It’s Not All About You

Below is the devotional I wrote for Zion Lutheran Church’s Fruit of the Spirit Easter devotional book written by the pastors and some of the congregation at my church. As you will read, Kimberly has made a positive impact on my life and helped shape the Christian woman I am today. The minute I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted Kimberly to be my daughter’s godmother. Kimberly (Aunt Kay Kay) continues to be a blessing in my life and is an extraordinary Christian mentor for my mini me!

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth. Matthew 5:5

It’s Not All About You

By: Jennifer Freeman Talley

Although often associated with negative connotations, meek does not equate to being weak, helpless, or timid. Meek is the opposite of arrogant and conceited. Meek people are not hoity-toity, presumptuous, or self-assertive. A meek person does not act superior to others. Being meek means showing grace to others, forgiving, and not holding grudges. The best example of meek is our loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! In Matthew 11:29, Jesus describes Himself as being meek. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

In my young adult life, I placed greater importance on worldly things (success, power, popularity) then I did on being meek like Jesus. Although I went to church and volunteered in Sunday School, I was focused on myself.

During this time, I met a Christian co-worker named Kimberly. As our friendship was developing, she began telling me, “Jennifer, it’s not all about you!” If she had brought this up once, I probably would have dismissed it, but it came up again and again. At first it was hard to hear, and I admit I was a bit offended, after all, no one wants to be told they are selfish or arrogant! But after observing Kimberly, I realized I had much to learn from her. I was immature and self-centered, and I knew I could do better. Kimberly looks outside of herself and treats everyone she encounters, even strangers with kindness and respect. Although Kimberly is a sinner like every one of us, she is a beautiful example of what it means to be meek because she makes a concentrated effort to show godly attributes wherever she goes.

I thank God for putting this amazing friend into my life! What a blessing to find a friend who freely shares her love for Jesus and walks in His image. She loves and cares deeply for others and wasn’t afraid to call me out so I could be a better version of myself!

I recently experienced a situation where I wasn’t assigned to do something I really wanted to do. I took a step back and reminded myself, “Jennifer, it’s not all about you!” God has a plan, and I need not interfere as He has others in mind to take part. It’s about Jesus! He is the way, the truth, and the life. Striving to live in His meek image has brought me more happiness than I could ever imagine!

Prayer: Dear God, help me be quiet when it is fitting but give me strength and courage to raise my voice when it will benefit Your children. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, so I can receive the reward of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. Amen

Reflection: Can you, like Jennifer, point to someone in your life that reminds you to get outside your own needs to focus on others? How does Jennifer’s description of ‘meek’ differ from being ‘weak?’ In what ways do the “meek inherit the Earth?”

With Kimberly (Aunt Kay Kay) on the day of mini me’s baptism in 2015.

Everyday is Easter…Easter Blessings From the Noteworthy Mommy

After the emotional journey to the cross during Holy Week, I was looking forward to Easter. As I got ready on Easter morning I was eagerly anticipating the hymns filled with alleluias, the scripture of promise, the brass quintet trumpeting the good news of a risen Jesus, and the brightness of lilies and colorful Easter outfits. All of these images hold a stark contrast from the quiet, silent, darkness of worship, a mere two days prior on Good Friday. Suddenly my thoughts of Easter celebration were interrupted when I heard the distant wailing of a lawn mower slicing through green grass recently awoken from a winter slumber. I asked myself, “Who would be cutting grass on Easter morning?” On the way to church my thoughts were shaken once again as I passed a huge car show with hundreds of immaculate hot rods on display and spectators spilling into the parking lot from a line a mile long. Again, I asked myself, “Who would have a car show on Easter morning?”

The thought of doing anything but praising our resurrected Savior on Easter got me thinking of the people in our world who don’t know about Jesus. But it also got me thinking how many times I have put worldly things in front of Jesus. Maybe not on Easter Sunday but certainly on other days. A friend posted on social media that every Sunday is Easter when you know Christ as your Savior. I would add that every day is Easter when you know the ending of the story.

