Final Beginnings….

What exactly is a final beginning you ask? In the dictionary of Bethany Rush, it’s the end of something old that leads to something new. Let me explain!

Today was the final day of my first year of teaching but yet the beginning of being a (somewhat) seasoned high school teacher. It’s a long stretch I know but hey give a girl a break, I have teacher brain! I was a little excited to head to my van, I may have skipped down the hallway while doing a little jig!

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Here’s another example of a final beginning.

May I present to you the 2018-2019 GRCTC graduating class of dental assistants. (All students/parents have given permission to have photos taken/posted).

These young men and women entered my classroom from five different high schools knowing only those students that attended their home campuses and left having made friends with students from four other high schools in their own district. Crazy how you can attend school in the same district as someone and never attend the same school or meet until your 13th and final year of school! Who knew new friendships began during the final year! Final beginnings…

They walked in and didn’t even know how many teeth we have in the human adult dentition and walked out having all passed the Registered Dental Assistant Registration Exam. That exam covered Texas dental jurisprudence, infection control and radiology. Passing this exam is the certificate needed for them to register with the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners which is the final step of becoming a Registered Dental Assistant and can only occur upon graduation! Final beginnings…

Some of them walked in knowing what they wanted to do post high school while the others had no clue. Five students walked out having jobs in dental offices as dental assistants while the others figured out what to study in college and how to accomplish it. Final beginnings…

It may be a stretch of the imagination for my definition of final beginnings but I hope you see the point I’m trying to make. In order for us to grow in life and as a person we have to be willing to have a beginning in order to have an end. When the finale arrives we have a choice, do we go for a new beginning or do we stay put.  Final beginnings can bring about the beautiful natural cycle of life that I truly believe the Lord intended for us to participate in in order for us to continue to grow and thrive.

In case this is my final post until the beginning of next school year, may you enjoy the sun and lazy days.  No alarms and lots of relaxation.  But until the final day of summer arrives make sure you enjoy the beginning.  Final beginnings. . .

WHEW. . So Glad You’re here!

I sat down with a blog in my head and ready to write and then POOF it’s gone! Guess it wasn’t intended to be recorded.

Unintentionally, but part of being a modern day #firstworld family of 5, our Spring semester has been a doozy! WHEW! I think I fully comprehend why it is so important to stay grounded in more ways than one. This semester we have had all three E’s enrolled in one, just ONE, extracurricular activity and man that has been tough to keep up with. My hat is off to those of you who have multiple kids in multiple activities. This momma wouldn’t be able to handle.

In the process we have (hopefully) made memories that will hopefully last a lifetime. My prayer has been that through every event or experience that my nuggets have experienced that they are able to glean a life lesson and continue to love and be loved. With that being said, enjoy a BRIEF overview of photos that will give a little more insight into what it looks like in the life of #Raising3Rushes . . . enjoy!

Evelyn with her friend having a picnic on our front porch.

These girls love ALL things girly! From picnics to sidewalk chalk and everything in between. Most days include walkie talkies, baby dolls and bicycles and two more little girls that aren’t pictured.

In the background you see the leg of Craig (my man). He is pitching a baseball to the group of at least five fellas ranging from four years old to 7th grade. If it’s not baseball its basketball or even a game of football. . . and by football I am talking about tackle football and not the mom version of tag or flag, which would be more my preference.

Dad does the field trip to Perot museum!

Pictures speak louder than the words I could ever write! Are you experiencing the true excitement E3 is expressing in this photo?!?!? Field trip to the Perot museum fell on a day that I was teaching. . . so, being the AMAZING dad that Craig is, he volunteered to spend the day with Everett’s 3, 4 & 5 year olds Montessori class. I think Craig’s expression is simply stated. . . he made it out alive and with both of the boys he was assigned to keep up with. From the stories, it sounds like they gave him a run for his money!

Evelyn learned to read this year!

My girl! Evelyn started out the year with hesitation. My children are PK’s (pastor’s kids) so they do not lack in the socialization aspect of life. But put her in a room full of children her age, and she froze and her timidity started to peak through! After much work and dedication, this girl got it! Not only did she earn those pair of shining light bright shoes for learning her letters, she went beyond that and put it all together to learn how to read. Her determination and strength are taking her on new adventures without even having to leave the house. She is a reading machine!

When dad needs to go on stage but you just don’t want to let go, he takes you with him no matter what people may say or think!

