Learning Discernment…

I created this wreath for the winter season.

In 2020, I had to adjust and accept my status as being medically retired as a SPED and ELL teacher. Accepting not going into a classroom after 19 years was not a smooth transition. Yes, some days were challenging but the rewards were even greater. The last four months proved to be arduous in meeting the expectations that I had committed to my students, peers and employers. When I experienced an episode in October 2019, I realized my health was affecting everyone around me. I spent 2020 learning the word “acceptance” of my condition and either move forward or wail in self-pity.

After a year of learning acceptance, I needed to make the best of my circumstances. 2021 opened many avenues as being a maker or a doer. I began enjoying the little things in life such as baking, sewing, reading, crocheting, and all things of a homemaker. I thanked my husband many times for encouraging me to seek retirement and taking my time in completing simple tasks. We babysat our grandchildren for a short period of time while their parents worked. It was a joy seeing them more since they moved closer to home.

Now that we are in 2022 I did not know where I needed to put my focus- what I needed to learn under God’s guidance. Many prayers were sent up and conversing outright with God seeking His direction. One day the word “discernment” flooded my mind, heart and soul. The word kept resurfacing on a daily basis. I researched the meaning and how it played into God’s word and plan.

http://www.merriam-webster.com: the quality of being to grasp and comprehend what is obscure; an act of perceiving or discerning something

http://www.dictionary.com: (n) acuteness of judgment and understanding; (adj) showing good or outstanding judgment and understanding

http://www.thesaurus.com: synonyms- discrimination, insightful, astute, knowledgeable, perceptive, knowing; antonyms- ignorant, disregardful, negligent, unaware, unintelligent, neglectful

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.

That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.

Philippians 1:9-10 KJV

My Bible’s commentary expounds upon the above verses as to “focus on what really matters- distinguish the vital and worthwhile things in life from those that are not”.

How is the research applicable in my daily walk? The familiar adages are appropriate, “Walk the walk, talk the talk.” “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” “You eat what you speak.” “Be careful with what you say. It might come back and bite you.” “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” “Actions speak louder than words.”

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Proverbs 18:21 KJV

I am guilty in participating in gossip, not acting upon my words, and pointing out the negative in situations.

Instead my focus should be

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.

Romans 12:12 KJV

My words and actions should be pleasing to God yet not allowing negativity or current events destroy my thoughts and happiness. My words and actions should reflect my beliefs as a Christian showing discernment in all walks of my life. My words and actions should demonstrate judgment of when to act upon.

The filtering of discernment into my words and actions comes from my faith, study, prayer and learnings.

May you find comfort in God’s word and allow His guidance fulfill your daily path.

Learning from the Three Wise Men

Each of my displayed nativities include the Three Wise Men. However, according to the Bible (King James Version) the Kings did not visit the Holy Babe until months later. My curiosity led me to researching and studying Matthew and Luke in the Bible in addition to internet searches.

Why am I so intrigued with the wise men? The wise men were fulfilled with sincere faith in a star that led them a great distance to the newborn King. These men displayed true wisdom in their travels.

I’ve often wondered how the wise men recognized THE star as being a sign that directed them to the King of the Jews. How was their faith never lost over the many months of searching for this Babe?

To understand the significance of the Wise Men, I had to understand their character.

Disclaimer: The following is what I learned from research and studying my Bible. Please correct or add any information to what I have written. I am a Christian and believe in the Word, but an anniversary gift sparked this interest and I cannot stop thinking about their devotion and faith upon one star. My focus is on the wise men and therefore omitting several verses from this post that are unrelated to the topic.

“…there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem” (Matthew 2:1) and were of the higher caste system [knowledge gained from previous social science classes]. Several searches indicated they studied the stars and noted this unique star. By following their calculations, the star led them to Jerusalem, the royal capital of Israel.

Saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Matthew 2:2

I am skipping verses 3-8. These verses depict Herod the king counseling with the “chief priests and scribes” (v, 4) questioning the birth of a new king. Verses 5 and 6 foretells that Bethlehem of Judea being the birthplace as referenced in The Old Testament (Micah 5:2 and Isaiah 9:6). After learning these things, Herod spoke with the wise men to encourage them to return giving news of this newborn.

The wise men continued with their quest.

…the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was (v, 9).

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him… (v, 11).

