Super Quick Update

So much going on that my head is spinning… or maybe that’s just the annual spring migraine uptick or ME/CFS/long covid issues… Or maybe just my Heather Hazard-ness kicking in. Either way, it’s been a hot second since I’ve had a chance to jump on here and a pretty warm minute since I’ve had much time to write.

And God has been doing SO much, I can really only scratch the surface.

Most recently, He moved us to host an exchange student. With 10 days notice. During our youngest’s final semester of her senior year. And it’s wonderful. She is precious, fun, and funny and has been a blessing to our home. She also knows about God but doesn’t truly know Him, making the opportunity itself precious.

My prayer is for her to come to a deeper understanding of the love of the Father, the sacrifice of the Son, and the leading of the Holy Spirit and to surrender her life to this unfathomable and yet personal God I love and serve. I would be honored for anyone who wishes to join me in this prayer.

Lord use me as You wish.

There is so much else, I can’t really get into it, but here’s a quick bullet point update:

  • I improved the photography curriculum on my Teachers Pay Teacher’s store (linked).
  • I had covid again, though my guess is the omicron variant since I feel frequently sicker with ME/CFS!
  • Speaking of feeling sicker, I also recently had bronchitis. Yes, my body’s tradition of spending the second half of any school year I work outside the home seems to continue. Alas!
  • I forgot to share my last offering written for my church family – a brief thought on Sabbath (linked).
  • Currently praying about time to write since I have 3 solid fiction ideas, a dozen solid studious ideas, 0 minutes to devote to it at present, and -5 platforms/interested parties in publishing (which, of course, makes the whole thing harder to justify).
  • Also praying about what to do when no longer teaching after this semester and trusting God’s call.
  • Determined to get back to the blogosphere soon.

In the meantime, feel free to share my curriculum store and read my little devo for my church!

<3<3 Heather

New Year… Almost

On the first day of 2022, a Saturday morning, I took a walk at 10:00 am in shorts and a t-shirt, working up a bit of a sweat in the 73-degree weather. I tried to squeeze in some yard work but the expected rains drove me indoors. The next night, snow fell. I woke up yesterday morning to about three inches on the deck railing, though the roads were clear and the ground was patchy due to the previous day’s warmth.

Gotta love Tennessee. We have all the seasons, sometimes in the same week.

Anyway, this new year doesn’t quite feel like a new year to me… yet. The homeschooling journey I began in 2005 eventually led to a part-time teaching position at a private school, and so I still operate by school calendars. For me, the new year will begin in August, and with it a brand-new season of life.

That being said, January 2022 kicks off a semester of change for me. My baby is starting her final semester of high school. There is a possibility of a career change on the horizon for me. God has been up to so much, it’s almost too much to share.

Many of these changes will be reflected here. Keep checking back… You never know what you might find.

So I’m dusting off this underused space, and planning some changes. As I survey the cobwebbed corners, I find myself eager to get back.

Until then, please click the linked title to read the most recent offering for my church family: “Lifestyles of the Rested and Reliant.”

I hope to see you around soon!

Testify!

I don’t normally do this, but a sweet friend and sister in Christ was moved by my last post to share a testimony of God at work in her life. I found her story deeply moving and was humbled by her transparency.

I especially wanted to share it now as we can clearly see our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, waiting for someone to devour as 1 Peter 5:8 tells us. With her permission, I am sharing it here with you, edited slightly to protect her privacy:

“Scripture says, ‘Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins’ (James 5:20).

In the spirit of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, I wanted to share a piece of my story with you to give you some hope that Jesus can and will transform the hearts and minds of those you see behaving inappropriately—if they let him do so.

In the summer of 2018, my family and I left Station Hill (and church altogether) for about a year.  I was still deeply wounded from a Life Group experience gone wrong several months prior.  I’d struggled with them since the beginning, a chunk of which was my own fault.  I’d gotten into a couple of disagreements on social media about politics with a group member.  My natural political inclinations are center-left; the other’s are solidly right.  (Looking back, soooo embarrassing and immature.  I was willing to sacrifice the unity of the church and my and their Christian witness for my rights and rightness.)

The final straw came, though, when the pastor referenced the Supreme Court and abortion amidst the nasty Kavanaugh confirmation saga.  I’d had it.  I walked out of that church, didn’t talk to the pastor or anyone else, and was determined never to return.

