Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Singers of songs.

On Monday we hosted a Christmas party at our house for the camp board of directors.  It is so fun to have people in our home.  I love the stories and the party food and the laughter.  We are surrounded by good people in our lives.

But after the party ended and we were cleaning up (and putting children to bed much later than usual on a school night), my body reminded me that I'm not as young as I used to be.  I got into bed as soon as I could and my alarm still seemed to cheat me of about 4 hours of sleep on Tuesday morning.

I encouraged my girls to move a little faster, as they were obviously having a hard time shaking off the sleepies, and we drove to school on a misty, cloudy morning. I had an early meeting and it was also a deadline day for children to turn in their money for a school order and I found myself writing 50 receipts in my planning period.

It could have easily have gone downhill if I had let my pity-party take control of my mood. But I had the sense to decide to enjoy the day.  Left to my own demise, I probably would have had the worst attitude throughout the day.

Instead, I took a deep breath and remembered that I get paid to sing songs with children.  

Now, before my fellow arts educators pull me into the alley and beat me down for repeating the junk general educators say, and believe, about our classes (kickball for P.E., coloring for art, etc), please note that singing is not the only thing we do in my class.  We also have a curriculum and (eventually) an assessment process like everyone else.  

But, yesterday?  

Yesterday I was able to delight with the kids in the old and new songs of the season. We were in high spirits and excited about all the things to come.  Of course I had to deal with some knuckleheadedness and the usual children who may need some lumps of coal, but as a whole, it was a fun day in my room. 

Sometimes we just have to make the decision to carry through.  We have to decide that we are going to make the best of things.  I don't always like being in a classroom--it's hard for us teachers when people make decisions for us that don't make sense, when we aren't paid enough, when our hands are tied in many ways.  We parent the parentless and we love on the unloved--and sometimes all of that drains us completely dry.    

So today my dear teachers (and parents and workers and students)--when we are faced with the most ridiculous situations, the most difficult people we'd like to punch in the face, and/or the overwhelming exhaustion that comes with December, let's all commit to taking a deep breath and make the decision to not let it overcome us.  

The waves will come towards us, but we will not let them take us down.  

Monday, December 1, 2014


This morning "officially" begins my most favorite of all seasons.  

I read words of promise and hope in my advent devotional.  I breathe in and sip slowly on my favorite coffee.  The lights are low and I start my day with only my trees illuminating the rooms, and I feel the peace settle deep in my spirit.

I've been waiting all year for this.   

I know that this month takes a lot of momentum and stamina to get through.  There will be parties and events and concerts and things and family and friends.  There will be stress and shopping and planning and cleaning and exhaustion.

But, the little girl in my heart is still full of wide-eyed wonder on this first morning in December. 

I delight in the lights on the trees.  I love the glitter and sparkle on the decorations.  I sing loudly and dance with my babies to the old familiar songs.  I inhale the scents that only come around once a year.  Precious memories of family and friends fill my heart.

And through it all, I remember sweet Mary and how scary it must have been to bring a baby into the world during that time and in that stable.

Welcome, Christmas.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Exhale thanks.

I am so lucky to have so many good folks in my life.  Your encouraging words and stories have refreshed my soul.  I hate that so many of you have been in the same boat as our family, but, at least I know I'm in good company.  Sometimes it's easy to overlook all of the good in your life when a big ol' bad stands in the way.  But I have had love and prayers poured over me and my family in such way that I have literally felt the hands and feet (and arms) of the Church.

It makes my eyes a little swelly. 

Of course, in the middle of all of this, my mind has been mulling over this season of thanks.  I've been reminded of all of the good gifts, but I've also allowed this season of "why not us?" cloud some of my heart.  It's easy to extend good tidings when life is good, but when things are frantic and hectic and just aggravating?

Not so much. 

But, if we're going to really walk in the ways He walked, then we're going to have to turn back our praise and thanksgiving and offer them the One who makes and works in all things.  Including when things are not going the way we expected or wanted.  In the midst of cancer and death and job loss and divorce and financial ruin, we must continue onwards.  

When I'm beyond weary.  
When my words fail me.  
When my heart is tired of dealing with the same issues--this is when it is hardest for my mouth to form words of thanksgiving.  

But when those words of thanksgiving finally escape my lips, they are the most honest and primal words.  And I know deep in my soul that He is listening.

My hardest prayers of thanksgiving have also been some of the most fervent.  These prayers are often little more than a few words, and usually accompanied by a lot of tears and frustrations and hurt and confusion.  These are the prayers when I need Him to fill in the gaps of my words and in my heart.  I have seen others offering these prayers and they are gut-wrenching cries of trust in the midst of incredible loss.  

We aren't always as thankful when our cups are overflowing.  We tend to be more appreciative and grateful when we have been completely poured out and have the space and ability to carry the blessings that are coming our way.

Let's spend these next few days being thankful for the things sitting on our plates--both in the literal and figurative sense.  These things that we're dealing with, these situations we can't make heads nor tails of--these are the things that we must find praise in as well.

And while we're on the subject of giving thanks--I am so happy to report that our prayers have been answered.  
God is good.  
We received and accepted an offer, and are looking to close on our home in just a few weeks.  

And it happened today.  


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