But I certainly don’t treat every day as if it were Easter. Worries, social media, to do lists and busy schedules filled with activity consume my thoughts on most days. How many Sundays have I sat in the pew, in the Lord’s house, yet, Jesus did not receive my full attention? My mind wandering, distracted by the outside world. I know that Jesus has forgiven me but I can do a better job of making a concentrated effort of treating each day like it was Easter! That may come in the form of reading a devotional, doing a bible study, attending worship regularly, praying and sharing the good news of Jesus with others. Or finding a church to attend while on vacation and gathering the family together for evening devotions. It may be doing something kind and unexpected for someone else without intending anything in return. I can do better and if you’re still reading this, during this Easter season I challenge my Noteworthy Mommy readers to do better…treat each and everyday like it is Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

I found this in my daughter’s art table. No fancy paper or script but just the reminder I need each and every day of the year!

Fifty & Fabulous!…50 New Things During My 50th Year

On Christmas Day, December 25, 2021, I turned 50! Although I had some small celebrations with family and friends around my actual birthday, I chose to celebrate my BIG 50 for an entire year! If Walt Disney World can do it, why can’t I? During my 50th year I am going to do 50 things I have never done before. Some things will be small like reading a book I have never read, seeing a movie I’ve never seen or eating a new food. Others may be a bit more complex like trying a new hobby, experiencing a new activity or traveling to an unseen destination. Throughout the year I will challenge myself by participating in activities that force me to reach outside of my comfort zone. This will be a year filled with learning and discovery! I hope to include family and friends on some of my adventures, so if you have suggestions to add to my list please comment below. I’ll be documenting my “50 new things during my 50th year” on Noteworthy Mommy so make sure to check back often to keep up with my adventures. I look forward to experiencing 50 new things this year!

Celebrating my 50th Christmas Birthday with a giant donut!

Joy and Light For Christmas, During the Dark of Winter, and All Year Through

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Year 2022 from my family of three!

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Noteworthy Mommy! My family of three had a wonderful Advent season with beautiful concerts, lavish gatherings, meaningful church services and many wonderful memories made with family and friends. I celebrated my 50th birthday on Christmas Day (more about that in another post) and as I look back on the weeks leading up to our Savior’s birth, I am greeted with nothing but warm, happy memories.

But my family of three has had a rough start to the new year and as I sit here writing this greatly overdo message, I’m recovering from COVID and the overwhelming feeling of joy I felt during that time has faded. When I pass by our tired Christmas tree and see other decorations still decking our halls (I’ve been too exhausted to take them down), the once festive décor has lost its magical glow and now stands sadly forgotten in the shadows; eagerly waiting to be attended to, packed up and forgotten until next year.

Then I am taken back to some of those wonderful memories and am reminded how everywhere I looked throughout the season of Advent and during the season of Christmas, I saw or heard the word JOY. Not unusual since JOY is the word assigned to the third week in Advent and the song “Joy to the World” is in the top ten most beloved Christmas carols of all time. Or perhaps, after living in a COVID world for two years, we are all simply looking for some JOY.

And thanks to YouTube (click on the highlighted links below) I listened once again to the sermons my pastor gave regarding JOY on the third Sunday of Advent and again on Christmas Eve. I can hear Pastor Rouland say, “Joy is not just a synonym for happiness because happiness is fleeting, something that happens to us or wells up inside of us.” Like the feeling I get when I think of the fun I had celebrating with friends and family, the excitement I have playing music and singing in my church choir or the thrill of giving and receiving Christmas gifts this year. The feelings are real but fleeting, as the sins of this world bring us from highs to lows like a roller coaster of emotion. That is not joy. For JOY is different, a much deeper thing. Pastor Rouland continues, “JOY comes where faith, and difficulty and life connect. JOY is realizing that the struggle of following God in this life is worth it. That’s JOY that comes from Christ to you.”

