Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Everyone has a Story

I would always tell my students that everyone has a story, and I truly do believe this. When it comes to my story there are many aspects that most people know. Most people that are involved in my life know that I am the oldest of six children. My parents had me, then Christina and Christopher (twins), and then they decided to pause. Eventually they had Nicolas and Michael and McKenna (twins). I am almost 10 years older than Michael and McKenna. I look back at my life and realize I grew up quickly with all the responsibilities of being the first born in a large family. At times I didn't always like my situation, but now that I am 26 years old I appreciate just how wonderful my family is. Family is the thing I cherish most. Most people also know that I met my husband when we were in the 7th grade. We began dating our senior year of high school. We dated for 6 years. Marrying Michael was the best decision I ever made. During our time together, my family has expanded because of Michael's awesome family. I am truly blessed by our loving families. Something most people do not know is that we have been trying to have a baby since January 2013. I want nothing more than to have children with my husband and be a mommy.

Through the struggle to become pregnant my relationship with God has strengthen. Most days would have been unbearable without Him and His presence and peace in my life. That is not to say this year has been easy. I have had to rely on Him like I never had before. My mother was able to have so many children and now my younger sister has already had her first child. I feel like as a woman I should be able to do this one thing above all other things. I know that is silly to say, but that is how I feel. I know that God has an amazing plan for my life and that I need to wait on His timing, but that is easier said than done. I am so grateful for my husband and his unending kindness, compassion, and love for me. I am also so very thankful for the blogs I have discovered that show me that we are not alone in this struggle to become pregnant. I know there are people out there that having been trying for years and years and years to become pregnant. Their advice and experiences are encouraging. I know that God will give me the desires of my heart, but that it may be in a way that I could never imagine on my own. Speaking of God's way, He chose to have His Son born in a stable. The Innkeeper really missed out on being a part of an amazing experience. With that said, I do not want to become so consumed with trying to have a baby that I miss out on something God has prepared just for me. I know that He has placed this desire to be a mommy in my heart. I now just need to be patient and wait on Him. I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned this year and for the lessons I will continue to learn. While I very much want to be blessed with a child, I do realize that I have already been blessed with many wonderful gifts from God. I want my focus to be on seeking the Lord and His plan for my life. I know that some days will be easier than others. For those more difficult days, it is nice to know the stories of others and to know that I am not alone in this struggle. My hope is that a baby is in our near future, but if that is not the case I want to remain thankful for the family that I do have.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

5 on Friday

This week my husband and I have seriously enjoyed some good television. It is so nice to come home after a long day at work and relax with my man while we watch are shows. This Fall there are 5 shows that I just LOVE!

1. Blacklist
It is new and it is oh so good! I am so ready for next week!
2. Sleepy Hollow
This is also new, and it also comes on tv on Monday nights. Mondays are just about the best television day. I love all of the mystery in this show!
3. How I Met Your Mother
I am very sad that this is the last season of HIMYM. My husband and I have watched this show together since the beginning. I will be sad when it is over. For now it brings laughter to our Monday night line-up. I so love this show and all the great characters.
4. The Big Bang Theory
This show brings tons of laughter into our home. I love watching this with my hubby on Thursday nights. I can't wait to see what will happen next week.
5. On Sundays we have several shows we watch. While I am so ready for Walking Dead to return, my absolute favorite Sunday night show is Revenge. Every week it gets better and better!
I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful October weekend!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five on Friday

This has been a great week! Sure I have had this annoying cough and hadn't had much sleep BUT I seriously have so much to be happy about!

1. I love that I started teaching two year olds at a pre-school that is 10 minutes from my house. My little ones are so smart and so precious! I am so blessed to be their teacher! I am already looking forward to Monday! I just love those kids!

2. I am still so happy that Alabama beat Texas A & M last Saturday! It was such an intense game! Roll Tide!

3. I am also so happy I was able to spend some time with my sweet friend Brynden. I hate that we live 2 hours apart from each other, but I sure do LOVE to visit her!

4. I am also LOVING my new hair!
I can do it straight or curly! Either way it is super quick and easy!
5. And on this Friday I am still so happy about being a new Aunt! I love my little niece so much! I wish I could see her and hold her everyday! She is so beautiful!
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Five on Friday

This is my first time ever posting a 5 on Friday! I am very excited!
For this first ever 5 on Friday, I have some especially wonderful things to be happy about!

1. My niece is finally here! I am a first time Aunt to Merci Grace! I love her so much! She is beautiful, and I am so proud of my sister. She is a wonderful mother. I am so ready to visit my niece again!

