Pfysical year

In the corporate world it is common for companies to have a fiscal year that does not coincide with the calendar year. Over the Christmas Break I saw lots of people posting about all these new plans they had for the new year. A new diet, a new read-the-bible-in-a-year plan, an new exercise regiment, etc. Several of those things looked interesting to me but by the time they were all divulging their plans I was left scrambling to catch up feeling very behind the curve and ended up doing none of them. I couldn’t psych myself up to tackle something new in a couple of days.

I’ve decided that I need to have a New Year that doesn’t start on January 1. But will I have a fiscal year or a physical year? Which, of course, sent me to dictionary. Fiscal refers to taxation, public debt, public revenues or finance in general. I certainly don’t want anything to do with those things! Physical on the other hand relates to natural science, material existence or material things. It can also relate to the body, carnal, sexual or forcefully rough behavior. I vote neither of those work for me. Some use the abbreviation BC (before Christ) BY (before Yavin in Star Wars) but mine would have to be BS (before school) that’s probably not a good idea.

So I’m creating my own word PFYSICAL–P because I like it, I’m making it up and it’s my word, FY -meaning to make, SIC – intentionally so written and AL pertaining to, therefore, from here on the word is PFYSICAL – pertaining to being intentional! I am looking forward to beginning my Pfysical year! But when? I thought June 1, but in the educational world May is THE WORST month ever. One year I lost my cell phone in May and found it two years later in a file, in a file drawer. I seem to lose something, I mean in addition to my mind, every May. So I’ve decided The-PSV Pfysical year will begin on July 1st. That gives me the month of June to regroup and make my big plans for the year to come. I will reach my New Year’s Day on July 1 refreshed, revived, ready to conquer the world (theoretically).

The thing about it is. …we need a fresh start. We need to take time to prepare to start fresh, to start over, to reset, regain optimism, perspective, slough off the old. And if I am not intentional about something it is never going to happen! I’m going to start in the back of mind preparing for my pfysical year now so come the big day on July 1st I will be pumped, planned, prepared and primed to start fresh. Let’s get pfyscial!!


I could do a ten year series on things I suck at … but I’ll spare us all that! The thought occurred to me as I read in our study of Mark in Old Lady Bible Study about humility. We were studying Mark 9:33-37, just after Jesus tells the disciples that he will be killed and rise again, their next conversation behind his back is:. “Who do you think will be in charge once he’s gone?” Miss the point much? Jesus goes on to make several illustrations about priorities and how ours just don’t match up to his. So how do we bridge the gap? How do we metamorph ourselves to have the mind of Christ?

The commentary points out that

… the closer we draw to God, the more humble we become. The more we are overwhelmed by His holiness, the more we will be aware of our unholiness–a realization that produces humility.

Engaging God’s Word: Mark

This answers the question: How do I develop the traits I lack? I don’t develop them, they are produced. They are fruits that grow. If I want to grow fruit I have to first plant a tree. I have to care for that tree and provide the right conditions for the tree to produce fruit. But we live in a world where if we want fruit we just go to HEB and get it. We don’t even have to wait for much of the fruit we eat to be in season. We have the means and the opportunity to just reach out and get whatever we crave.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:15-18

My friend Reed says the fruits come in order, they grow from each other. So I can’t decide I want to work on kindness and just skip love, joy, peace and patience. I don’t get to pick the fruits in my life as conveniently as I go to HEB. I can work to grow closer to God and in doing so the spirit will display those fruits in my life. As I focus on his holiness he works to form me into his likeness. I have to keep studying, keep seeking, keep obeying and trust that will be reflected in my life–not some crazy concoction I tried to staple together but fruits that can only be orchestrated by the one who created me, in his image.

