Just Look...

Just Look...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

This Girl...

I had a little talk with this girl last week. My big girl, who was just a kindergartner the last time I looked. I remember that talk, too...

The morning was misty. So were my eyes. I couldn't believe that five years had flown by so quickly and she was ready to start school. She had spent every school day with my grandparents... my mommy's heart, even my TEACHER-mommy's heart, couldn't imagine that those teachers could take care of her the way she needed. I was scared to see her walk away into that building. And I knew how much the thirteen year journey ahead mattered for her, knew that this was the start of her becoming that baby-girl-woman. So, I did what I do-- I talked.

I explained to her how important it was for her to take school seriously. I told her she should enjoy it and develop and maintain a thirst for knowledge. I expressed my own love for reading and how it would always open a new world to her. I emphasized the fact that she was representing Jesus and our family, that the most important detail was how she treated others, that she always should show kindness to those around her. I talked for probably ten or fifteen minutes as she listened intently, her little face solemn in concentration. I closed with, "Do you understand, Emma?"

Emma: "Mommy? It's so foggy out there I can hardly even see those cows."

OK. Good talk, then.

Again, though, I've looked up and found that we are again coming to an ending and a beginning. As she takes those final steps toward the ending of a journey at Mayfield, a journey on which those teachers did take care of her the way she needed, even better than I ever imagined. I realized that the talk I give my second semester seniors is a valuable one for my kindergartner-turned-fifth-grader whose footsteps will soon be only an echo in the halls of a place that has been like home for six years.

Through some tears, I admonished her to finish what she started. It's easy sometimes to lose sight of the finish line when we get too close to it. I encouraged her to stay focused and strong academically. I explained that sometimes we get a little bit of a big head at the end and can forget the ones who got us here, reminded her that she is a product of Mrs. Burton and Mrs. Dotson and Ms. Mason and Mrs. Steward and Ms. Cooper and now Mr. Brown and Mr. Rogers and Mrs. McMahan and Mrs. Strother. It took heart and soul from each of them to pour into her to get her to this point. Keep smiling at and hugging those former teachers in the halls. Don't forget the ones that brung you. ;) We talked about the fact that, fair or not, the last impressions are the ones that stick. You can be the most wonderfully perfect student/person all the way through, but if you blow it at the end, that's how you will be remembered. Trust me. There are some very accomplished persons I see in town and all I can think of is the way they ended their time in the walls of my school. And then that kindness... the same kindness we hopefully started on. I know she's getting to the age where it might not seem as cool to be friendly to certain people and I so desperately want her to rise above that and remain that sweet kid whose preschool teacher told me she never made a distinction between people, whose early grade teachers often partnered her with a challenging student because she was so good with him. I talked, and this time, she did more than listen. She talked too, and we shared stories and experiences. It breaks my heart a little a lot to know that the situations that call for this talk are eventually going to end.

But I sure am glad there were no cows around this time.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekend Blog, Take Two

I actually found a post-it where I had several blog topics for a "dry spell", so I'm going to pull those out in a day or two if this mental block doesn't clear up. Until then, though, here are a few random and sundry things I wanted to make note of...

(Yep. It's in list form. Which means it will have to be 5 or 10, so you should be able to tell at what point I'm just blathering on in order to reach a normal ending number...)

1. Today at lunch, Kelsey made a point that it was her "most awful day at church ever". This was a bit concerning for me, so we questioned her further. Turns out, the problem was not exactly of a spiritual nature.
"There were boogers all over my chair. And I knew I should tell someone, but there never was a good time. So I just perched on the edge of the seat the whole entire service."
It's not exactly funny, but it kind of is. It also made me wonder how many times I just accept my circumstances (the boogers on the chair, if you will) to avoid making waves or calling attention to myself. Let's just say it's more often than not, and I don't want her to be that way. I'm actually a little surprised she IS that way because it doesn't seem like her to me.