2. I am so thankful for my sweet husband! He works so hard for our family, and we are now discussing going back to school for our Masters! I am very excited about this new adventure with my wonderful husband!

3. I am so very happy about our new home! I just love coming home everyday after work!

4. One thing I love about having a new home is all the decorating. It is still a work in progress, but I am happy with everything so far. I look forward to making our new place feel more like home. One part I am so proud of is our new photo gallery!

5. Lastly I must share that I bought these cute shoes for only $10! I just love them!
Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

New School Year

For two years now, the first day of the new school year has come with much excitement, anticipation, and a little nervousness. I wanted each new day to be better than the day before. I wanted my students to learn about reading, writing, and communication. I wanted to prepare them for adulthood. I wanted them to know they are important, and I care so much about them. Well Monday I will not be standing at my door ready to welcome my students. Even though I know God has a different plan for my life right now, I still miss my students so much. I want all of them to have an amazing school year, but more importantly I want them to begin to discover who they are and what their purposes in life are. I will always remember this group of young adults!

Monday will be the first day of the new school year! For some of you there are mixed feelings about this day. Some may be super excited [probably mainly to see friends ; ) ]Some of you may be bummed that summer is over. Then there are my precious graduates! For the first time in quite a long time, you will not be starting another year of high school. As for me, I am starting on a slightly different journey. While I am super excited about this new adventure, I will always fondly remember my Elba Tigers!

For those who will be starting another year of high school, remember you are worth more than gold, you will be successful with hard work AND determination, give respect even if you think someone may not deserve it ( you will reap blessings one day), life CAN be tough but you do NOT have to let it break you, you are strong ( some of the strongest teenagers I know), people are always watching so make wise decisions, when typing click SAVE often, it is good to speak your mind but even more valuable to learn how to listen, and know that I will always remember you, love you, and care about you!

For my graduates, you made it! This is what you wanted for so long. No more high school. I hope you are enjoying life. I hope that you are taking classes, working, or both. I hope you are making something of yourselves. You all have the potential to become amazing adults. I hope you are finding a way to contribute to others. There is nothing more enriching then serving others. As you can see, I have many hopes for ALL of you. Remember that you are sophisticated and you will be successful with hard work and determination, but it may not all happen on your time table. I hope you learned a little about patience in high school. We each have an amazing opportunity to live a life full of purpose. I pray you find your purpose. Don’t give up when life doesn’t go your way. Persevere! I am so proud of all of you! I will never forget you! Please stay in touch. I would love to know how your lives are going (the good, the bad, and the in between) Thank you for so many wonderful memories!



Monday, August 12, 2013

8 years

If you ask me, 8 years is a long time : ) On this day 8 years ago, Michael and I went on our first date! Yesterday he made one of my life long dreams come true! We went to Niagara Falls!! The trip was expensive with air planes, rental cars, those nasty toll booths, and all other things associated with travelling, but it was SO worth it. Michael has now taken me to Savannah Georgia and Niagara Falls! I am such a blessed and happy girl. In 8 years, he has worked so hard to always try to make me happy. It is crazy to think that about the time we will be celebrating 4 years of marriage, we will also be celebrating 10 years of being a couple!!! The Lord has been so good to us. I am very thankful for His provision and peace. While we did have the opportunity to go to Niagara Falls, the main reason for the trip was the wedding of our dear friends Tierney and Ryan. While at their wedding, I was reflecting on just how awesome these first 2 years of marriage have been for us. I love Michael so much and look forward to spending every day with him!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Our Love Story

I thought since our 2 year wedding anniversary is Tuesday I would blog about our love story! This just might be my most favorite post; I will try to keep it short : )

We met in 7th grade. I know, I know, we were super young! We were best friends all through high school, then we finally started dating our Senior Year! We had one of those he was dating someone when I was single and I was dating someone when he was single kind of things going on. It actually ended up working out for the best because when we finally did become more than just friends, I knew I could truly trust him. He had proven his loyalty time and time again during our friendship.

It wasn't until I ended up in the hospital after a bad car accident and the end of a relationship he was in that our love story could truly begin. God had brought us through so much and our paths finally crossed at just the right time. God's timing is everything. I had made it through a horrible wreck. I was an 18 year old kid, and I was legitimately worried I would never find the one for me. Now I look back at that time and realize how blessed I am that God brought Michael and I together when we were so young. I was reading Captivating, and 2 months later was actually not searching for a boyfriend. I wanted to be focused on my relationship with God and His plan for my life.

