Saturday, April 21, 2018

Thoughts From the Short Gal

I woke up today thinking that I hadn't blogged in a while. It kinda made me smile because I have plenty in my head to share. As always, this is more for me than you, but if you want to read on, go ahead. I always smile when someone says they read what I take time to write. Truly.

Last Sunday I went on a short road trip with my friend for the Outcry Tour that evening. Words cannot even describe how excited I was to worship with the teams on the tour. We heard Bethel Worship (worth the drive just for them in my opinion!) and Vertical Worship. I'm now a HUGE fan of Vertical Worship and have uploaded several digital disks! I love new music! I would go again just for Vertical Worship leading. All of them could steward the room so well! I loved every minute of it and smiled to be reminded again that I'm not alone in what I think and feel in my Spiritual walk with Him. I often looked out upon the crowd and smiled. From start to finish I loved it!

The other bonus was getting to spend time with one of my favorite people, Karen. Everyone needs someone who can encourage them in their faith, and Karen did just that for me. In a season of change, her words of encouragement touched me deeply. I'll admit, time with Karen is ALWAYS time well spent and our lunch on Monday was priceless! I walked away smiling and blessed by our two hour lunch. *grin* I pray that I can encourage people the way she encourages me. We all need that.

We're down to 25 days of school. I'm happy for that. I could write and write about the ups and downs of my school week, but, I will say that I see the light at the end of this tunnel. Truly. Change isn't easy for me typically, but I am at peace in a way words cannot even describe. Truly. Sometimes looking forward is better than looking backward, and that's what I'm doing. I can't wait to see what He has next for me. *grin*

I had a job interview this week. I'm not going to spend much time on this part of my week just yet because I'm not even sure what God has for me in this, but it was refreshing to see parts of what I've been praying for in the job. I'll definitely keep you posted on this piece of my life. *grin*

I'm going to take a little time to rest today. I've been going, and am in need of some Jay time on the couch! So, until next time, please say a prayer for me if you think of it. I'm walking toward something great, I just don't know for sure what it is yet. *grin*

Thanks for reading! You bless me!
*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GOOD!

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Dear Rudy

Dear Rudy,

I hope you're having a lot of fun in Heaven! I can only imagine what it's like to not have all sorts of physical challenges like you did here. I hope you've found some friends. I know some pretty cool people there, Emma, Matthew, Spencer (but he goes by Nico), and all my Grandparents. I think Grandpa would like to meet you. You'd be good for each other.

I've thought of you TONS, and smile when I think of you! I remember the day Mom asked me if we should get Dad a dog because he had just gotten a Cancer diagnosis and I said, "don't get a puppy." Looking back, I didn't need to say that, Mom said, "Oh gosh no, we wouldn't get a puppy." *giggle*

Next thing I knew, you were part of our family!

I've thought a lot about how many dogs we went through as I was growing up. I don't recall seeing a dog all the way to the end of his life. We always had to give them away because we moved or something. You were our first "forever" dog as a family. *grin*

Mom was still working and couldn't be at home all the time with Dad. You were a cool little guy who had a rough life at first. I'm so glad you were found in Grove, Oklahoma and somehow wound up becoming an adopted Springer! *grin*

You taught me so much without even knowing it. Unconditional love, support, and encouragement all in a little body with four legs. *grin*

During my rough patches on Beech Road, I'd come home and you would sit with me. You knew. I'd sleep in "my" room at home, and when I woke up you'd be laying in the doorway waiting for me to get up. That blessed me more than you know! I smiled over and over again when you did that. *grin* You had a way of making me feel like a somebody in the midst of a season where I was battling feeling like a nobody. It was amazing have you in our world!

Of course, you helped Dad even more. I was so glad you were there for him over and over again. *grin* I'm sure Dad could write his own version of that season, leading up until this past Tuesday when you left us. *grin*

I have shown my students tons of pics of you this week. Their favorite seems to be the ones where you're in the middle of the Christmas wrap on the floor at Mom and Dad's. You'd come to me several times during our gift exchange, and I loved it. You were clearly my buddy too!

My heart leapt for you the past few times I saw you because you were clearly struggling physically. At the same time, you still showed all the humans in your world love. That makes me smile now. *grin*

I'm holding Jay closer this week, but it's not to replace you. It's not possible to replace you. It's because I know one day I will have to let Jay go to Heaven too. I don't like that idea, but that's the way it is because God thought you all should live 15ish years. Ah well, each dog we have is a gift. Roxie, Indy, Sid, and Jay are all different yet all of you know how to love better than humans do. Can you tell I've spent a lot of time thinking about you? *grin*

Thanks for loving us so well.

I hope I can pass that kind of love to those around me daily.

You're missed already.

Have fun there though. I mean, you can run, hop, hear, and see now!

Can't wait to see you again!

With Love,
Shannon

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bittersweet News

I just did it. I just sent the parents of my students the email.

So I guess it's time to make it public on Social Media. I wonder if it's real if it's not on social media... *giggle*

Here it is:

I am leaving the teaching position I have held here in LS for the past 8 years.

Part of me is smiling and part of me is sad.

At the same time, I know this is the right thing for me right now. I need a change. It may only be for a chapter of my life, but I need something new. I could get into why, but really that's between God and me.

I have been loved on in amazing ways the past several weeks by the few people that have walked through this decision with me. I have prayed MANY hours over this, and I am at peace.

My heart leaps for my students, who each have a little piece of my heart. I know that they won't like me leaving. I am hoping to keep each student's addy and continue to send them Christmas Cards for years to come. Yes, if you've been in my class, you get a Christmas Card every year. *grin*

So, there, it feels good to have the information out in the open.

I'm praying for everyone in this transition.

Typically the hardest steps of faith lead to bigger things than we can think or imagine.

I can't wait to see what's next for me!

I'll let you know, when I know, what God has next for me!

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME!



Thursday, March 22, 2018

What's Your Why?

Hi!

I know, it's been WEEKS since I've blogged, and there's a reason for that. *grin* While this post will answer a few questions that may be rolling around in your head, it won't answer all of them. There's an announcement coming, but it's not time yet to reveal it. It will most likely be posted March 26. In the meantime, I did want to blog.

I feel better when I blog. I don't always publish my thoughts and feelings, as I do believe there are some things that should stay between me and God. I know that it seems that we live in a society where EVERYTHING is shared, including pictures of the dinner we eat. However, I have always been that little odd one that did her own thing. The older I get, the more I strive for that. *grin* I blog from time to time but don't hit "publish" because I now get the value of privacy and matters of the heart.

Okay, all that being said, I do feel it's time to share my most recent ponderings. I think it's something everyone can relate to on one level of another.

One day last Spring, a fellow co-worker came to me with a sticker. On it, it says, "WYY". The gal that gave it to me was someone that I didn't know very well, and we had a conversation that has stuck with me.

The meaning behind the sticker is "What's Your Why?"

My friend shared that it was a series her church had done, and she thought I might need a little encouragement, as my caseload last year was not an easy one.

So I have spent about a year pondering those three words.

What's your why?

This actually lines up with what I've come to believe in my little corner of the world. I have spent 18 years in a classroom and several weeks out at Camp Barnabas, and one of the things we talk about in both spheres is that a person's behavior explains their thoughts and feelings. Out at Camp, we don't want to stop a problem behavior because it is probably the key to figuring out what a camper needs. *grin*

This also works in a classroom, where my students often use work avoidance behaviors because they perceive the work as too hard or something is going on outside of school. I feel as if I've become a doctorate student in behavior studies. *giggle*

The longer I've gotten into my pondering of MY why behind the what, the more I've looked more at why I do what I do. This hasn't been an easy journey. It's so easy to figure out other people (sometimes) but to look at ourselves is when God started to move on my heart in a completely new way. I wish I could say it's been all fun and games, but it hasn't. It has been tearful, joyous, and everything in between.

