Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April Goals

Last month I posted about my goals for March.  While I would love to tell you I checked every single one off the list, I would be a liar.  But here's what setting goals did for me-I actually felt more motivated and challenged through the month.  I felt more purposeful and planned, too.  So although, I kinda blew it in March, I am going for it again in April, well what's left of it at least!

Recap of March Goals:

1. Teaching Licensure Program Enrollment- I am accepted, enrolled, and registered for classes this summer and fall.

2. Financial Aid- Everything is filled out and turned in.

3. Run 50 miles this month- This one is laughable!  I think I might have ran 15 miles...I will say I hurt my ankle wrestling with the kids, so it's been swollen and sore, so I really haven't pushed it too much.  But I do go to 3 workout classes at the Y each week.  So I have been doing that.

4. Have 2 new couples/families over for dinner- This one was not for the lack of trying, darn schedules!  But we were able to reconnect with old friends and have dinner with them.  We are still trying this month to have new people over or go out with new friends.

5. Meal Plan- We have done pretty well, I would say 75% success rate.  

6. Date my kids- I accomplished this one.  Each girl got special time with me, and we had lots of fun!

7. Catch up on my Bible reading plan- Yes, I finished!  It was a lot, and it was hard work, but I completed it and earned my little badge on the YouVersion app. 

Now onto some goals for April...

1. Eat clean (80/20) and workout 4-5 days a week- my 3 workout classes I take at the Y are great, although I take 2 in one day...so I need to up my game with the other days.

2. Read 2 books-
Up At Night by Pete Wilson- I am on the launch team for this book
The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids by Sally Yahnke Walker

3. Go one a date with my husband- we are really bad at this, and we are going to Florida for a week in May for our 10 year anniversary, but I would love to go on a date with him before that.

4. Print pictures off from Lucy's birthday- I am down right awful at printing pictures.  For Lucy's birthday we had a photo booth with Anna and Elsa, and I told the parents I would get them copies of the pictures I took, umm that was in December.  I need to do this!

I think that about does it for April.  I am taking 6 classes this summer for my teaching certificate/masters in education program.  So I am really trying to simplify life and enjoy it now, because come June 1st, whoa watch out.  


Friday, March 27, 2015

Parenting is Tough, but Worth It

It's Friday, Friday, Friday...let that song run through your head.  I know, now it's stuck.

Today is the last school day before spring break, all teachers, staff, and parents say AMEN.  Even if you don't have big plans for break I think we all can agree the break from routine and signing assignment books is a welcomed one.  Our weather has been awful.  We get rain, clouds, snow, more rain, more snow, more clouds...so spring break feels like it has taken forever to finally arrive.  And our forecast for break is a cold one, but at least we can stay indoors and have a movie marathon or something.

Have you been following the Today Show and all their parenting blogs, on air spots, and what nots?  I admittedly have not read most of the articles, okay, okay, I only read Jen Hatmaker's posts for the website.  It's really got me thinking.  Parenting is so hard, and so tiring, and so fill in the blank.  And yet parenting is worth it, and so rewarding, and fulfilling.  Last night we were out with friends eating dinner and we brought the girls, and I am not going to lie, there were numerous times throughout dinner I thought to myself; "why didn't we get a sitter?!"  I know I am not alone.  And even though it was painful for me to watch them with their less than stellar manners, I am sure our friends were clueless that our kids were breaking every rule and warning I gave them in the car and on the way into the restaurant.

Parenting is sacred work.  It really is.  My faith has had to grow along with my parenting.  There are some days I literally pray to God, please shut their mouths, please wash a sense of drowsiness over them, dear Lord, I can not be the nice mom anymore!  Then there are times when they don't realize I am watching them and I thank God for their kind hearts, their ability to include others and share.  A huge sense of gratitude floods my heart, then one of my kids will look over and say; "Are you crying?  Why are you crying?"

Sometimes when I go to bed exhausted at night because Molly has had another round of anxiety overcome her, or Lucy has decided she is going to exert her strong will until she is blue in the face, I wonder what my kids will remember.  Will they remember the times we scrapped plans and went and did something fun, or will they remember me for constantly nit-picking their messes, or loosing my cool every Sunday morning before church.  Will they know I would walk all over the world for them, or lay down my life for them.

 Source 

I pray my kids look back some day and think wow, we were loved really well.  Eric and I try our best, we fail a lot, a lot.  We are learning every single day what a parent is, how a parent acts, and what parents do.  I wish I had some magical book or potion to make life all better, to take away the hurts I unintentionally cause my kids, or my husband.  But I don't.

What I do have is each new day to show love to my kids and husband, and to let them know through my words and actions how much they mean to me.  How truly grateful I am for them.

I often have to remind myself that God gave me Molly and Lucy for a reason, I was made to be their mom, I am the one for the job.  It's through that great faith in me, I place great faith in God to help me raise these girls.

I used to be the perfect parent, before I had kids, I knew exactly what I would do in every situation that arose, and how my kids were not going to act like those kids, and my kids would do this and not that.  Wasn't I cute at one time?  Oh my...now I have the loud kids, the tough and rumble kids, the not always polite kids, those kids.  But those kids I have also love with an intensity like no other, and are loyal, kind, and have good hearts.  And those are the best kids to have.  


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kindness

Today as I was getting ready to head to the middle school I am subbing at I thought "you can't teach kindness, it comes from the heart."  

I have been really challenged the last couple of weeks with being kind.  More specifically what does kindness look like, when is it being nice vs being kind?  Working with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders everyday I see what kindness does not look like, and rarely see what it does look like.

The funny thing about kindness is it truly does not matter your background, your income, your living standards, your education, your {fill in the blank}.  Kindness transcends all of that.  But it can't be taught, it's felt with the heart.


I am sure you are wondering how you can't teach kindness?  And I thought that too, but day in and day out I see examples of kids not being kind to others and I am sure their parents thought somewhere along the line they taught them how to be kind.

Kindness is a choice.

You have to choose to be kind.  Kindness happens when there's nothing in it for you.  You show kindness no matter what the outcome is.  Niceness is often mistaken for kindness.  Being nice comes naturally, being kind is hard work.  Niceness is politeness, and kindness is loving, and sympathetic.


There are a lot of kids who are kind, you just don't hear it or see it, because they aren't concerned with how the outcome of a situation will effect them.  They show kindness because there's something inside of them that guides them into action.  And that's a gift.

We have plenty of nice kids out there, which the world needs niceness.  But we have fewer kind kids wandering around because what does kind get you- not a lot in the sense of the world and popularity.  But what kindness leaves you with is an all-fulfilling desire to always be kinder.  

 


Monday, March 16, 2015

Talking With Roger

On Saturday night Eric and I spoke to 12 couples about love and marriage.  It was originally scheduled for Valentine's Day, but due to bad weather it was postponed to Saturday night.  The place we had the banquet at was in this back room of what appeared to be a run down Dairy Queen.  We were surrounded by white lattice, fake plants, decorations from every holiday you could imagine.  It felt like we stepped back in time, way back in time.

The majority of the couples there were well into their 70's.  They all had been married for 40 plus years.  Eric and I sat at the head table along with the pastor of their church and his wife.  I sat on the end and across from this gentleman named, Roger.

Roger began the night by asking me lots of questions, the getting to know you type, and then Roger filled me in on his life.  He was married for a couple of years and his wife unexpectedly passed away leaving him with a 3 month old baby.  He had a nanny for the baby but knew he needed and desired another wife.  He had the church pray for him and then he told me "I had to tell them to stop praying because I had 21 girlfriends."  I about died.  Roger worked at the same place for 45 years.  He loved working there, I could tell by the tears in his eyes when he recalled countless stories that happened over those 45 years.  The kind people at that place still treat him very nicely and I am sure they are thankful for his dedication to their business.

Roger also told me about his health issues, past and current.  He has a 16 year old girls heart in his chest.  This story was difficult for Roger to tell me.  You can tell he wrestles with the guilt of that 16 year olds heart pumping in his 78 year old chest.  But with each pump he is doing his best to live life to the fullest and make that girl proud.

Dialysis happens 4 times a week.  Roger now has Wednesday's off, and he told me how much that frees up his schedule to go out and meet with people.  Roger loves to talk, there is no doubt about that, but he mostly loves to share Jesus with all the people he talks to.  He used to go to truck stops and drink coffee with truckers and travelers and witness to them.  Roger would plaster tracks and Christian literature all over truck stops and road side rests.  That was his ministry, that was his calling, and although life and health has slowed his down, he still considers it his calling.

Roger loves to garden- vegetables, fruit, and flowers.  He takes flowers with him to the hospital when we receives his dialysis treatments.  He hands out flowers to chemo patients, nurses, and other family members sitting in the waiting room.

And don't get him started on collecting antiques, because he will talk your ear off.

