Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The moon

At around 11:00 last night I saw a friend posted "GO LOOK AT THE MOON" on FB. I did of course, and we won't talk about why my kids were still awake at that late hour, but I took them to look with me. I would say it was maybe 20 degrees outside & we weren't wearing much in the way of clothing, but we darted in & out looking up at the sky from our backyard. My son, of course, uses this opportunity to "water the lawn" ugh.. boys.. and my daughter shrieks about the cold so I wrap her in a blanket & hold her out the back door. After we've looked at the crazy black circle around the moon we come back in and get all cozy again and I decide I will attempt to get a picture of it. My nothing fancy digital camera got this shot..

but I found this one on the net.

It's called a lunar halo and it's really cool. Hope everyone got a look at it last night. I kinda like my shot.. it made a cross in the sky and we all know that only God could make a beautiful scene like that. Thank you for the wonderous beauty you share with us Lord, it is much appreciated.


Monday, December 28, 2009

This morning I got up at 7:00 a.m. and went for a run around my neighborhood. Then I jumped in & out of the shower in 15 minutes, got dressed & was ready to begin my day! Nope, not me. I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom as well as organizing & decluttering every room I encountered. Nope, not me. I also got my kids up, got them bathed & dressed and took them for an outing in the park.. okay well maybe it's too cold for that anyway.. maybe I baked them a cake or something else those super-duper domestic goddesses do on their days off. Of course, if you know me, you know I am totally full of it. But let's pretend it wasn't me who slept in past nine and hollered at the kids to find a breakfast bar or something. It wasn't me who ate chocolate Santas for breakfast. Let's say I didn't stay in my pajamas until almost noon playing around on the computer & watching useless television. Let's all agree that I would never spend an entire day doing pretty much nothing of any value. It wasn't me who left lunch sitting out on the counter until it was time to make dinner. It wasn't me who 10 minutes into cleaning Princess' room decided I felt dizzy & had a headache & it was time for a nap! LOL. Okay so I'm enjoying my day off.. is that a crime?


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Oh the things my daughter will do..

She knew this morning I was going to tell her to clean her room. It's bad.. I mean like really really bad. She had strep throat just before Christmas and we never got it cleaned up for company so we just kept the door shut over the holdiays. When I went in there yesterday I nearly fainted. It looks like a bomb went off in there. I don't even know how everything she owns ended up in the floor! So this morning before I'd had a chance to say anything, she brings me a letter in an envelope, addressed to me of course. It's covered with Hannah Montanna stickers and hearts & peace signs. I open it and it's a sweet little invitation to a play she is putting on in our living room.. which of course drags on and on til lunchtime and I have a hundred other things to tackle this afternoon. Oh well, I guess her room can be put off for another day.. lol, oh the things kids will do to get out of cleaning their room.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

The big surprise

The kids have been asking for a pet for some time now. We had discussed a few different things but in the end we went with a kitten that we got from the local vet. It has been a new experience for us all. The little guy has been named Milo and is quickly becoming a part of our family. We couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Santa vs. Jesus?

This holiday season I've really been contemplating the whole "Santa" thing. In the past we've always just not been a Santa household. I've never told them that Santa wasn't real, just that everyone decides for themselves what they believe in. We try to focus on the real reason for the season.. Jesus of course. This year, however, my kids seemed to take more of an interest in the Santa issue. There's been more questions about the how and why's of Santa Claus. We've met a few Santas at holiday parties and Christmas programs and noticed how some are um.. let's say "rounder: than others, lol. My sister tells my nephew that Santa is a nice Christian who goes around giving gifts in celebration of Jesus' birthday to tell them of the Good News. I like this, but my kids are old enough to know that Santa must have some kind of magical powers to be able to do this and they tend to liken him to God, which I don't like. I guess it's not any different than the tooth fairy really. As you well know, my kids definitely believe in her. I guess that one doesn't bother me because I don't feel like it's stealing God's glory like Santa or the Easter bunny, which quite conviently come on the most important Christian holidays. I guess my approach to all this is to keep pointing my kids toward Christ and downplay all the make believe business. I don't want to take the fun or magic out of their childhood, but I feel like God is miraculous enough to inspire that same kind of awe. I will say that they were very much in awe when Santa pulled them up in his lap for a picture at the Fire Department Christmas party.. and I think that's okay as long as we keep the focus on Jesus.. during the holidays.. and always.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Enough to SMILE about

Okay so we all have different parts to our lives right.. there's the spiritual part, the marriage part, the kids part, the career part, the friends part.. and I guess some ppl actually have time to have a hobby? Craziness.

So, anyway, we have all these different areas of our lives where things can go wrong and it seems that we need each one of them to be going pretty good to feel "happy" -right? If one section has become a struggle, a challenge, a battle.. it seems to somehow outweigh the good that is in all the other parts. Why is that? Should we be so absorbed by just one part? Actually we should always be completely consumed with God and our relationship with Him, so let's take that part out of the equation for now.

Why is it when we've been hurt by a friend or a family member forgot our birthday or we've had a fight with our spouse, or things've become very difficult at work, or our child is misbehaving.. (you get the idea).. things all seem to fall apart?

How can we feel so defeated when we still have so much good around us? Why do we focus on what is hard for the moment? Whatever we are facing right now we should look for ways to be thankful.. count our blessings.. be -too blessed to be stressed! It's so easy to lose perspective and let something wear us down and have it affect all the other areas of our life.. we have to fight that! And by "we" I really mean "me." I've let myself get down and lost sight of the prize to be claimed at the end of my journey. I consider that the trials I am facing are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in me! Satan wants me to feel powerless, defeated, consumed with my struggles.. his lies invade my thoughts, my speech, my attitude.. but I can overcome them with THE TRUTH. I must seek it out and proclaim it if I hope to win. God is my hope, my strength.. my shield and HE is in control.. no matter how out of control things can seem. I know I am doing God's work.. what He has called me to do and I know that He will work all things to my good because I love him and am called according to His Purposes.. and -ABSOLUTELY- THAT IS ENOUGH FOR ME TO SMILE ABOUT!

Friday, November 27, 2009

just when Satan swoops in

I hate this feeling.. this feeling of restlessness.. I feel overwhelmed with what all I "should" be doing at this very moment.. instead of enjoying every minute of the holiday & the fact that the Firefighter got to take the day off to stay home with us, I'm battling feeling lazy and then guilt from being lazy. We've been discussing what we want to do - sell our house & find a bigger one, build one out on the family land, just buy a lot & build, or start some major rennovations to the house we have, ugh, like we have time for any of that mess!.. when we get to talking about big decisions like that I just want to run & hide. I hate conflict, I hate indecision, I hate wasting my energy on things that might never happen. I'd much rather just feel peace and stay where we're at. I know that there is no growth w/out change so why do I fight it so much? I just want to avoid stressful times is all.. There's just so much to do and I don't know where to begin.. I feel like a failure sometimes because I let it all pile up on me and things seem so much easier for other people.. THEN.. Just when Satan swoops in to steal my joy for the moment by pileing feelings of powerlessness on top of me a thought pops into my head.. at least we have a home.. That's all. Just one thought of thankfulness for the home God has provided us and those other feelings melt away. My sister said "battling self-pity with my sword of thankfulness" and she is so very right. Why let those feelings overwhelm me and steal my joy when I've got a healthy loving husband right here and our two precious children, and we have all day with no obligations just to spend time together in our cozy home. How blessed I am. So many things could be going on right now, I don't even want to begin to think of the hard times we could be dealing with.. and we're not. Everything is fine. So I take a deep breath.....say a little prayer of thanks.... and go cherish each moment I have today with my family... nice try Satan. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

