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14.10.2015

Hey, October teacher.I saw you stumbling into the lounge this morning, well before you were paid to be there, fumbling for quarters to get a caffeine fix.housetalkn.comI saw the papers spilling out of your bag, the ones you graded too late last night because you promised you would.I saw that silly Homecoming week get-up you wore to promote school spirit, and I also saw you tutoring that student from 4th period because she just can't understand how to multiply polynomials yet.I saw you - see you - and wanted you to know.I also want you to know I understand. October is a hard month in this line of work. The new of August has worn off, the exultation of Christmas break is far away, and you're smack dab in the middle of it all. You're in the meat of the material, the midst of the semester. You're in the meetings and the grading and the planning - and you're wondering if any of it makes a difference.Rest assured. It does.I know in the midst of it all you start losing sight of the forest for the trees, and you focus so greatly on the details that you miss the big...

11.10.2015

I woke up yesterday morning absolutely irate with an imaginary cashier at a grocery store from my dreams because she stole fifty cents from me.I have no idea what I ate that might have caused such a realistic and ridiculous dream, but let it be known that if you ever steal fifty cents from me, I will find your manager (whose name was Gage, by the way, in this dream that needs to be analyzed) and give him a piece of my mind. And if he smirks at me because "it's just fifty cents," we will have a conversation about integrity and how the monetary amount couldn't matter less - it's a revelation of the heart.Bless my heart.I'm trying not to let my heart be hardened against the grocery store chain I dreamed of, but I'm not there, yet. She stole from me, y'all. And Gage didn't care.So that's how my Saturday started.And this is how it ended.Photo courtesy of Travis ListerMy family has season tickets to Clemson, and we're kind of hard core.While Hurricane Joaquin was sending his rain-remnants last week to South Carolina, we were watching the game. In the rain. Wearing get-ups like this.And when ESPN College...

04.10.2015

So you found out your friend is going through a divorce. She may have called you herself, or you may have heard through the grapevine that her marriage is ending, as half of all do.As a friend, you want to be there, but you're unsure of what that means. Do you call? Do you ask how she is?Just what is it she really needs?My own divorce is now years old, but whenever I hear of another marriage crumbling, my heart is quickened to the needs I had back then, and my deepest desire is to give what is really needed. No, not every person facing divorce is the same, but I believe there are universal needs that most who are divorcing share. (I'm writing from the female perspective since it is my own.)What She Needs:She needs you. More than she has ever needed you before, she needs your presence in her life. Divorce often costs people friendships, for reasons understandable and varied. Sometimes friends are mutual between the two who are divorcing, and sometimes they are forced to choose sides. Sometimes people just don't know how to be a friend for a person whose life is suddenly different. A loss...

23.09.2015

I tell my students all the time, "Guys, listen. I've been where you're going. I've been to 10th grade English, and I know what they expect you to know. I've been to the SAT, and I know what you have to be able to do. I've been to college, and I know that the quality you're turning in now won't cut it then." I tell them I've been there because they need to know I'm trustworthy. They need to know my methods aren't haphazard but are preparing them for what's to come. They need to know my knowledge of their yet-to-come determines my actions in their happening-right-now. They need to know, and so do I.I need to know my God is trustworthy. I need to know His methods aren't haphazard, and I need to know His knowledge of my yet-to-come determines His actions in my happening-right-now.It's so tempting and natural for me to forget God knows. He knows what was and is, and most comfortingly, He knows what will be. The future is past to Him, and He is not limited by the space and time that bind me. Nothing I face surprises His heart, and everything I face passes...