I sometimes forget just how “little” my Everett is. . . I mean he is JUST four years old for crying out loud (which he does ALOT)! During our Night of Worship with our church family, Craig needed to go on stage and pray but Everett just wasn’t wanting to let go of his dad. SO, instead of making a fuss, Craig just took him with him. So thankful that I have a man that will allow his children to come alongside him in ministry and teaches them what it looks like to love and be loved!

Spring Break included a trip to Ruston, LA to watch the LA Tech Baseball players! A surprise treat was getting to visit with Aunt Annie!

20 years ago I was the same age as this young lady. . . one difference is that she was only an infant. Like weeks old! Due to life and distance, we don’t have many moments to spend with Anna Catherine, but when we do, my 3E’s LOVE them some Aunt Annie! By a long shot, we decided to call and see if she was available to say hi and hug necks. Anna didn’t even hesitate, she walked over to the ball field and made their day, and mine as well! Super proud of the young lady she is and all that she is setting her mind to accomplish! True beauty inside and out!

Dodd musicals are some of our favorites! I love that my kids have the chance to experience the arts in their schools. Music has always been a life line for me and my walk with the Lord. It has given me a place to reside when nothing else would calm the storms of life. My prayer has been that my children would continue to find something that the Lord uses to accomplish the same thing for them and it seems as though they truly enjoy music of most any form!

Baseball is life and so are friends & family! Or so the saying goes in the Rush household. We have played many 4U & 8U games. Attended several practices and even prayed it wouldn’t rain! We have cheered on Elliott’s 2nd grade student teacher in the Wylie High School playoff game and watched more MLB games than I care to admit through our Sling TV subscription (thank you sling for providing all the sports a person could need through your blue and orange subscription)!

Easter was a fun weekend spent with family. . . . at the ballpark and church of course! My brother, sister-in-law and one set of my parents joined us since ministry keeps us put!

Evelyn & Lyla
Heidi, Everett, Uncle Dan & Hazel
Easter 2019

For Evelyn’s Christmas experience, Doodle and I decided that our girls would love to have season passes to Dallas Children’s Theater. Now, before you get all crossed eyed and let your mind start wondering. . . . the cost was no way near anything like the Hamilton tickets! Come on friends, I have three kids and a husband to feed! So much fun to have had dates set on the calendar for us to enjoy more of the arts! Doodle finally remembered (for both us) to get a picture! 3rd play in, we are finally making progress!

After watching “Island of the Skog”

I think I’ve caught you up on SOME of the happenings from this semester. . . or at least enough for you to say WHEW! Summer is a coming (like 8 days for Evelyn & Elliott and 11 days for Everett & me)! Our plans this summer are to relax and refresh. To spend time as a family at the beach and to enjoy the fun of Hawaiian Falls! We always love to read and write and plan to do lots of that in between. I’ll leave you with my three little loves Spring pictures from this year. They are the 3 Rushes that bring the inspiration to this crazy blog of #raising3rushes in this perfect sinful world!

That Motherly Love. . .

Hello Blog world! How’s everyone doing out there?!?! Unintentionally I have been on a blogging hiatus. Spring semester has been one crazy but fun ride. We are busy making memories.

From 4U tee ball, 8U baseball, tumbling/cheer, working on my masters, finishing up my first year of teaching high school to all the other activities we have accomplished… let’s just say, WHEW! I am tired but my cup is full.

As I write this, from my phone, it is Mother’s Day 2019 which also happens to be my 38th birthday. It happens every 7 years that I am able to celebrate both on the same day!  My hubby took all three E’s to church early with him this morning and left me in bed with a full cup of coffee and my heating pad for the pinched nerve in my neck! Ouch is right. Getting older and falling apart! 😉.

I am reminded of just how good God is. So cliche but oh so true. He didn’t have to create me (or you). But He did. He didn’t have to bless you with a child (in whatever way He saw fit to do so)… but He did. And He doesn’t even need us to fulfill the mission of drawing people to Himself… but He does!

Reminds me of a song…

How deep the Father’s love for us

How vast beyond all measure

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing lost

The Father turns His face away

As wounds which mar the Chosen One

Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross

My sin upon His shoulders

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there

Until it was accomplished

His dying breath has brought me life

I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything

No gifts, no power, no wisdom

But I will boast in Jesus Christ

His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?

I cannot give an answer

But this I know with all my heart

His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward?

I cannot give an answer

But this I know with all my heart

His wounds have paid my ransom

I cannot take credits for any of those above lyrics. That is all from the talented songwriter Stuart Townsend. Townsend captures the essence of true sacrifice. The sacrifice the God of the universe gave in order for ALL humans to have life everlasting! That’s what a parent does.

So for those mommas or grand mommas or aunts, whatever your title may be, Happy Mother’s Day! Allow yourself to be celebrated but don’t forget the ultimate sacrifice that brought you into this roll of motherhood! Give thanks in all situations and continue pressing on, striving for the prize of life, the gift of everlasting love! It’s there and He wants you to accept!

The Road Less Traveled

I thought working out was supposed to get easier the longer you do it!?!  For me that hasn’t been the case. . . at least not recently. 

Here are my stats for tonight’s workout. For you fellow OTF goers you get it. Not bad and you can sympathize at how hard I had to work to get that pyramid. For you that have no clue and it looks like a beautiful rainbow, that means I sweated ALOT and wanted to quite and slide off the treadmill more than once!  BUT I didn’t. And here’s why. 

While I was making dinner tonight my oldest was reading books while the other two were watching a movie.  Totally not fair, I know, but I wasn’t holding the oldest down to make him read. He decided on his own to work toward accomplishing his goal, even though it was hard to stay focused while the TV was going. 

He and I were having a conversation about how just because something is hard doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it and that we have a choice. We have to choose to push through the pain and/or discomfort or we can choose to take the easy road, aka the one that feels better in the here and now. 

I really didn’t think much of that conversation until it was time for me to decide while jogging on the treadmill. I felt like my lungs were about to explode from my chest. Was I going to quite and take the easy road and relieve myself from the discomfort and honestly the pain that was occurring in my legs or was I going to persevere and push through the discomfort?  What do you think I chose?  

I chose to push through the discomfort.  The reason was because of the conversation I had just had with my son. I seriously would have slide right on off that treadmill and out to get my keys while telling the ladies at the desk “bye Felicia” as I walked out the front door!  

The Lord brought back to my mind the conversation and I made a decision to rest in it. Now, that decision meant my legs hurt. It was not what I wanted to be doing but it is the decision that is better for me in the long run.

With my eyes fixed on myself in the mirror and legs feeling like a Barbie doll with loose leg joints, I silently called upon the Lord and began to pray and ask Him to carry me. To help me make it through it and move past this level of growth in my physical health goals. I recited scripture to myself and then began to beg Him to just do the running for me PLEASE!  

What I learned is that no matter how driven we are as individuals I believe it is still part of the human nature for us to be drawn to the comfort and the here and now. But what we as Christ following individuals are called to is to run the race.  To persevere. To set our eyes on the prize. To run the race and to carry on as Christ Himself did. 

#raising3rushes

#elochos

I use to believe that the definition of “friends” was someone who is close to the same age and in the same state of life that a person closely interacted with for most anything and/or everything. I’m not real sure why I thought this way, but probably because I am a pretty straightforward literal type thinking person and that just seemed like the logical thing. I can’t say that I believed this to be true because of what was modeled for me or what I saw occur in the lives of people around me, but it is what it is.

When I look back on my life and think of those that I have deemed as friends, the above self described definition rings nothing of truth. Using the the self definition of “friends”, I would tell you that I didn’t have many friends growing up because my “friends” were people of various ages and life stages. Some of my closest “friends” in life were even family, like both of my grandmothers. Those ladies, I would have chosen to hang out with them anyday over hanging with girls my age (that is until I hit that awkward phase of life and began to internalize that above definition and felt like a failure because I preferred “my ladies” over girls my age). Or my friends were those that lived at the Natchitoches Parish Long Term Care Unit where my Uncle B.A. lived most of his life and because of one of those “ladies”, I visited the NPLTCU weekly and not out of obligation but out of longing to see how the residents were doing.

Today, I would define friends or friendship as people that a person chooses to intimately connect their life with because both parties involved want to and are willing to walk through all circumstances of life no matter what the case may be. (Not advocating abuse here.) Notice this definition has nothing to do with an age or life stage. . . it simply is the choice and decision to go deep, be intentional, and to love no matter how it may make you feel. Now, before we go further, what I am NOT saying is that a person chooses to be in a friendship with someone who abuses them in any way shape or form. Mentally. Spiritually. Physically. Emotionally. That is not okay! Not appropriate and should not be tolerated. If you have those friends and you truly care about their well being (because being an excellent friend doesn’t mean it’s always about you) then the best thing you can do for them is point that friend to someone or something that can help them grow past whatever circumstance it is that keeps them in the cycle of hurt or hurting others.

This past weekend, I had the privilege of spending it with my friends! For three years, Craig and I have been in a group we affectionately refer to as #elochos. . . .the eight friends. Yes, we are well aware that is not the literal translation but that is who we are. This group started with a simple text message that went out from one husband to the other husbands of the women that said husband’s wife was friends with or wanted to get to know better. It was an attempt, and the beginning, of trying to form couple friendships. Couple friendships are so hard. . . it’s like dating but it isn’t just what you think of one person, it’s what you both think of both people and sometimes that doesn’t add up! Many more couples initially responded yes to the invitation. . . as time approached the others backed out for various reasons and so the journey of the 8 began!

Over the course of the three years, planning Valentine’s Day has unintentionally evolved alternating from wives (#locosquatros) to husbands (#elhombres) and so on. It has become a healthy competition of the #battleofthesexes to see who can out surprise the other.

First year the #locosquatros hired an uber driver, sent #elhombres out on an adventure to a local vintage arcade where they could enjoy the games and a variety of IPA beers.

They then returned to a homemade dinner and framed lists of “10 Things we love about you” from each spouse. Pretty good right?!? We thought so.

Year two #elhombres secured babysitters, rented hotel rooms all at the same swanky hotel, made dinner reservations, had flowers waiting at the restaurant, hired uber drivers, and took us to a night of dancing at a local grown adult night club. . . aka live music and with the median age of attenders being 35 years old! Ok, so that definitely TOPPED the chart!

Challenge accepted. Fast forward to this year, 2019.

The text messages and marco polo’s began and #locosquatros quickly came to a conclusion of what our Valentine’s Day celebration would look like. We met for a “planning session” lunch and ironed out the details. And then we patiently but anxiously awaited for the time to come. Broken Bow here we come! #elochosValentine’sDay weekend was a complete success! The #elhombres never figured it and #elochos HAD A BLAST!

Grateful Head Pizza and then to the cabin for the weekend!

The pictures will have to speak for themselves, because the conversations, well they are sacred! For #elochos ears only! It has taken three years to get to this level of intimate conversations and trust. My prayer is that as we continue to grow together for years to come, that our level of intimacy continues, and we continue to challenge and encourage each other to strive for what is deeper and more meaningful. The whole as iron sharpens iron we sharpen each other type of thing.

So remember how I gave my personal definition of what I thought a friend was and how I thought I was a failure because my reality didn’t measure up to my idealistic definition? Ironically, thank you to many years of counseling, trial and errors, heartache and JESUS, I have learned that my realistic definition is what I prefer and the idealistic version is for the birds.

Going deep and being intentional is hard. It stretches us as individuals and the people we go deep with. . . it causes us to be introspective as well as retrospective. It causes us, in love, to challenge our friends to look beyond themselves always attempting to set our aim on that of Christ Jesus. Honestly, it really isn’t anything about ME or WE or YOU or US. It’s about HIM and HIM in US (or me, we, you, etc). . . . and IT’S SO HARD! That mind set goes beyond anything that is literal or logical. . . . it is against the grain and can hurt. Not hurt in a bad way, but a good growing pains kind of hurt.

Headed back to reality after a weekend of great memories made!

#elochos isn’t a group of same age same life stage kind of friends. It’s a group of friends from all decades and all life stages. Because we are humans and humans aren’t perfect, we cover a multitude of sins (past and present) and we don’t try and hide it. Instead we call it is what is and then seek to move past it. We seek to lean into each other trying to keep Christ first then our marriages second. Are we all at different levels of the growth? Yep. Are we secure in that? I believe we are. I am but one opinion of the #elochos, so forgive me if I step over the line. . . Here’s the bottom line, friends and friendships come in all shapes and sizes. . . all ages and life stages. . . all circumstances and all personalities. It’s what we do with those friends that makes them stick and makes them worth it. If we are seeking to put Christ first then the rest is history.

These are the faces of #elochos. And this is what we use to grow as individuals and as couples.