My words have power.. but this is beyond my control

I've been silent on here since this mess started. I've learned that when you are going thru hard times, this is the time to keep quiet. I heard once that when Jesus was facing trials, He talked less.. and in the worst moments of His life He was silent. He cried out only to God. Since He is our example, I am trying to do the same. I have confided in few trusted souls of my heartache & frustration, but for the most part I'm keeping quiet. After all there is one victim in this story and it's certainly not me! I am merely playing my role in someone else's saga. I must be careful not to make this about me or focus on how hard this has made my life lately. I have to keep perspective. That said, I am aching to write about what I am feeling.. but I must keep it to myself. I am praying for God to give me understanding, wisdom, patience, guidance, discernment.. strength.. and maybe, peace. I know it's all in His hands even if it sometimes feels like it's in mine. I have to let go of my need to "fix" things and just wait for his leading. And so I've been reading some Emily Dickinson poetry as a distraction and have some I want to share..

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
In this short life
That only lasts an hour,
How much, how little,
Is within our power!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I have no words of my own today..

"He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:29,31

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Days like today..

The only thing that can be said about days like today is God is still in control. I can't really say that tomorrow will be better because although today was truely hard, tomorrow could always be worse. And things can always be worse. That's disheartening I know, but there are no guarantees of a happy little life just because we are believers. God promised us an eternity in Heaven with Him, but this is a fallen world and we are stuck in it for the time being. SO.. for the time being.. I'm not going to pray that God will take away the difficult things I'm dealing with because I believe they're there for a reason. I'm not going to ask that God give me an easier day tomorrow. Instead I'm praying that God will prepare me to face any challenges that come my way, just as I do every day. By His Grace, He kept me together today. I know He'll never give me more than I can handle and I just have to hold on to that truth.. even when I feel that's being pushed to it's limit.. even on days like today.

Negative Nellys

I was faced with a clear case of Fakeness after posting my last blog. It hit me like a ton of bricks too. I guess fakeness is the word for it. It's more of being critical and judgemental of others, but it's the being sweet to their face part that makes it fake I guess.
I've found that I can't be around negativity for very long or I get sucked into it. I don't mean being there for someone. I mean getting dragged down into misery that loves company. People can get so lost in their problems, the things that are stressing them out, that they don't see the dark cloud of negativity around them. Trust me, I know. I've been there. You see it a lot in teaching really. Someone can lose perspective with all that goes wrong on a regular basis. There's so much we deal with that is beyond our control. It's just rolling with the punches sometimes.
Have you ever known someone who just didn't have a single nice thing to say about anyone? How annoying. Don't you just wonder what they're saying about you as you walk away, lol. It's usually dumb stuff too. It's like they have to criticize just to criticize. Well it really starts to wear on you after awhile. Pretty soon you find yourself discounting anything they have to say. You start blocking it out. It's this -talking behind someone's back- thing that makes them seem so fake. We all "vent" to others sometimes about something someone else did, so maybe we're all fake to some extent. I do have to say it still bothers me though. The one good thing that comes from hearing negative things ALL THE TIME is that it makes me more aware of my own words!
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

as promised.. my chicken salad

I'm not a big cook. I don't pretend to be. But I do know how to make a mean chicken salad sandwich, lol. I got the basic recipe from my mother-in-law who said it is a "to taste" kind of thing with the ingredients. Once I made it and saw how easy it was to just throw things in I was hooked! It's best eaten on a buttery croissant from Wal-Mart & shared with friends. :)
Chicken Salad
chicken breast - cooked, cooled, cubed
apples - chopped
celery - sliced
chopped pecans
big scoops of Miracle Whip & a dash of salt

You Can!

Can you be genuinely happy for another person? Well of course you can. Can you do that and be excited for them & their success without being criticized by others? Maybe. The word "fake" gets tossed around a lot. I used to be one of those people who cringed at so-called "fakeness" or "cheesiness." Now I am just glad that person was "nice." Lol. I've decided that I cannot judge a person's intentions. If they were just being overly nice to butter me up, so be it. I'm not as skeptical as I once was. Maybe that comes from being a teacher. My job requires me to be cheery and smiley on a daily basis whether I feel like it or not. Am I being fake? Or am I just putting on a happy face, letting go of the negative things and focusing on the positive? I'd like to think the latter. No matter what kind of mood I am in, my students deserve me smiling and welcoming them at the door. They deserve a kind word and a hug. They deserve encouragement rather than constant criticism. And even when they don't deserve it, it's my duty to give it to them anyway. After all, for some students, I may be their best hope. It's the ones who seem less deserving of our love & attention that probably need it the most! What do we deserve from God with the way we've acted sometimes? Thank the good Lord above that we don't get what we deserve! Just like we must have grace in parenting, we must have grace with others.
So you're saying it's okay to be "fake" with a child, or as a teacher now, right? Well, I think it applies to everyone in our lives. If you know someone who bothers you with their fake perfectness- can't you see the insecurities in them? Maybe they are just making an effort to be content and thankful in spite of their problems. Maybe they just don't want to open up to you. Not everyone can lay their feelings out for all the world to see.. lol, like myself. I think it's better to appear to be "fake" to someone than to be rude. Why point out their weaknesses or faults? Why not give them grace to change & grow as God sees fit? Why not look for the best in them & help them celebrate that? Why not build people up instead of tearing them down? Be enthusiastic, be kind, be nice, be excited about life.. it's contagious and might just make a difference in someone's life! And if someone wants to criticize you for it or call you "fake" -oh well. Just smile.. because you can.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hope & a Future

Today I want to share something deeply personal. Some of my faithful readers may now be saying that's nothing new, don't you always talk about things that are deep and personal? Lol. Point taken. But today I'm going to open up the pages of one of my many journals and share my intimate thoughts & prayers. I wish I had written the date on it, but I know for sure it was written in our old house so at the least more than 3-4 years ago. Specifically it is a "Your Best Life Now Journal." (This will not be a debate over the worth or value of Joel Osteen's message or intentions. Frankly I don't care what you may think of him, God spoke to me through watching him on television years ago before I had a church family and that is all the matters at the moment.) What I'd written was a detailed explanation of my heart's desires and my dreams. It was an assignment asking readers to "enlarge their vision" not unlike the Prayer of Jabez really. So the following is my heart poured out on paper several years ago:
My dreams for my life are to have a wonderfully loving Christian family. I want us to live in a nice home with room enough for friends & family. I want to have a career I can be proud of. I want to do something helpful and significant and be paid enough so that we don't have to rely on [my DH's] income alone. I dream of being close to my children & involved in their lives. I also have a dream of living close to [my lil sis] and seeing our kids grow up together. I dream of [my DH] & I growing closer and more in love as the years go by. I envision us sitting together watching our grandkids play in the yard. Finally I dream of finding true friends. I want someone I can be close with, someone I connect with and can really talk to. I want someone I can go do things with, have fun with-someone I can laugh with.
(Now, to put this in context, this was all written BEFORE I became a teacher, before I'd ever even thought about becoming a teacher.. BEFORE my sister moved here.. and well BEFORE I even had met my amazing ladiez.)
I followed the entry with a prayer that said:
Guide me, Lord, so that I always follow your will for me. Take away the negativity and self-doubt. Refresh me with your Spirit and give me a new vision of myself and my life. Help me to shed all the things that hold me back. I want to be and accomplish all that you have planned for me. I step out in faith to believe that I will receive favor in my life - by You, even though I don't deserve it. Thank you for blessing me, Amen.
Then a scripture on the page was circled, it was "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." --Jeremiah 29:11

