Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Did God Just Tweet Me?

If you know me or have talked to me over the last two years, then you know that I've been just a little frustrated with teaching. [And if you don't know me then I just feel really sorry for you....honestly.] Only my family knows that I've applied for several jobs, in education, but outside of the classroom.  

I haven't even received an interview for any of the jobs. Not one.  Not even One. Single. Interview. 

[To quote one of the Shortie's favorite all time movies, Dumb and Dumber, "Wow. You must be one pathetic loser."] Not going to lie....I've said those words to myself a few times.  

My resumé isn't shabby by any stretch. [Please don't read any of this as arrogant or that I'm waving the "Look-At-Me" flag in your face. There is a why to all of this coming soon.]  I've won grants and awards, been selected as teacher of the year, have my MEd and National Boards, am certified in K-6 elementary education, K-12 reading education, 6-9 science, and K-12 AIG, taught an undergraduate class at GWU and several at CCC, and I currently am on contract with NCSU as an EOG question writer and reviewer. I've done and still do these things while working full-time, having four kids, and being married to a coach [well, former coach now].

WHAT IS THE DEAL?  I believe I am qualified for some of the jobs I've applied for but haven't been considered.  I've watched people move up [which is not easy, at all, in the world of education] while I've felt sort of passed over or, like a pathetic loser. 

Now don't get me wrong....I am not jealous that others have moved up when I haven't.  I burned that jealousy card a long time ago.  As a teacher, you learn to find good people to help you.  Folks that have moved up, that I've had the distinct pleasure of working with through the last 17 years, are very deserving of these promotions.  What kind of friend would I be to puff up like a toad because I am not getting what I want and they are?  A terrible one.  

I thought just want[ed] a little piece of that "movin' on up" pie. [Don't just broke out into the theme song from the Jeffersons.] 

However, I've come to realize [after many sleepless nights, countless stupid tears, and frustrations galore] that moving up is not what I am supposed to do. I am in the mission field that God has planned for me.  This is it.  And I'm OK with that....finally.

God sent me a Tweet today.... 

[Some of you just had your "she-crazy" meter hit the "as heck" side.  Some of you already knew it.]

I was scrolling through Twitter, lamenting yet another "position filled" notification, when this particular Tweet hit me, as Cooper and Molly would say, in the feels.  

Craig, as most of you know, has accepted a position as an AP at West Lincoln Middle School.  I am beyond excited for him...this is what he has prayed for and worked for these last two years.  I had no doubts, ever, that God was going to open this door for him.  I decided to honor his years of coaching with a huge send off [aka "We Heart the Coach" sign in the front yard, blog post, and a surprise gift that will be here mid-July] because I am so very proud of what he has done throughout this career as a coach.

I love giving encouragement to others..through my blog, through a quick text, or a card. I don't do this because I want a thank you or for others to notice me. [And I don't share this so that you will think anything more or less about me.  It is part of the bigger picture I am attempting to paint here.] Being able to just say "thanks" or "well done" or "I am thinking about you" makes me happy. Honestly.  More importantly, we are commanded in scriptures, to lift up others and put others before ourselves. 

Philippians 2:3 
"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountain, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful."

Romans 12:10 
"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."

When God decides to rock your world He will do it with a thundering sound, a subtle Tweet, or silence.  

I am listening...finally.

I have 12 more years before I can retire with 30 years in teaching.  I wish I could say that I always made the most of the first 18 years in the classroom but I haven't. [If that makes some of you think less of me or think I am a horrible teacher then so be least I am honest.] I've had some really great years and I think I try to be a good teacher but I can do more. 

I am there.  I am where He wants me to be. Doing what He wants me to do. My place is in a classroom, being an encourager and supporter of those around me. 
He knows my heart and He knows my future.  He knows so much more than I do. Obviously, I am just not the person for any of those jobs I've applied for and that is finally OK with me. 

And none of the accolades, certifications, and degrees in the world make you a good teacher.  Good teachers work for others to get the glory and rewards...not themselves. 

If this is where God wants me to use my talents and energy then I will do what is being asked.  I want to glorify Him in all that I do.  As my favorite coach would say, "We ain't running a 3.5 operation here."

No [more] mediocrity.  Jesus didn't go to the cross on my behalf for me to be half-hearted in my efforts. Or for me to have a pity party over being "passed by". 

I have it all...the promise that I will live eternally, an awesome family that loves me for me, a great job with friends that care, and a smokin' hot body my health. 

Why do I need to search for anything else?

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Don't Make the Bear Angry

Tonight my favorite coach will be calling it quits. He is literally throwing in the towel.