Reflection on loss

Friday, April 23, 2021 I’m watching Murder Among Mormons on Netflix. I’m enjoying seeing the places and remembering the time we lived in the Salt Lake Valley from 1997-2000. One of the bombs detonated was on Naniloa Street, which sounded awfully familiar to me. Because I’m too lazy to get off the couch, I google my friend Lana who I thought lived on Naniloa, she’s been on my (recently unused) Christmas Card list since we lived there. Much to my surprise, her address doesn’t come up, her obituary does! Evidently she died on April 8, 2021, her son shared her obituary on her Facebook page, but for some reason I missed it. I woke up this morning and thought, I had a dream I was just watching Netflix, thought of someone and learned they had died, oh wait, that really happened. She did in fact live on Naniloa, but the bomb went off on North Naniloa and she lived on South. But it got me to thinking…

My first thought was lucky dog! Her husband died in 2017, my jealously largely stems from the fact that she is done living those years as a widow. Many days, I want to be done, but evidently that’s not the plan. Jane Fonda gave an interesting Ted Talk about aging and using that time wisely back in 2011. You may not be a big fan of Jane Fonda, but this is certainly 11 minutes not wasted.

A life deserves to be remembered and my friend Lana certainly deserves to be honored. I met Lana at a very difficult time in my life. Following a nomadic husband, I found myself much a fish out of water transplanted in the Salt Lake Valley. This Texas girl from New Mexico experienced great culture shock! It seemed like EVERYONE was white and Mormon. Nothing wrong with being Mormon, except I was not! There was no Mexican food (not even Taco Bell!) or coke with caffeine, no one drank iced tea. My husband moved us to Utah in December then left me and a two year old for eight weeks with nothing but a snow shovel. I was the laughing stock of the neighborhood. I got a lot of pity help. But I found a job and a wonderful friend in my boss their. I don’t really remember what the job was that I applied for, but her sister was interviewing me and Lana came in and took over the interview because, looking at my resume, she wanted me in her HR department. It was the perfect job for me and I loved it. Then Paxton was born, Then Paxton was kicked out of daycare. My family was 1500 miles away. My husband worked ALL the time. And Lana could not have been more wonderful. She loved me and cared for me like I were her own. She found a niece with one young child that loved Paxton while I came into the office two days a week and worked from home the other three, in a time when that was completely unheard of. She was my lifeline in some of the toughest years of my life. And while deciding to move back to Texas was the best thing we ever did, giving her my resignation is the one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

I want to say I’ll never forget her, but we do forget. My husband has been gone 1,688 days now. For some reason he’s been in my dreams a lot lately. Not usually pleasant dreams, I dreamt he went to prom and didn’t take me, never mind I never even knew him in high school and never even wanted to go to prom when I was in high school, (In my defense, I eat lunch with a bunch of high school girls everyday and their prom is this weekend, therefore, there has been A LOT of talk about prom this week.) but as I reflect on life 1,688 days out, its beginning to seem like my life with him was just a dream, the memory feeling more and more distant. And that I do not love that. I often dream he’s left me, I guess my mind is still trying to make sense of the fact he is gone. Nevertheless I continue writing my third act even though I really wanted to leave at intermission!

Thank you for loving me Lana Warner and having the patience to grow this crazy Texan into a better person. I’m glad you made the script.

Nature abhors a vacuum

One of Russell’s favorite sayings was, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” It was his smart people sciency way of saying if you don’t do it, someone else will. I don’t know about that nature’s vacuum thing, but if it’s anything like that one I have to use to keep the dog hair and paw mud at bay, I have a love/hate relationship with it. I do know that like in most things, he was so right! I studied in Mark last week, 8:32-33 where Peter takes Jesus aside and begins to rebuke him, after just acknowledging a few verses back that he was the Christ. Peter knew that Jesus was the very son of God, yet he thought he had a right to rebuke him. I read this and think “How in the world could he have the audacity to rebuke Jesus?” But Jesus response after referring to him as Satan (ouch!) is “…you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man”. It’s so easy in education for negativity to set in this time of year. We tend to focus too much on those kids who aren’t where we want them to be, we’ll never get everything in we need to, no one is coming back next year, I can’t do this anymore! But somehow it all works out, therefore — I don’t know about you, but I need to go to detox!

