Friday, February 20, 2015

Saved by the Bell

In a few short hours I will return to work, with kids in the classroom, for the first time since February 5th.

Am I sad I have to go back to work? 

I am a little sad.  I've enjoyed my time off [well minus the surgery part] and I feel fully rested for the first time in a long time. I would love to be able to say I taught myself to crochet [I struggled with the slipknot], read 25 books, or organized my house [let's not get crazy now...I've never been accused of organizing anything]. But I didn't do any of that.  I just enjoyed my family, [my couch], my comfortable clothes, and the time off.

You know what makes me really sad? 

Having to wear REAL clothes, do my hair, and put on make-up!! [I am sorry if you've been unlucky enough to see me out and about these last few weeks. Now you know how my family feels.]  I have worn nothing but jogging pants [well just that ONE pair that I own] and PJs since February 6th.  

And loved EVERY MINUTE. 

But tomorrow reality comes sweeping back in and I hit the door running. [Well, not exactly.  We do have a three hour delay. Not too shabby for a Friday.]

One thing I have done while I've been home is really think about my job.
And a lot of soul searching on what I need to do better. 

The list is long my friends.  Long indeed.

Not going to lie, the last two years in the classroom hasn't exactly been a walk in the park for me. [Not unless that walk included fire breathing dragons, dog poop, meteors falling from the sky, huge rocks, toe stubs, too many Swiss cake rolls, and attempts to run far away.] 

Instead of setting the tone I let the tone set me.  
I let circumstances and "things" dictate how I felt.
I wanted to give up and walk away.

But as always, God allowed me the opportunity to rest [via the evil little gall bladder], some time to refocus, and He helped me remember why being a teacher is what I was meant to do.

After all, these people that forget their pencils [so they write in Sharpies on the front and back of an assignment], leave their library books [over and over and over again] in my room, fail to put their name on papers, play tag on the way to lunch, ask to go to the bathroom in the middle of class, and cannot wait until the bell at 3 [not to leave but to get to their cell phones] are still just kids.  

Ultimately, I believe that ALL of them want...
to be successful.
be accepted.
feel loved.

I will be the first to admit that sometimes, as a teacher, I get caught up in what they aren't doing and I lose focus on what needs to be done.  [Just a side note, middle schoolers are waiting, with dripping fangs and cat-like reflexes for you to lose focus.  They thrive on it.  You've been warned.]  Every little issue doesn't have to be monumental and I've made many a mountain out of a mole hill.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, which isn't a bad thing, but sometimes I tend to worry more about how I feel.

I have been burdened over the last few weeks to make some changes in my classroom...mainly me. [I am listening to my Hillsong station on Pandora right now and the song Thank You Jesus just came on. Well, played God, well played.  Thank you set me free. Christ my rescued me. Wow.]  

As teachers we have the unique [and awesome] opportunity to make such a difference in the lives of children. [Now understand me...I do NOT do cliché, mushy, when-you-get-the-chance-dance kind of stuff but it is true about making a difference.] I should be seeking opportunities. In fact, the way I see it, everyone who works in a school building has opportunities to make a difference.  

I am certainly not suggesting that this is easy.  Never has been. Kids come to us every day from broken homes, with broken hearts, with brokenness that some of us will never experience.  I can't begin to even begin to know what it is like to live a life that isn't privileged.   

What I do know that for me, that means I must do my job up to Colossians 3:23 standards: 
WHATEVER you do [like teach], work [love, care, commit, be bold, with reckless abandon] at it with ALL your heart [even when the going gets tough, the sharks are biting, and the water is forehead high], as if working for the Lord and not for men. 

Often, I can't change the circumstances outside of school that affect my students. What I can do is make dang sure that the experiences they have in my classroom, EVERY SINGLE DAY, are extraordinary.  [No, I'm not trying to be Super Teacher. Or be the most liked or any of that jazz.] If I'm giving them less than the best of me then I'm not doing my job. Seriously.        

I'm not looking for fame or fortune.  I'm not looking for perfect test scores and data to tell me I'm doing this teaching thing right. I'm not looking for anyone's approval.

Tonight, in a conversation with Coop, Craig said something that hit me like a ton of bricks [again, well played God]:

It is simple. When it comes to others, we should be about washing feet.  

Powerful words. 

Right. On. Time.

 photo Newsignature_zpsd470a758.png

Friday, February 13, 2015

All Good in Our Hood

I asked Craig last a question last night:

Why do people feel the need to be so petty and backstabbing?

Let it go. 
We are certainly over you. 
And the drama you seem to drag with you.  

I am not quite sure I understand the motivation behind people who just want to cause problems and just instigate drama. I am baffled, quite honestly. [And a little perturbed at the boldness with which some adults spin a tale to suit their purpose or situation.]

But my oldest son said something profound, that I already knew, but needed to hear again: I'm not worried.  I know who I am and for what I stand.  I don't need affirmation nor do I need to win over people.  If someone doesn't like me then I don't care.  God has got this.

I love it when God uses our children to remind us that He has got this.  

What I've realized through all of this "drama" [petty-selfish-grow-on-up-act your-age-not-your-shoe-size drama] the last two months is...
  • that sometimes people will let you down by blindsiding you and attacking you. God never lets us down. 
  • sometimes people will turn on you [in a skinny minute] when it appears you don't buy into selfish behaviors.  God never turns on you.
  • sometimes people will wreak havoc in your life if you allow them to do so. God doesn't have ulterior motives.
  • sometimes you just gotta roll with punches [even when it seems like everyone is swinging].  God has no intentions of harming you.
In other [way more happy] news I have had a fantastic week of healing and recovering.  [Not going to lie...I wish I could be a stay at home mom.]  I've been on the receiving end of so many well wishes and prayers.  I am so appreciative to have so many wonderful folks in my life.  

Wednesday I had a visit from a dear, sweet sister from church.  Wow!  God always knows when two folks need to cross paths with each other.  She came to bring me lunch but she left me with so much more!  What an absolute blessing to just talk, laugh, and fellowship over all of the wonders that God has done for each of us.  We had such a great time and I am thankful and blessed to call her friend.  

My bullet holes are healing nicely.  [I suppose I should watch when and where I refer to them as bullet holes.]  Not going to lie though, today was the first day I put on jeans. [And some of you that have seen me this week are VERY thankful not to see those sad, gray jogging pants.]  It amazes me at the ease of the entire process.  I IMMEDIATELY felt better when I woke up in the recovery room. Modern medicine is amazing. 

I will leave you with a Gabe story. [Its been a while.] I ate lunch with him yesterday.  In his class he's been working on a project with a classmate about Benjamin Franklin. [Now those of you that know us also know that my kids LOVE history.]  Here is a conversation he and I had about Ben Franklin at lunch.

Me: So what did you learn about Ben Franklin?
Gabe: Well his brother got arrested.  I think his name was Snoop Dog. So Ben had to take over the newspaper while his brother was in jail.
Me: What else did you learn? [I refrained from any argument about Ben's brother being named Snoop Dog.]
Gabe: Well he was a serious womanizer, but I already knew that.
Me [insert sheer panic]: didn't include that in your project did you?  
Gabe: The part about his brother Snoop? Yes. The other part about the ladies? No. *insert wink*

[Just so you know we are not terrible parents.  Cooper apparently made that exact statement about Ben being a womanizer while we watched Sons of Liberty on the History Channel. There you go...proof that Gabe does listen when he really wants to listen. Further proof that we need to watch what is said in front of the militant midget.]

As always, life as a Short could not be any better :)

 photo Newsignature_zpsd470a758.png