Shannon Falls, August 2012

Friday, August 23, 2013


I don't think I cherished the days I had this summer to spend outdoors with Hayden, watch tv, and sleep past 5:40! Don't get me wrong--I thrive on a busy schedule; I get so much more done. But we are BUSY.

David is coaching football (and basketball this winter) at my school, serving as student pastor at a church, and is a seminary student. We leave our house before 7 and, on a good, day, we're home a little after 5. Then it's a rush to repack lunches, cook supper, clean out bookbags, and make sure everything is ready for the next day before Hayden heads to bed. I foresee many late nights in the near future as papers and tests start really rolling!

We love living in TX. I plan to cherish my Friday nights (as much as I can) and not do any work, if possible. I feel I live two completely separate lives right now, though. This summer, Hayden and my only friends were here on campus; now I spend more time at TCA (school) than I do at home. I love working at a Christian school. We start each day with devotion; I can't believe what a difference that makes.

I know I'm not the student at Southwestern, but I feel even more distanced with the amount of time I spend away from campus. I also realize we're still relatively "new." Everything takes time. But I'm SO thankful for my job at TCA (and for very gracious, understanding students!).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Year 5

Can it possibly be my fifth year in the classroom? Man, I missed the rush and excitement of a fresh year last year; don't get me wrong, we were supposed to be in Vancouver at that appointed time, but I love the start of a new school year.

Right now, after two days of teacher inservice, I'm exhausted and my brain is running nonstop with the lists of things that need to be done around meetings and other obligations. It'll all get done, but I hate pushing it to the last minute.

Take a digital stroll through my classroom. Not the best pictures, but you can get an idea of what my crazy, color-filled box looks like. I miss my window(s), but I love the atmosphere of the room. Now I just need to wrap my mind around American Literature and research papers!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Only He Can Provide

When I accepted the position at TCA, we knew there would likely be some significant cuts/changes in our life/budget to accommodate being at the right school for less money. And we were fine with that. But God has placed some incredible opportunities in our lives for the coming year. And He is refining us all and showing us what matters most.

I've learned that I pretty much need to voice my trust in order to see results. Let me explain before some of you get all spiritual and crazy on me. God and I talk regularly. But I've begun to note in the past months when I speak out loud my trust that my Father will provide, I see Him do so. (Not that God doesn't always see through and take care of our needs.) Two instances: the Tuesday before the Saturday we loaded the moving truck for Fort Worth, I was in the bathroom readying to run errands. God and I had a talk where I told Him, "Okay, God, I give this car situation to You; I have no idea how You're going to fix this, but You can." (We only have one vehicle; David was staying in MS and Hayden and I were to be in TX. Thus, the dilemma.) Literally, ten minutes later, David texted me saying a huge prayer request was answered. The car. The issue was solved.

Secondly, we knew we needed to account for the discrepancy in salary with my job. We knew David would work somewhere; not an issue. About a week ago, we spoke on the phone discussing the upcoming year. I said to my husband, "God will work out the details and give us what we need." We hung up, and a church called David immediately. And as of today, David has positions(s) that account for the money we had "lost."

There are still many unknowns, but I have no doubt He has been with us every step of the way, providing. Only He could do what He has done.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Yes, folks, you read that correctly. I'm beginning to think we wouldn't be us without curveballs always being thrown our direction! I am not at liberty to fully divulge the juicy news just yet. Know several things:
1. David is still going to school.

2. We aren't leaving Fort Worth.

3. It's nothing bad. Actually, it's a HUGE blessing.

As soon as I have the assurance and definitive go-ahead, I will lay it all out!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Job Situation

I am not a good blogger; this is not my gift. But I do know there are a few of you that read this and sometimes it's therapeutic to write out my thoughts.

For the first month we were here, any time anyone (mostly family) called, the first question was, "Have you found a job yet?" No. The answer was always no. But based on what a principal told me, the main hiring time was late May-late June and again in late July. So I wasn't panicking. Except that now as of June 19, I've still yet to receive a single call from any of the billion districts (and 90+ middle schools) that I applied to. Not one public school interview.

Why is that?

Because God had a different plan. A plan I never would have dreamed of because David and I had laid out, in detail, OUR plan for our lives here in TX. And I'm sure God laughed. So He fixed those plans.