Well it's just like they say, as soon as I officially stopped looking Michael began pursuing me. Since we began dating at such a young age, we knew we had a long road ahead of us. We both wanted to go to college and get jobs before we were married. Was it hard watching friends get engaged and married before us? Absolutely! It was especially difficult when some of our friends were getting married after only dating for a year or two. While the emotional side of me wanted to marry Michael much earlier in our relationship, I knew God's timing would be best. I wanted His plan for our lives. It was also an early lesson in patience, which I am now quite thankful for. So we dated all of college. One week after graduation, he PROPOSED! That may have to be another post, because this one is getting kind of long. We were finally engaged! I was the happiest girl in the world! After 6 years of dating, we were wed on July 23, 2011. It was the most magical wonderful day ever! Michael was finally my husband, and I couldn't wait to start our lives together! We went to the Dominican Republic for 8 glorious days, and we couldn't have been happier to finally be married. I will have to write separate posts for proposal, wedding, and honeymoon! As our anniversary approaches, I realize I have so much to be thankful for. I am so proud of the man he is. He is a great husband, coach, teacher, son, and friend. He reminds me to stop, slow down, and enjoy life. He makes me smile. He is my rock, and he is still my best friend. Nothing melts my heart more than watching him play with the 3 year olds we teach on Sunday mornings : ) I know he will be a great daddy one day. Until then I am so grateful for our marriage and our wonderful life that God has given us. I look forward to many more years with my sweet husband.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trying to be a Mary in a Martha World

From the first time I ever heard this Bible story (I was probably 5 maybe younger) I knew I was more like Martha. As I grew up, I didn't really see anything wrong with being like Martha. I knew that being more like Mary would be better, but my Type A personality was much geared towards Martha tendencies. Then the pressures of being a Martha became too much, and I spiraled out of control (but that is a story for another time). Now at 26 I fully realize and appreciate the beauty and value and importance of being a Mary. I truly want to be more of a Mary than a Martha, but it is difficult. It is especially difficult when I see friends, TV shows, family, and all sorts of ladies who seem to have it all together. They have a great house with beautiful decorations. They work, cook, clean, AND take care of children. While most of my friends don't have children, some do. With or without children, they appear to have such productive, organized, decorated, and well-managed lives. When I see this in the lives of friends and family, it makes me feel that I need to turn into a Martha and get busy making my home and life productive, organized, decorated, and well-managed. I can easily become distracted with cleaning, cooking, and projects just like Martha was the day Jesus came to visit. Well this week the Lord truly got my attention in His perfect way.

While last week was great getting things unpacked and organized around our new house, I knew that me finding a job was a higher priority. When the Lord granted me a wonderful opportunity for a new Job Wednesday, I gladly took it. I am so blessed for his provision. The only thing is that now I have less time to do all the stuff to make our new house feel more like our home. Since I worked Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I knew that today would be a day of work. Michael and I woke up and pretty much went straight to the garage to start working. While we had a wonderfully productive day of unpacking and organizing, when I took some time this evening to do my devotional these were the first two lines: SEEK MY FACE, and you will find all that you have longed for. The deepest yearnings of your heart are for intimacy with Me. WOW! Is that crazy or what? Then a few lines later I read this: Do not feel guilty about taking time to be still in My Presence. Again - Oh my goodness! Finally I read this: To follow me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your desire to please other people. I really thought at that moment that my devotional book was written just for me. The Lord knew that I needed to read those words today. He set everything into motion back in April when a good friend told me about this book. I was amazed. God is so incredible and SO patient with me. When I keep my focus on Him he will give me all the desires of my heart, but more importantly I must let go of trying to please/impress everyone around me. While some competition is healthy in certain areas of life, competition does not need to be the driving force for every aspect of life. I also realized if I stopped trying to be like others and please others, some of my "wants" would go away. I only want what God wants for my life. I want to spend more time simply enjoying God's presence instead of worrying about cooking, cleaning, and decorating all the time. Those things are good, but I want to seek God above all else. I am also so much more relaxed when I am being more like Mary. While it is not easy to be a Mary in a Martha world, the outcome of a Mary life will be much more of a blessing than one could ever humanly imagine. So with God's help, I want to work on being more like Mary and less like Martha. We must not be afraid to be different from other people. The path God has called you to travel is exquisitely right for you. The more closely you follow God's leading, the more fully He can develop your gifts. My God is so good to me. I am humbled by His love and patience with me every day.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Two Years Later

