miles to go…

snippets from the zellner family

Valentine’s 2014 February 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 10:30 pm
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What a strange week it has been- snow, sickness, valentine’s day. That means a lot of kids at home, a lot of messy house, and a lot of thwarted plans.

But tonight we are getting things back together and we celebrated Valentine’s by doing what we always do…dinner, fun foods and our love notes to one another.

This dinner I was thinking about all the cute valentine ideas out there that I didn’t get to use and I decided to serve food that we could use some of those fun valentine wishes… like a tableful of candy heart messages.

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We ate ribs and caught up on everyone’s valentine’s parties and social life.

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We finished by sharing the things we love about each other- Getting to tell Cord how proud I am of him for praying to receive Jesus this past Monday- and how much I love his wrestling that turns into hugs and how proud I am of his effort at school and during homework time. Getting to tell Lucy how much I love our times at pick up when she climbs in my lap and we laugh and sing together and how funny she is and how much I love her optimism. Getting to tell Emma Frances how proud I am of her for doing her best at school, how much I appreciate her work on honesty and how much I love how she processes every situation, how creative she is and how much fun we have cooking together. Getting to tell Olivia how proud I am of who she is becoming, her sensitivity to the Lord’s work in her life, and all her help that she provides for our home. Getting to tell Eric that I am so thankful for how he makes me coffee every morning and unloads the dishwater and keeps children so that I can see my friends, how he pursues truth and learning and how he is so faithful and obedient in the mundane- the real stuff…And I get to hear my little ones tell each other how thankful they are for each other.

I have to say one of my favorites this year was when Lucy told her daddy,”Even though you are you, I still love you.” classic lucy line.

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Pushing back the fall February 3, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 1:57 pm

I. Hate. the. Fall.   Not the season that welcomes my Auburn Tigers to the field and encourages us with its rich colors and cooling breezes. I hate the fall. Of man.

The ushering in of sin- both the kind we commit and the kind done to us. Sin that separates us from the Father and that separates us from one another. Sin that freezes our hearts and makes them cold, and sin that fires up our hearts and makes them burn with anger. Sin that discourages us and so easily entangles us and sin that deceptively woos us. The fall had such enormous implications in our lives. Eternal ones and crushing ones. It complicates our communication. It hinders our love for one another. It lies to us and tells us that being isolated is better than being with others who love us and love the Lord. It enslaves us with promises of personal freedom and knocks our feet out from under us when we discover that we have been tricked by our idols.

The gospel, that good news, saves us. From our sin, from its power over us, from our thoughts, from ourselves, from death.  And this gospel- this good news is that through Jesus’ perfect life and substitutionary death we have ACCESS to the Lord. That by the Holy Spirit we are united to Christ and we have freedom from those things that enslave us. There is power in the blood- and I don’t mean that lightly or colloquially… We are able to now see sin for what it is and we are able to choose to pursue holiness and we are able to hear the lies that we once believed and we are able to act differently than we once did. Not because of us, but because of HIM. He pushes back the effects of the fall in me and in you. He pushes back the effects of the fall in our churches and in our relationships.

What will that look like? Instead of running from one another- or hiding from one another, we will run to each other and repent and listen. Instead of “winning” in arguments, we will seek where we are wrong and apologize as far as it depends on us. Instead of making our own kingdoms, we will lay it down and work for His. Instead of pleasing ourselves with as much as we want in all areas of our lives, we ask Him where do you want me to be and what do you want to do with the money you have given me and how do you want me to spend my time and who do you want me to befriend? Oh the possibilities if we would welcome the nudges that the Holy Spirit gives us.

I just got back from seeing WICKED with my oldest two and my college roommate. You know the great song “defying gravity”. The words,”I’m limited.” “Together we’re unlimited” are ringing through my mind. The possibilities of what His Kingdom can do are unlimited- when we work in tandem with the Holy Spirit. We aren’t defying gravity- we are defying the effects of the fall. Rising above them, so to speak.

And the discouraging patterns of the world will be pushed back and we will be encouraged- with man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. And such great healing will happen…the deep, beautiful, spiritual healing of all that He created.

**Writing for my own encouragement to work in tandem with the Holy Spirit and not against it. As is true in the Kingdom of God, it will be the opposite of the way the world teaches to handle any situation.

 

Hope for Kids! December 9, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 10:27 am

Starting in January, Indianola Academy will begin a program that is called Hope for Kids! It is a program/ curriculum that teaches children about their faith and about how to share their faith. It will be focusing on 4th and 5th graders.  Several Delta schools are currently using the program and the participants are raving about the connections that are being made between adult volunteers and the students, the children’s willingness to share their faith, and the impact the program is having on individual lives.

Tag Reed, the coordinator for Hope for Kids in the Delta, was looking for someone to head up the program at Indianola Academy. The elementary principal, Sylvia Spivey, and I went to the training in October and set off to organize what it will take to make it happen at IA as soon as possible. We didn’t want the current 5th graders to miss it!

We have narrowed the year long material to a 16 week curriculum for this year and aim to start on January 15th.  A typical meeting will include: A fun welcome, a review of last week’s lesson (students will learn hand motions to explain the gospel, as well as memorize 11 verses that will help them understand the gospel.) Each week the students will have a take home craft that they are asked to share with someone in their lives- we start each meeting with students having a chance to tell about how they shared that take home craft. They will then learn a new aspect of the gospel (sin/ God’s holiness/Jesus/ Free gift of eternal life/ saving faith) through hand motions and skits and stories. We will then break into small groups of 4 students per adult volunteer. This time is so valuable! The students work in pairs to learn their verses. Each student will have a booklet for his or her crafts. These crafts and activity pages will be done in the small group. Then the adult volunteer prays with the children and they return to the big group for a final review and goodbye.

The 4th an 5th grade have over 70 students when combined- so we NEED 18 ADULT VOLUNTEERS that will commit to coming 16 time to invest in these students.

I have 7 already and am praying that the Lord will send 11 more, so that we can work with both the 4th and 5th grade.

It is my job to make sure the volunteers feel prepared and that all the material is ready for them. I am currently organizing each of the craft boxes, props, materials, notebooks,etc  that need to be used starting Jan 15th.  Since the program is brand new, all the materials must be gathered. We have been blessed by donations that covered 13 of the 18 boxes that we need. I will continue to visit area churches and groups to talk about the program and see who can participate, either by volunteering or by donation for the materials.

I cannot tell you how excited I am for this to come to IA. I can’t wait for my own children to have a chance to learn the material- I want them to see that large group of adults who love the Lord and are willing to be there to invest in them. Discipleship takes time- growth comes by feeding and watering and waiting and the repeating that all over again. I know the commitment is a big one, but the investment will produce fruit that far outweighs the time given.

 

growth November 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 1:38 pm

sometimes I would just like to say,”Grow!” “Stop that behavior” and that be the end of our struggle with that in our children.

One that we are working with right now struggles to stop talking in school (ha! I feel partly responsible just because of the double portion of talking gene the child got from us!) The clip of the behavior chart has been moved alot and I have had lots of talks with the teacher as I periodically pop in to see how the child is doing that day.

The child can tell me what happened- can tell what is the right thing to do- knows the rules about that behavior- knows he/she is wrong- CAN’T. SEEM. TO. STOP!

There are punishments at school, punishments here at home, consistent responses to the behavior, apologies that have to be said to the teacher and to us, tears of remorse (i’m not always sure about tears of repentance- there is a big difference).

Today I checked in as they were walking back from lunch. The child had the pin moved today (Knowing that I was coming). I took the child to the teacher’s lounge, talked about the circumstances, and gave a consquence. I also told the child I would be back before the pep rally and that child would sit with me in the classroom while the classmates went to the pep rally.

I walked away thinking,”Seriously! What does it take to have some self control!!”

and then I hung my head- and thought about my eating, my diet coke intake, my thoughts, my harshness…”What does it take to have some self control…”

it takes the holy spirit’s work- in both me and that child. Lord, come quickly. We need it.

