Sunday, March 31, 2013


Some of you undoubtedly saw my post on Facebook about not being able to find brown dress shoes to go with Chandler's nice new Easter outfit. Who would have thought it would be such a difficult task? I mean, every store we went in had dozens of dress shoes for little girls and barely anything for little boys other than tennis shoes.

About halfway through the hunt (that went on for several days and took us to about a dozen stores), 
I just lost it. I wasn't happy at all, and I had a very poor attitude.
I finally just decided that Chandler would wear casual shoes with his nice new Sunday suit 
on Easter Sunday morning.
I was angry!

My poor husband felt so bad that he treked out on his on Saturday afternoon and FINALLY found
some brown dress shoes at a store we had not thought about in Gainesville.
How sweet was it that he did this for me?
I felt very guilty about how I had acted. 

Then, I realized something...

I was making a big deal out of something that really wasn't a big deal.

I was depriving myself and my family out of the joy of Easter and what it really means.
Easter is NOT about the perfect shoes and the perfect outfit.
It's not about the candy and egg hunts.
It's not even about the family gatherings, even though they are nice,
and it's definitely not about the Easter Bunny.
It's about Jesus, my Risen Savior.

I had allowed Satan to distract me from this
with such a silly thing as a brown pair of dress shoes 
to match my son's Easter outfit.

But, you know what the best part of the story is?
My Savior also forgives, 
and for that, I am forever grateful. 

Here's my handsome little man on Easter morning! 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Teacher's View of Spring Break

If you know any teachers, have ever lived with a teacher, or you are or have been a teacher yourself, you know that the words SPRING BREAK are music to an educator's ears. I am no exception. It's no lie that most of us count down to the next school vacation we will have, sometimes even 
before the current one is over. 

 It's not that I don't enjoy my job, because on most days I really do enjoy my job. It's what God has called me to do, and I work hard to take kids to the next level. 
I love when the lightbulb finally comes on for a child that I have been working with, and there is certainly never a dull or quiet moment 
in my entire day. 

I am not only their teacher, but their nurse, their mama, and their caregiver...ALL DAY LONG!
I must constantly be aware of not only each student's location, but I must also be 
aware of each child's educational, social, health, and safety needs. 
They are constantly changing!
This doesn't even include all the interruptions that occur throughout the day. 

Little Johnny needs to ride a different bus home today than usual and he needs a note from the office, as well as an escort to the bus so he knows where to go. Little Susie has a sore throat and tells me about it every 5 minutes even though I have already given her a peppermint and she has already seen the nurse, and we have a water fountain in our classroom that she can go to freely.  Little Joey has problems keeping his hands to himself no matter how many times he is reminded. Little Sally picks up things off the floor and puts them in her mouth and/or sucks her thumb even though she has been reminded at least a hundred times how nasty this is. Little Timmy always finishes pretty much any assignment he is given in 2.7 seconds flat, while Little Leroy takes forever and a day to complete the same task.  Little Mary needs to go to the bathroom again right in the middle of my teaching time even though she's already been three times and it's only 10:00 a.m. Little Pete needs to go to the Counselor's office, but he doesn't know where it is, and neither does anyone else in the classroom, so I have to escort him there while another teacher watches my class for a few minutes. Little Bobby says something inappropriate and he and I have to discuss why we shouldn't say those words. Little Lucy decides it is appropriate to write on the carpet and/or her forearm with a marker. Little Nan fell and scraped her knee. Little Sarah has a papercut and she thinks she's dying. Little Betty came in late or is absent again, and I have to make sure I set aside time to catch her up on what she misses. (Little Betty doesn't understand that the world keeps spinning when she's absent.) Little Jimmy is upset because he and his family are having to move to a new house and he doesn't want to. Little Jamie didn't eat breakfast this morning and he's hungry, so I need to find him a snack.  Little Sam whines and complains about everything constantly and doesn't use his manners. Little Amy needs to go to (speech therapy/ESOL testing/small group/the office, etc...) and she'll miss out on part of our lesson, so I'll have to meet with her one-on-one later in the day. Little Carrie has asthma, so when she starts wheezing I have to intervene. Little Lisa misses her mama and needs some extra loving. I have a parent to call or a note to respond to in a child's agenda. Money for (yearbooks, fundraisers, etc...) are due. It's (Halloween, Christmas, Easter, someone's birthday, a special event, etc...), and I spend my own time and money to make sure the students get to celebrate in a fun and interesting way while learning something new. Due to (special school event, testing, a short week, required half-day meetings, being absent, whether planned or unplanned, etc...), my schedule is completely thrown off track, yet I am still expected to teach the students the same amount of content as usual. I am in the middle of teaching an important lesson and someone says or does something that gets me and/or the students completely off task for five minutes.  There are pencils, crayons, gluesticks, and jackets on the floor, but mysteriously no one knows how they got there. It's time to line up, and I am having to remind everyone AGAIN that we need to line up quietly and keep our hands off the wall and face the front.  I ask everyone to stop what they are doing when it's time to move on to something new, and at least 3 kids continue what they are doing rather than stopping and looking at me. The lunch line is incredibly long and slow, and I only get 20 minutes to eat my own lunch. Five kids didn't put their name on their paper and I have to figure out who they are. Four kids didn't understand the new concept I just taught,  or the concept that I just retaught, and I must find time during my day to work with them in a small group to do some extra reteaching. (Meanwhile, I must keep the other students, who are only 6 and 7,  on task and doing something meaningful while I work with that small group. ) We can't get too loud, especially when other grade levels are testing, yet we are encouraged to let our students think and work creatively. I must take at least two grades per subject area per week per student and put them into the computer, as well as sort all the papers appropriately and make necessary notes so parents can see them once I send them home on Monday (after I spend at least 45 minutes sorting all the papers and putting them in the take home folders).  Lesson plans for all subject areas have to be created and reworked constantly. There's homework and a newsletter to create on a weekly basis. Copies have to be made. The phone is ringing. An announcement is being made over the intercom. I have a meeting to attend right in the middle of my class time and a substitute will be with the kids for the next hour. My class is divided into three different groups for Art, Music, and P.E. so I have to get them all to the right place at the same time and I have to pick them up at the same time, too. Another teacher needs to talk to me for a minute about a student concern. There's a fire drill. Someone threw up. I haven't been to the restroom in about 4 hours and my bladder is about to pop. The office called and said I have a new student. Another student is moving away and I have to gather all of his or her things to send to the new school as soon as possible. It's library day, but three different kids didn't put their book in their bookbag even though they have been instructed over and over to keep it in there when it's not being read.  Pencils need to be sharpened, tables need to be cleaned, bookshelves need to be straightened, papers need to be filed. It's been raining and/or cold for the last ten days and we've had to have indoor recess, so I must get creative about how the students can burn up some of the stored up energy they have. It's nice outside and we can go to the playground, so I have to monitor them and make sure they are playing safely. This important student data is due today. Progress monitoring graphs must be updated. The curriculum is all new, and we are just now getting to dive in and learn how to use it. 

