Comfort

August 29, 2013

“Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:21-23 NIV

Just because you haven’t seen something doesn’t mean it’s not there.- Epic

I was struggling with this post and the nester saved me with her dream post.

I wanted to post something insightful (ha) Monday for the first day of school and maybe the reason I couldn’t was because I didn’t really get to see all of my kids until Tuesday.

When I proposed this idea of comparing comfort and progress in my classroom to the yellow house to Russ, he told me I was stretching it. But, I am convinced watching our house progress this summer directly correlates to the progress we as teachers, parents, welders, jewelers, doctors, all see!

It’s frustrating….knowing we have a dream but we just can’t quite see the light at the end of the tunnel.

God’s faithfulness still prevails.

It’s frustrating….when we want it immediately and God makes us wait.

God’s faithfulness still prevails.

It’s frustrating….when road blocks are placed directly in our paths and we can’t quite figure out how to get past them.

God’s faithfulness still prevails.

But as we read, Oh the Places You’ll Go! and as we discussed being productive citizens, it was clear we will indeed struggle to get up the mountains. But we will struggle together as we get stronger, better, and smarter.

Watching my kids sit on the couch in my classroom just today gave me butterflies because I really have this dream. This crazy dream of a simplified lifestyle. This crazy dream of creating true comfort all around me.

I don’t mean comfort as in security of finances, etc. I mean comfort in the surroundings. Comfort in the peace of God that transcends ALL understanding.

My dream of the yellow house was to be full of people, to entertain, to host guests, and for a place for my children to grow and want to return to.

My dream for my classroom is the same….to create a place of comfort—full of people, to host students, and a place for them to want to come to.

As we start a new year, it’s tough and frustrating to spend so much time on expectations and seemingly meaningless activities but these small things shape our students and impact their lives. We are teaching them to be productive citizens. We are teaching them to be independent. A close friend mentioned how as a society we worry so much about making kids happy instead of making them independent. Wow. That really hit home. We need to teach them both effectively. How to be happy in the smallest blessings because they are independent.

These moments and weeks of expectations are not meaningless for they hold so much meaning I question why I haven’t spent more time on these previously.

As we work and work on the yellow house, it is so overwhelming, much like the start of a school year. It seems there are so many little things to do that there is no end in sight.

Just because we can’t see the progress among the dust, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Just because we can’t see their grades, doesn’t mean the ability is not there.

Just because we can’t see what the year holds, doesn’t mean the willingness isn’t there.

Just because we can’t see what the future holds for us, doesn’t mean hope is not there.

Just like our house, the progress is slow but the end result is so worth it.

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Free Idea for Saturday!

August 24, 2013

Today, Shutterfly has a code PICKONE for a free magnet or return address labels (if you’re not a member, it’s free to join!). I need some new labels since we are about to move but I didn’t find anything that really spoke to me (I know, I know, they are just labels…however, I have to justify every dollar spent right now!).

Instead, I thought about how every time we go to a birthday party, I forget a card! My mom used to have these cute, little cards that she tied to my presents, so I decided to make some for Kuy and Cray that we could stick to the bag or present.

Here’s how I made it work:

When you go to Shutterfly, click on the Special Offers tab and find the return address label/magnet offer.

Once you decide which label to choose, type in however you want it to read. You may have to play with it to get it how you want it to look but one trick I learned was if you put “love” where the state should go on the label, you don’t need to put a comma. One is already there for you!

When it opens, if the Edit button is highlighted, as seen below, you will still see an empty text box…

Label 2

However, when you hit preview, it will disappear (if you choose to leave it empty!).

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Hope this little freebie helps! 24 birthday labels for $2.99 (you must pay shipping….)!

Have a sensational Saturday!

P.S. I am in no way paid for this promotion. Just a random idea I had this morning when I got Shutterfly’s e-mail.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

August 15, 2013

sunset

Today I learned why I am at Belton Elementary in this moment.

There are many reasons but one was confirmed today.

Don’t get all excited…I can’t reveal that reason.

I just know God gave me a peace.

As anxious, overwhelmed and frustrated as I’ve become (sadly) in three days, my purpose was confirmed and that’s all I needed to know.

I struggled knowing I needed to post today because I’ve started posting on Mondays and Thursdays. Well, smart girl that I am obviously forgot we started school for teachers on a Monday. Kids come on Thursday. AND the first real day of school is Monday. In other words, what was I thinking?!?

