Saturday, October 1, 2011

Today, we signed a contract on our new house. I cannot wait to be in a house where everyone has their own space! I love the new house, the new neighborhood, the idea of starting over in a house that we picked together- rather than my husband's former bachelor pad. I do have some hesitations though...the schools make me a little nervous. As a teacher, I know that you cannot judge a school solely on the website or online reviews. Anyone can write the reviews and there is no one to moderate or verify the comments. I also am well aware that you can not tell what a school's behavior issues are when looking at SOL scores or those comments. I'm lucky enough to know someone who teaches at the school my children will attend...some fears were eased and some new ones brought to light. When it comes down to it, I have to hope that my children have good teachers who appreciate that Marc and I will do everything we can to help our children be successful. 

My lesson today was in faith. I have prayed (the whole time we have been house-hunting) that God would put it on my heart when we found the right house for us. I had to have faith that when it seemed like we were never going to find the "right one," God had a plan for us and would show us the way. That seems to have I have to have faith that everything is right here...including the schools. Luckily, I know that God will never leave my children. No matter what situation they are in, God will be there. That is a very comforting feeling. 

This next month is going to be stressful I'm sure. Packing, purging, painting, moving, unpacking, organizing...all while working and caring for my family. So thankful to have God with me during all of this...hoping he keeps me calm and patient!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lesson in teaching...

Before I had my own children, I could not wait to get back to school in September. I was so excited to meet my new students, create my new lessons and smell those freshly sharpened pencils. I still look forward to those things, but feel a resentment to the end of summer as well. The end of summer, after all, means having someone else spend that valuable time with my own children. 

This September has been a whole new experience. The Princess will be starting preschool tomorrow. She is over-the-moon excited. I am broken-hearted. Don't get me wrong- I am so glad that she is excited. I can't wait to come home tomorrow and hear all about her day- the new experiences she'll have, new friends she'll make. I am broken-hearted, however, because I won't be there for any of it. I won't get to see her reaction when she walks into her classroom. I won't get to watch her as she puts on her brave face and talks to new people. I won't get to see if she remembers her manners or says her blessing before her snack. I will be at work before she even leaves the house. I won't be able to be a "room-mother"or attend field trips- but you better believe I'll be taking off work the day of the Mother's Day Tea! (I am lucky that a friend will be going to drop off tomorrow to take pictures the first few minutes!)

All of this has taught me a very valuable lesson about my chosen profession. I need to the kind of teacher that I would want for my own child. I need to be patient and kind while holding my students to high expectations. I need to remember that each student is someone's child. I need to remember that these parents just might be sitting at their job wondering what their child is doing, wondering if their child is behaving, wondering if their child is being loved. This lesson, I'm hoping, will make me not only a better teacher but a better parent as well. This lesson will help me to remember to be patient with the teachers of my children, but to hold them to high expectations as well.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lesson in love...

Wow...Time has flown by! I have been LOVING my summer off with the kids, but it is going by way too fast. Boo has changed so much in the last few weeks. He has started rolling over and is trying so hard to talk. He babbles all the time! 

I love that Boo gets so excited when people enter the room, especially me or Marc. However, there is no excitement that compares to his reaction when the Princess gets close to him. The love he has for her is so amazing. He can be crying his eyes out, but if she sits next to him and holds his hand, he just stops and grins. 

Marc and I were worried about how the Princess would react to having a baby in the house after being an only child for almost three years. Every once in a while she will act a little jealous, maybe get irritated with us, but she has never taken it out on Boo. He can do no wrong in her eyes. I was nervous today when he started chewing on one of her blankies, but she just told me that she needed a new one because Boo needed that one. At lunch today, I told her that I loved the way they love each other and I hoped they would always be best friends. She looked at me and immediately said, "Boo will always be my best little buddy, Mama." (My heart felt so full!)

Today my children reminded me what true love is. It is full, unconditional and unending. At nap time, the Princess and I had a talk about how much we all love each other and how God loves us all even more than that. I love how easy our conversations about God are. She just accepts these facts without question. (Yet another lesson for me- don't question- just believe!) 

Sorry that this entry is a little less focused than some of the others- I'm writing it in a hurry as we anticipate losing power in the storm tonight. (God's way of teaching me to back away from the computer and have family time?)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lesson in gratefullness....

