Friday, April 25, 2014

Summer Goals

So with summer around the corner I wanted to post my goals/plans.

1.  Repaint the entryway, kitchen, and maybe even make a faux brick wall in the living room.  Hope I'm not being too ambitious here.

2.  Finish the backyard children's oasis which will consist of a trail into our woods that leads to a clearing with a firepit.  Another trail will lead to a treehouse.  We also are hiring some folks to level some of our backyard for a trampoline, and take care of our drainage problems.

3.  Go swimming and get Brennan closer to swimming on her own.

4.  Go to San Antonio with my kiddos and husband, and my folks to go to Sea World and a Water Park.

5.  Plan a couple lessons for my 6th grade kiddos and plan my K and 1st grade concerts for next year.

6.  Keep my house clean, stay up late, watch lots of movies, do lots of grilling, get to know my new neighbors better, and go on a date with my husband!!!!

7.  Go to a One Republic concert and visit my sister in KC.

8.  Recharge my batteries and get ready to take on another year of 6th grade hormonal kids.  Eeeek!

9.  Soak in my time with my kiddos and enjoy them at the ages they are, especially B who will officially be ready to start Kindergarten.  I am actually old enough to have TWO school aged children. 

10.  Help Bren get a head start on reading, so I feel like I have evened the score with what I did for each kid before they officially started Kindergarten.  Giving my children a head start for school, for me, is like giving them a big gift.  I can't say for certain if that is why Kadyn has just done so fantastic in school, but I would like to think that played a part in it.  I want to set them up to be super successful.

11.  Enforce a little quiet time daily so Mama can have a break from kids. 

12.  Love and dote on my cat who tickles my funny bone daily.

13.  Drink lots of refreshing drinks!

14.  Take care of a lot of pretty flowers.  Enjoy driving up to my house and looking at my flowers as I pull into the driveway.

15.  Enjoy all the wildlife that comes out in the summer time.

16.  Catch fireflies with my kids.

17.  Have a picnic.

18.  Get Bren more comfortable riding her bike with training wheels.

19.  Go on dates with my girls by themselves.

20.   Turn 37!!!!!!

21.  Own 37 with pride and not fear.

22.  Practice my piano and ukulele.

24.  Read all those magazines that have started stacking up.

25.  Spend more quiet time with God and count my blessings.

26.  Continue my Sunday bible/praise/pryaer time with the kids and continue to let God guide my heart on this church thing which is still a no go for the time being.

27.   Clean the van inside and out.

28.  Buy some new summer clothing and quality shoes.

29.  Continue to grow my hair out and start to try new long hair updos as it grows.

30.  Try not to resist the urge to cut my hair.

31.  Continue to dream and make plans for our future with my of my favorite things!

32.  Talk the hubs into getting rid of our old, dirty, falling apart furniture instead of hoarding it downstairs. 

33.  Start a new TV series that I can get addicted too because I actually will have time for it.

34.  Catch up on all those recorded American Idol recordings.

35.  Count my lucky stars that I don't have to redecorate 2 classrooms this coming school year at the end of my summer.  Thanks janitors!!!!  I promise I will keep it a secret that you let me keep my stuff up ;)

36.  Praise God that he gave me a job that gives me SUMMMERS!

OK there is probably more, that this a great start eh?

Home stretch

We are so close to being one month away from wrapping up my first year back to full time teaching.  It has been a good year with mostly ups and only a few downs.  I definitely enjoy my job.  About the only real challenge for me has been 6th grade.  There is one class in particular that got the better of me at the end of the day yesterday.  The constant disruptions, rudeness, arguing, lack of effort, hormonal issues, and then sense of entitlement just finally got me to my witts end and I ended my day asking for help from my principal's office tearing up in the process.  I have poured my heart and soul into those intermediate kids to win them over.  I feel good that I have given it my all.  There has been some pay off, but I simply can not win them all over.  It is a hard pill to swallow. I'm not used to kids feeling this way about my class.  It is par of course when you deal with this age group.

I am not alone in this struggle. The 7th grade music teacher shares some of the same struggles.  I am a member of several music teaching groups on facebook and most, if not all of them have the same issues I am having.  It is just a fact that when a child is forced to be in your class, and music is not their thing, they are going to be trouble for you.  It is exhausting and emotionally taxing.  I wish I could be the person that didn't care, but folks, I love my students.  God has given me a heart for them.  This district has a lot of poverty kids.  They are rough bunch but I want to  make a difference in their lives.  I want music to make a difference in their lives.  I am hopeful that through time it will get easier as I build relationships with them over the two years I have them at that school.  Eventually some of the kids will have had me at the beginning too in K/1.  That prior connection should help a little bit.  I just need time.

The littles have their moments, but I feel like a pro with them, and I hardly ever have trouble winning them over to my class.  They are so loving and it fills my soul.  Thank goodness for the littles who are like a breath of fresh air after two days of intermediate kids.

So as I end this school year I feel relieved.  I feel proud of what I've been able to accomplish. I feel determined to do better each and every year and grow as an educator.  I feel relieved that summer is almost here.  I feel excited that I get to do this all over again this year.  I feel blessed to work with the folks I work with.  I feel content that God has me exactly where he wants me.  I feel good to be back doing what I love doing. I feel grateful that I have a job and it didn't take years to get it back.  I feel a lot and it's all good, even with the challenges.  Happy home stretch time!

Easter 2014

Can you believe this guy?  He totally cracked me up.  He learned that kids were scared to feed them out of their hands so he just opened up and let them drop in the food.  Smart horse.  