2. It's no secret that I am a summer lover. I would rather get in a stifling hot car than a freezing cold one. I love flip-flops more than boots. I drink in the sunshine like oxygen. The Fourth of July has always been in my two three favorite holidays and it might be in my top two if it didn't just seem wrong not to have the holiday that honors the birth of my Lord and Savior in the top two... ;) Pools and lakes and oceans and creeks and rivers represent pure joy to me.
I have just enjoyed the calmest, most peaceful, joyful, wonderful weekend I have had maybe in forever. It is the first (and probably last) weekend I can remember in which I had zero obligations or appointments other than church on Sunday. Nobody in this house had anywhere to be at any point. And the anticipation all week of this weekend was just plain delicious. It measured up, too! We ate at Stevie B's on Friday night, then snuggled together and watched a movie. My parents came by for a few minutes. I read, Kraig watched even more screenprinting youTube tutorials, continuing his obsession. On Saturday, we all slept in and then Kraig made breakfast smoothies and the girls brought me one in bed. We cleaned and organized some, Kraig made a Lowe's run, he and I worked in the basement, the girls played, my parents stopped by again, we snuggled, we ate a late dinner together, and the girls went to bed. I got some work done while Kraig watched a (terrible, awful, scary) movie. Today we overslept early church, went to late service, and brought Zaxby's home. Kraig and I bustled around the downstairs, picking up, putting away, making chili, making a batch of brownies, while the girls sat on the couch upstairs and played ipad games. I could hear their conversation and they could hear ours. I thought to myself,
"This. This is the beauty of winter. The quiet, the calm, and the together."

It may not be swimming pools and Bear Paw and sunshine and tan lines, but it has its own charm. If today was a summer Sunday afternoon, I would have a sense of "wasting time". If we chose to stay in, I would feel like I was wasting a day I should have/could have been outside or at my Mom's. If we went outside, we would have probably been pretty scattered, each person involved in his or her own things. And no matter where we were, I would have a heavy sense of time slipping through the hourglass. "Only x number of Sundays left of summer break..." I don't have that pressure in the winter. And while I hate to cheat on summer, I am discovering an attraction for winter...

3. Brownies with peanut butter M&M's in them.... It really needs no further explanation, but Kraig had the brainstorm last night to try it and he made a batch today. Woah. Party in your mouth, that's all I can say.... You're welcome.

4. Speaking of "you're welcome", not sure if anyone else has tie and scarf storage issues, but we have had one of those awful racks on the back of the door with my scarves on the hooks (falling off all the time) and Kraig's ties were on two of the tie thingys that hang from a regular rack and the ties lay across the little bars? Sliding off nonstop because the other hangers shove into it? Well, I tweaked an idea I saw on Pinterest and we got two towel bars and mounted them on the wasted wall behind the door, then hung his ties on one and my scarves on the other! It's like my whole closet life has been revolutionized! :)

5. We have a yard sale coming up. It's at South Cleveland Church of God on Friday, 1/24, from noon till 8, and on Saturday, 1/25, from 8-3ish. It's going to be fabulous and have TONS of great stuff. Come out and shop if you are local! It's to benefit our Cambodia missions team!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

It's like I Stink at This

So, funny story... guess what happens when you commit to writing more often and regularly?

You find that you have absolutely nothing to say.

Yeah. So instead, I'm going to practice another commitment I made and go on to bed. Not early... but not excessively late, either.

{Who am I kidding? It's 12:47. That is SO excessively late.}

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Little Bit Messy-- In a Good Way

I read somewhere that posting your "resolutions" would make you less likely to accomplish them. The rationale (which actually made some sense) was that by posting them, you would get your incentive in the form of responses from other people, and then you would be less motivated to achieve them because you had already received the positive reinforcement. It's kind of like the trend of "slacktivism", or people who use social media for charities and causes to click "like" and thus feel altruistic. People are doing less today due to these social media movements because they FEEL like they have done more by clicking "like". Again, makes good sense to me.

Anyway, I'm not planning to share much about my goals for the year. Last year I wrote a pretty specific list on here and did about a half-job of accomplishing the goals on my list. Half's better than none though, right? 

However, we did have a moment the other day that proved to be quite eye-opening for me. Over a year ago, I received a beautiful leather-bound journal from a student. In the time since I opened this gift, this student has finished high school, graduated, and completed a semester of college. Want to know what I've written in that beautiful journal? NOTHING. I am just so nervous to write in it and "mess it up". (This seems to be a trend in this household...) The girls and I were talking and laughing about my issue and they both shared examples of when they felt the same way and could completely relate to what I was saying. As I have mentioned before on here, one of my main parenting goals is to not pass on the crazy. :) So it mattered a lot to me for them to see me use up that journal, maybe even help me use it up. We decided to make four big claims for ourselves in 2014...

Use it up.

Don't hold back.

Let it go.

Get a little messy.

We decided to set some personal goals, make some lists, do some dreaming, and end with some reflection in that journal. And we got started promptly. (It should be noted that it was almost painful for me to start writing. And I purposely didn't let myself agonize over handwriting. I may have even made it more messy. But, just like the year ahead, we went ahead and made our mark.)

I ended 2013 with a post that there was "Nothing Pretty to See Here". I'm intentionally starting 2014 "A Little Bit Messy-- In a Good Way".