Hello, God. Welcome to My Classroom

I Love Surprises

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 31, 2012
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Have you ever known someone for a while and think you have them figured out? Then one day they completely surprise you with a hidden talent or trait? I LOVE it when that happens.

A quiet teen who spends his free time hunting and fishing but reveals a love and talent for cooking.

A surly-looking, mostly-silent student with an “I don’t care” attitude who scores 100 on the first test.

An aggressive, violent teen who dissolves in tears when I tell him I care about him and his future.

A normally negative acquaintance who smiles and looks on the bright side for a change.

An independent, strong individual who humbles herself and asks for help.

I also enjoy situations that astonish me.

A mandatory meeting I anticipate will be long and boring but ends up inspiring and informational.

A volunteer opportunity that ends up blessing me more than those I’m serving.

A card of thanks and encouragement left for me from an anonymous church member.

A top expert in my field showing an interest in something I’m doing.

And especially, a hurricane that spares my family the worst of her fury.

Thank you, God, for the amazement you add to my life through people and situations. May I always view them with wonder and gratitude.


Sandy is Visiting

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 29, 2012
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Living on waterfront property, at least for a couple of days!

Thank you, God, for keeping us safe in the storm.

Sandy rages offshore and has reached our coastal area with possessive hands. If the weather forecasts are correct, she will continue to overstay her welcome through tomorrow as she inches her way northward.

Her winds have stripped the trees of their autumn beauty. When this is over, many will stand with bare branches, beckoning winter to join us. Her rain floods yards, roads, and homes, and it will swell its own puddles for many more hours. The newscasters are now using the phrase “by Wednesday” when discussing the end, raising hopes that school might be closed again tomorrow.

And while Sandy assaults the outside of the house, the kids and I have stayed warm and dry inside.

Mark left for work yesterday morning. He came home for about an hour or so in the afternoon and appeared again in the middle of the night to capture a few hours of sleep. This morning, he shook himself awake, hopped in the shower, and headed out again.

On Saturday, as soon as it was announced school was cancelled for today, Chick-fil-a scheduled Autumn to work a 10 hour shift. If people don’t have electricity, CFA could potentially be swamped. Even if I didn’t have power, I don’t think I’d go there during a storm if I had food in the house (which everyone should…they’ve been predicting this for over a week), but apparently a lot of people will flock there.

As soon as Autumn received her schedule, my mommy worry gauge skyrocketed. Whether she goes to work or not is a decision I left up to Daddy Sheriff. Our main concern is a relatively new driver dealing with wind gusts and hydroplaning. It was decided I’ll do the drive and drop. I won’t have to worry about her being on her own, and I’ll get to have CFA for lunch. Bonus!

Other than that journey out, I don’t plan to go anywhere. Colton and I will be home reading, watching movies, planning lessons, and baking (as long as the power stays on). Quite possibly not just for today but for tomorrow as well. I admit I wouldn’t be a very good stay-at-home mom, but I am very blessed to have this break from our normal hectic routine.

Thank you, God, for keeping us safe in the storm.

Do You Follow The Golden Rule?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 24, 2012
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Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if we all did this? Isn’t this what we were taught as kids? But as I look around the world, it doesn’t seem to be in practice very much.

The world has changed this rule, as it does so many things. An important part has been eliminated. Instead of treating others as we would like them to treat us, we treat others as they do treat us. Instead of choosing actions of kindness, so many people simply react to anger or cruelty.

As children, we often objected to reprimands by saying, “He did it first!” The retaliation of youth, a habit that frequently extends into adulthood.

My teen students become outraged if their peers act badly toward them, but they can rationalize their own actions so very easily if they themselves show cruel or disrespectful behavior. Many treat others just as they’ve been treated, either by peers, parents, siblings, and/or other family members. It’s a chain of malice that must be broken.

Adults are as guilty of this as children. Myself included. When I allow my words or actions to explode from my anger, I always feel sick inside when I calm down and realize how horribly I’ve reacted to a situation. If I was treated the way I sometimes treat others, I would be sad, frustrated, or angry in return.

Gold is precious. And precious things are hard to acquire, and sometimes when we possess them, we don’t appreciate their value. The Golden Rule is so very simple, and yet it is hard to follow. And often when people do treat us as we would like to be treated, we take it for granted and fail to value their kindness. We react to the ugliness with our own ugliness, but we don’t always react to the kindness, almost like we are deserving of it.

Have you been treated nicely lately? Have you been treated poorly? Which did you react to the most? I need to make a conscious effort to focus on the positive aspects of life and quit reacting to the negative. Wouldn’t life be so much sweeter? Just the way God wants it to be…

How Many Times Do I Have to Say…

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 20, 2012
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As you may know, we have a new puppy in our house. Over the month or so we’ve had Rico, he’s grown into a much bigger puppy. His newfound ability to drag himself up onto the furniture delights him, and he can demolish a large rawhide in a day or so. Sweet natured with droopy questioning eyes, he has stolen our hearts. We adore him, but…

He has to be told “no”. A lot.

He doesn’t always come when we call.

He steals socks from the laundry pile.

He still has an occasional accident in the house.

He bites when he gets excited and wants to play.