As of about two weeks ago I accepted a position with Trinity Christian Academy in Willow Park, TX. Trinity is fabulous. However, I never imagined I'd be teaching at a private school, or teaching as many things as I will be! I'll be doing two classes of English 7 (divided actually into 2 classes of grammar/comp and literature=4 total periods), an English III (American Literature, 11th grade) class, and a Pre-AP II (sophomores) class. I think I have those grades right. I know the courses are correct. And I have the books and resources to prove it!

Right now my life consists of planning. planning. planning. And getting excited about things like projects found on the internet connecting different Puritan writers! I'm a little nervous about reading essays, inputting grades, reading the selections myself, and planning lessons in a 45 minute planning period. So I'm doing as much groundwork now as I can!

Between my new position and the insane amount of books David will be reading, it ought to be an interesting year. I'm definitely seeing the reasons why God placed me at Trinity, though at first I was very hesitant. Hayden is going to go to Pre-K (5 days) at the elementary campus for actually less than we were going to have to pay for him to do Mother's Day Out with the extended care and someone to keep him Monday afternoons on campus. He has to wear uniforms which makes my decisions easier, but unfortunately, they have to come from designated suppliers. Boo.

Anyway...Go Eagles!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tough Week

It's been a long week. I know why God designated parenting to be a duo-affair. There were many times this week I wasn't a very good mom. In fact, I hated who I was. What I had become. I'm working diligently on many things in my life. I haven't quite nailed it yet. Hayden isn't on the schedule I imagined he would be, but what we have is working. And he's getting to be a little boy; for me, that's honestly more important than he know 100 sight words. It is. Shoot me. I'm not a Pinterest-perfect mom. I'm Jamie. I'm selfish. I'm a failure many days. I succeed other days. I want to be a good minister's wife. A great minister's wife. I wish I kept my mouth shut more. Why do I tell people so much junk about my life? Why do I lose my cool? Why do I worry any time I have down moments? Why is losing weight such a struggle? Why am I not happy with me?

AAGH! This is how my brain operates ALL.DAY.LONG. What can I do to be busy right now? What should I have Hayden learning? What do I need to do for a future classroom (and an update on the job situation will come soon; just know that not a single public school has asked for an interview. FAIL. Talk about feeling worthless.)? What do I cook for lunch/supper? Is laundry done? What else can I clean? How long is my checklist today? Am I supposed to be somewhere that I've forgotten about?

I made a conscious effort this week to check on friends at the moment God brought them to mind. I had gotten very complacent in muttering quick prayers: "God, please help so-and-so with all the stuff she's going through. Amen." Yep, heartlfelt and sincere. Saying junk like this at the same time laying my life on the line and whining about all the stuff I have going on. I was blessed by conversations with friends and talk that didn't center around me. Our immediate neighbors are moving back to Oklahoma; they've been so welcoming and become friends in our month in Fort Worth. I'll miss their family of 4.

David is at Student Life camp at Covenant College in Georgia. I've really missed my husband this week. I never want to complain on FB about missing my husband for days/weeks because we have dear friends with deployed spouses. My summer of craziness is nothing compared to half a year+ that friends of mine have to be single moms with multiple children. David and I had a great conversation late last night about what had transpired with his students at camp. I have no doubt that this is exactly where God wanted him to be for the past few months. I also see how God is going to use his time there to transition him to seminary and service in Fort Worth. My husband's faith and ministry-heart is exactly what I prayed for before I ever met him. Don't get me wrong, it's taken me nearly six years of marriage to realize what I have and how he thinks. He challenges many. He's not a typical Southern Baptist. I pray I become the help-mate he needs beside as we travel the years ahead.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Finding Our Way

I love and hate moving. I love setting up a new "home." I hate all the firsts that accompany moving: finding a new church, new activities to be involved in, new job(s) in this case, even things as trivial as new hairdressers. Things are going well for us here in Fort Worth, but there are still mountains of firsts that need to be tackled.

I have been on one official job interview at a Christian school. I'm not sure whether I'll be offered a position or not, so I'm still applying at local districts as well. I'll admit that sometimes it is very frustrating to talk to family and that be the first thing asked. Every day I work on a potential job opportunity in some fashion; trust me, it's at the top of my priority list. But I just can't fathom how after the way God has orchestrated every detail thus far that He'd leave me hanging. He won't. And maybe He's preparing me for something better.