To my dismay, however, God wouldn’t leave me alone about Station Hill or break my emotional ties entirely with the people of the church.  (They’d already walked with my husband and me through an intense season of infertility, but that’s another long story.  In addition, there’s gonna be using a lot of “I” pronouns since this is my story; my husband has his own perspective.)

I eventually returned once the church scheduled a meeting about how to support families at the border, a pro-life cause that I felt was being ignored by both the local church and the global white American evangelical one.  I kept coming periodically.  The pastor didn’t throw stones at me from the pulpit, and the two close friends there I had remaining generously welcomed me back.

The political sermon in the “True North” series was particularly healing for me.  I finally let the Spirit convict me enough to email the pastor to repent of treating the church like a country club instead of a family and for any hurt I’d caused by leaving the way I did.  He was gracious, extended the forgiveness to me I didn’t deserve, and invited me to ask any questions I had remaining.  Of course, those questions involved politics and revealed my heart of idolatry–which the pastor could see but I couldn’t at that point.

In a sermon a couple of weeks later, the pastor used a quote from Hudson Taylor that I hope I never forget–‘Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all.’  


You know how sometimes it seems that the pastor is looking straight at you?  That was one of those times for me.  I felt like I’d been stabbed in the heart; I very nearly burst into tears.  Jesus is my Savior, and I’d really thought He was my Lord.  It hurt me that the pastor didn’t think that Jesus was my Lord–‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend’ (Proverbs 27:6), though, because I obviously hadn’t surrendered to His Lordship when it came to politics. 

That statement, combined with a Coffee House Theology podcast on Galatians 4 that I just “happened” to tune into–about not letting the Judaizers (or their modern equivalent) lure you back into bondage—sparked some immense spiritual growth and love and healing.  I feel like I was “born again” again.   

While I haven’t been politically perfect since that time, God has been so gracious and patient and slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love to keep forgiving, teaching, and redirecting me.

I was obedient to let God remove me from a state government job that at that point was reinforcing my ungodly tendencies.  With the pastor’s sermons, I was able to finally see that I was trying to uphold government as the instrument of redemption, trying fruitlessly to force society to skip from brokenness to restoration without going through Jesus.

I surprised myself that when President Trump got Covid, my genuine desire was to pray for him instead of to gloat.  I opted to attend the Women’s Night at church rather than to watch another fruitless, divisive presidential debate.


Other followers of Jesus, not some political party that will rise and fall, are my true tribe now and forever will be.   💗 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rDeiy9-t2GE ” – L. P.

Unmasked

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

2 Timothy 2:3-4

Here’s a bit of irony for you: the issue of whether or not to wear a mask has unmasked a disturbing dereliction of duty within the Church.

If only the problem were confined to small bits of cloth…

But it isn’t. Every time I browse social media, a heaviness invades my heart.

So much of my feed brims with frustration. So many responses are subtly, or even overtly, hostile. So many opinions flung into virtual print seethe with smugness and accusation but lack verifiable data.

It’s sad to see the bickering in the secular world, but it’s appalling to see it within the Body of Christ. It’s as if we’ve forgotten who our enemy is.

Our enemy is not the lady asking you to please put on a mask in the grocery entryway, nor is it the man walking around without one.

Politicians, political parties, billion dollar industries, liberals, conservatives, illnesses, treatments, “THEM” – none of these are our enemies. And none will be our savior.

In truth, all the issues causing us distress and mouth-foaming rage are temporary. Transient. A vapor soon dispersed by the wind.

For those of us who are in Christ, the time we spend here is not a matter of rights or politics or safety. It’s a matter of eternal life or death.

Brothers and sisters, the hour is growing late. We are ambassadors for the King, and it’s imperative we remember what this means.

And if I may be frank, getting caught up in the swirling digital babble clamoring over politics and masks and disease numbers and the maelstrom of controversy does not point the hurting, sin-weary heart to Christ.

We are called to share in suffering, not dodge it. We willingly sacrifice all else in order to proclaim forgiveness of sin through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If we are in Christ, our allegiance is not to any worldly agenda. It is to God’s agenda, and it we take it up at any cost to ourselves. A quick glance through the pages of Scripture yields several examples.

Jeremiah endured public ridicule and imprisonment, but not for his rights – for the Word of God. And he did it after God told him no one would listen.