I have to remember that I control my brain; it does not control me. It’s tempting to think of the brain as our control center but Paul tells us he have to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). I get to choose what I think about, what I focus on and nature does abhor a vacuum so if I’m not actively choosing what to think about, I drift to the negative. It’s all horrible, terrible, awful, impossible and despicable. The negative is automatic, it takes effort to overcome. So we must purpose to be intentional overcomers. I have to wake up every morning with my ‘Jack Handy Deep Thoughts’ and claim today as His! Claim the victory that I am assured. Determine to be positive and not sucked in to the default of dread. I have to change my thinking from 28 days to dread to 28 more opportunities to impact the next generation. And that impact goes way beyond the trigonometry, percentages, works cited, digestion or even punctuality. We have less than 28 days to make an impact in their lives this year and then the opportunity is gone. Someone else will step up and fill the void.

The only prisoners you should take today are your own thoughts!


Peace does not come from the absence of struggle and conflict.
It is the presence of God creating a stillness within you 
that is greater than what's going on around you.
Steven Furtick

I seemed to have lost last week. I got the second COVID vaccine on Sunday, felt like I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on Monday, ran a fever Monday night so I had to miss school on Tuesday. Spent Wednesday and Thursday trying to put my kids back together that fell apart on Tuesday. Friday my kids had a zillion and two tests and I woke up with a raging UTI. I made an emergency stop at Walgreens for Cranberry juice and AZO and pushed through. After the last test, I bugged out and crashed. I thought I felt better Saturday until Paxton said, “Have you taken your temperature today, you don’t look good?” So I took my temperature, which was normal, and just went back to bed. Sunday I finally start to feel human.

My mom reminded me Saturday that my grandmother used to say, “I didn’t know I was sick, I just thought I was lazy.” But then you finally fell better and realize, you might not be a lazy bum after all. Sunday I finally began to feel like I might survive and began to dig myself out. This was the verse for Saturday…

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward . You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

Colossians 3:23-25

yea, yea, yea, I get that, but it’s hard and burdensome and overwhelming and becoming drudgery and leaving me feeling very depleted! But I push on and this is Sunday’s verse…

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (Emphasis added)

and suddenly realize again that the work we are to do heartily, is not our own doing. And that depletion comes from worrying about what I can do to try and fix the problems I face rather than acknowledging, living aware of the fact that this work given to us to do will not be a result of my work, it won’t be a result of my own doing. I should feel overwhelmed, I should feel depleted, it’s too much for my own strength. If I can’t boast then I also can not be blamed, I can’t shoulder the blame for that which I am not responsible. I can only allow God to use me in the situation as he pleases. It may work out well, and I can’t boast about that, and it may not and I can’t shoulder the blame for that. I just have to play my part, fulfill my role, walk in obedience and leave the rest to him.

I can then reflect that chances are good a vaccine sapped my energy and strengthen, while taking on the problems of those around me as if they were my issues to resolve and result in boasting or blame–leaves me depleted as well.

So today, living post-resurrection, I tap in afresh to the grace that has saved me by faith. It will be bad, it will be good, it will not be up to me. I can then chose to walk the path laid before me trusting that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and desiring for others to see his light shine through me!

Thirty-three days left in the 2020-21 school year. We have triumphs and tragedies yet to face for which we can neither boast nor be blamed, if we are walking in the grace of God. Chose your steps wisely!

More than just a man

Our hope is found in the fact that Jesus came to be the final Passover Lamb, not just a great teacher and a miracle healer.

Paul David Tripp Journey to the Cross Day 38

A common struggle we face is enough. I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money. When I have time I don’t have money and when I have money I don’t have time. I didn’t do enough. I didn’t say enough. I’m not enough. The sentiment is torturous to us as we equate it with failure, inadequacy. But Dr. Tripp takes that concept and points out ways our perception of Jesus may not be enough and that’s a good thing! It’s not enough that Jesus was a great teacher. It’s not enough that he healed the sick. It’s not enough that he confronted false religion. It’s not enough that he sent the disciples out with a theological message. We needed more, but the good news is he is more. He is the Passover Lamb. He is the fulfillment of the covenant promises of old. His blood covers and cleanses us and that is enough. Because that is enough we are enough! We can rest in the knowledge that we don’t have to be enough, because he is!