I wrote this passage at a lonely time. I was living in a new town where I knew no one but my new family. We were so young & our babies were born so fast. I had just finished getting my degree and had no idea what I was going to do. The Firefighter was not a firefighter yet and was working long hard hours in the oil field. I had no friends, or at least I felt like I didn't. I spent A LOT of time at home with my babies. I longed for relationships. I prayed for companionship. And God gave. Oh, how He gave. God answered my prayers and then some. I asked for one real friendship, He gave me twenty. I asked for a meaningful career and He gave me teaching. I asked for love.. and He overflowed my heart in a way that I cannot even begin to explain.
I'm sharing this today because reading it and thinking of how God answered my prayers, the deepest desires of my heart matching His for me and how He's outdone anything I could conjure up for myself.. made me weep. Openhearted joy came over me as I realized how much He has changed me since then and how much my life has changed because of it. I can smile when faced with hardships because I know He's taking care of me and it is all a part of God's workmanship and him building & molding me to be exactly who He wants me to be. I can share in Christ's sufferings because I get to share in His blessings. I am God's child and He loves me.. and my life, my journey is my proof of that. How can I not share that message of hope with others?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Being a mom is hard sometimes..

In all the commotion of taking pictures & then eating dinner out & renting movies & spending some family time together, I completely forgot about my DD's surprise tooth falling out. That's why I had such a hard time waking up this morning & understanding what my distraught little girl was talking about. I'd been in a deep sleep with an intense dream going on and there she was standing by my bed on a Saturday at not quite 8:00 in the morning. My first thought, of course, was selfishly "so much for sleeping in ONE day a week.." My second thought was why on earth does she need glitter this early in the morning?! And as her words finally hit home, my final thought was "OH NO! I FORGOT ABOUT THE TOOTH FAIRY!"

My sweet & innocent little princess was asking for glitter to put on her letter she'd written to the tooth fairy. She said that she woke up and her tooth was still under her pillow where she'd put it the night before without saying a word to me about it. She said she wanted to ask the tooth fairy if she'd done something wrong. My heart broke at those words and I went to find her some glitter. She'd sprayed the note with her body spray because she thought the tooth fairy would like it to smell good. She put stars on it with tape and had it laying on her pillow. I began my feeble explanations of how the tooth fairy must not have been able to find it in her messy bed with pillows & blankets & crazy hair everywhere. She giggled but didn't look too convinced. We put her tiny tooth in her special tooth fairy pillow and I reassured her that tonight the Tooth Fairy would for sure be able to find it. Then she reminds me that she will be staying the night with a friend following the birthday party. She wants to take the note & her Tooth Fairy pillow with her. Thoughts of her friend's mom hearing this story & reading the heartbreaking letter fill me with dread before I even think of how I'd have to have her take care of the tooth & money situation and I carefully convince Princess that the Tooth Fairy is probably disapointed that she couldn't find the tooth and will come back to our house tonight looking for it. So now she is in her room, cleaning up, making her bed and positioning her letter & special pillow at the top so that it can't be missed. I guess this will be a funny story someday, but right now I just feel guilt. GUILT. GUILT deep in the pit of my stomache. How can I be so self absorbed sometimes? To some it's just a tooth, but it's not "just a tooth" to her. To her it's everything right now. I hope I can fix this and let go of the guilt. It's certainly not the first time I've messed up as a mom, no one is perfect, I know. But just look at this precious letter and tell me how to not to feel guilty!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

When I set up our family pictures for a Friday it seemed the logical choice. Friday is the ONLY day we don't have something going on thanks to karate, dance & wrestling practices for the kids. When I wrote it down I kinda noticed it was Friday the 13th but didn't really pay much attention. When today rolled around I'd forgotten completely about the date. Even when I did calendar with my class I didn't really notice the date. I didn't think of it when I'd blown across town after school hitting every red light, getting stuck behind one slow moving semi after another, and being wedged between a huge trailer and a big truck.. I didn't think of it when I got home to find my son still in the shower when my daughter needed to be getting in as soon as we got there. I didn't think of it when I dropped my rather expensive powdery mineral makeup all over the bathroom sink and OF COURSE all over my sweater I'd just changed into so I wouldn't get makeup on it by pulling it on, lol. In fact, the thought didn't even occur to me until we were just about to leave, by some miracle, barely able to make it on time and my daughter suddenly LOST A TOOTH! Yes, it was at that moment when I'm looking at her with blood all over the place and a shocked look on her face that the date flashed thru my head... duh duh duh.. duh.. IT'S FRIDAY THE 13TH! After getting her cleaned up and literally running to the door yelling at my DH to please get off the playstation & join the kids in the car, we took off across town (once again) to meet the photographer. Frantic, frazzled, stressed, and as always so tired, I put my best smile on my face and tried to think happy thoughts. Even though our beautiful little girl had an overly cheesy now-toothless grin and we had to fight our son to put the sticks, leaves, bark, pine cones, rocks, flag, sticky tac and pocket knife down long enough to snap a shot here & there, I think they'll turn out good. As my DH lectured me about how much all this is gonna cost I thought to myself, I will always remember this day. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why would we want to eat TRASH?

"A wise person is hungry for truth, while the fool feeds on trash." Proverbs 15:14

Wow. That just really puts it out there doesn't it. I got that verse from Rick Warren's twitter post this morning & it just jumped off the screen to me. What do I feed on? What is my daily intake? Television, internet, movies, music, all of it. I could definately call most of television today - TRASH! I watch my fair share of my favorite programs, so I would say this is my weakest area. Most importantly, what spiritual intake do I have. Once a week, an hour of church on Sunday morning? Like that's enough? I really believe INTAKE=OUTAKE & Trash In-Trash Out. In other words, these influences in our lives influence us! We should be hungry for truth. What is truth? THE WORD OF GOD! We are basically sitting around eating a greesy cheeseburger made by some kid who probably doesn't wash his hands very often when God has offered us a fat juicy steak, untouched, cooked perfectly and ready to eat! Instead of what we really need, we're taking in JUNK! And what is the result of filling yourself with junk all the time? Exactly.. being full of it! Lol.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

what plans?