While I am trying to find a new job, I am also in the midst of moving to a new home with my wonderful husband. Can I just say that I HATE packing?! Our house is in total chaos! My husband, who hates packing even more than me, has been so good about helping me. I just have to realize that this is a slow process. While I would like us to work all day and have everything in boxes in a short amount of time, Michael reminds me this is simply not possible. He is always good about bringing me back to reality. I have to accept that we are human, and we do get tired. I just hate that unfinished feeling. BUT I am learning to deal with it. During these breaks from packing, we have had some very productive conversations about how living in our new house will be. While we have been married almost 2 years, we have never lived in a house with so much space. We have currently been living in a small townhouse that is a little on the outdated side (OK really outdated! BUT I am thankful we had a home!). Michael moved every year that he was in college, so last summer when our lease was up he didn't want to move. We signed on for 1 more year. While I am grateful we had a place to live, there are multiple things about it that drive me crazy. I have very little counter/cabinet space in the kitchen. We share 1 small bathroom. Our bedroom is quite tiny. Then there are the issues with the plumbing and the A/C unit and the unsafe neighborhood. Needless to say I am ecstatic about moving next week! I guess that's the other reason why I am so ready for the packing part to be over. Michael has worked so hard to give me a home that I love and feel safe in; I just can't wait to live there! It amazes me how much he still tries so hard to make me happy after almost 8 years of being together! I am one blessed girl! Speaking of being together our two year wedding anniversary is coming up! I am thinking about blogging about our love story. I truly do love this man so much! His love for me makes me want to work even harder at making this a great marriage. With that said, we had a conversation about bathrooms last night. While it did get a little heated, it was good for us to talk about it. Too often I keep things in my head, like expectations for us, and then make a decision without really communicating. So the conversation of bathrooms came up last night. In the new house, we will have 2 full baths. In my head I was super excited. I thought I can have 1 bathroom, and he can have the other. My bathroom can be super girly and cute and most of all clean. Now this is not to say Michael is not clean, but if you are married you know that "girl bathroom clean" and boy bathroom clean" are two different things! So I simply expected that we would have our own bathrooms. When this actually came out of my head in our conversation, Michael was not happy about it. I was shocked. I thought it was such a great idea. Then he proceeded to explain to me that if we couldn't learn to share a bathroom, how would we learn to share other parts of our lives. It made sense. My husband really is so wise. I know I need to be less selfish and more willing to share. The conversation may not have begun well, but it certainly did end well. I love how patient my husband is with me. I am now even more excited about us living together in our new home!

God's Timing

I never realized how amazing the 23rd Psalm is until recently. Not only are the actual words amazing, but if you're like most of the people I grew up with this is THE verse to learn as a child. Now this may not have been the case for you, but I remember growing up and this verse was everywhere. Even today I meet people who can pretty much quote this verse. I think it's incredible that this is the verse that adults chose to teach to children time after time. Maybe it's a coincidence, but I think it was taught with a divine purpose. If you really pay attention to the words and don't take them for granted, this verse can pretty much guide any teenager and/or adult through all of life's phases. To me that is remarkable.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of
For His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through
the valley of the shadow
of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they
comfort me.
You prepare a table before
me in the presence of my
You anoint my head with
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the
house of the Lord

God is so good. My words are not even enough to express just how great and awesome our God is. This chapter in Psalm is more profound than I ever realized. I think I most certainly took it for granted every time I read it and heard it. I didn't really pay attention to the words. This is just one more example of how a person can look at the same verse and discover something new with time. God showed me this verse last week. The burden of searching for a job and dealing with rejection was weighing heavy on me. Honestly it has been weighing heavy for over a week. I had been doing so well and had been able to rest in God's peace and joy for a couple of months. Then last Wednesday I just lost it. I received another email explaining the school decided to go in another direction. I was crushed. I allowed worry to come in. It was an ugly break down. Even though I began to doubt, God never left my side. He is just too good to me. While I am still taking it just one day at a time, I know I must rely on God and keep my focus on Him. When He showed me this verse, I almost missed everything AGAIN. Thankfully God helped me to pay closer attention. In the very first line He pretty much sums it all up. As a writer, I appreciate the great topic sentence. God is so smart! The first verse tells us that we will not have to want for anything. God will provide! We just have to depend on Him and be good with his timing. If we trust Him there really is no need to worry. With the next few verses, we read how His peace will bring good, pleasurable things into our lives. He goes on to remind us that in times of weakness and trouble He restores us. Only God can make us truly better when we are down or going through life's trials. Then there is the verse that has even been featured in some secular songs. It may seem that death and destruction are upon us, but with God we have NO reason to fear the evil of this world. God is not only our provider but our protector, as well. He provides, protects, and comforts. We are weak, and when we humbly admit this God WILL comfort us. There is nothing more comforting than His peace. Then we get to the really good part. I mean all of this is good, but this next verse is certainly the climax. If we trust and obey God, He will give us exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever imagine. How amazing is that?! Then it gets even better, because our God is just that awesome! While on earth He grants us His goodness and mercy as we trust Him and wait for His timing. Then we get to spend FOREVER with our Lord and Savior. He is our hope and our future! I am just blown away by how incredible this one chapter is. With all of this said, I know I must rely on God and trust Him, NOT me. I can do nothing without Him. God created me for a purpose. I want to listen and find out what that purpose is. I look forward to the work that God is going to do in my life. I know God's timing is way better than my timing. I am so thankful for the 23rd Psalm. I want my life to glorify God. These verses can be an amazing guide, if we let them.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Legacy

