Monday, February 19, 2018

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Photo Caption: David Locke

Sometimes God has you in a tough place. You are reading your Bible and praying. You have talked to Christian friends. Still you have no solution. The situation hasn't gotten better. The people haven't come around. So now what?

I wish I had a good answer, a quick answer, but I don't. There isn't an easy way to fix some things, especially things involving people. Humans are flawed and broken creatures in a flawed and broken world. We all know that intellectually, but in the middle of this hard place, your heart doesn't care about this head knowledge.

I'm just here to tell you that you aren't alone. There are people who have been through hard things. They will listen. They will give hugs. They will pray with you. Keep praying. Keep reading. God is working and you are not in this hard place for no reason. You will come out of this stronger. And mostly you will come out of this.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Jesus, please hold them in your arms.

I have thought several times about what I want to write about today. There are a few posts I could put up here that would sound okay, but they wouldn't be from the heart. What has been weighing heavy on my heart this past week is some tragic news from my hometown.

A young girl ran away around the 4th of July about three and half years ago. Just after Christmas some remains were found and last week those remains were positively identified as that girl. I did not know this girl or her family, but I have followed the story and desperately wished for her to come home safe. My heart has broken many times for her mother, her family, and her friends. And now for it to 'end' this way is just so much more tragic. Then to think it hasn't really ended because they are still investigating what really happened.

I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts. I read cozy mysteries. I watch police procedural dramas. But now here is a situation near me and it is all so much more awful and heartbreaking. I know there are so many people with such strong feelings about this and they are completely entitled to those. But those feelings of outrage and heartbreak weigh heavily on me as well. I hope and pray the family isn't seeing that. I don't know if that is the right thing to feel, but I don't want them hurt any more. So I hope they don't have to have these feelings laid on them as well.

Ultimately, my heart is breaking for everyone involved and I don't see it getting better any time soon. The only thing I know to do is pray.

Jesus, please hold them in your arms.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Things Saving My Life Right Now

Every year about this time, Modern Mrs. Darcy, makes a list of things that are saving her life right now. I try to take time to think of that list for me as well. It is easy to focus on the things that are draining you, but the easy thing isn't always right.

So in the cold of February with no break in sight, these are things that are saving my life right.

1. Working with great people. I am so blessed to work with this group of people. We had a SUPER long day last night. It happens about the same time every year. So the administration gets us some kind of food since we will be there through dinner. Last night we had steak and baked potatoes. There are a few guys that did the cooking and the administration did the buying. It was so good to have a nice dinner together in the middle of a very long day.  Then when there were still a few parents around and I was going to help close up, they told me to go home because I have little ones. It was so good for a working mother's heart to have someone recognize that. 

2. Lily smiles and hugs. 3 year olds are hard to deal with. Having a red headed 3 year old girl seems so much harder. She is quick to cry and with the cry comes the screaming. If she doesn't get her way, she likes to kick and throw things. But she is also quick with a hug. And she throws her whole self into that hug. When I come home, she runs down the hall and yells, "Mommy." Then she throws herself at me in one of those big hugs. She tells me about the best thing that happened to her that day and runs off to keep playing. Those moments are wonderful.

3. A new water bottle. I recently got a new water bottle and I love it! I am drinking more water and feeling better. And since I'm walking more, more water is needed.

4. Books. I haven't had the time I would like to have to read. However when I do sit down to read, I escape into 1900s New York or Themyscira. Those escapes even for just 10 minutes means a lot.

I could probably think of more things, but these things are good. They are really good.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Too Much to Read!

Those that know me probably know I'm a book worm. In case you don't know, let me make my case.

Photo Credit: MotaWord

1. I chose my purse based on the biggest book it could fit inside.
2. I chose my house in part because it had nice book cases.
3. I go to the library once or twice a week.
4. I have 4 book apps on my phone.
5. I read over 100 books/audio books last year.
6. This is my kind of click bait. (#4, #6, #7, and #8 are my favorite.)

I'm sure there is more I could think of, but that should suffice.

As we approach the end of the first month of 2018, I have read 3 books and abandoned 1. One of my books from the library I even had to renew twice! I will probably finish one more tonight, but I added 10 to my To-Be-Read list. I'm not moving in a positive direction. It kinda bothers me. I see the books on my ebook shelf or my physical bookshelves and see how many books I want to read. It kinda depresses me that there are so many books to read and so little time to do it.

I guess what I'm saying is that I've been busy this month. Too busy to read is too busy. Fingers crossed that I have more time to read next month. In fact, I think I will finish this here and pick up my book for a few minutes.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Working together for the good

What a difference a week can make!!!

Photo Credit: Eva Cristescu

We had a massive snow storm right at the end of the first semester. And that really threw off everyone! So now all the school districts around here are trying to put together a new plan to get everything in and start the next semester. Whew it has been a whirlwind!

In the past week, my car has been in an accident due to the snow. I'm fine and so is the other party. It is getting fixed and the car is even still drivable. God was with me and protecting everyone. There were several tiny ways that God organized things to make the accident as easy to deal with as possible. I am in awe of his protection of me.

Also in this week, I have gotten an opportunity to change my schedule a bit and help out another school. It may not have been my first choice, but it will be good. It will be a shake up in my teaching which I need sometimes. It will force me to get some more exercise. It will help out in a few different ways. Again, I am in awe of the way God is looking out for me.

Neither one of these things might have been my number one choice, but God was with me and he is using it for my good. I didn't doubt that he was working things out for my good, but I guess I wasn't looking out for it either.

Whether it is lemons or lemonade, God can make it all work together for the good.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Listening to Their Stories

Photo Caption: Britt Reints

I deeply and genuinely believe that personal stories matter. Even if I don't agree with the way the person is living out their life, I still need to listen to their stories. Sometimes it is hard to listen, but it is important. Recently I picked up a book that seemed interesting, but as I got into it, I realized it was important to read it. It was science fiction, which I don't read often. So it was a bit of a challenge for me to get into it. Also there was A LOT going on in the plot of the book as well. That was also a challenge, but I'm glad I kept reading. In the end, it was a good book and I'm glad I read it. The story was good and the characters were great. It is always a pleasure to read good books, but there was more benefit than just that.

I was listening to a story of someone very different than me. If I'm honest, it made me a little uncomfortable. I don't like being uncomfortable. Who does right? But I dislike it for a reason that might be unexpected. I dislike it because I feel like I'm being a bad human. When I am hearing someone's story and it makes me uncomfortable, I feel like my attitude is saying to them that their story is somehow not good enough. And that is NEVER a message I want to send.

So I read the book and felt uncomfortable and dealt with it because hearing someone else's story is important. More important than my personal comfort.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

On Being a Parent

Some days being a parent is easy. The kids are behaving or you have an extra dose of patience and life is good. Some days being a parent is hard. The kids are fussy or you were out of patience before you brushed your teeth. And then there are other days.

There are days when being a parent feels impossible. The days when your kids ask questions that you don't know how to answer. The days you have to reevaluate what you believe about yourself or your kids. The days when you don't know the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do, but you know you have to do something.

I have had a few of those days recently. Ben has struggled with 3rd grade. He is always well behaved, so that isn't a problem. He has struggled taking tests and getting number grades. He has improved, but it has been a lot of hard work and a lot of reassuring him. As a teacher, I am fully aware of the faults in the systems and the way it fails students. I am totally aware of the narrow focus of many school requirements. So I totally see how number grades won't show the real ability of my kid and his teacher knows that too. However, I also know that I am not changing the entire system of schooling any time soon, so he needs to figure out how to work around his issues. Some days are good and we get through homework quickly. Other days take lots of extra time because there are tears. Some papers we get home have good grades and some papers are not good. We celebrate the good grades and talk about the bad ones, but that doesn't always go well. Living in this space this school year has been so hard. Teaching him how he learns and how to review his work is hard, but worth it. We are seeing some improvements. His grades are up and so is his confidence. There is still half a year to go and I am hoping and praying for good things.

And Lily.
Photo Caption: Me (so it's blurry.)
She has been talking about being a princess and needing to color her face. She is 3 years old and I have to talk to her about make-up and I didn't even get started on the term princess. She said she had to color her face to be a pretty princess. I told her she didn't need to color her face because she is pretty without it. However if she wants to color her face, she can. (Yes those are markers. She loves to color on herself with markers. We don't fight it. We just wash up later.) She disagreed with me, but she likes to disagree with people. So maybe she was actually listening. And then last night as we were reading a Disney Princess book, she said she was Princess Aurora. I just said okay and moved on, but my mind was all over the place. There are so many issues with the princesses, but what if the issues I see are my issues and not hers. If I talk to her about those issues, do I create issues that aren't there? Probably. So I'm not saying much for now. I'll just sit back and listen to what she says before I start saying what I think she needs to hear.