Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Using my gifts, time and talents....

Today at school, I spent my planning period helping to clean the English office. I bring this to y'all's attention for several reasons (none of which is to brag, please don't think that...):
  1. It is a filthy mess, and seeing my progress was quite uplifting during a usually fruitless(-seeming) time of the day.
  2. I was able to bless fellow coworkers with the homemaking skills God has given me.
  3. The office is closer to becoming a place where we can all land during the day if we need a space.

Our skills can bless others in ways that we often don't see. I never would have considered using my homemaking skills at school, but today, I decided to put my "home as a haven" mentality to work AT work and make the "English office a haven" at school. And you know what? I feel like I truly glorified God in it, and I have a much more positive outlook today, partly, probably, because of it.

What can you do today to bless someone with the skills you have, even in unusual places? Can you be more organized? Make a space more calm? Ease someone's mind without having your own brought down?

In other news, my currect memory verse is Ephesians 2:10; feel free to join me if you're not memorizing something right now. ;) Soli Deo Gloria, friends.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

So I was wondering the other day why I haven't taken many Charlotte pictures lately...

...then I realized that this is the reason why....she's always moving like this and it makes pictures a blur. Haha.
We went to Adam's Gamestop today after church and got some cute pictures.
This picture is what we in our family call a "Sasquatch picture" - a picture of someone running away like those Bigfoot pictures always seem to be.
Above is my favorite one, and the one below is a great shot of the outfit...

And the obligatory passed-out in the carseat picture. Hope you enjoyed this photo update! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finding Purpose

Why do I blog? This is a complicated question, especially since my blog is half-family blog, Charlotte pics for the grandparents and half-biblical womenhood inspirational blog.

Which has been difficult lately. I'm not very inspired, or biblical it feels like. I have made a commitment not to complain here because that's not what this space is for. Besides, I owe it to my 12 readers to not be mopey, self-pitying and melodramatic. However, this school year has, so far, been nothing really short of miserable. It's not just me, it's everyone in my building, but that doesn't make my days any easier.


Why do I read blogs? Why do I go to the blogs of people I don't know and see what they're saying and going through? Why do I care who these people are? They live in states I will never visit, and they will never know how they have helped or not helped me. So why? Because maybe they will have figured out something I haven't yet. Maybe they will have some secret to surviving toddlerhood, wifehood and work in the same exhausting flurry I'm in. Maybe they will have the secret to the way that I can stay home and raise my child sometime before she starts school. Or maybe they will have some tiny similarity to my life to show me that:
  1. I'm not a nutcase
  2. It's okay that I'm far from perfect
  3. I would still struggle with being a bad wife and mom if I wasn't working
  4. Not working would not solve all of my problems
  5. I am a great sinner in need of a great Savior.

So how much of my state of being burned out is sin and how much is legitimate? I'm not really sure. But maybe here, there could be purpose in it.

Because I'm a working mom and a working wife. I love my husband and child dearly, but sometimes, I bring my work home. Papers, defeats, with teaching, it is difficult not to bring it home sometimes. I am struggling with the education profession right now: purposes, ideologies and methods. I survive exhausting days with teenagers that got more exhausting this year when they added extra classes to our workload. One of my colleagues said today that in the business world, if extra responsiblities were given to us, we'd get paid a little extra for it. Then again, we don't teach for the money - everyone knows that. But it has been difficult all the same.

So, without complaining, I say to you that if your life is difficult right now, it's OKAY. You can be redeemed and struggling. You can take joy in your adoption into the family of God and feel defeated by aspects of your life. It is okay. Don't look at other people and think about how easy they have it. We all have struggles, and if yours wasn't something, it would be something else. I know that it's difficult because I'm there, but you must keep your eye on Christ. Like our youth pastor said once, we need to have cross-eyes - a vision focused on the cross. As much as I hate my job currently, one day it will be dust. This world will be dust, my body will be a vapor, and I will be praising my King for eternity because He's worthy.

And maybe, that's why I blog. To remind y'all and myself about that very thing. Soli Deo Gloria.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nursery Rhymes by Charlotte

"Patty-cake, patty-cake, patty-cake, patty-cake,

Roll it,

And me!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's about that time of year...

No, it's not as if I watch The Little Mermaid once a year around this time. But, it is the time of year, even though it feels a little early to me, to lose my voice. Ah...I see the movie reference light bulb above your heads.

Every school year in the first half of the year, I lose my voice. And I hate it. It's not until you lose your voice, completely or mostly, that you realize just how much you use it for in a day. Seriously, when was the last time you considered what you would do all day if you couldn't TALK? Mine was last year, haha.
  1. It was hard to wake Charlotte up this morning, because usually I coax her awake with a sing-song, "Good morning, Charlotte. Good mor-ning."
  2. We can't sing praise music together on the way to "school"
  3. I can't use my fake excited voice when I'm dropping her off at "school" to make her not have a meltdown
  4. I could not use my teacher voice over my FOUR hour-and-a-half blocks of students today, nor can I read to them in my lovely reading voice, nor can I yell at the ones who need yelling at
  5. I can't sing at all on my way home to pick Charlotte up, and we can't sing on the way home
  6. I can't sing along with her music upstairs and her episode of Sid when we get home
  7. I can't say "Who's here?" in a high excited voice when Adam gets home so she and Simon both run to the front window to look

I didn't realize that I did quite so much singing in my day-to-day life. People who must tolerate me for any period of time in a set space probably already know this about me. Huh.

Think about it, though. Our retired English teacher sage once told me that of all professions, teachers put so much strain on their voices, and it's really true. Who else loses their voice once a year with me? Maybe opera singers? :) Hardly anyone I know. But think back to being in school. What did your teachers do, mostly, good or bad? TALK. And usually loudly, firmly, strongly, with emphasis, excitedly, passionately or weakly. But talk, they did, and frequently.

But probably not me tomorrow. In fact, since I read to a couple of classes today, I may have zero voice tomorrow. And it's Back to School Night. :) I love my job.

Charlotte is recovering from her ear infection. She's saying all kinds of things that we haven't taught her, and she LOVES being able to share her opinion with you. She will agree with you (when she does) with an emphatic "Yes" and usually a head nod. The pediatrician reiterated to me on Friday, as she was pointing out and naming each individual monkey, monkey, monkey on a certain page of a book, that he didn't know what it was about teachers' kids, but that they usually talked early and often. I don't think Adam and I really talk that much (and if you heard that, it was the sound of Brit falling off her bed laughing at the idea of us not talking very much).

In all seriousness though, think about it. The cliche is that we were given one mouth and two ears for a reason, but most of us chat and ramble and yack so much through any given day, do we ever just stop to hear what we're saying? To hear if it even has any value? Maybe, and this is radical, to hear what other people are saying? Our Sunday School teacher said a while back (we're studying the book of James) that so often when we have a conversation with someone, we are thinking about how we will respond instead of listening to them. The more we use our voices, the more us-focused our days and worlds tend to be. Maybe tomorrow we should use our voices less; who knows? Maybe God's voice will fill the void.

Soli Deo Gloria, dear friends.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

10 Things Thursday

I think I'm going to start a new thing. By Thursday, I'm usually so fried that I can only think in snippets, not eloquent paragraphs like Tuesday's post. So, I'm going to try to start 10 Things Thursday; feel free to join me on your blog if you like.

10 Things I love about being home with a sick child:
  1. She's more cuddly than normal (albeit more whiny than normal) and I love taking care of her.
  2. I can pee whenever I want. No, seriously.
  3. I can help my husband get out the door faster and refresh him better when he returns from work (this week, his super-chaotic first week of teaching in the city).
  4. I can take care of things around the house that need to be done (which, I realize, is a no-brainer, but this is still Thursday.)
  5. I can ignore all of the things that "need" to be done in order to rock my toddler to sleep for her nap, something I haven't done since she was a little baby.
  6. I can play praise music when she sings "Jesus" randomly during our day, and we can both sing and dance to it together.
  7. I can watch Sid the Science Kid on DVD with her in my lap. We can also watch her Baby Einstein's World Animal Adventure which she loves.
  8. I don't have to go anywhere. We can stay at home together with Simon and not leave the house for anything.
  9. She can sleep when she needs to sleep and eat when she needs to eat. So can I.
  10. It's like a free day, not part of a stressful week. Anything that gets done is a bonus because no one expected anything to get done since I was going to work originally.