Despite everything Roger has been through he would always end his sentences or stories with "God is so good."  "I am amazed God used somebody like me."  "God is faithful."  "I don't know why this was/is my path in life, but I am so glad God is walking it with me."

Roger likened himself to Job during the night, telling of his wife passing away, his cattle all keeling over in the pasture, and just plain wanting to give up.  But through God, with God, and always because of God, Roger made it through.  And he is still making it through.

I feel like Roger could have been my grandfather, we just clicked and bonded over our cubed steak and mashed potatoes.  I enjoyed talking to him so much, and hopefully I can go visit him on his farm.  He was a true definition of a faithfilled person, and I learned so much about joy and hope from him on Saturday night.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Enjoying the Ride


Today I wrote in my journal that I needed to "just keep calm and enjoy the ride."  What ride you ask...well life, but more specifically this ride that has me going back to school.  In the words of my wise father "what, 2 degrees aren't enough?"  I guess not.

I am embarking on going back to school to become an elementary teacher.  I have always wanted to be a teacher, like always.  From playing school, to decorating fake bulletin boards, to geeking out over school supplies every year, to now.  The desire to teach and be with kids has never left me.  So why didn't I just go to school to be a teacher when I graduated high school- great question.   At the time counseling seemed more appealing?  I honestly do not know this answer.  I do not regret counseling at all, I met awesome people through the program in college, and all my counseling experience over the last 6 plus years leaves me smiling, shaking my head at times, but truly smiling.

I have lots of fears going back to school.  Like a lot.  What will happen to our family time, am I too old (I know 31 isn't that old), how much work will it be, financially (oh my word this causes me anxiety), and what if I mess up, what if it's harder than I thought.  The list goes on and on.

But I am also excited to go back to school.  New opportunities, new chances to learn, new people to meet, new experiences, and ultimately I want my girls to know you are never too old to achieve a dream.  I can go on and still have a good 30 years of teaching once I am finished with school.

Often times in life I just want to hurry it up.  I want to get from point A to point B and not stop to smell the flowers along the way.  If Jesus' only reason to come to earth to die for us was truly the only reason for his existence why would he spend 33 years meeting and discipling people.  Wouldn't he just want to get it over with?  People say all the time it's not about the destination, it's about the journey.  And for this organized Type A personality the journey is often the hardest.  While journeying you are committing yourself to possibly heartbreaks, disappointments, frustrations, feeling lonely, wanting to quit.  Whereas if you just hurry it up and get there already you miss out on healing, joy, peace, excitement, and new experiences.

Trust me, I usually just want to get there already, but right now I am forcing myself to enjoy the ride.  I have to force myself to slow down, and trust that God has me on the path that he wants me to be on.  I have to fully rely on him because if not I would control every single bend and fold in the path. Right now my hands are tied on moving any further in the program.  We are waiting on one last piece of paper to arrive and nothing can happen until that gets in the hands of the right people.  And trust me, it is killing me to wait!  But I am also learning in His time, not mine, and it's hard.

The journey can be long and draining, yet so rewarding and fruitful.
    
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March Goals

As much I wanted to start writing again I feel lost.  I start and think that's way too boring, or nope, not really going anywhere.  So as I reading some of my favorite bloggers and their recent posts I came across of my favorite blogging friends, Erin @ Home With The Boys and saw she was talking about goals.  And since I have pretty much blown all of my goals I set in January, I figured I would click over and read what she wrote about her March goals.

Goal setting is huge in being successful.  Whether you want to lose 5 pounds, learn a new skill, become more organized, you need a plan.  And most importantly you need to tell other people your plan.  When I decided I wanted to train for a half marathon I told everyone I knew.  Trust me, I got lots of looks and lots of smiles that deep down inside made me think I couldn't do it.  I printed off my training guide, hung it on my fridge and went day by day.  Anyone that came over could see my plan and see my goal was to run a half marathon.

I am not hugely successful in setting goals and keeping them.  I have the best of intentions, but follow through has always been hard for me.  I am good at making to-do lists, and keeping my calendar up to date with our schedules and appointments.  But big things like goals and breaking my routine, it's hard.


So I figured if I can make my to-do lists and stick with those, then making smaller goals, or more achievable goals might be easier.  I am so glad I had a free moment to read Erin's post about setting small goals that you can achieve each month.  But more importantly than setting the goal is giving yourself grace if you do not reach or meet that goal.  Life is busy, you are not always going to hit a home run, but at least you always step up to the plate and swing.

