Friday, April 20, 2012

An Apology and Some Lessons

Looking back on my childhood I can easily remember so many "quotes" my mother would repeatedly say, and I am so thankful they have stuck with me over the years. I wish I would more consistently act on all the wisdom she poured into me. One statement she repeated was, "Never say 'never,' or 'always' because few things in life fit into never or always." Well, in my post yesterday I made a blanket statement about the teachers at the school I taught in here in SC.  It was wrong. I am SO thankful my friend from there came to me with her offense and that I was able to apologize to her personally. I would also like to do so publicly - to her and anyone else I may have offended by my blanket statement. I am so thankful she offered forgiveness. I was also thankful for the opportunity to share in more detail how I truly felt. You see, teaching here is SC was actually an amazing experience. I had never taught before with such a "team" of teachers on my 5th grade level. They truly worked together to make sure we produced amazing lessons. They truly loved their students as their own and did have high expectations of their students as well. What I should have stated yesterday was that there were several teachers within the school that had lower expectations. I had one student in particular, that before I even met him, some teachers came up to me and apologized I had him and wished me luck. He was a challenge for sure and I don't know their heart or motive or exactly what they meant by it... I just felt that their expectation of him, as well as others in my class, was not one of success for his future. I am so thankful for the amazing teachers and coaches and other employees who befriended me then and took me under their wings and showed me how to love and teach. I should NOT have put a blanket statement like that in writing because it’s not true. I hope all the teachers from the school... and in all schools, look to teachers like those who truly love and teach like they do!
So, with this apology comes two lessons. First, watch out for blanket statements! Second, if someone offends you, go to them! I cannot tell you how thankful I am that this friend came to me. She is awesome! How many times do we get "offended" and then just hold in that offense? or act inappropriately on it? You have got to be brave and strong to choose the right thing and go to the person with your offense and allow them to make it right, if they so choose. I am so thankful to have been on the other end of it this time... to be able to correct myself and make things right and hold on to a friendship that I cherish instead of losing a friendship over miscommunication. But next time I am offended, I hope to be brave and strong to confront in love (just like she did) and allow others the opportunity to make things right (but forgive no matter what).  I know we have all said or done things we wish we could take back... but we can't. However, we can always own it and make it right... Forgiveness is so freeing when given and received!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wife Challenge