There, that was nice. I hope you're having a great day like I am at home with my sick Charlotte. What is your favorite part of today?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is God your steering wheel or your spare tire? (or, church signs that make me mad)

I was driving to Target today when I passed a church with this question on its sign. I, of course, was outraged and inspired to come home and blog about it. :) This is the problem with the modern church - ultimately, all of the problems with the modern church boil down to this question from that sign. The answer is an EMPHATIC neither. God is neither my steering wheel nor my spare tire. I am offended that we, as a society, would even denegrate the one and only God to a metaphor of car parts. I know we must try to be cute and catchy to get modern churchgoers into our doors, but apostasy in the attempt is unforgivable. God is the gentle shepherd who loves and cares for His sheep; He knows them and they know Him. God is a potter who sculpts our lives into being for either honorable or dishonorable use. God is the vineyard keeper, gently lifting up grafted vines to allow them to grow better while clipping away the vines that are bearing no fruit. God is the author and the finisher of our faith. He gave the gift of His Son to save our souls, and because of that, we should never doubt His provision for us of anything else since He has already given the most precious gift He can. God foreknew us in eternity past, elected us and pursued us when we wanted nothing to do with Him. God is three but also one. He has no beginning and no end; He needs nothing and we can offer Him nothing that He doesn't already have. Everything we do offer Him, He gives us to offer. To limit God to one of these two positions is ridiculous at best and blasphemous at most. He is neither the steering wheel or the spare tire, even though I know what the right answer was supposed to be.

This is the problem with our modern church and our modern faith. Do you see it? Whether God is our steering wheel or spare tire, you are the one driving the car. That is fundamentally incorrect. Whether you depend on God or not, He is the driver of your car. Period. Now the problem with the metaphor is that it makes little of God. God has been diminished to merely a tool for us to use, whichever we choose, not the Almighty Alpha and Omega, Creator of Heaven and Earth. That is the foundation of all our modern faith's shortcomings: it makes little of God. We think we know Him, we think we have Him completely figured out. The truth is just the opposite. We will never figure God out all the way. Personally, I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that I worship and serve a God that cannot be comprehended by the finite human mind. Who would want to serve a God they fully understood? Not me.

While I was at Target, looking for a small back-to-school present for Adam, I overheard two ladies talking in the next aisle over. I wasn't purposely eavesdropping, but they were discussing the fact that now that their children were out of the house, they didn't even bother to make dinner anymore. The exact quote from one of them was, "There's no point to even making dinner anymore, because, for who?" And I thought to myself instantly, "For your husband!!" Now I'm not bragging because I know women who do this exact thing just like me, but the second I got home from school, daycare and dropping off library things that were due today, I changed clothes and threw together a very simple pasta dinner so that our family could eat dinner together in the 15 minutes between Adam getting home from school and going to GameStop. I could have fed Charlotte anything; I made dinner for him, because I know that on a day when he's home for about an hour and a half total, a homemade dinner matters. There's a reason for making food for your husband, even beyond the essential you've-gotta-eat reason. It's so that he knows you care for him and about him, enough to bend over backwards to provide him with a homecooked meal. Now, sometimes I can't make it happen and we wind up eating out, but those times make today's rushed pasta dinner that much more special because I could've given up when I got home, and I didn't.

What a thoughtful post for you all...who knew I still had it in me? You know Who gets all the glory for it though. SDG

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday morning at the park

We all took a walk to the park behind our house this morning. Adam said that we went so that I would have something to blog about. :)

I can't offer much more wisdom or encouragement right now; most of mine is caught up in adjusting to my new school schedule and our new family schedule. My parents are coming to church with us tomorrow, and for that I am very excited!!
Soli Deo Gloria, even in this season.