Hayden started "school" at the Mother's Day Out program on campus today. I'm not counting today as his first official day; something about it being the end of May doesn't make it feel very "school-like." He enjoyed it though and I think the few hours apart each week this summer are going to be good for us. Until we know finances and schedules, we haven't wanted to over-commit ourselves just yet. Hayden may play basketball in June/July and there's a kids' gym called The Little Gym that offers gymnastics/tumbling classes for young kids. That may be perfect for him as he loves to climb. Classes coincide a bit with MDO or are offered only on Wednesdays, so we're still looking into that. Plus, every moment that he can be outside, he is. We have what is considered the plastic playground in the center of our six buildings of townhomes. Eventually, I'm sure I'll add pictures of our home, but I have a few touches I'd like to still add. Some days our townhome feels huge; other days, I feel there's nowhere to hide!

I haven't been very diligent in working with Hayden on his reading skills. I have quite a few things I haven't been very consistent in.

David leaves for youth camp next week, so he's been here this week with us. It's almost strange when he's here because he's still working on so much in Biloxi and neither of us leaves for work. I'm thankful for the structure that MDO will help provide and it gives Hayden something to look forward to. I hope to be able to use that time on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get some good workouts in. I have A LOT of work to do in that area.

I really want to invest in our community and get involved in everything that's available. For example, the Fort Worth Zoo offers a "school" on Wednesdays during the school year for kids to learn school skills using the animals, their habitats, and eating habits. It looks amazing. The price seems high, but really I suppose it's not for an entire year. But again, while I'd love to involve Hayden in it, we'd need a second car and to be sure it was a wise money investment. In a sense, there's almost TOO much to be involved in here!

We do look forward to continuing to partake of fabulous BBQ and shopping and getting to attend some Texas Rangers games and make visits to Six Flags. I'll be much calmer once we have a routine and my job in place!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Painting My Toenails

My house is a disaster, I still have clothes in suitcases, job applications need to be completed, and my to do list grows daily. So how am I handling everything that needs to be done? By painting my toenails. I'll stress again tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Allow Me to Ramble...

Please...if you read this at all...allow me to ramble. I have a gazillion thoughts rolling around my head, so this post may seem all over the place.

I haven't written anything in awhile for several reasons. 1. I have become very guarded about some issues and will keep those thoughts to myself. 2. We've been extremely busy since we returned to the States. 3. My computer completely reset itself so it rarely works correctly right now.

Vancouver. While the majority of our families don't understand why we even went and think our time was a complete failure, I am beginning to see exactly why God sent us--even if it was only for eight months. We know He used that time to get us out of our comfort zones. And trust me, I'm having to rely on Him fully for several big things right now. Most days I feel calm and secure that He has everything lined up; yesterday was not one of those days! I worried from the time I arose until the time I finally collapsed into exhaustion. I can see how God is using our experiences in Canada to set up relationships and circumstances here that will allow us to use those in the near and far future. That seems like such an obscure sentence, but I see some very real possibilities of our still being in ministry, and I have quite a few different ideas on how that could look.

I've begun to learn that what people say about me/us behind closed doors doesn't really matter. Sure, it hurts. Sure, it never completely leaves your brain. In the end, however, I've seen how our obedience and faithfulness has proven true repeatedly. I'll take following God's plan over having to defend myself against my family/friends any day.

Speaking of friends, I can sense that my relationship with a close friend has changed. It's hard. She was the one person who I would go to for anything; now I feel all she does is harp on Hayden and how he's acting in her home (and I know she loves him). It's just odd and hard to explain. I feel defensive when I'm around her. It makes me miss a good friend I just really started forming an intimate relationship with in Canada. She's an American and who knows, we may end up near one another again someday.

We are going to Texas shortly; Hayden and I will go on in the coming days and David will stay with a friend through the summer and keep working at our home church. Getting jobs for the time we were here was actually never part of our agenda but God works all things together for good.

I'm very anxious to find a job for next school year. I keep preparing even though I don't know where I'll be yet. I keep thinking back to the summer I had resigned St. Martin and planned to open a daycare with a "friend." She then dropped me like a bad habit, and I was stuck with no job. Within three weeks (in July!) I had a job at a great school that I never would have applied to had the entire situation never happened. I just have to keep trusting that even though it's already April, it's only April, if that makes any sense.

