“Great hearts can only be made by great troubles.”

Can we be happy in our troubles? “Great hearts can only be made by great troubles.” (Spurgeon) The other morning, my devotion spoke volumes. Spurgeon tackles the topic of suffering by reminding us that as suffering increases, so does His love and grace for us.

2 Corinthians 1:5: “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”

Spurgeon: “There is a blessed proportion. The Ruler of Providence bears a pair of scales–in this side he puts his people’s trials, and in that he puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy. When the black clouds gather most, the light is the more brightly revealed to us. When the night lowers and the tempest is coming on, the Heavenly Captain is always closest to his crew. It is a blessed thing, that when we are most cast down, then it is that we are most lifted up by the consolations of the Spirit. One reason is, because trials make more room for consolation. Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation. God comes into our heart–he finds it full–he begins to break our comforts and to make it empty; then there is more room for grace. The humbler a man lies, the more comfort he will always have, because he will be more fitted to receive it. Another reason why we are often most happy in our troubles, is this–then we have the closest dealings with God. When the barn is full, man can live without God: when the purse is bursting with gold, we try to do without so much prayer. But once take our gourds away, and we want our God; once cleanse the idols out of the house, then we are compelled to honour Jehovah. “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.” There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. Hence they bring us to God, and we are happier; for nearness to God is happiness. Come, troubled believer, fret not over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies.”

When I am weak (lately), I have found that my strength cannot come from me. I have to use a crutch, and I have no problem leaning and hopping along with God. When I am empty, He can fill me. However, when I have no need, who can I turn to? I’m justfinethankyouverymuch. No, fine is what I don’t want to be. I want to be filled with Him.

This injury has allowed me the ability and the fragility I have needed to say, “Come in Dear Father and comfort me; fill me with your presence and strength.”

IRP: the process is the power.

“Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward.” –Henry Ford. Seven months of living with a topic of their choosing, the 8th graders overcame many new challenges and achieved a milestone in their maturity.

Here’s  my objective:Package an independent research project into a curriculum meeting many core standards while applying service learning and project based learning.

This project engages the HEART (a student’s passion);  HEAD (research skills); HANDS: (apply into a service learning project); and MOUTH (students present their complete project to a large audience, challenging them to take action)

The 2013 8th grade IRP (Independent Research Project) started in September of 2012 and will commence the week of May 21st. Each presentation will be condensed into a 10-minute overview of all the parts of their project. There was an added component last year to make it become real: ACTION! Starting in the fall, 8th graders are perusing their brain files and scanning their hearts for what argumentative topic they want to adopt. They write a thesis statement and jump in with both feet. Vast research along with expert interviews occur, as well as in-depth understandings of academic MLA writing. Once they have completed their seven page paper, they need to take ACTION. How can they go out now and affect others with their newfound understandings? They are to do a service project since they now have such passion for their topics.

For example, last year,  one student not only educated us on this growing epidemic of Autism, but then worked one on one with autistic kids, learning how they respond to behavioral therapies.  Another student was passionate about stopping animal testing and put up a web page informing the public and petitioning to stop this. Cyberbullying and other bullying topics were chosen, and one student made presentations to younger audiences about how to confront the problem and avoid it.  In fact, one student wrote a thirty-four chapter novel and posted it to a well populated literary website. She had readers from all over the world affected by her book, learning about how to overcome this growing problem.

Their entire presentation will include ended an art piece/brochure depicting a visual image of their IRP topic. In their conclusions, they challenged the audience with pleas to make a difference in their own communities.

Currently, I am grading the 8th grade IRP for 2013. Tatum is helping me out!

Give her an A, mom!

So far, I am very impressed and so is she!


Here are the 8th graders Theses:

Topic/Thesis (not formally written)
Awareness and intervention for suicide
Provide gov’t funding for space exploration and encourage private funding…if continued solve problems for earth
Testing cosmetics on animals should be stopped immediately because there are alternatives that are more accurate
The rise in obesity among children and teens and needs to be addressed
Head trauma in youth hockey is very controversial topic…two sides about how to enforce contact and at what age allowed.
Women in the ME are being the basic right of education
The American gov’t vows to serve and protect all citizens but the LGBT community feels unsafe in their own home
Veterans need help getting into a normal routine and achieving the quality of life they deserve
How has “Don’t ask don’t tell” effected America
Artists need to be more careful about reading and understanding what they are signing to avoid exploitation by record companies
The BP Oil company poses a serious threat to fishermen’s livelihoods, marine wildlife, beaches, habitats, and human health
Hunger a complex and widespread problem that people need to completely understand
Neuroscientists have just begun to conduct studies asking the question of video game effects on the brain. They seem to have long term effects in a negative and a positive way.
Celebrities are becoming more and more involved in our lives
There is much controversy about AZ SB1070 and racial profiling …getting to the bottom of it is important. It’s damaging our state and needs to be revised
We need to revise the way we think about immigration in this country and what we can do to improve our policies in order to benefit our country and immigrants
Outsourcing is a concept which many people and business thrive, yet many are living harder lives without jobs since the jobs were sent away to other countries.
There is much that can be done to emotionally help the families and friend of someone that has been victimized by breast cancer.
Excessive screen time is affecting children in a negative way
There is a solution to the fear of flying that can be right in front of people’s eyes 
Concussions drastically change NFL players lives
Current AZ gun laws are putting many lives in danger and they should be stricter
There are many questions behind where the money is going for cancer research that needs to be answered
We should be more careful for ADHD with medications
Same sex marriage should be legal in order to fulfill everyone’s rights.
Cancer has been disrupting families for many years, but there are ways you can help your mom, dad or maybe friend that has cancer
Poverty causes many problems such as immigration issues, death, corruption, worldwide economic problems, hunger and more. Debt cancellation which is believed to be the only solution, should be completed to end poverty worldwide…
America needs a new tax plan so people so that the amount that people pay is fairly distributed
We are an oil dependent society but many people feel that we should us other types of energy
People in all walks of life rich or poor educated or blue-collar young and old can be animal abusers.
Verbal bullying affects people in horrible ways and can even lead death. 
The same animal protection that keeps domestic animals safe should be used in factory farms. Our society should not tolerate the abuse and suffering inflicted upon these animals.
While the US Space program faulters, other countries gain on the US

AAAH. Is that my other foot on the ground?

