Saturday, December 31, 2011

*What I learned in 2011*

I remember when I was younger I would count the years to see when I would finally grow up. I always stopped at 2011 and knew that would be the year that changed everything for me. I'd be grown and finally find my place in the world. I often wondered what my life would be like once I made it to this year that felt so far away then. I never really thought about the time to come after 2011...maybe because I couldn't fathom being any older than 23 at the time.

2011 did prove to be the year that changed everything for me. It's been a huge year of transition and becoming who I studied to be for so long. As any year before, it's been a year of ups and downs, but I am glad to say the ups for me far outweigh any of the downs. I have been truly blessed in more ways than one and any hard time has proven to be a learning experience. I don't think I'd change a thing about 2011. It taught me so many lessons.

I learned to trust God's timing. I was so upset this time last year that I was in college a year late, but now I am seeing that if I graduated on time I wouldn't of gotten the job that I did and I might not have the students that I do now. It was so worth it to make it through an extra year to fit right into the time table that made me and my student's lives intertwine the beautiful way they do now. I wouldn't change anything. Not one tear, not one stressful night, not one meeting in the library, not one of the many times of questioning I had to go through to get to where I am was worth it. It all came together in the right timing. It all came together better than I could have ever imagined back in my childhood days.

I learned that to love, to truly love, you may open yourself up to experience loss. I loved my students in my internship so deeply it felt like I almost broke in half when I had to leave them. I questioned how I was ever going to have a career that took my heart with it every single year. I wonder the same thing today as I think about next year when I won't have the same kids that I do now. I kinda wish that I could be like Mr. Feenie and be their teacher every year until they graduate, but nobody in their right mind wants me to be a high school teacher. Apparently trying to sit high schoolers in your lap when you think they've had a bad day doesn't go over well. Saying "Bye babies! Have fun at you!" isn't exactly what a teen is looking for. But how can you love little people so much and just let them go every year? I'm not quite sure yet, but what I do know is that any pain I feel from the loss was worth it to love with everything I had and it will be worth it again. To love deeply, I think our hearts have to be brave enough to feel pain. But the pain is worth it. Love is the greatest thing we can ever do for ourselves.

I learned that a nephew is a true treasure sent from the Lord himself. I can't comprehend my life without Samuel and I am so thankful to have him in my life. This morning I was woken up by a light and walked into Molly's room to see what it was. There Samuel was laying there, kicking his feet in the air. When he saw me he smiled so big and wrapped his little hands around my neck. He's growing up so fast. It's like he's no longer just a little baby, but a little person.

I learned that it's easier to grow up than I thought it was. Walking into my internship in January, I had no idea how I would ever manage a classroom by myself. I was terrified out of my mind and felt like there was no way I would find my footing in the scary real world. It seemed so out of reach, but I had the best support behind me and the most encouraging internship teacher that helped me figure out that I can be so much more than I thought I could. I slowly watched myself crack out of my timid shell and blossom into a confident teacher that took control of the room with an ease I never thought would come. It all started to fall into place and I realized that I could do this. I could be a teacher and I was more prepared than I knew. I was proud of who I was going to be and I liked watching who I had become. My last months in college were the most defining and I knew by the end of it that I was ready. Truly ready.

I learned that getting a first job offer is one of the most thrilling experiences ever! I don't think I got over that joyful high for months!! I was so happy and in awe and could not believe that such good things were happening for me. I couldn't believe how I got an offer at one of the greatest places to teach in the entire world BEFORE I even had my degree! It was one of the greatest feelings in my entire life and I will treasure those moments forever. I still think of my little corner classroom and feel so blessed to be where I am. It's almost unbelievable... but thankfully it's true.

I learned that sometimes I'm the bad guy. Sometimes I need to be the one to change in a situation. I learned that I always need to look at myself when offended by another, because I tend to be in the wrong, too. Sometimes I AM the wrong. Isn't it terrible when that's the case?

I learned that sometimes people come and go in my life to refine me. To teach me things about myself and help me realize what I need to work on. I learned that just because things don't work out with a guy, doesn't mean I have to feel offended or be angry at that person. This year has been a notorious year for dates gone wrong from it's beginning to it's end. It's almost comical thinking back on the whole year. Three guys...three guys with colorful stories to tell about each which is like WAY more than I bargained for in 2011. But maybe that's okay...maybe every time I'm getting one step closer to becoming who I'm supposed to be. Maybe I'm little bit closer to knowing what I want, and what I want to be for that person. My person. The person that will be single as long as I am. :)

I learned that God knows what He's doing and gives me the strength as I need it. He has had every encounter, every person met, and every single second of this year in the palm of his hand. There is nothing that was a surprise to Him and there won't be in 2012, either. He has been what has gotten me through this very defining year in my life and I owe any of my success to Him. So many things I couldn't have done without Him and He has given me strength for it all. He has truly helped me in every area of my life.

Maybe the reason growing up isn't as hard as I thought it would be is simply because the Lord has given me what I need to do it. Maybe I don't need to fear the future at all anymore, because He always comes through. 2012 will have nothing in it that I can't handle because I have the Lord to help me through anything.

Bye were a good one.

Monday, December 19, 2011

*He Wouldn't Change a Thing*

Leave it to me to be the teacher to embarrass myself while using the school intercom.

Calling the office was something that I always dreamed of as a child and it's even better than I imagined. The feeling of power and importance when you hit that button is unexplainable. As an elementary student I wanted to push it so bad sometimes, but luckily my dream came true. It's still as wonderful as I had hoped for growing up even if I make myself look like an airhead sometimes.

Today we had a game where the principal would come on the loud speaker and say a Christmas trivia question and we would email in and the "7th" correct email would get a door prize. I knew most of them, but one of them really stumped me and my class.

"When does Christmas come before Thanksgiving?" we heard from the chipper voice on the other side of the speaker. My kids and I thought long and hard about what it might be and finally came up with "Christmas in July". Well, the office ended up telling us who won and told us they found it in the dictionary.

So…of course I want to know the answer so I go find a dictionary immediately. After a few minutes of trying to figure out what the answer was, I got fed up and decided to call the office. "What exactly was the answer?" I said after I heard the speaker beep…."In a dictionary" she said back. "Right…that's what you said, but I can't find it." "No, IN the dictionary!" she said trying not to laugh. *Insert my airhead tendencies being displayed in the WRONG area of my life!* Yikes…..My twin sister thought my last post about Santa was real so I'm here to tell you that we come by it honestly. It is a burden we must bare.

On another note, I learned something about the character and personality of God while grading papers the other day. We are working hard on making sure to capitalize the first letters in our sentences and put periods at the end EVERYTIME we write. It is quite the battle, but I am full of hope. Because we've talked about it so much, I try to be pretty picky about the writing that is turned in by this time of year because I know it will pay off in the end. I don't look for perfect spelling other than spelling words, but what is important to know in first grade which is correct capitalization, punctuation, letter formation, and spacing as well as the actual content. (First grade spelling is the cutest spelling in the world by the way.) :)

Anyway, I found myself at my desk going through the things the kids did a few days ago and came across something that I could not be picky about and it was a cool reason why. I had the students write a Christmas card to Jesus to thank Him for coming as a baby and to just share their hearts on paper. I had the stack ready to go through and I saw the first sentence on the first paper did not start with a capitalization. The first thing I wanted to do was ask the student to change it the next day, but the very clear voice of God stopped me: "Don't touch those…those are Mine. They are perfect."

I got so overwhelmed with emotion that tears came to my eyes. Jesus didn't care one bit if those babies were using capital letters or not. He didn't care about the punctuation and if the "F" was written backwards. He wasn't looking for perfection, He treasured the fact that they poured their hearts out to Him. The neatest thing to me was how he called them "His" letters. He hears us and cares so much about what we say to Him. He loves every child in my class more than I can fathom. He wants to hear what they have to say and and He wants to hear what we have to say, too. Even if we are writing in a lonely lamplit room feeling like God doesn't hear what we are crying out…He does. He is right there reading it and treasuring what it says. He calls every word we write "His"….how neat. But neat doesn't describe it well enough and I'm not sure any word would.

We are so very loved and none of us have the slightest idea how deep that love goes or how near He truly is. Jesus wants us just as we are, backwards letters and all….and He wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

*The Day I Sat by Santa*

In my mind there are two types of people in the world. One type of person wants to go along and believe that I am friends with Santa, and the other lifts their nose in disgust and unbelief. The second type doesn't even try to dab into their youthful fun side which is very sad. I'm not sure if you knew this, but it says a ton about a person whether they want to believe me or not. I am in fact a very close friend of Santa Claus and I know many of you are wondering how that came to be. Even the skeptics have asked me how I became bff with Santa believing they could stump me, but I never gave them the satisfaction of a reply. It's about time, though…time to share the story with the world so it won't just look like I made a facebook persona named SantaClaus years ago for kicks and giggles.

It was a cold, winter day at the Denver airport in the days before pat downs were around. There were no video images scanned nor did a man with a creep stash check my back pockets for tweezers. It was a good time for flying and a magical day to be sure. It was nothing like my recent flying experiences/horrors and I didn't know to be grateful for it then.