Three years in and #elochos is continuing to age well with time. Who is it that you find in your inner circle? Who do you allow to speak truth into your life and who do you call when life hits? These are just the tip of the iceberg questions that are answered through our #elochos group. It requires a level of vulnerability and a level of commitment that honestly sometimes I don’t want to do. . . but I can say 100% without a shadow of a doubt that I am so thankful that my flesh is willing and because #elochos strives for the common goal (of becoming more like Christ Jesus) that His grace is sufficient and intercedes into the places where my flesh was hesitant.

So, what’s your definition of “friends” and is it realistic or idealistic?

The learning curve

Whew! That’s the word of the day, or the year! This past Monday was a day of learning. Not a day of sitting in a classroom or changing of stations to experience simulation exercises. It was a day when the classroom became an interactive playing field. . . maybe playing court would be a better description. Keep reading, it will make sense.

I’ve briefly mentioned in previous posts that this is my first year teaching high school in the public school system but I don’t think I have ever mentioned to what capacity or even what subject. I am what you call a teacher of innovation! In short this means I am what you call a professional taken from a particular industry brought into the classroom setting to then educate and prepare a group of students in said industry so that they can then begin a future in that industry upon graduating from high school. Whew! That’s a mouthful and let me be completely clear I AM NO EXPERT AT ALL, JUST TAKING IT ONE DAY AT A TIME BY TRIAL AND ERROR!

The industry I represent is dentistry. I am a Registered Dental Hygienist and I am the dental assisting instructor for a local high school career technical center! How about that?!?! Did you have that at your high school growing up? Me neither. The public school systems are really working hard to meet the needs of each individual student! It really is beautiful thing to watch the inner workings.

Innovation represents the fact that our school offers so many choices of career paths that haven’t been in the high school education system for long so the school system is thinking “outside of the box”. . . . by box, I am referring to your traditional classes. Innovation also refers to the set up of the classrooms and the “fields” in which are offered. Our dental assisting classroom is but traditional. We have 25 extra heads to help us think. We have 26 extra lights in the event we need a bright idea. And in case our coffee hasn’t kicked in (my class starts at 7:15 am) our chairs are on rollers so we just roll all over the place!! My classroom is NOT a traditional one of sorts and I have never taught in what is considered a traditional classroom! It has taken a minute to catch up to the belief that the “classroom” isn’t just a place with four walls and rows of desks and chairs. In fact, my own children haven’t really experienced this idea of “classroom”. I love to see that our society of educators isn’t missing the boat on what is deemed as classroom or even education.

Side note: My hat is off to any EDUCATIONALLY TRAINED TEACHERS out there. You are the true heroes. . . the ones that are forming the foundations and then building upon that foundation year after year. By the time the student gets to my level they are just months away from adulthood, and yes I “instruct” them in dental assisting but what I am discovering is that dentistry is but a fraction of the conversations we have in my classroom. Instead, it is just the continuation of those foundations that have been laid over the course of the last 12 years! Oh the words and thoughts that 17 and 18 year olds are able to produce blows my mind! They are true NFL players. . . no frontal lobes fully developed yet but ready to embrace the world ahead! I love to see their hunger for life!

Let’s take a minute to think about it, in scripture when Jesus taught did He call them all into the temple or synagogue and instruct them to sit in pews? No. He taught at the table while eating, he taught on a hillside, for Pete sake he taught from a boat while others were on shore. His classroom was every changing. Ever evolving. Never stagnant. That man, He performed miracles before anyone even knew what a miracle was for crying out loud! My hero!

If our example is Jesus and the classroom that He models is every changing, I’d say that the way education is headed seems to be pointed toward North! Our classrooms are going from rows and sitting to moving and rotating. Even as a teacher of innovation with a classroom in a beautiful brand new building, it’s tough to keep all the students moving and productively working together to accomplish a common goal. For me, it’s hard finding clinical externship sites that provide those hands on learning tools. It’s easier to put the students in a classroom and then get in the groove of the curriculum and bury our heads only to come up long enough to catch a breathe. But it’s life and sometimes even that is called for.

My “classroom” changes depending on the population of my pupils. When at home my classroom is life itself. Teaching moments are daily and often and the pupils are those that choose to enter into our home and then actively participate in it. Mainly my children but any friends or family that stop by to play or hangout. Learning is the revolving door that opens and shuts over and over in a Rush world.