But, last night, at school I was talking to a dear friend (who continues to inspire me daily! Seriously. Y’all should see her room and the things she comes up with for her kids!) and I left feeling filled. I left the conversation with joy because of so many things. Later when I got home, I was finally finishing our Unglued Bible study and so many things jumped out at me! But last night, this verse was what I needed:

“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers righteousness on you.” Hosea 10:12 (NIV).

Y’all. If anybody knew about hardships, it was Hosea. He chased and chased after Gomer so many times because God told him to even though she continued to run! He ran after her because of the opportunity to love. The opportunity to “reap the fruit of unfailing love.”

I think I need to break up my unplowed ground, what about you?

We are seeds. We sow seeds. We plow and plant and harvest seeds in every aspect of our lives. Sometimes even in unplowed ground.

The word opportunity has continued to convict/enlighten/inspire me this week…from Ashton Kutcher’s speech at the Teen Choice awards to Richie’s ahhmazing story.

Then, Russ shared this with me: I Corinthians 16:9 “A great door for effective work is open to me and there are many who oppose me.” (NIV)

That door is opportunity! That door is hard to push open. According to Ashton Kutcher, “hard work looks a lot like opportunity!” I wonder if Ashton knew what he was saying what was perfectly in line with God’s word! Are you not as amazed as I am how God knew 2,000 years ago and it STILL applies today!!?!?

Every day we have an opportunity to plant a seed. Every day we encounter an opportunity to plant a seed. Every day we have a choice to plant a seed or leave it buried in the ground. How will you harvest your relationships? What opportunities do you have?

I am so humbled to know that I. Have. So. Much. To. Learn.

Daily.

Every day is a fresh start to water those seeds.

To stand by or to plow the hardened ground.

To harvest or give up.

In Unglued, Lysa said, “When the circumstances of life run you dry, see this emptiness as an OPPORTUNITY. Instead of REACTING out of emptiness, CHOOSE to see this as a beautiful space of grace.” (I added the all caps.)

Love that.

This summer has been flat out exhausting.

We are remodeling a home.

We have a four month old.

We are now starting to school and our house is almost finished so of course moving would be right about now.

We have a two year old.

We have thrown dollar after dollar at this house.

We have a four month old.

We have been under contract on our home for the third time.

We have a two year old.

But in all this, I remember how blessed we are for this opportunity. This chance to live in the home of our dreams. This chance to experience life together with two amazing little boys and incredible family close by. The chance to be us in this life that God so perfectly planned.

This home, this journey has given me the opportunity to learn and every time we showed our house (31 times) we de-cluttered. We simplified. And I am so grateful for these lessons because had these things not happened in the exact order God ordained, I would have missed it. The slightest difference and I would not have read Seven. I would be a serious pack rat. I would not be so grateful. Ouch. That’s really hard to type.

So as I jump all over the place in this one post, I’m reminded of the opportunity to post this. The opportunity to love. The opportunity to be in this very moment. The opportunity to be a wife. The opportunity to be a mommy. The opportunity to be a friend. The opportunity to teach. The opportunity to sow many seeds. The opportunity to harvest them.

The opportunity to be the daughter of a King.

This is the true opportunity of a lifetime.

P.S. I think I could go on and on about this forever so there may be a future post. For now, let me know what you think and if I’m way off base. While you decide, watch the videos. You will be glad you did.

Let’s Go.

August 12, 2013

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 KJV

Today is bittersweet.

I’m excited for my new babies.

But, I’m sad to leave my own babies.

I can’t wait to see my sweet girls and precious boys.

But, I’ll miss my lazy hectic days of summer.

I’m thrilled to see my friends.

But, I’ll miss this stage of life that passed too quickly.

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I’ve said it before. We’ve all said it. We will say it again: This summer has flown by. As summers always do, it comes to a close quicker than we imagine. The plans and projects we put on our list may or may not have been crossed off. The rooms and boxes to organize may still be sitting there. The clutter in the attic may still have dust because we didn’t quite have that yard sale.

But for us, and many others, this summer was full of celebrations…and a little heartache.

We  celebrated three marriages and welcomed a brand new bud for Cray into this world.

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We sold our house twice but lost out both times.

We realized through our celebrations of marriage how much we missed our grandfathers that left us too quickly.

As I look back on this summer I realize how many big events we had. How many weddings, births, and sadly, deaths, we have all dealt with this year alone.

Through all of this, what memories do we leave with?

At one wedding, I heard a girl look at her mother and say, “We are just making a memory, Mom!”

What a good idea. What a novel idea.

On Facebook, someone else posted, “Making memories with Nana.”

What a sweet thought.

What if we took this sweet idea and ran with it?