Hosea did not place his right to a happy and satisfying marriage over his obedience to God’s command to marry an unfaithful prostitute. The command of God superseded his rights and he knew it. And acted on it.

Ezekiel did not spend over a year lying on his left side and eating bread baked over a poop fire because it brought him joy. He did it for the Lord.

Paul did not suffer persecution, torture, and chains by standing up for his earthly freedoms. He, too, did it for the honor of serving the Lord.

They knew what today’s Church seems to have forgotten. This world is dark, broken, horrible. Bad things will happen. And yes, we will lose rights and freedoms; we will be persecuted. We will suffer harm.

But if we belong to Christ, we will not be overcome so long as we remain faithful to Him and His calling on our lives. But we must have a willingness to share in suffering as good soldiers.

The enemy is not out there, fudging numbers and plotting to cover the faces of the globe with cloth. The true enemy works intimately, stirring up our pride; our selfishness; our sin.

Mine. Yours.

And he is gloating over our distraction from our primary purpose as ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. Let’s no longer give him the satisfaction.

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, 
but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 
Rejoice always, 
pray without ceasing, 
give thanks in all circumstances; 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 
Do not quench the Spirit. 
Do not despise prophecies, but test everything;
hold fast what is good. 
Abstain from every form of evil. 
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, 
and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-24

Of Dogs and Disciples

A revised TBT post in honor of Chestnut who suffered with DM in his last weeks. He achieved his potential.

RIP Chestnut 2010 – 2020

My husband and I have developed our own dog ranking system, partially in jest and partly because…  well, partly because.

In order, the Official Davis Dog Hierarchy is:

  1. Good Dog
  2. Has Potential
  3. Bad Dog

Allow me to embellish.

This is Mayumi:

Yumi001

Mayumi is a Good Dog.

She is very obedient… with occasional exceptions, typically because I haven’t given her adequate exercise. When small children are over, she’s gentle and submissive. As for tricks, she can jump through hoops, sit, stay, high-five with alternating paws, close the door (well, sometimes), and play dead.

As a puppy, she would lay quietly in her crate as long as she could see me. Mayumi is my loyal companion who follows me from room to room and generally wants to be near me. She is calm and can be trusted with people of all ages and animals of all sizes. I love this dog!

This is Chestnut:

Chestnut Has Potential.

For the most part, he is obedient (even coming when called more faithfully than Mayumi), but he does lack self-control.

He absolutely adores people – exuberantly adores them with wild, oafish boundings and clumsy gyrations that threaten the vertical stability of moderately sized humans. Chestnut also has trouble holding his licker and frequently leaves slobber trails on… well, everything.

Due to his… ah, enthusiasm… we crate him when small children or elderly people are visiting. Not all furry things that enter our yard survive – except the three skunks that got him first (honestly, three times !!! Sheesh!!).

I have no pictures of Sable, but she was aptly named. Sable was a Bad Dog.

In the brief time she lived with us, she managed to terrorize the children, (who were still very young), lose all off-leash privileges inside and outside the house, and generally cause me to rue the day I first saw her.

On her final chance off leash in our yard, this demon dog attacked me. Fortunately, I had some training in judo and her snarling challenge went rather badly for her. I walked away from the encounter carrying her by the scruff, angry but unhurt.

Sable became a junkyard dog.

Last but not least, this is our Miscreant thinning the herd of origami reindeer given us by the talented Mr. Leonard Gluck.:

But he’s in a different class entirely.

These animals -or more specifically, their rankings – remind me of myself.

Before I came to know and love the Most High God, I was as dark-hearted as Sable, a miscreant in an altogether separate category – an aimless and nameless wastrel.

But instead of meting out the death penalty I had earned, God did something altogether unexpected and remarkable: He sent His only Son to live out a pure human life without sin and then to die in my place. He – Yeshua Messiah – satisfied justice as the spotless atoning sacrifice; the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

When I deserved pitiless death, I received mercy… and yet God did not stop there. With grace beyond my wildest reckoning, He raised His Son to life again – and promised if I would unite myself with the Son by dying to my own selfish nature and desires, I would be granted a share of His resurrection, too!

Although I was a reprobate, the King called me Daughter.

Although I deserve to pay for my sins, He not only forgave my debt but lavished upon me a spiritual inheritance of inestimable value. What’s more, He has brought light and life to all that was darkened and deadened within me.

