Friday, May 22, 2009

I choose to be cheerful.

I have been less than pleasant at times for the past few months. Maybe even downright impossible to deal with. Just ask Kevin. I come home exhausted, frustrated, short-tempered, and just in an overall bad mood.

Let me give you a little look into a normal day in my life. I wake up around 7:00, I shower and get ready, I pack a breakfast and lunch, I am out the door by 7:30-7:45, I get my materials ready for the day, my students are in my room by 8:25, school begins by 8:30, I spend all day answering questions, putting out fires, and of course bestowing millions of brilliant ideas onto my precious students (or something like that...), at 3:10 they are dismissed, I spend from 3:10-3:30 cleaning up and putting things back where they belong, by 3:30 more days than not, I am headed to a meeting or a conference, if not, I am correcting papers or writing lesson plans. I leave school around 4:15-4:30 each day and head home to change my clothes and eat a quick dinner before I'm off to the studio for a night of teaching dance. I am often not back home until after 8:00pm and usually still have papers to grade, not even to mention spending time with Kevin or relaxing for a short while before I need to go to bed and begin it all again.

Now, please let me be very clear. I love my jobs. I love my life. Its just sometimes, it overwhelms me. Sometimes I forget that I chose this...all of it.

So yesterday I was browsing one of my favorite blogs (you can find it under Biblical Womanhood over on the right side of the screen in the "other blogs I like" section) when I came across this post. I was moved to tears by her beautiful words. This is exactly what has been on my heart lately.

Here is a very small (but beautiful) excerpt that especially spoke to me:
"As I've thought more on this experience, I've been reminded how little of Calvary Love I've been demonstrating in my life recently. Christ gave His all for me. He chose the beating, the mocking, the nails, the pain, the suffering, the thorns--for me. He did all of this not so I could live a life of selfish comfort and ease, but so I could follow in His steps and live a life poured out for others."

And so, my new goal in life is this. That I will make the choice every single morning to be cheerful. I will choose cheerfulness over grumpiness; I will choose joy over sorrow; I will choose gratefulness over jealousy; I will choose to use the blessings I have been so undeservingly granted to make the journey for someone else a little easier.

I want to live a life that will end with the beautiful sound of my Savior whispering "Well done, my faithful servent". That is my goal, to pour my life out for others with a cheerful heart.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Time sure does fly...

I have never in my life experienced how quickly time flies as much as I have this year. This was the year that my childhood dream came true. Since the moment I stepped foot in school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I would play school in my house as a child, as a teen I collected things I might use someday in my classroom, I took mental notes of the kind of teacher I wanted to become, I studied long and hard in college to gain the skills necessary to do the best job I could, I endured struggles - both financial and emotional - to get to where I am. But, I'm here. Exactly where I've always dreamed of being. And to be quite honest, more days than not out of these past 177, I could be found wondering why on Earth I wanted this so badly.

This first year of teaching has been anything but blissful. It has been exhausting, frustrating, trying, and just down-right hard. I have spent many afternoons after school in tears and many mornings silently praying for strength and grace to make it through my day. It is a daunting job to be responsible for 27 people and their academic, social, and emotional growth for an entire school year. It is an enormous responsibility to spend all day taking care of everyone, besides myself. Many nights, I come home exhausted and in need of someone to take care of me for a little while. It has been difficult.

But it has also been exhilirating. As I sit here, we have merely 3 days left of the 2008-2009 school year. The dreadful "first year" is almost over. As I am gathering information for the district data we are required to turn in, I am realizing my students made enormous strides this reading, in math, and most importantly in the kind of people they are and will become. It is indeed an awesome responsibility I have to help to mold and shape the kind of people they will grow up to be. I have spent countless hours teaching, then practicing, the re-teaching, and then practicing some more the life skills they will need to be successful teenagers and more importantly adults. How they handle anger, frustration, sadness, guilt, and dissappointment. How will they react when things don't go their way? And how will they react when things do go their way? It is an amazing thing, what teachers do everyday, and I say this with utmost humility, I am amazed at myself.

While they are far from perfect, they are indeed far from where they started. We have worked hard together. We have laughed alot together. We have seen our world change - a new president, a closer look at war, a study of our Nation's history, a clear view of ourselves and a very honest look at the things we need to work on. We have spent 180 days together, approximately 1,170 hours together, about 70,200 minutes together, 4,212,000 seconds together. It seems like a lifetime and a blink of an eye all at the same time. They are different people, and so am I - in more ways than I could possibly count. They have taught me to be patient, kind, honest, tough, compassionate, and humble.

If you were to ask any teacher, they would be able to say without doubt that they remember clearly their first class. And so, I too, join the ranks of teachers who will say, without hesitation that I will never forget these 27 children. I am both hopeful and confident that they will find success on their journey, but I hope that someday, some of them will look back on fifth grade and smile for a little while, knowing that they learned and laughed alot.

I pray that they will be quick with a smile, a helping hand, a thoughtful word, or a compassionate heart. Because for them to learn those qualities in human kind, is my biggest responsibility to them, and this world.

Perhaps I do have the greatest job on Earth. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sam Michael

3 years ago today, my life changed forever. My only sister and very best friend in the world, blessed me with the birth of her first child, Sam Michael. It is the first time in my entire life that I fell in love instantly. The moment I saw him, my heart melted and we've been best buddies ever since.

Sam, I am so blessed and honored that God gave you to us. Your smile lights up my heart and your laugh is one of my most favorite sounds in the world. I am constantly amazed at how smart you're becoming and you keep me laughing with your funny sayings and jokes. I love playing tools, or football, or scrapbooking with you (whichever you're in the mood to play) - and I love even more when you crawl into my lap and cuddle with me.

I wish I could freeze time for a little while to slow down our lives. You're growing up way to fast, right before my very eyes and I know that all too soon, you'll be a "big boy" and won't want to play with me or cuddle...but for now, I'm loving every single second of it.

I hope you have the happiest of days full of laughter and joy and tons of presents that will spoil you rotton...after all, that's my job!

I love you buddy,
Aunt T :)