Sunday, December 14, 2014

Timely Reminders

A few months ago the school board announced that they would be consolidating the schools and making all kinds of drastic changes to our district. We are a huge district with 11 elementary schools. They are discussing closing 7 of them. There are also a few other options being discussed but in every. single. plan my school is on the list to close. My wonderful school that is so important to my community. My school that is just across the road.

The closing of my school will change our community. It will also create all kinds of difficulties for families... especially those that do not own a vehicle and chose to live in the area of my school because EVERYONE walks. We do not have any busing at all. We are a unique community and not having a school in the middle of it will change us is in big ways.

I have stretched the boundaries of my comfort zone far and wide as I try to make the board members see the importance of our school to our community and the families that live here. I have found myself caring about the people far more than I ever thought I could. But the people at my school... they have become the people I do life with. They are worth fighting for.

I am emotionally drained.
I have poured myself out.
And I must continue to pour myself out because this is not yet over.

I have to admit that I have days that it all feels really hopeless.
Days where I am angry at God for calling me up as a leader.
Days where I want to give in and give up.

Just the other day I learned more news. Every blow hits harder than the one before. I spent a good amount of time crying. My heart was devastated. I was more discouraged than ever in this mess.

But then I opened up my journal and on the page I was going to write on was this quote...

"You are not here in the world for yourself. 
 You have been sent here for others.
 The world is waiting for you!"
 ~Catherine Booth

A timely reminder for me.
A reminder that I am not in this for myself... but for the children who need our school and have no one to speak up for them.
A reminder that someone needs me. 

And this reminder is the encouragement that will get me through to the next blow. And when that next blow comes I am certain that God will send me another timely reminder that gives me the strength to go yet one more step... and after that another... and after that another...

I'm in this thing until it's done... Because I'm not in it for myself.

Although... I can't imagine how empty the silence will feel if the school playground across the road from my house is no longer full of squeals and laughter of awesome little children throughout the day.

Please pray for me... for strength, courage and wisdom. Pray that more people in my community will begin speaking up and showing up at meetings. Pray.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Time Out and Attitude Adjustments

I have never really done the traditional time out. I never put a limit on how long it would last. Instead, when I sent my kids to time out I would tell them they could come out of their rooms when they had a better attitude or were ready to be behave appropriately.

I left it up to them. They are the ones that know when they have calmed down or had an attitude change.

I always loved hearing Jason's little voice yelling from his room... "Mooom. I'm ready to be good now."

This has worked well for us. There have been very few times where I had to send either of the kids back for round two of settling down. That one time in their rooms was almost always enough... because they really did change their attitudes while taking their time out.

Yesterday I was out for a while and when I got home the house was quiet. Mike was in the kitchen cooking (he's a total stud like that!) and the kids were not seen or heard. I asked where they were and was told that they had not been getting along and were spending some time in their rooms. Jason had been gifted a new toy from a friend and Liza desperately wanted to try it out but Jason was having none of that. It was his and that was that. And that was what led to some fighting.

So they were separated and left to have an attitude adjustment.

When I finally headed upstairs I heard them giggling. When I peaked in Jason's room Liza was there all "shhh! Don't tell dad! We weren't getting along and sharing so we had to go to our rooms but we are working on a surprise for him! We are sharing now and playing nice and we are going to make him something!"

I love watching Liza and Jason grow as people. I love that they have learned to work things out... without me or Mike interfering or forcing it. I love that they are learning life skills and how to get along.

And I love that they were making a surprise for their daddy by sharing the very thing they had been fighting over so that they could make him a piece of art.

I am proud of Liza and Jason.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Replacing Memories

My Grandpa built a greenhouse and a business. It was big. I worked there as a kid... and a teenager... and a college student. You would think that I would know something about plants and keeping them alive... I don't.

Anyways... I bring this up for a reason.

Poinsettias.
The flower of Christmas.

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I spent a lot of time working on poinsettias in that greenhouse. Summer months spend replanting cuttings so that they could grow in to more plants. Transplanting the small plants into bigger pots. Arranging three or four plants together to make a massive plant. Poinsettias... all. the. time.

I eventually decided that I hated them. I swore I would never have one in my house.

Fast forward to last Saturday... and I now have one in my house. And I am realizing it isn't quite as bad as I thought it would be.

How did I end up with a poinsettia?
My wonderful neighbor invited all the little girls in the neighborhood to a tea party. The moms were invited too. Wonderful Neighbor had gifts for everyone and the moms went home with a poinsettia. At first I was all "oh my gosh! Now I have to keep a poinsettia!" I didn't know if I could handle it. But I set it on my table and within about a half hour it grew on me. I started to like it... and think that it was actually kind of pretty. And it made a great Christmas centerpiece for the table.

I was confused!

How did I ever start liking this thing!?!?!

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And then it hit me... I used to always have not-so-great memories attached to the poinsettia plant. But now... now when I see it I don't think of all those years working with the sticky things... I think of my wonderful neighbor and the magical Christmas tea party.

I have replaced old memories with a new one and that new memory has changed my attitude toward the plant.


Maybe I'll even buy one for myself next year.

Maybe... first I have to see if I can keep this one alive for at least a few days.






Monday, December 8, 2014

Clarity

I've shared before about my struggles with anxiety and depression. Winter months always seem to increase this struggle meaning that I need to be proactive and aware of things that trigger anxiety or depression. It's not always easy to stay on top of it and often I'm halfway there before I realize I need to DO something about it.

The end of last week was one of those times.

The anxiety was becoming overwhelming. And if anxiety lingers too long the depression hits hard.

It's strange to me sometimes because I am typically not one to worry. The anxiety often confuses me and leaves me feeling so unlike myself. (Which causes more anxiety!)  But I also have to admit that I have changed over the years... life and experience has changed me. Pain has changed me.

While I still don't consider myself one who worries often, the anxiety at times can be overwhelming and crippling.

Rewind to the end of last week... I decided to sign off of Facebook and stay off for the weekend. I did sign on briefly to send out reminders of an event I had scheduled on Saturday but that was it. I probably spent about two minutes total on Facebook this weekend.

I realized a few things...

1. It was a lot easier to stay off than I thought it would be.
2. I didn't miss it.
3. I still need to use it.
4. I can definitely limit my time on Facebook.
5. Facebook clutters my mind.

That last point is the most important. The longer I stayed off of Facebook the clearer my mind felt. My anxiety lessened because I was able to focus. And instead of self-medicating by letting myself get sucked into the mindless internet I found myself going to my family, friends and God and actually working through my feelings instead of stuffing them. (A stuffer is another thing I don't know how I became.)

Facebook clutters my mind and I have never liked clutter so it's time for me to take control of that "cluttered area". I plan to continue limiting Facebook time. I don't need to know everything all the time. I don't need to be reachable 24/7. I don't need to continue cluttering my mind.

I like this clarity.

Winter has always been a hard season for me but I'm trying to stay on top of it this year. This change is step one.

Step two... eat right. Definitely not as easy as staying off of facebook!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Stockings

For as long as I can remember, this has been the December scene at my mom and dad's house...

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Six stockings for their six kids. They were always filled on Christmas morning with goodies. They were knit by my great-great step-grandma. (My great-great grandma had passed away.)

These Christmas stockings are a constant in my Christmas memories.

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About a month ago I came across a pattern for an awesome looking crocheted Christmas stocking and realized that all these years mom and dad have hung stockings for all six of their kids but they have never had Christmas stockings of their own.

I bet you can guess what I got to work on. :)

Mom and Dad now have their own Christmas stockings.

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I have to admit that I like them so much that I am thinking I need to make them for me, Mike and the kids... for next year. It's too late for this year.

Do you fill stockings with gifts? What kind of things do you put in them?






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