So as I write this message I am certainly not as happy as I was in those memories, a mere month ago. My house is a mess, I’m not feeling 100% and my mini me is driving me crazy as she is literally bouncing off the walls but guess what…I have JOY. Pastor Rouland reminded me that JOY is not just the culmination of what is happening to me or how I feel. I have JOY because I know what Jesus has done for me. I have JOY knowing that He died for me and I have JOY because one day I will experience unimaginable, everlasting JOY in Heaven with Him. And because of that JOY I also have thanksgiving. I am thankful for God and all He has given me, the good and the bad. For the deep days make me stronger and help me see the tiny glimmers of light that come in the form of hope, peace, joy, and love. And through this dark time of being sick and helping my husband recover from surgery, there are waves of light that come in the form of friends and family who are praying, bringing food, and sending daily texts. And all of this light is created by God. For He has placed these beautiful people in my life. He is the light of the world, the center of my world, and He is JOY.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice! PHILIPPIANS 4:4

Even though this message is late, I hope you take the time to listen. My daughter’s talented teacher, Amy Bernhardt, gives the children’s message in both services and if you watch the entire Christmas Eve service you will see and hear me singing in the treble choir. “Mary Did You Know,” one of my favorite contemporary Christmas songs, is the selection my choir sings during communion.

Christmas Eve Service 2021- 3:00- Zion Lutheran Church

Christmas Card Prayers

What do you do with all of the delightful Christmas cards friends and family send you? This year we got some beautiful cards, including many photo cards, and it would be a shame to throw them away or put them in a box in the basement without doing something special.

When my friend Kristin shared this idea with my Moms in Prayer group, it was simply too good not to pass along to my Noteworthy Mommy readers! Kristen and her family put all of their cards in a basket. Each day they pull a card from the basket and then, as a family, they pray for the people who sent them the card. I simply love this idea! It’s a great way to enjoy your cards one last time before tossing them or packing them away and it allows you to connect with family and friends through prayer. Since most of our cards were photo cards, my mini me will see a picture of the people we are praying for. And what a lovely way to incorporate prayer and praying for others into the home. This will be the start of another fabulous Christmas tradition. Thank you Kristin for this brilliant idea! If you have additional ideas of things to do with Christmas cards, please post a comment and share.

Uncle Boyd…A Genuine Renaissance Man

Words can’t express how much this wonderful man will be missed here on Earth. How much I am missing him. Uncle Boyd was truly one of a kind. A Renaissance man with so many God given talents and a fun loving personality to go with those talents.

Uncle Boyd took up drawing in his retirement and these are some of the amazing birds he drew.

He loved children and always made sure they were included, going out of his way to make sure they felt special and were recognized. He got down on their level (which wasn’t easy to do with his tall stature) and softly spoke to them instead of at them. I loved seeing him interact with my mini me. Although they only met a few times, I have pleasant memories of my daughter laughing at her Great Uncle Boyd’s jovial antics. And as a mother, I appreciated the authentic connection he made with her.

Uncle Boyd loved children.

Uncle Boyd was a wordsmith. And when he spoke I hung onto every word! I can think of nothing I loved more than sitting in a comfy chair in his living room and listening to Uncle Boyd share his thoughts on education and learning. He was so well read, so well spoken…a brilliant mind! I always walked away from one of those conversations enlightened, looking at things in a new light and feeling more optimistic for the future. And like all great teachers, he never stopped learning. He constantly sought new experiences, studied and acknowledged differences and was willingly open to challenging himself. You would always find him reading a new book or two, often one for pleasure but always one or more on education reform or how the brain works or on how people learn. He never lectured “at you” but with his warm and gentle manner, guided you to think outside of yourself and to look at things in a different way. What a blessing those mini lectures were! What a blessing Uncle Boyd was to me and to my family of three! I truly am a better person because of him.

Uncle Boyd had so much fun with my mini me!

