Saturday, February 11, 2017

Love on a New Level

Today's post, once again, is more for me than for you.

This past week I was challenged on a new level by a student.

I've had students act out, and have had my fair share of behaviors that God gave me to work with a student on, but this week He initiated me into a new level of love.

I had a kid look at me and say, "No" after I had given a direction. He said he didn't care what I said, he didn't have to do what I said. It was the single most disrespectful moment of my career, as he said more than I will share here.

I came home that night and prayed.

The student and I had a good relationship until that day.

I didn't understand, even though I had tried to reason with the kid, but he wasn't going to let the wall go down at all.

Of course, leave it God to put me in my place. *grin*

I have done the EXACT same thing with God. I have heard His voice and said, "No". Maybe not out loud, but in my heart.

I've seen things and told Him, "Um, please don't choose me for that experience this side of Heaven."

How selfish am I?

That kid wasn't purposely made at me. He simply didn't want to do his assignment or move to a different chair.

I have done the same thing with God.

That evening, I put on my song that is touching my heart in this season, and took time to be with the Lord. I won't share what He said, but I saw a change the next day.

You know what happened?

The next day the kid tried harder and even offered me gum since his class was having Gumapalooza.

Don't get me wrong, he wasn't an angel, but he did what I asked without complaint. To me that's a step in the right direction.

I am learning that moving forward is so much of what life is about. Nothing, this side of Heaven, stays the same for long.

That being said, He requires more of me because I work with young people. Over and over again, this year He's challenged me to love students unconditionally on a level like never before. I have several that are not easy to love, for different reasons.

For instance, that gum offering, that was his apology. Yes, he's used words before, but, he's not from a home like the one I lived in. Apologies are hard for him.

Behavior success takes TIME. When I say time, I mean A LOT of time.

I'll take small steps, no matter how small, as long as they're a step forward.

That kid needs to be cared for unconditionally. God will guide me in it. I won't be perfect like He is, but I will love on a new level throughout this semester.

I can do it, because He loves me that way. *grin*

Everyday.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GOOD.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Thoughts On A Humbling Week

This is a post more for me than for you. Truly.

I have pondered what I wanted to write about a week full of love given to me, on a level I NEVER expected.

This week I was given the Learning For Life award in Lee's Summit, Missouri. Words cannot describe how this week felt. I will be honest, I knew ahead of time. In the middle of a character-building week in December, I got the call that told me I had won the award for January. I was smiling inside and out, and honestly told only a handful of people. They didn't tell me to keep it quiet, I simply didn't want to be a showoff. I don't do the job for awards, I do it to teach kids the skills they need later in life. Truly.

In the 2006-2007 school year, I was given two awards in my previous district. In that chapter, I learned what follows an award. However, I didn't expect what I got this week.

Moving from my previous district to this one has been full of highs, lows, and everything in between. In the midst of this season, I've had unconditional supporters, and others who were less than that. I think that's just part of life though. Not everyone will understand my world. I get it.

However, this week I have received love on a level I never would have expected.

I received the most touching emails that I have printed for my physical scrapbook.

I've had staff members drop by to congratulate me.

I have also had people I don't even know congratulate me.

All of this attention has been humbling.

I know God made me to teach. I have simply been doing what He made me to do.

Some days are wonderful, and some days are full of challenges.

I wouldn't trade it for anything though.

Ever.

So, I hesitated in sharing this story, as I don't want to be a showoff.

However, I write for me and not for you. Years from now I'll want to read my thoughts and feelings about this week. So, you just get the bonus of reading what I'm thinking and feeling. *grin*

Thank You to all who have taken time to congratulate me. Every once in a while God chooses to show us how loved we are, and this week I have definitely felt the love. Thank you!

