Tuesday, April 17, 2012

*Back with a Vengeance*

The weather is warming up,the flowers are in bloom, and spring has finally made it's way to us which means……..my personal war with the spiders is raging again!!! For years this battle has been going on and the descendants of the ones I have killed in the past are dropping from the roof I'm sure as we speak. That is the main reason I am up at 3:24am wide awake with plenty of energy to write this.

Now, I'll have you know that it's not the spiders that I'm afraid of, because I see them all the time at the lake and I'm okay with it. But I have a really good relationship with the dock creatures and we leave each other alone. I am not afraid of these types of spiders at all because they are where they belong. The spiders I'm afraid of are the ones that are completely out of place! The family of spiders that lives in my house where they should not be and are not welcome. I'm not afraid of things in general…I'm more afraid of those things when they aren't where they belong.

For instance…I'm not afraid of criminals when I'm walking through the local jail, but I would be afraid to see them out of place in my kitchen. (Not that I do that often, but I'm just trying to make a point here.) I'm not afraid of a snake at the local mountain trail as much as I'd be afraid of seeing it on the floor in my room. I'm not afraid of a steak knife, but if there was one out of place in my house, it might scare me. Like if someone put it in my shower…it just doesn't belong there so a red flag in my mind would go off. So be assured…it's not that I'm a baby…it's just that I'm scared when things are out of place and unexpected. Like the large, juicy spider that stared hatefully at me tonight on my bathroom floor. I think it might have had a little hair on it, too.

I tried to smash it, but my hand/eye coordination is so bad that I kept missing and as I've said before, God gave those things lightening fast speed! I finally got it after a scarring experience and put it in the trashcan, only to scare myself by seeing it again later. Now I feel like there are spiders in my hair and on my feet in the covers. And I know that spider has best friends and family that heard it's cries and are headed my way now. You just never know what they will try to do. And I really think they are back with a vengeance this year. They have no sympathies for people like me…they are here to get even. And that freaks me out…and it's taking my sleep.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

*It's Always Been There*

I think I've always had a future teacher inside of me ever since I was a little girl.

I've always been drawn to kids. They've always been drawn to me. Almost like they can sense that I'm supposed to take care of them. Even in public there might be a child I don't know, but I see them peeking behind their mom, watching me…I wave and smile and they get shy and hide. Then they peek out again…wondering what the crazy kid lady will do next, haha. I try to show every kid I come into contact with that I WANT them around…because I do. SO much. Children are such a bright spot in my life.

I feel a connection to little people. I feel like my life is incomplete when I don't have them around. I see them as such treasures in this world and I count it as an honor to be around them. I think my love and respect for children is something that was put deep inside of me long ago. When I say the word respect, that is such an important part….I always stress to adults that kids have such insightful things to say that can change our lives and we don't need to treat them like they will only start changing peoples lives LATER. They change my life and minister to me everyday. They have ideas that I wouldn't think of and I need them for. They are intelligent and have been blessed with minds that we need to listen to!

My best friend and her husband are moving to a house on the street I grew up in. When I drove by the other day, the first flashback that came to my mind was when I was 8 years old and had an idea for a daycare program in the open field down the road. I planned out flyers and wanted people to send their kids to me, haha. Nobody came because I wasn't exactly legitimate like I am now, but the want was there. The teacher was there inside me…wanting to break out. I planned out lots of activities and a schedule and had a roster to check people in. I just thought like that all along.

I made pretend class lists in my spare time and would to take roll and count some of the people tardy. All of my imaginary friends I had growing up were my students on the lists. Ashley was my favorite, but I don't have favorites now. Sometimes I'd get my dolls and set them up in a classroom and teach them how to spell "ocean" with a song my mom taught me. Something about the projector and whiteboard at school screamed my name….like I always knew the smell of expo markers would be my future.

It is neat to see how the Lord wired me to do what He has called me to do from a very young age. There were parts of me that I had no control over that were just drawn towards being an elementary school teacher….but there are also parts to my passion that came later in life.

I remember the first time I said to myself: "I'm going to be a teacher!"….I believe I was in second grade because that was the first time I saw a real school setting. I noticed the teacher got a lot of gifts and gifts is my love language like nobody's business!! I noticed she got to talk a lot and I loved to talk and HATED being silenced. I wish I could say the first time I knew I wanted to be a teacher was deeper than this, but it was actually because I saw how full of presents and treats my teacher's desk was at Christmas. Not the most noble thing, but that is true about being a teacher! ha Little Abby has definitely gotten that future wish.

But when I grew older, it started to become something deeper, something more. I always struggled in school and had a really hard time with it. I often felt embarrassed and dumb and I really didn't like being there at all. I remember very vivid memories of certain adults being getting frustrated with me when I was trying to learn something and never could get it. I felt like some of the smart and organized kids who didn't just wad up their paper and throw it in their backpack were the favorites. I know that's probably not true, but it sure felt like that as a young kid. I always thought that my teacher's love and favor was related to my grades and how well I did in school….and I never quite made the bar…and I never could quit talking, really. Or stop staring glassy eyed out the window…or poking the person in front of me….or putting my hand in the fish tank when nobody was looking to try and pet the fish. I never quite figured out that whole put your name on the paper thing, either. I also remember not being able to read well in 2nd grade and struggling with writing my F's…I wrote them backwards EVERY TIME. I can see myself at the desk confused about that F right now. I remember all the kids being on a better reading color than me. I was ALWAYS stuck on brown and when working independently, I never got anything done because I couldn't even read the directions.

School never felt like a place I belonged. The weirdest part was that I still felt like I was drawn to be a teacher…like I was meant to live years in my life in a school setting no matter how much I didn't fit there. But one day it kinda hit me…"If I become a teacher, I can make school a place where kids like me feel safe. Where kids who don't do well all the time want to go. I can have a say in this!"

And that's where the true passion inside of me started. I wanted to make things different for a student like me. I wanted someone who would rather blow bubbles than do math to find a reason to love learning. I wanted to find a way to make it appealing to kids who didn't understand the purpose of school. I wanted to give them a reason and a way to succeed without feeling like they will never be enough.

Even more recently, my passion has grown in the area of training children to follow the Lord and have a heart for God. I didn't know all along that I would be at a Christian school, so that part of the dream has really only begun this year, but it is a passion like I've never felt before. Teaching bible and talking about Jesus everyday has been hands down the best part of my job. Children are so teachable and some of the most spiritual people I've ever met! They trust God and are hungry to hear about Him. They haven't let life make them forget how good God is. I get to show them more and more of who God is everyday and that is so much fun. Children can be some of the best evangelists in the world….God doesn't have a certain age where we can finally make a difference for him…my first graders are making a difference for Him NOW.

I love seeing His plan unfold in their lives and I love that He teaches me more about Himself through those babies and the love He's given me for them. I know God's love for me is unconditional, just like my love for my students is unconditional. I love the kids who do the right thing and I love the kids who might be seen running down the hall with a lunchbox on their head if I'm not watching close enough! I know children are children and therefore their behavior doesn't shock me. I love them no matter what….just like Jesus knows we are human and doesn't expect any different.

I have made it to one of dreams that has been calling to me since I was a little girl…and it has been good. I told my kids the other day on the carpet: "If I had to go through those five extremely hard and stressful years of college all over again to be your teacher for one year…I'd do it." And I mean that. :) There are days when all the hard work feels so worth it…and it truly is.