After 18 years of coaching everything from football and softball to track and volleyball he is passing the torch on to other folks. [I know some folks are like, "Its not like he coached 35 or 40 years and was a state champion or blah, blah, blah."  He went into teaching for the coaching.  He ended up loving the classroom as much as the field.]

It is bittersweet.

For all of our married life, he has coached in some form or fashion. [To be completely honest, coaching almost ended our marriage very early. I didn't get the time commitment at all.  Totally and completely selfish on my part and I've apologized many times.]

His career started in the booming metropolis of Cherryville [or Cher'ville for some people] as a football coach.  This was our first experience with high school football.  I didn't realize how much I would truly become entrenched in small town high school football.

It was fun [and still is after almost 20 years].

The best part has always been watching my favorite coach. 

[And watching his hat.  What he is doing with the hat he is wearing during the game is always an indication of how the game is going on the field.  For example, if he starts messing with the bill or adjusting it on his head, then the game plan is not being executed.  If he takes it off completely and holds it in his hands or uses it to point at players then he is mad.  If it ends up in the back of his pants, stuck in the waist band, then we are over.  It is a proven fact.  I've watched this happen through countless football and softball games.  He swears it doesn't happen. He is dead wrong.]  

I love to watch the interactions with the players, good and bad [sometimes I have to scold him afterwards because he is too harsh], how he schmoozes with the umpires and refs [they love the man], and watching him point to the sky to thank Jesus after every win and every loss.

Through the years we have weathered many highs and many lows in coaching....
  • I remember when Mooresville had 4th and 26 yards to go at Cherryville....and the Blue Devils won the game. [And I am fairly certain that "4th and 26" was painted on the wall in the locker room as a reminder...]
  • I remember the first time in 20 years that  Cherryville beat Lincolnton and the massive celebration on the field.
  • I remember attending the funerals of two former East Gaston football players two post seasons in a row.
  • I remember the Mooresville hat sitting inside the casket of his dad several days after the Friday night game where I busted into the locker room to break the news to him that Ray was very sick.
  • I remember the night East Gaston finally beat South Point in front of the home crowd.
  • I remember the finally beating Crest in softball during his last season at East Gaston.
  • I remember the epic 2006 season at East Gaston where we went to the third round of the play-offs and brought our sweet Gabe into the world.
  • I remember Friday nights, after football games, when the coaches and their families fixed a mess of food and watched Football Friday Night.
  • I remember starting over, here in KM, and feeling like a fish out of water because none of the fans seemed really receptive to a new coach.
  • I remember the sting of words being slung at him, with my kids sitting there listening. [And yes, I remember a few several times not choosing the high road and giving it right back to them.  You want to see me go 7 different kinds of crazy?  Talk about my husband in front of my kids and it is a guarantee that my crazy will hit you like a bad habit.]
  • I remember the night we came back, with two outs, to beat Chase, in the 8th inning. 
  • I remember the parents that supported him [and I will forget the parents that chose to not support him].
  • I remember the countless hours he has spent working on that softball field...late nights of lining the field, painting for senior nights, and picking grass from the infield....under the lights.
  • I remember Molly's senior night and watching the two of them celebrate one last victory as coach and player, but more importantly, as dad and daughter.
  • I remember the sleepless nights before big games, buying Stride gum and a diet Wild Cherry Pepsi to take to him, and the excitement of going on to the field after a big win [and many times asking in the stands if anyone wanted to take him home after an upsetting loss....I am not a bit ashamed to admit that either].
This has been one of the biggest decisions of his life. 

He will be walking away from coaching. 

He has coached for 18 straight years, in some capacity and at every school where he has ever worked.  

He will also be leaving Cooper for his last two years of high school football. [If you know anything about him at all then you know that my husband loves his children.  He has worried himself silly over leaving Cooper. Please pray for him about this worry.]
When he asked Cooper how he felt about him stepping away, his answer to his dad was simple yet so profound coming from a 16 year old: Some people are born to teach and some are born to lead. You, dad, are a leader. 

[Talk about tears. Wow.]

And tonight he is breaking the news to a group of ladies and parents that are
very special to him.  He has dreaded doing this and I know it will be difficult.
This group of young ladies has chiseled a place on his heart and they will not soon be forgotten.  He loves them and doesn't want anyone to be upset with him for choosing to walk away.  I don't envy his tough position tonight. 

Not at all.  

I have said extra prayers that the girls and parents are receptive and listen to his heart.  I pray for them as they search for a new coach.  I pray for him as he walks away.