Seems nothing has gone the way I'd planned these past few weeks. Whatever I said I was gonna do, I ended up doing the opposite. I hate that. I'm really not a big planner, but if I say I'm going to do something then I'm going to do it. I don't like being made into a liar. But life has had it's own ideas lately and I've felt like I'm just along for the ride. Not that I ever actually have control. God is the one in control of course, but sometimes I can get to feeling like I have some sense of control over my life. Maybe that's why things start to fall apart at that time - so that I'll be reminded to depend on Him & not my plans. Sometimes I have to be knocked down to get back on my knees where I belong.
That said, I've been disapointed with myself as a wife & mom. I feel like I should be doing better at taking care of my home, staying on top of things, being in control of my household. So much of me goes into my classroom everyday that it's like I take whatever is left home to my family and try to make that work. So many times I've wondered if I've left my brain on my desk at school. I get so frustrated with myself. Why can't I just do everything & be everything to everyone? I want to. Sometimes I even feel like I should, but I know that's silly. I feel so pulled in different directions and like I blurted out yesterday to no one in particular "I can't do 18 things all at once!" What a day that was. It was Halloween and I was trying to make it special for my kids. But I needed to clean the house & so we were running late & so it didn't turn out so good & then we carved pumpkins which my DH said was like putting up lights on Christmas day & I'd invited my students to trick-or-treat at our house so we couldn't go anywhere, though I'm sure I missed someone since we were late getting back to our house after taking the kids downtown.. it seemed no matter what I tried to do it was gonna backfire on me and I didn't even take one stinkin picture. What kind of a mom forgets to take pictures of the kids on Halloween? Now looking at the upcoming holidays I already feel doomed to failure. I can't even keep up with the day to day, how am I supposed to handle the extra tasks of the holidays? I guess I just need to let go of my expectations & my self-critical nature and just watch to see what God has planned. He does a much better job than I do anyway.


There comes a time when you stop being just friends & become sisters.

I remember reading this quote & thinking how much I wanted that. I wanted friends that I spent every moment with, attached at the hip, knew everything about them & they knew everything about me. I thought that's what that quote meant..

Now I've come to realize, through personal experience, what becoming family with former strangers really means. It's an unconditional love thing. It's not a time thing. It doesn't mean that you get to see each other everyday because life just doesn't work that way. It doesn't mean that you have to know everything that goes on in each other's lives either. It's simply that this girl is your sister- you would do anything in the world for her, and no matter what she says or does, you love her just the same. That's the thing about families - they can hurt you more than the average person can because you've opened yourself up to them, become vulnerable. They can point out a flaw or something you're insecure about & it feels devestating to you because you desire their approval more than others. Likewise, family can drive you more crazy than a "friend" can. Their little quirks or shortcomings can grate on your nerves sometimes for sure.

Becoming a family means letting go of the fear of rejection. You find it easy to just be yourself, let your guard down, relax & simply enjoy each other's company. These people can build you up or tear you down by just their words & actions. It can be kind of scary, to let people in like that, to open yourself up to pain. People in general can be self absorbed, selfish, thoughtless, inconsiderate, jealous, petty.. even those amazing people you adore have a little of those qualities in them and the more time that goes by, the more chances of you seeing those things come out in them. It can be so hurtful when a person who's supposed to love you unconditionally criticizes you or treats you carelessly. I've often heard, we hurt the ones we love. How sad, but true. The only way to not get hurt is to close yourself off completely.

I don't know when these girls became like sisters to me. It's been a few years now of birthday parties, holidays, lunches, play-dates, baby showers, celebrations, laughter & tears.. and tons of picture taking, lol. But I've come to appreciate our differences as well as our likenesses. I've come to enjoy their successes as much as I do my own. I've come to feel their pain as deep as if it were mine.

Love comes in gradually in different size pieces and there is no end to it. You start to see someone as an important part of who you are, where you are. You know losing them would be too painful to bear and so you start to hold them closer, more tightly and you start sacrificing other things like your time, energy, other relationships. Then the comfort comes in. The feeling of peace when you realize they aren't going anywhere. You've hurt them, they've hurt you, but you both stayed. That's when you become family - when you become comfortable.

Your sisters are the ones who see the best (and worst) IN you but always point out the good TO you. They will compliment you when you're picking yourself apart. They will show up early to your kid's birthday party just to help you get things ready & tell you to quit stressin. They will laugh at the fact that you're always late & always forgetting things instead of getting mad about it. They will never point out that your house is always a mess and call you supermom for any attempts at making things special for your kids. Most of all, they will love you no matter how much of a mess you are. I thank God for blessing me in this way. I know I would not be the same without my girls. I would be less and my life would be less. They make me feel like I can accomplish anything. They are my cheerleaders, my fans, but most of all.. they are my family.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Marching to the beat of her own drum

My daughter was described as "ecclectic" today. I just laughed. We had spirit days this week and today was her favorite: mis-matched day. She picked out her outfit the night before as if she was pulling out what she would wear any day. She even accessorized with funky jewelry and a scarf she pulled out of my closet. I had to get her to help me with mine. She twirled around the living room telling me she wishes she could sleep in her outfit and wear it all the time.

Princess is unique in her own way. She is kinda cooky.. and I love it. I'm hoping her tendency to not be like the other kids will help her stand up to peer pressure in the coming years. I'm hoping she won't conform to the ways of the world but instead continue to pray for God to make her the kind person He wants her to be. I'm hoping she doesn't lose her open-hearted innocence.

I debate letting her have full rein over herself daily. So many times she comes up with this crazy idea and I have to shoot it down with my mean 'ol logic & reasoning. She doesn't understand why I won't just let her wear the clunky tennis shoes with her church dress and a hoodie over it, lol. She's always been that way. I remember huge battles over making her wear pants to leave the house when she was just two. She had her underwear, pajama shirt & boots on after all. She'd even put on a hat.

I forsee many more struggles for control in our future. Sometimes I think she just finds it amusing to see me try to come up with reasons why she can't do crazy things. There are times when I just give in because I can't think of a good enough reason not to. It was fun to give her all the power to pick whatever she wanted to wear for a change. Today celebrated her free-spiritedness. I am thankful for days like today.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I wish I could pull myself outside of myself sometimes.. get a little perspective. How much easier would it be to go through a rough time if you knew it was only going to last for a little while and that something better was right around the corner! Think of the confidence you would have as you faced each new challenge. As believers, isn't that exactly how we should face anything that comes our way?
My sister told me recently about an insightful moment she had with her baby boy. She was changing his diaper, which can be a huge task for anyone as he is a strong and wiggly baby who has a great set of lungs on him. While she was fighting him & pleading with him to just hold still for one minute- it hit her ---> He doesn't know that this isn't the end of the world - to him it is. She has perspective on the situation and he doesn't. She said she wondered how many times she's whined and thrown a fit about something in her life because to her it felt like the end of the world. And how God was probably looking at her saying poor child, it's okay, just hold on, I'm in control.. I've got this.
I know when things feel hopeless to me or when I'm striving and fighting and struggling, my God is telling me to just hold still for a minute and let him finish. What an important thing to remember!

Someone Else

Did you ever find yourself wondering what it would be like to be someone else? Even if only for a day you could walk in someone else's shoes, see things through someone else's eyes.. To be able to step outside of yourself & see the world in a different way would be amazing.

