Long Time Coming

Change is hard. Change is scary. And change can be good. During Christmas break 2018, Craig and I began to accept the fact that change may be in our family’s future and that change would more than likely be big. We weren’t certain what it would look like. All we knew was that we were being called to more. Called to obedience and to put the faith that we claim into action. So we prayed, sought wise counsel and prayed some more. In June we began taking steps that involved more than just the two of us. We started working with church staffing agencies to build Craig’s profile with each company and then started searching the data bases for opportunities. We began the conversations with our kids as we drove to the beach because you know God is good like that and sets up the conversations for you. Change is scary. . . .but God is good. Life is sad. . . but God is good. Roar VBX was amazing this year but for me it held a whole different meaning than just simple truths. . . it was nuggets of truth embedded into the minds of myself and my kids that God has used ever since and will continue to use throughout this journey.

Craig has had a desire for nearly a decade to preach and teach the scriptures and he truly has a gifting for it. It’s one of the reasons we took the first big step of faith by moving to Texas in Fall of 2011 with a 15 month old and no jobs. Were we crazy? You bet. Was God faithful? In more ways than one! That simple step of ending a life that was incredibly comfortable and offered what most American dreams are made of, meant that we, daring to take a chance on a life, had no idea what lie ahead. I could talk on and on and share with you way upon way that God showed up and showed out for us over the course of the past 8 years, but that would take several blog posts and we would never get to what we are here for today. The journey of how we have arrived to where we are. Let’s start at that beginning.

You may recall, that during Christmas break is when I began this blog. It’s also the time that my husband created a website and blog of his own. Writing is something that we both enjoy doing for ourselves. It brings peace and calm and clarity in the chaos. It breeds creativity. It’s a way for us to express what we learn in reading and our quiet moments with the Lord.

In today’s society individuals stay so stinking busy and strung up by various commitments (us included) that we don’t even realize how chaotic we can be on the inside. How our focus and our dreams and goals tend to quietly drift to the wayside because the life we have created demands our attention to finish the daily tasks and then prepare for the next day. This past Christmas break we really committed to lay low. To take it easy and allow ourselves to breathe. To rest in the quietness and the awkward moments that would present themselves. In doing so we began the conversations of dreams and desires that had been hidden, masked and some even forgotten. We came to terms with this for ourselves and with each other. No masks, no excuses, no reasoning as to why it wouldn’t be possible. . . just simply this is what I/he/we desire or dream. This is what I/he/we believe the Lord is asking of me/us. What would that look like. . . . and then we slowly began to realize that a second big step of faith was a coming.

We moved to Dallas for Craig to attend Dallas Theological Seminary in 2011. Our initial goal was to come over, get a 2 year degree and then head out onto the foreign mission field. While in seminary, we added two extra people to Team Rush for a grand total of 5 and two of us were out numbered. Our dream of missions is not something that we running from or holding at bay with a closed fist. It’s simply a dream that the Lord has grown us in and shown us ways that a person can be on mission and live anywhere. Missional living is the absolute best for our family. And complete and honest truth be told, Craig and I have embraced the fact that I like hot baths and we both adore our own mattress! I’ve said it friends. Those are two of the #firstworld problems that just help us be the best people we can be.

We didn’t see our life before Dallas as missional living but hindsight is 20/20. We loved our neighbors in Ruston. Most were loud and crazy college kids and some were young families like ourselves. The weekly Wednesday night dinners that occurred every week with our neighbors turned friends from across the street, Nette and Jaz, to being able to walk around the corner and enjoy a bottle of wine with my girl Meredith. Or when she locked herself out of her house and Craig came to the rescue! Man those were good times. We didn’t know it but God was teaching us what it meant to live life on mission. . . allowing conversations to go places that weren’t politically correct and working through the hard tensions of the modern day world that we live in. Where people are hungry for acceptance and truth but face deep dark demons inside while surrounded with “mean” people who are quick to point out someone else’s shortcomings when really all they need to do is look in the mirror to find their own. Showing grace where grace really shouldn’t be extended (according to society) and loving people. We are not perfect but this is how we began our journey of discovering what missional living looked like and the more we learned the more we fell in love with it, with Jesus and with people.

Fast forward to today, October will make 8 years we have been Texans. And Texans two of my kids will forever be. We have LOVED this place. We have grown in this place. The Lord has taught us many lessons in this place and He has allowed us to continue to grow in our mindset of missional living and even be a part of missional living for a community and people that, much like Ruston, we absolutely adore! We have had the opportunity to make solid and lasting friendships that are based on a wide gamete of things, some church/Christ centered and some simply because we share a street, bus stop and local elementary school or play on a sports team together. The common denominator of it all is the fact that we choose to embrace people as people, being genuinely interested in their worlds and want to know more about what makes them tick as a person, loving them where they are in life despite what their life looks like compared to ours. . . only true comparison, if we must, should be how am I measuring up to what scripture says, “to love God and love people.” The author doesn’t go on and give a list of circumstances or situations, it simply says LOVE PEOPLE!