I told my mom on the phone that I’m sure he’s like any other youngster. He’ll need to be reminded approximately 8,000 times before he understands the rules. I’m guessing we’ve made it to number 2,136. So very close…

How many moms and dads have said the phrase, “How many times do I have to tell you to (fill in the blank)?”  It seems to easily slide through my lips both at home with the kids and at school with my students. Why can’t they listen so I don’t have to keep repeating myself?

As usual, when I start wondering why others don’t act the way I want, God taps me on the shoulder and says, “Do you think you’re better than them?

No, I don’t. Kids and puppies aren’t the only ones who need to hear how to act over and over again. God frequently has to remind me to be patient, unselfish, and understanding. And even when I listen, it sure is easy to slide back in the opposite direction.

Thankfully, God is patient with me and gently reminds me again. And again.

Too Many Things to Say…

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 15, 2012
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I can’t narrow down my blog to one subject today. There’s just too much to say. But I have managed to choose three things to address:

1) First of all, thank you! When I checked my blog last night after being out of town and unplugged for a few days, I noticed I have reached 100 followers. Woohoo! I’m very humbled and overwhelmed that many people want to read the words I write. I realize many blogs get thousands of people reading and commenting each time they post, so to them 100 followers might not seem like a great accomplishment. But for me, it’s unbelievable. Again, thank you so much.

2) Today is my birthday, which many people my age would see as a negative. For me, in many ways, it’s just another day. I’m teaching, going to the dentist, going grocery shopping…normal, routine activities.

But it’s also a special day. My phone is buzzing like a bee with all the Facebook messages. I smile each time it dances across my desk. I cried this morning (those who know me are probably thinking, “You cry all the time. That doesn’t make it a special day!”) when Autumn gave me a birthday card and gift. Her newfound independence from her job made her eyes shine with pride. It wasn’t a card Daddy bought. It wasn’t a gift from the whole family. It was from her, bought with her own hard work. Now if I could only be the mom the card says I am…

3) Friday at noon, I left on the church bus with eleven middle school youth for a retreat in the mountains. I was very excited to see the beautiful autumn colors on the mountainsides, but the trees weren’t cooperating. These pictures are the only 2 trees I saw showing off their seasonal fashions. Oh, well. I returned home last night to the greatest Autumn beauty of all.


Even with the lack of color, the retreat inspired and uplifted me. It encouraged me to take a step I’ve been contemplating for a long time. I’m amazed at how often messages for the youth touch my life in significant ways.

And the kids…what an awesome experience to spend three days with such a fine group. There were over 600 middle school students at the retreat and many accepted Jesus into their hearts for the first time, including one from our church. I’m so grateful I’m allowed to be a part of their lives.

Have a great week everyone. So far, mine is fantastic!

How Do You Define Success?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 9, 2012
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I cannot claim the following thoughts as my own. These words were taken directly from the notes I took on Sunday during the message by Pastor Tag Kilgore. The more they weave their way through my mind, the more I realize this recipe for spiritual success truly relates to success in all aspects of life.

Great spiritual success comes from:

1) Make every effort to build your personal character (character is like a tree; reputation is the shadow).

  • Honesty – other people trusting that your words and actions are true
  • Loyalty – standing up for someone no matter what others think of them
  • Righteousness – Ephesians 6:1 gives no explanation of why; simply do what is right
  • Love, which can’t be separated from commitment – even if the emotion becomes drained, the commitment remains

2) Make every effort to be a team player.

3) Have a great attitude – you can choose to be irritable, but it’s pure selfishness.

Thanks, Tag. I especially loved how you explained that insignificant actions can lead to grand results. I sometimes forget the trivial, routine activities that fill my days can add up to something impressive. I needed that reminder, and I’m grateful God gave you the words to share.


Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 5, 2012
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Sometimes I become extremely indignant when I hear about a family member, a student, or a friend who has been wronged. I let my own anger flow.

But maybe they don’t need my indignation. Possibly my own resentment toward their situation feeds the fire of their rage.

Instead, maybe they need someone who will help calm their emotions and remind them God is in charge.

Yes, I think that’s the type of person I need to be.

Do You Embrace Your Mistakes?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 1, 2012
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Ugh! Not again! Oops, I really messed up this time! What was I thinking? How stupid can I be?

How often do those words run through your mind when you make a mistake? They swarm around in mine a LOT! It doesn’t matter how old I get. Those pesky mistakes still crop up frequently, just as they did in my younger years. It seems I’ll never outgrow them, so I simply have to embrace my mistakes and learn as I go.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about mistakes:

1) Everyone, and I mean everyone, makes them. No one is perfect, and we all fall short at times.

2) What I learn from my mistakes must guide my future decisions and choices.

3) I can’t let guilt from my mistakes smother my joy in life.

4) If I don’t learn from my mistakes, they can become habits. Most likely bad habits.

5) Sometimes I don’t have the strength of character to make the right decisions on my own. I need help. Choosing the right friends can help me avoid mistakes. And of course, the strength of God’s Spirit makes it possible.

6) I conquer my tendency to make mistakes when I give up what seems fun or exciting to do what is right.

7) There is a difference between an accident and a mistake. If an accident happens more than once, it’s still an accident. But if you make the same mistake more than once, it has become a choice.

Have you made mistakes that still haunt you? Have you overcome the guilt of mistakes in your life? Please share in a comment.

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