Often I wonder if the way I perceive things is tainted by past experiences, emotions, fears, and doubts more than by reality. I get annoyed with myself. I don't always like how I handle things or the way my brain shifts into auto-pilot when I'm hurt and my heart goes into self-protect mode by putting up a fortress around it. We get irritated at other people from time to time, no matter how much we love them, so wouldn't it make sense that we'd not like ourselves sometimes too. I mean we do spend an awful lot of time with ourselves & all.

If only there was this magic button we could press when we felt like we were too much of "ourselves" and could switch to being more like someone else. Say someone who usually walks all over you makes some critical comment and you flip the switch & suddenly you are that firey co-worker of yours who always has a comeback for everything. You snap back at them and they back down. Boom! Problem solved. Right? Well maybe not. It reminds me of "You've Got Mail" when Meg Ryan is upset that she never has something mean to say when she wishes she did and then there's that moment when she says exactly what she wanted to say in the right moment... AND... she feels terrible about it. Maybe that's just not us.. to say something hurtful to someone just to get them back. After all that leaves you with guilt on top of the hurt you feel from what THEY said to you in the first place. And the sad thing is, THEY don't feel guilty at all, but you know you will.

I guess it's not that I wish I could BE someone else really. Just that I wish I could be a little less ME sometimes. Less anxious. Less analytical. Less critical of myself. Less emotional. Less unorganized. Less naive. Less trusting. Less timid. Less introverted. Less, less, less.. caring? Yes. Sometimes I do wish I didn't care so much, seems like things would be easier.

I think the more you try to be something you're not, the more disconnected you'll feel, and the true you will come out anyway. I believe in self improvement, but there are just some things in your personality, your make up, that you just cannot change. So it goes back to the well known prayer:
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Wall

Pain. It causes quite different reactions doesn't it? Some fight through it and actually enjoy it a little. Others run at the first sign of hardship. How do you react to a painful experience? What do you do when someone has hurt you?
My natural tendency, as wrong as it may be, is to go into self-protect mode. I subconsciously push the pain causer away, become distant & cold, and sort of curl up into the fetal position for a time. I even may nurse my wounds. It's not meant to be holding a grudge or pouting, lol, it is simply a fear of being vulnerable enough to be hurt that way again. I put up a wall so it seems. What's different about me is that it doesn't last for long. After some time of healing from the hurt I jump right back into trusting that person again. Now, I guess the more hurt that comes from one relationship the more time it takes, maybe? I don't know for sure how this system works but I've been asking God to tear my walls down and take my fears away and simply be my guide in how to react to things. I want His Will and I think sometimes my emotions and hurt feelings get in the way of that.
I know that pushing someone away or being aloof will certainly not cause them to love me more or treat me better, so why do I do this? I withdraw back into myself, into my shell and it's hard for me to pull out of that sometimes. I get so lost in my hurt and it steals the joy from my life. Satan knows this about me and he feeds the flames, trying to trap me into self pity and hopelessness and loneliness. This is the times where I need to turn it all over to God once again and let him be my defender, my redeemer, my vindicator. No one can really hurt me in a way that really matter in view of eternity and that's exactly where my view needs to be. Whatever someone chips away at me, my loving Father will restore! Sharing in Christ's sufferings means sharing in His inheritance as well! And that's certainly good enough for me!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Who's really in control?

It's an age-old debate. Are we in control of our own lives or not? Some say fate controls the universe & we are simply in it's grasp. Others say God controls everything, including us.
I believe that we are actually in control of so much more than we like to give ourselves credit for. Absolutely God is supremely in control, of everything. However, He's chosen to give us our own free will and we have the freedom to make our own choices and deal with things however we want.
We are not in control of others. It is foolish to believe your manipulations & mind games really work on people. They are in control of themselves. Even if you get the results you are after sometimes, you aren't really ever in control of someone else. So stop trying to be, they'll only resent you for it.
We are in control of our own attitudes most of all. Something that happens to two people the same way will produce completely different reactions. YOU choose how people treat you because it's how YOU let them treat you. YOU choose to get upset over things or not. YOU choose to act on it. YOU choose the words coming out of your mouth no matter how mad you are when you say them, you can't take them back and you are still responsible for them. YOU decide whether you've had a good day or bad day based on your own criteria, your own perceptions. YOU decide who you take it out on.
Your life is what you make it. You can't blame someone else for your unhappiness. Life is a series of choices. Good things happen sometimes and bad things happen sometimes, but what you do with it is your choice.. and therefore in your control. There is power in positive thinking, in having faith that the God of the universe will work all things out to the good of those who love him & seek him according to his Purpose. After all, if God is for us, who can be against us?
Life isn't supposed to be easy. It's not supposed to be all about seeking your own happiness either. How trivial and selfish an existence to think you deserve whatever you want from one moment to the next! My, how we act like spoiled little children when we don't get our way, when things don't go "right" or "smoothly." Who promised us that life would be fair anyway? Where do we get that sense of entitlement?
I'm glad we're not really in control because we humans have proven how badly we would mess things up if we were.. look how we mess up just our own little lives! Just imagine if we controlled the whole universe! I know I've seen that when I try to control everything the way I want it, something goes wrong. It is so much better for me to let go & let God be in control and make my choices based on his leading, His Will. But I really believe what you think, and how you think determines your success in life and that is where happiness comes from.
Whether you think you can or think you can't.. you are right.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I spoke with my students today about 9-11. They had no idea. They were amazed by what I had to say. I told them my story- how I felt that day, how scary it was, how the events unfolded. I told them only an overview fit for the first grade impressionable minds in front of me, but there's so much more to the story..

I was a college student, driving in my little car to Alva. I heard on the radio that something was going on but I didn't pay much attention because I had a lot on my mind. I had exams coming up, projects due, papers to write.. then Michael called. He said that a plane had crashed into some tower or something. He was incredulous but I didn't get it. I turned up the radio when I got off the phone with him and the guy said he was reporting from the pentagon. There was a loud noise & then they didn't know what was going on. By the time I made it to campus I was realizing that things were weird. People were looking around and talking excitedly as they walked up to the wellness center doors. I went in to my School & Community Health class and sat down listening to all the crazy conversations going on. Coach Batisti came in and said "I don't know what you all are doing, but I'm watching the news to see what's going on!" We all rushed out & squeezed around the small TVs above the treadmills. After awhile I left & went to the mass comm lounge where I found my comrads watching TV anxiously. As I watched the second plane crash into the second tower it started sinking in. It was all so unbelievable. We were under attack!?! As journalists we all started taking notes and discussing how the news crews were handling this major story. We had each local station going on all the various TVs around there and CNN and FOX News on the ones in the studio. We went back & forth between them and marveled at the misinformation reported before facts were confirmed and how much the details varied depending on which channel you were watching. "Who really knows what's going on?" we thought.
As I drove home that afternoon I saw cars crammed into gas stations, the lines backing out all the way to blocking the highways. People were in a complete panic. I arrived home at my small apartment & Michael and I compared stories, thoughts & ideas. We talked about how scary a world it is that we are bringing a child into. I was pregnant with Princess. She was due in January and I couldn't help but wonder how I would ever explain this day to her and how much it meant to America.
Even now I don't know how to describe the magnitude of lives lost on that day or the impact those events had on my life. Things had changed. They would never be the same. I truely believed that. Now, eight years later I am surprised how quickly we have moved on. How little it matters that thousands of Americans were killed by terroists in a free nation of liberty and justice. We just turned our heads, moved on with our trivial little social lives and looked away from the widows & families of the firefighters, police, rescue crews and employees of the World Trade Center. I'm sure they will never forget, so how can we, as a nation, ever forget their sacrifice.. or the sacrifice of the soldiers & their families ever since? The image most in my mind is not the plane hitting the tower, but the front page of the NY Times paper that had an actual body plumeting to the ground.. the hundreds of people who jumped out of the windows in a desperate last attempt of hope.. the firefighters pouring through rubbage looking for the lost people.. such a sad and heartbreaking moment in time for our country.. it's our generation's Pearl Harbor you know.. it is a lost & fallen world we live in for sure.

it's late

It's 1:19 a.m. Even as I'm typing that I can't believe it. I get up at 5:30. Why am I awake? I'm exhausted of course. Tomorrow is Friday and it's been quite a stressful week even tho it was short one day. We've had open house, school pictures, cookie dough orders due, dibels testing, and my little boy got his first belt promotion in karate Wed night, it was so awesome.

I'm tired. I should be asleep. My honey is on shift tonight. The kids have been in bed since 9. I've milled around the house folding laundry, picking up, wiping off.. I've even gotten ready for bed. I just never went there. Some nights the brain just won't shut down it seems. I saw the Firefighter at dinnertime for a bit. I had friends over so we didn't get to talk much. I miss him. Isn't it crazy how much you can miss someone you just saw? That's the odd thing about being a firefighter's wife.. the sleeping alone thing.. the going to bed alone thing.. it's when I miss him the most. I stay up too late when he's not here. I'll regret it in the morning I know. I'm going to set my alarm for 6 and say that 30 minutes will make the difference. I will wake up rested & ready to face the day. Name it & proclaim it, right?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Superhero flies

This is a short video taken a few years ago while we played in the pool. My little Superhero has always loved the water.. and here his Daddy & Uncle help him to F L Y . . .

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's your choice

Change is inevitable. That's what they say - that nothing stays the same. How can it in this world that is constantly moving. People change. How can they help it? We are constantly influenced by the world around us.. by the people around us. Emotions, experiences, events - they change us. Sometimes we can see it coming. Like seeing two cars headed straight at each other over a hill on a highway. You don't have time to stop it from happening. You yell & yell at them, but they don't listen to you. All you can do is stand there and watch.. and wait.. for the collision. And just like that, things change, just like you knew they were about to. You know in your heart that it won't ever be the same.
It's in our nature to resist change. To hold on to what once was. To desire what you once had. But it doesn't do any good. You can't get it back. It's time to move on now. If you try to hold onto someone who is trying to get away you waste your time and energy and they will resent you for it in the end. You are restricting them. You are demanding. You are holding them back. That isn't love, it's selfishness. You are simply putting what you want over everything else. You have to let them go. You have to quit clinging to the past and just let them go. The freedom that they now have is theirs to do with as they please. Now it is a choice. Now if they choose to keep you in their life it is a choice made w/out resentment or guilt. It may take time for them to figure out what they want. But you don't want to keep someone against their will. You want them to come to you freely, to choose you.
It's just like the way God designed our salvation. He doesn't want to force us to come to Him. He wants us to choose to come to Him. He's made it our choice. Free will is a beautiful thing. Out of it comes true, pure, unconditional love.. the only kind worth having.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

TOTALLY random! lol

We don't always get to choose the people in our lives. Sometimes they choose us. In fact what are the odds that the person who you most adore will adore you the most back? Rare, I'd say.

I like to seek out the good in people and there's certain qualities I admire: honesty, loyalty, sincerity, generousity, kindness, straight-forwardness, character, grace.. but the people we gravitate toward aren't always ones with these same qualities. In fact they may be lacking in what we value, but rather are outgoing, charming & full of witt or sarcasm or humor. It's the people who, for some reason, when we leave their presence, we feel good, and we're not sure why. These people want everyone to like them and they usually succeed. I mean, how could you not? They are fun to be around. It might be that these people have qualities that you wish you had. The problem with that is that they have lots of friends, and only ever let maybe two or three really "in." So when you're on the outside of that, and you love & care about them but hate how they don't tell you things or you feel like they don't care, you start to feel a little disillusioned. Like they've fallen from grace, so to speak, in your eyes. Maybe they're not as wonderful as we thought. NOT that you had any right to put them on a pedestal in the first place of course. Then you turn it on yourself & say maybe "I'm" not that wonderful and that's the problem. After all, who says we deserve anything from anyone anyway?
I was watching Grey's re-runs the other night & the thought hit me - I'm Izzie! That's me. There's always been a Meredith in my life who everyone thought was amazing & who I adored & would've done anything for.. and then the Yang came. So Izzie is nice to Yang & the three hang out all the while knowing that Yang & Meredith are each other's number 1 and Izzie is kinda just on the sidelines, along for the ride. Who is her number 1? And the sad thing is that Meredith & Yang feed off each other's negativity, they actually reinforce each other's issues and make them worse. Kinda a misery loves company thing I guess. And yet, we all love the two of them together, it's my favorite element of the whole show!
Now don't get me wrong, I know I have lots of friends, really good ones, who are amazing & I love them so much it hurts sometimes. I guess that's just the way God made me, a deep feeler.. if that's even a word, lol. I'm okay with that. I know that comes with pain sometimes, but I'm willing to take the risk with people because I believe people are what matters. Lol, that's exactly the phrase Meredith & Yang poke fun at and disagree with on one episode so that shows I wouldn't be cool enough to hang w/ them! Ha! It's okay to be Izzie tho. She may not have always gotten what she wanted in way of friendships, but what she did get was love. Real love. And she wasn't afraid to jump in head first even after she'd been hurt before.. and it was so worth it in the end. Yep, I'm definately Izzie :)


Monday, August 24, 2009

School is back.. so is dance on Tues with karate Mon & Wed.. crazy evenings trying to squeeze everything in and still get to bed at a decent time.. waking up early.. encouraging the kids to "hustle" in the mornings so we can get out the door and get in the car line at my son's school then rush a few blocks over to park and run in the door at mine & my daughter's school.. promising myself that I won't stay very late after school today in my classroom then rushing off to p/u the Superhero from daycare and frantically trying to get dinner on the table before the Firefighter gets there.. aching feet, back pain and HEADACHES!! GERMS are back.. with my sore throat & cough leading the way.. the feeling of fatigue & mental exahustion and stress wearing me down.. weekends feeling like a total God-send and Mondays feeling like a small idea of hell on earth..

What's gone is my time, a clean house, empty laundry hampers, my brain, sleeping in, lazy days, long nights, my peace & patience, time w/ my friends, my ability to talk about anything not related to school, my immune system, my typical cheery optimism, my ENERGY!

The kiddos are in kindergarten & 2nd grade now. I'm determined not to get too consumed in my work and keep my focus on God, my marriage and our kids. They are growing so fast and I know..

It won't be like this for long.


I don't want to miss a thing.

