Friday, November 21, 2014

advent calendar dilemma

I love advent. I grew up celebrating advent at my church. It's a time of getting ready for Christmas.

Enter motherhood. When my twins were 2, I remember using an afternoon naptime to make an advent calendar. It was precious. We had a wonderful time with it. At age 3 I got to watch them really get that Jesus is the reason for Christmas. Super cool.

Last year, my brother gave my boys a Lego advent calendar which they loved. I looked for another one, but they are pricey.

Now, I'm thinking that maybe it's ok to not do an advent calendar this year. I'm torn.I want Christmas to be special, but I also know the more stuff I add to our days the less of me I have to give.

I'll keep thinking on it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

wingman

 I have a cold. Yuck. Not bad enough to not teach my class at 1230, but bad enough to want to rest. So,I asked my husband to take #3 to mdo so I could stay home to rest until I need to drive to my school to teach. He said yes and was happy to help.

This time at home this morning has been a huge blessing.wise choice on my part. Figuring out how to balance work, home and motherhood is rough. Today I think I made a huge step in doing it well. I didn't spring the request on him. Instead,I asked nicely and gave him plenty of time to be able to say yes easily.

It's good to have a wing man.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

48 days for some direction

I haven't blogged in a while because my computer is misbehaving. My IT guy/ sweet husband is on it, but it's slowed down my blogging.

Well, I've had my new teaching job for 1/4 of the school year now.  There are parts of it I love and parts that are thumbs down. I'm learning some great lessons as I go. The best so far is that I can't let my emotions ebb and flow with how my job makes me feel. I'm teaching middle schoolers for the first time after teaching elementary my whole career; needless to say I've had a steep learning curve. Not so fun.

I'm fluent in Spanish and love the language. I love the way the grammar flows together and the elegance of the way the language sounds. Writing on my Spanish blog makes me soul sing. Teaching it to beginners just doesn't. Part of me feels like a snob but the other part of me sees this as a gift. I'm getting a chance to try on something new. It may be a great fit with some tweaks or there may be something else for me.

I believe that God called me back in 2002 to teach. I loved it. It's 12 years laterand I'm not the same woman I was. Motherhood has matured and humbled me. The other day while talking to a friend, she pointed out that my passions about being a bilingual teacher didn't really involve teaching; they involved being the champion for the families and children as they assimilated into American culture. Could it be possible to find a job in that arena but not the classroom? I hadn't even considered that.

So,I downloaded 48 days to the work you love by Dan Miller. Aaron read it a few years ago and was blessed by it.

Now it's my turn.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My nemisis, JT Cluck

Last spring we took 7 chickens from the kinder classes.  When you take baby chicks, you hope for hens but roosters can happen.

We ended up with 3 hens and 4 roosters.  The cute baby chicks are now grown and the roosters just aren't my favorite creatures in the world.  Honestly, I don't care that much for the hens either because they're shifty looking.  Yes, I realize I sound ridiculous but it's my yard and my blog so I'm going to write about my ridiculousness.

The king rooster of pack is the only white one and I call him JT Cluck.  I took that name from the Hank the Cowdog series.  He's the boss of that chicken crew and not very friendly.

JT is leading the rest of the flock to leave their chicken yard (a portable electric fence that doesn't seem to even slow them down) and they are getting into the ditch, eying my front yard.

I put up with a lot.  I currently have a broken downstairs toilet that I wish were working for a play date we're hosting on Halloween.  My dishwasher is broken and I've gotten used to washing by hand.  In the grand scope of the world, these are small potatoes and I'm looking at the small inconviences as a way to be more thankful for what we have.  Like running water that's hot quickly and boys who are potty trained.

But I draw the line at JT being in my yard.  My husband's solution?  The racoons will get them if they're not smart enough to stay in the fence.  Hmmm....I'm no animal activist, but that strikes this city girl as not a great plan.

So here's me, resigning that this life won't be perfect.  Toilets will break.  Dishwashers will, too.  Roosters will eye my yard.  But there will be a day that we'll have money in the budget for a wonderful chicken set up (here's me being jealous of Nea and her hens' lovely digs), my appliances will work and maybe I'll even be more appreciative of the loveliness of chickens. 

For today, I'm accepting that God never promised me a rose garden.  I'm going to focus instead on the blessings I see around me:  a sweet little boy whose clothes don't match (he insisted on wearing red shorts with his Aggie football jersey) but whose heart is precious, a car that I can depend on to get us where we need to go and a husband who provides a safe home and living for us.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Laughter and tears

Mondays are my days to be on my own for a bit while I wait for #3 to finish up in school.  I've learned to run errands and also relax during this time.

Today I had the luxury of reading a wonderful new book in a coffee shop.  It was great--I had a great cup of coffee, a pastry and a book.  The pastry was so so (anyone else think they like pumpkin stuff more than they actually do?) but the coffee was good.  The book was fantastic!

I love Hank the Cowdog.  My husband grew up reading the series and my boys and I have listened to many of them on CD in the car.  I'm at the point where I read them on my own so I can quickly read them and fully enjoy them.

There's a sweet love story between the cowboy Slim and Viola, the sweet gal down the road.  He proposed in the last book and I just had to know if they were actually going to get married.

I won't ruin the story for you, but there I sat, by myself in a coffee shop, laughing out loud and shedding a number of tears and loving every minute of it.

There's nothing like a great book.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Still waters

Being at a place of rest is tricky.  In the search of it, I've bought CDs that have water sounds, instrumental versions of fave hymns and books on yoga.  I'm still not very good at it.

I will say I'm getting better.  As I read The Cure for the Perfect Life, there were little quizes at the beginning of each chapter so you could tell if the chapter's topic was something that kept you from finding peace.  The chapter on people pleasing was written for me.  One of the quiz questions was something I had never thought of.  I don't remember the exact wording, but the gist was that when something goes wrong for someone, I feel bad and look to blame myself as opposed to simply acknowledging that bad things happen every day and this was what happened to them today.  This would be how my husband views life.  He takes responsibility when it's his to take, but he doesn't borrow it like I do.

Wow.  What clarity this brought me.  Somewhere along the line I decided I was personally responsible for making everyone around me happy.  That's fine if you're the hostess at a baby shower and for that 2 hours you attend to the needs of others or if I enjoy offering encouragement to those around me to brighten their day.  But it's not OK if I allow outside circumstances to dictate how I feel.  It's not fair to my family or to me.

So today I'm in a bit of a funk.  I won't go into it (you're welcome) but I said no to going to something that my mom really wanted me to go to.  It upset her.  The easy thing to do would have been to say yes, but it would have been a huge hardship for my family.  I'm at a point in my life that I would prefer to upset someone now and deal with that than be the one upset later because I said yes when I should have said no.  That said, it still stings a bit.

This week I felt like I had my new "normal" down and it felt good.  And then something I hadn't planned on in my new job was added to me.  Not something huge and something that I can't do, but still more is more.  I know I can adjust my routine to accomodate this new thing and it will be fine, but I can't rest until I've done that.  Silly.

Still waters can't just wait until I have all my work done.  God wants me to rest by them regularly.  He tells me so in Psalm 23.  In the mornings during my quiet time the house is still and I love the peace of that time.  I wish I could figure out how to shut off the expectations, the noise and the outside stuff that keeps me from finding those still waters at other times, too.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Finding my art

Today I heard the beautiful phrase:  Your art is what makes you come alive.  What a beautiful concept.  #3's art is creating with Legos.  He makes all sort of crazy things, like tiny vacuum cleaners and cameras.  It's pretty darn cute.  His brothers, on the other hand, still enjoy using Legos as a road block to watch demolition as they run Hot Wheels into them.  Such loud little people.

My art isn't traditional;  drawing, painting and sculpting aren't strong suits.  I love music and I do well enough, but I wouldn't win American Idol.  I sang a solo last night at church and did a good job.  My aim was to share a beautiful song with my church family and I did it.  But it's not what makes me come alive.

I come alive in the beauty of Spanish.  The way the words flow, how the syntax comes together perfectly and the lovely sounds of the pure vowels.  For me, it's an art form.  I'm enjoying teaching it and sharing my passion with children.

Another art form for me is connecting with others.  #3 asked me last week why the flags were at half mast.  I told him in simple terms it was because of 9/11.  Today he brought it up again and said he didn't like 9/11.  I told him I don't either, but God is bigger than any evil in this world.  We had a neat talk about that.  Even though I wouldn't have chosen that topic, that moment was art.

Last week we began a new MOPs year.  I am a small group discussion leader.  It's been a few years since I've had that job and it's nice to see that I've grown since before.  When I did it before, I had in my mind what a perfect leader would do and I would feel so defeated that I couldn't be perfect even though I gave all I had.

Now, I realize that perfect is an illusion.  God called me to be faithful in all I do, not perfect.  As I write this, laundry needs to be folded.  A "perfect" mom would be doing that instead of this.  However, my husband will be home before long and this is my way to recharge.  Sifting through my feelings by writing is a way for me to create art and refresh my spirit.  Folding laundry will get done later.  It's not art.  Necessary, but not art.

Last weekend, I sat and watched Pride and Prejudice and loved every luxurious moment of it.  Today I had the chance to enjoy a cup of coffee and a wonderful new book.  Those moments are good.  With all the busy swirling around me, I love that I can finally be at a place where I know I deserve time for myself and I'm brave enough to take it.