I was flying home from Colorado on Christmas as my family usually does and I remember seeing Santa on the slopes that morning. After he gives all the boys and girls their presents, he usually relaxes with a few ski runs. I've seen him every year at Snowmass riding the lift on Christmas day, so I knew he was around. I didn't ever suspect he would be in an airport, though, because I assumed he took his slay everywhere. But I think he actually just does that for tradition and prefers the heated comforts of an airplane. He may even be looking into a private jet and only getting in the slay for photos and such. It's really cold and miserable apparently.

Anyway, as I was walking to my terminal I kept hearing the faint sound of "Ho Ho Ho" coming from behind me over and over. I figured it was a weirdo having fun on Christmas day and didn't think much about it. Not soon after, it was time to board the plane and I found a window seat as fast as I could. I knew the plane wasn't completely full so I was hoping that nobody would sit beside me in the empty chair. One lesson my dad taught me that I hold dear is to look absolutely repulsive on an airplane. He told me to do everything in my power to look unappealing to the other passengers so they will forgo the empty seat beside me. I remember years ago he told me one day on a plane: "Abby, you are looking too cute and seat partner worthy, you must start to fake a horrible cough onto the next seat or scream how your tacos aren't sitting right! Otherwise you will have someone sitting by you in no time!"….. "Okay, dad!" I said, " I'll try!" Unfortunately, a boy about my age ended up sitting between us, so I needed to learn to up my game. There's nothing worse than having a stranger that smells like sausage egg biscuits mixed with bad breath sitting next to you in close quarters. It's happened to me and it is scarring for sure. Anyway…back to the story.

So there I was on that Christmas day trying to implement the best advice my dad had ever given me years before. I started hacking and coughing into the seat next to me and taking up waaaay more than my share of space. When I saw someone eyeing the seat next to me I made sure to give them the crazy eyes and twitch a little bit….I also tried hard to look like I was foaming at the mouth. I would have made dad proud for sure.

Just when I was in the middle of the best fake hacking cough performance of my life, a large, old man sat down next to me. "Need a cough drop?" he said as I looked out the window with a defeated frown. My nose caught a whiff of hot cocoa mixed with candy canes and sugar cookies as he spoke. "No thanks" I said while trying to pretend I was about to fall asleep. Conversation with strangers always makes me nervous and queazy so I'd rather fake sleep.

I felt the plane start to move on the runway and the fasten seat belt ding came through the loud speaker. I sat up to buckle my seatbelt and noticed the shoes this old man was wearing were quite strange. They were dark red boots with golden shoelaces. They had what looked like snow stuck to the bottom, but the weird part was that it wasn't melting. The snow had made a comfortable home on the shoe and didn't look like it was going anywhere. I glanced over curiously at the man right as he was turning around and our eyes met….there was a twinkle and I really think I heard a jingle bell faintly in the distance whenever he blinked his eyes. "Funny we are spending our Christmas on an airplane don't you think?" he said as another wave of candy canes and cocoa filled my nose.

"I usually spend my Christmas on an airplane." I said back to him, a little bit creeped out at the twinkle and the jingle bell sounds. "I guess it's meant to be that we are sitting by each other today." he said as I tried to come up with any plan to make this strange man stop talking to me. It always bothers me when strangers want to chat.

Just as I was turning back towards the window to pursue another round of fake sleeping he tapped me on the shoulder. "I really need some help and I know you're the perfect person to ask, Abby." I dropped my mouth open in utter shock. "Wait…time out….I NEVER told you my name was Abby!?!?!"….. I tried to scoot away from him but realized I was pretty much stuck.

He smiled at me and somehow began to look familiar. "Do I know you?" I said with a bit of confusion in my tone. He looked at me with a kind stare and said, "You've known me your entire life in your dreams…in your stories. You feed my reindeer sometimes and you used to leave me cookies at Christmas." Then all at once it hit me….I was sitting by Santa Claus himself.

He then proceeded to tell me that he needed my help and there was a reason he got on the plane that day. Turns out he needed someone to help him write a letter to make Comet come back. Comet had run away and Santa said he had no idea how to put his feelings on paper. He had teared up at the letters I sent him growing up and said they had really moved him. He said he wanted to write a letter that would move Comet like that, too.

We then proceeded to get out a piece of paper and write to Comet by using cliches that always make people cry. We ended up getting really close on that plane trip and he asked me if we could skype when he got back to the north pole. I said that would be great because I really wanted to know what happened with Comet.

A week later, we skyped and Comet WAS back at the north pole. Cliches are always the way to win someone back. Sometimes all it takes is a heartfelt letter full of other people's ideas to make things better. They had a misunderstanding and both were in the wrong which is usually a case in any fight. Both parties are usually right and wrong…which is why fights are so strange and useless.

Anyway, the rest is history basically. We kept in touch and became closer friends over the years which has been really good. I wouldn't change that day for the world and I'm really happy it happened. It makes me think twice before trying to keep the seat beside me empty, ya know? You never know what may happen on what seems like an ordinary day in an ordinary airplane.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

*My Someone, Your Someone*

This week, the last thing I do before I go to bed and the first thing I do when I wake up is kiss a baby cheek. It's one of the best feelings I've experienced in my entire life and it makes this Thanksgiving extra special! This is our very first Thanksgiving with a baby in the house and it's so much fun!! It's especially nice to have all the fun, but no responsibility. I'm soaking up this aunt thing for sure....I would be lying if some of the gory details of pregnancy didn't make me very able to wait on the Lord's timing!! That's one way to receive patience, let me tell ya. Most people go into having a baby with blinded bliss, but I am well aware. Twins know everything...nothing spared. I am praying for my future self a lot lately, haha. Fact.

I've been staying at my parents house since last Friday so I wouldn't miss out on anything with Sam which has been wonderful. My old room has definitely reminded me of a lot I have to be thankful for. The Jr. High photos of friends are filled with the same people that my pictures are now. Luckily, now we look a little different are are not as emotional so we don't fight over whose shampoo is the best. I am so thankful that I've kept my best friends over a long period of time. It's made me so thankful for true friendship that lasts for years. Friends that come into my life not just for a good time, but to live life with me. Friends that are with me through the ups and the downs, and I can trust not to stab me in the back. Friends that are always on my team no matter what. I have been so blessed to see the same faces pop into my room year after year. I don't need a lot of friends, but I do need a few deep ones and I am so thankful I have that.

The room also makes me think about how thankful I am to be born in the family that I am. Why me? Why did I get such great parents that never let me lack for anything? I have always been well taken care of and well loved. I have no idea why I was chosen to be in such a wonderful place in life, but I am so thankful. I can't thank the Lord enough for giving me to these people. They are such wonderful parents and have raised me well.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the people in my life in general. I read a book about how making a difference doesn't mean changing the whole world, but changing things for someone. It's too hard for one person to give clean water to everyone or feed every hungry mouth. I was struggling for a while because I felt like my life didn't look like it was making a huge different. I'm not in a distant land changing tribes or anything. I want to live a life that matters, and I wasn't sure living in the luxuries of this town was doing that. But the Lord has shown me that a lot of times being a difference maker just means changing a life for somebody, being there for those the Lord has put around me. I think that can be in ministry as in sponsoring a child, but also just in the people I look around and see in my life. I could have been placed anywhere, but the Lord chosen to put me here. He has chosen to put you in my life if you're reading this. I think He has a lot of purpose in that.

No matter if it's for a long period of time like my family or a short period of time like my's all significant. We are all put together for a purpose. I try to soak up every minute with my kids at school because I know there's a very short window that I have to pour into their lives. The neat thing I've realized is that they pour into my life as well. They teach me and help me to see things about God and life that I've never noticed before. Of all the billions of people in the world, me and my kids were put together this year and I know that's something very important. It was not by mistake. There is so much purpose God has in that for each of us. There are people in my life I see everyday that were put there very purposefully. There is somebody for me everyday. There is someone I'm meant to notice and do something about. And on the other hand, I am the person maybe the Lord has put in your life. I know I have people who help me in ways words can't express on a daily basis. I am so thankful for that. You are changing my life and making a difference.

So, who is my somebody? Who is my someone? Those are questions I need to continually ask myself because I think it changes from year to year and month to month. It could possibly be day to day as well. Maybe carry around a $20 bill to be able to give to someone in need at the drop of a hat. Who knows what the someone for that day may look like? The somebody for our day may just drop in and out of our life for an instance, but it may make a huge difference. You never know!

The neat thing is, usually my someone is the same somebody who helps me. I think the thing I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving is the fact that I am right where the Lord wants me. I am surrounded by the people that I'm supposed to be and I can always guarantee that God will bring another "somebody" into my life. Every season brings new opportunities to become something important in another person's story. Who is your somebody right now? Who are you going out of your way for? Who has God graciously allowed you to bless right now?

I love that my main "someone" these days are my students at school. What a nice somebody to have because they are so much fun and adoring them comes so easily to me. I get to do something I love while hopefully making some kind of difference and being changed through them as well. Maybe that's where your somebody is...what do you love to do? Who is standing next to you when you do it? Maybe it's them.