Those buck teeth!!! How cute are llama teeth!!!

And llama lips.  I love llama lips!  They're like little fingers.

Hard to believe there is slightly over a year of age difference between Kadyn and her cousin Gracie.  Our kids are total opposites.

Hunting 200 eggs.  It didn't last nearly as long as I thought it would.

Our Easter is never the same.  This year it was spent with my sister and her kids.  It was short, but sweet.  We went to the Branson Landing and fed the ducks and watch the fire and light show.  We dyed eggs.  We hunted eggs.  Then we ended it with a trip to the Promised Land Zoo in Eagle Rock MO, one of our favorite places.  It was our 3rd time to visit.  This place is an animal lover's paridise. There is a talking parrot who greets you as you enter and leave.  You can drive through the zoo and feed llamas, deer, and buffalo.  They also have other animals on the drive through, but you can not feed those.  Then they have a petting zoo with a camel, goats, miniature horses, cows, and one donkey; all are behind a fence but they come right up to you and you can feed them and pet them.  They also have guinea pigs and rabbits to pet and an alligator, prairie dogs, and lemurs to see.  I just love going there.  It's like a little slice of heaven.  There is such an innocence and purity I sense when it comes to animals.  Being around them and their precious little spirits brings joy to my heart!

Anyhoo, that was our Easter.

She turned 8!

It has been busy, what can I say?  Apparently, this full time working Mama business can make me forgetful, BUT better late than never.  This beautiful girl turned 8 on March 20th.  March 20th every year is the first day of Spring.  What a lovely day to have a birthday.  I also read somewhere that it is also the date the Israelites were set free from slavery in the bible.  I wonder if that is true?  Would be super cool to share a birthday with that special moment in history.

Anyhoo....Kadyn got to celebrate her birthday with the Bilberry side of the family in Garden City on Spring break.  Her big gifts were a pink ukulele, a new bike, and getting her ears pierced.  And in case you're wondering, she did AWESOME when she had them pierced.  Not even one drippy droppy tear.  She was a brave little duck!

This has been a year of change and achievements for Kadyn, moving to a new school, having a full time working Mama, participating in an after school choir, being selected for a local art show, earning honorable mention for a statewide competition, scoring double what was expected of her on he standardized test scores, and to top it all off, she qualified to be placed in the gifted program next year (which to be honest is a huge relief because now we know our little smarty will stay challenged).  We are just so incredibly blessed by her and proud of her.  She is a bright kid with a bright future ahead of her.

Thank you Lord for our sweet Kadyn!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This thing called mercy and grace

Tonight I stewed over sin.  I spoke with God.  Sometimes sin seems so undeserving of mercy.  And if a sin is repeated, even more so.  The human in me began to think that a sin is repeated, maybe it would be better for one to hold onto the guilt that comes with it as a reminder to not make the same mistake twice.  And then God showed me that my thinking was all out of whack.  He is offering us mercy as his gift.  Mercy, God's own grace.  It is not guilt that should spur us into making better choices next time.  It's the appreciation of his mercy that should encourage us to want to make better choices when presented with the temptation to repeat the same sin. We should desire to want to honor him for offering something so freely, so undeserved. Our gift to him in return is one of obedience, if you will, to honor him for his kindness and love.

Wow.  What does this mean for us folks?  We can't and shouldn't hold onto our guilt for our sins, even repeated ones.  Let's face it.  We all do it.  We lose patience with our kids.  We gossip.  We get snarky with the ones we love.  Over and over and over and over we screw it up.  And over and over and over God forgives.  It is not his will for us to carry that burden of guilt. To continue to wallow in guilt even after you have asked for forgiveness is what Satan wants for you, not God.  God wants us to be free from the burden sin carries.  He wants it so much he sent his son to die for us to be free from it.  Sometimes when I really, really think about this and soak it in, it overwhelms me.

However, what this also means for us is that the next time we are tempted to continue that same sin, we should remember the mercy and grace that was given to us.  We should let that be our motivator to do right by him and please him.  We should let that be our strength.

Now, with that said, I move onto my next topic.  Mercy and our children.  Here's an area that is so grey to me.  On one hand, I know we are to model grace and mercy to our children.  How awesome would it be if our children chose good EVERY TIME because they wanted to honor us for showing them mercy.  This is so different than the school of thought that a child will choose good because of prior punishment that they don't want to repeat.

On the other hand, the realist in me knows there has to be times for punishment and correction.  Not every sin in the bible goes unpunished after all.  What is so hard for me is trying to figure out when to show mercy.  I have such a tug of war in my mind.  Am I being too harsh? Am I letting things slide too much?  If I'm too harsh, am I not modeling mercy?  Will I be remembered as a cold mother?  If I correct without punishment, will my kids grow up without the necessary skills to be responsible, respectful people?  Will they even learn their lesson, or will they just assume I'm a pushover and repeat their sin?  Gosh, this parenting thing is tough!  Surely I'm not the only one who struggles with such things.

After stewing some time on all these questions, I just realized, I am never going to know the perfect way to parent my kids.  I just have to continue to pray for guidance and trust that God will give me the answers I need as situations arise.  And even doing so, I know I'm going to screw it up.  There comes that mercy and grace again, there to save my butt time and time again.

Thank heavens we have such a forgiving, patient, and loving God.  I screwed up today as I have so many times before, but today, today I am letting go of the guilt and letting God's love for me, his grace, and his mercy inspire me to better next time.