Keepin’ it real

If you have any form of social media , you can’t help but notice that it’s back to school time.

Some of you may not have been able to get your children to pose for the photo that every other family appears to take on this monumental occasion. Do not despair. I too have experienced that lackluster want from my children to stand still for the seconds it would take to achieve such a photograph.

My mind always goes back to 2011 when the best we could achieve was this gem.


Can anyone relate? I sure hope so.

This year didn’t go much better.

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Just kidding.

They were a bit more optimistic about the thought of school this year.

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Fikirte is entering 8th grade and will be 14 next month. Kaden is taking on the Jr. High and 6th grade. Konjit is ready for 5th grade, but we wonder if it’s ready for her. Karson, be still my heart, is a 4th grader.

There have been years when I’ve been sentimental and emotional on the first day of school. There have been years when I worried my way through that first day.

I remember moving to Mt. Pulaski during Kaden’s Kindergarten year, requiring him to transition mid-year. And I worried.

I remember taking Karson to Kindergarten when she was barely 5, hoping that it wasn’t too soon. And I worried.

I remember walking Konjit into her 2nd grade class when she had only been in the US for two months. And I worried.

I remember Fikirte following closely behind with only three months in the US and taking on the 5th grade. And I worried.

And EVERY time EVERYthing was okay.

So today we huddled in our backyard praying for the new school year and spent some time focusing on the gift of school and an education. What a blessing. We prayed to make the most of this school year opportunity.

I promised to keep it real, so I am sharing my first day photo.

I’m saying, “Yes!” because school is back in session. It was time. And everything is going to be okay.

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Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.      ~Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) 

service…with a smile

I am in the process of cleaning some files from my computer and ran across a little paragraph I had written approximately two years ago. 

At the time, a student had written a post on a social networking site, and I felt the need to respond.  She posed a question.  She wanted to know how her professors (of which I had been), at her Christian college, smiled through the everyday and was concerned that the “Christian bubble” had taken us captive.  She believed her institution was disconnected from the real world.  What else, other than disconnection, could explain the ability to smile and serve on a daily basis?  Were we aware of those outside of our institution’s walls, the hardships, the atrocities, the tragedies?  She suspected that if we were aware, our response would not be as such.  Did we live a life of oblivion? 

I wanted to respond in many directions…

…that I was fully aware that life wasn’t always rosy even inside the bubble.  That Christ followers are people, and people deal with anger, sadness, happiness, and fear…sometimes, on a daily basis.  One’s location doesn’t affect that. 

…that I don’t smile everyday.  There are days that my heart cries out in sadness, and my smile is replaced by tears.  Life is hard, but God is good.  He is faithful to a damaged heart.  Some days I am quick to anger, but God continues to remind me that it should not be directed at those I love.  Anger should be reserved for injustice, oppression, and exploitation.

But, I did my best to boil it down.  This was my response:

I, like every faculty member I come in daily contact with, am active in my community.  But I do not serve under the title of professor, but as Deanne, follower of Christ.  My smile is not from a bubble world or oblivion.  I experience the world every day, as every wife, parent, adult does.  My smile comes from a love that I cannot for the life of me comprehend; a love that I do not deserve but has been given to me unconditionally.  That is why I serve and that is why I smile.

Today, I would like to add this:

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another withour grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.”

I Peter 4:8-11


Some Sundays I have the opportunity to share the communion meditation with my church family; today was such a day.

Our sermon at MPCC was based on Titus 2:3-8.  While I was reading in preparation, there was one word that kept running through my mind: example.

Webster’s Dictionary states that an example is one of a number of things, or a part of something, taken to show the character of the whole.  Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary shares that an example is one that serves as a pattern to be imitated or not imitated. 

We are reminded throughout the scriptures that being a follower of Christ means exemplifying Christ-like behavior.

In I Timothy 4:12, young believers are reminded:

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”         

I have worked at a Christian institution for the past 11 years and have witnessed young people take these verses to heart.  You are never too young to exemplify Christ, and you are never too old to learn from someone else’s example.

In John 13:15 we read the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples:

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” 

He had just washed the feet of His disciples; men who were following Him, serving Him, and He washed their feet.

The ulimate of examples and we have to look no further than here:

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”                             

                                                                                                                                     I Peter 2: 21-24


“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”     Proverbs 3:5-6

I’m pondering how much time I spend writing other things on my heart and how much space I use up while I’m doing it.  Not purposefully, mind you, but it is done none the less. 

And maybe that’s the point.  Being purposeful.  Taking the time every day to bind love and faithfulness around my neck, to write them on my heart until it becomes a habit.