Perspective

Educate Life.

I am sitting at a crossroads. To teach again someday or not to? To renew my license or let it go?

This is a decision I’ve been kicking down the road for at least two years. Do I take the Master’s hours to renew my teaching license or just let it expire at the end of 2018? I haven’t been in the classroom other than a long-term sub since I turned down a new contract in 2009.

My quitting was complicated, but in retrospect, the correct choice for my physical and mental health. I was offered a contract for the following year. I was promised more administrative disciplinary support for a small, challenging portion of the population I was serving. He said I could have another prep and it would be ok to back off on the clubs and sports I was sponsoring and coaching.

“If you send them to the office, we won’t send them back during that same class period.”

And yet, I still told them no. I was done at the end of the school year.

I had another opportunity with health insurance, less mileage, more flexibility, and less stress. I took it.

So why is this decision to let my license go so difficult? Why not just cut the cord? Does this mean that all that money and time I spent in college is null and void?

I think this is a decision that many people face when they change careers. Does a change of this proportion negate any type of impact I made previously?

Last Friday, a young man stood at the elementary school with his family. I walked up to him and his wife and started a conversation. In the spring, I visited with another young man at a wedding reception. My son’s kindergarten teacher. The cashier at our local store. The marketing director at a local dealership. The guys who fix tires and do re-alignments.

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These examples speak to me. Successful, intelligent, caring people who I had the privilege to work with. Although I stepped out of the education field after only a few years, I cherish the students I worked with – the successful ones and those who caused me anxiety. Stress not for myself, but that I wasn’t able to reach deep enough in them for their future success as human beings.

What would that look like? Not monetary success as that is fleeting. I wanted them to have contentment, drive, passion, and mercy. To withstand criticism and turn around to use it constructively. To observe life outside the local societal box. To approach people willing to look at the other side of the coin. To forgive and move on.

Education-Quotes-And-Sayings-About-Life-1

You might think “Wow. That’s a lot for a secondary science credit!” My job was to teach physics and freshman science. My mission was to teach life.

To renew or not? I just don’t know. Will I ever go back to education? I guess only time will tell.

Education Quote credits to http://quotesvana.com/quotes-about-education/

 

 

 

Faith · Family · Fitness · Health · Perspective

Positive – Leftovers, Strep, & Pancake Syrup

IMG_1973This is me. I just finished the most amazing taco salad for lunch at my desk.

As I was chewing the spicy, dairy-free concoction, I realized how thankful I was that my kids weren’t interested in tacos last night.

It kind of irked me as I was standing across the kitchen island with the fixings laid out, corn on the cob boiled and ready, food all hot. Nobody wanted to eat. Even my husband only had one small taco and called it done. My 5yr old only wanted 1 ear of corn and no taco. My 7 year old couldn’t eat the corn due to his jankity mouth of missing baby teeth and asked if he could have the taco later. What the what????

But in a new light today, I’m thankful. I just devoured a delicious leftover lunch.

Always seeking the positive!

My two best girl friends pointed this out on Tuesday in a string of text messages that occurred when my 5yr old puked all over herself in the car (read: hair, pillow, blanket, dress, car seat, etc) on the way down the switchback mountain roads about 9 hours from our home on Monday. 9 vomit scent-wafted hours.

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Later, my friend sent me this.

IMG_1962This is how I try to roll. I used to be a pretty serious Debbie Downer sometimes. That was what my sisters actually called me. Then, if it was Christmas, they’d make me wear a Santa hat until I pulled out of it.

I’m not completely sure when my outlook changed, but I know I’ve thrown my life into a more positive direction post-birth of babies, upon going dairy-free, taking up running and regular exercise, my MS diagnosis, and upon learning how to say “NO” to things that aren’t my best yes.

Whew… we are talking about the last 5 years here… not an overnight mental shift.

I don’t have it all mastered. Frankly, I never will. That’s ok. It isn’t my job to do it all perfectly or have everything go according to my plan. That job belongs to God.

But let’s be real. Do I want to re-live the puking and pancakes mountain pass situation? That’s a solid NO. Do I appreciate cooking and nobody eating it? Nada. Am I happy when my child gets strep throat? Of course not. I’m just trying to keep it all in perspective.

In the scheme of things, those are all small potatoes, or shall I say a small packet of syrup?

Much love,
Jen

Creativity · Faith · Family · Parenting · Perspective

Keeping My Wits

Perspective. It’s all about perspective.

This past week was a doozy! Dance dress rehearsal on 8th. Church + Dance Recital + birthday party on 9th. 1st Grade Program on 10th.

dance recital bow

Birthday treats for 20 and some mild flooding at our home (which required a large pump for almost 4.5 hours) on 12th. Birthday treats for daycare on 13th.

dirt worm cups
Dirt – Worm pudding cookie cups

Playdate and more birthday treats on 14th plus a family party at the bowling alley to celebrate.

Bowling Form
My 2yr old nephew’s bowling form.

Easter egg hunt and sister-mom time on 15th. Early church service followed by fellowship with friends and Easter lunch with my family on 16th.

And a full time job during the week.

It’s safe to say I was a grump by Saturday morning. My morning run left me coughing and sputtering instead of feeling energized. This was insane. Betty Crocker I am not. Egg Hunt? Rarr….

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Perspective. That powerful thing called perspective.

Two options here: Me sitting in a corner drinking coffee refusing to talk or make eye-contact — OR — Choosing to look at this as “WOW” my family is happy, healthy and engaged in spending time together. I should make sure I’m involved!

Option 2 is ALWAYS the better option. We enjoy each other’s time and company. It makes me feel great to make others feel good with time, friendship, and yes – birthday treats and Easter egg hunts!

The aftermath: Claustrophobia began to rise up as I looked around the house last night. The dirty laundry was piled counter high when my husband emptied our three strategically placed hampers in the bathroom. At least 3 days of clean dishes sat on the counter- each new load pushed to the side and another batch washed and laid out to dry. Paths had to be cleared from the kids’ doors to their beds so we could do our bedtime routine.

Thank goodness for perspective.

We have clean water, clothes, food, shelter, and love. All are blessings that are not to be overlooked! I promise not to go Maslow on you with a chart of the hierarchy of needs, but it bears witness that if those basic D-needs are met there is little room for complaint.

 It would be easy to look at the last 10 days and curl up in panic mode. (I did come close a few times in the moment!!!)  Instead, as my mom says, I (with my two sisters’ help) mindfully “flipped” as quickly as possible to the constructive side to keep my wits and appreciate the people and situations around me. It’s all about your view.

PERSPECTIVE.

Eternal question: is the glass half-full or half-empty?

**Here’s the recipe for the dirt-worm cups. They really are a treat! If you have to go non-dairy, almond milk works better than soy. Coconut milk would probably be good too but I’m not sure how well the pudding would set? I quadrupled the recipe for his class and put 6 short gummy worms in each cup- three under the cookies and three on top. The kids had a fabulous time digging the worms out of the pudding and cookie mix before eating!

 

Perspective

feelings – minions – perspective

Basically, I accomplished nothing yesterday except enjoying the day with my children- one of whom was sick and both were home from school for an inservice day. It was a wonderful day of frisbee, mud “pupcakes,” a bike ride, and a hike out by the pond. And while everything is exceptionally muddy, we just slip into our galoshes and carry on.

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I think I needed a day like yesterday to help keep this week in perspective.

So much anger, vulgarity, and bashing going on. Maybe I’ve been sheltered for the majority of my life? 

I’ve never been witness to so much anger and frustration.

I’ve never been inundated with the wide swath of feelings and emotions being poured out from all directions. 

I’ve never heard such vulgarity and sharp tongued one-liners in everyday dialogue.

Thank goodness that for the most part, I can turn off social media and in turn, crank that noise down for myself and my family.

Ladies and gentlemen, please let us remember that we are all allowed an opinion and feelings, but that should come with the stipulation in big bold letters – I don’t have to internalize all of them.  You are entitled to your opinion, yes. I am allowed to agree or disagree. I can still love you, care for you, and support you in word, action, and prayer.

Goodness help us – there are big big feelings all over out there. Social media has turned this country into some funky reality where people selfishly think that his/her opinion is THE OPINION or his/ her FEELINGS matter the most of the most-est.

It’s like a house full of toddlers or teenagers.

What do we tell our children when they are unhappy or are having a disagreement with another child? At my house, I tell my child to look at the other child and use respectful words. “I don’t want to play right now, but we can later.” or “You are making me angry. I need some space.” I tell them that their feelings are valid, but that they may or may not change the outcome. “Fits don’t get us what we want, but asking nicely might.”

chyxn9bnkmc3sAm I running the perfect household? Oh my goodness- NO. My 6yr old tried to put on the same underwear he’d been wearing for 2 days after his shower last night… and he almost accomplished it! (Fortunately those Minions are pretty bold and obvious.) Do I get dinner on the table every night? NO. Does my husband juggle it all perfectly? NO. Do my kids behave all the time? If only you could have been peeping in my window yesterday morning… We have faults, but man, we TRY. We TRY hard.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this – Could we all try a little harder to be kind? to be tactful? to selflessly love others as much as we selfishly love ourselves? to see the other side of the fence instead of instantly discounting it? to listen without instantly formulating a reply?

I saw this quote from Lysa TerKeurst today on my social media:

“We can’t look to our feelings to determine truth. We must look to truth to reign in our feelings.”

This isn’t for “alternative fact” or my emotional feelings. This is about actual TRUTH. Not philosophical truth. Not opinionated truth. TRUTH.

There is much suffering in this world and social media has brought the angry and miserable together. As a pretense to voicing those ills, let’s pause for a moment to self-reflect, let the anger pass, and figure out how to constructively deal. We might find that if not acting in anger, the listening ears of those around us will remain open.

Faith · Family · Health · Love · Perspective

Socks on the Floor

I read a woman’s journal entry today on her site. It is titled “Stop Being a Butthole Wife.” It was blowing up on Facebook news feed. Most of my friends are young wives or husbands. Many have children. It fits for where we are in life.

It is obvious by the number of times it has been shared that it touched a nerve. So here’s my perspective on relationships and what I took from her writing:

  • I can’t even fathom what it means to lose a spouse. I don’t think devastated is a deep enough word for that level of hurt. My husband and I joke about who would be on our “list” if something ever happened to one of us. Honestly, it ends up being a humorous analysis and conversation. At the root of it all is the FACT that he would want me to be happy and move on if he was no longer alive. I reciprocate that sentiment.
  • All those little nitpicky things like socks on the floor, his belt and pocket contents on our kitchen counter, and his mug next to his chair where he ate graham crackers and milk before bed – TINY inconsequential occurrences. These really don’t matter in the panoramic view of our life together. That I know they exist feels comfortable to me. This is his house too. He rarely comments about my bra hanging on the bathroom doorknob and when he does, it’s because company is coming… We try to extend grace to one another.
  • There is so much beauty in a committed relationship. We submit to each other daily thousands of times a day. Why do you always have to be right? You don’t. A huge weight is removed once you confidently are able to recognize that. Do we agree all the time? No, we aren’t playing make-believe house. Disagreeing is healthy. It means we both have a voice. It allows us to maintain ourselves as individuals.
  • I ordered flowers for two different funerals today. My nephew had brain cancer at 18 months and is now a healthy 9 year old. My dad had cancer twice – stage 4 the 2nd time. He is 5 years with no detectable cancer now. We lost my mother-in-law at age 54 two years ago in March to a sudden brain bleed. The innocent get sick. We are helpless to fix it. Those we love pass away.

People – socks on the floor don’t matter.

Maybe I’m writing this because I learned a number of years ago that perfection isn’t possible. I was a perfectionist until I united my life with my husband’s 11 years ago. I was a butthole wife at that point. Young. Naive. Ridiculous. Trying to make my life pinterest-perfect. We’ve had this conversation. I’m still a work in progress, but I know we are in this together for the long haul.

I’ll keep picking up those socks and he’ll keep reminding me about my bra on the doorknob before our company walks in the door. It’s a partnership of love and grace. And it’s totally worth it.