Many great things have happened in the last 2 years that I could have never imagined happening so quickly. Sometimes it truly does seem like it was yesterday that Michael and I were planning our wedding. I am amazed at how much has been accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. I have so much to be grateful for.
Michael and I have learned so much about each other, which I kind of didn't think would be possible since we met in 7th Grade at Providence Christian School. I have learned it is ok to ask for help. That is a big one for me for two reasons. I like control, and I don't like to inconvenience others. I have not only learned more about Michael, but I have learned more about who I am with Michael's help and support. I am thankful for his love and patience in my life.
I am also grateful that one day before our wedding I received THE CALL. I was officially going to be a teacher. God's timing really is amazing. I was thankful for the job and the opportunity to meet some amazing young people that I believe in with all my heart. With hard work and determination, they will be successful. I am proud of them, and I miss them.
I am proud of my brother Chris as well. Two years ago I could not imagine him married and about to move in to his very own house. I am thankful that he found Courtney through God's guidance. He is such a hard worker just like our dad. I am so happy for Chris and Courtney. I know God will bless their new home.
I am so extremely proud of the "little ones" as I will always call them. They are otherwise known as Nicholas, Michael, and McKenna. I love them more than words can express. I am excited to see what God will do in and through their lives as they graduate high school and enter into adulthood.
Then there is my beautiful sister Christina. It really wasn't until the months leading up to my wedding that she and I became closer like I had wanted for so long. I was not quite 2 when Christina and Christopher were born. For the longest time, it seemed like Christina was my shadow. She would copy me and follow me, and BOY was that annoying. I never understood why. Mom tried to tell me she wanted to be like me. I didn't get that. Christina is gorgeous. Christina is smart. Christina is fun and out going. Christina is athletic. Christina is generous. Christina is spontaneous. When someone is all those things, why would they want to follow me around? Well being the independent individual person I am, I simply never understood it. I am thankful that we are getting closer as we grow older. I look forward to our children being the best of friends. Speaking of children, Christina is expecting my parents' first grandchild. I am so happy for her. She is glowing all the time. I simply can't wait to hold my baby niece.
These past 2 years God has brought jobs, marriages, a house, and a baby (well in August) into our lives. I am so grateful for all that God has provided. God's timing is so good. I love how much we have grown and changed in the past 2 years. I truly do look forward to what God has in store for my life and the lives of my family members. My parents and Michael's parents have so much to be proud of. They have created a great legacy that I hope to carry on.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I am sure we have all been told the phrase, "The older you get, the faster time seems to go by" or something along those lines. It's not that I ever doubted any of those people, I just simply thought that certain life events would happen at certain times. I don't think I was delusional. I just believed in the American Dream. You know the one from the 50s. Now, I didn't know it's origin when I was a little girl dreaming up my future, but the idea of a college degree, a job, a marriage, owning a house, and having children all by age 30 sounded GREAT to me. I was sold! Well now that I am 26 looking around at people I know who are around my age attaining these dreams, I wonder what did I do wrong. I want to know their secret to success. With my own reflections and a little research, I ventured through the blog world to see what was going on with other people similar to me. Sure enough there are people out there around my age that haven't achieved the American Dream, yet. I found huge comfort in that new knowledge. Then I was inspired to do a little more researching.
I read some things that I remembered from school, such as,
"After World War II, returning servicemen were given opportunities to put themselves through college, and many of them were the first in their families to earn a degree. Because of this, there was a huge difference in the growing post-war middle class, and its ability to own a house and to provide for their children. America emerged from World War II as the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the planet. There was an economic boom; jobs were available, and America was considered to be a land of opportunity." The first thing I thought about was the current job competition that exists. That competition simply was not a factor then because there were fewer college graduates.

