Saturday, July 23, 2011

Can We Stop Right Now...

I love remembering sweet times with the boys. One of my very favorite memories took place on a bike ride through Bear Creek Park.

The boys were probably 4 and 2, and Jeff and I had recently purchased one of those little bike trailers that small children can sit in and be pulled behind a bicycle. It was a nice Spring day, so I decided to load up my bike and the trailer in the back of the minivan and head to the park with the boys (Jeff was working).

At the park, I hooked up the trailer on the bike, strapped the boys in, and began our "nature bike ride". We saw all kinds of bugs, birds, animals, and trees on the ride. We talked as we rode about all the beautiful things that God had put in our world.

Halfway through the ride, Will's little heart was so full of joy at all of God's beauty, that he said, "We need to thank God for all of these beautiful things." I told him, that yes, we would be sure to remember that when we said our prayers that night. But, that wasn't enough for Will. That sweet little 4 year old boy asked me, "Mommy, can we stop right now and thank Jesus?" What do you say to that? Of course, I stopped the bike, got off, and knelt down right there on the bike path in Bear Creek Park (with runners and bikers passing us) and thanked Jesus with my two precious babies for all of His beauty.

Such a sweet memory and a great reminder to stop and thank our savior for the beauty that He has given us in our lives. :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Favorite Tv Shows...

I LOVE TV. I hope that's not bad. I guess I should love working out or eating veggies, or something more conducive to a healthy lifestyle, but I love TV! During the school year, I don't watch a lot of TV. But, in the summer, I LOVE it! One of my favorite things about summer is sitting up late at night watching stuff on TV.

Here are some of my favorites:

* Cosby Show
* Full House
* Roseann

I love these 3 because I love shows about families. During the time that my parents were separated and divorced, I watched The Cosby Show a lot. For some reason, it was comforting to me. I craved that show at the time. I loved the family dynamics and the safety and security that existed in that make believe family. Cliff and Claire have such a sweet marriage, and always knew the perfect way to handle their children! I love this show!

Full House is such a sweet family show full of great life's lessons. My boys (especially Will) like this show a lot, and we have every season on DVD. We have watched many of these together.

Roseann is hilarious, and I love the honesty of that show. It's not sugar-coated or idealized. Some of the episodes are even downright sad. I just wish it came on TV more often. I may have to see about getting it on DVD.

* Lost

Oh my goodness! I can't say enough about Lost! I LOVE this show! I have all 6 seasons on DVD. It is an incredible show. If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it! I watched the entire series for the first time last summer, and I can't say I have ever seen anything like it. Each episode is like watching a mini-movie. It doesn't have a "TV" feel to it. It is so complex and ingenious, and the character deveopment is amazing-especially with the large number of characters the show has. It is not a show where you can predict what will happen. You have to be willing to part with reality a little when watching this show. It doesn't play by the rules of real life, but that's part of what makes it so magical.

*Sex and the City

Ok, I am coming out of the closet and admitting publically that I like this show. BUT, I feel that I must clarify that I love this show because of the friend dynamic between the four women on the show. Their friendships are sweet, touching, and honest. They would do anything for each other, are always there for one another, and are honest with each other. They are the type of friends that you could ask, "Do these pants make me look fat?" and they would tell you honestly, "Yes!" They can trust each other, and are like family to one another. I love this!! I could honestly care less about the "sex" part of the show. I will admit, however, that I am a sucker for the ongoing "Carrie and Big" love story. I also love Miranda and Steve together. Samantha's antics got old in about the first 5 minutes of the first show I watched, but she's a great friend to the other ladies, so we'll keep her around. :-) So, judge me if you must, but I love this show and the friendships portrayed. :-)

Other shows I really like or have enjoyed over the years:

* 19 Kids and Counting
* Toddlers and Tiaras (who doesn't love a train wreck!)
* Cheers
* Friends
* Little House on the Prairie
* Grey's Anatomy (I don't really watch it anymore, because it has kinda gone over the top, but the first couple seasons were great)
* Glee (ditto for what I said about Grey's)

 I'm sure there are others that I have left off, but that's all I can think of for now. What about you? What are your favs?

What I'm Reading Wednesday ...(a day late!)

Sorry, I'm late again! We went to Six Flags yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to add to my blog. As I said last week, I have been reading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins:

I finished the last book on Monday. AMAZING series! I loved these books. Not because they were uplifting, because they are pretty dark, but because I couldn't put them down! I would be so tired at night reading, and would be thinking in my head, "Ok, after this chapter, I will go to sleep." Then, I get to the end of the chapter and would think, "Ok, just one more!" I LOVE when books are like that! Suzanne Collins is an amazing writer, and has the knack of knowing just how to end a chapter (or a book for that matter) in a way that makes it almost impossible to wait to keep reading.

I felt similar to how I did when I finished reading the Twilight series when I finished these books. I was sad that it was over and that there were no more books to read in the series. However, I was a little relieved to "have my life back" because now that I have read all the books, I can do other things: like watch TV, do activities, talk to others, etc! Ha! I was literally a slave to these books while I was reading them! Great books!

A Hunger Games movie is coming out in March of 2012. It should be good. However, like I said, the books are pretty dark, and I'm not so sure I want to see a Hollywood version of some of the things that happen in the book. I know I will watch it, though. Just like the Twilight movies, it is kind of fun to "meet" the characters and see if they match up with the way you have imagined them in your mind as you read the books. But, I'm sure, as always, the books will be far superior to the movies.

So, I'm out of things to read for the moment. I am taking a little breather and getting to know my family again (ha!). Any suggestions are welcome! Read anything good lately?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cars...a Blast from the Past

Last night Colin wanted me to sit with him in the recliner chair in the living room to watch him play "Cars" on the Wii. As I sat there with him and watched, I thought about the time long ago when we saw the first Cars movie in the theater.

It's very important to my parents for our family to do things together. As a result, they occasionally plan a huge family vacation where we all get together and do something really fun. When I say "all", I mean my sister, brother, and me and our families (spouses, children) and my parents. We have had many fun vacations together, going to places like: Hyatt Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, Islamorada, Florida; Point Clear, Alabama; and most recently, a cruise to 3 Caribbean islands.

During the trip to Islamorada, my boys were 2 and 4. Cars had just premiered in theaters, so my parents took us all to see it. Our entire family sat in the theater, and we watched this movie that ended up being one of my boys' favorites of all time.

Last night, sitting with Colin as he played his Cars Wii game, I remembered how we used to ask him, "What did Lightning McQueen do to try to win the race?" He would smile and stick his little tongue out and laugh. It was so cute. I asked him this same question last night to see if he would still do it, but instead, he just answered me in words, "He stuck his tongue out." "Show me," I said. He wouldn't. :-)

I also remember that for some reason, Colin was really afraid of the tractors when Mater would "tip" them. Colin didn't like the noise the tractors would make when they would tip over. I remember having to console him during those parts of the movie. As I watched a tractor tip over on his game last night, I thought of that with a bittersweet smile.

Another extremely memorable thing about that trip to Islamorada is that it was that vacation that my dad "re-proposed" to my mom. For a short period from about 2002-2005, my parents were separated and then divorced. But, sometime in late 2005, they started "hanging out" again, and that summer of 2006, my mother joined us on the big family vacation in Islamorada. On the last evening of the vacation, my dad gathered us all in the room he and my mom were sharing, and then gave my mom a card. In the card, he asked my mother to re-marry him. She said "yes", and you can imagine the tears that were flowing in that room from everyone! I will never forget that vacation! :-)

That was a good summer for me. My parents were reuniting, the incredibly challenging school year I had just endured was finally over, and I was looking forward to staying home with my babies the following school year. It was truly a time of redemption after a period of hard times. For that, I will always be thankful!

Friday, July 15, 2011

"What I'm Reading" Wednesday (A little late!)

Ok, so I am a little late for my Wednesday edition of "What I'm Reading". Know why? Because I have been so busy READING! Oh my goodness! I love to read, and I have been reading some good stuff lately!

First of all, I have to admit that I have abandoned Fergi. I just can't read anymore of her book. It was boring to me, and I just felt so bad for her for her life. What a mess she has to straighten out. I hope she finds herself and can be happy once and for all. Someone tell me when she does. I'll take your word for it. :-)

Ok, on to what I have not been able to put down. I have read 2 books in the last 4 days. First, I finally decided that it was time to start reading the Hunger Games trilogy. I am probably the last librarian in Keller ISD to read them, but I have this thing during the school year-I feel like if I am spending time reading books, they need to be the books that my students are reading or books that might be appropriate for my students. So...I have put off reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. These books are definitely NOT for elementary school age children.
I really don't know how to tell you what this book is about without you thinking, "Oh my goodness! You're sick! How can you read that?" But, I'm here to tell ya, even though the plot of this book is a little sick and twisted, I could NOT put it down! Here's what it is basically about:

Katniss is a 16 year old girl who lives in "District 12". This is a place that is left over after the great rebellion of the United States sometime off in the future. Every year, a boy and a girl from each "district" are chosen to participate in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are like Survivor gone bad. The "games" are televised, and all 24 "tributes" (boys and girls chosen from each district) must fight to the death. Only one person may remain alive, and that person will be the winner of the games. The book begins about the time that Katniss finds herself as one of the 2 tributes that will represent District 12 in the upcoming Hunger Games.

I don't want to give anything away if you haven't read the book, but I can almost guarantee it will suck you in and you won't be able to stop reading until you are finished. Then, you will want to read the second book: Catching Fire.

This is what I am going to start reading as soon as I finish this blog! :-)

Ok, the second book I have read in the last couple of days is: 

This is a memoir written by Jaycee Dugard-the girl that was abducted in 1991 and then finally rescued in 2008. She was kidnapped by a couple- Phillip and Nancy Garrido- on her way to school one day in South Lake Tahoe, CA. She was only 11 when they took her. Jaycee lived with the Garrido's for 18 years and endured horrendous abuse and treatment. She even had 2 children with Phillip. This book is a very sad, touching, and brave account of what all Jaycee went through and survived. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Little Protector

Did you know that the name Will means "Protector"? I didn't until just a couple years ago. Jeff and I decided to name our first boy, "Will" because we liked it, and because "William" is a big family name in both of our families. Here are all the Williams in the Carter and Moore families:

* Jeff's middle name is William
* My dad's first name is William
* Jeff's grandfather's name was William
* My grandfather's (dad's dad) name was William

So, William is a special name in our families. I had no idea when we named our firstborn that he would live up to his name's meaning so perfectly. He has from a very early age been my little protector.

Will is a smart boy, and a deep thinker, and there is no doubt that he and I have a special bond. It is very clear to me that it matters a lot to him what I think about him and whether I am happy with him. He does NOT like me to be upset with him. In fact, he does not like me to be upset-period. He also doesn't like anyone to mess with his "mommy"!

Today Will and Colin had to come with me to a simple dr. appointment for a check up. This was not my ob/gyn, so I didn't mind if the boys came back into the examining room with me. Colin had brought his DS to play, but Will couldn't find his before we left, so he just sat there and watched as the nurse took my blood pressure and other vitals. As I sat there and watched those beautiful brown eyes watch me, all I could think about was the time Will had to come with me to an ob /gyn appointment when he was about 15 months old...

