Friday, September 27, 2013

A Confident Princess

For the last 6 weeks I have been teaching PE.  I have really loved being able to be in the school and get to know all the kids and teachers better.  I have also loved being able to see my kids in their school environment.  I have learned things about all of them and their classmates as I've observed them in different situations.  Growing up I was very shy and had low self esteem and zero confidence.  That is something that I have tried to change with my kids.  I try to help them feel good about themselves so that they won't have to go through a lot of the things that I went through because of how I felt about myself.

Olivia is very much a social butterfly.  She loves to talk and keeps up on all the latest with everyone!  She is a total fashionista.  She loves clothes and shoes, make up and jewelry.  She loves to have her friends with her and gets upset when she feels like they are leaving her out.

Today in PE we had a free day since it was my last day.  The first graders got to play with jump ropes, hula hoops and scooters.  Olivia was one of the first in line to choose and she chose jump ropes.  As the rest of the class went through most of her friends chose the scooters.  I watched to see what she would do, thinking that she would change and go with her friends even though she wanted to jump rope.  I was so happy to see that she didn't switch!  She wanted to jump rope and she was ok doing it by herself while her friends were doing something else.  As a mom, it made me so thankful that she was confident enough in herself to play by herself instead of having to follow the crowd so she wouldn't be alone.  When she was done jump roping she played with the hula hoop.  Some of her friends joined her.  By the end of the class they were all on the scooters together having fun, but I was so glad that she went when she wanted to not when everyone else did.  I hope that as she gets older she will continue to have that self confidence and know that it's ok to not always have to do what every one else is doing.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

There Isn't A Card In That One!

Thursday after school there was a baby shower for the PE teacher that I have been doing the long term subbing for this year.  We were all so excited to get to see her cute little baby boy, watch her open fun presents and eat really good food.  When I walked into the office to put my gift on the table I noticed all the pretty packages, fluffy tissue paper and cards.  I looked at my gift and very carefully rearranged a few gifts and stuck mine in the back so it wasn't as noticeable.

I'm not sure what all happened Thursday morning.  It's all kind of a blur.  All I know is that all of a sudden it was 7:30 and time to go. It was pouring rain outside.  We opened the door and all ran as fast as we could to the van trying to keep everything dry as we piled in and shut the doors.

Well, some things survive rain better than others.  Tissue paper is one of those things that does NOT survive rain!  By the time I got the gift from the house to the car and then from the car to the school, well, let's just say - it had seen better days.  The tissue paper was all crushed instead of fluffy from being shoved in my bag in hopes to keep it dry as I ran to and from.  The bag did not keep it dry so it also got kind of wilted looking.  I tried to fluff it up but it didn't really work.  I didn't notice how sad it was until I sat it next to the other packages that seemed to have not come through the same rain storm I had!  Then I remembered I also had not put a card in there.  No big deal right?  Wrong, it would just bring more attention to the sad little bag.  They would need to know who brought this blue one with the crushed, wilted tissue paper.  How could they write down who it was from if there was no name?  If I had just remembered the card they could have quietly read who it was from and then moved on to the next bag. 

Mine ended up being one of the last ones opened.  As she reached for the little blue bag and began looking for the card to see who it was from I had to say, "There is no card in that one!"  I'm sure I turned bright red.  I always do when I am embarrassed.  I mean really, who forgets a card?  Who, besides first graders going to an after school birthday party, gives crushed presents?  Me. That's who. 

Total fail right?  Wrong again!  Sometimes we have days when our best is amazing, when we can get it all done and still look good at the end of the day.  We can have a clean house, an amazing supper cooked for the family, every one where they need to go when they need to be there, be able to shower and put on real clothes, do our hair and make up and have it last all day long and still have energy to play with the kids and help with home work.  We can bake bread for our neighbors and cookies for our kids and put love notes on each of their beds that we made for them before we left for the day.  Other days our best is a crushed present with wilted tissue paper and no card.  Are those days failures?  No. Certainly not.  Thursday I got six kids up and ready for school, packed a lunch for me and snacks for them. I made sure the boys had their football gear in Michael's truck and that everyone had their planners signed and backpacks ready to go.  We left at 7:30 that morning and did not return home until after 8:00 that night.  That day, my best was wilted tissue paper and no card.  It was! And you know what?  It was okay!  She threw the tissue paper away anyways!  The bag and the paper were not the gift.  It was what was inside that was the gift. 

It's the effort that counts, the thought that went into it, the intentions behind it.  Some days all of that will look like a beautifully wrapped gift or a pretty bag overflowing with colorful fluffy tissue paper and attached to a card with a lovely saying that brings a smile to everyone.  But some days it will look like my little blue bag and we will have to stand up and say, "There isn't a card in that one!"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quiet Tears in the Dark

Lunch time couldn't get here fast enough today.  After four classes of PE and six kids spending a few after class minutes with me, I grabbed my lunch, went into my office and sat in the dark.  I got out my salad only to realize I had not brought a fork.  Not trusting my emotions, I dared not go back into the lounge full of teachers to retrieve a fork, so I sat.  Life overwhelmed me and the tears began to flow.  There was no sobbing, just quiet tears.  I grabbed my phone and began to read some scriptures from my scripture app.  I have been studying faith so I returned to the Topical Guide and continued my studying.

In 1 Timothy 6:10-12 it says:
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee from these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."

Then more tears came - quiet, more intense tears.  The last few days have been kind of hard.  Michael was dealing with all sorts of drama at work.  Drama that had me scared for his well being and safety, and also the safety of me and my children.  Things have calmed down, but there is still a fear in the back of my mind that it has not completely gone away and Michael is not 100% safe yet.  That has caused added stress to the days.

Another stress (a constant stress) is just trying to go day to day and make ends meet.  Life is getting more expensive and some times the stress of getting ends met is impossible.  Medical bills, schooling needs, sports, gas, groceries, etc.  The normal day to day things that everyone faces in some way or the other.  There are days it just becomes so overwhelming.

Pile today's school day on top of that and wow!  I made a mistake that upset one of Makenna's classmates and I had to go apologize to her and explain what had happened so that she didn't think I had purposely tried to do anything.  Then I got to deal with some kids who chose not to listen or participate.  I try to be patient with the kids and realize that they are kids, but I also have to help them understand that they do have expectations to live up to and that there are consequences when they don't do that.  It's hard to find that balance sometimes.

So I sat, in the dark, reading through my tears.  Why did this particular scripture hit me?  Well, just the other night I was talking to Michael, asking him if he ever second guessed moving here.  Things have been tougher than we thought and some days it feels like it is too much.  I have already told about all that we went through when we decided to move here.  The harsh words and warnings spoken still ring loudly in my ears.  When stressful times like this arise, those words are louder and it is hard to hear other things through the ringing. 

As I read this scripture, the ringing stopped and I could feel the words being spoken to me.  Michael and I left a good paying job to come to a lower paying job.  We left so that Michael didn't have to spend his days in a place filled with all sorts of bad things.  We left because we wanted our kids to grow up in a place where they could have horses, play on haystacks and ride their bikes around town with out having to worry about anything but the occasional golf cart driving by.  We left so that our family could be together.  Our family was more important than the money and other things.  We knew that we needed to change things.  When this job was offered we knew that it was what we needed to do.  So we came. 

Life isn't supposed to be easy.  Just because we have challenges doesn't mean that we are doing the wrong thing.  All it means is that life is happening.  It is hard, very hard at times.  We do get bombarded with outside noises and voices telling us differently from what we know.  It's hard to block it out.  It's hard to stop and push those things out so that we can feel the peace that we need.  Today, that scripture helped me do that.  I was able, just for a minute, to push everything out of my mind and feel my Heavenly Father speak to me in my heart.  Through quiet tears in the dark, I was able to find what I needed to pull myself together and finish out the day.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dillon Turns 9!

Last Sunday, the 1st, we celebrated Dillon's 9th birthday!  He opened presents before church.

 

After church we made chocolate zucchini brownies for his birthday treat (his request) and beef stroganoff for his birthday dinner.


 
It was a quiet day.  We had some sickness in the house over the weekend but it was still a fun day.  We made a fire that evening and enjoyed the cool air and the warm fire.  We took treats to school during the week this week and then he invited a few friends to come over after school Friday for a party.
 
We are so thankful to have Dillon in our lives.  As I have said before on previous birthday posts, he is such a sweet, kind, caring boy.  He has such a soft spirit.  He is very easy going and everyone loves him.  He is quiet and observant.  He loves sports and playing with his friends.  He holds a very special place in his momma's heart and I love him so very much!