So in this crazy year that blows by me I hope to take things in stride and not get too run down or discouraged.. Keep my eyes on the Lord & know He's working things out for His Glory. My sweet babies are what's important and they're going to have a GREAT year! And I want to make sure that I'm "there" to be a part of it!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Celebrate - 8 years of marriage

On August 18, 2001 I married my best friend. My Dad walked me down the aisle. I was wearing my Grandmother's wedding gown and holding a special bouquet from my amazing new mother-in-law. The best man, my new brother-in-law, played a song written just for us as we lit the unity candle.

Our wedding day is here. Sooner than we'd planned. It wasn't as we expected. Time has sifted like sand..

And it really doesn't matter now. Cause I know that we were meant to be. Only love can make this difference -cause this change in me. And our two hearts, join together as one. Our two hearts, joined together as one..

I look forward to every day, to see your smiling face. We'll live as God intends and be sustained by grace..

We were just twenty years young and had a hard road ahead of us. By the time 2004 rolled around we had two kids and I had just graduated college. For our five year anniversary we got to go to a resort in Jamaica to finally have a real honeymoon. Yes, we had humble beginnings and we've come so far from that day. And I wouldn't change a thing!

I think it's important to celebrate every chance you get. Celebrate each year of marriage because you've defied the odds once again! Celebrate each year you've been on this earth because each day is a gift! Be thankful for every single moment because this moment is your life!
Celebrating 8 years of marriage!!! Ya-hooooooooo! :)


Friday, August 14, 2009

When you're faced with a challenge, what do you do?
Do you run and hide?
Do you face it head-on?
Do you pray harder or try to bargain with God?
What if you can see the storm coming off in the distance and you know it's about to hit but there's no escape. Like you hear the train coming around the track and you're unable to move so all you can do is stand there and wait to be struck with it.
Is it, perhaps, a battle to fight?
Is it God being the potter and you the clay?
Is it a test?
Is it just the consequences of a fallen world?
Is He using you to help someone?

When you see difficult times coming, how do you prepare? Falling completely apart, crying like a baby and feeling deeply sorry for oneself seems to be the likely option. However, God calls us to stand firm in faith. To face adversity with a knowing that God is on our side. It goes back to "God will never give me more than I can handle" and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Knowing this, how can we fear anything? I think for me it's not the fear of survival, it's an avoidance of pain or hardship. I know that if He brings me to it, He'll get me through it. I believe that whole-heartedly. Yet I know that "getting through" something doesn't sound all that appealing to me. I know it could come at a cost. I know it will be unpleasant and could break me down. I know we are called to suffer sometimes, as Christ did on the cross. There is a time and a season for every purpose under Heaven. I just find myself telling God "nooooooo" like my children whine to me whenever I say it's bedtime. I know He knows best and that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. I know these things. I could give myself the best pep talk I could get- a you can do it, be positive, be strong, have faith, do not grow weary but look forward to the goal to obtain the prize for which you were called, atta boy. The strong sense of self-protecting avoidance is still there. I guess that's my flesh talking. Here I am trying to protect myself from God!?! How foolish! My Father knows best & I committ myself into His hands once again and prepare myself Spiritually to face whatever trials may come. I will praise Him in the storm.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship.. we are God's children.. heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:15-17

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Toy snake proves to be dangerous

So Princess is sitting on the couch watching TV even though I've hollered twice now that it's time to get ready for bed. I'm on the computer at the moment so the kids know they won't get an immediate reaction to their ignoring me. Grrrr.. Then all of a sudden I hear this piercing, blood-curdling scream! I bolt through the door to find her having a complete come-apart. She's screaming and shaking and I'm in a complete panic. I finally get out of her that she's popped herself in the face with a rubbery toy snake. After some time, I get her eyes open and see that it's the left eye that's taken the brunt of the attack. It is red, blood shot, and glassy.
It is determined eventually that she's okay. I give her some Motrin and get her laying down in bed with a cold washcloth covering her eyes. The firefighter gets home from karate and checks her all out adding an icepack to the treatment. I tell her if it's not better in the morning then we'll go see the doctor.
Ten minutes before her hair appointment I am at my witts' end. She won't get up! She's crying and covering her eyes and it's still pretty red. It's obvious that she has some popped blood vessels, but I just don't think it should be hurting this bad so I call the doctor. We are advised to see an eye doctor immediately and call them back if we can't get in soon. After waiting for an hour, the eye doctor confirms the need for the appointment. He says it's a really good thing I brought her in because it doesn't look good. He dialates her eyes and we wait another 30 minutes. He then looks at the eye with the microscope thingy and says
there is significant swelling in the retina that he fears will lead to a detached retina in the left eye.
Swallowing back that fear I ask as many questions as I can think of and am told there's really no treatment. We have to go back in a week to be sure that hasn't happened. He spoke very seriously with her telling her if she feels sudden pain or can't see or it seems like a curtain is covering part of her eye she needs to let me know right away so I can rush her in. A detached retina would require us to take her to the city for some sort of surgery. In the meantime she should "avoid strenuous activities but should be allowed to have fun & be a kid."
I can't believe this happened. Apparently she was pulling the snake back with her foot and holding the head & tail in her hands like you would stretch a rubber band. She kept telling me that she wishes this happened to Sponge Bob and not her. (They watched an episode the other day where he gave himself a black eye trying to open toothpaste or something.. I hate that show.) She asked if she's going to have her first black eye ever. She doesn't realize it's worse than a black eye! The stupid thing actually hit her eyeball! The eye doctor said "it sure tattooed her eye good" whatever that means! She insisted on going to dance this afternoon, but I stayed the whole time to keep an eye on her. She did fine except when they were stretching down to touch their toes. I think the being upside down part must've hurt. Poor thing. Why do the craziest things happen to kids?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Remembering to breathe

Here it comes again.. the anxiety. Deep breathing can't seem to supply enough oxygen and I feel this nervous energy taking over me. My heart races at the thought:
school starts next week.

It's excitement too of course. I can't wait to meet all the new little angels in my life who I will be caring for, encouraging, challenging (and who will be challenging me.) I can't wait to see my students from the previous years too. I love watching them go by marveling at how much wiser and more mature they are, and thinking perhaps I had a small hand in that. I'm looking forward to being around teachers again - the only other people on earth who truely know what I feel and how completely all-consuming this "job" is. It's nice to be a part of something that matters, to be working together for a common goal, and to be building together the future, which is too deep to comprehend. They are my life-line from August to May.

It's not a feeling of dread really, more of sheer panic. Is summer really over? How can that be? I didn't get to half of the things I swore I was going to accomplish. Wow! How am I ever going to start getting up at 5:30 again? How will I get the kids up? What if I have some meanie parent who hates me? How will I handle all the challenges I'm facing this year in the classroom? How many kids are they going to cram in my room this year? Is my room really ready? Am I?

Of course we're never really "ready" I don't think. We just have to prepare as much as possible and be ready to roll with the punches. Punches that seem to keep coming faster & harder sometimes. I don't know how anyone could be a teacher without feeling it was some sort of higher calling. I mean why would you put yourself through all that just for a measly paycheck? Answer is - you wouldn't. This kind of job you have to love. You can kinda hate it sometimes too and definately not always like it, but you always have to love it deep down. You love the kids, you love the job.. maybe not all the junk that comes with the job, but you just love teaching. This job you have to filter out the negative and look for the good. Me personally, I have to look for God. I have to pray for each student I have and ask for blessings for them and their families. I ask Him to renew my love for each child each morning knowing that I simply could not do this without Him.

As each evening draws to a close now, this second week of August, I get the butterflies. I get the feeling of having so much to do very soon and so little time to do it. I am overwhelmed with what if's and fears. I stare off into space when someone is talking to me because I'm lost in my head thinking of what I want to do to set the tone for the year on the first day. I can't concentrate on my grocery shopping list because I'm caught up with finding new fun things for my treat drawer. My chest is tight and I'm light headed and then I realize I've forgotten to breathe. I think that's the key to starting a new school year. I need to ask God to remind me to breathe, to take things one step at a time, and that He will give me the tools to do the job He has called me to do.
"..in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Special Pillows

Today my little SuperHero received a special package in the mail. He was so excited! For me?! He couldn't believe there was something for him in the mailbox. I gave it to him and he tore into it. Out pops this cute little Tooth Fairy Pillow with a special pocket to put his lost tooth in. (He's so proud to be big enough to have lost his first tooth!)

Also inside was a letter from the Tooth Fairy herself. It had sparkles (fairy dust) on it. As I read it to him he giggled and said whoa over and over. His sister sees it and of course runs in the other room to get her prized letter from the Tooth Fairy & Tooth Pillow that she received back when she first started losing teeth.

These can be special ordered with your child's name & everything. Just go to http://www.sharpcreations.com/ to see the whole line of products. We have personalized pillowcases for each of them as well as the tooth pillows and my kids love them.

Great gift idea for all ages! Easy to order from the website. Fast shipping. Good prices. Excellent customer service. I highly recommend this company!

Sunday's sermon really got me thinkin

There are two kinds of battles we fight in this world. The first kind (the kind I like) are the ones where God calls us to be silent, stand firm, and let him do the fighting for us. This is our Salvation. He has given me everything. All I had to do was take it. He has done it all. All I had to do was say Yes!

This is the battle the Israelites were fighting when God parted the Red Sea and beat the Philistines. Moses only had to have Faith! I love when Faith is all that is required don't you?

Then further along in Exodus you find another kind of battle for Moses. The Amalekites attacked. Now this fight required more than Faith, it also required action. Moses said that he would stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands. As the battle ensued Moses held up his hands as he said he would. When they were raised, the Israelites were winning. When he grew weary and lowered them, they were losing. Now, my favorite part of this story is that Moses wasn't alone. He had two friends with him who brought him a stone to sit on and when he could hold up his arms no longer, they each took one and held them up for him.

"Aaron and Hur held his hands up-one on one side, one on the other- so that his hands remained steady til sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword." Exodus 17:12-13

When we are focused on God and have our hands raised to the sky, we are winning our battles aren't we? But when we grow weary and lose focus we start to lose. If you're like me, you're wondering now 'where are the Aaron & Hur's in my life?' Who comes and holds up your hands for you when you can no longer do it alone? Who strengthens and supports you and prays for you and with you? Who speaks truth to you and stays with you until the battle is won?

Well, first of all, someone can't be that for you unless you let them. If you don't share your struggles with them how will they even know you need them?

Secondly, are you being an Aaron in someone else's life? You're not always the Moses ya know. In some stories you're the supporting cast not the leading role.

The night before Jesus was arrested He called on His disciples to stand watch & pray. He wanted them to help Him hold His hands up. What did the disciples do? Do you know? They fell asleep! There are times we might find that we are alone as well. Perhaps the people in our lives are "asleep." We can do as Jesus did and overcome by the Grace of God. He prayed, he spoke scripture, He praised God, He did not engage in temptation but kept His focus solely on Heaven.. and He cried out to God.

"And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." Luke 22:44

We can persevere even if we don't have an Aaron or Hur handy at the moment. It requires more passion and focus and prayer, for sure. But it can be done. How blessed are we though, to have a friend by our side to fight our spiritual battles with us and us for them.

"By yourself you're unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped." Ecclesiastes 4:12 MSG
Good when He gives, supremely good; Nor less when He denies: Afflictions, from His sovereign hand, Are blessings in disguise.

Monday, August 3, 2009

White Water Rafting

While we were on vacation with my family in Colorado, my dear husband & brother-in-law decide that we HAVE to go on a float trip through the Royal Gorge. My sister and I have never done any rafting before so we nervously agree. When we get there, the guide is telling us it is a 15 mile, 13,000 ft drop with Class 1-4 rapids. He calls it a half-day Intermediate course. Intermediate? I believe we're beginners. As panic sets in my sister picks up her Bible and finds a verse for us to meditate on before we go.

"I call upon the Lord and He answers me, He will calm all my fears." Psalms 34:4

So I start saying this over and over as I struggle into a wetsuit (which is, in itself a ridiculous task.) We board the bus and adorn ourselves in life jackets, booties, and helmets. The guide then tells us we shouldn't need our helmets just yet, the bus ride should be pretty safe, lol. He explains what to do should we run into trouble. As he goes into the procedures for self-rescue, falling out of the boat, flipping the boat, hitting rocks, and saving others I start hyperventilating.
We load the raft & I discover there are no seats. You simply perch yourself on the side and dig your feet into the cracks. Our first rapid was a Class 2. It was fun and we figured out the rowing in unison pretty good I thought. My sister starts squealing the reminder of "THAT WAS A CLASS 2? WHAT WILL A CLASS 4 BE LIKE??!?!" I lean forward and tell my DH that I'm now really really mad at him for making me do this!

Our first Class 4 we dug in and rowed with all our might. I will admit it was exhilarating. I'll never forget how the drop felt. It was the first time when my paddle caught only air which was a terrifying experience to say the least. We got through it fine, but the raft behind us did not. They sunk down in a hole causing a girl to fall over backwards onto a rock and remain stranded there. A guy was thrown into the water as the raft went on without him. "FORWARD" our guide yelled. We got to him at the end of the rapid and my hubby leaned out, grabbed a hold of him and pulled him into our boat. We watched as the girl was thrown a rope and told to jump in and swim! After a time of her protesting this idea and shaking her head violently they finally convinced her to do it. She jumped and the guides pulled her quickly to the side of the river and got her out.
The rest of the trip down the river wasn't as eventful. We continued with me praying and quoting scripture in my head while we took on rapid after rapid. The Class 2's were now going completely unnoticed. The feeling of the raft leaving my body in the drops, hitting rocks with my paddle now along with getting only air, and my fingers aching from gripping the paddle so hard were all merely sensations as I felt a complete out-of-body experience. The view of the Royal Gorge from the river was breathtaking and I was actually enjoying myself. Then the rain hit. I say rain but what I really mean is hail. It was full of lightning and thunder too which was pretty intimidating from down in the canyons. The last two miles of the trip we rowed trying to stay warm and use our helmets & life jackets to protect ourselves from the hail. By the time we reached the end and went to load the bus I was freezing cold and struggling to breathe. I have to say though that I don't know when I've ever felt more ALIVE. And to be completely honest.. I'll probably go again.

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