There are far, far better things ahead

One of my all time favorite authors is C.S. Lewis.  When I was a teen I couldn’t get enough of his books.  Now that I am older and have children of my own, I am excited to introduce them to the worlds that C.S. Lewis created.  It always amazes me how a book can transform you and even when you pick it up again, years later, you still get those same feelings like you are reading it for the first time.

At the end of this school year I felt that it was time for me to make a change.  Having finished my fifth year of teaching Kindergarten, I had an urge to branch out and try something new.  I approached our school leader and shared my thoughts.  He was very excited and offered me some helpful suggestions in making my decision on what grade to choose.  In my mind, I was focused on 1st or 2nd grade, but couldn’t decide which one.  He made the point that 1st grade wasn’t really that much of a difference from Kindergarten and maybe wouldn’t feel like the change I was looking for.  After weighing all the pros and cons, which is something that I end up doing for almost every decision I make, I decided that 2nd grade would probably be my best choice.

So in my mind I am all set.  I know what I want and now it’s just a matter of my mind starting to plan for next year.  What kinds of things would I need that I didn’t already have?  Would I get some of my past students?  Then a week or so later I am waiting to use the bathroom in my small window of time during my student’s lunch and I see my school leader in the hallway.  He stops and asks if I’m busy during planning today, “Not at all,” I say, since you know nothing ever really gets done during planning time anyway.  He asks if I can meet with him briefly about something, to which I reply, “Sure!”  This is what ensues in my mind the moment he walks away:

Why does he want to meet with me?

He didn’t look mad, did he?

Great!  Now I’m going to stress about this until planning.

Well, the time came and as I went to meet with him the questions still ran through my mind.  Once I sat down in the office and he asked the question I had no idea that that was what it was going to be.  The question was, “Well, since you’re already thinking about going to 2nd, what do you think about 3rd?”

Mouth hanging open, close it, quick.  Isn’t that kind of an important grade?  No way!  I am not teaching 3rd grade.  He must be crazy.  So after I regained my composure he explained that he thought I would do really well in 3rd and that they needed to have a strong team.  Ok, so that made me feel good.  I told him that I would really think about it and get back to him.  Even as I left the office my mind was saying, “I am not teaching 3rd grade!”

Then, after having some time to process, I emailed and asked if I could do some classroom observations in both grades.  I thought maybe that would show that I was seriously thinking about my choice, when really my mind was still set on 2nd.  So I spent a day in and out of classrooms observing some awesome teachers interact with their students.  When the day was done I could not believe where my heart was pushing me.

There is a quote from C.S. Lewis that says, “There are far, far better things ahead then any we leave behind.”  While I felt that my mind had been made up, actually seeing the things that I could accomplish with 3rd graders sparked something in me.  It made me feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the challenge.  God had something bigger and better planned for me all along and you would think I would know better by now then to just try and figure it out on my own.  Duh!

So now, here I am, ready to be a 3rd grade teacher this coming school year.  I am excited, scared, thrilled, terrified and any other emotions that go along with those.  This starts a new chapter for me and I am looking forward to the far, far better things ahead.

Here we go, AGAIN!

peace

I am not sure how this happens, every time, but I somehow concoct these grandiose ideas of what my summer will be like.  The lists come out and I promise myself that it will all get done, one way or another.  Then reality sets in and lazy summer days take over.  The lists become suggestions of ways that I can spend my time and I start to make excuses of reasons why I don’t need to do those things.

  1. It’s SUMMER!
  2. The kids need a break (translation-I need a break!)
  3. There’s still plenty of time

I came across this verse today Psalm 34:14 “Turn away from evil and do good.  Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”  Or the condensed version, “Seek peace and pursue it.”  The word peace can mean different things for different people.  For myself, it can mean that I have a quiet moment sometime in my day to think and just be.  For others it might mean something else, like financial stability, a long vacation or even just taking a shower.  Finding this verse has helped me to rethink the lists and the pressure of getting things done.  I now want to seek “my” peace and run after it, with God’s guidance.

I am the type of person who has to be busy all the time.  I need to have things to do in order to feel like I have accomplished something throughout my day.  Well, lately God has been showing me that I just need to slow down and rest in Him.  To be honest, it has been really hard for me.  Whenever I try to rest my mind starts to race with other things and I just can’t sit still.  While I am getting better at it, I still have much more room for improvement.

So I will leave you with the challenge to find “your” peace and pursue it.  If it’s something that you’re not comfortable with then it’s probably right where you need to be.  Challenge yourself and know that you are not alone.

Thank you so much for reading my crazy random thoughts!

This is all I have to give

Well, it’s the 2nd week of the book study Am I Messing Up My Kids.  I have to say that I have been kind of a slacker this week because I only just finished reading the chapters this morning.  When I have an “assignment” to read something then I usually get it done in one sitting, but I just didn’t want to rush through it this week.

The verse for the week is Psalm 71:8 “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.”

Hmm, at first I wasn’t sure what to think about that one.  I was good with this verse until I came to the “all day long” part.  I struggle with keeping it all together throughout the entire day.  Mornings in our house, during the summer months, are lazy and calm.  Then by mid-afternoon, when my three year old refuses to nap and my nine year old has rolled her eyes at me one too many times I have just about had it.

Later on in this section another verse appeared that was such an encouragement to me.  Isaiah 2:3 says, “He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”  That took a huge load off of my shoulders.  You mean I don’t have to do it all on my own?  I easily forget that I’m not in this alone.  God is there to support me and lift me up when I need it most.  I just need to remember to go to him before I have reached my breaking point.

Lysa also discussed using some powerful words to get me throughout my day.  When I feel like the stress of it all is starting to get to me I just simply say, “Jesus fill me.”  She listed an array of examples and ended each sentence with, “Jesus fill me.”  How simple is that?  It is so simple that I think even I can remember it.

She also brought up the fact that we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts.  Many of us, including me, try to fill it with the wrong things.  Things that provide us a temporary satisfaction.  When we really should be turning to Him and saying, “Jesus fill me.”

I really liked this analogy too and I think it would be easy to teach to my children as well:

  • Use our souls to love God.
  • Use our bodies to serve God.
  • Use our mouths to praise God.

Another quote that hit home for me this week was “Your husband and children do not have to be your Savior.”  That is so true!  We spend so much time and energy in trying to be great moms.  We seek the approval and validation from our spouse or children to feel like we are appreciated and loved.  Then when we don’t get it we are devastated.  I know that I need to stop looking for the approval of my family and remember that I already have a Savior.

One of the chapters talked about treating yourself and creating a care package of things that you enjoy.  I feel guilty when I try to do something nice just for me.  The thoughts of doubt start to creep in and make me feel like I don’t deserve it or I should be doing something to help my family.  Lysa really helped to explain that it’s alright to have moments and things that are just for you.

If I were to create myself a care package here is what I would put in it:

  • Iced green tea from Panera
  • Reese’s peanut butter cups
  • Vibrant colored sharpies
  • A fresh notebook to write in
  • New running shoes

What would you put in your care package?  Make a list of things that you enjoy and write them down.  Just thinking about the things that I enjoy, just for me, makes me instantly feel better.

I will leave you with this verse that really spoke to me and lifted me up: I John 3:1-2 “How great is the love He has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known,  But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

Being a Mom is Tough!

As I go along on this journey of being a mom I find myself looking for help, support and peace at every corner.  So when I came across a book study titled, Am I Messing Up My Kids?, I couldn’t help but be curious.  Then when I saw who the author of the book I said, “Sign me up!”

kids

I downloaded the book right away on my kindle and read the first chapter right then.  I couldn’t wait for the study to begin and be able to join other moms, just like me, who are just looking for some answers to the same questions that we all ask ourselves.

  • Did I handle that situation the right way?
  • Am I portraying the traits that I want my kids to see each day?
  • Why can’t I have a little peace in my day? (at least when I’m in the bathroom)

The list could go on and on.  Week 1 for the book study was titled Being a Mom is Tough.  That is an understatement for sure.  I watched the intro video and immediately felt a sense of calmness.  Our assignment this week was to read the first 5 chapters of the book.  This only took me two separate afternoon nap times.  I wrote down some notes and verses that were uplifting and thought I would share them here.

The verse of the week is Psalm 23:3 he restores my soul.  Take a deep breath and really let that sink in.  The word restores is so powerful, isn’t it?  I mean there are days when my head hits the pillow and I think to myself, “How am I going to wake up and do this all over again tomorrow?”  To know that he restores me is such a comfort.

The ladies in the intro video gave some examples of imperfect mom moments and encouraged us to think of our own.

I have two children, Kara is 9 and Kallen is 3.  They are the type of children who act like perfect angels around others, especially strangers, but when  we are in the confines of our home they can be not so perfect.  I always say that I would rather it be the way it is then to have children who act out all the time or in public settings.  Well, I have had a moment or two or three where I have reached my boiling point and just lost it.  The kind of lost it where you can feel your blood pressure rising and you have a splint second thought that you should probably take a moment to calm down, but you don’t.

One day in the middle of one of these moments my daughter was arguing with me about something.  To tell you the truth I can’t even remember what it was about.  She had already rolled her eyes and stormed out of the room.  I should have let it go.  I should have given her time to herself, but I didn’t.  Instead I went after her and kept on about proving her wrong and she had reached her boiling point by then.  So here we are both screaming back and forth at each other.  Neither of us listening to the other.  As I left her room I yelled back, “Well, you can just stay in here then!” and slammed the door behind me.  Not my proudest mommy moment and reflecting back I feel ashamed of myself. #imperfectmoms

In reading the chapters this week I feel that there are some important points that Lysa makes:

“Let my time with the Lord overflow while withholding my to-do list.”  Uh-huh

“How can I continue to pour out if I’m not being filled back up?” Yep

The best quote for me, by far, is “You are exactly the mom God knew your children needed.”  Thank goodness.

I am looking forward to really being filled up over the course of this study and another that I am also doing at the same time.  It has been a long time coming and I am excited of the things to come!

blog

Blog? What Blog?

42 days into the school year and I can finally start to breath again. <sigh>

Amidst the constant assessing, parent involvement and general teacher “stuff” I was starting to lose sight of myself.

After being sick for two days and staying home to recoup I had some time to reflect on things that have been causing unwanted stress in my life.

Paperwork,

emails,

meetings,

and the list goes on.

The so-called lists that I am constantly making are really not what’s important.  It’s the little moments; the conversations in the car with my kids, smiling at something one of my 23 “other” kids does out of innocence, or just sitting and being.

The lists can wait.

It will all be there tomorrow, or the next day.

I need to truly live in the moment and take the time in those little moments to remember them.

As a teacher, we are always our worst critics and can constantly set ourselves up for failure because we are so stuck on the unimportant things.

I resolve to start, right here and now, to put the important things first and everything else can be in the background.

Summer’s Here! Awww and Ahhh

So as I sit here and think about the many things I could be doing now that summer vacation is here;

laundry,

dishes,

file papers for next school year,

read.

The one thing that keeps popping in my head is,

“Hey, I should start writing a blog.”

A blog?  Really?  Do people even do those anymore?

I feel like they are some long lost art form that has been pushed aside by Facebook, Twitter and whatever new social media is out there now.  That being said, I am writing my first post in my new blog titled, “This is my life.”  I am not writing this in hopes of starting some sort of following, but more as an outlet for myself and my sanity.  I used to write everyday, anything and everything, it didn’t matter what it was and I thought I should start doing that again.

As soon as I tell anyone that I am a teacher the first thing I hear is, “How is it having summer vacation every year?”

You have no idea.

I feel like I work even more over the summer than I do during the school year.  While there are no papers to grade or parents conferences I am preparing everything for the new school year.  Not only am I

filing papers,

laminating centers,

labeling books,

and setting up the classroom,

but I do this on top of entertaining a seven year old and two year old.

Don’t get me wrong, I love waking up later than usual and staying in my pajamas until unforeseen hours of the day.  I just worry that I am not making the most of this time that I have every year and yet never seem to finish everything that I set out to accomplish.

Halfway through this first week of summer I am excited that so far, the time has gone by slowly.

I have had time to reflect on the things that should be important and the things that are important.

Like this morning as I sat on the couch, yoga music playing in the background, book in hand and both children occupied; one napping and the other reading.  I could take that big deep breath and say, “This is my life.”  No matter what, good or bad, ups and downs.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything!