Friday, May 26, 2017

farewell, until...

since you are in my heart…  

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”  Philippians 1:9-11


Although, i might not know your face,  i feel know your heart.  Through the year(s), we have shared much with each other… joy, hurts, frustration, disappointments, laughter, pain, anger, confusion, restlessness, sickness and more.  Hopefully, during this time you have experienced with me the constant presence of God; have witnessed how He can and does get us through hardships and trials; and have experienced how He uses absolutely e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g for His good and His glory. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

do you hear bells?

As final bells ring for this school year, i join Paul in his prayer for you, my sisters and brothers in Christ...

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ... you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:3-6

The week started out at a snail's pace, with Friday appearing so far, far away. But with the slew of special events and programs on tap, it soon felt more like a visit to the zoo, exciting but WiLd. And now, we are rounding the last turn to wrap up the year. Are you ready?  Together we will make it. 

Thank You, Father, for Your unconditional love.  A love manifested in so many ways, including the blessing of living and working with others. This family of believers you've surrounded me with have guided, encouraged and strengthened me in my faith and walk. How thankful i am to know You cover my needs in so many splendid ways. I love how i see You in so many faces!

we are loved and chosen by God,
 
may we live like we believe it,
veneal 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

mug shot

"For I can do everything through Christ, who give me strength." Philippians 4:13

Yes, we can... Yes, we can... Yes, we can!
Thank You, Father!

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

do you know where your children are?

"When can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?... 
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You..." Psalm 139:7,11,12

Skimming the library area, wide-eyed and dazed, Mrs. Reddy pleaded, "Do you know where my children are??"

Discussing plans for the day outside the darken workroom, Mrs. B and i had to giggle. We knew the answer. On the other side of the door, inside the darken room, Mrs. Reddy's class sat, quietly watching a DVD.  When we shared this with her, relief flooded her face.  Her twilight moment vanished, and her confidence was restored.
Final days are full of unbridled energy and excitement.  It's enough to make any teacher lose their senses... and maybe even their class.

Father, i am so thankful that no matter what wild path i take or crazy notion enters my head, You know.  You know my whereabouts, my heart and my needs.  Thank You for never letting me escape from Your grasp.   We belong to You not just for a season, but forever and ever.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal


In wake of the terror and evil at the Manchester Arena in London last night, prayers to the family and friends for comfort and healing.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

successful year?

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

The end of the school year is close.  How do you measure the success of your year...  by scores, grades, test results?
No matter what your numbers, i pray you see the success of your year through God's eyes.  May the success of your year be counted by the hugs, smiles and thankful hearts of those called yours this year.  The love and understanding from you has produced the sweetest results of all.

you are loved and chosen by God,
veneal 

Friday, May 19, 2017

the Real Thing

"O LORD God Almighty, who is like You? You are mighty, O LORD, and Your faithfulness surrounds You." Psalm 89:8

Ahh!  The Real Thing, He's right here...
and He's in you, and in you and in you.  As believers we contain and carry the Real Thing with us wherever we go.  May we refresh and quench the thirst of others for love, kindness, joy and understanding by letting the joy of our Father bubble over and onto them... He's the Real Thing.  

Thank You, Father.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, May 18, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ potter

"Yet You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand." Isaiah 64:8
Mold me and make me as You desire,
Then fill me, Father, with Your Holy Spirit and fire.

Created in love by Your Hands we shall be,
And children of Light for others to see.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

subs needed...

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5

"Hey, Ms. Shall, it's great seeing you. Do you have a grandchild here in school?"
"No, I'm subbing for Mrs. J."
"For who??"
"Mrs J."
"Really?? Mrs. J.??  I didn't know they got subs for the principal."

After we picked ourselves up off the floor from laughing, we hugged.  She was not subbing for the principal but for a classroom assistant, still big shoes to fill in the eyes of God and others.   
It was a sweet reminder, all are the hands and feet of Jesus.  Anyone whose path crosses a child has the opportunity to bring confidence, encouragement and guidance to them. No matter what our position/duty on earth is, our position/duty in Christ is the same for all... love one another.

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers unto His harvest field. Go!

Jesus is in need of some more subs to spread His glory.  He is counting on us to keep loving and help grow the field.  

we are all loved and chosen by God to be His Hands and Feet,
veneal

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ together

"...God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."  Hebrews 11:40

What's better than an ice cream cone?

An ice cream cone topped with mouth-watering ice cream!  Together, it's an awesome combination.

Whatever we are doing in life, we need to include God. Together, we are an awesome combination.  


we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Monday, May 15, 2017

fingerprints everywhere!

"Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory in the heavens...When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers..." Psalm 8:1,3

The fingerprints of God, we are surrounded by them...
Whether in nature or in His children, God has created a world of beauty with a tremendous divine purpose. God's love for us is as plain to see as a fingerprint on a clean window.  May our love for others be as obvious as His.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, May 12, 2017

celebrating you...