My dad sent me a devotional this morning that really resonated with me. It began by talking about the "if only disease" that seems to spread like wildfire in my life. 
If only I had more money....
If only I had a bigger house....
If only I had a different car...
If only....

 The think that is even worse than all of the "if only's" is the fact that when those are fulfilled, a new list begins. When did I become so discontent? When did I forget the endless blessings that God has bestowed on me? Why can I not be happy with those? 

The second part of the devotional focused on scripture. 
Philippians 4: 4-7
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!   Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.   Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

My prayers tonight will focus on asking forgiveness for being so unappreciative. I will also be asking for patience and understanding as I try to learn where God is leading my heart.

(Credit to Dad's devotional: Living Beyond the Daily Grind by C. Swindoll)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lessons in bedtime...

I wasn't sure that bedtime was going to happen tonight. The Princess started the bedtime routine at 8:00. It is now 9:45 and she is still awake. She has gotten up to go to the bathroom no less than 6 times since I put her down. It breaks my hear to hear her yelling for me and crying, but I know I have to be strong. She is quiet now, which just makes me want to go in there and snuggle her- especially after her prayers tonight.
    "Dear Jesus,
   Thank you for my Mama, Daddy, Ella (the dog), Mama, Boo, Katie (her aunt), and my Mama." She breaks at this point to look and me very seriously and say, "I prayed for you lots 'cuz I love you a lot." Back to Jesus, "I love you too, Jesus. Amen."

So, you are probably asking how, in the world, I could make her cry after that. Trust me, it is taking a lot of patience and willpower. I just want her to get back to the point where she can go to sleep on her own. I know she can do it.

Time for me to start heading to bed. I know that when I say my prayers tonight I will be thanking God for my amazing children. (Praying for them lots 'cuz I love them lots!)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lesson in making memories...

The Princess taught me a little lesson today. The majority of the time, she is completely happy to walk on her own and be as independent as I will allow her to be. On the rare occasions that she asks to be carried, I usually tell her to "walk like a big girl." Today, I realized that it won't be long and carrying her won't be an option. My sweet, tiny girl is growing much faster than I realized, or care for. Where did my tiny baby go? I made it a point to hold her as much as I could today. Her three years have gone by so quickly! I can only imagine that the next three will seem even faster, especially now that I have two little pumpkins!

My goal for today was to slow down time a little and try to make memories with her. We sat in the kitchen floor, (with Boo in his Bumbo), and played with playdoh. We explored two Christian bookstores. We met Marc for lunch. We even had a 'jama party before she went to bed. I can't be sure that she will remember any of this, but I know that I will.

I hope I will stop turning down chances to hold the Princess and remember how rare those opportunities are becoming. More importantly, I hope that I start making more of an effort to create special memories with both kids. We had lots of fun times today, but my favorite of all was right before bedtime. The Princess, Boo and I all climbed into her bed and snuggled while we read the new toddler devotional that we bought today. We thanked God for our endless blessings and prayed that he be with Marc while he was at work. Then I was lucky enough to watch my children snuggle each other to sleep. God is so unbelievably good!!

The following is a link to the new devotional that we bought today. Very age appropriate for the Princess. She really enjoyed it tonight!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lesson in talking to Jesus...

I took the Princess and Boo to the Children's Museum today. We knew it was going to be a short visit since we had a lunch date, but we figured we had to spend the in between time somewhere- why not the Princess' favorite hangout!? We had a good time, made even better by the Princess saying, "Mama, I love it when we go here together."

As we were driving down the road on our way to lunch, we saw some cars that had just been in an accident. (3rd accident we have seen in less than 24 hours.) The Princess suggested that we pray for the people. She asked me to start, so I prayed that God would help them to feel better soon and comfort their families. Then I told her that it was her turn. She prayed the same things that I had just prayed and then said, "Jesus, thank you for Ella (our dog), and my mama, and my dada. And Jesus, thank you the most for my little brother. He's pretty great and I love my little buddy."

