Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas Story

My husband reads this to our family every Christmas morning, before we do anything else.  As did his father before him.  It's why we celebrate the day.  Blessings to you all, and remember, Jesus came and dwelt among us, and stood in our place as the sins of the world were placed on his shoulders.  He did come to redeem us all.

Merry Christmas

Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with Child. 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son,
and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger;
because there was no room for them in the inn.

2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the LORD came upon them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD. 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into Heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the LORD hath made known unto us. 2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His Name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Helper's High"

I wrote an article for our school newspaper recently that talked about the physical benefits altruism, or the unselfish concern for the welfare of others.  It seems that acting altruistically releases endorphins and aids the person helping by dulling their sense of pain, relieving stress and tension, and giving them a euphoric feeling, much like a runner's high.  It's what makes people want to give to others.  Can you imagine if we didn't get a good feeling from giving?  Or if it were painful?  God knew exactly what he was doing when he linked our mind, body, soul and spirit in such a manner.  His wisdom constantly amazes me!

We put altruism into practice today by doing something to uplift the fearless leader at our school.  The principal of our school is completely selfless, self sacrificing, and will fight tooth and nail for students and teachers alike.  I know I've received responses to emails time stamped 4 a.m. from her, and her door is always open.  I also have never had a supervisor write a hand-written thank you note thanking me for allowing her to visit my class.  Who does that?  She does.

So today was time for our staff to return the favor.  We practiced a couple of times in my class, they practiced on their off time, and during Christmas assembly today we performed a little "flashmob" dance for her to the tune of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You."  The entire staff of 75 people participated, and she stood in the back and cried, which is not unusual for her.  We had a blast, and the feeling of that moment lasted until the moment we packed up our cars and left for our Christmas break.  It was a great start to this holiday.

It was important for us all to let her know how much we appreciated her sacrifice.  She is a fearless leader, and we love her dearly, as she does us.  I think this high will sustain me for a bit longer than today.  I need to be careful, though.  I think it's addicting.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 Reflection

I took some time yesterday to look back on my blog entries for the year.  It's one of the reasons I like to blog because it's a good reminder of the year and the events that took place, my thoughts on matters, etc.  This year, I think, has been the most amazing for me personally since we've been able to build roots as a family.  Having a good solid group of friends who challenge me yet hold me accountable yet laugh and joke and get nutty is such a blessing.  I also am enjoying building my professional reputation.  Pushing myself out of my comfort zone to train fellow teachers is very exciting for me.  I've had some personal victories as well.

I've set some pretty strong boundaries recently in a relationship with which I've struggled for quite some time, and I've also released them from the past as well.  Forgiveness does that.  I know that God knows all of our hearts and motives, and that gives me much more comfort than even forgiveness does.  But releasing someone from the wrongs they've committed is very freeing.  The neat thing, though, is that as soon as that happened, a completely similar situation at work presented itself and I was able to pass on what I learned.  It was just a little reminder that it's not just about me.

My kids have continued to impress me.  I continually tell them I have no idea how they turned out so good.  They are good kids, not just in front of T and me, but away from us as well.  Others inform us on a regular basis about how they act around them and their kids, and they are consistent.  It's something I've prayed specifically for in their growth:  that they would be genuine and not grow up living one way in front of adults and another in front of their peers.  It looks like God is answering that prayer.  I also love that they choose good friends.

I am happy about being close to family and being able to see my side of the family more often, but it is at the expense of seeing the Florida side.  We got some visitors this year:  my nephew and my father-in-law.  It was so fun having them here, showing them around town, hanging out, working like a!  I thoroughly enjoyed having them visit, and I hope more come later.  I miss Florida and my friends there, but it's fun sharing this part of our lives with them as well.

This year has represented a lot of stretching and growing.  Even though I've gone through a lot this year, I also find myself in a comfortable and content place.  It makes giving to others that much easier.  I'm thankful for my friends, for the way God has provided for our family, for the way He has worked in my life and has guided me this year and I'm anxious to see what next year has to bring.  I know I'll be blogging about it.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Dream Job

Ok, I know I've said it a few times, but I just need to say it again.  I can't tell you how wonderful it is to work with the people I do.  I have never had an experience like this.  Ever.

The people I work with are strong, independent leaders in the educational community.  They speak and instruct at state conferences, they push forward and move ahead.  But here's the thing:  they all have the same goal, and that is to do "whatever it takes" to see a child succeed.  The problem solving and outside of the box thinking that goes on in our Intervention Leadership Team meetings is in the very least inspirational.  At it's best it is effective.  And I still to this day can't believe I get to be a part of it.

These people change lives.  They are in the business of meeting children at their weakest point and lifting them up.  And it's a team effort.  Everyone is on board, so problem solving is energizing and enjoyable.  Even at 6:30 in the evening, when everyone else has gone home and the heating system has been off for an hour and a half. 

I can't promise this will be the last time I brag on my co-workers, but I'll try to keep it down a bit.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

SOOO Thankful

You know, every now and then you get a reminder of how blessed you are.  Today was a day like that for me.  From the birthday hugs from friends and kids in the hallway, to birthday serenades from colleagues, the day was just a good, warm and fuzzy feeling day.  I am thankful every day for the friends and family I have.  Top that off with some warm gloves and a scarf for those early morning duty times, and I'm good to go for quite a few birthdays to come!

Thank you friends and family for making today a wonderful day.  My heart is full.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

21 years ago tonight....

I went into labor.  It was the one night I was not expecting it, because the next day was my due date.  I didn't know of anyone who actually had their first child on their due date.  But there we were, heading to the hospital.  It took awhile, but finally at 1:24 in the afternoon, my one and only daughter was born.  She was the first granddaughter to be born on both sides of the family.  We didn't know then if she was going to be a boy or a girl until she was born.  I kind of miss the excitement of that moment, of finding out if we were having a boy or girl.  Anyway, I cried, Big Dad cried, and there we were, the three of us, our own little family together for the first time.

Well meaning people warned us about having a girl.  They talked about the drama and how difficult girls can be.  I can honestly say that drama has not been a part of Em's existence.  She is one of the most even keeled people I know.  She's a hard worker (her name does mean industrious) and she's a loyal friend.  She's got an understated sense of humor that catches people off guard, and she's one of the nicest people I know.

We laugh when I tell her about the first time I realized how much I loved her.  I had put her down for a nap (she was only a few days old) and I went to take a shower.  When I turned the shower off, I could hear her crying desperately.  I could not get dressed fast enough, and when I finally got to her, picked her up and held her, she stopped crying immediately.  I remember thinking, "I love her so MUUUCH!"  But you know what?   That's nothing compared to now.  That love is combined with a friendship and a sense of pride because God only knows how proud I am of her and all that she's accomplished and overcome. 

Love you, Em....  Happy 21.  I still can't believe it.  A full fledged adult. :)