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you..." Isaiah 66:13
Whether through blood or through your heart, you provide continuous love, smiles and comfort to many children. 

Celebrating you this Mother's Day for your devotion and commitment in making a difference in the lives of all under your care.  Happy Mother's Day!  You are the best!!

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, May 11, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ testing

"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

Testing -- it's the word of the final month before school is out. And aren't you thankful for it?
Don't despair, teachers, you will survive and shine. Through testing, in and out of school, our faith grows as God provides us with the needed strength, guidance and peace.  When we slip down to the end of our rope, we find Him there.  Be thankful for the testing, it's our chance to experience the All Mighty Power of our Father.  

Believe, and let Him be the Answer to all our tests.

we are loved and chosen by God, 
veneal

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

no proof needed

"You have searched me, Lordand you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.... Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely...Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." Psalm 139:1-2,4,6

Strolling up to the counter, head tilted high, he insisted on showing proof of his need. But proof i did not want.  Seeing his need for a  tissue wasn't necessary. Telling me was enough.
What do you need right now? Sometimes an explanation or clarification is needed, and sometimes not. How thankful i am our Father knows precisely our needs. We don't have to show, tell or even explain it to Him. He's already aware. But, if we have a need to show or tell Him anyway, He listens patiently.



Dealing with a messy, difficult or unwanted situation?  God will grace us with an unlimited supply of tissues doused in His love and understanding to bring about our peace and healing.

He cares, He knows, He will provide what we need.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ believe

Jesus said...
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."  Mark 11:24
Yes we believe in God... but, the real question is do we have the courage and faith to take the "in" out.


Do we believe God?

Yes, Lord, yes. We believe You.


we are loved and chosen by God, 
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Monday, May 8, 2017

riding the waves

"Who is like You, Lord God Almighty?  You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You.  You rule over the surging sea;    when its waves mount up, You still them." Psalm 89:8-9

Watch out!
It's not quite time for the beach, but i already fill like i am riding the waves. The last several weeks at school are like a day at the beach.  Some days roll in calmly, some a bit rough and then WHAM! suddenly without warning, you are blindsided by a tsunami.
There's testing, reports, testing, reports and more testing.  And the students? Well, they are ready for sand between their toes.  What's a teacher to do?

When the waves of life knock you down and you feel like you can't get back up, don't panic. God, who is faithful, helps us back up... time after time again.  He is undeniably the number One wave rider and Defender.

Thank You, Father.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, May 5, 2017

He knows best...

"He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul." Psalm 23:2-3

"Come here, do this, do that, help her, help me, get this, take that"...

Sometimes we just need to sit.  And many times He's the only one who hears and recognizes our needs.
Saying a big thank You to our Mighty Father.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, May 4, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ kindness

"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2

We'll never see or know everyone God has put on our path to touch -- providing nourishment, direction or hope. Being available and sensitive to others, we could possibly help restore or provide a lifeline. What we don't see or understand, God does.  

Whether among angels or the lost and hurt --Be kind and compassionate to one another. 

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

so, who keeps promises anymore?

"Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood... Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all living creatures of every kind." Genesis 9:11,14

Broken promises... broken dreams... broken hearts. It doesn't take long in our life to experience heartaches. Sadly, a broken promise is as common as a broken fingernail. BUT, an earthly flood? -- that will NEVER, ever happen again.
Give thanks to the One whose promises are unshakable... delivers beyond our wildest dreams... and clutches our heart next to His so passionately it causes the fiercest of beasts to shutter and back away.

God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow is completely, undeniably TRUSTWORTHY.  His Book of Promises is powerful and worth reading over and over again.  It's the gospel; and that's a promise we can stand on. 
we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ P.I.G.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." Matthew 6:33-34

Life a bit crazy with the end-of-the-school year peering around the corner?

Relax and remember, Pig out...Peace In God, Outlasts Ur Troubles.
Keep Him first in all you do and together we can all finish with a smile.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Monday, May 1, 2017

sit tight...

"Be still and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10

SIT TIGHT... difficult words to digest when anxiously waiting for something to happen...


start now

application is accepted
test is passed
results are negative
you're hired
answer is yes
response is positive
you are approved
process is complete
help is here
treatment is complete
you are finished

In this fast-pace world, where immediacy is the rule, we routinely stomp our foot on a "Fruit of the Spirit". Patience is a lost and lesser desired trait, especially when facing questionable, trying times. The passing of a single day can feel like a thousand days.  We drum our fingers and pace the floor, as if it's possible to pound out the answer we desperately want now.  But then, between our deep sighs and groans, the voice of God whispers, "Be still." 


By slowing down to a snail's pace, we allow ourselves a chance to experience some blessings sprinkled on our path by God during the wait.  No doubt, we can even gain some smiles during this time.  But if hastiness is our chosen path, there is danger in neglecting to pray for God's discernment and guidance. 