My research yielded one thing that I hadn't ever realized.
After the war, most women returned home, let go from their jobs. Their jobs, again, belonged to men. However, there were lasting effects. Women had proven that they could do the job and within a few decades, women in the workforce became a common sight. An immediate effect is often overlooked. These women had saved much of their wages since there was little to buy during the war. It was this money that helped serve as a down payment for a new home and helped launch the prosperity of the 1950s.
While I knew that the war would have lasting influence on women working outside of the home, I did not realize that part about the saved money. Everything finally started to make sense. The American Dream of the 1950s was achieved under completely different circumstances than what I and other Americans live under. Does that mean I want to give up on that dream? No. I do, on the other hand, think that the time table needs to be altered. Time. That gets me back to my introduction. I read once that time can be a tyrant, ticking away relentlessly in your mind. We must learn to master time, or it will be your master.
I am finally realizing that I don't want time to be my master. If we don't have the best jobs or a house of our own or a baby before I am 30, that's actually OK! My life is uniquely mine. I like it that way (well most days when I stop overly comparing myself to others). I truly have enjoyed these first 2 years of marriage with my best friend. He makes me want to be a better person. He always knows how to make me smile. Some of my favorite memories from these past 2 years are the simple moments and the casual weekends. We love playing rock band together. We love watching our shows together. We love travelling together. He has supported me so much through my first two years of teaching. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching him grow as a coach and a man. I am so proud of him. I am also thankful that he reminds me to enjoy the simple things in life. He really does bring the fun into our relationship.
I have always been the planner. I guess that's why I have been stressing so much about our future. Where will we live? Where we will work? When will we have children? I love dreaming about our future together. If I could just stop right there, I wouldn't have this problem. BUT the dreaming turns into stressing because of my lack of patience. I am also working on trusting God and His timing for my life. I really DO believe God has a bigger plan for my life than I could ever imagine. And that is the promise that I have to rely on. I also want to be more appreciative of what I do have and gain strength from all that I have to be joyful about.
Time will continue to tick away. People will continue to dream. While I know I can't control when my dreams are realized, I can continue to work hard to achieve them. If in the process of growing and learning, I realize my dreams changing, then that's ok too. As long as I am listening to God, being proactive, and staying positive, good things will come. What I have to realize is that sometimes good things come in a very soft whisper.  

Friday, May 31, 2013

Who am I?

Ten years ago today I decided that I wanted to be a teacher. I had finished the 9th grade, and I had been truly inspired. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing English teacher who showed me that we could read books and find real-life applications while reading. Not only did I become more passionate about reading and writing, but I was encouraged and inspired by this teacher. I wanted to reach young people the way my teacher did. Unfortunately education has changed quite a bit since I was in the 9th grade. Even if I wanted to do exactly what he did, I simply couldn't for many reasons.

For starters we are different people with different personalities, talents, and flaws. All that aside, the world of education is simply not what it used to be. When I set out to be a teacher, I had no idea what all would be involved. Sure I knew there would be loads of paperwork. Did I under estimate how much? Totally! BUT I had been prepared for that. On the other hand, there were some things I was not at all prepared for. No one told me there were teachers out there that were malicious snakes-in-the-ground always in competition with other teachers. No one told me about the spineless administrators who are controlled by parents who refuse to allow their children to make mistakes, suffer the consequences, and learn valuable lessons. I could go on, but I won't. This is not the intention of this blog. More upsetting than all those things is that no one told me about the fact that there are teenagers who simply don't want help. They do not want someone to help them better their lives. They have been raised in a culture that not only accepts and expects, but also praises settling and handouts. They look for the easy way out at all costs. They do not want to be challenged. If no one had ever challenged me, I would not have the life I have today. I am so grateful for the life I have. I am thankful I had people who challenged and pushed me to try harder and to never give up on my dreams.