This is where we find ourselves. . .torn in the tension of leaving a life we have grown to love and friendships that run deep to being super excited to what God has in store for our family. This next big step of faith will more than likely mean that we are moving further away from all of our family and will require that sky miles are accumulated more often than before. It will more than likely mean that we are leaving our Southern roots culture and embracing a different area of the US. . . (side note: for those that like to call us “country” the politically correct term is “southern” please learn to use that instead. Country refers to raised with little to no training and Southern refers to training with refinement and while embracing a southern draw. If you choose to be politically correct in one or more manners then you should probably be politically correct on all other accords as well. Please respect who we are in this manner, it really would be the appropriate thing to do! Soapbox closed.) . Back to moving forward…

We are incredibly sad and mourn the closure of this chapter and the closeness that comes from the friendships we have made but we are incredibly excited about this new adventure. Day by day we gain a clearer picture of what the mission is that the Lord is laying before us. Our hearts are stirring and we know He has a people for us that He has specifically set aside for us to embrace and link arms with to do life. We have four specific prayers that we are praying knowing that He will answer. Your prayers are coveted as we journey through this transition. As of right now, we do not know an exact location or time in which we will depart. We have some great connections that are being established and we are being as transparent as to who we are. We are walking faithfully through doors as they present themselves trusting that the Lord fills in the gaps. He already knows that outcome we are asking Him to guide us to it.

So I’ll leave you with this. . . Team Rush isn’t saying goodbye, simply just see you soon! Please know that our hearts are sad and we are sad for those who are sad. But we are not ending anything, just starting a new adventure. We are exercising our faith muscles and putting into practice that obedience really is greater than sacrifice. Sacrifice of all things we are comfortable in. We adore you all and do hope you hear our words when we say “COME AND VISIT US, PLEASE!” Adventures and journeys are meant to be explored with those who you love and for us we love you all!

From our perspective this step has been a long time coming and now it’s here, ready for us to fully embrace and jump in head first. Will you join the journey with us as we continue to pray and discover?

Summer Loving

Had me a blast

Summer loving happen so fast

I met a girl crazy for me

Met a boy cute as can be

Summer days drifting away to oh oh the summer nights!

And we’ll leave the song at that for now. Oh how the summer tends to fly by. Seems like every moment is full of energy and life and constant motion. We have covered some summer fun in just a few short weeks! And it’s not even over.

I feel like each week needs a post all its own but would that even be worth it?!?

Vacation Bible Extreme was wild and crazy. This year our theme was “When life is wild. . . God is good”. It was a ROARING good time!

After a week of VBX, Team Rush headed out on a 10 days adventure called VACATION! Oh my what a joy it was to go and unplug from reality. Now don’t hear me wrong reality is good, but life at the beach with the ones you love is awesome! It is my happy place!

As time has it vacation must end and reality begins… we came back to the excitement of our beds, our dog and our neighborhood friends.

Since being home, we have picked blueberries at a blueberry farm, baked tons of blueberry lemon bread and came up with our version blueberry pies for dad!

We learned how to play a new board game, went to a science discovery center, the national video game museum and spent the day with Craig at our local Hawaiian Falls! It has been an amazingly fun week back at home.

As we were picking berries I couldn’t help but think about the growing process of the life of a blueberry. We could only pick the blue ones and some of the pink. The green and white ones we couldn’t pick because they weren’t ready and wouldn’t ripen. Pretty interesting. How long does it take to get to the ripening stage (maturation)? How long does it take us to get to the ripening stage? What’s considered mature? Metaphorically speaking, what if I, me, you were picked too soon? Yes these are the things that roll through the inner space between my right ear and left ear!

As we were picking it was hot and for the most part my 3 E’s were great. Sweet Everett just wasn’t having it. “Mom, are we almost done?” “Mom, it’s hot!” “Mom, is your bucket full YET!” “Mom, can you “help” me fill my bucket!” Sweet boy. He’s your 4 year old (almost 5) energetic, life loving kid with with the attention span of… little to none!

Along with the thoughts mentioned above, the verse in Galatians talking about the fruit of the Spirit also started rolling around. As I was picking I couldn’t help but repeating this verse over and over in my mind. I think I May have even broke out in song singing “the fruit of the spirit, is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness. The fruit of the spirit is faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” Poor family across the bush attempting to enjoy a morning adventure! But, as I did my vision shifted as did my demeanor.

I went from being a hot, on the verge of cranky momma with three kids, one of which was NOT happy, to being a child of the King who was experiencing something new (to me) and getting to see the final part of the maturation process of a blueberry bush! It was so pretty. The branches full of juicy little round blueberries! It gave me a whole new perspective.

Full disclosure: I am a human. Like completely 100% human! So if you are reading this and think I’m trying to be some super spiritual rockstar, you are wrong. I am just a sinner saved by grace like the next person. What I have learned over the course of my 38 years is this, we are all on a journey. This journey of life and hopefully by the grace of God your journey includes just that, God! Faith in Christ is realizing God’s love for you and then accepting that there is absolutely nothing that you can do to earn that love. Simple as that. He loves you!!! We are human and screw things up ALL. THE. TIME. and He still loves us and wants a relationship with us. That’s patience. That’s love. And that’s the perspective that my mind was being drawn to while I was picking those sweet little juicy balls of joy.

Yep my kid was going crazy. Yep I stepped in an ant bed. True story. Yep I didn’t have much love to give to the said kid who just couldn’t understand patience. But in that moment, as I was looking at that branch and plucking off the blue ones, I understood what the Fruit of the Spirit is and why scripture talks about them being the visible aspects of Christ in us.

Just like Everett, practicing patience and the Fruit of the Spirit is hard! Letting the blueberries mature on the bush and resisting the urge to pluck the white and green ones is hard. But just like being able to experience the sweet taste of a juicy blueberry once it has fully matured, there is something sweet that comes from allowing the Lord to walk us through the maturation process of our Christian walk!

This is just one way that I am choosing to experience the Fruit of the Spirit. What’s a way you are choosing to experience it? Can you see tangible signs of it?

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?