We can't change the world, but maybe...just maybe with the help of the Lord we can change something for someone. Even if only for a day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

*My Management Rules to Live by*

I think the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning shows what's important to you. Lately, I've thought about my first graders. What are they doing? Are they having fun? I wonder how I can make *this* work better or *that* work better in the classroom? I'm making a collage out of pictures from our year so far, so that puts it on my mind, too.

This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful for the best first year placement I've ever heard of. I don't know how I was able to end up here, but I am so so sooo grateful. I got the best bunch of kids ever imaginable in the best possible surroundings. It's not always easy, but I think that's because I want to be perfect and I realize I can't be all the time. I think that's why people always look at their first years's just a major learning process. I have so much support and my college prepared me so much, so I can do my job well, but it's just hard not knowing EVERYTHING there is to know. When you love the kids so much, you want to do absolutely everything perfect for them, but there's always more to learn. I think there always will be...maybe that's just life?

There is something I do have a major strength in already, though. Classroom Management comes fairly easy to me and getting behavior in the right direction without having to use too many consequences is something that comes naturally. I was talking about how I do some things the other day at the dinner table and someone asked me to write them down. Through experience I have come to realize that there are a couple of rules to live by that would help anyone who is raising a child or teaching in a classroom. When these rules are broken, even the sweetest of children may have behavioral issues. As the adult, its' our job to help the students make the right decisions by the way we act and react and the environment we give them. We need to set them up for success. We need to give them the opportunity to make the right choices. I truly believe that if a child fails in this area, it is more my fault than theirs in many cases.

Hold on-wait...what?! A child's behavior depends on the adult? It's our responsibility to help them make the right decisions? You mean, it's not the full responsibility of the child? Yes...that's exactly what I'm saying. In my years of experience with children through babysitting, working at a birthday party studio, and teaching summer school for four years, I noticed something VERY important. The SAME child would act very differently around certain adults. For instance, they may be with me and well behaved, but around someone else they would suddenly look like a completely different child. If I said "come here" they would come, but if the other adult would say "come here" the child would throw a fit. It was SHOCKING and really made me think. This is the same exact child we are dealing with here and I'd never seen them behave like that before. Unfortunately, this is not a one time case and it actually happened a lot through the years. Why is this? I think it has to do a whole lot with my theory and I may be onto something. It is beyond a doubt our responsibility to help a child when it comes to behavior.

So if it's our job to give the child an opportunity to do right, what can we do? I am not claiming to be an expert and you can listen to me or not because I am only 23, but I can share a few tips that have worked for me in most situations. I might be in a nice, pretty prep school now but I was in the public school for years at college and even dealt with behavioral disorders. These tips still helped in those more dire situations as well. Sure, it didn't work every time, but for the most part it was successful.

Here are the rules I live by that have helped me:

1.) Give the children a REASON to obey you. Fall in love with them and let them know it. Show them that whatever you do is for their best interest. Respect them as individuals and listen to what they have to say. They can tell if you are just an adult that thinks you know better. Show them that their ideas matter and you care about how they feel and what they do. Do things to let them know that their opinion truly matters. Classroom management is SO MUCH EASIER if a student knows they are loved and feels that mutual respect. Children NEED TO BE RESPECTED just as much as adults! These are real people we are dealing with, and we cannot forget that. They have every right that we do and a lot of times they can tell us things we don't know. They have so much to say that we need to hear, so listen!

2.) Say positive things to the child at least 2x more than you do negative! Don't be a debbie downer all day so much more fun and positive than you are firm. Show the students that you love for them to be happy and you aren't there to just kill the joy. Show them that rules are there so they can have a better day. I've seen too many scrooge adults and it just makes kids want to rebel. I mean, it kinda makes me want to rebel! Why would I want to listen to someone like that?

3.) BE CONSISTENT!! If you say you are going to give a certain consequence for something, you must do that. Don't say you are going to do something and then don't do it. Never say anything out loud that you are not fully ready to do.

Also be consistent in the daily routines. For instance, I always have the same way to pass out papers because the students are used to it and know how that routine goes. We also line up the same way and have the same bathroom procedures, and the students know to stop by the red wall or stop by my door. Everything is always the same so that nobody is ever confused or wandering around.

Be consistent when it comes to what you expect from the children. For instance, say we are doing our daily routine of walking on the third square down the hallway...if someone decides that's a good time to do the bunny hop into their neighbor, I have to stop that immediately every time. I can't sometimes allow for a little hopping and then the next day come down hard. I know that sounds like common sense, but it's something so important that when forgotten makes life a lot harder. You have to have your expectations and stick to them EVERYTIME. Kids are smart, they know if you are the type of person to cave or inconsistently stop behavior. Don't be that person!!

4.) NEVER for any reason reward negative behavior such as a fit or rude attitude. Once, I did try to go the sweet route with a child years ago which made me pay for months. We have to nip that in the bud and not even allow it. What I like to do is give natural consequences such as missing out on something fun until they choose to make the right decision. Consistency comes into play here as well because you cannot, absolutely CANNOT inconsistently give in. You can't give in one day, and then get angry and come down hard the next. That will confuse a child and cause them to throw more fits because sometimes they do get what they want. As hard as it is for us, we have to stop it EVERYTIME!! It's so hard because you don't like to see a little person upset, but push through by thinking about how it's for their own good. The bible says if we love them, we will give them boundaries. To give boundaries you must have a backbone and give it energy. It seems like an easier choice to give them something to make them stop throwing a fit during an embarrassing episode in public, but in the long run it can be very harmful. Kids want to do right, they reallly do. It doesn't feel good to them to throw a fit. Don't give them reason to without realizing it.

I remember one day a few years ago a child started throwing a fit because they didn't want to come inside from playing. All I did was bend down and simply say: "Susie Lou, has Miss Abby EVER given into a fit?" She shook her head no and I said in a soft voice: "Well, baby...don't you think you're wasting your time?" She thought for a minute and grabbed my hand to walk inside. If I don't give in...EVER give in, it pays off.

5.) When I say "no" to something, I try to find a few fun or positive things to say "yes" to. If a person is always having a gruff face and saying no to everything, the child will just feel attacked. Show the children that you want them to be able to do things and would rather say yes by giving them options. Like if a child is spinning on their head during carpet time you have to tell them to stop, but I like to give them the option of showing me a dance at recess instead. There are appropriate times for these things, and I am not just saying no because I like ruining everyone's day. I'm saying no because you can't learn on your head.

6.)REMEMBER when you give a consequence. Don't tell a child they are going to have to miss something fun or sit out for a little bit and then forget. Again, children are VERY smart and they know if you have a leak in your system. I like to have a notebook to remind myself what I've said I'm going to do, because otherwise it would slip my mind.

7.) Practice having "THE FACE"'s not a mean or disrespectful face, but it is a serious one that plainly states: "You better reconsider what you're doing over there, sir." (Sometimes "THE FACE" is all you need. One little glance and your problems are solved.)

8.) Be firm if you must. Being super sweet all the time gives a child the idea that you are a push over, and they WILL push. We all are born with a sin nature, so if they can get away with some silliness, they are going to do it. It's HARD being firm sometimes, it really is...but it's for the best. Being firm does NOT mean being rude or cruel. It means making sure in your tone that they know you are very serious. There is no room for disrespect when being firm. Being disrespectful to a child is a major sin that the Lord takes very seriously.

9.) After consequences are given, hug the child and let them know how much you love them. If they are not as much of a 'mooshy love' child, tell them a joke and make them laugh. Ask them about their sports team or what they plan to do at recess. You need to get to know the child before truly knowing how to handle this part. Some students need a tight squeeze and a lap sitting and others just need you to give them a high five. Some need you to let them know that they can stop feeling guilty because the Lord has already forgiven them. Some need you to make a silly face from across the room. Some need you to tell them that you will never stop loving them no matter what. It just depends on who it be mindful of that and really try to figure it out. This is one of the most important parts of management, but it takes time to find out what works best for each child. Establishing that love and respect after something negative has happened is crucial. Make the bond with that child better because of it.

9.) Expect children to be kind to one another. If a student is allowed to be mean to other people they tend to be out of control in lots of areas. It feels good to be nice to people, and promoting an environment that encourages students to be kind to others helps behavior so much. Make children be nice and friendly. Make them look others in the eye and ask how they are doing. They do not know how to do this naturally, so it is our job to teach them! My mom made me be friendly even when I didn't want to, and it really helped my life. Being kind and friendly to others helps us love ourselves, which in turn helps us have better behavior in general.

10.) Have conversations about behavior! When things are about to get exciting or fun, be sure to have a conversation about it beforehand. Often times, young children become very impulsive when a room starts to get exciting and they automatically want to jump off the walls at the the slightest turn towards fun. They don't necessarily want to misbehave, they just get a little bit excited. Okay, a lot bit excited, haha. It is VERY important that you talk about self control and warn the children that fun is coming. It really helps them manage themselves better because they have time to think about it.

Have conversations about behavior throughout the day before you do something. For instance, before we take any test we have a conversation about how we behave during the test. We also do this for other situations in the day as well. If we have not done that certain thing before, we go through scenarios and how we could behave in those situations. It gets the students thinking, instead of just going on autopilot which is what most children revert to. Auto pilot is not matter if you are an adult or a child! AVOID auto pilot at all costs!

11.) PRAY!!! Call upon the help of the Holy Spirit in the management process. Luckily, I'm at a Christian school so we can pray that the Holy Spirit will help us make the right decisions that day and He really does. Even if you can't pray that, pray, pray, PRAY in your head!!! God is a VERY big help and can do miracles in this area daily. He is the source of any of the success in my classroom and I would be lost without him! I can't tell you how many times I prayed in college that the students in my class would be on their best behavior when my professor came and it was a miracle every time! He can give us all wisdom and loves to give it to the children, too. Pray that the Lord will help you know what to do and also for the children to know. Hear me when I say this...GOD GIVES WISDOM TO CHILDREN...He helps them just as much as He would help an adult! He takes them very seriously and respects them so much. He is not waiting for them to grow up to do a work in them. He is ready to do it NOW. The Kingdom of God belongs to such as these, so why are we not acting like it?

12.) This rule is so important that it needs to be on here twice. LOVE the children with all your heart. Truly have their best interest in mind when you go about disciplining them. Don't just do something to make it easier on you or to stop an annoyance you don't want. Having the right heart in the matter makes all the difference. Do not treat a child in a way that you would not want to be treated!!! They are so so sooo special to God and it is a great privilege that we are even allowed to share space with them. We do not own them, we are honored to be allowed to help facilitate their growth with the help of the Lord. Praise Jesus for that blessing! :)

*Anyway, this may not be news to anybody, but I was told by someone who had not heard of some of these to write them down. It's kind of neat that I get to practice being a mom everyday along with being a teacher. I love it and it's great to see how much God cares about these things. I need to take responsibility everyday for how my children act and pray the Lord gives me wisdom in these areas. It is our fault if the classroom runs a muck, and we need to realize that. We need to stop beating our heads against the wall trying to change children, and change ourselves. And most of all, we need to PRAY. Never forget to call upon the Lord EVERY morning! Raising the future of America is no small feat, and we need all the help we can get. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

*My Biggest Epic Fail Yet*

It was the first time I ever felt like a felon. People screaming bloody murder and trying their best to get as far away from me as possible. Bodies contorted in such awkward positions in hopes that panicking would save them. It felt….scary. It would be scary to be a felon.

I hadn't slept well in a couple of weeks and I think it got to the point last Friday where I completely hit a wall. It's weird how the body can continue to exert itself without much sleep, but then it reaches that place…the place of utter exhaustion and peculiar behavior. It is never good to be in public when you are at that place and unfortunately I was at Market Place Grill.

My family left for our weekend vacation right after school. That Thursday night before I fell asleep so hard and suddenly early in the night which was the first sign that I'd hit the wall. Going into Friday was absolutely miserable! It's the kind of tired that you feel super sick and every step feels like you're dragging around pounds of concrete. It was NOT pretty. So going strait on a car trip after school was probably not the best idea.

Anyway, we got to where we were headed around 8pm and decided to go eat with my sister and her family at Market Place. The walls were looking kind of fuzzy and I was eating advil like candy. I didn't even feel like eating if you would believe it….that's how tired I was. I remember looking at the wooden waiting bench thinking: "Man, I want to lay down on that…just close my eyes for a minute."I would have probably paid someone 3,000 dollars for a bed that night.

I tell you all this because I need you to know that my biggest epic fail was not when I was well rested and fed. It was at a time of utter exhaustion and ruination (in old english terms). Molly asked me afterwards why on earth I made some the decisions that I did and that's just it…I have no idea. So please excuse my overly exhaustive set-up. Now here's the story:

After we were done at Market Place, I drug myself out the door with my brother and dad behind me. An old man opened the door for me and I remember saying "thank you" very faintly, but all I cared about was finding my car to lay down in the backseat ASAP. So I started to roam the parking lot in search of my car and was confused because I knew my brother and dad had come out. Next thing I know, I saw a car start across the parking lot and I realized I was in the wrong place. I started to run as fast as I could towards the car in hopes of getting their quickly. I remember wondering how my legs were moving that fast, but I knew if I ran I would be able to lay down sooner.

I was running a little faster than I knew and ended up running INTO the car and then kinda resting myself on it. Then I grabbed the door and swung it open and proceeded to jump in. Screams of utter horror and panic filled my ears and darkness clouded my eyes. The car's light did not come on, so all I could see were dark, shadowy bodies trying to get away from me as fast as they could. Nobody talked to me, they just screamed in my face and I screamed bloody murder right back. We were all just screaming in the dark.

Since I was so tired, my first thought was: "Why is my family screaming at me?"…then I realized that I was not with my family. I had just jumped into a stranger's car. There was only one person that I do remember seeing and it was the old man who had opened the door for me earlier. The moon shown on his face and he was the only one not screaming. He just kinda slowly turned his head and stared at me. After the rest of the car stopped freaking out he said very dryly: "Well, come on in."

I started laughing nervously and slowly backed away from the car. "I'm sorry…I'm REALLY tired, like REALLLLLLLY tired." I then proceeded to take the walk of shame. I still didn't know where my car was, so those people watched me wander the parking lot as they left. I finally saw my family come back and I ran to tell them what happened. I was fully awake again, because people screaming in your face will do that to you. After telling my dad the story he was like: "Well, I was wondering why you were leaving with a pack of strangers." Apparently they never were behind me after all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

*Adults are like Kids*

Well, I officially made it through my first nine weeks of school! I still find myself having these moments where I feel like I'm living a surreal life. Like when I saw the artwork for my class set up for the auction last Saturday, it dawned on me that I'm a teacher. A real one.

Sometimes in the teacher's lounge I feel like I'm just visiting the school as a college student. It's easy to do, because my internship was only a few short months ago. I smile and wave at the women in their 40's, 50's, and 60's and wonder what it would be like to be an adult. Then I end up walking to the end of the hall and realize there's nobody else's name on the door but my own. I AM the adult…I have the same job as those women I just passed by in the lounge and am doing the same work they do everyday. I'm the brains of that operation no matter how surreal it may seem.

A few years ago, I thought it would be impossible to handle so much responsibility. I am pleasantly surprised to find out that it is something I can do and was completely ready for. Kind of like when you think about driving at the age of 13 and it seems impossible, but by the time you're 16 it's no big deal at all. That's kind of how it's like to be an adult. It's really not as scary as it seems and I'm beginning to realize that all adults are pretty much like kids only with a lot more responsibility.

My whole view of the adult world is completely changing. Believe it or not, adult women like to have fun and want to have girl talk just as much as a jr. high girl. Adult women have lots of feelings and want to sit on the couch and watch TV as much as a kid does. Adult women need to feel loved and accepted just as much as a child. They long to be seen and maybe that gets difficult after motherhood hits because suddenly they turn into the workhorse with a stretchier belly. All adult women deserve to feel special and like they are worth listening to. Females, no matter what the age, need to know they are worth being seen. We all need to know there is a beauty about us both inwardly and outwardly that somebody notices. I think that never changes no matter if we are 9 or 90 years old. It's ingrained in us as women. God meant for us to bring beauty and life into a hard, cold world and something inside us knows that. That's why we spend 30 minutes every morning getting our hair just the way we want it. The world may be in tatters, but baby, our hair won't be!

I remember when I was little I was sure that my mom never had any feelings, but maybe I was wrong about that. Maybe she didn't just LOVE carrying around all our junk at the zoo in her fanny pack. Maybe she did get tired or have her feelings hurt at times. Maybe she didn't just wake up and live for cleaning the house and grocery shopping. Maybe it wasn't always easy to get all the Christmas presents wrapped and under the tree. I always thought all of that came easy to her, but the older I get, the more I realize the price of being a good mom.

It's weird how life looks so much different with each passing year. It's even weirder because I remember all of my point of views growing up. Like when I was six years old and was sure I knew EVERYTHING there was to know about the world. I would get so frustrated that the adults wouldn't just take my opinion as complete truth. Seriously. I was pretty set in my ways…no wonder the Lord had to break me many times in my later years. I was a stubborn little chubbster with a big bow in my hair and hands on my hips. I remember being so convinced that an hour and a half equals five hours that I would argue about it until I was blue in the face. (I still really think I was told that by somebody….I won't let that argument ever die, but I can admit now that the math on that was slightly off.)

Now that I'm a little older…I'm realizing that I was wrong. Maybe I'm still wrong in a lot of ways, but I guess time will have to tell me that. For now, I'm content with the knowledge that adults are like kids….and that's a major discovery.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

*An Unlikely Pair*

Well, it's that time of year again. The awkward time when I can't quite figure out if the heat or air conditioning should be on. My tan lines from the summer are fading with each passing day and my love for coffee is more intense than ever. The Pumpkin Spice latte fest has officially begun and my debit card is thankfully getting enough swipes to earn interest on my account because of it. I made 70 cents last month, thank you very much!

