prayteachlove

A little faith and a lot of love go a long way…

Beach life

I’ve spent the better part of this past week at the beach. Distance from home and everyday routines has given me some much needed space to breathe and begin to really sort some things out in my mind.  

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I needed to have a conversation with God. Finally, I did it. Just two nights ago I spoke to God for the first time in nearly a year. I’ve prayed each night since.

Healing isn’t instantaneous and I didn’t expect it to be. There’s still a long road ahead, but finally, finally, I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. 💡🔦

———————-

A lot has happened during this brief summer respite. Our trip to Florida kicked off the summer and I didn’t expect to do much more traveling. Then, my dad’s only brother passed away suddenly. It was off to Nebraska for a few days then with my mom to say good-bye to my uncle and spend some time with my cousins and family. 

That was a tough trip. The last time we were all together was when my dad passed. He and my uncle were very close. There were many photos of my dad at my uncle’s funeral and I certainly had some difficult moments there. Reminiscing was welcomed but also poked a bit at wounds that still seem a bit too fresh for my liking. 

Now, I find myself at the beach. The future is uncertain, that I know with great certainty. I can’t change the past. But right now, I am here.

By the way, I promise the next few posts will be much lighter. I have lots I want to write about that will certainly be more entertaining, but my heart has been heavy and on this night that I just can’t seem to fall asleep though I’m quite tired, I knew it was time to write and unload a few of the infinite thoughts swirling in my mind.

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Some thoughts on life

What a year. I’ve been thinking a lot about what my life was like at this time last year and what it’s like now. 

I had a conversation with someone last night about God that’s been weighing heavily on my heart. I’ve tried everything to get my act together, to no avail. Basically, the most I’ve accomplished is making myself angry and miserable while doing my best to self-destruct and hurt everyone else in the process. What’s that saying? “Hurt people hurt people.” Something like that.  

I admitted last night that I’m incredibly angry with God. So angry that I’ve refused to speak to Him for awhile now. I blurted out that maybe I just needed to have an angry conversation with Him and the person I was talking to encouraged me to do it. He reminded me that God is bigger than my anger, my grief, my mistakes and my imperfections. He can handle me being mad.

It sucks admitting this. I’m a perfectionist and it is humbling, and quite honestly humiliating,  to confess this. I prefer handling things on my own, in my own way. Clearly, that is not working. 

Difficult conversations are a painful yet necessary part of life. I think it’s time I had one with God.

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Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind

Last week was rough. It felt like a neverending work week. The students were great, they haven’t stressed me out too much this year so far.  One of the reasons for my stress levels shooting through the roof is that my student teacher is done on Thursday, the 18th, so I started teaching for the majority of the day last week. Poor me, right? 😉 It was like adjusting from summer all over again.  Though I definitely wasn’t doing nothing while she was teaching, I was getting all the extras done that I typically either don’t do or do a half-assed job with since there’s never enough time. So now that I’m back to reality, it’s taken me a few days to get back into a routine. I’ve chosen not to manage my time very well either this weekend (like blogging instead of working on my grad assignment) so that’s not helping. Ah well, it’s not like I sleep anyway. That was just one of the things that was weighing on my mind.

Another was that I had a very humbling experience. (I think I used humble correctly. Not 100% sure. Lucky for you I don’t really care right now if I’m using words in the correct context. I just hope I sound smart.) I try to stay positive and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. However there is someone I’ve judged over the past few years.  I really haven’t wasted too much time judging this person thankfully, but in passing I’ve been guilty. Never thought twice about it. Stood on my soapbox when I could and spouted off to anyone who would listen about how I don’t like being judged when people don’t really know me or my story.  But I kept judging.

Yup, that’s me. The hypocritical Christian though, although I’m far from perfect, I never thought of myself that way very often in recent years as I’ve tried to get my life in order until this past week.  And then it hit me hard. Why? Because I had a couple of random (yeah right it was random….all in God’s plan!) opportunities to get to know the person I had been occasionally judging from afar. Man, was I ever wrong. So, so wrong. I forgot that I’m not the only person with a story. This person has a story too. And though I don’t know this person very well yet, I’ve come to realize that our stories may be more similar than different.