Monday, at school, my classroom was the Dallas Mavericks practice facility. The playing court of national basketball players turned community dental public health clinic for the TeamSmile (R) event! DFW dental professionals teamed up with Dallas Mavericks to host the first TeamSmile(R) event in the area. The recipients were students from Dallas ISD schools in need of dental care. I donated my time to clean teeth and my students partnered with volunteer dentists and assistants to provide dental care for 300 children. May not seem like much, but to see the smiles on the faces of my students as they worked with these children was amazing! LIFE LEARNING AT IT’S FINEST! Didactic knowledge applied to real life changing hands on experiences. Look at my students! (all have signed photo consents)

Dallas TeamSmile(R) Event 2019

Here’s my challenge for the week or maybe even the rest of the school year. Think long and hard about what “your classroom” looks like and who your “pupils” are? These questions aren’t just for the professionally educated teachers but they apply to most anyone and everyone. If you can identify these two answers you are on the path to solving how to change a life one person at a time. We all have the court of life at our fingertips, it’s just a matter of how or when we choose to play!

Short & Sweet

Man, time flies when having fun! Or so the saying goes. I’m not 100% sure where the month of January has gone but when I look at the calendar it seems as if it’s been super fun!

Today’s post is short and sweet. I’ll post more later this week.

First, because I’m tired! This weekend was non stop. From Leadership forum and Christmas experience redemption to family coming to town because the kids were in their theatre production of Wizard of Oz.

Second, it’s short and sweet because well, attempting to drink coffee while working on your laptop isn’t the best idea! At least when the coffee cup spills all over the keyboard and lets just say letters z, x, c, v, b, n, & m aren’t responsive! Typing up a blog post on a cell phone isn’t the easiest thing in the world!

So, here are a couple of pictures from the weekend and I’ll do a part two later this week!

Life in the Mundane

Do you ever wonder if life in the mundane really can be perceived as the fun lane? Or does life in the mundane feel more like a complete drag?

For me, it really does depend on the day, the week, the month, the second, the minute, and the year. My point, YES it feels like both and everything else in between. I oftentime have to stop and ask myself, “what’s the point of ___________?” or “am I really supposed to spend my days like THIS?” You see I am an overly driven individual who THRIVES on setting goals and accomplishing them. I am almost lost when it seems as though there is nothing to do. On the flip side, I do not like to accomplish the daily tasks of life and can despise laundry or dishes as if they were contagious tummy bugs! Another thing I have a hard time with is “hanging out” or letting my kids “hang out”. It seems almost pointless to me but I know it is a vital part of life and community/connection. Ask my closest friends. When we are together, I can almost always be found doing something. Whether it’s the mundane tasks of folding laundry or loading dishes and it really doesn’t matter if it’s my house or not.

Our kids have inherited this trait. They love to play in our front yard. Why not the back, I haven’t figured it out. And since we live on a can be busy street, it often requires me to be on guard in the event a car comes flying around the corner. To me this hanging out in the front is so mundane. It takes me from my inside tasks or other activities that I could be accomplishing. But to them, it’s a time for them to connect to the many neighborhood friends they have developed over the course of the past two and half years. It’s their way of digging in deeper to the connections and community that we adults can often times miss because, well it’s mundane.

What I see as the mundane task of hanging in my front yard while my kids connect, the Lord sees as opportunities for my children to be living breathing examples of God’s love to their peers. Nothing fancy about it, and my kids aren’t using any “Churchy” lingo or stories. They are just being them, loving their friends, playing football and basketball, riding bikes, doing gymnastics, and having tea parties. They are loving them because they have spent the time with them and have relationships with them!

This week it was really cool to see the fruit of how God uses these “mundane” activities for good and I believe it was a great reminder to me that “Bethany, they aren’t as mundane as you may believe.” As Craig was talking with a dear friend of ours, she mentioned that she had had a conversation with a group of people. The conversation went something like such, “We don’t know those Rushes and aren’t real sure what they are doing, but it’s working and please tell them to keep it up because it’s making a difference in the attitudes and actions of kids.” Talk about hitting you square in the face!

What I consider as mundane the Lord sees as opportunities to love our neighbors as ourself. Simple as that. In Luke chapter 10 starting in verse 27, Jesus answered an expert of the law when he asked what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ response: “‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'” It’s so simple and “mundane” yet so complex and hard. So many times we are missing the boat when God wants to work through the little “mundane” things of life. Instead we are waiting around hoping God will give us a big assignment or something exciting and thrilling, maybe even something out of the norm to accomplish the task of loving Him and our neighbor. So, back to the question, do you ever wonder if life in the mundane really can be perceived as the fun lane?

Love. What matters.

Early morning shenanigans waiting for the bus
There is always a reason to tunnel up!

The Rushes successfully survived the first week back to school after Winter break. The 3 E’s all made it to school on time and without much complaint and I was actually early to school!

To know the Rushes, is to love us, and that means we really don’t Rush to get anywhere on time. We are a family made up of Extroverted Introverts. I totally made that up, let me explain.

We love people. We love being with people. We love seeing people. We love talking to people. . . Get the point? On the flip side we recharge by being at home.

Spoons. . . it’s the game full of laughter and jokes!

Anytime we have to get ready to go somewhere we drag our feet. This mainly applies to myself and the 3 E’s. Craig on the other hand, well he lives by the philosophy of “if you aren’t 5 minutes early then you’re late.”

Almost 13 years into marriage and he’s still working on me! Back to the point, we recharge from being at home, so going back to school and normal schedules outside of the house can be a bit hairy at times! That’s the introvertedness part.

Along with normal back to school shenanigans, I personally was trying to juggle maintaining the 3 E’s in the evening while dad has been in a heavy season of ministry.

Now, before I go any further with this I want to make sure that I am fully communicating with you all. In no way am I complaining, fussing, gripping or whatever other adjective or emotion you could conjure up to go along with this. Ministry is what we do! And would be what we would do even if it wasn’t what we did. Try that statement fast five times!!!

Jesus calls us to love. Friend, family and even foe! That’s a tough one. Loving people as much as we love Jesus is the gospel in a nutshell. They go hand in hand. And we, the Rushes, are committed to that. I would say no matter the cost, but I’m not sure I can pin myself in that box quite yet.

Not complaining, just being open, honest and authentic. (One day I’ll take the time to share my story with you but for now I’ll give the cliff notes.)

I found Jesus early in life. Loved Him and sought to live a life for Him. Life hit and I strayed. When I decided I was tired of trying to fix all the hurt and heartache that had occurred in my life on my own and accept the fact that Jesus loves me so big that He wanted to take on the burden, I made a decision to fully trust in that love. No matter what it would cost me. No matter how hard it would be. No matter if I said stuff that wasn’t “politically appropriate” or “socially acceptable”. No matter if I lost every friend I had made in my life up until that point. (Which was a real temporary sacrifice). No matter if it meant i wouldn’t be a “popular person” or always get the “short end of the stick.” To me, it was worth it all.

I am happy to report, that I have maintained that decision for over a decade and really don’t have any plans of turning back. Even as a pastor’s wife, I stay true to who I am and say what I feel led to say. The prayer of my life at all times is that the Lord would shut my mouth if the filter is a little too loose but allow it to flow freely if and/or when things need a little shaking up. That He would use me in ways He sees fit and that His will for my life would take precedent. Sounds cliche but it really is my desire!

This season of ministry has been heavy because the end of life and sickness are real. By the nature of Craig’s position, he’s one of the first a family will call when life is happening. Like I mentioned earlier, ministry is what we do no matter “the title” of his job. That does mean things look a little different at home during those seasons. This time there was no question as to where he needed to be.

As Craig and I would lift this family up in prayer, we also prayed that the Lord would give our own children a total understanding of why dad was away and that they would take it easy on me. The God of the Universe is a faithful God and He listens and cares!

Our kids were amazing this week. Never once did they whine or complain or ask when dad is coming home. Never did they show any signs of resentment. Instead they asked deep thought provoking questions.

Questions that showed they were truly thinking about God and heaven and the reality of it all. Questions that scripture doesn’t clearly give answers to or I haven’t read yet. So as vague as some of my responses were they found satisfaction in them. Yet also found peace in knowing that the person’s body was done on earth but was nearing the moment of ultimate reward in Jesus!

All that to say, the first week back has been a whirlwind. We survived. I can’t say we “thrived” but survived we did. The second week is shaping up to be about the same but as only we can do, one foot in front of the other while pressing on to what’s in front of us. One. Day. At. A. Time.

How do your first few weeks back on schedule look? Do you have any tips or tricks that you find help make it go a little more smoothly? What about when life sets in? Do you have a verse or passage of scripture you turn to? Any specific prayers you pray over your people?

My point in the #Raising3Rushes blog is this, for us to find joy in the stories of life (the good, the bad, and even the ugly) and to find contentment in the Lord. To keep the main thing the main thing and not make a minor thing something major.

