Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sam's 2nd birthday!

I can hardly believe that our sweet baby nephew turned 2! Brandon, Isaac and I made the trek up to Moore for the big birthday party. It was such a great time! We met some wonderful couples and had so much fun watching all of our kids run around and play. We had burgers, hot dogs and all the fixin's, and enjoyed watching Sam blow out the candle on his birthday cupcake. He actually did it all on his own - what a big boy he's getting to be! Here are some of the highlights of this oh-so-fun birthday bash.

Decorated and ready to party!

Thomas the Train, made by Mom and Dad especially for Sam

Jasmine, Jason and Jocelyn

Jules... lookin' good!

Mike hard at work on the grill, catching a breath when he can!

Zane checks out the tractor

Beautiful Sadie

My beautiful boys...


Having fun with balloons
More presents...
Ready for the eatin'...

Getting ready to blow out the candle

Mm... this is good!

Happy Birthday, Samuel Keith. We love you!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tonight's a school night

Tomorrow marks the beginning of another year of school. And, as trying as getting my room and office back in order after a summer of renovations at my school has been, God blessed me with the hands of four of my former students to help me get the job done. I am forever grateful to these kids, who gave up some of the last days of their summer break to help out a teacher at their "old middle school". They'll all be going on to High School this year, and I will miss them deeply. After three years with them, it's hard to watch them go!

While I've had mixed emotions about returning to school and all of the new trials and tribulations I'll be facing "going it alone", the Lord (due to all of your prayers, I'm sure!) has given me a calm spirit about the whole thing. This will be my eighth year to teach MS choir, so the ins and outs are old hat to me now, which is a HUGE advantage for me. My numbers are higher than they've ever been since I've been at the school, which will be a blessing and a curse all at once. Wouldn't you know that the year my assistant gets taken away due to low enrollment, the numbers pop way up in refelection of all the recruiting I've been doing? HA!

And, on the homefront, Isaac is getting to be so much fun! His fun-loving, joyful personality shines a little brighter each day, and he is always a bright light in even my darkest of days. He's starting to say a few words here and there - inlcuding pointing to pictures of himself and saying his name (minus the "c" on the end). Does that make him a genius? His Momma thinks so!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sometimes, the answer is no.

In our quest to open an in-home child care next school year in order to allow me to stay home with Isaac, we found doors to this venture to be closing all around us. After much prayer and financial scrutiny, we've come to the [tearful] conclusion that it's not meant to be. All of this has come on the tails of discovering that I will not have the benefit of an assistant choir director next year, either. This means that, not only will I have to go back to work but, I will have to run my choir program without help. This is also compounded by the fact that my school has been undergoing renovations over the summer, requiring me to completely pack up my classroom before leaving for the summer and my classroom isn't expected to be ready for "moving in" until days before school starts. Whoa.

I've been quite discrouaged through out the summer... feeling sorry for myself and adopting a less than pleasant attitude about my situation. My Mom snapped me back into reality when I was speaking with her about my frustrations one night, telling me that I needed to have a more positive attitude and to stop stressing about things that haven't happened yet, as well as things that are out of my control. She is completely right (which is not out of the ordinary). While it's not always easy to hear that you have a bad attitude, it's exactly what I needed to hear. I need to focus on the blessings in my life - and they are abundant. A wonderful husband, a healthy and happy little boy, a beautiful home and a secure job. My controlling, OCD personality makes it difficult for me not to worry, over-plan and stress about my work but I have no doubt that this is a lesson that the Lord has determined that I need to learn once and for all. I need to learn to "cast my cares upon him". I don't like to cast my cares on anyone... I like to deal with them on my own and control the outcome as much as I am capable. This is not, however, what my heavenly Father would have me to do. He is challenging me with the fact that He is in control of my life - NOT me - and that His plan for me is not what I've tried to make it. Humbling, to say the least.

As I reluctantly prepare materials, calendars, lessons plans and rehearsal schedules for the next school year, I'm not finding my heart to be in it... yet. I am working hard to mentally prepare for running a choral program in a completely new way by being creative with incorporating things into class time that I previously required myself to do outside of school and outside of contract hours. Before Isaac, I enjoyed being FAR ahead of the game, having tasks completed months in advance and working long hours before and after school. This year, I have do doubt, will introduce a brand new set of challenges for me in terms of time management, learning to realize what is necessary and what is superfluous, maximizing classroom time to it's absolute fullest and learning to say no to the many extra things the Vocal Region, district and school have come to expect from me. Does that make me a slacker? Maybe it does in the eyes of some. But I say, emphatically, NO! It makes me a Mom - and that is the most important job I'll ever have!

The best reason in the world to be a slacker

Thank you, dear Lord, for the abundance of blessings in my life. I know that they come from You.
Thank you for the life lessons You continue to teach me.
Thank you for loving me enough to tell me no when my plans are not in line with Your will.