Come August, he will be trading in his whistle for a new adventure.  He will be the newest Assistant Principal at West Lincoln Middle School. He is very humbled and excited about the new challenge God has given him.  

But for us...he is now and will always be Coach Short.

My favorite coach.
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Life as Mom

I am not sure that ANYONE understands how a mother feels.  

I often share a great deal about my children [sometimes to their chagrin] because they are my number one priority.  I have a career but the children that God has entrusted me with, that live under my roof, are my first and most important job.

I hover. 
I am nosey.
I am involved in their lives.

I won't apologize for being "that mom" at all. 

But I wasn't prepared for them to be grown up and have their own lives. [You know...those lives that involve them following their own dreams and hearts....making their own grown up decisions.]

We are a close bunch here at Casa de Shortie.  My favorite coach and I have tried to be the kinds of parents that have always encouraged open dialogue about the things that our kids are facing or may face.  Sometimes those are extremely uncomfortable but absolutely necessary conversations. [I do have some decorum and respect for the privacy of my children so I'll keep the details to myself.] What we have discovered is that they will talk to us and ask our opinion about decisions or issues. 

What I have figured out over the last several months is that I have to learn to step back and let them [the oldest two] live their lives without always telling them what I think. [That was even hard to type.] 

I don't know what it is like to be a dad. [I've never personally been one.]  I know that my dad is just awesome and that my husband is an amazing father.  

But I can speak to...

....Life as mom...

Moms have the distinct pleasure of feeling a life as it grows.  There is something amazing about a tiny baby growing inside of your body.  God is just awesome like that!   The pains of childbirth  seem so trivial compared to the precious piece of Heaven here on Earth that is an infant. 

Moms watch these tiny bundles, that were so protected inside the womb, grow into little humans with personalities and dreams.  It is most extremely difficult to watch a piece of your heart, outside of your body.  I cannot describe, in words, this incredibly insane and passionate love I have for the those four babies.  

Sometimes, when I really think about the fact that God chose me to be their mother it is hard to catch my breath.  

Being a mom is one of the most difficult yet rewarding jobs a woman could ever have in her life.  

Moms watch these tiny people grown into older people. [And many times, at least at my house, these older people were hard to like...loved them dearly but holy cow....they should've come with a disclaimer at birth, attached to their big toe, that says something like, "Crazy from 12 - 15 years of age so medicate yourself Mom".]  Hearts are broken by friends and sports and members of the opposite gender.  [I've spent many a night with tears in my own eyes, praying that I wouldn't punch the heart breakers right square in the teeth.  I won't lie....I've wanted to many times.] 

Yet, it is during these times that God has spoken the loudest to me and to my children.  I will never, ever forget praying over my son at 2am after he admitted he contemplated taking his own life [I can't even type the word...] or being wide awake at 4:30am, urged by God, telling me to pray about Molly's future.  

I haven't faced the struggles that many parents face every day....sickness, drug addiction, the death of a child....but our lives are far from perfection.  As parents, Short and I don't always get it correct.  We make mistakes [lots] and they make mistakes [lots].  We try to learn from them, all of us...sometimes we do and sometimes not so much. And that is OK.  Parents are not given a set of instructions or charts that help us pinpoint the exact cause, effect, and solution.   
Through these valleys [that sometimes seemed like huge mountains] God gave me, Mom, the strength, the courage, the sagacity [BOOM! Vocabulary? Check!] to help my children find their way back. 

God has used them help me find my way back. 

Ultimately, through all of this, I've been mom. 

I hope that I've done that job God intended for me to do as I've raised my children.  My prayer has always been that I raise my children to love Jesus, each other, and to chase their dreams.
  • I have one that just finished a year of college and is moving to the next state and a new college.  
  • I have another that is already talking about going to college in two years then on to seminary.
  • I have one that will be with me at the middle school in a year and is the most compassionate soul I've ever met.
  • I have one that is two years from leaving elementary school and has a personality like his daddy.
I am staring down the barrel of a whole mess of life changes for my oldest two.
I am struggling.  

How do I let go? [I am being totally serious.]

I am so used to holding on tightly that it is hard to loosen that grip to boyfriends and girlfriends and college and moving and what God has planned for their lives. I want to protect them from the harshness of life but if I don't allow them to experience these things then I'm being selfish. And I am admitting that I think my plan is far better than what God has in store for them. [And that is just completely arrogant of me.] 

So as I face the future as mom, watching them spread their wings and fly, I am reminded of Molly's favorite verse:
God can do immeasureably more than we could ever hope for or imagine.
Ephesians 3:20 
He can. 

He will.

He has already.

Learning to loosen that Shortie at a time.

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