It’s hard to believe how much you can appreciate standing on two feet until you are denied one foot for 7 weeks. The other day, I removed my boot to sit in the shower. (yes, sit…). Somehow, subconsciously, I stood, and realized, “I AM STANDING!” It did not HURT either! I did put the boot back on after I showered, but it felt so good to feel my heel on the ground sans the tingle.

Fast forward to yesterday at the PT. It was my first visit before I “really” start ( in two weeks). He tested my ROM and gave me insight into how I may have injured my AT. First, my ROM was -10 flexing forward and 42 flexing down. (It should be 0 and 64 I think). Yes, that is great, he said, but also he had to check my other side. Flexing down, I was only at 56. He inferred that my AT is really tight and has been due to inadequate stretching and then overusing with tightness. The step I took downward when I injured it was the bane of my existence. This motion is a killer if you are not adequately stretched. One uses this motion to jump or push off if you will. I CAME DOWN on my foot in this position, and BOOM. Now, I just want to learn how to do things right. It seems as though this is how I always learn…through injury.

His massage of my edema-filled foot was crucial because he mentioned if it stays this way, it could harden and inhibit healing. BOY DID IT HELP!

He showed me how to stretch my foot, and told me to continue the alphabet. My foot MUST BE in the neutral position in the boot and my heel must hit the floor.


Four Months and looking UP!

11.11 POUNDS. 23 inches

March 22, 2013. A special day

It is the last day of school before SPRING BREAK! Not only is it Tater Tot’s 4-month birthday today;


It is ALSO the 6th week since my surgery. I have bought some compression socks which were hard to find! They needed to cover my foot, and only a few places carried them. I had to go to Endurance Rehab, and they were not cheap! But at the point of PAIN, you’ll pay the moon for comfort. $45 later, I felt less swelling.


This week, I plan to really soak in each moment with Tatum, visiting family, mom, and friends! (Oh, and the Cotster). But as I wrap up this week, I am awestruck by how the book we are reading in English has me reeling with hope of influencing young minds. I read Fahrenheit 451 years ago, and thought it was about book burning, but now, it means so much more. I see a lifeless society, consumed with zero substance and complete nothingness. However, everyone is occupied and busy all of the time.
This somewhat reminds me of this (by unknown author)

The Devil was speaking to his angels. He continued, “This is what I want you to do. Distract them from Bible study, prayer, and meditation.” “How do we do that?” asked an angel. “Keep them busy with nonessentials. Invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds. Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade wives to go to work for long hours and husbands to work six or seven days a week, ten hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them away from their children as much as possible. As the family becomes fragmented, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work.”

Satan added, “Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot concentrate on the Word for more than just a few minutes. Entice them to play the radio or CD wherever they go, to keep their TV, VCR, CDs, and PCs going constantly in their homes. Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with news

24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards, talk radio, and Top 40. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail order catalogs, and every kind of newsletter and promotional pamphlet offering free products, ‘essential’ services, and false hopes. In their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return angry, exhausted, and disquieted. Don’t let them stop to see nature and reflect on God’s wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, and suggestive movies.

“And when they do meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in socializing, gossip, and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Let them be involved in good causes, but crowd their lives with so many ‘good causes’ that they do not have time for church activities. Soon they will be sacrificing their health and their family for the good of the cause.”

It was quite a convention in the end. The evil angels went eagerly to their assignments. Christians everywhere got busy, busy, busy and rushed here and there.

How successful has Satan’s scheme been? Look at your life, and the lives of your family and friends, and be the judge. Someone gave this anagram of busy: B—Burdened U—Under S—Satan’s Y—Yoke.

(God wants us to enjoy life, but He wants to be first (Matthew 6:33). He must be life to us (Colossians 3:1-4))

I have always been busy. But, my goal is never to be of “nonessential” things. I rarely watch TV. However, I rarely stop moving. ENTER: AT rupture! Many would say that I was being punished or I dug my own hole. Others, me included, have surmised that this has completely changed my perspective on life. No longer can I rush; No longer can I accomplish my mile long list. Things must wait, and I must say NO more than ever now.

What have I gained?  Well, in Fahrenheit 451, the character named Clarisse, enjoys picking dandelions. She drinks in the rain as she lays back her head. She has many one-to-one meaningful conversations about “meaningless (depending on what you consider meaningless)” things. She engages in LIFE; in PEOPLE; in PURPOSE. The rest of society? They “plug in” to their talking walls and don’t need to give anything back. They don’t even think and they don’t realize they don’t think because they have lost their capability to have any introspection. The “devil” has succeeded in taking their eyes off what matters: Relationships and finding purpose (and I would say that comes from having a personal relationship with our Father through Christ who gives us the ability to LOVE/LAUGH/CREATE..)

I guess being grateful today is what I am. I have not gained “the world” but have gained insight into what matters. BE INTENTIONAL with your time 🙂