Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break!

I have been so, so, SO ready for spring break! I was so, so, SO excited about it!! Then...I heard about several people going away to all kinds of wonderful places, enjoying a real spring break week. And... I found out that family was coming to spend the week with mom, which makes for another different dynamic for my week. That's when Satan had a field day with my mind. I got really down, and shamefully pitiful for me to have to even admit, I became a bit jealous. My mind went to wishing I could get away somewhere fun for a while, trying to think of the last time I was able to get away somewhere fun for a while, and wondering if I'll ever get to go away for a nice, fun vacation that lasts longer than a weekend any time soon. It doesn't ever feel like it, so it makes me even more sad. I know, you're thinking, Girl, get out of that funk, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and stop thinking so negatively, cuz that is ugly!! Well, if you're not, then I am, and I have been saying that to myself. It's just hard because Satan keeps trying to sneak his lies and discontentment and discouragement in. I hate being like this and feeling like this. But, you know, let me tell keeps me on my knees. I need lots of work, but I'm so thankful the Lord knows me, and yet He still loves me. Even though I have been struggling with this, the Lord did bless me so much this weekend. Saturday, though it ended up being much too early of a start...(up at a little after 5 because mom was up, got dressed not long after that, and was ready to eat breakfast by about 7:30...ON A SATURDAY....first day of my spring break...ugh!!), I was able to go to Truth to see the championship basketball games, lots of my kids were playing. It was fun to watch and cheer them on. Then, I had to leave there quickly to head over to Trinity College in Hartford. One of my kids from last year, Barnabas, was going to be performing a Korean Mask Dance at Korean Cultural Day. Sadly, I missed his dance, but got to see him and his mom, and then do, see and eat some wonderful things!! It was a great time, even just the walk to the building and back to the car was invigorating. It was a beautiful, sunny day, a little chilly with the wind, but otherwise wonderful. I enjoyed myself and left with a big smile on my face and thoughts to keep this in mind for next year! I was thankful for the Lord providing those special moments for me. Then, Sunday the Lord sent more blessings my way. My friend, Kristen, came down from New Hampshire to visit me for the day!! It was so nice to see her again. It helped to break up some of the monotony of everything. We enjoyed an awesome morning service, some wonderful music, and Pastor was hitting home just what we needed. To sum it up, he was reminding us that although we may feel that we are missing something, whether emotionally, socially, or financially, we need to remember that heaven is waiting for us. And that is where we will have all we need or want. It was a great message! We brought Bertucci's home for lunch with mom, then went back for the night, and she helped me with my Pee Wee's class. It was also nice to have someone recognize how much energy it takes to do that after teaching all week, and teaching Sunday School on Sunday mornings. After church we went to Starbucks just to quickly get some coffee before she headed back 2 1/2 hours to New Hampshire. What a fun weekend! So thankful for that. So thankful for her and her friendship! I'm not sure what the week will hold for me, not so excited about parts of it, but asking the Lord to help me not to focus on the wrong thoughts. Hopefully will be going to New York this week, that will help too. Trying to look forward with the right spirit for the rest of the week. Lord, please forgive me for the awful jealous thoughts that have clouded my mind! Help me to think of all that I have in you, and keep my focus in the right place. Thank you for forgiveness and grace. Please help this to be a good week, even though it may not seem like much to look forward to. Remind me in times like this that I should be looking forward to forever with you, making my life count for all eternity.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Often Repeat Repeat

Jack Prelutsky is a poet who writes some interesting, crazy, kooky kids poems. I found one of his books several years ago. The title of the book is A Pizza the Size of the Sun. I read most of the poems in this book to my students at the beginning of the year. They are something I use to help them get their coats and bookbags quietly before we line up to go home. Anyway, one of the poems in this book starts out: "I often repeat repeat myself, I often repeat repeat". I'm not sure how the rest of it goes and can't even think right now what it is even about. The reason it came to mind is because as I was getting ready for bed just now, that is what I found myself doing. My mom must have asked me, at least just now, three times what tomorrow was and if I had to go to school. I just took Bella out potty, came in and gave Bella her breath treat, then got mom's water and medicine that she has to take and gave it to her. As she was watching the 10 o'clock news she asked me, "What is tomorrow?" I told her, "It's Tuesday, Ma". "Oh, do you have school tomorrow?" "You know I always do." "Oh, ok." Bella finished her treat and came to get in bed with my mom. I pray with her every night lately because many to most nights she complains about these black things coming at her. She sometimes calls me back in the room to turn on the light because she doesn't know why these black things keep bothering her. So, at the suggestion of a couple of friends I have started praying with her before she goes to bed. It reminds me of what she used to do with me when I was a little girl, now the tables are turned. After I prayed, she asked, "What is tomorrow?" "It's Tuesday, Ma." "Do you have school?" "Of course" "Ok, goodnight. Love you, sleep tight." " Love you, too, you sleep well too." I went and made sure everything was locked up, turned out the lights, and got washed up. As I come out of the bathroom to go to bed she said, "Goodnight, tomorrow is Tuesday right?" "Yes, Ma." "Ok, love you." "Love you, too." This is just one example, but it is what I deal with each day now. I know maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal, but when that's your every day, it can be difficult. Sometimes I feel frustrated by the constant asking, then I feel bad that I feel frustrated, so it's a never ending cycle. The only thing that makes it tougher is that not only do I deal with it at home, but also in school this year. I actually have my students repeat every direction I give to make sure they are listening and paying attention. Even then I still all too often have the students ask what page we are on, or what they are supposed to do. One day, a while ago, I was teaching a new concept in Arithmetic and went through it a few times, one of my boys raised his hand and said, "I don't know if you already went over this or not, but I don't get how to do these problems." I told him I just finished going over those and I wasn't going to repeat it again. He was going to have to figure it out or take it home to get help. Maybe that seems cruel, but it wasn't the beginning of the year, and I have been teaching them to listen carefully the first time! It's been a tough go of it. I get up in the morning and often repeat myself in telling what day it is, telling what may be going on that day, or a number of other things. Then I go to school and often repeat myself with page numbers, well, actually I don't repeat page numbers, and haven't let my students repeat them either so each student learns to listen the first time. I often repeat instructions and information. Again, if truth be told, I don't repeat instructions much either, except just in teaching something better. Then, I come home and often repeat myself with the day again and whether or not mom needs to go to church later, or how my day was, or if all my kids were in school. Then, many times the night routine happens again. So between school and home it's a little tough, especially when this is about the only conversation I get during the day. This is probably why I talk too much! :) I feel badly about talking so much, but sometimes I just need regular conversation. I don't like to call people because I feel that I am going to bother them, so, I don't have a boyfriend, a husband, or even a brother or sister to call, so I thrive on conversation during the day at school because nights are quiet. Blogging has definitely been a help, too. But I am also learning that the Lord is my everything, and He is always there for me.
Lord, thank you for the peace of knowing that you are always there! I definitely could not do this without you. Even those evenings and days of constant repeating, you know what I'm feeling and you offer comfort and hope. Also, thank you for your grace and mercy when I foolishly repeat things that I know don't please you. Thanks for loving me and bringing me back to you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I don't even know.....