Back then, I always tried to schedule my appointments for a time when Jeff could stay home with Will, but for some reason, it hadn't worked out for that particular appointment. I brought Will's stroller for him to sit in, some toys to occupy him, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for him to eat since the appointment would overlap his lunchtime. All was going well until I sat down in the little chair for the nurse to check my blood pressure. As soon as she got the cuff on my arm, Will's little face crumpled up, and he began to cry. "Mommy!" he was saying. I just smiled and consoled him and told him I was ok. He finally calmed down when the nurse left me alone and had me go into the examining room. In there, I changed into the little gown that is always provided, and then got Will all happily settled in his stroller- with his peanut butter sandwich all torn into little bites on the tray of the stroller for him to eat. He was happy again. We talked as he ate his lunch while we waited for the doctor to come in .

The doctor and her nurse came in finally and had me lay down on the examining table. The second they started doing my exam, Will began crying again. I started apologizing, "I'm so sorry-he just doesn't like anyone doing anything to me. He thinks you're hurting me." The doctor was really sweet and unstrapped him from his stroller. By now he was really crying. She sat him on my lap (while I was laying on the table for the exam) and there he cried and ate his PB&J while I got my pap smear.

It was so funny, and so very very sweet. That precious little baby did not want anyone to hurt his mommy. He was my little protector. He has done and said several things throughout his 9 years that have further convinced me that "William" is not only a wonderful family name that we love, but also a perfect fit for my "protector" boy!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Change is hard

Why is it that the boys can play happily without needing anything, but the minute I get in the shower I hear, "Knock, knock, knock" on the door? Seriously? Luckily for me, I always lock the door now.

I remember when the boys were babies, I would strap them either in their bouncy chair right outside the shower or in the doorway "jumper" while I was in the shower. That way, they were safe, and I could see them (and they knew I was there). As they got older, I would close the door when in the shower, but didn't lock it if Jeff was not at home. That way, if they needed me, they could get to me. Now that they are 7 and 9, though, I close AND lock the door when I'm in the shower. I figure whatever they could possibly need can wait until I'm out.

Those kinds of changes are not a big deal for me in and of themselves, but I have been struggling lately with what changes like those represent: my boys are growing up! I tease them all the time that they need to stop it and I am going to sit on them to keep them from growing so fast. They just giggle, and I do, too, but inside I am screaming, "Stop! Stay just the way you are right now and don't ever change!"

Ever since my 40th birthday in November, I have been keenly aware of how life changes. I've joked that I'm going through a midlife crisis, but I really think I am maybe. I have thought so much about how things are changing: I'm getting older and so are my kids. I am leaving the childbearing age, and that has been INCREDIBLY hard for me. Not so much physically (yet-though I did mention before some of the fun physical changes I've experienced), but EMOTIONALLY.

It hurts so much to think that I will never carry another baby in my body and feel it kick. I will never hold another newborn that belongs to me and Jeff. I will never rock a baby of mine to sleep or sit before him/her completely mesmerized by each little babble and coo.  I will never have a daughter. Ever.

You might think this is silly, but for some reason for me, it is a big deal. It is a loss. It is hard for me to say goodbye to that stage in my life- I have LOVED it so much. I thank God for the blessing of my two beautiful boys. I am so thankful that even after Jeff and I had some trouble conceiving our first, that I was able to eventually have two very healthy and happy children.

One thing that helps a lot is that I KNOW that it is God's will that we are done having children. Jeff and I have prayed over this at length and received HIS guidance in this matter. I know in my heart that it is God's will for us to be through. My prayer is for God to ease my longing and to help me reach a place of acceptance and contentment.

Speaking of my boys making changes and getting older, Will asked me this past school year if he could start calling me "Mom" instead of "Mommy". "I am the only third grader at school that still calls his mom 'Mommy'," he said to me. Even though it stabbed me a little in the heart, I felt bad for him and didn't want him to be teased so I told him, "Ok." A couple weeks later, I noticed that he had not started calling me "Mom." So I asked him about it. He said, "Maybe I'll start calling you 'Mom' next year in 4th grade." Fine with me! :-)

Will has one more year in elementary school, and then he is off to intermediate school. Colin will be in the 2nd grade this upcoming school year. A friend of mine asked me the other day what I'm going to do when the boys are no longer at the same school that I'm at. I told her I was going to curl up into a ball and cry! :-) Obviously, I will be fine, but its just one more step in "letting go" that I will have to do as a mom. I pray for grace to handle each step.

There are certain things that can bring me to my knees emotionally right now such as:
* playdo- Weird, I know, but my boys used to love it, but now they think it is for "babies".
* the song "Feels Like Home to Me" (don't know who it's by)- When I was a stay-at-home-mom, I would often take the boys to Grapevine Mills Mall-just to get out of the house and walk around. This song was always playing in the mall.
* the theme song to the show "Family Ties" - When Will was a baby, I would always watch this show when I nursed him in  the middle of the night.
* pacifiers- I can just see Colin- he always had more than one-just in case. At times he'd have one in his mouth and one in each hand. Then, he'd push the paci over to the side of his mouth like a cigar when he wanted to talk!
* Thomas the Train, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, Bob the Builder, and Elmo- Oh-the memories!!
* Hap Palmer Music Video- Will had a video of Hap's that he loved and would watch over and over when I was on bedrest with Colin. I still have this video. I don't plan to part with it!

I could go on and on. But, that's probably enough already to convince you that I am completely losing my mind! Haha! :-)

No, I am not going gracefully into this season of change, but I know in my head that God will walk me through it and that I will grow as a result. It's my heart that just wants to hang on. The GOOD news of it all is that I wouldn't be feeling this way if my experiences hadn't been so wonderful! I have been blessed with a beautiful life, and am so thankful for every minute- and I don't like to think of any of it changing.

It's like Colin wrote in one of his school assignments this past year:

"I like my life becouse my life is grete." --- Colin Moore, age 7

Precious boy! :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"What I'm Reading" Wednesday

This week I have started a new book. It is an autobiography by Fergi:

I have only read the first 5 or 6 chapters so far. All I can say at this point is that it is OK. I feel really sorry for her as she seems like a kind person who has suffered greatly for mistakes and bad judgements that she has made. It can't be easy living in the public eye and feeling like a reject from the royal family. She is on a similar journey as I am on, and so I thought it might be good to read her book. Hopefully the more I read, the more the book will inspire. It's a little depressing so far, but I'm not ready to give up yet! :-) I'll keep ya posted!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

I want to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July! I love this holiday-well, I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because it is a ton of fun-I love fireworks and 4th of July get togethers, Patriotism, going to the Southlake Town Center fireworks with my parents, and having fun with all my "boys".

But, I am also always a little sad for 4th of July to get here because it means that summer is dwindling away. Not that I don't love my job, because I do, but I also love the freedom and carefree-ness of summer. I love no schedules and not having to get up at 5:30 every morning. I love not making sack lunches and not worrying about homework. I love the reflection time that summer affords- personal and spiritual. I love getting to read books I've wanted to read. I love the time with my family-the quality time that often alludes us during the busy school year. And it is always hard to let it go every year in mid August.

One thing I'm thinking about this 4th of July is that I am not happy with how I have "done" this summer so far. I don't feel like I have made the most of my days so far. For the first few weeks, I spent a lot of time in thought about the future of my job. Not very relaxing. Now, however, I can relax where that is concerned (thank goodness). I have been staying up waaaay too late every night and sleeping too late in the morning. I want to embrace each day more and make each day more special. My sweet boys are getting older, and soon they won't want to do as much family stuff as they do now. I want to live life to its fullest-and live it abundantly- the way that God intended life to be!

I warned that not all of my blogs would be "happy" and "perfect". Here's an example: for the past few months I have noticed some "changes". I turned 40 in November, so I guess I should have expected things to start changing somewhat. The biggest thing is that I can't seem to go a night without waking up in a sweat. And I mean, REALLY sweaty, friends! I'm sorry if that's TMI. It is not pleasant-trust me if you haven't experienced this yet. My cycle has been a little messed up at times, and I have had some really fun  mood swings. I asked my dr. about all of this last week, and now I am on a low dose of estrogen to help out (hopefully). It just all seems surreal to me, and let me tell you-it's REALLY weird to leave your dr.'s office with a pamphlet about menopause. What???? Crazy!

