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When the Write Door Opens -Matthew 7:7

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom

Author

Bethany Baker

Bethany Baker is a Language Arts teacher for grades four through six at Burge Terrace Christian School and the mom of two ornery little boys who keep her busy with their sweet, dirty, silly, and wonderful antics. She is also the wife of a wonderful husband, whose voice of reason keeps her imaginative ideas needfully tethered...well, most of the time. In October 2015, Bethany published her first novel, A Light in Bailey's Harbor, set in Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Michigan. The verse that has kept Bethany grounded through the many hurdles in her life: miscarriages, having a child with a cleft lip and palate, learning how to jump the endless hurdles of the publishing world, etc. is Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God." He is faithful. Not on our time-table. Not the way we think it should be solved. But He is God, and He is faithful.

Is it a Bacon-in-Your-Washer kind of day?

Ever have those days where nothing makes sense? If you’re a mom, you’re thinking it would be easier to count the number of days that do make sense, right?

Now, I’m not talking about days that are a little frustrating or days that make you a little frazzled. I’m not even talking about the doozies–the days where you stumble in the door with your kiddos, ragged, feeling like you’ve just run the gauntlet of the America Ninja Warrior course, being hit and whacked and splashed on and pulled apart, and your husband says, “You were just at Walmart, right? How can it be that bad?”

Ummmm…It’s now you wish you were a Praying Mantis–you know, the bugs that eat their mates?

Anyway, my point is that often we have these crazy times, but at the end of the day, in reevaluating our circumstances, we realize the lesson in the trials.

This all sounds good, right? Sounds good until one night when you’re doing the laundry, and you find bacon in your washer.

You tell me. What’s the lesson in that one? On Tuesday night, this actually happened. I was pulling my kids’ clothes from the washer when I realized little bits of something were repeatedly falling from the clothes. I started investigating, and there on the floor and inside of the washer was bacon. Now, there is absolutely no reason for bacon to be in my washer. I don’t eat in my laundry room, I hadn’t fixed bacon in days, I asked my 3 year old if he put bacon in his jeans pocket (which was probably the winner for “Craziest Mom Question of the Year”) and he said no. Even my 10 year old, who would sell his younger brother for a plate of bacon, had no idea where it came from. It’s bacon!! You NEVER find bacon in your washer. There’s no reason for it, no understanding it, and even two days later there is still no epiphany. I finally had to come to the conclusion that I have no answer right now, and I may never have one.

This may seem silly, but being a teacher of elementary kids and a mom of young children, I realized there was an object lesson I could glean from this. I don’t know about you, but I learn best from object lessons. My kids and students also seem to really engage when I can use an object lesson. Even Jesus himself used object lessons to get across his point to the disciples and others.

So, here it goes. I started thinking about the frustration I had with the bacon in my washer and the idea that I’m just never going to figure this out. But then I thought, just because I don’t understand what happened, does that mean that I will never trust the washer again to take care of my needs?

Of course we would all say “no” to this ridiculous question when it refers to washers and bacon, but what if we were to apply it to Someone else, maybe Someone who created the universe and has all things under His control?

The days we have that absolutely don’t make sense and may never make sense are the hardest days of all. I want to figure things out. I’m a mom. I’m supposed to be on top of things and plan out ahead of the unpredictable crazies, right? But there are just some days where no amount of planning will prepare me and no amount of explanation will rationalize what’s going on. These are the days when I just have to believe the promise that “All things work together for good (Rom. 8:28).” These are the days I just have to rest in the Lord, and be assured that He’s got this. Whether it’s bits of bacon or seemingly insurmountable circumstances. Let him deal with the why. Just slip one hand in His leading arm and with the other? Enjoy some bacon😉

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Quit with the Resolutions!

I’ve never been great at keeping New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve always tried, but either I make goals that are far too unreasonable, or I forget about them all together. So this year, I’m determined to be realistic and prayerful. This past year I read a devotional that has been such an encouragement to me.

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My former principal, Tonya Burns gave this book to all of the elementary teachers for our morning devotions at Calvary Christian School. Honestly, I was annoyed. This was my first year at the school. We had just moved to town, after living in Tennessee for nearly 10 years. I had to start all over creating lesson plans for a curriculum I had never taught. I was driving an hour each way to school since we hadn’t found a house and were living with my in-laws. I didn’t get home until about 5:30/5:45, and by the time I finished cooking dinner (or eating bologna sandwiches), helping my 9 year old with his school work, playing with my 3 year old, getting them in bed, and doing my work for my classes the next day, it was usually midnight or later. And here I was given another assignment? Homework?!

Thankfully, the Lord knows the plans He has for me (Jer. 29:11), and He knew I needed just one more thing to do.

I know you will read countless resolutions and ideas for the new year, and like me, you will probably just skim over or scroll through most of them, paying little attention to the content. But if you are a woman, a mom, a young lady who feels like you are stuck in a blender, watching life whirl around you, then stick with me for just a few minutes.

She Did What She Could are the five words that Jesus spoke to the company visiting the house of Simon. His statement was in defense of Mary pouring the oil from her alabaster jar and anointing Jesus shortly before his death. She didn’t adhere to the rules of propriety for that day. She payed no attention to the criticism of the others. She was determined to do something for Jesus, something personal, to give him something that she had, something that meant a great deal to her. There were many things she could have done, but she did what she could, and Jesus exonerated her for it. Mark 14:9 states that…”wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Wow.

As women, we think we have to do everything…every-single-thing…by ourselves, with full make up on, looking like a perfect Pinterest mom. We think that if we can’t do it all, we are nothing, and we have failed. I have struggled (and still do) with this, especially over the last two years. We have been through crazy transitions, and my candle has been burning at both ends. Well, actually, my candle is a melted wad of wax, puddled on the floor by now. Honestly, I have no candle.

As a result of this, I had a major wake-up call. It was the last day of school before Christmas Break, and I was driving home with my two boys. We were excited to start our Christmas vacation. I had been staying up until 1 am that week, trying to get lesson plans in, research drafts graded, presents wrapped, etc. My husband had encouraged to get in bed earlier, but I wouldn’t listen. I had to do everything, right? It wasn’t just school stuff. I had laundry, cooking, baking, kids, packing for our trip to Tennessee to see my parents before Christmas, and why would I want to ask for help? I had pushed my devotional far back in the shelf, forgetting about only doing what I could.

mirrorAs we neared home, I fell asleep. I crossed left of center and woke up with my van facing square at an oncoming mailbox. I jerked the wheel in time to (mostly) miss the mailbox. I hit it with my mirror, shattering the glass. It was only a mirror I lost, but seeing my two little boys’ shocked faces in the back seat reminded me of what I could have lost that day.

So, my New Year’s Resolution for 2018 is that I will “do what I can,” and I will leave the rest in God’s hands. I may disappoint people, may cause others to see me as an “undedicated” Christian or teacher. I may even get reprimanded by some for not meeting deadlines. I may have a dirty house (I will. I’m sure) or a basket of laundry that needs folded (or 2). I may not be able to create wonderful dinners or lesson plans that will award me Teacher of the Year, but I will do what I can to take care of my family and to serve the Lord. I may not be able to provide world peace, but I can get up 30 min. earlier to provide a more peaceful morning for myself and my boys (My husband has just fallen over in shock.). I may not be able to hit a home run in every subject I teach for the day, but I could pick one lesson and make it memorable for my kiddos. Do you see how doable this is?! We can do it! We can’t do it all, but we can do something, right?!

Do what you can and let the Lord work in and through you.

I encourage you to read She Did What She Could, but if you aren’t able to, at least read Mark 14 and determine to do what you can to serve the Lord.

In the next few weeks, please share any any opportunities you may have to do what you can for the Lord and for others. I would love to hear how the Lord is using you. You can post your comments on this blog or in the comments on my Facebook Author page.

Also, make sure you sign up for my newsletter. I just sent out my December issue yesterday, revealing some exciting news about the sequel to A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, A Light in Cana. Click here, if you are interested in signing up.

If you’ve not read or reviewed A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, please click the picture below for more information.

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Have a blessed New Year’s!

Bethany

 

Enter for a chance to win over 20 eBooks!!

There’s no catch, and everyone will receive something just for entering. My publishing company, Mantle Rock Publishing is having a holiday event, and you are invited! It will only take a few minutes of your time. Just click the picture that says “Enter to Win,” and you will be redirected to Mantle Rock’s page. When you enter your name and email address, you will be registered to win over 20 eBooks, including mine, A Light in Bailey’s Harbor. Image may contain: 1 person, sky, cloud, night, outdoor and text

Even if your name is not chosen for the eBooks, you WILL still receive freebies from the authors who are participating! So, it’s a win, win! The contest ends on Tuesday, December 12th, so enter now!

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Merry Christmas (in July)!


I'm sure you can hear the rusty squeak as you scroll through the page to read this! It's been way too long since I've blogged, but I decided that today was the day. I wanted to share this fun day we had, thinking some other moms may want to spring for a similar day before July (and the summer 😭) ends.

My three year old loves The Polar Express, so I thought we'd use that theme.


I used a coffee can and some dowel rods for the "Nang, nang," as my three year old calls it (you know, when it goes up and down it goes, "nang, nang, nang…).

Painter's tape for the track and aluminum foil for the ice the Polar Express has to cross over. This is Cole's favorite part. He loves to slide his train all over the "ice."

The track leads to the North Pole.

(Pringles's can, duct tape, and a tennis ball- tooth pick holds the ball to the lid.)

Although the Christmas tree is a little smaller than the one in the movie (😉), it worked. Of course, the boys did get a little present. It is "Christmas," after all.

I also used white poster board and markers to make it look like it snowed. I printed off the picture of the Polar Express, too.


I just used chocolate milk for cocoa.

This was a captain's hat. I printed off a logo and taped it on.

The tickets were free on Pinterest (Keepin' It Kool In Kinderland). I accidentally forgot to change the page layout, so mine were a little smaller than I wanted. The boys didn't care, though. I also left my hole punch at school. I was so sad. Cole loves to punch holes and pretend he's the conductor.

It was a hit!!

We ate our breakfast and watched the movie.

Cole kept returning to the tree. He was mesmerized by it. He'll have fun with the real Christmas tree this year😊.

We ended our party by playing in the "snow" (rice and pouring supplies). This ended up being my older son's favorite thing. We used some STEM skills, and this really turned into a great lesson. After accidentally ricocheting rice EVERYWHERE, he figured out a better angle, height and slant, so that the rice poured into a funnel (not in picture) and slowly onto the green bin lid.

I hope some of this will inspire you to have some fun with your kiddos this hot July!

So, Merry Christmas (in July) to all, and to all a good night day!

Children’s Hospital–The Best Place to Count Your Blessings

Well, we’re here, again. It’s been almost 8 years since Carson’s last cleft surgery, but 8 years is still not long enough. Those memories flood back on you, and you have to fight that punched-in-the-gut feeling.

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After Carson’s first surgery, at 4 months old.


Psalm 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing…” kept running through my heart and mind, as they prepped Carson for today’s bone graft surgery.


He, of course was so excited to be watching a movie and had already exuberantly picked out the cherry flavor for his silly gas he would soon be breathing.

We walked into the room where he was supposed to get his silly gas, hold Mama’s hand and slowly and peacefully slip into his sleepy state, but that’s not exactly how it happened. The anesthesiologist waltzed in, gave Carson a fist bump and said, “Hey!! You like cool Science stuff!? I’ve got some awesome stuff to show you in the Operating Room! Want to see?!”

Carson said, “Yes!”, waved to us, said “bye,” and that was it. The operating door closed behind them and we were left staring at the door with the nurse.

Not quite what I had planned, but I should know by now that nothing goes according to my plans (thank goodness). God always has the better plan.

Be anxious for nothing…Carson had surly grasped that truth.

The faith of a child…I needed to grasp it, now.

We walked toward the cafeteria to grab a bagel, and that’s when my blessings list started to grow. We began to pass children who were swollen from chemo treatments, children in wheelchairs who would probably never walk again, children with tubes and wires and braces and crutches. As we passed them, I could envision my little petty problems dropping to the floor and being crunched by those kid-sized wheelchairs. No, Carson’s surgery was not just a petty problem, but I could praise the Lord that after only 5 hours we were headed home.

Getting ready to head back home.


I couldn’t have said it 8 years ago, but today I can truly say that I’m thankful we are “only” dealing with cleft lip issues.

So, this year on Thanksgiving, everything may not be perfect, but God is good and we are blessed. This year, that’s enough for me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’d like to read more about having joy while accepting your child’s cleft, or read about some ideas that were successful for us, when taking care of a child with a cleft lip and palate, click on the links below.

The story of Mr. Wiggles–having joy while accepting your child’s cleft

Be Cleft-Strong!

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When the Write Door Opens -Matthew 7:7

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom

Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom