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I find art to be cathartic. Here’s what I’ve been doing lately thanks to some great ideas on Pinterest.

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50 Years

My parents recently celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary with a vow renewal ceremony. I was unable to be there, but wrote this piece for the pastor to read to them. It was a surprise. They renewed their vows in the same chapel with the same pastor on the same day of the week. Just as their original wedding was just the two of them and the pastor and his wife, the same was true this time around. This was how I chose to honor them on their special day. 

 

Myles Munroe once said, “It is my conviction that marriage is such a good idea, only God could have thought of it.”

The idea of marriage indeed came from God and we find it in Genesis 2. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”  It is God-ordained and till death do us part.

50 years ago you stood at this very spot. Two teenagers with no wealth, no family, and an uncertain future. Some must have shook their heads and whispered, “It’ll never last.” But God had a plan. Here you stand, having reached a milestone that few in this day and age will ever reach, proving the doubters and scoffers wrong.

The journey to this 50-year milestone wasn’t without its challenges. A new marriage between two who were just kids themselves had to have been difficult. Navigating a new-found faith in Christ, getting to know the virtual stranger next to you, and looking into the eyes of your little girl realizing the full weight of that responsibility was a tall order. But you both rose to the challenge. With the tenacity of bulldogs, you determined to make this thing work, to raise this baby girl, and to live for Christ. There were hard times: moves across the states, bankruptcy, fights, the loss of a son, and the agony of a prodigal daughter who has yet to come home. These hardships sharpened you. They chipped away at the hard places and carved your marriage into what it is today, a reflection of Christ and the church.

God ordained marriage between two distinct kinds, male and female. He gave them each distinct roles; head and helper. And He said they weren’t optional. Dad you have grown into your role to love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. As I look at your marriage today, I see you filling those shoes in the way that you love Mom and care for her with beautiful acts of service. And Mom, you have modeled for me what it means to respect your husband and submit to him as the head. I’ve heard you defend Dad’s honor to others who would refer to him as, “your old man,” and I’ve watched you walk beside him, being his helpmate.

On this special day I want to say thank you. Thank you for keeping me. Thank you for doing the hard work to not only make your marriage last, but to allow God to work, growing it into something beautiful and strong. Thank you for raising me in a way that pointed me to Christ and for the many fun times of laughter, camping trips, rubber-band wars, water fights, and picking green beans. May God bless you and your marriage for many years to come and may your legacy live on in me, my marriage, and the lives of your granddaughters Annalise and Kendall. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Wind in My Sails

Tomorrow marks the end of the most difficult year I’ve had in 26 years as an educator. I will shed tears tomorrow, not of sorrow at saying goodbye to another group of kids, but those that come from being emotionally spent and utterly exhausted.

My hands have been full this year with several students who required a myriad of interventions, systems, schedules, and documentation. I used every management tool in my toolbelt and acquired new ones along the way. I feel like most of my tools have been put through a grinder and spit back out. A few of my students with high needs made progress, but still have a long road ahead of them while others are still on square one. Many days I wondered, “Do these kids even care that I’ve worked so hard to help them? Do their parents even give a rip? Am I making any difference at all?”

After school today, the parents of one of my students approached me. His father held out his hand and said, “In case I don’t see you tomorrow, I want to thank you,” at this point he had to swallow back tears before he continued. “For all you’ve done to help our son. We appreciate all the hard work you put in. It means a lot to us.” As I wiped tears from my own eyes, his wife hugged me and said, “We know that it’s tough with our son, but you are the only teacher who has actually cared about him.” Then their son gave me a hug and as I hugged him back, I told him that I love him and am proud of his progress this year. I encouraged him to keep working at things and make more progress next year.

These parents could have given me any myriad of gifts: a candle, coffee mug, Starbucks card, or any other “teacher-gift,” but their words put new wind in my sails. I told them that that they have no idea how much their words mean to me and reassured them that I love their son and consider it an honor to have been his teacher. Their gift of a genuine, heart-felt thank you was the best gift they could have given me.

Is there someone in your life who could benefit from your heart-felt words of gratitude? Don’t delay my friend. Fill their sails with fresh wind. It may be just the push they need to make it through one more day.

Esteeming Value

Monday I attended Kendall’s beginning voice class final recital. I loved hearing her sing. She has such a unique voice. I am so proud of the young woman she has turned out to be. It’s exciting to see where God is taking her. Listening to her sing, makes this mama get all teary-eyed. She’s such a beauty!

I witnessed something else today that also touched my heart. Three special needs students were in the class. The professor, Mr. Sorber, took the stage with all three of them, as they made their way through “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical. Mr. Sorber, smiled and encouraged them all the way through. He esteemed value to them and it was truly a special moment. All 3 beamed with pride at what they accomplished with a little help from a loving, and caring professor. Kudos to Mr. Sorber!

Our Gracious Promise

This young lady graduates from high school soon. This last week, my husband and I were privileged to attend senior night at youth group and speak words of blessing over her. Our words follow.

Annalise,

How blessed it is to be your mom. From the moment I knew you were coming, I looked forward with excited anticipation to meeting you. I remember holding you in the hospital and wondering what your personality would be like, what special talents God would give you, and how God would use you? As the answers came I was not disappointed, but pleasantly surprised.

Watching you grow and develop into all that God has for you has been exciting and a huge blessing. We don’t yet know what your future will hold, but the next several years will be pivotal for you as you seek to hear from God about which forks in the road to take. This time will be exciting and challenging, but hold onto Jesus and he will guide your steps.

Jessica Annalise, our blessed and gracious promise, you have lived up to the meaning of your name. You have been a great blessing to us, for there is no greater joy for us as Christian parents than to see you develop your own relationship with Christ not because we told you it was the best way, but because you fell in love with Jesus and have a passion for the things of God.

The depth of my love for you is immense. I’m not sure you will truly grasp how strong it is until you hold your own firstborn in your arms. It’s a love like no other.

We have raised you in the love and admonition of the Lord, and we have worked to create a healthier and less dysfunctional childhood for you than we had. We have not been perfect, but just as your name says, you’ve been gracious and forgiving when we’ve fallen short.

Your life is about to change as you leave childhood behind and enter the adult world. I am confident that you are prepared and ready to tackle the future with confidence in whose you are. Our role as your parents will change and we will serve less as authority figures and more as respected advisors. Together we will navigate these unfamiliar waters with the help of God’s word and the Holy Spirit.

I am proud of you Annalise. You have truly fulfilled 1 Peter 3: 3. Your beauty radiates from a gentle and quiet spirit and you are precious in God’s sight.

Tonight, I stand beside your father in unity as he blesses you, passing on a godly heritage. He has loved you and poured into you on a regular basis even when he’s had to face some very difficult giants of his own. He is full of godly wisdom and has an important role in your life. You will do well to consider his advice as you make your way through this time of transition into adulthood.

I love you sweet girl.


Annalise,

It is my great privilege to be your father. You and your sister are pearls in my world – beautiful pearls like it says in Mathew.

I greatly appreciate that Jeremiah had this evening in mind but I also am fully convinced that God in His providence ordained this matter.

Blessing you is no trifling matter to me. It is in fact a matter of great importance. In my own earthly father’s ignorance of the scriptures, he cursed me as a teenager. The effect on me was quite devastating and long lasting. Personal demons have plagued me to this very day. My desire for you is the exact opposite and I do not take this matter lightly.

I am very, very proud of you, Annalise – both for who you are and for what you have done. You have become a wonderful young woman. I am fully convinced that as you continue to seek and love the Lord with all of your heart He will lead you and guide you into the great adventure He has for you in this life.

You must be diligent to study the scriptures daily so that you will renew your mind, know what God’s will is for you, and be able to discern the truth from error.

Please remember and take to heart God’s warning to avoid getting unequally yoked. Let Genesis 24 be your charge regarding boys. Settle it in your heart to serve your heavenly father and let him bring the right boy along at the right time.

If for any reason at all you turn away from God and raise your children outside of your faith then you will put a curse on them. The curses are long lasting and devastating – so don’t allow that to happen. I know you won’t.

When you suffer do the following things: 1. Pray 2. Ask God what he wants to tell you through the suffering. 2. Embrace the practice of reflection 3. Learn the role of struggle in your life.

Annalise, your faith is very precious to your mother and I. Do not take it for granted. Your faith has been handed down to you at a high cost by your mother and I and by the ultimate price by your Savior. Treat it as the ultimate treasure that it is.

The Lord loves you Annalise and He will cause you to know that He indeed loves you.

JESSICA ANNALISE HUNNICUTT

The Lord bless you

The Lord keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’

And so the Lord has put His name upon you, Annalise.

AMEN

1/2 a Century!

 

Today I reached the 1/2 century mark. What a day! My friend Nancy picked me up for work with my favorite Starbucks, salted caramel hot chocolate. She also had a gift waiting on the front seat for me, this great backpack, perfect for a rainy day! And a platter full of chocolate covered shortbread cookies for our grade level team to share.

Then, it is Day of the Teacher so PTA provided lunch for everyone catered by a taco truck. Two students gave me Starbucks gift cards today. This was all for teacher appreciation week, but it still added some extra pizzaz to my birthday.

I came home to a vase full of a dozen yellow roses from Mom and Dad! Beautiful! And a wonderful gift basket from my husband and daughters full of things I love and these adorable serving platters! Not to mention a dozen Shari’s Berries! Nothing beats a chocolate covered strawberry and Shari’s Berries knows how to do them up great!

We are going to Senior night at church to honor Annalise, our firstborn. We get to speak some words of blessing over her and the youth pastor will pray over all of the seniors as they are soon moving on to the college group. I know I better take some tissues for this one! After Senior night, my family is taking me to dinner and then home for a slice of champagne birthday cake! I feel loved and honored! Turning 50’s not so bad!!!

 

24 Hours Without Facebook

It’s has now been 24 hours since I’ve been on Facebook. I’ve already noticed an increase in my time. That’s a good thing! Dinner has been served, dishes are done, and I’m getting ready to do some Bible study and it’s not even 7:00 pm yet! Will I miss some things without Facebook in my life? Probably. I’ll miss pictures that my friends share and may miss out on knowing about events around the community. However it might force me to actually call a friend or write a letter once in a while, and I know I can’t lose with the extra time I will have to devote to more important things than scrolling the newsfeed. My prediction is that overall my life will be better for having cut Facebook out.