As I thought about that one evening, the realization that I had been so hypocritical hit me like a ton of bricks. Then it occurred to me that I had been making some other judgements that are probably unjust. I may not like the people I’ve judged but they’ve got stories too. I may not care to know their story and they may not care to know mine – and that’s ok – but we’ve all got stories. And I should just leave well enough alone and spend my time and energy on something that’s more worthwhile and positive than dwelling on the negative.

It’s also made me more aware of how I’ve been/am being judged. It’s pretty obvious when it happens. I’m insecure as it is so of course it’s an uncomfortable feeling for me to know about it…but at the same time, it’s been a blessing that it’s happened. Because my focus should not be, and will not be from this point forward, on what others think of me. Frankly, I don’t care because it doesn’t matter. The only opinion I need to care about is God’s opinion. Am I living the way He knows I should be? Nope, not if I’m spending my time judging others or worrying about what the world thinks about me.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these recent events occurred at the same time. I needed my eyes opened as the one casting judgement and the one being judged unjustly. I thank God for that because I know that after this past week, these are some areas of my life that I know I need to start reflecting on more and trying to improve.

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Psalm 38

Psalm 38: 13 – 22 (NLT) – A psalm of David, asking God to remember him.

“But I am deaf to all their threats.
I am silent before them as one who cannot speak.
I chooseto hear nothing,
and I make no reply.
For I am waiting for you,O Lord.
You must answer for me, O Lord my God
I prayed, ‘Don’t let my enemies gloat over me
or rejoice at my downfall.’

I am on the verge of collapse,
facing constant pain.
But I confess my sins;
I am deeply sorry for what I have done.
I have many aggressive enemies;
they hate me without reason.
They repay me evil for good
and oppose me for pursuing good.
Do not abandon me, O Lord.
Do not stand at a distance, my God.
Come quickly to help me,
O Lord my savior.”

This day can go suck it.

“Just one of them days…

UGH. I just had a post about the not so wonderful but not so horrible day I had and wordpress LOST it.

UGH. That does not help my day. I am too tired to repost it. It was good too.

DAMN IT.

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Big Daddy Byron is Awesome

Disclaimer: There are no pictures for this post because I am way too lazy/exhausted to find any. My apologies to my fans.

Big Daddy Byron is sad.  He’s been crying himself to sleep every night because I still haven’t blogged about him.  I guess he wants some type of credit for my happiness and imminent wealth and fame when I become a world-renowned blogger/author. (Stop laughing. It’s going to happen.)

So let me tell you a little about the best house husband in the world.  Big Daddy Byron and I were introduced by the cafeteria aides at my school. So we met in an elementary school cafeteria. (Definitely the last place in the world I ever thought I’d meet my husband. I still get the “Mary Kay Latourno” (yep, I realize that’s spelled wrong and I’m too lazy to Google it) side-eye from people when I tell them that I met my soul mate in an elementary school cafeteria until I explain that he was a lunch lady over the age of 18 when we met.)

In just 3.5 short months we knew we were in it together for the long haul.  We now know that feeling has a name – “trapped.” Just kidding. But really, we knew and we’ve been inseparable since the day we met – January 22, 2007. Just 14 months after we met we married in a wedding that we won in a radio contest.  The actual wedding day was awesome (mostly because I was marrying my BFF) but winning a big prize like a wedding is not all it’s cut out to be. Like it’s not actually free. And people who are in charge don’t really care about your wedding because it’s your wedding and not theirs.  That’s all I’ll say about that.

In all honesty, our first year as a married couple was tough. Really tough. We went through some big transitions and if I’m going to just go ahead and be honest, I didn’t manage them very well. Thankfully, it turns out that Byron is apparently a direct descendant of a saint and has some saint-blood in him. We made it through and then decided it was time to be fruitful and multiply. We did and thus came the Gorilla. Then we kept multiplying (unintentionally) and along came Binxy.

With two kids and no money, it was clear we were in trouble. Big trouble. After much prayer (and more tears) about how we were supposed to take care of these beautiful babies, we got the answer. Big Daddy B was meant to be a stay-at-home Daddy. So he left his full-time job to raise our munchkins and manage our home life while I work full-time as a teacher. (Though I prefer the term “Professional Life Changer.”)

He. Is. An. Amazing. Daddy. I thought I’d be resentful that he gets to stay at home and I don’t.  Frankly, it happens from time to time…usually on the days I’m exhausted and haven’t seen my kids in over 24 hours and have just realized I’ve been so busy that I’ve forgotten to pee in the past 14 hours or so. But then I remember what an awesome Dad he is and it doesn’t bother me at all. We are so blessed that our kids get to be at home with him. He makes mistakes daily (what parent doesn’t?) but he’s quick to recover and uses those times as teachable moments for the little ones. That will make more of a positive impact on them than him faking perfection.

We’ve given up a lot for him to stay home. But we have gained so much more than I ever thought possible. We are truly blessed as a family and I am so very blessed to have such a wonderful husband and baby daddy. So there you have it Big Daddy Byron…dry your eyes and hold your head up high. I have now publicly declared my love for you (which you know I am not comfortable with) and told the world how awesome you are. You can finally get a good night’s sleep (and stop bugging me to blog about you). Love you. 😉

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And then it was Friday

Well, well, well…we meet again. Here it is, Friday, and I have survived my first week back to work, though only three days were with students.  You should know that as I type this, I am enjoying a well-deserved beverage since I have barely slept at all in the past 3 days.

Snake Wine...not what I'm drinking

SNAKE WINE

Ok, so I am not actually enjoying snake wine. However I found that image on a site with free images for education called Pics4Learning and thought it was cool.

Let me back up to the beginning of the week…on Monday my student teacher joined me for the first two days of opening activities in our district. Oh yes, I have a student teacher for the first time.  It. Is. AWESOME. (BTW, if she’s reading this, Hi Sarah! Hahaha!) Having a student teacher is like having a personal assistant. I know because I was a student teacher myself and now I have one. Besides the fact that since she just started I’m keeping her busy making copies, laminating, and doing bulletin board stuff, she’s actually a really nice person too. So I get to work with someone who’s not a jerk and that’s always a good thing. AND she’s doing an awesome job as a student teacher for the first week already so I’m not too worried about having to school her in the ways of being an awesome teacher and then making her cry. I don’t like to make people cry but I will if I have to. 😉 The best part though is that I’m learning from her too! I’m learning how to be a good cooperating teacher (I think I’m doing ok so far) and she taught me some things about Google Docs already too! (It turns out that I HATE Google Docs.) I’m just sad that she’s only with me for 8 weeks.

I look like this sad/grumpy puppy when I think about not having a student teacher anymore…

On Wednesday I got to meet my students for the very first day of the year. It. Was. AWESOME.  The first 3 days in my room at least are boring for the kids but necessary in order to set the stage.  I continue to set the stage for the next few weeks, but I go hard for 3 days straight teaching procedures and routines. In my experience, spending the time on it now will pay off in December and April.

I’m like a drill sargeant (which I think I spelled wrong) teaching a new soldier how to raise the flag!

I also spend the first two days of school calling every parent.  I introduce myself, let them know how the 1st day or 2 went, and let them know they can contact me when they need too. I leave a message with that info if no one answers. These calls make for very long evenings however they are very purposeful. My first call home is positive. Parents recognize that and they recognize that I took the time to do it and know that I am willing to go above and beyond right from the beginning.  It also gives them a chance to give me important information right away. Finally, I get a good feel for what it will be like working with each parent/set of parents for the year. The major downfall is the time it takes and the fact that I actually hate talking on the phone. (Yep, I’m the person who texts you back right after you called.) But it’s worth it to do because it saves me lots of headaches down the road. I learned that lesson very early in my career.

I need more time!

Phones are my arch nemesis…praise Jesus for TEXTING

Back to my students…they are great. Really. I know, I know, it’s only been 3 days.  But I can already tell they are a good group.  I say that every year, and every year it’s been true. How is that? Because I believe it is.  Let me break it down for you.

Everyday I have a choice. I can be a negative jerk who complains about things or a positive person who sees a challenge as an opportunity.  I choose to be that positive person (most days…I’m not perfect). Why? Because I serve an amazing God. Every student in my class is there because God knows they need me in some way.  Every student in my class is there because God knows I need them in some way. By day 3 I don’t always know what the reasons are, and I may never know, but my faith is stronger than my need to know so it doesn’t matter. What I do know for sure is that God knows what He’s doing, He’s always been there for me, and this will be no different.  This class is special though for sure. God’s got big plans for us this year. I have already learned so much about myself, education, being a mom, love, patience, the power of prayer, and blessings. I know I will have many opportunities to learn and grow and serve God this year and I. Can’t. Wait. 🙂

Love God. Love Others.

 

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