen items. one of my favorites was a sugar bowl. it was kept in our spice cabinet and made me smile every time i opened the door and saw it. beautiful, simple, and classic. 
and yesterday i wanted to read a package of seasoning mix and moved it for less than a minute and when i went to put it back i bumped the shelf and it just fell out of my hand. 
i sobbed. 
i scooped up the cat and closed her in a room to keep her away from getting cut, i put a band aid on my bleeding toe, i went back to the kitchen and looked at all the sugar everywhere and the pieces of the beloved sugar bowl. 
and i sobbed some more. 
and eventually i started cleaning it up. 
my husband told me to keep the pieces to see if we can salvage it.
several people have mentioned making something out of it.
and those are great suggestions. they really are. but my goodness my heart hurts. 
i have so many memories of my childhood that i would rather forget.
so many moments that i remember through the lens of hurt and loneliness.
it was NOT a bad childhood especially in the grand scheme of things. i was loved in the best way that people knew how to love. no one meant me harm, no one set out to purposefully hurt me. 
but my grandmother loved me in the purest way of anyone. and the pieces of her that i still own make me happy because THOSE memories i will cherish forever. 
so yes, i am keeping these shattered pieces and will be putting them together somehow.
but i won’t feel bad that a broken sugar bowl is still making me cry.

Friday, May 30, 2014

swagbucks update: signing bonus!

you guys know that i am cheap by now, right? ;-) well, one of the ways we are able to live as generously as we desire to is by using swagbucks gift cards not only for the things we want for "fun" (think target runs and amazon movie purchases as well as my weekly or so trip to starbucks) but also for birthday and christmas gift money. last year we used swagbucks gift cards for approximately 65% of our holiday gift spending. when you have an extended family as large as ours to buy for that is HUGE!

clearly swagbucks is something i love. i understand that it's not for everyone, but for those of you who would like to try it i'm writing this post to let you know thati  have exciting news and a great opportunity for all of you to earn bonus SB -- enough to get a free $5 gift card!  

any of my readers who signs up for through my link here between now and june 30th is eligible to get a 500 SB bonus! that is basically a free $5 gift card JUST for signing up through me. in order to get the bonus automatically*, you must also earn 1500 SB by July 14th. note that since this is an exclusive offer, you must sign up through this link and earn 1500 SB in order to get your 500 SB bonus. if you sign up elsewhere, or only do one of the two steps, the bonus unfortunately will not be available to you.  

so how do you get that 500 SB bonus? simple: you can earn SB from any of the earning activities found on the homepage or top bar of (shop, search, watch, play, answer, discover, daily crave, NOSO & daily poll). i am also ALWAYS available by email to give you more tips on how to earn. i actually have a pretty effective system that you can use with whatever time you have, whether it be one hour a day or ten! if you haven't started earning with Swagbucks yet, now is a great time to sign up and check out all the different ways to earn Bucks -- all so you can get a bunch of free gift cards.  

* Please note that it may take up to 14 business days to credit your account once you have earned 1500 SB. 
**ALL links in this post have been linked so that you will receive the signing don't worry about clicking on the wrong one! :-)

coming {very} soon: a few recipes that i've been making during the last few months of silence. also, more "only in lora's life" moments, more silly lists, more memories, and a couple of serious thoughts. maybe ;-)


Thursday, May 1, 2014

thursday's ten or so: lora's real life in text

here's a few snippets from actual texts i've either received or sent over the past few weeks...taken completely out of context and with no explanation. because, you know. why not?


     i did NOT sign up for rabies

currently following a truck that has the bumper sticker "some days all i want is to be a missing person". dark. but thought you would appreciate it.

we'll be creepy but healthy!

     apparently i was on the jumbotron while texting you that. oops.


autocorrecting my prayer isn't cool, phone.

why do you think toto was so insistent on blessing the rains down in africa?

        go punch her

hope you're not sequestered

my crazy runs deep

do you have those moments where you think "if anyone read this conversation they would seriously question my sanity"? yeah. guess i've just presented you all with evidence ;-) anything random in your messages that you'd like to share? :-)


Monday, April 7, 2014

monday's memory: the one with the signing of lots of papers

exactly one month ago
nearly 4 years (3 years and 11 months) after finding out i was losing my home
we signed papers and became homeowners

anthony for the first time
myself given a second chance
the loan is not in my name. we aren't yet done rebuilding my credit from the horrid hit it took way back then. but my name is on the deed

i feel like it's come full circle. that i am being given back in buckets what was taken from me. so grateful that redemption is a part of my journey. so thankful to have a place that's really OURS. and the timing of this and so much more is not escaping me. 

i'll show you photos of the inside once we get unpacked. so in approximately 6 months ;-)

but here we are in front of our adorable house!

and here is anthony giving emi her first tour of our new digs. thankfully, she approves because we aren't leaving here for awhile!