I felt like I had more personal things to say, but as I said, I'm guarding many of my words for several reasons. I thank God for my loving husband who wants nothing more than to serve. Canada did David good; he learned a great deal, he's ready for school, and who knows, maybe more church planting? I once told my family I would marry a pastor some day; that didn't mean he would be a preacher. David is that man. I'm enjoying watching God shape him and prepare him, and I love the way my husband thinks. He balances me so well. We have uncertain (to us) certain (to Him) days ahead that are already mapped; here's to following that blueprint.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sense of Humor

I've learned much about God's sense of humor. We left Canada with plans to spend about six weeks at my parents' house before moving into missionary housing in Keller, TX, the beginning of April. We would then be moving onto campus at Southwestern. Things have changed much since early February.

We are with my parents, but I secured a long-term subbing position in 7th grade English at one of my former schools. We aren't leaving right at the end of this month, but closer to mid-April. David is now serving as the interim student minister at our home church (a process that happened almost literally overnight). He's doing an amazing job, and we feel so welcomed back.

My former principal has basically offered me a position for next school year, and David could have this job as long as he truly desires, but we know that if we don't go on to TX, we'll never leave. We will put off school again and again, just as we've done for the past six years. That can't happen again. Hayden and I are going to go on to TX, and David is going to spend the summer here with someone (we haven't worked out that detail yet).

We plan to move onto campus in August; I have contacted 90 middle schools (yes, 90, and they're within a half hour of campus). There are many, many details to figure out but we never dreamed we'd be in any position of making money while we're here. Since we have an entire house full of furniture to replace and coming semesters of school to pay for, we are blown away at God's provision.

Every time WE create a plan of action, God laughs at us...and then He gives us something insanely better. I'm so glad He knows what the coming months hold. I don't particularly want to spend the next several months separated from David, but we know it must happen.

Right now, a runny nose and sore throat that began with allergies, has progressed into something more, I'm afraid. Unfortunately, we don't have insurance at the time, so I'm doing as much OTC medication as I can. I honestly think I need rest more than anything, but my mom says she hopes I don't develop bronchitis. Here's to hoping more sleep, not talking, and prayer help me feel better soon. It's starting to really hurt to talk and swallow, and I sound like a teenage boy going through puberty!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Long-Term Sub

We feel God keeps affirming the decision to leave Canada. We are only in MS about six weeks; on Sunday night, mere hours after we unloaded the car, a local teacher friend messaged me to see if I would be interested in subbing at her school for they are in desperate need. I said sure. David advised me to email a former principal too, just to see my options. She responded first thing the next morning that she needed a long-term sub and asked if could I start immediately. So here I find myself having completed Day 1. It went well, but I can tell I'm not in MY classroom with my materials or my kids. But the time I get rolling good, it'll be time to step out. That's okay, though. I'm very much enjoying being back in the classroom and planning lessons. When we moved to Canada we realized just how much I viewed my classroom as my mission field. My students are my babies, my darlings.

This week was not how I imagined things going, but I'm so thankful God knows best and He provides. It feels good to be busy doing something productive (infer from that what you will). I'm also very thankful it's Friday!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Some of you know exactly what those initials stand for: Dallas/Fort Worth. When we knew it was very likely we were leaving Canada, we began praying through where we'd like to begin building our lives long-term. Through a series of events and circumstances, DFW repeatedly stood out. There are several reasons, but I'll highlight a few.

-David has needed to go back to school since before we were married. Because we had two very good jobs and a very comfortable lifestyle, we put off this huge decision again and again. Now here we were, leaving a country with the door wide open before us. So we began researching and praying about which campus and city would be right for us. And no offense to any NOBTS grads, New Orleans is not the right place for us. Southwestern stuck out for multiple reasons and we are here on campus for a tour, seeing the area, and I'm talking to schools.

-That brings me to another reason for DFW--teaching. Do you have any idea how many districts/schools are in this area? I'm getting into a school system tomorrow that has as many schools as the ENTIRE MS Gulf Coast. Teachers also make a good bit more here which will help off-set some of the cost of David's schooling.

-Finally, we are within a day's driving distance to all of our family in MS or a very short plane ride. This certainly beats being in several airports and at least 5+ hours on airplanes away.

There is quite a bit going on here. We've tried to do a good bit of exploring and looking into opportunities for our family. After our tour today, we feel an even greater peace about our decision. We have several months ahead of figuring things out but God hasn't failed us yet. I wish I had all the answers; so do our families, I suppose! The fact is, we are living more on faith than we ever have before. And like I said, God hasn't let us down yet!

Monday, January 28, 2013

What's Going On?

I know many of my posts lately have been quite cryptic. The following is the message we sent to our prayer partners concerning our ministry here in Vancouver. Things are not always what they seem, so I hope this sheds some light for those curious souls. (David wrote this in case the tense or references seem odd.)
You all have been such an important part of the process my family has gone through over the last year and with that I wanted to let you all know of some changes that are happening in regards to our ministry here at The Common Place. As of January 31, Jamie and I will be resigning our position and moving back to the United States.

We have had such a great experience here in loving on the community of Coquitlam and we will take with us the many joys that this season of life has brought to our family. It was a tough decision to step down and we spent much time praying through it and discerning what God was leading us to as a family.

We sincerely appreciate all the prayers that the members of this group have provided us over the last year or so and will always be thankful to you for the prayers that got us through our time here. We have much to be thankful for as we look back over the last 8 months here on the ground.

We lived in the most beautiful place on the planet, we made some great friends, we impacted individuals with the love of Christ, we encouraged fellow believers, and we sought every day, in every encounter to beam the light of Jesus in this place.

We have no regrets, we leave here with hearts still very much on fire for The Lower Mainland of British Columbia, we leave here longing for God to finish a work he has begun here in Coquitlam.

We covet your prayers over the next few weeks as we travel back to Mississippi, as we readjust to life back in The South, as we just seek out where God wants us next. We have far more questions than answers at this point but we cling to the thing we as a family have clung to since day one. God has a plan for us, and we will run as fast as we can to follow that plan.

We appreciate everything. We hope to continue sharing our journey along the way. 

I hope that explains some. There are details that honestly some of you will never know. We are not upset (well, a little because we sold everything thinking we'd stay years-forever), but for the sake of our family, we must go. It's been exciting to have mothers come to me and ask about our faith. We've made connections that I will continue to to work on and through no matter where we settle. We have ideas about our future landing spot but you'll have to stay tuned for that! We leave Thursday and Hayden is very ready. This has been hard for him. We look forward to the changes God is bringing into our lives and know we never would have considered them had it not been for our time in Canada. 

Friday, January 25, 2013


I wouldn't consider myself a vain person; insecure, yes. But not vain. But when I get overwhelmed with life, I have found that I look to make quick changes on things I can control. For instance, my hair. I love short(er) hair; my husband hates it. I'm sure you're thinking, "Seriously? She's writing a blog post about her hair length?"

Well, there are much deeper issues taking place that I can't divulge at the time, and losing weight is an on-going, lengthy process, but hair, especially the cutting of the hair, is a quick fix. I'm not saying I want to cut my hair at this very moment, but I am strongly considering one of the following looks:

I've done the stacked inverted bob (think Victoria Beckham) before and I'm sure you see a pattern here. I'd sort of like to go choppy, but I am not really sure how to style that. I do like the shorter bob with layers. Who knows. I'll just stew on the idea for awhile. Oh, I'm also open to suggestions!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


It's amazing how the simple word "home" has so many different meanings. Canada has never truly felt like home---nothing about it. Journeying across the border into WA (a state so different from MS) feels amazingly more normal than our everyday lives here in British Columbia. Maybe it's seeing MPH on the speed limit signs instead of KM/H; maybe it's knowing McD's and Wendy's have true dollar menus instead of $1.39 or $1.89 options; maybe it's seeing clearance prices at discount stores that are under $10-15 instead of seemingly stopping at $25 (how is that clearance?!). I know those are silly examples, but today my heart is just overwhelmed.

Hayden hates living here. That affects how I feel about it, even though I've tried to be very positive and find as many outlets as possible for us to meet families. The rain really does mess with your mind. I'm not depressed, but with it being dark so much of the day, it is hard to get motivated. Finding a job here is nearly impossible (unless we immigrate, and we're not). Honestly, I miss my house. My home. I miss my big kitchen and Hayden being able to run and jump and us not having to say, "Don't do that! The neighbors are going to complain!"

When we visited MS in November, we went "home." I don't so much miss the actual state as I do family, friends, and knowing where everything is. I have no idea who actually reads this thing, and I haven't updated much over the past few months because there are certain things we really didn't need to share with the entire world.

This year is going to be crazy; no doubt about it. We're not exactly sure how some things are going to play out right now. We have MANY decisions to make. 2012 was a year of growth and change and 2013 looks to be the same. There are things I can't share right now and there are things that will never make it to Facebook. I just needed to write. Ever feel that way? Right now, I'd love nothing more than to disappear for a weekend with David, but it's okay. I wish we knew everything God was going to do, but He surely has a sense of humor!