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GOOD.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ice Storm, January 2017

So, I have been pondering what to write, and have decided to write about the impending ice storm. Okay, well, not the ice, but my thoughts on what all has been happening the past couple days. The most interesting part, at my age I had a first. :-) Not life changing, just a storm that we won't forget in years to come. However, I hope for good reasons, not bad ones. *grin*

I have lived through a few ice storms over the years, so this isn't new, but this is my first real one here in L.S. *grin*

This past Thursday night, school districts started canceling classes. I wanted a snow day. I prayed. I love the job, but gosh when you see other districts not having class and the storm hasn't even hit yet, it made me want the day off. *grin*

However, I went to bed Thursday without my prayer answered the way I was wanting it answered. However, what happened was even better. *grin*

Our school day started like usual. Around ten a.m., we found out we were having an early dismissal due to the storm moving in. Several of us stated what a great way for things to fall. We had a couple extra hours given to us on an already extended weekend (Thanks MLK, Jr.), and we didn't have to make up Friday. *grin* Awesomeness! I should also mention that this was the first time we've done early dismissal due to weather. Kinda cool.

Having early dismissal was a gift. Kids were off, and honestly the week was one of my more character-building ones. Fortunately my building has a pretty good grasp on early release, and we just kicked into that routine. *grin*

I came home, and have been enjoying a restful weekend. I did schoolwork early, and am now simply reading & watching my DVR.

Ahhh, so the bulk of the storm is about to hit. I've been praying that my electricity doesn't get lost during the storm. The good news is that it will be here and move out quickly. See, I'm already looking at the positive. *grin*

I've been pondering Winter here in L.S. I am so glad I live in a place where I truly do get to experience all four seasons during the year. I remember being a kid and living in Texas. We didn't get to experience the seasons like we do here. Sure, there are bumps, like I won't go to church tomorrow due to ice. But, it's nice to get to experience all the seasons in their fullness. I can't even really explain why, but that matters to me. It's like we get one life this side of Heaven, and I want to experience all there is in this life. Something as simple as seasons should be enjoyed. Completely. *grin*

I'll most likely post tomorrow night with updates, but they're more for me than you. I did a couple ice storms on Beech Road, but I only remember pieces. One reason I blog is so that I can remember some of the details of my life. *grin*

For now, a book is calling me. I like it when He gives me PJ days. *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME.

Friday, January 06, 2017

It's Just a Card.... *grin*

Today in class, I kept busy with the students with our first day back from a Snow Day. It was honestly good to be back with the students, and the one that called me out on Wednesday when I said I wanted a Snow Day when he said, "I thought you liked being with us." *grin* That kid taught me a lot earlier this week. However, that's for a different post.

Today something happened that I didn't expect, but it caught my heart in a HUGE way.

I have a student struggling behaviorally. I'm trying to get to the bottom of everything, and I'm not getting anywhere. So, when he came in for his minutes today, I wasn't sure how it was going to go. Behaviorally, he actually did well for me. He even got his work done. What captured my heart was our conversation while he was in my room.

I asked him twice if he was okay. He said he was okay, but his non-verbal language showed differently. I didn't have a ton of time to play therapist though with the testing and other things that I needed to get done today. That being said, we did have a short chat, which impacted me more than I thought it would.

See, over break, I send everyone Thank You Cards for the gifts they gave me for Christmas. This young man gave me Pepsi, with his own money I'm sure. I sent him a card over the break. Today he mentioned it.

Honestly, I remember writing the card, but I sent them and forgot about it. He did not.

He brought up the card in the chat and let me know how much it meant to him. He didn't say those words, he used his own language, but it all meant that the card meant something to him. Then he said, "It was just Pepsi, was it really that big of a deal?" I simply stated that it doesn't take a lot to make me happy. *grin* He said he would get me more Pepsi, but I told him it wasn't necessary.

My point, though, is that that little card impacted him.

I've been doing cards for years, and I REALLY enjoy doing cards. I have a cabinet full of cards for different reasons. Honestly, I send them mostly to adults. Today reminded me that kids need encouragement too. Even in the smallest ways. *grin* Neat lesson going into the weekend.

Totally.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GOOD.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

His Lesson Through a Dog Box...

Today I was blessed with a Snow Day. I didn't go to bed thinking I would have one, truly, I have had my heart broken several times wanting one and nothing happened. I love the job completely. Totally. But the idea of an unscheduled day off is a bonus of the gig. *grin*

That being said, I've been deep in thought today. Yesterday something happened that God has been using to speak to me in and I think you might learn from it too. *grin*

Yesterday morning I was up and moving on time. In fact, slightly ahead of time. This is something that He has talked with me extensively on, but I'll save that for another post. I just share that little tidbit so that it can set the scene.

So, I was ready to go. I leave Jay out until the last possible moment and then put him in the box to leave for school. I do this just so that he's out of the box as long as possible, as I feel bad for him. Truthfully, he has not (until yesterday) really shown behaviors that told me he didn't want to go in the box. Like I said, not until yesterday. *grin*

I put the small treats in his box, and said, "Okay, go in the box." He just sat in front of the box. I was a little surprised, but he did this one of the days Karen was here, and I did the same thing I did when Karen was here. I just said, "go on buddy."

Nope.

He wasn't going to budge.

I looked at the clock. I was like, "Okay, um, I am going to be late."

I went to pick him up and just put him in the box. He was shaking.

Next, he bit me. Not like a play-bite, he bit me.

I was like, "Okay, I'm sorry!"

I called work and let them know I was running late and would be there ASAP. Fortunately, it was a late start day, so kids wouldn't be there as early as usual.

I prayed, of course, but nothing was coming to me. So, I went and got a couple more SMALL treats and put them in the box. He didn't make a move.

I started thinking about what I could do, what bedroom I could put him in and would have the least amount of damage, just because he tends to get into things when he's left loose. Then He gave me an idea.

I picked him up and held him. I was talking to him like he could understand me in a very calm voice. Next, I put him in the box.

He didn't like it, I could tell, but he did it. I promised him I'd be home ASAP, and I was home earlier than usual. *grin*

On my drive to work I had two thoughts.

1. God is like that. When we are nervous about something we have to do, He will hold us and talk with us before we go into that situation. The closer I get to Him, the more I truly believe that. Different chapters bring different challenges, but He's with us through it all, even if we bite, kick, and scream that we don't want to do it. Truly.

2. How people leave kids is beyond me. Leaving Jay in the box was in the back of my mind all day. I even considered buying one of those contraptions where you can Skype with your dog during the day. I didn't, I made it through prayer. At the same time, I knew he was safe, he was just used to the routine of break. *grin*

I love how He can teach us so much through the easiest situations. I was putting Jay in his box. Something I do everyday.

What is He speaking to you through? Stop and listen, He has tons to show you.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME.



Monday, January 02, 2017

Last Evening of Break...

So, here I am, with one hour left before bedtime and break officially ends. Where did the time go? Seriously? *grin*

This break has been life-changing and life-giving. It has also flown by very, very quickly.

I have been deep in thought today. I almost wonder where I am in life, and then I know I am right where I should be.

However, I will share my latest thought with you. I can remember being a kid and thinking everyone led the same life. You're born, you're a kid, next, you're an adult, then, you get married, have kids, then grandkids, then you die.

Wait, am I the only one who thought that? *giggle*

Well, from a kid's perspective, it makes sense, doesn't it? I remember being in my twenties and not understanding why life looked so different from my other friends who were getting married and starting families. I guess if I'm completely transparent, I have moments of wondering that now. The main difference now is, I know I'm living life as He intended for me to live it out. Within that, I don't feel sad, I just feel different at times. *grin*

I spent the weekend with my amazing friend, Karen. I've been deep in thought today about Karen. Partly in prayer, and partly in thought. I remember when I first met Karen how I told the Lord I wanted a relationship with Him like she has, and He spoke to me then that each relationship with Him is unique. I remember that, and He and I have talked a lot about that today.

None of our lives look the same. We're all on different journeys, and He has different paths for us to take. I'm so very thankful that He had the Lauras, Alicias, and Karens enter my world. I've been enormously blessed to have influences in my life that point me closer and closer to Him. I love that!

I also love how both Laura and Karen are human. I got to see sides of them, glimpses, of how they're not super Christians, they're simply humans living out life this side of Heaven to the best of their ability. Karen and Laura have deep wells in Him because of their experiences. At the same time, they've had seasons where they've had their faith challenged and wrestling with Him has been needed to get where they are today. I'm so very thankful for that.

The four days at Onething were AMAZING. I took gobs of notes. Gobs. I also bought two more journals there, to continue in my walk with the Lord. However, that isn't meant to be a place to stay. We're called to be poured into and then go out and show love to those around us to the best of our ability.

I've taken that thought, loving others to the best of our ability, and spent time praying for the little people I will have on Wednesday. Honestly, my students aren't ALWAYS easy to love, but then again neither am I if I'm totally honest. However, it is an honor that He's entrusted me with the people he has given me, and I plan to walk out 2017 to the best of my ability with His leading.

So, here we go. Tomorrow I'm back in the classroom preparing progress reports and lessons for the kids on Wednesday.

I remember a song that we sang at the Heidi BakeR conference I was at last year where the chorus was, "Love isn't love, unless you give it away."

Karen & Laura love people EXTREMELY well and He shines through them.

That's going to be my prayer this week. Love isn't love, unless I give it away.

No matter what it looks like.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GOOD.



Sunday, January 01, 2017

January 1, 2017-A New Year of Possibilities

I sit here this evening with a blank page in front of me, amazed at what He's done in me the past few days. Truly.

Parts of me cannot believe that it's 2017.

I am sure I sound like a broken recording (can't say record anymore, kids don't listen to those anymore. :-)) as you read those words. I mean, isn't that part of life, the older you get the faster life flies by? I'm still young, relatively, and yet each year seems to fly by.

I've been deep in thought lately over the human experience. I have sometimes wondered if that's because of my age, but I know that it's not just my age because I am a deep thinker. That has plusses and minuses, but it is how He made me. :-)

I am amazed, as it feels like just yesterday I graduated high school.

Or just yesterday I was in college at Pitt State.

I've been a teacher for 17 years and it doesn't feel like it's been that long.

I was reminded last night that time typically goes faster when I'm having fun and not looking at a clock. That's not always true, but most of the time it's true for me.

The past four days flew by, with some AMAZING encounters in the Lord. I went into Onething2016 with expectation of meeting Him, but didn't know how much new material He would deposit into me. However, He went above and beyond what I ever expected. Truly.

I think sometimes experiences in the Lord cannot be explained in words because they're not supposed to be explained. Encounters with Him are to transform us, build us up, and draw us nearer to Him. After that, we're to go out and share His love with those around us.

As I was typing this, my amazing friend Karen came in the living room and we shared about 5 hours of chat time. Gosh, I love how we solve all the world's problems together. *grin* She has headed home, which is always so bittersweet, but I always remember that friends must leave in order to come back. *giggle*

2017.

I don't know, I'm not really a gal that does resolutions. For me, it's a set of things that I never follow-through with and then feel bad about. However, I am praying over a few things. Some of which I won't share with you, as it's private between me and God, but here are a few I will share:

1. I am praying that I will get to know more people this year. Friendships are very important to me, so I am praying for more amazing, Godly friendships. *grin*

2. I am praying that joy will abound in my classroom, and the atmosphere will be full of joy.

3. I pray I draw nearer to Him. I'm closer now than I was a year ago, and am praying to grow even closer to Him in all I do.

4. I'm praying for physical health. Nothing is wrong, I just want to lose a few pounds, and be more energetic. Walking, biking, listening to Him as I do both of those things. That will be awesome. *giggle*

There is more, but I'll stop there.

2017.

Possibilities.

Breakthroughs.

Love.

Joy.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME.