Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 in review

  • January -- Braces for our oldest and a corneal transplant for my husband.
  • February -- Bob is still recovering from they eye surgery. His body healed quickly, but his eye does not regain vision as quickly as he'd hoped!

  • March -- Easter comes early this year and we celebrate with a mini-vacation to Virginia Beach for a couple days. What a great respite from the cold!

  • April -- As the weather warms, we enjoy some unusual visitors: Turkeys in the front yard and a mouse giving birth in our grill!

  • May -- May is always hectic. My husband and I celebrate our 19th anniversary; I direct a drama night for my middle school drama class; My middle daughter turns 13; I turn another year older; my daughters play their instruments in the MS band concert (Violin & flute) and my son makes his debut on the recorder!
  • June -- School's out. My oldest and I begin our training for our missions trip.
  • July -- On the road: One week in the Dominican Republic; Kids at camp for one week, and then ending the month with our family vacation / road trip from Jersey to Detroit, to Mackinaw Island, MI, to Toronto, to Niagara Falls and then home again. The missions trip was amazing and the family time was so much fun!

  • August -- We spend the days relaxing in the pool, playing with friends and enjoying the final days of summer. Bob and the kids even sneak in another road trip to Cedar point while I begin my back-to-school training.

  • September -- Back to school: I lose my 7th grade language arts classes and gain 10th grade English / American Literature. Smaller classes; a new principal; and powerful retreats for my middle school and high school daughters. My "baby" turns 10 and celebrates with an ice skating party!

    October -- After 17 year working for one organization, my husband resigns in order to begin a law partnership with an old friend. My son begins learning to play the baritone . . . After only 2 lessons, he can play 3 notes and a fart! Halloween is always a fun day for the kids!

    Frosty the Snowman & Alien Princess Butterfly

    Indiana Jones

  • November -- My oldest turns 15; we are all thankful for God's many blessings.

  • December -- 5 concerts in 10 days make the days up until Christmas break feel like a marathon! Bob and his partner finally move into their new office (but the furniture takes a detour to Ohio!)

It’s been a fun ride this year! As always, God has blessed us abundantly above all we could ever ask or imagine!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Family time

I had a surprise visit early in the week from my brother. His company in Texas needed to send someone to inspect work done at a mall here in New Jersey. When he looked at the map and realized the mall was about 20 minutes from my house, he volunteered for the job. He flew in, did the job, used his handy GPS and showed up on my doorstep. He was able to stay less than 24 hours, but it was such a treat. My "plans" for those days were thrown aside so I could sit and visit.

After he left, one of my kids commented about how his visit "threw off" my plans I thought about it a bit and told the kids, for my brother, I'll throw off my plans any day. As I think about it even more now though, I realize that my kids need to see me "throw off" my plans so that I can concentrate on THEM. I'd do it in a minute for out of town guests -- but what about my own children and my husband? Can I lay aside my own agenda and concentrate on them? As a working mom who happens to be very task oriented, this is tough. I create lists of things to do for home and for school, and I make it my goal to finish the list. In the process, I often overlook the people around me. I've often laughed about a friend who is so task oriented, he puts relational items on his task list (call ___ today) so that he doesn't neglect people. I think I need to stop laughing and start modeling this. I need to put "family time" on my to-do list so that I don't neglect the most important people in the world to me.

Last night, Christmas night, this reality became even clearer. The grandparents had left, Daddy (sick again), was resting, and the rest of us were playing -- all on different computers or game systems. My oldest daughter kept bugging us all to do something TOGETHER -- watch a movie, play a game -- something TOGETHER. I put my computer aside, snuggled next to her on the couch and watched some mindless Disney Christmas thing. I guess I always assumed as my kids became teens they would want LESS together time. And yet my kids, especially my oldest, seem to want to be with us. They like "road trips" as a family; they like to play games together; they like to put the fire on and watch movies together.

So on the task list for this week . . . and this month . . . and this year . . . spend life together with my husband and my children. They need me -- not just to "do" all the mom things, but to BE Mom.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What a Week

What a week . . .
  • My husband's been sick all week with a nasty staph infection. He's been in pain, feverish, tired and all around miserable.
  • 4 credit cards were stolen from my wallet. My professional development team and I had a working meeting at Panera Bread all day Wednesday. At some point during the day, someone took my purse out from under my chair, went through my wallet and took the cards, put the wallet back in the purse & the purse back on the floor. And I never had an inkling. Later in the day my husband got a call from fraud alert atCitibank (and Discover) that someone had charged $600 at Best Buy and was attempting to buy 400 at Target. Both companies stopped the cards immediately.
  • It was the week before the week before Christmas break. If you know anything about schools, the students' and teachers' energy levels run in opposite directions as we get close to vacations: Students' levels increase as teachers' levels decrease! The kids are excited about the holiday, distracted by concerts and programs; the basketball season started -- so athletes ratchet up even further. All the while, teachers are rapidly losing steam. Those concerts and programs and games are all wonderful, but the distractions make classroom learning difficult.
  • During the course of the week my family made 5 different doctor visits. Only 1 was for illness (my husband and his above mentioned infection); the rest were check ups, sport's physicals, annual exams, etc. In addition, the one person in my family who did not visit a doctor stayed home from school sick -- she's nursing a cold.

What a week. Sigh.

So what do I do with a week like this?

  • I pray.
  • I remind myself that it could be SO much worse. Nothing happened that was life-threatening -- it was mostly just annoying, frustrating, tiring and overwhelming.
  • I pray.
  • I trust that no matter what happens, God is in control. Yesterday while hanging Christmas lights a friend made the comment: "Oh look, we had just the exact amount we needed -- Isn't God good." My response was, "Yes, he is good -- but he would still be good even if the lights didn't fit!" I believe God is sovereign over all. Nothing happens around us that is out of his control; and He is good. So when bad circumstances happen, I can trust that God can use them for good.
  • I pray.
  • I look for what God is doing. Is He trying to get my attention? Are there areas in my life that need pruning? Or are these circumstances simply distractions from Satan? Is he trying to get my focus off God and onto the waves and wind around me? Regardless, I have to keep my eyes on God.

I know all these truths in my head. I KNOW the right things to do and to say. I can give anyone good advise on how to handle adversity. But my heart is not cooperating. I still feel discouraged, overwhelmed and down right tired.

What a week.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why I teach

I just read a wonderul blog that reminds me why I teach, and why, despite the stress, frustration and heart ache that often comes from pouring my life into my students, I keep going day after day.