My Lord and my God! May the wonder of it all never cease to astonish me!

If I truly love Him for this incredible gift, my life ought to reflect nothing short of complete devotion and steadfast loyalty to Him.

Kind of like Mayumi is with me.

Where He is, I want to be. When He commands; I want to obey promptly. Though I may slip up from time to time, I earnestly desire to be fully His, wholly trusting Him and trusted by Him around people of all ages.

May I never be a casual partaker of Grace, giving the Almighty a perfunctory nod as I tuck His gift carelessly in a pocket while asking Him to bless my self-determined course!

In short, I do not want to a disciple who merely Has Potential…

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Colossians 1:9-10

“Hang In There” – Bill Sweeney

Caught up in the whirlwind of the end of the school year, so once again: Apologies for being mostly vacant from the blogosphere! The good Lord willing, I’ll be back in the mix soon. Until then – and for anyone else going through a crazy time – I wanted to share this wonderful post from my dear brother-in-Christ, Bill Sweeney. If anyone knows what it means to be held aloft by the grace of God, it’s Bill…

Something to Think About…

If today you are unsaved and you have sometimes stumbled over the inconsistency of Christians, let me say that the Word of God takes it for granted that Christians need constant admonishing, but you are invited to come just as you are to Christ, trust Him as your Savior, receive the divine life by faith, and then live as a Christian should and show the rest of us what a real Christian ought to be.

-H. A. Ironside, from In the Heavenlies

Liebster Award – Passing it On

liebster-logoWell, before my week gets a little bit crazy and probably a lot weird thanks to a new culinary adventure I will be embarking on (more than that later),  I thought I’d take a few moments and indulge in a little fun… especially since my youngest turned 13 today and fun is certainly one way to keep me from an overdose of nostalgia about when they were all babies.

The multi-talented Mitch Teemley nominated me for a Liebster Award recently, and I am excited to pass on my own nominations to you!  If you haven’t heard of this award, just know that it is a great way to get the word out about other bloggers you know and a nomination is a pretty sweet vote of confidence from a fellow blogger.

Mitch, please accept my gratitude for your nomination <insert curtsey here>.

I definitely recommend checking out his wonderful blog, The Power of Story, (and also his upcoming film, Over the Rhine)!

Of course, there are some rules, but they are just as fun. ;

RULES:

  • Thank the nominator (Thanks again!)
  • Answer the questions
  • Nominate others (though none of you are under any obligation to participate!)

So. First for my nominations. These are all blogs either of personal friends or blogs I have read some great content on and deserve more traffic (in my opinion):

Detective Gluck

You Can Trust Him

Theological Jon

The First Gleam of Dawn

Unto Christ’s Fullness

God’s Grace – God’s Glory!

Scott’s Blog – Jesus Be With You

Laura Bennett

Lilka Raphael – Author and Photographer

Lastly, the questions:

1. If you could be any animal on earth, what would it be and why?  A swallow. I adore watching them swoop and dive like little feathered masters of the air. What it must feel like to fly that way!

2. If you had to write the soundtrack of your life, what would be the first three songs?  Eh… I’m too tired to decide. Probably something like

3. If your death was imminent, what would you choose as your last meal?   The Bread of Life and Living Water – kind of like an appetizer before the great feast.

4. What movie that has not yet been made would you pay good money to see?   Yeah… not so sure. I like movies but I am cheap and would still prefer a good book or a nice, long hike.

5. What was your favorite age to be and why?  Maybe 30 ?? All three kids were babies and every day had built-in entertainment.

6. What is the one book that has most inspired your writing and/or life?  The Bible is definitely tops. The first time I read it all the way through, I came out a different person on the other side. Outside of the Bible, maybe G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters… 

7. If you could live anywhere you please, without that pesky restraint called money, where would it be and why?  Somewhere with a gorgeous view of either the mountains (Smokies, Rockies… not too picky) and/or a gorgeous view of a natural beach with no condos/other houses in sight… but maybe a few live oaks. Why? because I love, love, love to see the beauty of creation and the wonder of the creatures my Father has populated it with. But I do not love crowds, concrete, and exhaust fumes.

 

Going to the Dogs… or Maybe Not

My husband and I have developed our own dog ranking system, partially in jest and partly because…  well, partly because.

In order, the Official Davis Hierarchy is:

  1. Good Dog
  2. Has Potential
  3. Bad Dog

Allow me to embellish.