We had quite the interesting day today! As I was teaching Arithmetic this morning, I was a little shocked to hear the fire alarm go off. Not just because we as teachers usually get a little warning, though not all the time, but more so because it was a rainy, raw day! We don't usually have a fire drill if it's rainy so the kids don't have to stand out in the rain, especially when it's chilly. Plus since we didn't know about it we couldn't warn kids to keep coats with them or something. It made me wonder if something happened, everyone seemed to be a little shocked, even the principal came out after everyone was outside and looked a little confused. Thankfully I had my umbrella, for those of you who know me, as I've said a thousand times before, I can't afford for my hair to get wet, it doesn't bounce back!! :) Anyway, we are standing there shivering like crazy, and some were getting wet as well. The principal came out again and finallytold us to come back in. When we did, Cathy came to ask if I had heard that it wasn't just one of those rare fire drills, oh no! It was pulled by a kindergarten student. Wow, I couldn't help but laugh out loud about that...I know I'm so pitiful sometimes! I did however find it quite funny, but was able to control myself enough to talk to my class about how we did with the fire drill. As we were talking about that, and I was getting ready to get back into the Arithmetic lesson...the fire alarm goes off...again!!! I couldn't believe it. Once again, we made our way outside, but as we were leaving, we as teachers were told that it was just a test from the fire department that time and we didn't need to go out. Many of 1st through 3rd graders had already gone out, and it was raining harder that time! We got them all back in quickly, though. My what a morning!! I finally got in my Arithmetic lesson in. We got through our other subjects without a problem. The students finally got to recess, but some had to finish their seat work, and I had a flute lesson to make up. Cathy needed me to got to the gym to watch the kids for a little bit while she went to take care of something. While I was in there the kindergarten were trying to tell me which of them pulled the alarm, then told that the person who did tried to blame it on someone else at first. I kept my poise, but man did I want to burst out laughing!! When I got back to the classroom, Olivia, my flute student was telling me that another student was dancing while she was playing. He decides to show me what he was doing, he says, "I was just doing this, because it sounded pretty!" Then he shows me this flailing arm, funky knee thing. I told him he needed to just stop, " I'm sure Olivia does not appreciate that, so sit and get your work done". I must admit I did have a little smirk on my face because it was a funny looking little dance, pretty pitiful actually! Well, wouldn't you know it, he wasn't done showing off his awful dancing skills. They came up again in Science class. We were playing a game and he got the answer right, so he decided to grace the whole class with his sad moves! I just looked at him, then I did that mouth thing, see, sometimes I just have to say things and they just kinda come out in some creative crazy ways, I don't know how I get away with it, but somehow I do, well that's what took place...I looked at him and in only my crazy way said, " Black people do not dance like that! I don't understand how you can be black and dance like that with no rhythm, how sad! ( Nope not done yet!) You need to ask your dad to get you a plane ticket to Africa so somebody there can teach you some rhythm, son!" He thought it was pretty funny and so did everyone else, including myself actually! :) Oh this mouth of mine. Well, that wasn't the only funny part that happened. A few minutes after one of my girls got the right answer and did a little jog kinda thing and the boy told her, "Well, you don't have much rhythm either". My other girl looks at him and says, "Yea, but she's not from Africa!" My head went down and I just shook, I think I scared the kids for a second because they came up to my table to see if I was OK, but I was laughing too hard to answer!! It was just so classic and quick, gotta love those moments!
Lord, thank you for days like this that are so out of the ordinary that they are very memorable and fun. Thank you for allowing me some moments to just laugh and enjoy this class! It was great to laugh so much, I'm sure you got a few good chuckles as well. Days like this help to break up the monotony or frustrations sometimes felt at this time of year. Thanks for giving us opportunities to enjoy one another in fun ways. May we have more special memories this year.

Monday, March 14, 2011

On My Heart...

You may be thinking that I am going to relay some things that the Lord has laid on my heart, but no, that's not exactly what this post is. The reason I am really writing this post is because I have heard this phrase quite a few times lately! About a month or so ago a friend Kasey sent me a message on Facebook telling me that early that morning she wasn't able to sleep so she started praying. Then she said the words, "The Lord laid you on my heart". I was so touched by that! It meant so much to me to hear. It was a morning I truly needed to hear that. The Lord had her praying for things that I don't normally share with anyone. It's amazing how God works! A little bit later Kasey sent a message to my inbox to tell me that the Lord laid me on her heart again and kept bringing me to heart and mind about certain things that she finally had to share with me. It was definitely such a huge blessing in my life at this time! There are still other times where she will jot me a note to let me know the Lord laid me on her heart and she prayed for me. A couple of months ago, a couple of former students of mine-twins (Tiff and Sam), who I now have as friends, each on totally different days told me they were praying for me. What a special feeling to know that, especially since they are former students of mine. As they grew up we went from student/teacher relationship to friends. How special to hear those words, just wanted you to know I prayed for you because the Lord laid you on my heart! Just last week a highschool teacher that I had recently talked to went by my room and just quickly let me know that she had prayed for me. What a special feeling! Once again the Lord put me on someone's heart. Then, a day or so later, a friend who is now working at the school blessed me and had me in tears after school. This friend, Sarah, has gotten together with some parents at the school and every morning they pray for the school, teachers, students, the principal, and any others who work or help at the school. Well, she told me that last week they decided to pray for me, specifically for the Lord's will for my life in the area of singleness. Talk about overwhelmed, I truly was blessed by that! It's a pretty incredible feeling! If you can believe it, it happened again, just a couple of days ago. I was watching my UConn boys and I posted on Facebook that those were the times I missed my pappy because we would always watch the college basketball games together. If it wasn't our team, then we would just choose a team as we watched and cheer for them. Then when our team won we would cheer and scream and have so much fun. Of course, that would drive mom a little crazy as we would usually end up waking her up and she would always worry about the neighbors, which of course could hear nothing as we were downstairs in the basement. :) It was a cute thought though. :) Well, when I posted that I missed him, yet another friend told me she was sending hugs my way, then she said, "I often find myself thinking of you and praying, God just puts you on my heart"! Wow, my heart was just so blesses and overwhelmed by this. So many times recently the Lord has shown Himself to me in just that simple phrase. How can I doubt that He loves and cares for me when I constantly have been getting that reminder. This is to my shame, though, because so many times recently I have been telling the Lord that I didn't feel Him, I didn't feel that He cared, or I just didn't understand why I was struggling with so many of the things in my life and wondered where He was. Could He be making it any more clear to me? Sometimes it takes me a while to get things, but I kinda think I got this one...if He keeps putting me on people's hearts, then doesn't that make sense that I am constantly on His heart? What an awesome feeling!! I'm so thankful for so many wonderful people in my life, and SO thankful for His love for me!
Thank you so much, Lord for showing me your love over and over and over...and over again! Forgive me for those too often times of doubt. Each time those wrong, silly thoughts come into my mind may I remember these moments again and just feel your constant embrace! Help me to love you that much as well. And, help me to be able to be that much of an encouragement to someone else that needs to feel, know, and be reminded of your love. Be my all in all! I love you, Lord!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March Madness

This will be my first blog after actually inviting people to read it. Thank you, Shannon for becoming a follower, that means so much to me! Also, thank you to the others of you who have said that you would be willing to read it.

I love March Madness!!!! It is one of my favorite times of the year! My friend Kasey's husband
Adam calls it his Christmas! I love that!!! I'm going to have to borrow that thought! I absolutely adore college basketball! Ok, that was definitely a weird way of putting it...ah well, I have lots of weird quirks! :) Just today I was watching several games, and just finished watching Kent St. vs. Akron and Washington vs. Arizona. I was literally running back and forth from the guest room T.V. to the kitchen T.V. to watch these two games. Both were so close and so exciting to watch! Akron won theirs, but at the end as they were celebrating, they ended up stepping on one of the opposing teams players who was laying on the court. That almost started a huge throwdown! There was a lot of pushing, but they got it cleared so Akron could celebrate. Then Washington beat Arizona on a last second buzzer beater shot! It was awesome! I don't even know these teams that well, and I don't really care who wins, but it's just so much fun to watch and cheer!! This is why I love college basketball and March Madness!! I have even incorporated it into my classroom as an incentive. We have two teams who compete for four weeks, which are the four quarters of the game. The students get points for work, tests, and behavior. It's lots of work for me, but worth it to keep them motivated! I tell my kids all the time that the reason I love college basketball is because no matter how badly a team may be doing, they continue to play so hard. What a great lesson!! These teams never say die! That's something that is great to remember in life.
I was watching the UConn game last night so I didn't finish this post. What a great game to watch last night. And another great example of the never say die spirit. This was UConn's fifth game in five days and people were wondering if they could keep up enough energy and strength to pull out another win. They started out pretty good against Louisville, but before half time they started coming back. I decided to watch the last part of it in bed, because sadly last night we lost an hour of sleep. How can I sleep early with my boys playing. So, I took Bella out got her to bed with my mom, then got in bed to watch the game. Many moments I spent with tbe covers over my eyes, but there were a few moments where I had confidence to look and cheer. Finally, the last few seconds I was brave enough to see us pull through and finish with a fifth win in five days!!! I was so excited!! I wanted to cheer so badly, but just settled for a loud clap and some silent cheering! I started tearing up because I was so excited for them, but also because I was missing my dad. It just made me think because normally we would have been watching it together downstairs. When they won we would have been jumping up and down, screaming, cheering, and hugging each other. It brought back some sweet memories, that left me a little sad. I love this time, I love the memories, and I can't wait to see more!!
Lord, thank you for the lessons we can learn from college basketball. Thank you for the great memories of my pappy. Please tell him I miss him dearly, and give him hugs for me.