And bear in mind, in some cases, the first answer might not the one He intends. There's the saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"... but i wonder. Suppose one of the bushes is an all-consuming, talking One.  Based on history, we'd be wise to wait, listen and side with the burning bush.

Father, i pray to be still, sit tight and listen for Your Voice.  As much as i hunger for answers, i long most to know it's Your Voice i hear and follow.  


we are loved and chosen by God, 

veneal

Friday, April 28, 2017

rest in the nest

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." Psalm 91:4

The comfort of a parent... can there be a greater refuge?


I think not, especially when your Parent is God.


we are loved and chosen by God,

veneal

Thursday, April 27, 2017

the perfect season (almost)

"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider; God has one as well as the other."  Ecclesiastes 7:14

Like many, i am thrilled winter is over, and spring is here.  I am not a fan of dull gray skies, bare trees and frigid temperatures. But spring does not blossom without its shortcomings too.  Pollen reeks havoc with all ages, and rain boots are a constant companion for the feet.  

But even with its drawbacks, spring provides us with much to celebrate. After all, we can't have the beauty of new life, lush green trees and brilliant flowers without some misery... like a rise of allergies and illnesses due to an increase of pollen and disease-ridden insects, fruits and veggies.

Happy is the heart that can still rejoice in the midst of tough times... just because God is still good. He has the power to bring excellence even out of hard, trying times. 

Love where you are because God is there -- no matter the season.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

rooted in Christ

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19
As you take hold and believe the immense love our Father pours freely out on you, may your roots dig deeper in faith. 
His glorious Sonshine flowing through you is meant for others to see, so they may know and believe Him too.  You are blooming and beautiful.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ FAT

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song." Psalm 28:7

It's still raining, but we are a day closer to Sonshine.
And look! Bursting through the wet soil, flowers are already showing up.  Thank You, Father.

It's all about FAT ... Faith, Attitude and Trust.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Monday, April 24, 2017

reign on

"But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You." Psalm 5:11

The weather is harsh and unpleasant. Whether it's showers, torrential downpours, storms, floods, gusty winds, thunder and lightening, shelter is required from the elements.  As a child of God, no matter what our day brings, we are under the umbrella of God's love and assured of His complete protection.  With Him, we have nothing to fear.
Through it all, just hold tightly onto Him.  In His perfect time, April showers will end and brilliant May flowers will bloom again.  Singing in the rain is possible, thanks to God. He reigns, we sing.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, April 21, 2017

whose prints are these?

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

The  damaged library book was an opportune moment to discuss book care.   Ms. B showed the class a book with a footprint on the page and asked, "How can this be prevented from happening?"

Without any hesitation Braden  shouted, "Clean your shoes!"

Although his answer was basically correct, it was not the one desired.

Sometimes when nudged by God, i'm sure the responses i mumble are not what He's wanting...

I'll do it later.
She doesn't deserve my help.
I need more time... more money... more resources.
I don't have enough to share.
I rather do something else. 
But he gets on my nerves.

Father, help me to see my struggles with Your eyes. Clean my soul and heart, for i am often short-sighted, self-centered and hasty in making decisions. Sometimes it's helpful for footprints to remain.  Any prints or handiwork left behind is good, when it comes from You.  

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, April 20, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ delivered

"But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength...  And I was delivered from the lion's mouth." 2 Timothy 4:17


Deadlines, no solutions, new problems, ugly threats, unexpected terrors, big teeth....

No need to panic. God is at our side...  ALWAYS.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

can you just trust me?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Exasperated from her student's relentless questions on the upcoming activity, the kindergarten teacher spun around on her heels replying, "Can you just trust me?? Please."
Waiting.  It's not an easy or welcomed state of being, whether we are 5 or 75. We are accustomed to instant answers, explanations and results.  Ms. Long's response reminded me, it's not necessary we know and understand everything happening in our life.  We need only trust and rely on our Teacher.  God has a plan for us, and it is good. All is revealed as He desires in His perfect time.

we are loved and chosen by God, 
veneal

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ roots

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."  Colossians 2:6-7
As your roots run deep into the rich love of God, the bounty of blessings will multiply, feeding you and others.

Father, as Your grace and mercy flow freely through You to me, may i grow in the Fruit of the Spirit -  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - so others may taste and know Your Almighty goodness.  

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Monday, April 17, 2017

the morning after...

"Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58

It's the day after Easter, and it's still a good day!  Don't let those doubts and fears seep back into your victorious soul.


Father, i am reminded you are among the living, not the dead.  May our lives reflect we believe that. You are reason enough for every day to be called Good.  Thank You for saving me.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Sunday, April 16, 2017

SPECTACULAR Sunday!

"HE HAS RISEN!"  Mark 16:6

"But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three - sin, guilt, death - are gone! the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!" 1 Corinthians 15:57

It's Easter Sunday

The earth shook, the cloth was folded, His work finished.
And the glory of the LORD shone all around.


Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal