2020 was the year of being stuck. It even shows it in the numbers…not going up, not going down…stuck with two of the same numbers: 2020. Stuck at home, stuck out of the gym, stuck out of the bar…stuck without family. Stuck!
So here we are in 2021 and I would like to believe this is the year of moving forward, making progress taking the next step…it is even in the numbers as well. What comes after 20? 21! Turning a new year does not magically change things in our lives, but it gives us new hope and new vision and I pray that for all reading this, 2021 gives you more of the good stuff.
I pray it gives more opportunities, more clarity and more more promise of the good things yet to come. For me, that is more therapy in the areas I need to develop new habits and mindsets; More working out and putting into my body the fuel that sustains. More quality time with the relationships that feed what is good, noble, honest and true. Finally, more falling in love with my Creator and King. More knowing who He is and how He created me to serve Him.
The year of 2020 had great purpose in our stuckness…but 2021 is of great significance too! No accident the numbers fall in line in an order of progression. It is time…progress is waiting!
I am using this space to plead for prayers for my sister in law battling Covid in the hospital. Blows my mind that she A. caught it but then B. is struggling to fight it. She is a rock to my brother and the air that he breathes. Literally been with her since high school, his only girlfriend and as much family as anyone with my blood…so pray pray and pray again that she builds strength and recovers.
On that note, blessed our foundation is in Christ and we do not have to fear death. 2020 has taught me that this world is not fair, we live in a fallen world where we rely on things that are fake and not meant to sustain and that our foundation means everything. So if you are like me and this year has rocked your soul…then join me in checking the foundation and building it on Jesus. His ways. His word. His Plan A.
First, let me say Covid is a disaster. Anything that causes people to die alone, businesses to crash, jobs be destroyed and kids depressed is awful. This pandemic is not to be taken lightly, but there are a few plus sides if you look for them.
1. To go alcohol. I do not mean drinking and driving…I mean ordering your favorite cocktail to go.
2. Reservations. How nice to know how many people to expect, less crowded places and knowing you are going to get in.
3. Online shopping. Now more than ever some of the best deals are online and delivery services are on fire.
4. Virtual everything. Virtual school. Virtual conferences. Virtual workouts. Virtual get togethers. Even virtual church. Virtual can be a good thing when you cannot afford to miss, but cannot get up to go.
If you need a place to worship our Savior, need some peace and hope or want to get back to your roots or start a new thing…let me invite you to http://www.clifec.com
Times are listed above or it will be on demand. Nothing to lose and it may be the start of something beautiful.
One of the things living during a pandemic has taught me is that life is short so live it. We worry so much about tomorrow that we often fail to enjoy today. Life changing lesson taught to me by a man that was about to die is to “enjoy the sandwich”. Creative way to say appreciate the moment rather than looking toward the next big thing. For our family, that involved taking a vacation that was probably not in our budget but filled us enough to remember why God put us together. We are family and God is using us to grow each other and be Christ to others. Well for us that meant trying a fishing trip!
To see God’s creation on water is a sight to see! On this particular day, the storms were coming so the water was restless but we pushed through safely to experience the new memory as a family. I understood Peter’s fear in the storm…I prayed a lot on the boat! Prayed for calm (He answered), prayed to not get sick and prayed for God to share his creatures. He answered BIG with my son catching a Bonnethead Shark. What a memory for ALL of us!
As a scuba diver, I think I loved the shark most of all. Seeing sea life up close and personal and then hearing all about it from a biology teacher on the boat…day made! We would never kill a creature for the fun of it, so we googled recipes to eat it. I know we were all uncertain…but we each took a bite…it was delish!
Big finale to the highlight of our trip and a huge testimony to God’s love for us and how real the Bible is in our daily lives. That storm on the water was real, Jesus slept through it then taught us all about faith and trust. I will never read that story the same. Thankful we experienced this new thing together…when given the choice…taste the shark!
It feels like every time I leave the house, I am reminded how different the world is during a pandemic. Sometimes it feels better to sit in my bubble and just live life in my house and backyard mask free and with my family. When I do step out…masks on…sanitizer ready…I am confronted with the realness of businesses trying to stay open.
Businesses like restaurants with their tables at a distance, plexiglass at the register, and no more self-fill stations.
Businesses like the doctor with no more comfy waiting rooms and folding chairs separated in a circle. Businesses like stores with empty shelves of bikes and toilet paper and weights and pools. Random things people need in a pandemic.
Businesses like schools that will need to teach proper mask technique in addition to word wall words.
Different…yes. Better…maybe. But going outside in public is a reminder of the new times we are facing and makes me wonder will it ever go back or like after 9-11 is this the new normal?
In a world of uncertainties and change, here is what I know: Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. I can live a life fearless of disease and dying because I know Him. In uncertain times, cling to the truth and that is He loves you and died so that you could live. Maybe living looks different today, but dying does not so choose to know the Savior that offers something to that will last for eternity.