 

is writing worth it? November 5, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 12:58 pm
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is writing worth it? that seems like a weird questions for a former English teacher to ask. Of course I see the need for good writing skills- excellent grammar and clarity of content. So many areas of our life require that. I am also extremely grateful for novels that I have ingested over the years- that changed me, expanded me, softened me. But now I am in a dilemma- one that involves writing…my writing.

This summer while I was on a trip with a dear friend in NYC, I was hit with a brainstorm- an idea for a novel. I have had ideas before- concepts that would come to me that I could see making a great story. But this one seemed clearly outlined in my head. I went so far as to make lots of notes on my phone so that I could remember the concepts. It has been simmering for awhile and I continue to encounter people who encourage me to write.

At a recent wedding we attended, Eric and I sat with a lady whom I had not spent a great deal of time with. We sat together at the rehearsal dinner and she almost immediately began probing me about my writing. Not knowing that I have a random little blog, she encouraged me over and over to start one. It became a joke for the weekend. Little did she know I had been mulling the idea of a novel in my head for a while.

I heard more encouragement from my own family while I was with them this past weekend. The topic came up with both my sister and my dad. This is a topic I just don’t tell people about. It seems so prideful- such a strange thought. And who even knows if I can actually write?

But yesterday I began. And the thoughts seemed to tumble out. Who knows if they will be worth anything. Why does an artist do what he does? Why does an author write a story for others to read? What would be the significance of someone reading what someone else thought about? Right now I have no idea. I’m just taking one small step to see what it would be like to write out the brainstorm.

 

in a soaker tub November 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 10:41 am
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We are studying Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World in a book study at my house once a month. In the first chapter, there was one of those ice breakers that stated,”a woman once told me her life was like a blender-and it’s stuck on frappe. What inanimate object best describes how your life currently feels?”

I’m not the best with fabricated ice breakers. But I understand the heart of this question as it relates to our study of busyness and worry. Immediately, I thought of a soaker tub. And right after that, I thought how weird that I would be facilitating a discussion on busyness and worry when I personally feel like I am soaking in a jacuzzi.

Since we’ve been in the Delta, I have felt like God has slowed me down, stopped my activity, quieted my plans. My mind still goes ninety miles an hour, but my actual life has been a forced soaking. Before I sound completely ungrateful, I believe that it has been a good thing- just an awkward thing for me at times- an unusual slowing.

I know that the Lord is intentional in His work in my life and that He refines me through my circumstances. He has stopped me and taught me much about prayer- an area I needed and continue to need such growth in- and you really can’t focus on listening and praying if you are stuck in a blender-like lifestyle.

He is beginning to add back a few things to my day- but as He does, I am praying that I listen and pray- knowing that He is the only one who can do the work here.  It will actually be during that prayer time that I will understand what I am to do – how I am to do it- He will change me during those times- He will unfold the story through my prayers and I will get to see His hand in the work that is done here. Prayer is humbling- and bows our knees to the Ruler of the Universe, while it is equally comforting- as we seek help and guidance from the One who knows all things and can do all things. It exercises our faith in a way few things do. And all of a sudden- I don’t mind soaking so much any more.

 

Costumes November 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 10:21 pm
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We got to watch Despicable Me 2 this past summer when we were at the beach. It has been one of our favorite kid movies- Gru, the main character (voiced by Steve Carell), cracks me up. He is the grumpy, but underneath-it-all warm and fuzzy, evil villain. He adopts three girls and manages an army of minions that carry out his evil plans 🙂 And Despicable Me 2 adds a love interest for him- Lucy. A couple of days before the community’s trunk or treat, my kids decided they wanted to dress up as characters from the movie. We had lots of the parts on hand- we did require a stop at a second hand store for a yellow hat and a yellow shirt and a quick Walmart trip for denim fabric to make the bib of the overalls for the minions.  Eric pulled off Gru like a champ and I am so thankful for a husband who is willing to do anything for our family fun!