I am not sharing everything that's happened, because some chapters of our lives (I love to read, so the chapter correlation fits deeply) lead us to times when only God can touch our soul. For that, I am thankful because He loves me unconditionally and I am confident in my life in Him. That doesn't mean it's easy, but I can honestly say it's always worth it. *grin*

Last year's caseload at work was HARD. The life of a Special Educator in my little corner of the world, has changed deeply in the past 8 years. I have spent most of my world teaching students with Learning Disabilities and teaching them how to read, write, and do math. I LOVED THAT! However, things have changed...

I now spend most of my day dealing with behaviors now.

I could get into the who's, what's, and whys of each student, but that's not what this post is about.

What is about is the fact I've challenged myself to ask, "What's MY Why?"

I'm currently on Spring Break, and have spent the past three days on paperwork.

Why?

My school day doesn't allow time to do paperwork.

Why?

I can't do paperwork because I'm caring for little people and keeping them safe.

Why?

I believe I do this because God has given me a heart for kids. ALL KIDS.

Why?

I have also come to believe that I am with the students that God has made for me to pour into their lives.

You get the picture. I could spend all day behind "why". *grin*

It was a year ago today that I was in a women's conference and one of the speakers stated, "We judge others on their actions, but just ourselves on our intent." That was a God moment for sure, because that has also been rolling around in my head for a year. Let me share why.... *grin*

I've made some mistakes recently that I haven't understood. I have NOT kicked back and thought, "forget it, I'm done." The opposite has been true. Not one mistake has been intentional. I could sit here and give you the "why" behind each decision I have made, and I can honestly say my intent in each one has been pure and good. Over and over again I will do something and think, "Yes! I made the right decision" only to find out I had a mistake somewhere in there.

Each mistake has been regarding paperwork. Ah, the joys of paperwork. Yes, that was sarcasm.

I haven't been to an evening singles event in over a year. (Which goes against reaching my dream of a marriage and my own family.) I haven't read a book in an evening for fun since last Summer.

I haven't gone to see friends because I've wanted to do what was right.

Every.
Single.
Time.

What He has shown me is that my heart is in the right place, and I can only give my best. No more or less. *grin*

This has given me peace beyond understanding, and has taken away my fear.

Yes, I just said that. I'm not afraid.

Fear has been such a deep part of my life, all my life, but now, I am walking in something I haven't walked in before now.

Peace.

It's in the chapters of our lives when it's hard that I believe God has the potential to speak the loudest. Not literally, but in that still, small voice. *grin*

I'm nowhere near done in this journey of "What's My Why?" I believe it is a lifelong journey with God.

However, "What's Your Why" has opened up POSITIVE revelations in this chapter.

From the moment I get up to the moment I lay my head on my pillow I strive to live a life that honors God. I can honestly say that I'm closer to God now than I was in the last chapter of my life. For that, I am thankful.

I'm also thankful for the handful of people who have been supporting me through my mistakes and reminding me that I am who God made me to be. Encouragement has taken on a new perspective in my world. As an adult, I have always been an encourager, but to be surrounded by others who are encouraging me I have been blessed beyond words. To those who have been an encourager to me, you know who you are and from the depth of my heart, I say THANK YOU.

Jay often climbs up in my lap at the most inconvenient times, but he knows that no matter what, I will set aside what I'm doing and love him. Yesterday I was literally elbow deep in student work to complete my data, and he climbed up in my lap. At first I was like, "Really?" Then I stopped and realized it was just as much for me as it was for him.

At the end of each day, I have a little furry kid who loves me perfectly. I know, it's not literally perfect, but it is the closest I can get this side of Heaven.

He simply wants to love me.
He won't speak badly about me to others.
He won't backstab me.
He won't follow the gossip mill.
He won't tear me down.
He will lick my tears away.
He will make me laugh.
He will let me sleep in.
He will sleep in my lap and remind me that nothing is so important that it will hinder the love between us.

So the next several days I am going to that same women's conference. I am so pumped because I believe that some time with God in a bubble will be good for me.

Why?

I believe that's good because it will encourage me and give me perspective to finish out this school year strong. I want my students to know that I'm giving 100% into their future and if I'm to be honest with you, right now I'm a pen that is almost outta ink.

I'm tired, I'm drained emotionally. and I know the next few days will be exactly what I need.

What's Your Why?

Those three little words have the power to make a difference in the chapter of life that you're in. I have shared part of my journey to encourage you. As you go throughout your day, ask yourself that.

I believe God will show you things you never even knew about yourself.

I gotta go, Jay wants my lap. *giggle* After that, I'll read a book until it's time to go to the conference.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GOOD...in all chapters of our lives...


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

My Best

Today was a rough kinda day. I know, it's hard to believe that I would have a rough day, but that's what happened. *grin*

Okay, well, it wasn't REALLY rough.

No one died.

No one is seriously injured.

I have a friend who recently reminded me of that a few weeks back, and then with Emma passing, I guess it's just now really sinking in.

I did want to blog, just because I can, that in some moments today where I was thinking, "I've done my best, over and over again, and it's not good enough" I heard that still, small, voice say, "It is your best, and I see it. You're just fine."

Then I smiled.

I remember a few years back that I wondered if I ever got in a situation, what if my best isn't good enough?

Nah, not possible because I can't do more than my best.

He is proud of me. He sees all the hours I put in, and how deeply I care for my students. *grin*

He sees it.

Seems to me, that's all I need for tonight.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GOOD!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rest in Peace, Emma-You Will Be Missed Daily

Last night I was scrolling through my facebook feed and saw a post that made me stop. One of my former staffers at Camp Barnabas had posted about one of the campers I had in my cabin last Spring. Ms. Emma was in my cabin and was a miniature version of me in so many ways that I had to smile when I watched her interact with the others in my cabin. She had a special place in my heart after just one weekend. Camp kinda does that to you, you walk in expecting to bless the campers and instead they bless you. It happens every single time.

I remember watching her that weekend and was in awe of all the talents God had given her. The theme was March Madness, and the girl could play ball! Her basketball skills were legit and she could sing the Star Spangled Banner in such an amazing way. I remember thinking several times, that there wasn't a thing at camp that she couldn't do. She made me smile over and over again. *grin*

I had missed training because I arrived late, so I didn't know at the time that she struggled with Mental Illness. The staffers I had obviously knew, and at one point, she got upset but they did a phenomenal job of taking her to a private place for her to work it out. Therefore, I didn't see it out at camp. Looking back that was a gift.

See, out at Camp I am a Cabin Mom, but the staffers are in charge. I kinda like that, as I'm there to SERVE them, not be in charge. So when the staffers asked me to stay with the cabin while a few of them went to help with Emma, I didn't think twice. I knew they were trying to preserve her from embarrassment and I was grateful for that. I never want a camper embarrassed, especially when it is something they can't control. My staffers were amazing, and I was so blessed by the entire cabin that weekend.

The majority of the weekend I observed Emma from afar because I helped with the campers who required a significant amount of support. Emma had one moment, but other than that she was like everyone else with a limp. Yes, a mini-me.

Parent Pick-Up morning came and the staffers told me to stay on the porch with the campers while the cabin was cleaned before parents arrived. That's normal for me and I love it because I get to soak up the remaining minutes with the campers. Emma didn't really talk to me until that morning. I'll never forget what she did that morning.

She took time to tell each person on the porch how much she cared for them. I remember laughing because it wasn't until that morning that she discovered I am "Mama Shannon". She said something like, "You're THE Mama Shannon? I didn't know!" I'd just spent the weekend with her, but, it was just fine. She was so busy in all the activities she didn't really interact with me until that moment.


When she got to me to tell me what she thought of me, she said something about how much she admired me, and how we were kinda twins because of the way we walk. She wound up sitting down by me and taking my phone out of my hand. That's not uncommon because I have my music library on my phone. She showed me how she is on social media and she sings/raps to the songs with the phone capturing her facial expressions. She did a miniature lip sync for me. I LOVED IT. She admitted that her musical preferences aren't Camp Barnabas appropriate. I laughed because she wasn't afraid to show who she was and be like, "This is me, take me or leave me." I had no idea what personal battle was going on in her mind.