This is nothing new. I am certainly not telling you anything you don’t already know. We have all talked about the simple life and what it means but simultaneously wanting to enjoy the moments we have. Understanding the stages and enjoying them to the fullest. Knowing what’s behind us but bursting with joy for the stages yet to come and the gifts right in front of us.

So many times this summer, I watched Kuy and Cray laugh and play with Poppy and Bobbi, Papa G and Kay Kay. Both boys laugh and play so hard, it’s hard to leave.

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These are memories. These are the intangible gifts God gives us.

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IMG_1638Just yesterday, at Kay Kay’s we walked outside and he said, “Moon” and pointed toward the sky. He turned around and said, “Right back” because he was going to get the moon.

These are memories. These are the moments that make life go too quickly.

In the same breath, we want it to slow down but as soon as this day gets started this week we will be wishing for Friday.

Let’s make a conscious effort together as this new school year begins to celebrate the little moments. Not just the weddings and birthdays but the laughter, the smiles, the sparkles in their eyes as their little faces light up. Let’s remember what brings them joy so we can emulate their innocence as we strive to learn the lessons more often than teach them.

Together we are making these memories that last a lifetime.

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Memories with our friends.

Memories with our kids.

Memories with our kids that we didn’t birth.

Memories with our little moments that we hold on to so tightly.

What this year will hold for us no one can tell. But what it promises to bring is a blessing unending.

Being home for four months with my new baby was an amazing blessing for my entire family. We were relaxed; I cooked; it was okay if we were off schedule….My heart breaks to leave them and spend time without them. I want to be able to hold Cray when I want. I want to be able to chase Kuy around the house. Missing these moments is hard. It’s hard for every teacher. It’s hard for every parent. Knowing we pour so much energy into others yet when we get home, others expect so much of us, too. These faces are what we live for and wake up to see. These moments are what breathe life into the fiber of our beings. These blessings are what remind of us of the amazing miracles God so graciously pours out.

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So, would I love to be home with my boys every day? Yes. But, do I love my job? Yes.

This day is bittersweet for me because I adore my babies that I birthed and will miss them with every ounce of my being.

But knowing, I gain 57 new children brightens my heart and adds a freshness to my day.

So as we begin this brand new school year, let’s promise to encourage each other when we grow weary, pray for each other when we become faint, and most importantly, make memories with each other to renew our strength so together we can be a small part of adding air under our babies’ tiny wings. No matter if our babies are students, elders, real babies, or customers. We each have that gift. We have that rare chance.

This is it. We are here. So, as Russ would say to his players before a game, “Let’s go.”

The Wonder of a Mud Puddle

August 8, 2013

To adults, it causes heartache, stress, anxiety… how can the earth hold anymore water? What does under my house look like? Moisture? Standing water?

mud puddle text

To children, a mud puddle is a pool. An opportunity to be carefree, dirty and fun loving.

mud puddle jump

As adults, we caution those from stepping in the puddle for we know the mess it will make, for fear of the havoc it will cause.

mud puddle fall

As children, we jump in innocently wanting to squish the mud and feel it between our toes.

mud puddle picture

As adults, we worry because we know the consequences. We know it is not the best choice to jump in a mud puddle in our work clothes. We know the time it will take to clean ourselves up, because, gasp, we got dirty.

But, as children, what’s the harm? Clothes can be washed. Stains can be erased.

Thank Goodness, Jesus can erase these proverbial stains for us! I have jumped in too many puddles. All of us have jumped in our own mud puddles at some point. I think I jump in a mud puddle inadvertently every day.

But what if our mud puddle isn’t always bad? Our mud puddle may not be sin. Because let’s be honest, how often do we really “fall” into a mud puddle?

Our mud puddle may be a risk we need to take, an important step to follow in Christ’s plan. It’s then up to us to actually take the step and jump in with a huge leap of faith.

It’s scary. It’s real…but that tugging on your heart…my heart…is God. Sometimes we can’t work it out. We cannot fathom what it means for us, for our families but God sees the big picture.

Like children trust that we will catch them, we must trust that God is there to help us jump in the mud puddle. He wants us to squish our toes around. He wants us let go. He wants to hear our joy from the laughter and feel the smiles that come directly from our heart. He wants us to be free because we have Him on our side. He wants us to get our hands dirty and walk around in the mud for a while.

It’s so tough. It’s so hard. But it.is.real.

Enjoy those mud puddles. Those moments to jump in pass too quickly….because it doesn’t rain every day.

I keep asking myself if I can let go and jump in.

Will you jump in a mud puddle today?