Life is precious and is but a fleeting moment. We are halfway through January and chaos is setting in. I leave you with this, remember what really matters, loving Jesus with all you got by loving those He brings across your path. That’s really all He asks!

So Long, Farewell

Winter Break 2018 has come and gone and it’s so hard to believe! As I sit here and write, my hubby and my oldest are anxiously watching the Championship college football game. And by anxiously I mean their team isn’t slaughtering the other . . . as is the case most of the time. Seems as though they should be watching opening game day, not the end! Even though it is hard to believe that 2018 is over and we are 7 days into 2019, I am pretty excited for a new year! Time for new goals, new adventures and new memories.

This break we did experience something new! We experienced the delayed joy of the tummy bug. (Can you tell my excitement?) I will say that it was a short lived bug. It would have been nice to have all gotten it at once and been done, but about the time one person was through and the house was all clean the next person then started. Four out of the five of us experienced this lovely gift with me being the only one to not have the privilege. What that meant was that I had the privilege of brushing up on my deep cleaning skills. The joy is all mine! And thank you to all the fun smelling cleaning products that made my job a delight. (Yep, I still use chemical products. Haven’t joined the all natural band wagon as of yet. This girl has taken a microbiology lecture and lab and seen too many germs grow so easily in petri dishes to take a chance.) On to fun memories….

While not sick, the Rushes went to the movies twice. The kid focused movies out right now are SO GOOD!!! If you haven’t grabbed a balloon and taken flight, I suggest you do. Or, for a movie that hits on friendship, take your children to see the extent one friend will go to to make the other friend happy and how it all spirals out of control but is restored in the end. GREAT MOVIES! I can’t forget our movie nights (yes plural) of the Sound of Music.  What a great way to end a year! We had some little additional outings but really tried to keep it low key.

Craig and I both embarked on really good books and tried to keep our noses pinned for as long as we could before a little human needed to be fed or problem solved. Only then, would we complete the task at hand and then resort back to our spots on the sofa in front of the fire with book in hand.

One of my personal goals for 2019 is to read more. Yeah yeah yeah. . . I know, we all say that right?!?! I saw a friend post a picture of an actual stack of books she is attempting to read during 2019. Genius! What a way to quantify and solidify a goal! So, like my friend, my goal is to read 19 books in 2019. This is a BIG goal for me. I’m still working on my list of books, and some will be ones that are recommended from others or we do as book clubs or bible studies at church. I’ll keep you posted on what exact books I am seeking to accomplish this year. The book I started during break is Sacred Parenting by Gary L. Thomas. PARENTS: READ THIS BOOK! I’m halfway through and already floored at the information my brain is soaking in. It is changing my thinking, all in positive ways!

A second goal I have for myself is to continue my health journey. I FINALLY started taking care of me this past July. From mid-July til end of year I lost 30 lbs. I wish I could say that I accomplished this goal because I was sweating like the devil from exercising, but it just wouldn’t be true. I did use a great program to help me jump start my journey and help reignite in me a flame that has been out for a very long time. My journey continues into 2019.

This time, my goal is to achieve a healthy mindset and attitude toward food (while using real food as my fueling source) and finding a form of exercise that I enjoy without obsessing about it and/or it taking over my world. This goal alone is one that is a major deal for me. Like many women I know, we carry extra baggage when it comes to food, health and exercise. And by extra baggage I’m not just talking about the pounds we found while growing a human or the ones that wouldn’t leave once we deposited that human into the hands of a doctor or midwife or whoever it was that was ready to catch. The baggage I speak of are the wounds from lies we have chosen to believe and are deep seeded into our thoughts and hearts. Almost like they are interwoven into the threads of our life and whether we acknowledge it or not, the wounds run deep and lies are still untrue and satan has accomplished his goal instead of God getting the glory of a victory that is found in bondage no more! (ugh, sorry that’s heavy stuff . . . maybe too heavy!)

To help me keep my focus on truth, what better way than to look to the source of life. Truth is truth is truth and will always be truth. That’s it. All there is to it. TRUTH! And what truth I choose to cling to in this season is from the book of Mark chapter 5 verse 34. And it says this,

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34 (NIV)

I leave you with this, focusing on truth is so easy a concept yet so hard an action step to put into place. Like Ryan Leak mentioned in his sermon this past week, ” You can’t keep squeezing God into a messy schedule and expect growth.” I choose growth for 2019. . . so long farewell 2018. You were good but the best is yet to come!