Category Archives: family

Teaching Sadness

Standard

Teaching is my joy and passion. It is really hard, but this profession impacts lives for a lifetime, so when a former or current student dies it should not be a surprise it is devastating.

Homerooms become a family. We check in every day together. Go to lunch. Travel to other classes.  Share our triumphs and struggles. Class parties, awards, field trip lines, class pics, yearbook pages….your homeroom in elementary school is life..good or bad-there is a bond.

15 years later, I still have stories of this group…

Funny stories. Sad stories.  Stories of growing as a teacher. This group is now 23 to 24. They are graduates, parents, coworkers, college students, soldiers…they are grown, but I will forever see them as this age right here. My kids in 2008.

So when I learned one died it shook me. When I learned it was due to gun violence it broke me. A young person gone too soon. A flood of memories rushed back…the time I ran into him at the store a couple of years ago…the time he came up to share a hug and hello. Once a student, always a student.

Teaching is hard in moments like these. Teaching sadness is real. Seeing these young people hurt is painful. Knowing it is part of the job to love so big that when you lose one it hurts bad.

But we go back each year and build those relationships and families because that is how we learn. We learn in love and we learn in loss.

RIP A’Daireon. You made me a better teacher. God put us together in 5th grade for a reason. God brought our paths together. I am blessed by you. You will never be forgotten.

This is a teacher’s heart.

Date Night

Standard

I was super surprised when my husband texted to get a sitter, he had a reservation and we were going out. First, he is not romantic so him planning date night was super special and second the place was fancy! We had not been to a steak place in like a decade. Steaks were our norm before kids, but then who has 300 dollars for a meal (we drink a lot). So this was a splurge and I loved it!

I got to get super dressed up, take an hour to get ready, and we even did pre drinks and much needed talking. The roads were getting bad so we cut the night short to get the kid, but it was a night we needed and memories to last for the next decade when we do it again!

Adopting in a Pandemic

Standard

As we restart our adoption journey, but this time through foster care, one major difference is all the courses available online. We lose the community…we loved our adoption community and still keep in touch with those families…but learning in your pajamas is pretty awesome too. In fact, doing the courses online is one of the big reasons the fire was lit to start. I learned today even CPR was online so that is pretty amazing also! I say all this to say if you have been praying about adoption then now is the time!

On another note, Happy Law Enforcement Day!

The biggest reason my husband got out of police work, is we adopted our son. Now we had a baby to care for and working nights, weekends, holidays just would not work anymore. He struggled that he was missing all the good stuff needing to sleep so he could go to work. He also realized the reality that he could be hurt or killed while on the job and there were other things he could do…so he resigned and started a new career.

Staying married while doing that job was hard, so I will always have respect for those that serve others and risk their lives for strangers.

2020 vs 2021

Standard

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!

New Habits

Standard

2020 was the year our trauma was exposed. The year we had a moment to step back and see what God was seeing. Busyness. Greed. Selfishness. Chasing after the wind to gain power, success, money…but losing family, health and righteousness.

2021 can be the year to repair what the trauma exposed. Relationships with family, clarity in our mission, a new way of doing things. A greater focus on what matters and what you really “need” to thrive. God’s way is simple, but costs us everything. God’s way brings life.

2021 is the year of new habits. New mindsets that 2020 revealed are needed. Mindsets of humility, grace, health, knowledge of God’s word, seeing trials as a process for change.

This year starts some new healthy habits that will be game changers.

1. Reading the entire Bible. God gives us direct access to Him and I am taking advantage of it.

2. Changing what I put into my body. More water specifically.

3. Discipline through CG workouts. Build muscle, grow lung strength, push yourself mentally and encourage others around you. Take an hour for yourself to take care of your body and grow your mental toughness.

4. Choosing family and quality relationships while putting down the things that keep us from it. My FB friends do not fulfill me more than family.

5. Financial freedom. Stop using things to buy happiness. Get out of debt .

I struggle being generous because I fear not paying bills, but the truth is I am spending all my money on things for myself to make me happier. Time to stop.

This year is the year to make changes needed now that God has my attention.

Last Post of 2020

Standard

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.

Left the Mess to Relieve the Stress

Standard

This is how my kitchen looked all day yesterday. I should have been cleaning, wrapping presents, maybe baking a yummy dish but instead this was me all.day.long.

I binge watched Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies. The trick to doing this is neglecting your child by letting him play all day and making sure your husband stays at work. It was a huge success and I feel ready to conquer the holidays. In the midst of the hustle, follow God’s lead and rest, be still and choose joy with the people God has placed in your path.

If you are experiencing grief this season, know you are not alone and covered in prayer. Merry Christmas!

The Storms Make the Best Waves

Standard

Last week, the weather in our vacation spot said sunny all day er’ day…this week weather reports say storms and overcast all week.

Disappointing as sun just gives life to the soul, but a blessing as no one is hurting from a sunburn and we still play all day in the ocean…win-win! Yesterday, we grabbed our boogie boards and went out when the wind was blowing hard. Kinda crazy, kinda exciting, kinda stupid…those waves hurt! But man, such good waves to ride…tall, fast, fun…so many laughs and squeals. Constant sounds of “that was a big one!”  We went back at night and we had fun, but the waves were back to being calm and consistent…we began to miss the waves that were hard, crashing and furious and wild!

Isn’t that life? Storms make the best waves. The waves in a storm knock you out of your comfort zone.

Waves in a storm give you the restlessness and sense of urgency to..

Look for a new job.

Finally move.

Make the budget.

Have the tough conversation.

Go to the doctor.

Dry the tears and begin the next chapter.

Say yes to family.

Mourn the loss.

Stop wishing and start trying. In short, the biggest life changes come from the biggest storms. It was in my storm, we began to both work on our marriage and adopt our son. The storm gave us a new perspective to pack up or camp out. We chose to stay.

Storms make you stop complaining about the rain and start playing in it. And the reward to withering the storm is so beautiful and a direct promise from God that He sees you, loves you, was with you and will never leave you.

Rainbows are best seen after the rain. God’s perfect design for his children.

Today I ask you to pray for this family and their fight to beat Colon Cancer. You can google Staggs family to read more about them. They have used their storm to share about Jesus and the fight is stronger than ever right now. The most ferocious of storms are made easier when we stand together…I am standing with them in prayer.

Take the Vacation and Take the Pictures

Standard

I am writing this from a front porch over looking the ocean. A home we visited 6 years ago, but never knew we would come back. We thought this year we would be in Mexico again, but Corona had different plans. We thought there would be no vacation, but thankfully we made the choice to come!

When given the choice…choose the vacation.

We had a season in our life where a vacation was a splurge and not in our budget. We almost divorced. For real. We beat ourselves down with work, life and our list of do-nots that we got to a point of “Why try?” So now we see the value of take time to make memories, enjoy life and appreciate each other…so much easier when you are out of the house and away from the things that keep you working.

I know we are blessed to be able to do this…trust me, we worshipped our provider of rich blessings with our online campus @ClifeChurch (go to clife.com if interested in plugging in with God online…such good people!)

But, make it happen if you are able. It will not all be perfect especially when kids are involved…but it will be worth it to hear the laughs, see the smiles, feel the hugs because you are relaxing and leaving the work behind.

God’s creation is best seen up close! These moments of calm give me time to see God’s vision, affirm His calling and read His Word in a new setting. Best tip I can give is take all the pictures…be in them even if you feel fat…you will want to remember this…forever.

A Mother’s Love

Standard

Reading about the Naya Rivera story…a story of a mother that used her last bit of energy to save her son before drowning…hit me hard as a mom.

I feel her frantic trying to keep her child safe.

I feel her fatigue using all her energy for another’s life.

I feel her panic that she cannot swim any longer.

I feel her love for her child and his future.

I know if she had any fight left in her or clarity of mind to make a plan then she would have done more/anything to save herself. As a mom, we want to be on the front row of watching our children succeed. Nothing breaks my heart more than to imagine not being able to see my child grow up. Not being the one to give the hugs, cheers and watch them grow into adults. I know it devastated her to not get into that boat with him. She gave her life for him.

“No greater love than to lay down your life for a friend.”

Jesus understands this kind of love for His children. He gave his life for me. He chose to die so that I could live. He gave all his energy and breathed his final breath only after He knew I was safe. I owe him my life.

I owe it to God to live my life to the fullest because He sacrificed his for mine. I owe it to God to be thankful for the gift. I owe it to him to tell others about this love.

I do not understand much about parenting, but I get the deep love for the life of a child. I will forever be connected to Naya Rivera on this deep love that you would use your last ounce of energy before letting go. Praying for her family as they navigate a future without her and praying for hearts to be opened that this kind of love is found in Jesus Christ for you and me.