My dreams.... I guess that is what brought me to blog today. For the past 10 years, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Unfortunately my idea of what a teacher is has been altered. I had some really great students. I loved coming up with creative ways to teach them. I loved getting to know them and trying my best to encourage them. I loved reading their journal entries, essays, and research papers. I loved watching them think, question, and discuss. I loved the friends I made with some kind, creative, and thoughtful teachers. I loved prom, football games, my scholar's team, and basketball games. I just worry that all the things I love about teaching are being pushed aside. I started to feel like I was simply a data collector. Instead of being interested in the debates, classroom discussions, and learning my students were doing, the people above me were more concerned that my room was a little messy. I wanted to teach young people how to be productive citizens and how to be a contribution to society and not a liability. That is simply not possible when students are rarely held accountable for their wrong doings. I recently began to wonder if I chose teaching because it was practical and traditional. This had me worried.

I am now on a mission to figure out what I am to be doing with my life. Who am I? Where would my skills and abilities best be applied. I want so much to give back because so much has been given to me. I want more than anything to make a difference. I do not say this lightly. It is something that is constantly on my mind. I think this is why I had such high expectations for my students. If we all realized how blessed we are and wanted to give back and put others first, we could actually make this a better world. Now do I mess up? Do I get selfish? Do I get lazy? Yes. I am completely flawed just like every other human. BUT I want so much to be better. I want so much to help those who feel lost and forgotten. I thought a good place for that would be a school. I just don't know if I was right anymore. Between government researchers, parents, administrators, and malicious teachers who do not care about actually preparing young people to be responsible, productive adults who can handle good and bad situations I just don't know if a school is the place for me. I do know what I am good at. I am good at observing and reading people. I am good at finding different ways to look at things. I am good at writing. I am good at reading and discussing books. I am good at expressing my thoughts. I am good at making people feel comfortable. I am good at planning. I am good at being decisive. I have a good work ethic. I am good at reflecting. I am good at researching. I am good at improvising. Listing these things is not about how amazing I am; it's about me knowing what I am good at. There is an even longer list of things I am not good at, but that list does not help me figure out who I am.

My plan for this summer is to do some soul searching, researching, and discovering of who I am so that I will know what I should be doing. I was given certain abilities, and I want to use those abilities to make a difference in this world. I want my contribution to be the best it can be. I want to reach my full potential. While I realize I won't figure out all the answers to all of the questions in my life, I can certainly begin today trying to figure out where I am needed. I want to serve. I want my life to mean something. I look forward to discovering who I am and who I can be with hard work and determination.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Hard Lesson to Learn

I recently had the pleasure of reuniting with some good friends a few weeks ago, and we had some great conversations. One belief we agreed on was that there is nothing more valuable than the relationships we form with other people. It is a great challenge that should be accepted by all. The ability to connect, share, listen, and learn from other humans sets us apart. It took me 26 years, but I have finally learned what a good friend is. It was a hard lesson to learn, because I wanted to believe that everyone values friendship the way I do. Unfortunately that simply is not true.

I have some truly great friends. I am thankful for these people more than I think I can humanly convey to them. I do try to let them know how much they mean to me, and I like to let them know I am thinking of them. I think that is important. It is important to stop what one is doing and let one's friend know that they are loved and missed. One big lesson I have learned is that friends are not only friends when it is convenient to be friends. We actually had some people in our lives that we called friends who used us for TV because they didn't have cable. This actually went on for a few months. As soon as they moved and got cable, they all of a sudden stopped coming over and didn't even return text messages. Needless to say we have not seen them in about 6 months. For a while I was very sad. Then I decided to realize what I do have. I have some friends in my life that even though they do not live in Dothan they care about me and I care about them. It is actually a two-way street. I let them know when I am thinking of them, and they let me know when they are thinking of me. We have things in common. We listen to each other. We share advice and experiences with each other. We are not friends only when it is convenient or only when we see each other. We are friends everyday of the year. We accept each other for who we are. We share some of the same beliefs. We include each other in our lives. AND one of the most important things to me is that we are not in competition with each other.

It took me 26 years to realize that competition is one of the issues I have had with friendship. One of my guy friends actually pointed it out. When a bunch of us reunited a few weeks ago I was sad that I didn't have that many friends that are girls. I talked with him about high school and college friends, and he pointed out that in his observation of women we can be too competitive with one another. This totally made sense. I realized that most of my friends were Michael's guy friends because I could be myself around them. Isn't that funny? I also became very thankful that since college I have met and befriended a couple of ladies that I completely connect with. We do not even have to live in the same town, and we are there for each other. I know that if I need them for any thing, they will respond and help me in the best way they can. Not only am I thankful for these ladies in my life, but I have become more appreciative of what God gave several years ago. I guess he completed the gift almost 18 years ago. That gift came in 5 individual packages. I am so thankful for my brothers and sisters. I want to cultivate a stronger relationship with them. I know that I can trust them with anything. I hope they think the same way. I am so proud of the young men and women they are becoming. I thank my God for entrusting them to my parents and therefore sharing them with me. I know I have not always been the best example, but I am trying to better my life everyday so that I can be a leader for them. While it was not an easy lesson to learn, I know that I can not give up on making friends. I know that I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazing husband, family, and friends that God has blessed me with. I look forward to how God will use us in each other's lives in the future. True and healthy relationships should truly be treasured. I know that I am very grateful for the friends that I have in my life.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Like Father, Like Daughter

Well, I am officially 26 years old. When my birthday came 3 days ago on Sunday, I was very sick. Needless to say I was not up for celebrating. My husband made me chicken noodle soup and bought me all the meds I needed AND he waited on me. I never had to get up. He really is so good to me. I was sad about being sick on my birthday, but he helped me make the best of it. While being sick last weekend, I actually had quite a bit of down time to think and reflect on the past 26 years of my life. That reflecting has followed me into my work week, and today an idea hit me.

BUT before I share the idea, I want to explain the title for today's post.

Now, anyone who knows my father and me knows we are very much alike. My mom always says, "She certainly is her father's daughter." Usually this good. I really AM like him in many ways. Some of those ways are great, and some are things we (my father and I) are still working on. For instance, we need a little more patience then some when people do not do things in the way we think they should be done : ) On the other hand, I received many good traits from him as well. I am a planner to a fault. I take charge in situations when an assignment is given. I am decisive. I am always ready to improvise. I am passionate about what I believe. I am very driven to make a difference. These are all traits I received from my father. While I am very much like my father, my title is actually referring to my Heavenly Father. When the idea hit me, I thought to myslef, "I do that with my students."

Back to the reflecting. I was thinking about how God has a message for us everyday. He wants to talk to us everyday. He wants to share His wisdom with us, but sometimes he speaks in a whisper. If we are not trying really hard to listen, we will miss out on his messages for us. Well all of that reminded me of my students. Sometimes when I am reading or discussing something and some students are playing and not paying attention, I begin to talk softly. That way they HAVE to be quiet to listen to what it is they need to learn. Then I thought to myself, "Wow! I really am created in His image, I really am like Him! Like Father, like daughter!

I know God has something great in store for me in the coming months. It will be challenging waiting on him, but patience is something I am working on! I am just thankful for all that I DO have!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Being Refined

Lilies and Lemonade

I finally decided to create a blog today. I turn 26 on Sunday, and I want to begin keeping a better record of what happens in our lives. I chose the title Lilies and Lemonade for two specific reasons. Lilies symbolize a variety of things. For some lilies symbolize devotion and restoration. In my life, I am devoted to the things I am a passionate about. This passion can sometimes get me into trouble, because I feel things so intensely. On the other hand, this passion has helped make me the woman I am today. I am passionate about my husband, family, friends, and students. I am passionate about travelling, flavorful and beautifully presented food, books and the escapes they offer, music, and making sure everyone finds his or her voice to tell his or her story. I also chose to use the word lilies in my title because as humans we need to find a way to restore ourselves in the midst of trials. For me Psalm 23 says it all. God is the only one who can restore us. That brings me to the second part of my title.

I had a Professor give me a book titled Make Lemonade. Now most all of us have heard the cliche phrase, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," and that is one of the messages of that book. While it is a cliche phrase, it it still true. It should be our mission to make the best out of bad situations. It is only when we are going through the middle of tough times that we can be refined and given the tools to become better people. Change can be painful, but growing into a better person is worth it. At 26(almost) I have learned that this world has some ugly aspects. This world has people in charge making selfish, corrupt decisions. This world doesn't want to teach accountablity. This world doesn't want to discuss uncomfortable issues with young adults. This world wants to be blind and not enforce boundaries for growing teens. This world wants to break down the traditional family unit. This world is creating ME Monsters. I could go on and on about the ugly side of the world I have been exposed to, but I won't. I just want others to know that even though these things happen in our own backyards, we do not have to be victims. We can be victors. If you are in a bad situation or going through a tough time, you can make the best of it. BUT that means YOU will have to make some changes. The best one to turn to during these times is God. He is the only one who knows all the sides of the situation. Only He can give you peace. So during this time in my life, I am going to seek God for my peace. He is my lily, and I will make lemonade of these tough times.