March Goals

1. Teaching Licensure Program Enrollment- I am half way there!  I just need one more transcript to show up, and then I can sign up for classes on March 16.

2. Financial Aid- Meet with a financial aid counselor...apply for grants, scholarships, befriend rich people :)

3. Run 50 miles this month- that doesn't seem like a lot, but for me right now in my season of life, it is.  Subbing 3 days a week, and being a mom/pastor's wife...time eludes me and when I do have time I am trying to not fall asleep.  I have been taking classes at the Y that I love, but I need to get some pavement pounding cardio back in my life.  I need it, and I miss it.

4. Have 2 new couples/families over for dinner- Eric and I all the time tell people we meet, "Hey we should have you over!"  Then we never do.  We want to, we really do, but it's hard when it's not already built in your calendar.

5. Meal Plan- I have actually been doing decent at this, but I want to keep it up.  It makes the week go so much smoother when we don't waste time standing in front of the fridge asking what's for dinner.

6. Date my kids- I usually take Molly and Lucy with me everywhere.  But we are running errands, or going to the Y, or going to something for them.  I want to actually take them out one on one and do something special with them.  Lucy has the benefit of being with me more since Molly is in school, but she would love to do something special away from the house.

7. Catch up on my Bible reading plan- I was dumb and picked a big plan to participate in during Lent, and man oh man, I am so behind!  So I want to catch up and finish the plan.

Well, I think 7 is enough right now since I am not super used to sticking with anything!  I look forward to reporting back in April to let you all know how I did.  And feel free to join in and let me know if you made any March goals!




 I’m linking up with Hayley at The Tiny Twig for her monthly Goals with Grace post! Check it out to be inspired and share your own goals! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Just So I Can Remember...

Every year my mom prints off my blog from the previous year for one of my birthday presents.  And the book I received this year was tiny, like itty bitty.  Granted last year was the year with the absolute most change in our lives, so we were busy.  But I was a little saddened that I didn't celebrate some of those changes more.

I remember my math teacher telling me once "If you don't use it, you'll lose it."  Well, referring to most math, I have lost it :)  But I think the same is true for anything in life.  For me, I haven't been using my voice on this platform, and it was easy for me to lose it.  I love looking back at those books from previous years to see what my kids did or said, or special memories we made.  I love writing and sharing our story with anyone who will listen or read it.  I get so worried about content that I end up shelving all my post ideas.

I now have lost almost 2 months of this year so far, but I am reclaiming 2015 as my year of blogging memories, funny stories, what I am learning, and anything that I darn well please.  So excuse me if some of my posts in the next couple weeks are from 2014, I want to be able to look back and remember some of the fun things we did, and also be able to answer my kids questions about trips and holidays.

Right now I want to just write about my family.  My family is my heart and I love them so much.

Eric- Eric is busy with leading our church, Movement.  He has a pretty stressful job but he is so good at it.  I am excited that our girls have a pastor as their dad, or maybe I should say a dad as a pastor. Either way, our kids are learning so much from him.  How he handles people, situations, adversity, and life.  Eric pretty much never misses an event or activity that they have, and if he does he sits down to explain to them why he might be missing it, and why it's important he meets with this person or attends this meeting.  He spent the last 8 weeks as dance dad.  Molly and Lucy had activities at the same time, so he took Lucy every Thursday to dance.  In about a month he will take on his role as Molly's soccer coach for the 5th season.  Molly loves that Eric wants to be her coach, and working with 7/8 year old girls helps grow his patience his level, ha!  Watching Eric go from a groups pastor to the lead pastor has been challenging and like a roller coaster.  We have learned a lot, tried a lot, failed a lot, and grown a lot.  But I truly wouldn't want to do it with anyone else.

Molly- Molly is the most sensitive, empathetic little kid I have ever met.  As much as I appreciate her sensitivity (it all comes from me) I am also trying to find the balance of empowering her with some more confidence.  Since Molly does struggle with high anxiety, not having a lot of self confidence makes for some long days.  Molly has excelled in school so much this year.  She has always done well in school, and she loves school, but for some reason 2nd grade is where she has just taken off.  Molly is reading at a very high level, so our school district has paired her in some high achievement groups which she loves.  I lead a group that Molly gets to participate in with some of her classmates, and it's so much fun.  We are learning all about critical thinking and how to not jump to conclusions.  It's been a good lesson for me to re-learn each week, too!  Molly is currently participating in Upwards cheerleading, and playing indoor soccer.  Cheerleading is new for her, and she loves it.  She's not the most coordinated kid, but she tries 110% every single time.  What I love most about Molly is that she tries hard at everything she does.  She is intense in everything- she loves her friends fiercely, she watches out for Lucy all the time, she works super hard in speech and school.  We still have lots of ups and downs with Molly as far confidence and anxiety goes, but she's really an awesome kid.