This is Mayumi:

Yumi001
Mayumi

Mayumi is a Good Dog.

She is very obedient… with occasional exceptions, typically because I haven’t given her adequate exercise. When small children are over, she’s gentle and submissive. As for tricks, she can jump through hoops, sit, stay, high-five with alternating paws, close the door (well, sometimes), and play dead.

As a puppy, she would lay quietly in her crate as long as she could see me. Mayumi is my loyal companion who follows me from room to room and generally wants to be near me. She is calm and can be trusted with people of all ages and animals of all sizes. I love this dog!

This is Chestnut:

Chestnut Has Potential.

For the most part, he is obedient (even coming when called more faithfully than Mayumi), but he does lack self-control.

He absolutely adores people – exuberantly adores them with wild, oafish boundings and clumsy gyrations that threaten the vertical stability of moderately sized humans. Chestnut also has trouble holding his licker and frequently leaves slobber trails on… well, everything.

Due to his… ah, enthusiasm… we crate him when small children or elderly people are visiting. Not all furry things that enter our yard survive – except the three skunks that got him first (honestly, three times !!! Sheesh!!).

My husband and I joke that his tombstone will read RIP Chestnut: He Had Potential. 

I have no pictures of Sable, but she was aptly named. Sable was a Bad Dog.

In the brief time she lived with us, she managed to frighten the children (who were still very young), lose all off-leash privileges inside and outside the house, and made me rue the day I first saw her.

On her second and final chance off leash in our yard, this demon dog attacked me. Fortunately, I had some training in judo and her snarling challenge went rather badly for her. I walked away from the encounter carrying her by the scruff, angry but unhurt.

Sable became a junkyard dog.

…And this is our Miscreant thinning the herd of origami reindeer given us by the talented Mr. Leonard Gluck.:

But he’s in a different class entirely.

These animals -or more specifically, their rankings – remind me of myself.

Before I came to know and love the Most High God, I was as dark-hearted as Sable, a miscreant in an altogether separate category – an aimless and nameless wastrel.

But instead of meting out the death penalty I had earned, God did something altogether unexpected and remarkable: He sent His only Son to live out a pure human life without sin and then to die in my place. He – Yeshua Messiah – satisfied justice as the spotless atoning sacrifice; the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

When I deserved pitiless death, I received mercy… and yet God did not stop there. With grace beyond my wildest reckoning, He raised His Son to life again – and promised if I would unite myself with the Son by dying to my own selfish nature and desires, I would be granted a share of His resurrection, too!

Although I was a reprobate, the King called me Daughter.

Although I deserve to pay for my sins, He not only forgave my debt but lavished upon me a spiritual inheritance of inestimable value. What’s more, He has brought light and life to all that was darkened and deadened within me.

My Lord and my God! May the wonder of it all never cease to astonish me!

If I truly love Him for this incredible gift, my life ought to reflect nothing short of complete devotion and steadfast loyalty to Him.

Kind of like Mayumi is with me.

Where He is, I want to be. When He commands; I want to obey promptly. Though I may slip up from time to time, I earnestly desire to be fully His, wholly trusting Him and trusted by Him around people of all ages.

May I never be a casual partaker of Grace, giving the Almighty a perfunctory nod as I tuck His gift carelessly in a pocket while asking Him to bless my self-determined course!

In short, I do not want to a disciple who merely Has Potential…

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Colossians 1:9-10

On the way out the door~~

Loved this post from Inspiration with an Attitude! Maybe I just needed a reminder that the presence of a promise doesn’t preclude the need of a battle or two (or three, etc.)…

INSPIRATION with an ATTITUDE

IMG_20150103_172451138Remember sending your kiddo off to kindergarten that first day?  Or camp?  Or that first solo in the car? (GAG!) Or college?  I remember the anxiety of allowing our teenage girls to go on month-long mission trips out of the country. The first one was to Hong Kong when it was still under British rule, and I found out (after the fact) that my 14-year-old smuggled Bibles into China.  She assured me it was safe. 

Because 14-year-olds know these things.

On one such excursion, one of our daughters reported that when she arrived at the staging complex, there signs posted everywhere that read “CALL YOUR MOTHER!”  Somebody there must have compassionately understood.

Now, by the grace of God, all three of our children have

View original post 499 more words