I got home and friended her on FB and Instagram. I loved watching her musical videos. I'll admit, I sometimes had to turn down the volume because I just can't handle cussing in songs. *grin* I never judged her for her music choices, as that was her deal. I recognized early on that she was a young lady in the midst of figuring out who she was and who she was made to be. Her page was very open about her mental illness, and there were times I would check in on her, and I saw she was in a battle. I would often pray for her, as I couldn't wrap my head around what that would be like. I also saw her post one Friday night when she had posted an attempt to end her life. I was in deep prayer for her, and reached out to her family. I offered to take her in, but she didn't take me up on it. I was fine with that, I just prayed. I knew that was the best thing I could do.

So last night when I saw a post about her leaving us this side of Heaven, my heart dropped into my stomach. On one hand it broke my heart because she had SO MUCH TO OFFER this side of Heaven. On the other hand, I had watched her have so many highs and lows in the past couple weeks that I sensed her battle and now she's not in that battle anymore.

For those of you that are my Camp Barnabas Family, please know I'm in prayer for all of us. This is our third loss in less than a year. At the same time, I think about what an amazing place Heaven will be with all these amazing people in it. I'm also thankful that Emma is no longer in a battle with her own mind. For that, I am thankful.

If you're reading this and want to help, her Dad, Chris has a link on his facebook page to donate to a charity dear to Emma's heart. They don't ask for flowers or cards, simply a donation to Inclusion Connections. I'm posting the link address here, and just noticed that Emma is on the homepage in a pic with several people. *grin* That seems perfect to me.

ickc.org

Emma, you'll never know how much I adored you and enjoyed watching you grow up in the past year. You made me smile a lot, and challenged me to be more than I am just by you living out life this side of Heaven. I also went to JCCC, and I was so proud of you that you did that. You'll be greatly missed out at camp and here at home. I can only imagine the party in Heaven with you in it. See ya on the other side, beautiful one. It is with love that I say you will be missed daily. Love, Mama Shannon

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Rebel Heart by Central *grin*

I like blogging, so I'm going to pretend like we're sitting across from each other as I share my thoughts. I've had a gazillion things going on in my mind, some of which I will share and some I won't. I think that's being a responsible adult. Trust me, that whole "keep your thoughts captive and obedient to Christ" is something I do several times per day. *giggle*

I have felt like a towel in a washing machine being rung out end to end. That doesn't mean it has all been bad. I mean, the way the towel gets washed is by that repetitive motion. *grin* So, it's all been good, and He has shown me tons in the midst of the repetitive motion. I love how He does that!

I am always hungry for new music. ALWAYS. Part of what I love about my church is that I'm exposed to songs that I have never heard before. Two weeks ago I didn't go to church. I wasn't serving during the services, so I stayed in and watched online. I absolutely love that I can watch online!

On that Sunday, one of our lead worshipers, David Greer, led Rebel Heart by Central. I had heard him lead it before, but I didn't connect with it like I did that Sunday. God knew I would need that song in the days and weeks to come. I didn't know it, but He did. *grin*

The lyrics that have gripped me. The whole song is good but the words on repeat in my car:

You stole my heart
and released me with a cause

So I let go
And I let God
Be my Vision, my strength, and song

Not my will
but Yours be done

I surrender my rebel heart

For you know the future you have planned for me
It will be much greater than my hopes and dreams
With my hands held high
and to my knees I fall
Here on Earth and Heaven
I surrender all

Isn't that amazing? Look up Central Live on Youtube, you won't be disappointed!

I find it funny that the name of the song is REBEL HEART. I have recently been judged for one thing, when the opposite was true. God knows though, and I'm at peace in regard to the situation. He knows. Sometimes that's the lesson in it all. I don't think that's the only lesson He has for me in this season, but this song....gosh it has kept me grounded.

I'm so glad He made music. I would imagine that the circumstances around me would be eating me alive if I didn't have music in key chapters in my life. *grin* Instead, I know there's more to come.

God, please keep me grounded. You can see things I can't yet, but I want to be faithful to You in it all. IJN, Amen.

So, now I will log off and watch a "Wonder". It seems just right for tonight. *giggle*

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME...with music in it... *grin*