The next few days of the Christian calendar are somber. They are filled with betrayal, beatings, and brutality. But take heart, Sunday is coming! The darkness of the days ahead will not last and neither will the dark days you face.

Discover anew

My oldest, Ryan says it’s kind of cruel how parents make such a big deal out of kid’s birthday’s for them to only grow and realize, really, no one cares that it’s your birthday. Imagine that, I raised a cynic! I can’t image where he gets that from! As a result it really struck a chord with me when Dr. Tripp talked about how we become complacent with the familiar. He points out that when we become familiar with something, we think we know more than we actually do and since we know it all why continue to study. I think that is why Lent and Advent are so important. Without these seasons of preparation and focus we go the through the motions of Christmas and Easter without taking a break to examine the gravity of these celebrations. Without them a baby is born in December, a man dies in the spring and we go on about our lives unscathed. But if like children we just show up to the party to be honored, it becomes shallow, meaningless and even drudgery.

I hope that you will take this Holy Week to visit afresh the last days of Christ, the gravity of those events and yourself emerge a new creation because of the sacrifice he has made so that we can look forward with hope to eternity. “May we remember and hold fast to the resurrection in a way that rules our hearts and shapes our lives” Paul David Tripp, Wednesday Word.

 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Happily Ever After

The story of Jesus guarantees how your story will end.

Paul David Tripp, Journey to the Cross, Day 33

I have to admit that the last post left me feeling very unsatisfied, but evidently Dr. Tripp felt the same and comes back to the topic today. We looked last time at how our biggest issue is that we are satisfied with that which we should be dissatisfied. Today Dr. Tripp talks about how we will never be satisfied by “temporal human happiness”. It’s unsettling to me that we are guaranteed to be in a place of constant dissatisfaction, yet I know it full well, because I work with students with learning disabilities. ALL my students struggle. EVERY one of them has some obstacle to overcome to survive in school. I’m tempted to feel sorry for them, me, us because it looks like others don’t have these obstacles to fight through to get an education, but then I read on page 191:

There will be chapters in the story that God has written for us that will be very hard. But we must remember two things. First, he has written himself into the story so that he will always be with us, giving us what we could never give to ourselves. Second, what your Lord has written for you is not less than the plot you have written for yourself, but infinitely more.

Paul David Tripp, Journey to the Cross, p 191

I think I want the struggles I face to go away. I wish these kids obstacles to education could be removed. But I forget that these struggles we face are part of our God-authored story. They are what will form us. They are temporary. These kids won’t be in school forever, they do go on to live healthy, productive, even wonderful lives, but more importantly, “God doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your temporary dream; what he guarantees you is forever” (p 190).

So if you find yourself uncomfortable with where you are, or as Dr. Tripp says, dissatisfied, you are right where you are supposed to be! We are supposed to be satisfied with eternity. We are supposed to be dissatisfied with this temporal place. What does a dissatisfied life look like? I think it looks like facing the struggles of today, knowing that there are hard lessons to learn, BUT we know the story has a happy ending and can face each day hopeful!

Pay attention

You can’t repent of what you haven’t confessed, you can’t confess what you haven’t grieved, and you can’t grieve what you haven’t seen.

Paul David Tripp, Journey to the Cross, Day 30

On Day 26 Dr. Tripp talks about how he believes that “satisfaction is a much bigger problem than dissatisfaction” (pg 150) in our lives. I struggle with putting that into perspective with Paul’s words when he says, “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11). How do we balance this satisfaction with contentment? I started with the dictionary. According to satisfaction comes from meeting expectations, while content means peaceful happiness. Therefore, Dr. Tripp is talking about sin in our lives with which we have become complacent about. We become too comfortable with sin we should be confessing and grieving. But we can’t grieve that which we don’t see. I can’t confess that I’ve hurt your feelings if I’m oblivious to it. I’ll make excuses rather than accept responsibility. But while Dr. Tripp is calling us to be dissatisfied with the sin we refuse to see in ourselves, Paul is calling us to be content with that which we cannot change. Dissatisfaction leads to change, we will not change that which we are satisfied with as that implies that we are done, but I can be content with where I am without being satisfied. I need to be content with my salvation, knowing I am loved by God yet pay attention and be dissatisfied with my sinfulness–see it, grieve, confess it and do better. I can’t sit her content with my sin, because I know it separates me from God. I can’t hate on myself because I am a sinner because I am made in the image of God. Therefore, balance is again the answer. Because I am made in the image of God, my sins are forgiven and I want to honor that image by doing better. I can’t walk away unchanged.

There are several areas in my life I need to be dissatisfied with! I need to see them with eyes anew, grieve them and confess them while being content that I am a child of God sins and all.

What do you think?

Spring Break Edition

I wanted to continue staff devotions over Spring Break, but… last week, no this month, well probably the last year has left me drained physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. A school year has never left me so drained. I’m always surrounded by students with struggles and challenges, but this year it’s so many kids in literal crisis, dealing with issues no child should face, issues robbing them of childhood itself. It’s overwhelming, it’s out of control, it’s exhausting and very worst of all I CAN’T FIX IT!!! It isn’t going to be resolved this period, this day, this week or even this year. The load is heavy, I’m beginning to feel crushed, overwhelmed and defeated. To add to this overwhelming blow, there are family crises, the devastating loss of my cousin to COVID, the toll of confinement on the immunologically fragile, issues at work that shake the very foundation of who you are and who you thought you’d be professionally. “Happy Spring Break” falls hard on a broken exhausted soul.

Then today, I read Day 25 of Journey to the Cross and realized it is no accident that our Spring Break falls smack dab in the middle of Lent. It occurred to me as I read Dr. Tripp’s words, “The season of Lent is about offering yourself to God in new and deeper ways. It’s about submission and deeper devotion.” I realize in my life I can’t fix my students, I can’t make life easier for my biological children, I can’t extinguish the hurt of my friends and family. I CAN’T DO IT–therefore I must surrender to one who can, who knows, who sees. So I broke down the paragraph on page 144 about Lent and replaced it with Spring Break. So what if it looked like this:

  • Spring break is offering yourself to God in new or deeper ways.
  • Spring break is about submission and deeper devotion.
  • Spring break is about mourning the ways your heart has wondered.
  • Spring break is about confessing the hold the world still has on you or the places you’ve succumbed to temptation’s draw.
  • Spring break is about identifying places in the heart where you need to give yourself more fully to God.
  • Spring break is important because we need to examine our hearts, our lives, our relationships, and our daily decisions to see where God is calling you to give something up or take something up in devotion to him.
  • Spring break is about recommitting to self-sacrifice as we pursue the one who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
  • Spring break isn’t a formal season or temporary escape from reality, but rather an opportunity to address things in your life that need to be addressed but that get lost in the busyness and distraction of everything else you’re doing.
  • Spring break is not about you, what you are doing or committing to God, but about what he has done and is doing for you.

My prayer for you is that regardless of where Spring Break takes you this year, whether it is the exhilaration of the trip of a lifetime or the drudgery of what continues to burden and pull us down, may you know afresh: “It is God’s generosity that is primary and transformative, not ours. We love because he first loved us. We give because he first gave to us. We lay down our lives because he first laid down his. We are willing to suffer for his sake because he first suffered for us. We obey because in his obedience we are given hope. We fight temptation because he fought it and defeated it on our behalf. We are willing to humble ourselves and serve because he left the splendor of eternity, humbled himself, and served up to and through the point of death…He is the ultimate giver. No matter how great our sacrifices or how much we give, we will never give to him the magnitude of what he has given us” (p 145).

Spring Break 2021 — may you be a breathe of fresh air to the tired and weary world.