I made the most unlikely friend this past weekend. Through this new relationship I have realized that I may not be as set in my ways as I thought. I am finding out that it is very possible for me to surprise myself. The surprise this weekend came when I unexpectedly fell in love for the first time….with a dog. Yes, you did just hear that right.

As most of you know, I do NOT like dogs. I think they take up way too much time and energy and it bothers me that they try to run away from home so often. The fact that I'm a germophobe does not help matters, either. How people can live in a place where a smelly animal puts their unkept rear end on the couch is beyond me. It just seems wrong!

Things that smell bad REALLY bother me. I have heard so many people say: "No, my dog doesn't stink!" only for me to get close to it and almost gag from the odor invading my nostrils. Unfortunately I judge things off the way they smell and it's a burden I bare. Like if someone has bad breath it's very hard for me to forgive that. Once or twice is fine...I mean we ARE human…but if it's just a lack of brushing and flossing I find it entirely offensive. Bad breath ruins any conversation no matter how sweet to the ears it may be.

Okay, now that I got that soap box over with I can move on to my actual story. I babysat some kids out in the country this weekend who had the HUGEST dog I've ever seen! When I first saw him I seriously started freaking out and thought about faking a blood clot or heart attack. He scared me half to death and kept pushing on me and jumping up for the first couple of minutes. His owner was like: "Oh, just pet him and he'll stop!"…HA...RIIIGHT…PET HIM...."ummm…I don't pet dogs…ever" was my quick response. Luckily she had a good sense of humor and isn't the type of person to put her dog above a human and just laughed at me.

After they left, it was just me and the dog. I looked it square in the eye and it looked at me with his head cocked curiously. He was trying to figure out why I was acting so funny, I think. "Back, dog! BACK!" I said as scary as I could. He took one step back and just looked at me like I was crazy. Then I started walking around the house and he began to follow me. He didn't try to jump up anymore but just stayed behind me about a foot away. It's almost like he realized I didn't want to be touched and completely respected that.

He continued to follow me outside, around the house, and anywhere I would go. When I decided to take a short nap on the couch, I was pleasantly surprised when he laid down on the floor and started to snore. He was literally doing whatever I did. When I ate, he ate…when I slept, he slept. When I went around to lock the doors at night…so did he.

I was in the middle of the woods which was kind of creepy, so I decided to move his dog bed to my door to feel a little safer. I never thought I'd do something like that, but there was something about this dog that I connected with. Something about him made me feel like we were friends. Something about him made me feel like I wasn't so alone. Instead of being terrified of the dog, he made me feel like everything was going to be okay. He let me know when anything weird was going on outside and he never tried to run away. In fact, he has a huge doggy door so he can go outside to run in the woods whenever he wants and always comes back afterwards. He's smart like that.

The weird thing is that I could go on talking about this dog all night. Like the way I miss the sound of his tinkling collar or how I wish he was here right now. I realize why some people get so attached to their dogs, because I really liked him a lot. I would even go further and say that I loved him. He was my companion and my buddy for the weekend and we really had a bond that I will never forget. When I woke up in the morning I even patted his head and said: "Thank you for your services, sir."

If only he knew what a big deal that was.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

*Memory/Made for a Purpose*

When other six year old kids were in school, we would be setting up a little village in the backyard. Each of the four kids had a tent that we would put up and make into our own "home". We would make a trail to each front door and there was a main community area in the middle. My brother Zach was really great at designing things, so that was really his part of the game.

My mom gave us real dishes that we got to pretend to clean. She would bring us out a bucket of water and a towel and we could sit out there scrubbing those glass dishes for hours. We even got to bring out our blankets and make beds. Me and Molly would interior decorate our entire tents until they were full of flowers and nick knacks to make it a home. Once we got everything ready, we would get our baby dolls and play like we had our own little family in the neighborhood. The boys would play along, too (minus the baby dolls) which was one great thing about us all being around the same age. It was really wonderful time in life….

The setting up process would take SO long and my anticipation would build as the minutes ticked on. Finally when everything would be ready, I could barely contain my excitement and I would feel happiness bursting from head to toe. Usually things would go smoothly and we would play until dinner time…...but somedays….it didn't work out so well.

I remember one time after we finally finished setting everything up, I heard one of the worst things a kid can hear at that age…."I don't want to play anymore." Um…excuse me?! You don't want to play anymore?!?! Are you crazy?! We just got this set up! The feeling of wanting so bad to play something, thinking that you are going to get to, and then someone getting burnt out too soon was pretty much a disaster in my little mind. I think it was my very first taste of disappointment.

I still get that feeling sometimes and it never ceases to be the biggest buzz kill. A lot of times, when a woman feels an emotion, her brain takes her back to places that she has also felt that emotion. Then, of course she has to get upset about that all over again, too. I think that's why men don't understand girls and their hysterics. They don't understand that we are not only mourning the moment…but an entire lifetime. My dad and brothers never quite understood the drama fests of the women in my family, but they sure got plenty of it. Being a female is tough and I don't know if many men could handle it. But then again, we don't have the responsibility of running the world….so I think it all evens out in the end.

Can you imagine if it were up to women to be the head of the family? Can you imagine if we we are the ones that this world was riding on?! If I had all that responsibility, I'd run crazy screaming through the streets! If I was the brains of the operation at some major company and had this internal need to provide and compete….I would be done for! Luckily, I am completely non competitive which is good because I am horrible at many things.

On the playground the other day, I had a really eye opening moment. All of the kids love to show me their tricks and I hear my name called out over and over again. It may be to just watch someone jump rope, or go down the slide, or run to the other side of the playground. They just need to know somebody is impressed with what they do. In the midst of it all, someone came over to me and said: "Miss P…I can't run fast or do flips or jump rope...I guess that's just the way God made me!" I looked over and smiled and said: "Baby, that's a wonderful way to be made."

I can't run fast or do sports either so I could completely relate. It was like the Lord was trying to tell me something through that statement. Lately I've been thinking about some things that I wish I was or had in my personality that I don't. Sometimes I even try to force myself to think or be something that I'm not which never works out well. Like me trying not to be a deep thinker and professional over analyzer of my daily life is never going to happen. I remember analyzing and contemplating the meaning of life when I was seven years old. "Why am I here?" I would ask myself in the mirror. Then I felt claustrophobic in my own body….like I was stuck inside. I was totally aware of my soul and thought about it a lot when most kids were just playing barbies. I still spend many nights alone just trying to wrap my mind around the deepest questions we have. It is very hard for me not to analyze things and actions and people on a deeper level. It's just kind of what I do. The Lord made me that way, though… and He made me that way for a purpose. And He made you the way He did for a purpose, too.

One of the things I am learning most of all through my first year of teaching is just how special each person really is. How different each brain works and how they all have something that they are really good at. Each student in my class is so unique and so different and I see so much good the Lord has for their future. I am absolutely sure there are some very important leaders of the future sitting in my classroom right now. What a blessing to be a part of that.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

*The Old House*

So I was just reading some of my blogs from 2009 and I'm pretty sure I forgot half the things that happened. I tend to forget my life accidentally.

I was driving home from school on Friday and decided to take a detour and drive by the house I grew up in. It always feels so strange to drive up that road, because it still feels so familiar. When I got there, I slowed down and started to stare at it as memories flooded my mind. Memories that could only escape if I allowed myself this moment.

I noticed there was a little boy playing outside on a rock that I used to play on all the time. I stopped the car and watched him for a minute until I noticed his dad come outside and start to stare at me. I don't exactly fit the profile of a criminal, but I guess you can't be too careful these days.

It was really weird not being welcome at the place I know so well. Glimmers of the past like the old rusty basketball goal stood right next to the reality of today. The reality of a man basically saying "Get off my property, you crazy!" and I guess he didn't realize it was my property, too. That's where I spent countless hours building cities for my barbie dolls and brushing my American Girl's hair. That's where I pretended to be a mom everyday as I took care of my favorite baby doll named Chad. I really don't like the name Chad, so I'm not sure why I named him that….but I sure did love him. I don't remember many days I didn't play like I was a mommy. I've always been very maternal, even more than the other girls around me and maybe it was because I was made to be a teacher and a mom. I guess it was just ingrained in me and there's nothing I can really do about it. It's just innate…put there by God himself. I loved loving and taking care of babies even back then and that is something that has not changed.

I ended up driving away pretty soon because I realized I was making the new owner uncomfortable and I was definitely not welcome. I started to think of things that are a lot like the old house as I drove down the road forcing my mind back to my now. It made me realize that a lot of things in life are like that. Some things that were once so familiar and may still be, but we have no way to get to them anymore. Like my old dorm rooms…even though I have so many memories there, I can never go back. It doesn't belong to me anymore. And it would be entirely inappropriate to go use my locker from high school because that belongs only to my yesterdays. It still feels familiar, it still feels like it should be mine…but I have to walk away.

I've noticed people can be like that, too. Lots of people. People that I really care about that had to move away or just aren't in my life anymore. Sometimes your paths cross with someone for a short, beautiful time and then it fades into the background as life continues to go on. We may see those people again and they seem so familiar, but for some reason…it's just not the same. It's like the old house with familiar remnants of the past colliding with the new and unfamiliar reality of the present.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

*The Major Ordeal*

All my life I've continued to find myself in creepy situations and today was no different.

I was driving down the road to Starbucks this morning when suddenly I realized that my foot was in A LOT of pain! It kind of was like a gradual thing…a little discomfort at first, and then suddenly it was just burning to the point that I could barely drive!!! So of course I did what Abby does best and started completely freaking out.

Luckily, it wasn't my driving foot, so I was able to bend down to see what the problem was. I felt something in between my skin and shoe kinda stuck and suddenly I realized IT WAS MOVING!!! MOVING?!?! Why would something be moving and burning in my shoe?!?!?!

I couldn't figure out exactly what was going on down there, but I knew that it was probably going to be a major ordeal. I lifted whatever it was up to my face so I could see it and was SHOCKED AND APPALLED to see an enormous black beetle in my face!!!! I threw it to the other side of the car and started screaming as I quickly pulled into the nearest parking lot.

I sat there stunned for a minute and when I gained my composure I went about wacking at the beetle who kept getting away from me. He was super fast and super mad!! He went through a lot of trauma being stuck in my shoe as well and I'm pretty sure he didn't want to be there, either. Eventually, I put him out of both of our miseries……although, I am still suffering a little bit and he is not.

There was a huge black beetle stuck in my shoe which can scar a girl, you know? I have been perplexed ever since as to how he got there in the first place and it's left me with an uneasy feeling… I mean, is there a massive beetle home in my closet?! Do beetles sleep in my shoes?! Is one going to get in my bed?!?!?! How can I be certain that my feet will be safe tomorrow? It's all just really disturbing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

*Senior Prom and Bible Stories*

"When your stomach is empty and your head is full…it makes it hard to sleep."-Wilbur from Charlottes web

My head is full of the most random things and it's funny to me to see where my head goes in certain situations. Today my brain has been completely on memory mode! I spent an hour today recalling my senior prom and I have no idea why. I had broken up with my boyfriend of four years just three weeks before the prom and was in desperate need of a date. I asked my cousin Macy to go with me and she ended up being the best date I ever had. It sounds lame that I had to basically convince my ninth grade cousin to attend my senior prom with me….but I wouldn't trade it for the world. The story gets more hilarious to think about the older we get.

Another thing my head has been full of is Jacob and Esau. Probably because I saw the story in a new light now that I'm teaching it and I'm surrounded by bible stories everyday. It's like I'm catching things that I didn't before, and I have SO many thoughts after I teach bible. Like….I really think when Jacob worked for Labban all those years for Rachel and got Leah, it was kinda like what goes around comes around, pal! Poor Esau was stabbed in the back like CRAZY!!! And Esau was nice and ended up forgiving Jacob even though he did NOT deserve it.

And how weird is it that Rebekah loved Jacob the most and Issac favored Esau?Don't you think that probably caused some major marital issues?! I mean…every single day I am just wanting to chat about these bible stories….. cause man, there was a lot of twists and turns that I never realized before. When I'm studying them like this, I just want to give Jacob a little talkin to for putting on the goat fur and taking Esau's blessing, ya know?! But then again…what on earth was Issac thinking when he decided to have a favorite son?! RUDE,MUCH?!?!

The thing I'm realizing about almost every single bible story I teach is that they have a part where God blesses them and is on their side, and then there is some major flaw or sin that they commit that they have to pay the consequences for. Anyone who thinks that God's love depends on us being perfect clearly has not memorized the Old Testament!!! The bible is packed with sinful, broken, and imperfect people on God's side! Maybe that's what is such an "Ah ha" moment for me. Did you hear the emotion in my words earlier? I think it's because for the first time I am realizing all the disfunction and sin in the people who we usually just talk about as God's friends and all the "shining moments" in their lives.

Like Abraham trying to rush God's plan by having Ishmael with a woman who was not his wife. (We skipped that part of the story in 1st grade, but I knew it already) Abraham got his promise of a son and was known as a close friend of God, but Islam stemmed out of Ishmael which was a major major major consequence for trying to take his life into his own hands. Even though God promised him a son, Abraham could not see how that would happen and decided to make things happen on his own. Talk about yikes!!! Makes me want to think a little harder about my decisions! Makes me want to be patient and wait on God's timing in my life, ya know?

And what about Joseph's brothers? How hard would it be to have your dad love one child more than you and then have the favored child say that God is going to make them bow down to him. I mean…I'd be tempted to throw him in a well myself! Our sin nature would naturally make us want to do that and doing the right thing is what is hard a lot of the time. How hard would it be to be like: "Joseph, can't wait to bow down to you! I'm so happy for you that dad likes you best and got you this coat I always wanted." Ya….most of us couldn't do that.

I should probably go to bed, but if you're like me and never quite got the generations before no matter how much you've been in church…Let me give you a little picture:

Abraham and Sarah had Issac

Abraham and Sarah found Issac a lovely wife named Rebekah at a water well and those two love birds had twin boys named Esau and Jacob

Even though Jacob wronged Esau, we know more about Jacob. Jacob was the one who married Leah AND Rachel and he had 12 sons. One of the sons was Joseph and he's the technicolored coat one.

I knew all the stories separately before, but had never quite put the generations together, so there ya go. Maybe that will give a better idea to somebody…who knows.

Friday, September 23, 2011

*My Week's Debacle*

Well, here I am reporting to you from the other side of my tragic affair. Unfortunately, I have suffered from a freak accident knee injury AND the stomach bug since Tuesday. Worse yet, I feel like I brought a lot of it upon myself for two reasons: 1.) I shouldn't of power walked down the hallway 2.) I should've just shaved my legs.

It was a normal Tuesday afternoon around 2:15 and I was waiting in the hallway like I always do for my kids to come back from enrichment. I walked down the hall a little bit to see if they were anywhere in sight, only to realize that they were coming in the back door. (A door they NEVER come in). So next thing I know, my kids are making it to my room before I am so I decide to start speed walking to get there as fast as I could.

I hastened my pace while perplexed why they did not come in the same door as always. I guess it was maybe fate or something…I have no idea. I quickened my pace to what I'd call a professional walk/jog and the next thing I know my right foot slips on some slime and is up over my head and suddenly I slam down in the splits, my left knee cracking against the floor.

Shock and embarrassment and pain ensued and I just started to laugh not really knowing what to do. "Ummm do I need to sit in your room for a while?" a woman said to me sympathetically looking at me still sprawled out in the splits.

I tried to hobble back to class and go on as usual, but clearly that wasn't going to happen. My babies tried to help and pick me up which was the cutest thing ever. I let them know that unfortunately, they could probably not support my weight, haha. I do appreciate the enthusiasm to help me, though! I love those kids!!!!

Not long after, I found myself in the nurses office where people started asking me to show them my knee. "NOOO!!!" I said laughing hysterically…"I can't!"… the thoughts of my hairy legs plagued me as I tried to figure out a way to ice the knee without revealing the part of my life i've cut out in all my busyness…..shaving.

Alas, my efforts were futile and the next thing I know my dignity is handed over on a platter as the nurse and a lot of other worried people looked at my knee. "We'll get the trainer!" I heard as a cold, icy shiver went down my spine. Trainers are usually males in their mid twenties…could. it. be. worse.?!

In an attempt to regain some of my dignity, I grabbed the blanket on the sick bed to cover up the rest of my leg. That was a HUGE mistake that I didn't know about at the time. I awkwardly laughed my way through the rest of the day and ended up hobbling out of the school on crutches. Everything went by in a blur and I couldn't believe what a major scene I was making. Not to mention, thoughts of all who viewed my legs in their natural state haunted me with every strained step.

I got home and my knee was not looking good AT ALL. It was swelling up like it had a bouncy ball in the top of it and I iced it down for the night. I went to bed hopeful that I would return to school and woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach bug. The stomach bug that has now lasted three days!

Yep….it happened. And it was awkward. But we all know my life is just one big awkward moment, so what more can we expect?

Monday, September 5, 2011

*Just Sitting in an Airport*

Well, here I am sitting in the Kansas City airport waiting to fly home for work tomorrow. I'm reminded of last Christmas when I got stuck in a HORRIBLE blizzard and spent many hours in this airport. Every time without fail I have something inappropriate for an airport in my bag without knowing it. I'm always an issue when it comes to security, but they don't understand that a girl NEEDS her tweezers! It's so wrong that they throw those out…. Luckily, I did NOT get the pat down which is good for both me and security. That wouldn't of been pretty. (I'm still considering writing a complaint letter to Obama himself for the debacle last Christmas in Denver)

I have made eye contact with the same guy a couple of times now and I'm using this blogpost as a way to escape this extremely awkward moment. I am already feeling a little on the iffy side because I had to walk barefooted through security and they almost didn't give me my shoes back because they said I reached for them too early. I am surrounded by strangers and millions of germs, but that's just the price you pay in an airport.