One thing is for sure, I have never looked at my face so much as when I have been a virtual teacher in quarantine. Virtual conferences, my pic on a million teaching apps, recording my teaching, having to post pics of me to document I am working…I see me a lot and I am only looking quarantine cute.
My house looks like a hot mess!
I stare at this all day or constantly check my cell phone to respond in a timely manner.
I have heard the background noise of other people's houses more than I ever care to hear. There are some loud homes out there, America!
The codes, the codes, the codes. All the codes to get into all the things! Managing my class and my son’s classes just add to all the codes, new apps downloaded, new accounts created and all this technology makes me want to do my next topic…
Work out, walk, stand outside, put my headphones in and be by myself. I look forward to a workout every day now that there is time. Something about being still in nature and with God is special right now more than ever.
The hardest part is explaining it to a child that truly cannot get it. No words can explain it and it is hard to say no friends, no school, no going to parks. God is good and we will be stronger from this. Pastor Steven Furtick says it is not a matter of if this will end it is a matter of when it ends will you be better from it??
My campus was on Spring Break last week, so online learning started for us this week. Last week, I struggled to wrap my brain around what it looks like and this week I have been busy executing the plan. Crandall ISD has stepped up to give us a united vision of consistency and leadership. Today the first day of school at home begins!
It started with lots of online conference meetings which sound way more fun than they are. A great way to bridge the distance another tech tool that I can now use for the future.
Later came two days of connecting to the families, creating assignments for the Google Classrooms, creating videos to teach parents and forgetful students how to access those classrooms and lots of extra things to put the plan in place. I have a 7 year old that has really had to fill his time (un) wisely while I work 9+ hour days sorting it all out. Again, thankful the vision was already in place so I could execute my part.
Just when I thought I had had enough the Flipgrids started rolling in with their sweet faces and voices and then my first video call to try out the class. Breathe. This is worth it. The kids need the interactions as much as I do and it reminds me why I teach. Their faces remind me why I went back to the classroom after leaving it for leadership and more money. Their smiles are my why and their need for something normal is my motivation. For them the work is worth it.
God is doing something big in all this that I know will be missed when it is all over. Families are reconnecting, educators are innovating, kids are really learning for life not a test, and we are appreciating the roles we all serve and sometimes take for granted. God is moving in this stop and slow down moment in history. I believe in his promises!
So I am one the many the media keep talking about with a compromised immune system. Do I look unhealthy or sick? Probably not. Can you tell that I have Lupus? Definitely not because you cannot tell from the outside. But I can tell. I know my Lupus by the fevers I get on a daily basis. I can tell by the aching joints, the rashes, the fatigue and twice daily necessary steroids to stay somewhat normal so I can make it through the day. I know by the year round anemia and decreased white blood cells. Truth is I may never know if I have the Corona Virus because I live with those symptoms daily. My life is all the symptoms especially in a flare. My blood work always comes back low and abnormal. Not a pretty picture, but my reality.
However, and I am probably in the minority here, my health is my biggest concern not yours or the public. I mean the public has a part by not knowingly going out with contagious diseases, but not going out right now where anyone can have been exposed and not know is all me. In the midst of all this I need to quarantine myself and not be out exposed. The truth is you do not know what to look for, but I do. So since my disease is one of those that is mysterious and easily covered up then it is up to me to stay safe. Reality is you would have no idea my immune system is compromised unless I told you. So I pray for all the people like myself that others eyes are opened. I pray my symptoms and yours stay mild. I pray all your organs stay active and well and that the good Lord brings a miracle quickly for not just this disease but sickness and disease everywhere including the heart disease of not knowing Jesus!
First, I am one of the lucky or unlucky teachers that started my break this week. The unlucky part is that I will be unable to enjoy a single day of this Spring Break. Too much worry and uncertainty and fear of what will be in the future for myself and my students. Lucky in that we had days to prepare; we sent home work and logins, grabbed our planning materials and most importantly said good bye. We left knowing the days ahead would be uncertain, so we kept calm but prepared ourselves.
But the days of this week being a time of celebration and catching up on rest are anything but especially if you have a child of your own. In an instant I became a home school teacher, an online teacher and a wife of a man that is invested in the travel industry that is being destroyed with every passing day.
So the truth is we are waiting, watching the news, catching up on technology learning, anticipating the next email or tweet about how the district is handling this and praying, praying, praying.
Praying how God can use me for His glory in all this, praying I can be the teacher my son needs, praying this will bring people everywhere closer to Christ and to the truth that God truly does have the whole world in His hands, praying my students have food and their parents still have jobs and praying the leadership on all levels will be led with wisdom and peace. Finally, prayers for health, vaccines, medicine, miracles and safety. Prayers that the boredom will be a blessing, the stress will lead to scripture, the worry will start worship, the panic will turn to praise and the God of the universe will take His place over Google.
I have already seen God at work as we band together to offer free resources and teachers helping teachers by sharing ideas and support. In light of eternity, this is a small moment in a big picture. Praying with power for us all!