I think you get the picture.

Did I mention that I do it mostly by myself?
These kids are 6 and 7 years old, so they are still pretty needy. They don't always 
understand that I can't help everyone at once. 
If you have even one young child at home, you know
how needy they can be sometimes.
Patience is definitely not a strong point
for most kids this age.
You know how they don't always listen to what you say.
You know how you have to constantly repeat the same directions over, and over, and over again...
day after day after day after day. 
Now, multiply that by 18 (or some years up to 24).
And, remember, I don't have help most of the day! 

Yes, I know there are millions of people who also work 8 hour days just like me and they don't get a Spring Break. However, these little breaks are what keep us teachers sane. (Or at least a little more sane than we would be if we didn't get these breaks!) 
I can't just call in sick and leave it at that.
I have to make detailed plans any time I am out, even if I am sick as a dog, 
and it's almost impossible to make plans that allow a substitute to 
know and understand everything they need to know about your class when you can't be there. 
I have a notebook with a lot of necessary details, but there's no way to include everything.

Let me put it this way- I may get paid for an 8 hour day, but on average, I put in at least
a 10 hour day. That's about 10 hours a week that I get no compensation for, and no, I do not get paid for the hours I don't work. 

Teachers don't get paid for going to PTO meetings, getting to school early or staying late,
 and contrary to the belief 
of some, we also don't get paid for the summer. Our paycheck just gets divided 
over 12 months so our families don't have to go hungry in the summer. 

So, why do I keep doing it, you ask?

The smiles on their faces, the sweet hugs, notes, and drawings I get on a daily basis, the look in their eyes when they are in awe at something new I have helped them discover, the moment they finally understand something that has been difficult and the lightbulb goes on, the funny things they say and the meaningful conversations we have, the books we read together and discuss, the activities we do together and learn from, the field trips and events we attend together, the thank-yous from their parents when they begin to notice a difference, hearing a non-reader learn to read, the satisfaction that I have helped open the eyes of a group of students to something new.

It's not an easy job, but it's the job God has called me to, and as long as He wants me to, I will continue doing it, and I will do it to the best of my ability. 

A Stitch Fix

I've been hearing about Stitch Fix from various people over the past few months, so I decided to try it out for myself. With spring (hopefully!) arriving soon, I thought it might be a good time to spice up my wardrobe with the help of a professional stylist. I'm at the age where I sometimes don't know what is appropriate to wear. I'm too old for junior department clothes, but I'm too young to wear frumpy old women's clothing.

I browsed their website and  signed up online about two weeks ago. I had to wait about five days before a stylist accepted me, and then I scheduled my first "fix". (I love that you can schedule to receive clothes as often as you like, or that you can even schedule a monthly fix, although I'm not sure I would be able to afford a fix that often!)

Completing my profile was pretty simple, and it only cost me $20.00 for a styling fee, which I thought was very reasonable, especially since that $20.00 was used toward my order when I decided to keep something. Once I got my clothes, I was given three days to try them out and decide whether or not to keep them. Items being returned simply had to be placed in the bag provided and shipped via the U.S. Postal service back to the stylist. The entire process was super easy, and I loved that I got to try on the clothes in my own home with the other pieces I already have. You can't do that in a store!

I was also pleased with how quickly the items arrived after they were shipped, and I couldn't wait to try everything on. The suggestion cards that came with each item were also very helpful. It allowed me to think about what pieces I already have that I can potentially wear with the new items.

In this first fix, I got two dresses, one pencil skirt, one casual top, and one necklace. I ended up keeping the casual top (although I have requested not to get anymore of these since it looks a lot like something I could have gotten on my own without the help of a stylist), and I kept the pencil skirt (I've never had one, and it seems like it would be a good spring/summer/fall transitional piece that I could wear with different things I already own). I did go back and modify my profile a bit though after I tried everything on. Both of the dresses were super cute, but they were way too short for my liking. I would be very uncomfortable wearing either one of them out anywhere. One of the dresses actually could have been my favorite piece if were a little longer. The style was totally me, but the fit was totally off.

That's why it was so important for me to provide feedback on every item I received. I was able to rate the price, style, size, and fit of everything, and there was a comment box for every item too so I could let my stylist know exactly what I liked or disliked about every piece. One thing I let my stylist know is that I would prefer just to have clothes in my next fix. I have plenty of jewelry pieces to wear, and the jewelry that was sent was a little more expensive than what I prefer to wear on a day to day basis. (I do have a toddler and work with first graders!)

Overall, I was pleased with this fix and I would recommend the service to anyone who is interested in trying it out. If you decide not to keep anything in the fix (because you are not obligated to keep anything), you are only out of $20.00 which isn't bad at all. I plan to try it again, so why don't you join me?

                 If you are interested, you can use the link below to get started. Have fun!


Saturday, March 16, 2013


Has anyone ever said or did something that hurt your feelings? 
Have you ever had a broken heart? 
Chances are, if you are a normal human being, the answer to this question is


When I get my feelings hurt, I often have a little pity party and I get a little mopey, 
but I'm sure I'm the only one that does that,


However, when I think back on some of the times that my feelings have been hurt, 
I don't think the other person was trying to hurt my feelings intentionally.
In fact, in many cases, the other person wasn't even aware that
my feelings were hurt
because I didn't tell them.
I can usually mull over something for a while, 
and then I'm okay.
That's just how I roll.


I began to  think about all the times in my life that I have broken the heart of Christ.
He loves me more than anyone ever can. He paid the ultimate price for me
and gave his life so that I can live life more abundantly.
I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior,
and most of the time I strive to please Him,
but over and over again, I know that I have broken His heart.
Yet he never turns His back on me.  
He's always there.
He doesn't hold a grudge.

I pray that I can be more like that.



Friday, March 8, 2013

Current Chandlerisms

Here's my little silly man. He's growing up so fast. I can't believe it! It's been a while since I've done one of these, so here it goes. I hope you enjoy!

Cuz I Want To/Cuz I Don't Want To
Both of these are common phrases around our house. I guess just plain "NO" wasn't good enough anymore. Either of these two responses come at various times of the day during various activities.

Oh, Me! That's Funny!
This is a phrase he uses if something makes him laugh, or if something occurs that he THINKS should make him laugh, but he's not quite certain. If it's the latter, he does a big fake laugh sometimes as he says this phrase.

Who's That Man?
He thinks we should know everyone that we ever see, anytime, anywhere, and although he can use the pronouns "she" and "her" in correct context, he has never, to my knowledge said, "Who's That Woman?".

What's That Man Doing?
Not only does he think we should know everyone we see, but we should also know exactly what they are doing. On the same lines as above, I don't recall ever hearing him say, "What's That Woman Doing?", although he occasionally says, "What's She Doing?" when referring to a woman that he sees somewhere.

Okay, so if you are or ever have been the parent of a 3-year-old, you know that we hear this one all the time. We strive to answer these the best we can so that he can learn about the world around him, but sometimes there is just no good answer, and sometimes that's not good enough for him.

This is what it sounds like when he tries to say "money". He'll find a coin or someone will give him a dollar, and he'll get super excited over the "muddy" and want to put it in his penny bank, or better yet, the real bank.

I've Gotta Go Pay the Bills!
He LOVES going to the mailbox...whether it be our own at the end of the driveway, the one at Nana's house, the one at Grandmama's house,  or the big blue one in town, and he loves paying his bills (aka- junk mail or magazine inserts).

Dear God...
We are trying to teach him to pray. We bless our meals and we pray before bedtime. Sometimes it's short and sweet like, "Dear God, thank you for this food. Amen." Other times he will list off all the people that he loves and is thankful for, as well as the things he got to do that particular day such as play outside, see his friends, or even eat one of his favorite foods. (The other night at bedtime he thanked God for the hotdog he had for dinner.)

So there you have it! He's certainly a mess!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Previous Thankful Thursday- Grab A Tissue!

This is not a typical Thankful Thursday post, but it's heartfelt and true. A friend of mine said I should post it here, so I am. My prayer is that it will reach someone out there who needs to hear it.
I wish I could have read something like this
before I went through everything.

Thankful Thursday

There are always lots of things to be thankful for everyday.

One of those things is my Community Bible Study group. We meet on Monday evenings from 7:00-8:30, and I look forward to it each week. Studying the Bible with other ladies is an awesome experience. I always learn so much, and I can even take Chandler with me when I need to, which is perfect with Brent's crazy schedule!

Another one of those things is my family, and I'm not just talking about Brent and Chandler. Yes, I love both of them with all of my being, but I am also blessed to have most of my extended family nearby, too. I don't know how people who don't have 
family nearby make it sometimes.
I don't know what I would do without my family 
and Brent's family.

I'm thankful for date night this weekend as well. We don't get to go out together 
as much as we would like to, but it is nice when we do have time together.
It brings us closer together,
and that makes us better parents and better people in general.

What are you thankful for today?
Link up here!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Papa Went to See Jesus

Our family knew it was coming, especially in those last few days. 
We all prayed that he would not have to suffer too much longer.
He had been through so much, and we had all heard him pray
that his time would come quickly. 
He was ready to go see Jesus, and he had been for many years.

I got the phone call on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 26 that he was gone. 
In my opinion, no matter how much you prepare yourself for something like this,
your heart still aches for the one who has gone on.
There is no doubt in my mind that he is in heaven now, 
and that he is no longer suffering
from aches, pains, and memory loss,
but he is certainly missed here on earth.  
He loved the Lord probably more than anyone I have ever personally known.
He witnessed to and prayed for anyone who would listen, 
and he visited the sick in hospitals and nursing homes
up until his body no longer allowed him to do so. 
He was generally a quiet man except when he was in the pulpit. 
When he was filled with the spirit, many people were surprised of what this
"quiet" man was capable of. 
He lived to please the Lord because he knew that he was nothing without Him.
He had a desire for all of his family and loved ones to have that relationship
with the Lord as well.
I will never forget how he prayed...
As a kid, I sometimes took his nightly prayers for granted. I didn't understand
how special and powerful they were, and I just wanted to go to bed. I didn't 
realize that he had a straight line to heaven. 
He always kneeled down for these prayers when I was younger,
but in the past few years his body didn't allow him to.
Still, in reverence for his Father, the one who gave him life,
he bowed his head, even during the last time I heard him pray,
the day after Christmas
when our family was gathered to celebrate the season.
He wasn't even able to get out of the bed that day, but he gave thanks to God for all his blessings, and I know he meant it from the bottom of his heart. 

You see, he wasn't just an occasional prayer warrior. He prayed and studied
his Bible constantly, and it was evident in his daily life. 

Now, as an adult, I have learned how important it is to pray to God on a regular basis
and study His word. 
It's how I get through life, and I am so thankful
that he modeled that for me. 
I'm not perfect by any means, 
but I serve a God who is!

I am so thankful that my son got to know his Papa, even if it was just for three years.
Chandler saw Papa on a regular basis and had no second thoughts about
climbing up in the bed beside him to give him a hug, help feed him, 
or just love on him for a while.  
The two of them loved each other dearly.

Even in the last week of his life, when he barely had energy to turn his head
he made sure he acknowledged Chandler when he was in the room, but sadly,
there came a time when he could no longer do that. 
Chandler couldn't understand why Papa didn't talk to him. 

He's been asking where Papa is.
We've been telling him that Papa has gone to heaven to be with Jesus.
When Chandler was at the funeral home and we were saying this,
he certainly didn't understand.
Now, a week after his death, he answers his own question, and I can't
help but smile when I hear my three year old say...
Papa went to see Jesus and God
...Because that is what he had been waiting for his entire life.