After my husband and I married and Uncle Boyd and Aunt Dixie became my new relations, I always made a point to meet up with them when I was in Minnesota for work. The educators I worked with would often comment how nice it was that I would take the time to visit my husband’s aunt and uncle but what they didn’t realize is I was the one benefiting from those visits! Uncle Boyd always asked me questions and he listened to me with interest and full concentration. When we were engaged in conversation I felt safe and carefree, as if the world and all of it’s problems were put on pause and the only thing of importance was our present conversation.

Uncle Boyd didn’t know a stranger. He was beloved everywhere he went. When I accompanied him to many of his favorite establishments (Punch Pizza, Nicollet Island Inn, Culver’s, just to make a few) he was given a personal greeting. Uncle Boyd always took the time to get to know others whether it be his neighbors, students, workers, church members or the servers at his favorite restaurants. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if Uncle Boyd could go anywhere without being recognized! When he and Aunt Dixie traveled to our wedding, a consultant friend of mine saw Uncle Boyd at breakfast and asked, “Dr. Purdom, what are you doing in southern IL?” He was one of her favorite college professors and she couldn’t believe I was marrying his nephew! Another time I was training teachers and happened to mention Uncle Boyd. Several teachers and an administrator commented how they had him as a professor and he had changed their views on child advocacy and adoption, inspiring one to become a foster parent. He noticed people, made them feel important and his smile and gentle nature always made people happy and at ease.

One of the many fabulous dinners we enjoyed together over the years.

My family of three hosted Christmas for the first time this year and before we even heard of his illness I had planned to read one of Uncle Boyd’s poems before dinner. It seemed fitting that his most recent poem was about family. He loved his family so very much. Along with education, those memorable conversations in his living room would always include stories of family. Stories of his days as a professor and his students, many who were like family. Aunt Dixie and Uncle Boyd opened their home up to college students during the holidays and always made sure that students who couldn’t be with their families had a place to gather. His face lit up as he shared stories about his daughter Angela. How very proud he was of his little girl! Some tell tale stories about his brothers and his wife and her sisters would always provide some good laughs! Uncle Boyd was a man of great faith and a conversation would never go by without him acknowledging his Heavenly Father and his love for his church. Uncle Boyd brought joy to all of us and we will all miss him. The lessons he taught, the jokes he played, the words he wrote, the pictures he painted and the love he showed to all of us, will never be forgotten. He will live on through each of us and through future generations. Until we meet again, my dear Uncle Boyd.

Uncle Boyd’s 2021 Christmas poem.
Due to COVID and being unable to safely travel, my last visit with Uncle Boyd was on August 28, 2018.

First Grade is a Sweet Place to Bee

Last week was my mini me’s first day of first grade! As an educator I would declare first grade as the most important year for the young child. For it’s in first grade where children develop reading and writing skills. These skills are necessary for future academic success. Children come to first grade with an introduction to academics but it’s in first grade where these foundational skills are developed and refined and put into practice. First grade is where students either fall in love with learning or if they are struggling and don’t receive proper support, may begin to dislike school. Since first grade is so important it is imperative that dedicated teachers who understand the reading process and the development of the young child be assigned to teach it! It is a difficult grade to teach because at the beginning of the year some instruction looks like kindergarten but quickly shifts into more rigor and by the end of the year, looks like second grade! I often say a good first grade teacher could successfully teach all of the grades!

My daughter and her teacher, Mrs. Bernhardt.

A Dedicated Teacher– My daughter’s first grade teacher, Mrs. Bernhardt, really took the time to get to know her students before school began. She did a personal Zoom with each child, sent out welcoming post cards, wrote an introduction on her blog, had parents fill out a survey and scheduled a one on one classroom visit for each family. She picked up on the fact that my daughter loves animals and unicorns and used that knowledge to build a relationship with her before school even started. But what impressed me the most, was her open invitation to chat over the phone and discuss questions and concerns. She called me one afternoon and we chatted for 45 minutes (yes, you read that right… 45 minutes!) We talked about my daughter’s needs and she took my concerns seriously; offering suggestions and brainstorming things she can do to support my daughter this year. I know we are going to have a fantastic school year because my daughter has a teacher who genuinely cares for her well being. My daughter has a teacher who will share and model the love of Jesus with her students, build a partnership with parents and go over and beyond to ensure that the students entrusted in her care have success not only in school but in life!

