Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wonder

I really enjoy reading and ever since Charlie died I haven't been able to focus long enough to finish a book.  I would let my mind wander and read large chunks of books and have no idea what had happened so I just took a break.  I recently picked up a book and finished the entire thing.  I was really excited.  A little piece of me was coming back.  As soon as I realized I could read an entire book and enjoy it I decided to set a goal.  I wanted to be able to read one book a month.  Keeping in mind teaching and being a mommy and wife don't leave much time to have a hobby I decided that was a fair place to start.   I started in January and have been on par since.  The most recent book I finished reading was Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  

As I began the book I had high expectations.  I knew the premise and had heard so many friends rave over the book and all that it encompassed even while being restricted (labeled) by adult fiction.   As I began I learned more about the main character that I had not known before reading it.  The boy in the story, August Pullman, has a facial difference that kept him out of school.  He was homeschooled and spent large amounts of time in his home.  The unique part of this story is how it begins being told from Auggie's perspective at the start of the story.  He explains what he sees and how he feels when he goes through his day to day life and as he transitions to a new life as a student in a school.  The viewpoint then changes and throughout the story as we learn more about Auggie and his family we hear from his classmates, his sister, his sister's boyfriend, and others.  

There is one point in the book where Auggie is dressed in a costume for Halloween.  His friends all thought he was going to be dressed as something entirely different.   When he walked into class that day he was able to be completely invisible and hear the things the people around him said when they thought he was not around.  It broke my heart to read what they were saying.  I wanted to reach into that book and explain to those boys that the words they were using were going to stay in his heart and mind forever.  I really have a love hate relationship with that part in the story.  It is what kept me reading.  It is also what made me almost want to stop.  It is what I feel like students everywhere need to read.  I believe they need to understand life in someone else's shoes from someone else's perspective.  

Overall, I would give it a thumbs up.  I was a unique read and worth the short amount of time it takes to finish.  If you have a heart for people, you will have a heart for Auggie.  He will make you think about how you look at someone and/or respond to someone with special needs.      

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Happy Sunday

Today I had to let go of the many things I "needed" to do so that I could rest.  I received God's loving gift of rest on the Sabbath and I really enjoyed my day.  It was good to spend some time in that place today.  

We started our day with church this morning.  It was good to continue to dig deeper into our current journey series.  Brian spoke about our identity and how we find it.  He explained that if we want to find our true identity we have to go to God.  We have to spend time with our Heavenly Father in order to truly find our purpose and receive our gifts.  Finding our identity brings power and transformation.  I'm looking forward to this week's app work.  I can't wait to see where it leads us.

The twins have this new thing where they always whine as we walk out the door for church.  I'm not sure where it comes from, but as soon as we're on our way they are all smiles.  Today after church I asked John and Macy what they learned.  I got an earful (which I love) about Moses and how Jesus protected Moses.  They told me almost the entire story.  As we were leaving Johnny said, "Mom, church isn't so bad.  I really like it every time I come." I am glad they are comfortable.  I am glad they learn about Jesus and can recite truths about who they are and who Jesus is to them.

We left church and stopped at Sam's to pick up a couple of things.  We also got the car washed and stopped for lunch.  When we came home I sat outside with the twins while they rode their bikes in the driveway for a bit.  I finished a couple of additional chapters in the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Once we came inside, the twins grabbed a snack and we sat together on the couch to "rest."  I'm the mean mom that made them rest today, on this beautiful day.  John walked in not long after and I tagged out.  I closed my eyes on the couch and fell asleep for a good long nap while the running up and down the hall began upstairs.  It was glorious.  I don't have a newsletter written for school tomorrow (which means an early morning for this girl), but that nap. Glorious.

This evening we spent time with great new friends.  We ate pizza and cookies and we let the kids run wild.  Thank you Russells!  When you have four year old twins, you don't typically have a lot of time alone with friends.  It was a great break and so fun to talk with adults!

I am now reflecting and readying myself for the week.  It will be a long one, I'm sure, but it will end with a girl's trip to Nashville!  I can't wait to see my APT C girls!  Happy Sunday!  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Game Time

When Satan tries to get you to believe you are a failure there is always a bigger and stronger God there waiting to pick you up and carry you through those days of anguish and frustration.  I've been there and experienced that in the most real ways after losing Charlie.  I have written so many times about the people in my life being the literal hands and feet of Jesus when I needed serious help (among other things) that I didn't even know I needed.

This week isn't comparable to the physical, mental, and emotional pain I experienced (and still experience) with Charlie, however, it has not been one of my best weeks.  I have experienced so much negative.  I have been wounded by words.  I have been disappointed by attitudes.  I have been told in so many words; you are a failure.  You aren't good enough.  

The most ironic thing about all of this (which isn't really ironic at all if you believe in Jesus) is that tonight in our small group we were asked to play a game called "Cards For Humanity."  It has a similar format of the game that I know just popped into your mind, however, these cards are positive.  They are life giving and this evening as we delved into this game with one another the cards helped us identify for one another who we are.

I was excited.  I loved finding just the right card for each person in the group.  It made me smile over and over each time my new friends turned over their cards and read them.  And then it was my turn.  And I will say that I am not good at receiving kind words about myself.  I have no idea where that comes from.  I have no idea why I am that way, but I realized instantly that's a problem and I stopped myself and just let God open up my heart to what all these sweet people were about to say.

Side note, I have known them all (excluding one or two) for only two Wednesday small group sessions.

So, it was my turn to flip over the cards everyone had placed in front of me and to say that I was humbled as I read each one is an understatement. The fact that the people surrounding me chose the cards that they chose to describe me and affirm me made my heart smile.  God right there in that instant eliminated the negative and completely filled me back up with the purpose he put in my life.  I was made in his image and the thoughts expressed through the cards that I revealed when I turned them over one at a time were something that will continue to get me through this week and month and beyond that, I'm positive.  If people see me the way they described me using those simple cards from this game then I know I am fulfilling God's purpose in my life.

I know I'm not perfect, however, I will not stop believing.  I will stay as sweet as honey.  I will be the one crying with you even when I don't know why we're crying.  And I will have to learn to receive the others.  I will accept that God gave me gifts and I am using them and that is exactly what I should be doing.

Period.  End of story.  

     

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Parenting is Hard (Part 2)

This day was a whole new level of "parenting is hard."  You would think the worries would be limited to next to nothing if and when your child is asked to be apart of the Enrichment Program at their preschool.  However, this mom hears every single word at the enrichment program meeting and worries about them all.  While all amazing things are discussed and reviewed thoughts of "Were the twins chosen because of just one of their abilities?"  "Are they being lumped together because twins just always come in two..." or "Are they really doing well enough to be in this group?"

At the end of the meeting, I stayed back a bit and asked the director those very questions.  As a teacher, I hate being "that parent", but I needed to know.  I wanted to make sure we were the ones that would be able to make the decision to participate or not if it were just one child that needed to be a part of this class.  She assured me that had nothing to do with their decision to include both Macy and Johnny in the class.  They chose eleven students that they truly felt were ready for more; more independence, more writing, more challenge overall.  As we spoke more I found myself over analyzing every single thing they said about both of the twins.  It is interesting how our mind can run and race towards the worst possible scenarios for our children. I never want Macy or Johnny to be in the shadow of the other.  I want them to be their own person.  I want other people to recognize they are special in their own unique way.  I want to make sure that one's strengths are not made out to be the other's weakness.

As I talked with John about it, and then my mom, I realized this worry is not beneficial for anyone.  My worry just makes it harder for me to be completely present.  I have to give this up to my Heavenly Father this evening.  I have to let him take these worries and give me the strength to support and love my children if and when comparison steals their joy or keeps them from walking fully in their God given image.
 
 
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