All Packed Up


I love Christmas – the hustle and bustle, the family. But at heart I’m the quiet sort and generally yearn for the return to normalcy quite soon after the big day. Today I packed up the decor and my honey put it back into storage. Thankful that Jesus doesn’t get packed away with the tree.

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Little Office


My classroom is the proud owner of a reading nook/deescalation space. I’m excited for the kids to have a fun little office space.

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I’m working in my classroom to change my walk-in storage closet to a kid friendly reading nook.

The shelves are empty, supplies shuffled in to other cupboards and our custodian took out the shelves. I’ve filled nail holes in the dry wall and am painting tomorrow before class.

The reason I’m doing this is because our school is so crowded that kids who are melting down don’t have a place to deescalate.

I’ll post more pictures as construction progresses.



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Renewing a Sunday Afternoon

Many times Sundays can be kind of depressing for me. I start thinking about going back to work (which I love!) and almost start grieving that the weekend is over. I fret about lesson plans and how I can better support a child in my class. Today, in a rare fit of level headedness, I decided to breathe in the Spirit of Peace and let tomorrow’s troubles care for themselves. It helped that my lesson plans are all done for the week.

I decided to do some fall homemaking.

First, I had my son go out and pick the last of the peppers from our garden. I washed and seeded them and put them on the dehydrator. They are such lovely colors of green, orange and red. I’ll let them dry over night and then use them in yummy Mexican food at a later date.

After the peppers had begun drying, I started on apple sauce. A box of JonnyGold apples had passed its prime and needed to get used. So I washed, peeled and chopped them up and tossed them in a pan with sugar and cinnamon.

I always forget how much work goes into canning. I messed up the whole kitchen; dirtied every pot and pan in the place. But, Oh.My.Goodness, it smelled so good in the house. I fed the kids cereal for dinner since there was no space on the counters for even sandwich making.

With the canner heating, and sauce bubbling away, I sterilized the jars, hunted for lids and rings, refereed “Who gets the kitten” fights between kids, and started another load of laundry.

With jars ready, I poured in the applesauce ambrosia and set it to processing for the 20 minutes it required.  I checked on homework, advanced laundry, oversaw teeth brushing, and generally started to shut down the house for the night. Realizing that I hadn’t fretted over test scores of students in my class all day, I thought that this was a much nicer way to  spend a Sunday afternoon and evening. Refreshing….. but messy.

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Saying Yes

This month I’m trying to do more of what I love by doing less of what I love. The 31 days of refreshing for me means giving up some screen time (Facebook, Pinterest, gaming, etc.) to make time for crafting, reading, playing with my children and homemaking.  I’m trying not to be too legalistic about it. I haven’t given myself time restraints, or deadlines.

So as part of my personal 31 days of refreshing, I decided that I was going to say “Yes” to something for which  I normally would have said, “No.”

Here’s what I said Yes to:

A kitten for whom we haven’t yet found a name, but who is already entrenched in my daughter’s heart. It’s a stray. It had some recent trauma and is recovering from what looks like a burn on the side of its face and some sores under its little chin. But to my 14-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter this bit of black and white fluff is the greatest thing on the planet.

I’m not thinking about having to take it in to the vet this week to get looked at and shots, because my “Yes” includes all that.

My “Yes” encompasses so much more than the kitten. In the day since, it has given me poetry from my tender-hearted 14-year-old son, a pink beribboned collar created by my creative 11-year-old daughter, and a story shared during “praise report time” at church by two shiny-eyed kids.

Renewing has never been so precious.

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The Language of Love and Appreciation

When I read the book by Gary D. Chapman entitled, “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts,” [Northfield Publishing; New Edition edition (December 17, 2009)], I realized that my main Love Language is “Words of Affirmation.” I’ve found that not only is that the way I receive and give love personally, it’s also the way I feel valued in the work place.

I have been a certified teacher for 20 years. I hold a Master’s degree in Special Education, and a passion for children with disabilities. My heart is bound up in the children I teach – it’s a ministry to the “least of these.” (Matthew 25:45) I’m blessed beyond measure to work in a field where I am needed, and where I can make a difference.

My downfall is that I lead with my heart.  My direct supervisor is not the type of person who leads with the heart. She is the type of person where numbers speak louder than words. This is very hard for me. I struggle to connect to a person whose interactions with me include data meeting and number crunching, but no words of affirmation.

I have to remember that people cannot be my source of identity. No one can love me like my Heavenly Father can. His words of affirmation must be my stability and peace. Therefore, surrounding myself with scripture that affirms my worth in His eyes becomes crucial to not only my personal life, but my professional life as well.

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A year ago he had a new baby in the family. Yet he went out of his way to rewire my classroom for internet access. A year ago, he was strong and healthy…. maybe 25 or 26 years old. Today he has a diagnosis. His left side drags. His face droops.

His life is being shattered by MS.

And in the year since I’ve seen him he’s started counting time like no young man should have to count time. He holds his own left hand which is starting to curl.

Aggressive MS.

I’m so sad for him…. angry too. I don’t know this young man except professionally. Yet my heart yearns to comfort.

Bring over soup.

Pet that curling hand.

Comfort his wife whom I’ve never met.

The Great Physician knows this young father and his need. Only HE can make a lasting difference. Jesus is the comforter. I will trust in His comfort…. and maybe I’ll bring soup over anyway.

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