Busy Bees– Mrs. Bernhardt calls her students her busy bees and during open house she had them buzz around the room and collect the following items: a sweet treat, zoo stickers and a family devotional. What a wonderful way to get the children quickly acquainted with the classroom!

Sweet Dreams Poem– At open house Mrs. Bernhardt gave each student a copy of Sweet Dreams and instructed them to open it on the night before the first day of school. Inside was an original poem to help ease any anxieties they had about first grade. A bag of confetti was included and my daughter enjoyed putting the special confetti under her pillow at bedtime so she would have sweet dreams and be well rested for the big day! A few nights later I fell asleep while reading to my daughter in bed and my daughter said, “Momma, you must have some of the sweet dream confetti under your pillow!” Mrs. Bernhardt also shared a recording of herself reading the book, The Night Before First Grade. Click here to watch the video. I

The Kissing Hand- Before my daughter went off to school as a three year old preschooler, we read the Kissing Hand and my parents helped us make homemade kissing hand cookies that we shared with her teacher. Click Here to read all about it. We continued the tradition when she entered her second year of preschool and when she went off to kindergarten last year. This year my friend, who my daughter affectionately calls, Auntie Jaime, helped us bake and decorate kissing hand cookies. We added some crosses and hearts to remind our favorite teachers that Jesus loves them and that He is with them every minute of everyday!

It’s All About Reading– Some children will learn how to read no matter how we teach them. But the majority of children need to be taught the code to reading which includes some important parts (phonemic awareness, phonics with decoding strategies, word building, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension). As a reading consultant my biggest fear is that my daughter will not develop adequate reading strategies. So when my daughter’s teacher projected the image of Scarbough’s Reading Rope during parent orientation, I was ready to jump out of my chair in celebration! Now she was speaking my language and any worries I had about my daughter receiving solid reading instruction were put to rest. (I told my husband I would be happy to give him a PowerPoint presentation on then since or reading when we got home) And when Mrs. Bernhardt announced that reading with your child would be the only homework this year, it was clear that she is a teacher, who like me, understands the importance of reading. In fact, she said although they will do science and math, she could easily teach reading all day long!

A Back to School Message From the Noteworthy Mommy- May you and your family have a blessed 2021-2022 school year! Whether your child is going off to preschool, beginning middle school, high school or college, I pray they have a terrific year! For the families who home school, may your school year be filled with learning and fun. And for the children who are returning to face to face school after a year or more of virtual or hybrid learning, I’m sending you prayers for a safe and successful school year!

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Last week was my daughter’s last day of kindergarten at Zion Lutheran School. Although large for a Lutheran School, our school ELP-8th grade, is small compared to our neighborhood schools. She’s just beginning her early years at Zion, simply moving to a different wing for first grade and it will be eight short years until I write about her 8th grade graduation. So why am I having such difficulty writing this post?

I think the reason I’m struggling with the goodbyes has to do with my love of kindergarten. Kindergarten has always been my favorite age and stage. Kindergarten is unique, unlike any other grade. Filled with the imagination and playfulness of a young child, combined with the foundation of academic skills, it is a true unicorn and encompasses everything I love!

My mother began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher and I have delightful memories of her substituting in my kindergarten classroom when I was five years old. My dad would have made a wonderful kindergarten teacher! When they cut the fine arts program in his school district he eagerly applied to be a kindergarten teacher. He was quickly denied, as a male kindergarten teacher in the late 1960’s was seen as taboo. I guess you could say kindergarten is in my DNA!

So it probably comes as no surprise that teaching kindergarten was my dream job. That prayer was answered in my early twenties when I was blessed to teach kindergarten for six years. After that I spent a few years helping college students realize their dreams of becoming kindergarten teachers and when I became an educational consultant I was known as the kindergarten expert, enthusiastically volunteering to train kindergarten teachers over any other grade level! That brings me to the present…the 2020-2021 school year, where I was privileged to be a parent to a kindergartener. If you know my journey to motherhood, this is something I do not take for granted! Little did I know God had another gift for me. When COVID took away my opportunity to do educational consulting assignments, I was asked to be an early childhood substitute at my daughter’s school. I never dreamed of being back in the classroom, and certainly not as a substitute teacher, but sometimes God has unexpected plans for us. This school year I found myself back in the trenches during a very challenging time in our nation’s schools. I worked alongside incredible educators, coming home exhausted, emerged in paint and sticky hugs and earning a wage that paid less than the minimum. But what I gained was far more than money could buy! As I worked in the early childhood wing I was taken back to my roots, back to where my passion for kindergarten began and I fell in love once again. And during a school year where COVID prevented parents from entering the school building, I was blessed to walk among my daughter’s kindergarten class and see her engaged in activity and learning. And as a bonus, I received an intimate view of my mini me’s kindergarten experience when I spent an entire day along side her talented teacher, substituting in my daughter’s classroom as her kindergarten assistant!

Mrs. Reed…the Quintessential Kindergarten Teacher- I’ve always said that kindergarten teachers were special people and Mrs. Reed, my daughter’s kindergarten teacher, certainly falls into that category! Mrs. Reed is kind, patient, full of imagination and full of energy (one of the most important qualifications to being an effective kindergarten teacher). She is smart, creative, passionate and easily adaptable. COVID created great challenges but that didn’t stop Mrs. Reed and her assistants (Mrs. Collins, Mrs. McBroom and Mrs. Horn) from giving my daughter and her classmates a solid face to face kindergarten experience. In fact, there isn’t a thing on the “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” poster left out and I find that more than amazing considering the challenges this year brought.

The many books and kindergarten memories Mrs. Reed put together for each student. The big binder contains art work, writing samples, personal photographs and a personalized note. It put the memory books I made for my students to shame!

Mrs. Reed makes learning fun and captivating. On any given day you will find her dressed up as a baseball player, a doctor, a farmer or as her alter ego, Miss Julia (complete with a French accent, crazy wig and apron)! To this day my daughter and her classmates are unsure if Miss Julia is a real person or Mrs. Reed dressed in a costume! That’s why I love this age…one day they amaze us with reading new words, making connections and writing their thoughts on paper, all the while holding on to the magic of childhood and pure imagination! Mrs. Reed encouraged both in my daughter. She also shared the love of Jesus not only by modeling His love through her actions but by teaching her students weekly memory verses through song. What a gift! My daughter has all of the verses memorized and can easily turn to the word of God in time of comfort and need. She brought home a hard bound published book of every verse with classroom illustrations along with a personal memory book of each verse. And my daughter learned how to share God’s love with others through the kindness project and by creating God is Love flyers that she diligently distributed to every household in our neighborhood. I wish I could take credit for her actions but this amazing event has Mrs. Reed stamped all over it!

From pop corn words to phonemic awareness to literacy stations. From caterpillar to butterfly, pumpkins, leaves and flowers. From Zero the Hero, The Snowman, favorite authors (Eric Carle, Jane Brett and Louis Ehlert) building, creating, questioning, and singing to themed centers, dress up days, Bible stories and everything in between; my daughter had an amazing experience! Mrs. Reed, thank you for a wonderful year. You are the quinentisessional kindergarten teacher and are more than I could have ever prayed for in a teacher for my daughter and for her Noteworthy Mommy!

Now my daughter has experienced the last day of her magical kindergarten year and she is moving on to a new stage in her educational career. I know she is ready because we have seen her grow exponentially! So bring on the rigor of first grade and all the challenges, friendships, and experiences awaiting! While the Noteworthy Mommy may stay in kindergarten forever, I rejoice that my mini me has taken off her training wheels and is prepared to roll into first grade!

Thank you Mrs. Reed for a successful kindergarten year even with masks and COVID!

Waiting With Joyful Hope

Romans 15:13 I think I want this as a tattoo | Bible quotes, Word of god,  Words

I wrote the following devotion for my church’s 2021 Easter devotional book titled, “Waiting With Joyful Hope.” As I read the pages of this year’s devotional, I was inspired by the stories of hope and tremendous faith expressed by the authors. After reading my devotional below, about a vivid childhood memory, may your heart be filled with hope and joy knowing that God the Father is here to rescue His children.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

Rescued By Hope

It was the summer before I started fifth grade and my family was traveling home to Illinois after visiting relatives in Maryland. After countless miles in the van, navigating through mountains and rolling hills, we knew we were close to home when we saw flat land. Then, only forty miles from home, our mini van began to smoke. The oil light came on and we found ourselves stranded on the side of the road. The sun was setting and there was nothing but corn fields for miles. No gas station, home, or business was in sight! There were no cell phones back then, so calling AAA for help was out of the question! We felt hopeless, isolated, and alone.

Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever been in such a dire situation that you felt as if all hope was gone? As darkness enclosed upon us, my mom began to pray. Although we were tired, scared, and longing for home, we had hope that God would protect us and provide for us. We trusted in Him. Has God rescued you just when you were about to lose all hope? Has God given you exactly what you needed at just the right time?

The minutes felt like hours and my dad decided he would begin the long walk to the nearest town. Just as he began to leave, a car stopped and a young woman stepped out. She was traveling alone and said she had no intention of stopping and even passed us by, but “something” told her to stop, so she turned around and came back to help. My dad told her that the oil light had come on. This good Samaritan happened to have purchased oil earlier that day and still had the oil cans in her trunk! She helped us fill our van with 2 cans of oil and our van started right up.

God had His hand in our rescue that night by placing the young woman in our path who had a trunk full of oil, which was exactly what we needed! And the power of the Holy Spirit was working in the woman who rescued us by calling her to turn around and help strangers stranded on the side of the road.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God is with us throughout our journey through life? I have hope knowing that God is beside me and that He travels with each and every one of us. When the road in front of us is smooth and clear, God is there. He continues to be our compass when we travel through bumpy patches or become lost during our travels. God isn’t an annoying backseat driver because He loves us even when we make a wrong turn, run a red light or arrive late to our destination. We should rejoice with thanksgiving knowing that He is guiding us through every twist and turn; protecting us, rescuing us and providing joyful hope.

Dear Almighty God, Help me to always trust in you. When I feel there is no hope give me strength. Lead me to find hope in You. Fill me with the peace and understanding that by trusting in You I will never be abandoned. For You will always give me exactly what I need. Amen

An Easter Message From the Noteworthy Mommy

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! How vastly different this Easter was compared to last year! Although we had to make reservations at church, participated in Easter worship on Saturday night, wore masks, and were unable to gather with my in-laws, it was a glorious celebration! Through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior we find hope.

I know my Easter message is a bit late, Easter Sunday has come and gone after all, but don’t forget, it is still Easter. Easter begins with the resurrection of our Lord and extends through Pentecost, so that gives me 50 days to send my readers Easter blessings! Below is a fun Easter activity that kids of all ages will enjoy. Easter Sunday has passed but we continue to celebrate our risen Savior!

Alleluia Shakers– My church has a special tradition of Alleluia Shakers during the Easter season. A basket of Alleluia Shakers for the young members of our congregation are usually found at the entrance to the sanctuary and the children enjoy shaking them every time they hear or sing the word Alleluia. COVID has prevented us from having the basket of shakers at church so my daughter made her own. We decorated a plastic egg and filled it with rice to make our shakers. CLICK HERE to learn how to make a shaker of your own. We are taking them to church throughout the Easter season and proudly shake them in celebration of the good news that Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! We made extras to share with our home bound friends as part of our Live Generously ministry.

As we begin to see the other side of the pandemic, may you safely gather again with family and friends, rejoice in the fact that favorite activities are being reintroduced into your life and never forget the lessons the past year has taught. Some things may stay forever changed but one thing will never change… Jesus loves you!