Matthew 2

The setting has moved from a manger (Luke 2:7) to a house (Matthew 2:11). This indicates that Joseph and Mary left the stable and are now residing in a home.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Matthew 2: 12

The Bible gives little information, yet the wise men contributed to the birth story. I am astounded by their perseverance in seeking the King of the Jews. The wise men traveled over a vast span of land guided only by a star. They were not discouraged by the distance or having to travel even further to meet the Babe. They did not question their purpose. The only noted question I could find was “… where is he…” (Matthew 2:20) from the wise men.

These men were WISE in their commitment: guided by faith in the unknown, exhibiting patience and tolerance with the long distance, articulating appropriately with encounters, and having wisdom in returning home in a different direction.

The acknowledgment of the wise men’s specific attributes was attained from my study. Even though I am one person in this BIG world, I want to carry the same qualities as the wise men: faith, patience, tolerance, positive dialogue, and wisdom.

Little is known about the wise men except they made a significant contribution in one of the most beloved and highly worshiped events of the Christian faith. Chapters 2 of Matthew and Luke provide specific yet small details of their role in greeting the newborn/child. Even though the backgrounds are not written in the Bible, I inferred about the wise men’s character. Character that I strive for in my daily walk with God. How did I come to these conclusions of the wise men? I sought God’s word for answers.

May you be filled with faith, patience, tolerance, articulation, and wisdom for your travels in 2022. These traits are not always easily expressed in daily circumstances, but we have a loving and forgiving God who directs our paths.

Happy New Year and may you find joy in the life that you have been blessed- Jan

Celebrating Christmas as the Birth of Christ

“O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.”

Placide Cappeau 

“O Holy Night” is my favorite Christmas song as well as one of my all-time favorites. The stanzas create a tender setting of Christ’s birth. With all that Mary endured while traveling and being in an unfamiliar place, “… Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, KJV). Mary received a true blessing that night-

The Nativity scene is the star of the season and the focal point of this home’s decorations. Our Nativities are displayed in the main living area.

No matter how many Nativities are exhibited, the Nativity’s true meaning resides within my heart.  The Nativity story is found in Luke 2: 1-20.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”


16 And they [Shepherds] came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”

Crude stable made from a cardboard box and raffia. The Willow Tree Nativity pieces were collected over multiple years. A “Silent Night” reigns forever more.
A sweet friend surprised me with this precious Nativity. I love how the sun creates a star shining upon this peaceful scene.
My sister gave me this Holy Family from her visit to the Holy Land. The intricate details in the carved wood give a calming effect of the special night that we celebrate yearly.
The Shepherds are missing from this Nativity. This set has been displayed for 25 years. I am amazed that these pieces remain.
This Nativity and church sit together on the pie safe. My mother was very intentional with highlighting the small details of each piece. Again, this Nativity was crafted in 1995 before our family increased. The children always enjoyed placing the pieces into a complete setting.

Remember that Jesus is the reason of the season.

May you find comfort in this Christmas season as I have in placing my faith in His holy birth.

Blessings- Jan

The Struggle is Real… An Update to MCAS

Yes, the struggle is real and doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. I am talking about the middle age weight, yet the middle apple shape. More medicine, excessive sedentary, ongoing pain, and binge eating to satisfy the never ending hunger feeling.

I never struggled with weight when I was younger. I even lost the weight after the fourth child within a few months. My metabolism allowed me to out eat anyone at the table. I could eat sweets and bread all day long without worrying about packing on the pounds. But things changed in 2010. My body went wonky, literally!

I lost control of everything. Another -ology added to the list of specialists. Since 2010, I have counseled with rheumatology, orthopedics, pulmonology, immunology, endocrinology, oncology, cardiology, neurology, allergist, gastroenterology, ear-nose-throat, counselor, and others. I counted 18 different medications that I take daily. These do not include the “take as needed” such as the EpiPen, Zofran, Klonopin, Levisen, Rescue Inhaler, Nebulizer. You get the picture.

You ask why am I disclosing personal information for the world to read. This is part of the autoimmune disease Mast Cell Activation Syndrome that no one seems to understand or better yet recognize in some cases.

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome has become more accepted among the medical field in recent years. However, some medical professionals do not acknowledge or have the understanding on how to manage this newly identified term. How do I know this? Experience through medical emergencies and hearing one doctor state this fact.

The doctor went on to ensure what I am experiencing is real and not in my head. I am not crazy nor am I making up these symptoms. It is not anxiety as some ER doctors or medical personnel claim.

It is hard for people to see what is going on inside of my body when the flares hit. The mast cells go berserk. My stomach turns causing nausea and vomiting, the face flushes and begins to itch, oh the head pounds while the sinuses congest and make it difficult to breath. My throat feels as if it is closing and the tongue is swelling. I gasp for air as I cough and my voice becomes hoarse unable to speak in a normal tone. [My voice is naturally soft and makes a struggling sound the longer I talk.] Tremors and joint pain set in causing discomfort. Sometimes the outcome actually produces anaphylaxis, but other times the stinging and tingling gives a false sensation. My family has become hypersensitive to my changes. They recognize the symptoms before I do, which I am very grateful for their persistence to get the ball rolling in following our emergency protocol that allows the episode to be handled without medical personnel.

What causes this reaction? Who knows? It can be from a scent, pollen, food, stress, exercise, walking, etc. This list can continue without any absolute findings.

What is my strategy to avoid a reaction? I am home most days. The great outdoors are viewed from the sunroom and windows. When the pollen count is down or smoke is not filling the air, I sit on my front porch with my friend the “Mask.” My friend goes with me everywhere even in the house. I wear it while cleaning, cooking, baking, opening mail (boxes), sewing, cutting fabric, crocheting–anytime to keep the dust, scents, irritants away.

Do I miss visiting with people, attending church, shopping without fear, working outside the home? Yes, I miss the good ol’ days. Due to the ongoing struggles, I medically retired in December 2019. It was a hard adjustment. But I felt I was not giving my 100% to the students, peers and school. My family was suffering. Weekends were spent in bed. The bed called me by 7 o’clock every evening for restless nights. Doctors and hospitals bills were outstanding in amounts. Something had to give- it was work or it was me. So after having experiencing an embarrassing episode in a public setting, I sought assistance and was granted medical retirement.

I do not know of anyone else that is experiencing MCAS. I have researched, read blogs and watched YouTube for gaining understanding and how to cope with my new lifestyle.

But as I reflect while typing, I think it could be worse. I have managed and continue to strive to be a good wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. I may not be my best on some days, but I am here and with my family.

I have a purpose- God’s purpose for writing this post. It will be published without editing/revising. The title has been on my heart for many days to write my thoughts. There are others who suffer with conditions worse than mine but continue to give each day their best. They are my heroes, my role models.

May you find comfort in today’s post knowing that you can overcome any struggles you are facing as I have in accepting and writing this post.

Many blessings friends- Jan

Did We Forget Turkey Day? Better Yet- Giving Thanks?

I made a Thanksgiving bouquet to place on my father’s grave. My mother-in-love’s is already placed.

Did we forget that there is still Thanksgiving to be shared with family and friends?

Grant it this home is now free of fragile items that were easily assessible to our 22 month old Grand-son. He is no longer enticed to caress all the beseeching FALL decorations. I think he will be more appreciative of this in order not to hear the “NO!” recorder.

But Tom the Turkey continues to welcome everyone to the dinner table. The China cabinet, butler’s buffet and coffee station display an array of pumpkins, Pilgrims, and florals. The red Memory Lane plates decorate half of the dining room wall.

These main cupboards will scream Thanksgiving till Black Friday. Afterwards, I will gladly pull out the Christmas boxes. Until then, I will focus on the turkey, dressing and all other dishes that my family enjoys.

ON a serious note, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who takes the time to read this small blog. It is humbling to look at the statistics and seeing the blog reaching an audience beyond the United States. I have a small number of followers and for that I am very grateful for them and YOU, the reader. It is difficult for me to sit and read blogs that I follow, so for the audience to take time to read my meager words is an honor.

Not only am I thankful for this blog and audience, I am thankful first and foremost for a God who has forgiven and accepted me as His child. I believe in Jesus as my personal Savior and am looking forward to the day I can sit beside Him and rejoice with my family and friends who have gone on before me.

Secondly, I am thankful for my husband, four children and daughter-in-love, grandchildren, mother, siblings and their families, in-laws, extended family and friends. My husband and I live a simple life in an antiquated log home. Words cannot express the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me over these 49 years. Yes, I have or experienced struggles- financially, emotionally, physically- like anyone else, but God has never forsaken me when I have been in the valley.

This song says it all. I had the opportunity to hear the Gaithers in concert 16 years ago. What a blessing!

Disclaimer: Video has been monitored but ads have not due to the constant changes.

https://youtu.be/R9gEo0_Abc4 Sheri Easter, Jeff Easter, Charlotte Ritchie, Vestal Goodman

May November 25th bring a grateful heart as it will mine. This will be the first Thanksgiving without my mother-in-love and the sixth without my father. For those who celebrate- have a safe Happy Thanksgiving. To others, take time to thank someone in your life and your maker. We all have something to be thankful for. The past several years have been a valley, but let’s climb the mountain together and be grateful for what we have.

Happy Thanksgiving family and friends- Jan

To My Daughter, Son, and Husband & All First Responders

Did you thank a First Responder on October 28th? EMTs, Paramedics, Police, and Fire Fighters and any First Responder certified contribute to our communities as he or she responds to a call whether the call is small or full emergency. They are here to assist us in our need.

Our daughter decided to follow in her father’s footsteps as an EMT and is currently attending paramedic school. Not only is she devoted to being an EMT, she is also a volunteer fire fighter. She desires to help those in need while asking for little in return. She has seen and been engaged in the profoundly worst traumas yet continues to get up each day to see the best in people at their darkest time. Her face bears a gentle smile when she leaves the house in the early morning hours or attending to a 911 call. The same is observable as she returns the following day after completing a 24 or 48 hour shift. J carries a lot of weight figuratively and literally with her job specifications. She has gone beyond the call of duty to serve our community and others.  She is my hero!  Daughter- Give God the glory for your success and in His timing you will be where He wants you.

Our son decided to follow in his father’s footsteps as a volunteer fire fighter. He is currently in the training stage at the local fire station and attends the weekly meetings. J has one of the most arduous jobs during the day. He works at a funeral home keeping the memorial grounds and laying loved ones in their final resting places. J has formed a deep respect for these sacred grounds.  His personal goal is ensuring the grounds have what is needed in their proper places.  J works to pay for his schooling at the local technical college and the expected date of graduation in engineering is this spring.  He has gone further than we ever expected.  J has a success story of his own to tell.  He is my hero!  Son- I am proud of you and lean on God’s guidance seeking His direction for what will come next.

The man who has influenced our children is my husband; Joe wears many hats: former technology teacher, volunteer fire fighter, and an EMT. His first love was being a first responder. I knew this when we met twenty-nine years ago. Joe thrives on a scene. His wealth of knowledge enthralls me as he has a scientific mind and is able to cypher the different medical subjects. When Joe was working full-time, he would be out all hours of the night assisting on a call. One night in particular, Joe responded to our city’s fire. This fire totaled several businesses and homes. I arrived on the scene around four in the morning searching for Joe to come home in order to prepare for the school day. Joe was released from the scene as well as many other city and county volunteers to attend to their full-time employments. As I waited, I heard the responders conversing over the grueling fire and its containment due to the team work of the multiple city and county stations.

First responders are on call 24/7. Their dedication is admirable. They are here for you and me and I am not ashamed to call on them if needed.

I am honored to be a wife and mother to first responders. As always- come home safely to me.

To My Son & To All Past, Present, and Future Services

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

First and foremost- thank you for your service and sacrifice to and for our country. Without your presence, this country would not be standing today. There are no words that can deeply express my gratitude and appreciation.

To all others- let’s put aside our differences and celebrate the one day that values and recognizes our VETERANS.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

My family believes in the past, present, and future of our service men and women as seen in the quote, “WE stand for the flag and kneel at the cross.”

To the service men and women- Even though we have not met, know that you are being uplifted in prayer. May God’s hands bring comfort and peace as you stand grounded for the United States wherever you are or have served. Let your character shine in wisdom, humbleness, and faith for which this country was founded. Guard your character from those who seek to break your spirit and constitution. God knows your heart and your purpose in completing His will. Your family also shares this same character. You are never alone.

And he said, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, Thou dost save me from violence. “I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; And I am saved from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22: 2-4

To my son- You have made us proud of your duty to God and our country. We will always stand behind you in your decision to serve in an unpopular employment. God has a plan for you as you dedicate yourself to and for others. Never think you are alone as so many people are personally uplifting your name to our Heavenly Father. Go out and accomplish what you have set forth and be proud of who you are and will become in your division. As always, come home safely to us. Love, Mom

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Disclaimer: I have watched and monitored the videos. The ads are difficult to monitor. I hope you enjoy the quotes as much as I have, for they touch the soul.


May you thank a veteran or pay tribute to those that have gone on before us as our family has and will do so this Thursday, November 11th, Veterans Day.

Aprons & Tablecloths

  1. Grandmother’s apron- one pocket, hand towel sewn into the apron’s waistband
  2. Grandmother’s apron- two pockets
  3. My petite apron when I was younger
  4. Strawberry apron- first sewing project
  5. My mother sewed an apron from my late father’s shirt.
  6. I sewed the smaller apron for our oldest daughter.

THE HISTORY OF THE APRON – (Unknown Author):

I don’t think our kids know what an really apron is.

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress she wore underneath. Because she only had a few. It was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.
They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron…

I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron… but love!

This reverence to a simple staple in the homes of years past magnifies the grandmothers’ love to her family and homeplace.

I sewed my first apron when I was in sixth grade, and it rests among my other apron assortment. The apron demonstrates a beginner’s trial yet carries the burgeoning enjoyment of many sewn projects hence.

Different themed tablecloths: 1) rooster [late mother-in-law’s] 2) apple 3) harvest [table runner sewn by my mother]

Tablecloths always welcomed visitors to my grandmothers’ tables. The worn cloths were always clean and free of wrinkles. One grandmother would place another cloth over the dinner meal for any newcomers to partake if wanted. This method also saved the leftovers for the supper meal. At the day’s end, she would fold the precious cover and set aside on her buffet to be used again the following day.

These antiquated staples are observable in my home. I wear an apron to cook and wash dishes while the tablecloth protects what’s underneath from unintentional scratches and the many touching hands.

I found “The Tablecloth” story in many forms on the internet. I felt it would be easier to listen to the precious story instead of copying and pasting the long narration.

Disclaimer: The video repeats itself after 5:30. Please note that the remaining footage was skimmed and appeared to be of repetition. I did not monitor the ads.


May you find joy in these simple staples as I have over the years. May they tell your story- Jan

The Fall Season

How do you describe fall? Would you use descriptive words that entails the senses? Are traditions included in the narration?

When does fall commence in your household: calendar year or back to school season?

I slowly begin in August with apple decorations to kick off the fall season and conclude with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving must not be forgotten! Remember, Tom the Turkey must make his presence known before Santa.

Small touches of Halloween were scattered throughout the fall novelties. However, our Halloween decor was centered around our young grandchildren. Since we are now the J’Pa and J’Ma daycare, we focused on “The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” with Dollar General jack-o-lanterns and Dollar Tree pumpkins. Additional items were included to incorporate the Peanuts theme: ghosts, character throws and tea towels. The family carved a pumpkin on Friday before the seasonal Halloween elements were packed on Saturday, October 30th.

Most of the items are from years past consisting of thrifted finds or inheritances from family members. I love displaying dinnerware as seasonal decor. Coffee cups filled with an array of florals or stems, plates used as risers, and trinkets contain the season’s main colors. Joe created several 3-D acorns and squirrels using his personal printer.

The placements changed over the weekend in order for me to dust and put away the plethora of decor. I will be toning down the colors and designing spaces for the Thanksgiving pieces.

May the wavering season bring reflection to your lives as it has mine. Fall has a purpose and fulfills the beautiful scenery created by God. May you, too, fulfill His beautiful purpose created for you- Jan.

The Worn Bible

The B-I-B-L-E
Yes, that’s the book for me
I stand alone on the Word of God
The B-I-B-L-E

author unknown

My Bible has seen its days. It carries the same marks as me: worn, torn, spine falling apart, added marginal notes dating independent studies, sermons, and memories.

Even though my Bible is half my age, it remains a staple in my life. Admittingly, I have gone months without touching it- collecting dust as a decor fixture. Then I feel led to open it and study particular books and chapters leaving dates and words of learnings.

My church gifted me this precious Bible when I graduated with my master’s in 2001. The Bible is secured in a cloth cover with extra paper and pens. A clean Kleenex can be found between pages. However, many pages remain untouched by a pen.

I do not know all the books of the Bible in order. I struggle with memorization and being able to recall verses. This is the reason I write verses on note cards and post-it notes to remind me of His words.

I may not understand all of its words, but I know they are written with a purpose.

Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

This verse serves as a reminder to “Trust & Obey”- wait on the Lord for in His timing I will grow as He wants.

1 King 3: 11-12 “…but hast asked thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart….”

discern- knowing when to speak and act upon as King Solomon’s wisdom is shown in later verses

%d bloggers like this: