{Wednesday's Words - Lessons}

Happy (late) Wednesday, friends!

I am happy to report I have officially survived my first three days of school and even happier to report today that I left school well before 8:00 pm tonight.  I know, I know, ridiculous, but I'm celebrating small victories these days. :)  They are encouragement for the larger haul.

I was invited to participate in a link-up with Martha Kate and Jenni that happens to be starting today!  Please join us and share your thoughts about things the Lord is teaching you.  I can't wait to see what this community of believers develops into.
Wednesday's Words
I was raised in the church, went through Confirmation in 7th grade, the whole shabang, but truly believe I took ownership of, and responsibility for, my relationship with Christ the summer after my freshman year of high school with the beautiful Colorado mountains in the background and a sky packed with stars at Young Life camp.  I wouldn't trade any of that for the world.

If you want to know a little more about me personally, check out the about me tab (which I hope to revamp soon)!

Today, I'd like to talk about what the Lord has been teaching me, especially in my new career.  I can't tell you how long I have prayed for patience.  I have often struggled with being more patient with total strangers than my own loved ones.  Sometimes I feel like I don't have to be as patient with my friends, spouse, or husband because they know the real me and don't always have to have my best, or some lie like that.

Well, that prayer for opportunities to grow and develop my patience has been answered to the tune of 14 7 and 8 year olds Monday-Friday.  With three full days under my belt, one of which was down right awful, I have had a plethora of times to demonstrate patience.  Though my days have been long, and I've been sleeping like a rock at night, I really do feel like I come home and have a little more patience to share with the border collies and Ryan each day.  If the Lord can help me demonstrate patience with 14 2nd graders, he's clearly telling me there's no excuse for not carrying that level of excellence home with me.

What a wake up call!

I'm also learning to love kids, and people, for who they are.  I can't control what goes on in my student's home, but I can control what happens in our classroom.  In fact, I'm solely in control of what my classroom behavior, structure, layout, and feel are like.  It's pretty neat to be in control of my room and my kids, but it's a lot of pressure, and I don't take it lightly.  My kids, like every child in our school, deserve the best.  I am honored to strive for nothing for excellence for them, and to spend 7 hours each day getting to know them, helping them become better students and individuals, and helping mold them into contributing members of society.

Though each one has undoubtedly tested me, and my patience, I am loving the little personalities these babes have.  Looks like my kids aren't the only ones learning lessons these days.

What has the Lord been teaching you lately?  Have any of your long time prayer requests been answered?

{The Start of Something New}

Anyone singing High School Musical's "Start of Something New" now too because of the title?  Yeah, sorry.

Tomorrow is the first day of my first school year as a teacher.  Over the past week I have gone from being extremely excited, to overly terrified, to my brain firing off in 8 different directions thinking about all the things I've needed to prepare for my sweet kiddos.

Now, my room is ready and waiting for kids to fill the chairs and occupy desks, to experience a love for reading in our reading tent, to laugh and maybe cry, to learn.  I. am. so. nervous.

Our school had some serious behavior problems last year, some I can't even comprehend being real, and others I am praying don't happen in my classroom.  I feel prepared for the worst, but am hoping for the best and hoping my classroom management system is strong enough to sustain throughout the year.

Our kids need improvement in their scores, primarily in reading.  Many kids are reading two grade levels behind where they should be.  Do I really have what it takes to help bring them up to speed?  I sure hope so!

I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of kids.  I want to love on them, to be a support system, to be a cheerleader and a confidant.  I want to teach them that there's much more to life than the here and now and what is tangible.  I want to teach them to dream, to be problem solvers and critical thinkers, and to never quit believing in themselves.  I want to model Christ's love to them.

Our school's theme this year is "Oh, the places you'll go!"  I am particularly fond of this Dr. Seuss story because my parents gave it to me when I graduated high school.  As I read the pages of the book now, I remember the fire it lit within me to do great things.  I hope to do that for my kids - to light a fire, spark, anything that keeps them dreaming.

So, tonight as I soak in a bath letting my worries drift away, I pray for every kid that walks into our school, every teacher anxiously awaiting students, our principal, assistant principal, and school staff eagerly awaiting laughter and young voices that will fill our halls.  We're here to stay, and we came ready to play.  Fear the roar.

{When Life Disappoints}

This weekend my sweet friend lost her Dad and her brother in a plane crash.  Talk about devastating.  That's about the only word I can use to describe such a tragic loss.  In the midst of her loss, I started thinking that this is one of those times when life disappoints.  It has the capacity to ruin your plans and leave you standing in the wake of disappointment.

While I have no idea what that type of loss feels like, and my heart aches deeply for her and her family, I am so grateful that as a believer in Christ there is hope.  There is hope that one day that pain will subside, that the hurt gets easier, and that there is a time when you will see the ones you have loved and lost again.

I like to think that the LORD shows us our loved ones in things that reminded us of them.  For my grandmother, that was butterflies.  She loved butterflies and has "shown up" several times in the form of a fluttery butterfly.  I believe that our God deeply hurts when we hurt, and these little signs remind us that he too hurt like we do when His son hung on the cross.

I am, by no means, trying to say that these signs replace the hurt that we feel, but I do think it's a comfort from the LORD when we hurt.  He lets us know, in that small way, that our loved ones are with Him and they're looking out for us.

So, whatever disappointment you're facing today, be it a small tragedy or a large one, look for comfort from the LORD in your surroundings.  The love from your family and friends, the sun beaming in the sky, a rainbow, a butterfly, our LORD sends hope when we don't think there's any left to fill us.

I am grateful for abounding promises of unfailing love.

Today I'd like to ask for prayers for my sweet friend LM and her family.  Please pray that the LORD would comfort them, grant them peace and rest during this time.  My heart aches for their loss.

What comforts you when life disappoints?

{Running With Oakley Mae}

Happy Tuesday, friends!

I have been wanting to run with Oakley Mae for quite the while now.  See, Oakley loves to bark.  Like a lot.  Which can be both cute and frustrating at times.  More often it's the latter.  (Remember:  Oakley Mae has Marley & Me like tendencies.  See here, here and here.)

Lo told me a while back that she was running with Ashbi, and that running might help calm Oakley down a little bit.  So, tonight, after months of anticipation, it happened, and y'all...


We only ran 1.14 miles because I wanted to take it easy on her first run.  She kept up with me, and we only stopped really briefly early on when she tried to smell something I was about to run over in the middle of the sidewalk.  Needless to say, I accidentally stepped on/kicked her, so I wanted to make sure she was okay.  She was, and wouldn't you know she didn't try to do anything like that again.

I think taking her on our first run at night was pretty advantageous for a few reasons:

1) The weather was much cooler than the lovely 100 degree temps we've been seeing here in sweet southern Texas.

2) There weren't as many people out.  Oakley gets pretty antsy with other dogs around and sometimes people.  There were only 2 or 3 people out and about, one of which had a dog which she had to mildly freak out about, but the non-dog walkers didn't bother her too badly.

3) There aren't as many dogs outside.  Kind of following up point 2, the dogs in our neighborhood are pretty chatty.  Oakley, again, gets pretty antsy when dogs bark at her (wouldn't you if people just started yelling at you?).  Tonight we passed the same two dogs, that barked/howled at her twice, when we went there and back.

My little border baby did so well.  I am so proud of her!

After our run, she ran straight in to claim her bone.  She's panting, but holding tightly to that bone.  Goofy girl.

[For those of you interested in what gear we used, Oakley wears a gentle leader collar and a traditional, non-retractible leash.  When we first walked her she would pull and pull and pull.  A PetSmart employee encouraged the gentle leader, and after trying it once, we're believers.  She rarely pulls at all now because she doesn't like her face being tugged on.]

I'm looking forward to our next run together, and increasing the mileage as we go.  Plus, I feel a little safer running at night with a furbaby by my side. :)  If you have any suggestions or tips for running with a puppy lemme know!  I can't wait to see how she progresses!

[Note: For those of you that think Jetta Belle is getting totally dissed in this situation here's the deal.  She and I used to run together before Oakley Mae came into the picture.  She would do pretty good and we could generally get a good mile or two in, but homegirl LOVES to smell everything.  Who can blame her, right?  She's a dog.  It's in their nature.  Yes, she was incredibly sad I didn't take her tonight, but I did walk her when we finished.  I'd like to work with both Jetta and Oakley so eventually the three of us can go for a run each day.  I think they'd like that.  Do you have any tips for running with a dog who loves to stop, smell, and tinkle on everything??  Let me know in the comments below!]

Jetta Belle snuggles after our walk.

{Oh Hey, Friday - 5 Things I'll Miss}

FIRST, I am so excited to be teaming up with the lovely Rachel at Oh Simple Thoughts for her blog's 2nd birthday giveaway!  We're giving away these three awesome gifts: one year subscription to the lovely printable library of Elle & Co. Design, a motivational coffee mug, and a retro camper headband!  Want to win them?  Just enter below!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SECOND, it's time for Oh Hey, Friday with September Farm, and The Farmer's Wife!  Today, I wanted to dedicate my Oh Hey, Friday to the 5 things I'll miss most about my current job!

1 // Friends
Like I mentioned last week, I have made some seriously great friends here.  It makes me super sad to think that I won't be seeing them every day, but I do know the friendships I've made here will carry over past our time spent in this building.  The people, especially in my department, are some of the kindest and most genuine people I have had the opportunity to share life with the past (almost) three years.  I have laughed, cried with, been consoled by, shared life's exciting moment's with so many of these people that they have become so much more than just friends.  They are family.  How cool is it to say that about people you work with?  I feel very fortunate to have that outlook on my friends here.

2 // Boss
I'm not trying to pick a fight with anyone, but I 100% guarantee my boss is better than yours.  I have been the luckiest girl in the boss department working here, I must say.  I have laughed more times than I can count, vented to, been challenged by, shared life with, prayed for, had thought-provoking discussions with, been encouraged by, and served as the encourager for this man and for that I am so grateful.  So many people I know don't care for their bosses and would probably never say they were friends.  For me, this could not be further from the truth.  I have afforded the opportunity to get to know his family (one of his grandsons is our Wish Kid!!) and adore them.  They are one cool family.  I am grateful for the great boss he was here, but am happy to know our friendship will continue outside of these walls.

3 // Mom
It's been super fun to get to work at the same place as my Mom for the past (almost) three years!  Even better that she sat on the same floor I did, and was only 2 minutes away.  When I got married and moved out I was sad I wouldn't see her all the time, but working together has been the perfect way to see each other daily!  It has been fun to decorate her pod for special occasions, have her there to console me in my work struggles and vent to one another, eat lunch with, and participate in work events together.  My mom is one of my best friends and it will be sad not being able to message her over office communicator, or to have lunch with her, but she's super excited for me and will be looking for ways to help out and be at the school however she can!  Love you Mama McD.

4 // Christian Workplace
This is probably one of the coolest things about my current job.  I am going from a job where it's perfectly fine to pray before meetings, to express your faith openly and to even participate in office Bible studies to a job where I am not really supposed to talk about my faith.  While I know this gives me an opportunity to show my faith through my actions, I have been blessed to work in a place where I could grow spiritually as well as professionally.  I will really miss this aspect!

5 // Activities
Our office is FUN!  In fact, it's one of our values.  I've participated in more happy hours, team buildings, company wide field days, holiday parties, sports teams, and employee appreciation days than anywhere else I've worked.  People here know how to get down!!  I was even on the team that got to plan a lot of them, and am sad to leave that too.  I know elementary school will be fun too, but will it hand me a $100 bill when I leave from employee appreciation day?  Probably not.  (This was not the norm by the way... it was once a year... insanely awesome though!!!!)

Old job, you hold a special place in my heart.  I am grateful for the ways I've grown here, the friends I've made, the person I've worked for, the opportunity to share work with my Mom, a safe work environment to share my faith in, and the awesome activities that left me smiling from ear to ear.  I will miss you dearly, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to provide value here.  I will make you proud. :)

Was it hard to leave your last job?  Let me know below!

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