As you can tell, I haven't had much time to blog lately because teaching is pretty much a 24/7 thing. Even on the weekends I'm just trying to survive and get any rest I can. I call it living in the "Code Red" zone. My house is a mess, my closet is a mess, and I have rotting food in the fridge but I forgive myself because I'm just trying to make it. I am in survival mode right now, but I think that's the way the first year of teaching always goes. You just work super hard and come home to a ton of laundry you don't have enough energy to do. It's so worth it, though…I LOVE my kids.

I just sat down in an airport chair that was warm from the person before me….yilkes! There is something just so unnerving about that, you know? I am reminded why I'm not a huge traveler at times like these.

Can I just say, Samuel is the cutest little bundle of joy in the entire world!!! I love him SO much! It's a shame he live so far away. :( We had some amazing moments this weekend that I wouldn't trade for anything. I feel so lucky to be an aunt to such a sweet baby boy! This trip was well worth it and I'm so thankful.

In other news, I have decided to become a huge football fan so wish me luck in that. That's about all I have to say for now, because the super funny stuff in my life has to be kept a secret. You wouldn't believe all the hilarious stuff that happens at school on a daily basis. (Unfortunately…I can't write about any of it)

Happy Labor Day! :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

*My Life's Current News*

Here I am, reporting to you after my first week of school. :) I have made it through and it feels GOOD! Life outside of college is pleasantly less stressful so far I must say. Probably because I am employed at the rainbow happy school where everyone is full of joy due to a perfect work environment. haha It also helps that I am not writing papers at night about legal issues in the eduction system using the all confusing APA format. I could not be happier about finally being on the other side!!!

Speaking of Legal Issues, I can't say much of anything about school related things so I won't be blogging about the hilarious stuff that happened this week. I can guarantee you that I have TONS of funny quotes and stories already and it's only been four days! I keep a post-it handy to write them down, because they are just too good to forget. Some of the things about my day are so funny that I end up laughing out loud by myself later that day. I mean….when you're having popcorn prayer with 6 and 7 yr. olds, it's bound to bring some priceless moments. I seriously feel like the luckiest person in the world!!!

Not only do hysterical things fall into my lap on a daily basis, but I have the best students on earth! You know I wouldn't just be saying that, because I am not afraid to blog about the mishaps in my life. This time…I'm not giving the miserable company, because I really do have students that exceed all of my expectations!!! I feel so honored and I just can't believe the Lord allowed me this wonderful responsibility! I don't want to take any moment for granted, because I know I only have them for a year! That is not long!!! We have to squeeze all the love out we can before it's too late! *Insert thought about my kindergarten class from last semester….I'd give anything for one more hug fest from them!*

*My license FINALLY came in the mail!!!!!!!! No more worried days calling the police over my fingerprints, haha….I'm sure they are happy about that! There are a few establishments that know me by name due to excessive use: Heavenly Ham, Starbucks, Terrace on the Green, and the Police Department.

**In other news….USA drug is the BEST place to get pictures printed off if you want immediate results! If you have like 400 photos you could be sitting there a while, but if you have about 20 or so they print off really quickly right in front of you!!!! Seriously!!! It's a teacher's best friend for those crafts involving photos! I am so glad I was born in this era!!! I love technology!

*** Samuel leaves tomorrow! :( :( :( I am going to miss that baby boy!!!! Our family might need some major help from the outside world to get over this occurrence. I'm gonna need a major therapy book on how to let your nephew go! It has to be thick, because this will not be an easy thing! Especially when he sometimes confuses me as Molly so we have an even deeper bond! He's even smiling now…awww. I've LOVED getting to be with Molly and Logan, too….wahhhh What will we do?! We are all gonna be a huge mess. A basket case of insanity!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

*Perfect Timing*

Do you ever wake up and look at the world completely different? I feel like I go through phases in my head where my view of things seem to change. I never know when those days will be, but sometimes I just wake up and feel….different.

Obviously my life has changed over night for two very important reasons which is probably why I feel this way. The MOST important thing is that I'm now an aunt to a beautiful baby boy who has stolen my heart completely! :) A very close second is that I am finally where I've wanted to be for so long and have started my career.

I feel like I can't even write about Samuel because there are no words that truly portray how wonderful it feels to be an aunt. I'm sure many of you are wondering (don't lie) how it feels to have a twin sister who is married and has a newborn baby when you haven't even had a date in three years. I'm here to tell you that no matter what we plan for our lives, God has His own plans and He has His ways of making us okay with that. I couldn't be more overjoyed to have this baby in my life!!! I am absolutely head over heels IN LOVE!!! My heart is complete putty in his hands and it's never going back! Samuel is my little love and I would go to the ends of the earth for him. My heart is thrown at him completely with no hinderances which is my favorite type of love. :) I am so thankful to Jesus for my nephew and I rush over after work to hold him for hours. I never want to let go!

Although my heart is full of peace and joy now, i'll be wasn't always like that. For the first few months of Molly's pregnancy I had a really hard time dealing with it. I told God very politely that as long as He brought me a man before Molly had a baby, then I'd be fine that I was second to be married. I think God makes me feel so special that I definitely overstep my bounds sometimes! I wonder if He sometimes just looks at me and shakes his head. Probably because I say "I know it's wrong to say this, BUT…" I mean, I am completely honest with God and we have a very open relationship so I made sure that He knew my agenda. Aka…get a man before the first grandchild. He really didn't answer that one the way I wanted exactly, though. Infact…I kinda got more heartbreak instead! I would sometimes just yell at God and try to convince Him that He was not fair. It's interesting because whenever I would hold my fists up and question God, He had a way of grabbing my hands softly and pulling me into a hug. Even though I thought that I had a better way of handling my life than God, He still just wanted me close. Even though I was throwing a complete fit…He held me even tighter.

Jesus has grown me a lot since then and I wouldn't be the woman I am today without the struggles that have come in the past two years. Even though it isn't always easy, I have so much joy and I know that Samuel didn't come a moment too soon. I am convinced that God has PERFECT timing and nothing could've taught me that more than my wrestling with God. I ask for love…and I seem to get heartbreak. I follow God and work so hard to live a life of purity…and I get to sit at home with my frogs. There is definitely no kissing going on in my life, believe that! Just me and the frogs who like to cuddle which is kinda rude….I can never seem to escape the third wheel role. That's just the way it is right now, but I wouldn't have it any other way if that is what Jesus chooses for me these days! God promises to work everything together for my good and I believe that because He has and will!

I know God has the perfect plan for me and I trust Him with my life. I am now at a point where I see what He has been doing and I am so thankful that I am where I am today. Jesus has been SO good to me!!!! I am in absolute awe and I have never trusted God as much as I trust Him right now. Sometimes we just have to keep drudging forward in the dark, forcing our hearts to believe that it will all make sense one day. And it will.

I am starting to see things come together that I didn't understand before and I cannot tell you how full of happiness I am now that I've started my job. It's like I've been searching my whole life for where I fit in the world and I've finally found it. I was MADE to teach babies….everything about myself that I didn't understand now makes perfect sense. God has made me exactly the way I need to be and I am so thankful.

I am convinced that everything will make sense in time no matter how long we are in the dark. You just wait…..for every trial I face in my life, I can guarantee you that something beautiful will come. God's timing is PERFECT. God's plan is the BEST for my life. How can I argue? How can I complain? My Jesus knows what He's doing, even when I don't understand.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

*Bad Bedside Manner*

I have the absolute worst bedside manner. It's a burden I've had to bare for as long as I can remember. At the sight of blood, I feel queazy and start to black out. I have a severe phobia of the hospital and start to freak out when I have to go in one. It's a germaphobe's worst nightmare and it's not easy to face. I mean…you have no idea what's crawling on you after you leave that place and who knows what frightening things you may encounter there.

As most of you know, my sister has been extremely ill with salmanila for a few days now. When Molly first got to the hospital, I had no idea because everyone forgot to wake me up from my nap. I guess Molly in a deathly state overruled alerting me which is probably understandable. Once I woke up and figured out what happened, I went strait to the hospital forgetting my severe phobia.

It didn't take long to remember my fear because the moment I walked into the lobby I felt myself start to hold my breath. "What is coming into my lungs?!?! MUST NOT BREATHE!!!" I thought as I shuffled over to the elevator. I was shocked to realize I didn't have a napkin to push the button with so I tried to kick it with my foot which was not helpful. Luckily an unsuspecting citizen pushed the button for me and I sure hope for their sake they washed their hands afterwards. They must be unaware of those germs sitting on there waiting to pounce.

The elevator smelled like an old man's foot mixed with two different types of perfume. I was squished between way too many people and we awkwardly rode the vator up without any sign of conversation. I tried to hold my breath again, but my head was starting to hurt so I had to stop. Luckily, labor and delivery is on the second floor, so I didn't have to endure that hardship long.

I was told by the front desk lady to pick up the phone and ask the nurse to let me in at the special doors. The phone smelled like the old Chuck E Cheese slide and I could only imagine how many people had talked into it without thinking to clorox! I held it far away from my head and screamed into the phone when I thought I heard a voice. I guess it worked, because the door unlocked.

I got to Molly's room and was horrified to see her in such a dark state. She was VERY sick. I washed my hands and grabbed some gloves to keep myself safe from whatever it was. I timidly said hello to her and went and sat in the corner and proceeded to stare at her with a frightened look. "What do I do, what do I do?!"…I was not helping anything one bit. All I did was start to cry as Molly told me she was sorry I had nothing to keep me occupied. Here she was being selfless and I was just falling apart in the corner of the room asking if she'd ever walk again. FAIL.

Fortunately, Molly knows of my horrific bedside manner and asked for me to come back and visit anyway. She is very wonderful like that. I care about her so much and fighting through the jungles of the hospital to see her was an act of love. I actually went back everyday, because I wanted to be the best I could be…even if it was less than mediocre and hardly of any comfort at all.

Friday, July 29, 2011

*The 8th Grade 'Word'*

Picture this: May 2002 at the country club for my 8th grade graduation ceremony. Everyone is dressed up in their finest cocktail attire and waiting to see what special word will be chosen for them this year. The teachers follow tradition by picking out one word that describes each student to honor them as they come and pick up their certificate. It's always a very special occasion and people remember their word forever. It signifies something very particular about the student that the teachers saw and want the world to know about.

The students started getting called up one by one being showered with honorable words that would make any parent proud. "Respectful" "Servant" "Jovial" "Caring" "Intelligent" "Athletic" "Charismatic" "Successful" "Lovable"…the list goes on and on. Every student before me got words that were so positive and made them feel like a million bucks! I couldn't WAIT for my turn….nothing like being publicly shown off, right? I just KNEW I was going to get a word that would blow everyone away! I'd been waiting to see what they'd choose for weeks.

Finally, they got to my name and the butterflies rose up in my stomach. I smiled as wide as I could as I walked up to my teachers who were waiting for me at the stage. I looked over the crowd ready for them all to be completely taken aback at how wonderful my word was going to be. The teacher then took the microphone and slowly said: "Abby's word is…." THIS IS IT, THIS IS IT!!! "…..sensitive."

SENSITIVE?!?! Excuse me?! Did I just hear you correctly?!?! I was NOT pleased and my face showed it. Me?! Sensitive?!?! How RUDE!!! "I am NOT sensitive!" I said to my friend as I tried to wipe the tears streaming down my face afterwards. " 'Hilarious' 'Witty' 'Charming' 'Sweetheart' 'Favorite'…THOSE were the words they were supposed to bring out!!!! But SENSITIVE?! REALLLLY?!?!" Let's just say I cried for a very long time about the whole thing.

But I mean, what girl doesn't cry a lot when they are 13 years old? It's 8th grade for heaven's sake! You are still deep in the jungles of Jr. High!!!!! I felt like I had been pretty strong and not had drama moments when I could have. If only they knew how much emotion I was keeping in! How come everyone else got a lovely word and I was stuck with SENSITIVE?! I still haven't completely forgiven my 8th grade teachers and I really liked them before that.

Fast forward to today that holds a MUCH better memory than my 8th grade debacle. Luckily, I had a moment that over rules that horrific day I try to forget. At a bridesmaid luncheon this afternoon, the bride gave us all stationary with a sentence that describes us on it. I finally got something that I really loved and want to embrace for the first time! Mine said: "She turned her can't into cans and her dreams into plans". It meant so much because she doesn't even know how many times in the past five years that I literally thought I'd NEVER make it to where I am. I hope at the end of my life this quote is still something someone would choose to describe me with. I serve a God who can do the impossible, so luckily it's a definite possibility. I'm so thankful for that moment…what an encouragement…what an honor to be seen that way by someone I care so much about.

If only my 8th grade teachers were there to see it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

*Fingerprint Debacle Part 2! (THE ENDING)*

Some of you may remember reading about my licensure debacle over my fingerprints a few months ago. You also might remeber the creepville visit to the jail I made to get some new ones. Well, it turns out that the second ones are still not sufficient to the Po Po which was shocking to say the least. I'm the only one who has not received my license in the mail out of all the people I know. Instead of having a panic attack, I decided to put the Police on speed dial and call them everyday this week.

Turns out my fingerprints apparently will NEVER be good enough to go through! Yep, I have managed to ruin my fingerprints and I bet you couldn't guess why. I have washed my hands so much that I literally rubbed my fingertips raw enough that the prints always look a little off on that paper!!! My germophobe tendencies have come back to bite me in the rear!!!!!! Who knew?!

If that doesn't give you an idea of what a germ freak I am, I don't know what will! Luckily, they are going to let them go through and give me my license anyway just a couple of months after everyone else. My tainted fingers are to blame for this very grievous incident, but at least there is hope for me. Now it's just a waiting game.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

*Going Back*

*I really hope this can help/give encouragement to anyone who has struggled with hanging on to hurts from the past! Jesus CAN heal us!!!! He can do so much more than we imagined possible!*

I woke up early Saturday morning with this major urge to go back to the place that has been haunting me recently. From my last blog, it was obvious that things were coming back and I now know why that is. It was time for me to face everything from years ago so that I could move forward in my todays. God is up to BIG things in my life and I don't want anything to stand in my way. I'm in a Beth Moore "Breaking Free" bible study that has been SO amazing and it just so happens this week's homework was on facing our past. Definitely not a coincidence.

I grabbed my workbook and headed out the door to travel to the town that I haven't been back to in three years. I didn't think I'd ever go back, but to move forward I really needed to. I prayed that the Lord would show up and show me how to put to rest all of the things inside of me that bring out negativity because of my past. I prayed that somehow He would show me how to let it go and show me the good that He has promised to do from it. All the insecurity that I haven't been able to shake has got to get a move on and FAST! It's God's will that we live as secure people with healthy hearts and minds not fogged up from situations in our life's rear view mirror. I knew inside that I had to go back in order to move ahead.

I drove up to the campus and instead of feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness, I felt an overwhelming sense of "where in the world am I?!"…I didn't recognize the place at all and I bet it didn't recognize me, either. I did remember my old dorms, so I kinda drove around and let all the memories flood back, but in all honesty, I didn't have many come to mind except for the ones I've beat like a dead horse. Everything seemed so normal…so ordinary and not like the nightmare I had pictured it. Our brains have a way of making things so much worse than they are, don't they? I just kinda sat there and stared wondering why I let this place haunt me for so long. Why did I let college aged people help decide what I think my worth should be? Why would I ever let a person decide?

I ended up dong my bible study on a picnic table outside my first dorm room window. It couldn't of been more relevant and it was about Jesus being our Healer and how He has come to bind up the broken hearted. He has come to save us from those moments when our hearts have burst into pieces and we never thought they could be mended again. He has come to bring light to what was once darkness. He has come to make all things new.

The Lord really showed Himself so clearly and His Spirit was there in such a real way. I have been praying constantly everyday that the Lord will give me a security so deep that no one or no situation can shake. I went through some of the things that made me feel so unimportant and worthless and prayed to God through them all. He showed me that no matter who doesn't like me or who rejects me that my beauty and worth is unchanging. Every person on this earth could turn their backs on me, but I am still as valuable and full of dignity as ever because the Lord has crowned me with these things. Going through those moments that should have hurt so bad was not even hard at all in the light of this truth. I have never felt more secure in my life because the fact was, I was rethinking about things that should break me, and all I felt was confidence and security. I was full of unshakeable dignity even while thinking of times when our human nature would feel the opposite. Being able to feel secure in the moments when most people can't is the most empowering thing I've ever experienced.

Once I was done with my bible study, I got in the car and a song that I've never heard from Hillsong came on singing this:

"So I throw my life upon all You are,
‘Cause I know You gave it all for me,
And when all else fades,
My soul will dance with You,
Where the love lasts forever"

It really spoke to my heart so much. I could see myself literally throwing my past and future out of my hands and into His. And the neat thing was, I started imagining Heaven with Him forever and everything just kind of faded away. It reminded me that when that day comes, NONE of my disappointments or trials in this life will even be on my mind at all. It will fade away for good and the only thing that will matter is the love story I'll be living out for eternity. Suddenly my past didn't seem so big anymore….suddenly it actually seemed pretty small. ALL my problems seemed pretty small in the light of eternity.

God has supernaturally changed my thoughts and feelings towards some of those days which is an absolute miracle. I can't explain to you exactly what He's done, but I will let you know that I thought it was impossible. I thought a lot of the things He's doing in my heart and emotions lately were impossible, but they aren't! I have faith that the Lord will do so much in my heart throughout my life and even though I'll never be perfect, the Holy Spirit can help me be more than I ever thought I could be.

Let's throw our lives into the hands of Christ where everything good and bad can bring glory to Him. Every difficulty we've been through can be a part of our deliverance. Every hard situation can bring us wisdom. We can all find an unwavering security and be empowered through the things that should have crippled us forever. How neat is that? How good is our God?!