I had to wipe a tear away as I realized how lucky I am to have such a sweet, innocent girl as my daughter. After she said "Amen," she told me that she really liked talking to Jesus. I am so thankful that my sweet child is able to remind me to stop and take time to talk to Jesus.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lesson in being a better Christian

The sermon this week was thought provoking for me. It was as if our pastor knew exactly what I had been thinking about recently and wanted to push me to explore the idea even more. 

Some background on my religious upbringing...I have been a Lutheran my whole life. We went to church every Sunday, attended VBS, attended Sunday School, were involved in youth groups, and prayed before meals and bed. My parents are strong Christians who have always encouraged us to form strong relationships with God. When I went to college I tried a few new churches, but ended up back at a Lutheran church. After graduation, I moved back to the Richmond area and had a hard time finding a church. I tried going back to the church that I had attended with my family (who at this point had moved away), but found that I was living in the shadow of my parents. I felt that I was still thought of as a child, and not the adult that I had become. I decided that I needed to find a church where I could build my own reputation. At this point, I met Marc (my husband) and we decided to find a church together. We tried many different churches, but still could not find the right fit. We got married and decided that we would try going to the Baptist church that he used to attend. I enjoyed the church, but was bothered by the fact that Baptists do not baptize babies, and at this point we were expecting the Princess. We continued searching and ended up at Christ Lutheran Church. We loved the people, pastors, and I loved the traditional service. We stayed at that church for a little over two years, but still felt that something was missing. We eventually ended up at Redeemer Lutheran Church and feel like we have found "our place." The contemporary service that we attend is perfect for our whole family. (Even though I thought that was the opposite of what I wanted.) If the kids make a little noise, no one seems bothered. Children's Church has been wonderful for the Princess. The sermons are easy to follow and relative to our lives. The music is outstanding and uplifting. The people are friendly and have children close to the ages of our own kids. 

All this said, I have been realizing that I am not living up to the life that God wants me to live. Sure, I attend church. Sure, I say I'm a Christian and try to make Christ-like decisions. The reality is, I am a sinner. I am a "Faith-faker." I have grand ideas of what I'm going to do to share God's word and raise my children with strong faiths, but seldom do I actually implement them. I am sure to take the time to watch the television shows that I want to watch, buy the things that I want to buy, eat at the places I want to eat....yet I struggle to find the time to complete a daily devotion, read Bible stories to my children, or pray the prayers that so desperately need prayed. For years I have sat back and watched as my family has served God in countless ways overseas, yet I have done very little to serve God right here. 

First steps...
In the past few days I have tried to make a conscious effort to read a daily Bible verse. I found that easiest way for me to do this was to download a Daily Bible app on my phone. This offers me a daily Bible verse. This particular app also gives me a daily plan, if I choose, so that I can read the Bible in one year.
I am also trying to make more of an effort with my children. Rather than only reading the Princess her favorite book over and over, I am trying to alternate with Bible stories. I thought that she would fight me, but she has really enjoyed the stories we have read so far and has started asking for more "Jesus stories." This makes my heart so happy! 

Future steps...
My goals are:
1. Start encouraging more "free prayer" with the Princess, rather than the memorized prayers that we use for mealtime and bedtime.
2. To be less timid when given opportunities to share God's word. 
3. To find ways to serve God in my area- and not find excuses to get out of doing them.
4. To make time for daily devotions.

I plan on this being an ongoing list...and hope that you will help me to stay on track with it!

My first blog entry...

I am writing this blog for selfish reasons. I have decided that I spend far too much time wishing that things were different, and not nearly enough time appreciating the lessons that are provided to me daily. Perhaps my life WOULD be different, if I learned from the lessons and made different choices. Some of these lessons come from friends and family, some from experiences and some from observations. Lately though, most of my lessons have come from the innocence of my children. Since I am not teaching over the summer, I have found myself working very hard on my patience with my own children. 

My daughter is three and absolutely amazing. She is so inquisitive, imaginative and excited- about everything! She is constantly teaching me and I am finally starting to slow down and listen. 

My son is four months old and super special. He is so calm, happy and easy-going. Now that I am working on being a better learner, I'm realizing all the lessons that he has to teach me as well. 

The purpose of this blog is to make me stop and think about the daily lessons I am learning. I'm sure that there will repetitions (I can admit- I don't always learn the first time!). Please feel free to offer any lessons that you have learned as well!