    Yesterday was quite the busy day... 3 children, work, a short "break" of playing with my three wonderful monkey's outside including a baseball catch with my son while making dinner, eating, then packing the kiddos in the car and heading to a leader meeting at church. I sat down on the couch for the first time around 10 o'clock. Since the birth of my third, I have chosen for life to slow down for our family, but it just happened to be one of those days. Well, as my bottom hit the couch I realized the kitchen was clean, the dishes were done, the table was wiped down, the toys were put away and even the unfolded laundry has disappeared into their respective drawers. Ahhhhhh, my husband. Yes, he is wonderful!
    This  morning I was thinking of how I can thank him and publicly praise him. I was about to put a post on Facebook and then thought, "All those poor women whose husbands don't help around the house will think evil thoughts... I better not." However, the Lord tells me to respect my husband (Eph 5:33), to love him (John 13:34), to encourage him and build him up (1 Thess 5:11), pray for him (1 Tim 2:1)... (and every other command in the Bible - not just because he is my husband, but because he is a person, a creation of God's). So, I am still going to post.
    I have decided to write this little blog to go along with it though. You see, my husband has faults too. The difference is that in our house, we forgive easily, we forgive quickly, we forgive often, and we forgive freely. There is no need to rant and rave to my girlfriends when he drives me crazy because once you forgive those emotions and feelings quickly drift and the promises made to each other stand firm.
Believe it or not, every else's husband is just like mine... they all have strengths and weakness. His strength may not be housework. It may be words or being a good provider or planning family events, etc. Actually, you may not even know what his gifts is... have you prayed the Lord reveal it to you? Have you sought out his strengths (or just focused on his weaknesses)? And then once you know it, have you encouraged him in it?
    Mark and I do our best to operate like a team. Team players cover each other... get their back. We understand we both have sin we are dealing with... weakness to overcome. We help and encourage each other through those instead of throwing stones. But when our team mate gets a good hit, we cheer cheer cheer! It's amazing what a little encouragement can do.
    When I left teaching at an amazing school in NY (at the time I taught, the district was #7 in the country) and moved to Rock Hill, SC there was a huge difference in the schools. One of the biggest differences I saw was the expectation level. In my old school the kids were expected to do amazing, go to college and become world changers. In this new school where some of my students had chickens... yes chickens... people hoped they would graduate. Why!?!?! Well, I had no intentions of changing my expectations for my students. I expected them all to become world changers as well... I knew it and they knew it. I didn't nag them to death, show my disappointment when they failed, push them to tears. Nope! I encouraged and cheered them on. If they got a D or below on a test, I made them write me a paper on the topic they failed. If that didn't bring in a higher grade then rewrote it again. We would do it until they knew the material and their grade was up. They know my motto - "I refused to let you fail!" I made as many lessons as I could as amazing as I could so they could remember, understand, reapply, and reinvent as much as they could. Do we do this for our husbands? Do we cheer them on? Do we help them when they fail? Do we never give up on them? Do we make life amazing for them?
    Mark makes it easy for me to praise him in so many areas, but I truly feel that I do my best to make it easy for him to succeed in every area of life as well. I'm bringing on a challenge for myself and all you readers out there: Find, search and discover as many strengths as possible in our husbands and let's spend this week being their biggest cheerleader!
    One more last thought - don't put your trust in your husband. You can trust him, but don't put your trust IN him. He will fail you at times, and unmet expectations can cause frustration. (Jeremiah 17:7-8) Allow God to meet all your needs and obey Him in the way your love your husband.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hope, Want, Expectation

I did my best to go into today with a smile and a positive attitude. On days where Caleb is gone I kind of feel like the character Eeyore... mopey and with a cloud over my head. I have prayed the Lord takes that from me and have tried to" think of true things" (Philippians 4:8), but with him gone all of Spring Break I knew it my be an extra challenge. I was thrilled when this morning started on a right foot and a smile on my face, but by 11 am things had changed. Two phone calls later I was left feeling frustrated.

The first call was from Marriott about our summer vacation. I was hoping they would be able to change the dates on the non-refundable vacation deal I booked with them months and months ago. However, Hilton Head in summer is completely booked, and it was not going to happen. This, in turn, now meant that I was going to have to choose between our family vacation and my cousin's wedding in Las Vegas. Ugh! Next was a call I placed into work....

And speaking of work, have I ever mentioned what I do? Cause I truly love it! I am a Senior Consultant with The Pampered Chef. I recently watched a clip of a video in which a woman shared that she is an "Ambassador of Heaven" and that her home is the "Embassy." I LOVE it! And that is truly what I feel I do - help people make quick, delicious, and healthy meals so that I can do what's important - gather around the table and do life together. I truly treasured family meal time growing up and hold it at utmost importance for our family as well. I love that I get to help others do the same!

...I called The Pampered Chef home office with a question about an international guest present at a party last Friday that wanted to try out the Pampered Chef business and do what I do too. She was so sweet, and I would love to have her on my team. Unfortunately, she will need to be referred to The Pampered Chef in Canada.

So there I was, completely frustrated and disappointed that things did not work out the way I hoped, wanted, and expected. Soon after I heard the Lord's gentle whisper that His plans are SO much better than my plans. Peace came over me and I knew that our vacation was just when it needed to be and that things were best for this soon to be consultant if she signed up in Canada. As my faith grew I wondered how much longer it would take until that TRUST was my first reaction instead of a delayed reaction. I wonder if it's even possible this side of heaven. I grabbed my "Journal of Thanks" and thanked the Lord for unanswered prayer, hope, wants, and expectations. My desire is to trust my loving heavenly Father right away, but for now, I will do my best to allow that emotion of frustration to direct my trust to Him and His best for me. I know that His plans for me are so much better than what I could hope, want or expect.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11