All of this relates to the 4th of July and the reflection that I have done the last couple of days in that it further points out to me that nothing on this earth is permanent. Time is fleeting, change happens, and we (I) need to make the most of it (life)! This is something I always struggle with- living in the moment. I pray that God will help me relax and live the abundant life He has for me!

And, I have the entire month of July ahead of me to practice! :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"What I'm Reading" Wednesday

I'm going to try to make Wednesdays my day to share with you about "what I'm reading". I LOVE to read, and for Mother's Day, Jeff gave me a Kindle. Yes, I love "real" books, and I hope they NEVER go away (I AM a librarian after all!), but it has been SO nice to just push a few buttons and I have a new book to read! I don't have to go anywhere. With the Kindle, you can download a preview of a book just to see if you really want to buy it or not.

During the school year, I mostly read children's books. I am on a book committee for my district, and we read new books, discuss them, and decide whether we want to add them to our "list" of books that we recommend as "wow" books. But, now it is summer, so I am catching up on some "grown-up" books that I want to read.

I am really into memoirs/biographies right now for some reason. I recently read Shania Twain's autobiography, and it was OK. But, the book I most recently finished was WONDERFUL. It was
Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman:

Mary Beth is married to Christian music singer Steven Curtis Chapman. You might remember that a few years ago their adopted five year old daughter passed away. She was hit by a car in her driveway, and the most devastating thing was that her older brother was the one driving the car. As I read this book I was amazed and inspired by Mary Beth (and her entire family's) incredible faith that got them through this horrible accident. I highly recommend reading this book!

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Just wait"...

I am blown away at how the Lord has "shown up" for me these past few months! I am in awe at His power and His promise that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart! I mentioned in my last blog that throughout this whole budget crisis in KISD and the possibility that I might lose my job, the Lord has been saying to me: "Just wait!"

 Whenever I asked Him if I should apply somewhere else, he said. "Just wait!" When I cried to Him, "What should I do? What will happen to me? What will happen to my job?" He would say "Just wait." So, I have been waiting. I haven't been perfectly obediant-as I also said, I did apply in NISD. But, the whole time it has been so clear that His will was for me to wait and trust Him.

Well, tonight at the School Board meeting, the Board recommended that we use the federal stimulus money to keep teachers and librarians (that were at risk of being laid-off ) for one more year. Who would've seen that coming? Not me! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for telling me to wait! Thank you for being faithful and for showing me that I can trust what you say to me and your guidance that you give me! I am so excited!

You might be thinking, "Well, it's only one more year, and then the lay-offs will still take place." Yes, but a lot can happen in a year. And at the very least, every year people leave the district due to moves, babies, and other job opportunities. Being given this gift of one more year increases the chances that if I am one of the librarians that is not kept, there will still be a classroom position available for me. I love Keller ISD. It is "home" to me, and I don't want to leave. I am thrilled to be given the chance to hang in there a little longer!

Thank you Dr. V, thank you KISD Board, and most of all, thank you, Jesus! :-)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Great Day/Some Stress...

Well, let me start by saying that today was a great day! It started off at church where I got to hear a just-graduated Marine tell about how he led another recruit to Christ at boot camp. Next, Will had another All Star baseball game and they WON!!! Yay! That might not seem like a huge deal, but for Will's team it was. They have played 7 games together this summer, and this was the FIRST one that they won! I have felt SO bad for the boys each time they've lost a game. They've been beaten pretty badly (15-1, etc.) But, today was "their" day, and they won their game! And the best part about it was that each boy did something wonderful that contributed to the win. I have wanted (and prayed) so much for the boys to each have something to feel good about themselves for from a game, and today it happened! Way to go, Keller Blue!

On the way home from the game, we decided to go see Cars 2- cute movie! After the movie, we got ahold of my parents who had just landed at DFW from Cabo San Lucas, so we went to pick them up from the airport and then went to eat dinner at El Fenix. So....great day!

I have a huge prayer request if I happen to cross your mind sometime while you're praying. Like MANY people, I am waiting to find out whether I still have a job next year. I am an elementary school librarian in Keller ISD at Independence Elementary School. Since the TRE (tax increase election) did NOT pass, I stand the chance of being laid-off from my job. I LOVE my job-it is the absolute PERFECT fit for me. I had to get a librarian certificate added on to my elementary education certificate in order to be a librarian (it's actually a Master's degree). There were 8 classes I had to take online with UNT in order to do this. It was a lot of work (and a lot of money), but I did it, and have been working the dream job for the last three years. I DON'T want to lose my job.

Needless to say, I've been a little...stressed! And I am trying SO hard to trust God throughout this whole thing. I KNOW in my mind and heart that God is in control and that He has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11). I KNOW that I can trust Him to work out the details. But, I can't stop thinking about it. It is on my mind ALL THE TIME! I wake up thinking about it, and go to sleep thinking about it. I got to the point last night that I just had to pray for the Lord to "clear my mind" so that I could sleep (and He did!)

So, does that mean I'm not trusting Him enough-the fact that I am constantly thinking about it? Is there a difference between "thinking" and "worrying" about something? Throughout this whole thing (which, by the way, started way back in January or February I think), when I have prayed about what I should do to prepare myself for the possible negative ramifications of the KISD budget on my job, I have ALWAYS gotten the same answer from the Lord. He has told me, "Wait. Just wait." Ok, So, I have just waited (not the ideal thing a determined control freak like me wants to hear!).  NISD is the only other district I've applied to, and that was just a couple of weeks ago in a moment of panic! But, I have found peace in "just waiting" up until about two weeks ago.

There are actually two things at play here in this situation. I'm nervous about my source of income being cut-off, and I'm crushed to think that this career I worked so hard for might be coming to a close. If you've ever had a job you loved, you can relate. I know I can go out and get a job that could help with our living expenses. Jeff has a really great schedule as a firefighter and could take on second job if needed to help replace some of my income. But, it's the thought of not being able to do what I LOVE that breaks my heart.

I am going to the Board Meeting tomorrow evening. I just want to hear what they have to say, and find out if they are getting closer to making some staffing decisions. I think there are going to be a lot of other people there, doing the same thing. There are so many of us hanging in the balance right now.

To end on a good note, after we got home from dinner with my parents, I had an email from a principal in Northwest ISD. I have an interview on Wednesday at 1:00 for a librarian position! Please say a prayer for me that it will go well, and that if it is God's will, that I might get a job offer out of it. Thank you so much! :-)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

A year ago today, God "spoke" to me for the first time ever. Well, maybe I should say that it was the first time that I was truly and completely aware that He was speaking to me. I have been a Christian for most of my life, but it took me until I was 39 years old to "be still and listen" long enough to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I "heard" was the Father's still small voice.

Before I tell how it happened, please let me say that I did not audibly "hear" a voice. It's hard to explain or to understand unless you have experienced it yourself. And, I bet that it is different for everyone. But, for me, it is a peaceful "knowing"; a quiet, but certain affirmation. A lot of the time, the truth that is being imparted to me takes me by surprise, "What? Really? Are you sure?" I ask. And it's not something that happens all the time-although, wouldn't that be wonderful? To always be so sure of the exact direction in which God is leading you?

Last year during this week in June, I took a week away from my everyday life and surroundings to devote myself completely to experiencing an encounter with God. Think of it as sort of a "retreat" among a few other women who were also seeking some time alone with the Father. On Friday afternoon of that week, I was alone, up in a treehouse (of all places!), praying and "listening" for God's voice to speak to me. It was a warm afternoon, and a little uncomfortable sitting on the wooden "floor" of the treehouse. As I got up to leave, I realized that while I had been praying and listening, I had also been absentmindedly doodling with a stick into the soft and weathered wood of the treehouse floor. I had carved a letter "N" into the floor. Weird! Why an "N"? I could understand an "S" or maybe a "J" (Jeff), but "N" was just random. Oh well. I didn't give it much more thought than that.

Later that day, I returned to the treehouse to once again pray. When I was finished praying, I asked God, "What does the 'N' mean? Does it stand for something?" I began racking my brain for all kinds of "N" words that might be significant (and logical). What could God be trying to tell me? Or, maybe I was just being weird and reading something into the doodled letter that didn't exist. That must be it! "Let me guess, Lord, it means nothing!" Suddenly, I clearly "heard" the Lord tell me "Yes!"
"What? What do you mean it means nothing?" I thought, confused.
And He said to me, "It means "Nothing". There is NOTHING that you need besides me."

At that moment a couple of memories from the week before I left town for this time alone flashed through my mind- so clearly I could almost physically see them. The first was of a billboard near my house that I had passed several times the previous week. It was sponsored by a local church and read: "Jesus + NOTHING = Everything". My oldest son had asked me what that meant, and I had explained that it meant that Jesus was all that we need and that we don't need anything else. He is our everything.

The second memory was a riddle that my oldest son had told us while we were driving in the car. It went something like this:

Will: "What do blind people see and Christians need more than God?"
Jeff: "I don't know, what?"
Will: "Nothing."

In the treehouse, I sat there in awe. I couldn't believe that God had spoken to ME! I have so often heard other Christians speak of all the wonderful things God has said to them, but I never understood it until this day. And the message He was giving me was so simple, yet so hard to grasp a lot of the time. I sat there and let His words wash over me and let the truth of those words comfort me. He's all I need! There's NOTHING more that I need. He will be faithful to supply all my needs, and He wants me to depend upon Him. NOTHING else can make me whole like the presence of God in my life.

Overall, the message I received from the Lord on that day was that He wants me to trust Him. He is trustworthy and I need to just let go and trust Him. I hadn't realized until that day how little trust I had placed in Him throughout my life. I had often been really good at trusting Him with the "small" things, but I'd had a bad habit of trying to take the bigger matters into my own hands.

A wonderful verse that I came away from that week with was: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 'I will be found by you' declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity.'" Jeremiah 29: 13-14  I had found the promise in this verse to be true. When I sought Him with all my heart, He showed up!

Once I returned home from my "retreat", I bought a bracelet with only one charm on it. And on the charm...the letter "N". :-)

...and a little reminder in my laundry room:

Hello, Blog World!

Ok. This summer I have decided to take up a new hobby: blogging. When I was a teenager and had a lot on my mind, I would write poems to help express what I was feeling and maybe even make sense of it all.

I find myself at this point in my life to have a lot on my mind again. Turning 40 in November brought on a lot of life reflection and examination for me. And some of it has been really...hard. WARNING: this blog is not going to be all smiley faces and roses. My goal is to be brutally honest and to not sugar coat my feelings and thoughts so that I sound perfect. I am NOT perfect. I am a 40 year old "girl" (I can't refer to myself as a "woman"-that sounds too "old") who is on a journey right now.

I'm on a journey to finally fully discover and be  completely happy with who I am. I am on a journey to learning to be thankful and content with where God has me right now (and always). But most importantly, I am on a journey to grow spiritually and to learn to trust God completely with every aspect of my life. I want to KNOW Him more. I want to have a stronger faith that He is in control-no matter what. I want to rest easily in the peace that only HE can give me. There are many things I intellectually "know" about my Lord and savior, but I want to live those beliefs out in my daily life-consistently. I am on a "Faith Journey".

This blog is ultimately for me- a way to express my thoughts and feelings and hopefully learn, grow, and change emotionally as well as spiritually. But, I invite you to come on this journey with me. Holy Spirit has a lot to teach about you?