Lucy- What to say about Lucy?!  She is hilarious, her jokes, facial expressions, and little things she does, she is always cracking us up.  Lucy was the perfect edition to our family.  Lucy loves breaking the ice with someone or breaking the silence in the room by saying something way too mature for a 4 year old, or saying something that involves bathroom talk!  One thing she loves to say is "that was awkward."  And she usually uses it in the right context too!  Lucy picks up on things super quick, she only has to hear it once and she keeps it locked in her brain.  So we have to be super careful with TV shows/commercials, and music!  Not that we watch or listen to anything bad, but her brain is a sponge.  Lucy has been attending a preschool 3 mornings a week this school year, and it has been a great introduction to school for her.  Next school year she is going to a preschool/4K program that our school district offers.  It will be 5 mornings a week, and it will prepare her for kindergarten the following year.  I am super excited about the change in schools for her.  I think the school preschool will fit her a little bit better, and the real Lucy can shine each day at school.  Lucy is starting tennis this week and secretly, okay not so secretly I am excited to see her in a little tennis skirt!  She has never played tennis before, but we needed a break from gymnastics and dance.  Then in a month she will play indoor soccer.  Which will also be fun to watch.  We think she will enjoy sports, but we don't really know.

Then there is me...
I am currently long term subbing for a guidance counselor on maternity leave.  I work at one of our middle schools 3 days a week, and then I still work for our church on Tuesday's.  Then every other Thursday I volunteer at Molly's school.  It's been a big transition for me to go from possibly subbing 1 or 2 days a week to permanently being somewhere 3 days a week, all day long.  Eric is a rockstar and has added so much to his plate while I sub long term.  I am not sure if I will be here another month or until the end of the school year.  It's still up in the air a little bit.  I always thought I would love to be a school counselor, and I loved the year I spent interning with an elementary school counselor, but honestly this subbing position has solidified my dreams of being a teacher.  When I entered college I debated between counseling and teaching.  I have always wanted to be a teacher, but for some reason God took me down the counseling path.  I am grateful for all the experiences that I have had in counseling, and grateful for this experience right now at the middle school, but my heart really feels pulled towards teaching.  So much so I am looking at going back to school to get my license to teach.  I actually have an appointment next week with our local university to see what I need to do to make my dreams come true.  Teaching for me is a calling, just like ministry is for Eric (and me).  I know education across the board is going through lots of ups and downs, and people are getting out of teaching.  And right now I have my rose colored glasses on, but none of that discourages me, at least not right now.  I have LOVED subbing this year.  I love the kids, and the bad days and good days, and fun that each class has when doing an activity.  I look back and see who was the most influential in my life, and most people were teachers.  I feel like I am doing what I am called to do every single time I step foot into a school.  And maybe some of those feelings will go away over time, but right now I am at a point where I need to pursue this.  I am tired of saying what-if and I am ready to say okay, let's do this.

And for good measure I will throw Movement in...she's like part of our family, too...
Movement is going well.  We are 4 months in and still rocking it each week.  This winter has been brutal on our attendance, just like every other church in America.  What's hard for us is that we are reaching people who are not used to coming to church each week, so when it's below zero outside, why would they make church a priority?  Sickness has also hurt us this winter.  I have missed church more in the last 4 months than I have in the last 10 years, it's crazy!  Everything of course hits Saturday night or Sunday morning.  I am so so so thankful we have family here to help out, and who don't mind hanging with a puking kid, or a kid with pink eye.  I seriously could not imagine planting Movement without help from family.  Our volunteers show up each week and work hard.  I am still overseeing the kids ministry which is going well.  I feel like the kids love coming and are learning.  My kids volunteers are awesome, so I am super happy with that!  We are always looking for ways to connect in the community, and let people know we are here for the long haul.  We are very much looking forward to spring and summer to get back out in the community and be visible again.  Winter is hard, but it's almost over!

That's us in a nutshell right now.  Every day is a new day to make a difference and impact some one's life.  I pray we never miss an opportunity to extend kindness or make someone feel important.