3 Thoughts That Helped Me Handle Labor

I super loved giving birth. There were moments during my 26 hour labor where love would not have been my word of choice, but looking back, I can confidently say I loved giving birth. It was one of the best and most challenging experiences.

To sum it up quickly, because this isn’t really a post about the birth, I will give a few stats for need to know. I did most of my laboring at home, about 18 hours. I wanted to avoid the hospital and their “hospital procedures” as long as possible. I arrived at the hospital about 7 cm dilated, and spent the next 8 hours getting to 10 cm. I did not get an epidural or any pain medication. I also opted out of being hooked up to an IV or having constant fetal monitoring.

It was a long labor. There were moments where I nearly gave up. Ha, except we don’t really have that choice? There were a lot of things that kept me going, but I had three very intentional thoughts going into labor that I know greatly helped me cope and achieve the natural birth I wanted.

Thought #1:  The Pain Is a Privilege  

I never really had a fear of the pain of childbirth. Women are really strong. Sometimes period pain is bad and there’s no reward at the end of the pain. I was pretty sure I could handle the pain. Turns out, labor is as crazy painful as they say, just needing to put that out there. Crazy painful. But a thought that really helped me handle the pain was remembering how this pain is a privilege.

I really wanted to give birth naturally. No pain meds, no epidural, just my body doing what it was created to do.

I know there are women who can’t get pregnant. Women who can’t stay pregnant. I know there are women who must have emergency surgery to deliver their babies. So I knew going into labor, if I was fortunate enough to be experiencing the pain of childbirth that it was a good thing and there was no way I was going to complain about the pain.

I don’t know the pain of infertility or the pain of miscarriage but I imagine they must be drastically worse.

This pain had a purpose. This pain meant my baby was on his way. And that is a privilege.

Thought #2 – It’ll Be Over So Quick, So Enjoy It 

My labor was 26 hours. So at the time it didn’t feel quick. But it was just one day on a calendar.

This pain is temporary. This experience will be over quickly. I didn’t want to miss it, you know? I wanted to feel it all and experience it all. I wanted to smile and laugh and keep my sense of humor as long as possible.

I wanted to make God and Dillon proud of how I handled birthing this baby.

I knew the pain wouldn’t last forever, and I wanted to fully experience childbirth while it was happening. This helped keep my head in the right mindset. To keep me calm and know that babies all come out eventually.

Thought #3 – I’m Not Alone

My pregnancy was a huge walk of faith with God. So from day one of this pregnancy, I felt God with me every step. So I knew He would be right with me during labor. Once contractions started really picking up, I told Dillon to start playing Pandora. Worship music, I requested. He chose the Lauren Daigle station. Worship music delivers the Holy Spirit so well.

I also had Dillon with me. I needed his strength. I had my birth doula with me. I needed her support. I depended on their words of encouragement. I depended on their faces. I depended on eye contact. I depended on their touch.

Towards the end of the labor, when things were getting really crazy, I could listen, look around, and feel that I was not alone. My own strength alone would have only taken me so far.

My thoughts have an annoying habit of running away from me, and I knew the devil might try and sneak a few discouraging thoughts in my head, so I am really glad I decided to pregame what intentional thoughts I would cling to during childbirth.

I used those three thoughts to handle labor.  And, of course, I used the thought of finally getting to meet my baby and find out if baby was a boy or girl!

Did you have any specific thoughts that helped you bring your baby into this world? 
Continue Reading

Church Learnin’ – Take Jesus With You

Two weeks ago my learnin’ about the King happened on my king size bed. We did not attend church. Instead, I watched a live feed of it on my cell phone. Going to church with a baby has been complicated. I have been utilizing the online live feed option for church on Sunday. I don’t love it, but it’s what is working for us right now.

The pastor preached on the idea of inviting Jesus into every part of our lives. Take Jesus with us to the grocery store, to work, to the couch, take him everywhere we go. The pastor asked us something along the lines of, if Jesus were to knock on your door, what would you need to change before he could come inside? 

Then he gave suggestions of what we might feel the need to change. Possibly changing what was being watched on TV. Maybe hiding a few magazines or posters. Cleaning up a big mess in the kitchen. Cleaning up what kind of language gets used. Stop gossiping.

This really got me thinking about what I would do differently throughout the day if I knew, at any moment, Jesus would knock on my door and want to spend time with my family. Would I be ready?

I quickly came to the conclusion, no. I would not be ready. Because I’m not even ready to open the door when the mailman rings the doorbell and drops off a package. And I almost always need a five minute heads up from Dillon if anyone is coming over to the house.

Why do I need a heads up? To get dressed.

I need a five minute warning to get dressed in presentable clothes. So if Jesus were to knock on my front door, I’d have to make him wait while I ran back to my closet to get dressed beyond my pajamas. Yikes.

I got a strong clear conviction to start putting more work into my mommy wardrobe. I have been very slack with getting dressed into real clothes since I’ve been staying home on maternity leave with Declan. He is now 3 months old so I am past the grace postpartum period where it didn’t matter what I was wearing because I just had a baby. 

Thank God, one of the blogs I follow, had recently posted about her Mom Uniform and she helped get my fashion sense inspired. I am not great with fashion but knew I could at least get dressed with comfy leggings and a button up. It’s comfy and it’s easy to breastfeed or pump in.

I went to Target and bought a few tops. I already have two pairs of leggings I love from when I was pregnant and pants just stopped being practical. On the war about whether or not leggings are pants, for me I can only wear them as pants if the shirt is long enough to cover my bottom. Otherwise I feel naked and on display. I also grabbed a nursing tank-top to wear underneath.

Easy and simple. And I have loved how uncomplicated getting dressed is now for around the house. I get to underthink getting dressed in the morning.

My clothes are not of huge importance, but I would hate to face Jesus at 2 in the afternoon and not have even bothered to get dressed for the day. Getting dressed also jump starts my day and is helping me get more done around the house and with Declan.

If Jesus knocked on your door, could you invite him in confidently to stay a while? Or is there something you’d feel the need to change or hide or stop doing completely? 

 

Continue Reading

4 Reasons I’m Choosing Grace Over Guilt

 

Guilt: the state or feeling of one who has committed an offense

Grace: God’s free and unmerited favor toward sinful humanity

I’ve been writing and rewriting this post. Because I know it can help somebody who is stuck in flashbacks from one bad choice, one bad day, one bad moment, but I’m having difficulty finding the right words to express how much grace has saved my life. I’m not a pastor and I’m not a very wise woman, but I do know where I was before and I know where I am now. And all the glory goes to God. Everything good in my life is because I decided to once and for all say goodbye to guilt and hello to grace.

I’m not pretending the sin I committed didn’t happen. But living guilty won’t accomplish anything good.

The Four Reasons I’m Choosing Grace Over Guilt 

#1. The People Around Me

My husband. My family. My friends. People who depend on me. I’ve been entrusted with people in my life and I need to honor that.  I was no good for anyone when I was conversing nonstop with the enemy about how horribly I messed up.

#2. Other Women

I need to help warn other women. There are other naive women who are ready to believe the lies abortion presents. I need to be a truth speaker so I can save other women the heartbreak.

#3 Future Generations

If I ever have any more babies, their lives matter and I need to be strong for them. I wasn’t strong before but I can be strong now. I’ve heard many pastors preach on the message of what isn’t healed is handed down. I do not want to hand this down to future generations.  God willing, I will have more babies. God willing, I’m going to raise my babies to know Jesus. In fact, the baby in the picture is my newly born son, Declan. And he’s a direct result of me accepting God’s grace.

#4 Jesus Died For It

This is the main reason I need to accept God’s grace. At times, I used to think that yes, Jesus died for our sins, but not this sin. Thank God, what I think does not matter. I can’t live based on what I think and call myself a Christian. I have to live based on what I know. And the Bible tells me Jesus died for our sins. Our sins have been washed away. Our sins are as far from us as the east is from the west. If I don’t accept God’s grace completely, it’s like saying Jesus’s sacrifice wasn’t great enough.

We can either choose to let guilt win or choose to accept God’s grace. There’s a right and a wrong choice. And I intend to spend the rest of my life chasing after the right choice this time.  My prayer is for any others suffering from the guilt or pain of a past event to seek out God. 

 

Continue Reading

Craft Room Progress – Goodbye Stuff

Two weeks ago I decided to finally tackle my craft room after hearing at church how God won’t give responsibility to irresponsible people.

Super irresponsible to have a mess this big.

After working on it for two weeks I can finally start to see the original vision I had for this space.

One major part of getting the room organized was getting rid of stuff. Again. I have gotten rid of stuff so many times. Dillon has helped me take so many full trash bags to Goodwill. I’ve watched Clean House for inspiration. I’ve read and tried the KonMari method twice. I tried to join Elsa in letting it go. I’ve told myself, I’ve got God so I don’t need this junk anymore. I’ve given away an insane amount of quality books, dvds, TV on dvds, CDs, clothes, shoes, etc. So cleaning this room frustrated me so much because I didn’t know how I was still drowning in stuff

Being a teacher makes it harder to just trash things because maybe I could use that in the classroom. Maybe I could give that away as a prize. Maybe…maybe…maybe I’ll use it someday… 

That thought kept me holding on to a lot. Which is a heavy burden.

But this time, I have hope, will be the final time for major purging of stuff. 

Here are a few of the things I said goodbye to…

Leftover Fabric Scraps

I have toted bags full of fabric scraps around for years. I always thought to myself, I can make a ton of cute blankets and give them away to the pregnancy center downtown. One summer a few years back I did just that – I made a lot of blankets and donated them. The pregnancy center has a great program and I wanted to support the work they do. But that was when I had a lot of free time — I was a teacher on summer break. 

I just don’t have the time or energy in this season. And I don’t want to be tripping over that bag any longer.

Ribbon

I had to say goodbye to ribbon. For the second time…there used to be more…

Oh, my goodness. Why does anybody have this much ribbon? I bought it when I made and sold chocolate and it was used to decorate the chocolate boxes.  I way overbought ribbon because it’s so cute. Ugh. And I’ve held onto it because maybe I’ll use it for something. Thankfully, a friend who teaches the sixth grade took the ribbon off my hands. I know sixth graders can put it to good use. Or even if it’s not put to good use, at least it is out of my space and getting used! What is the point of a ton of unused crafting supplies?

Storage Containers

Previously all full.

When something is tucked away in a storage container, I forget about it. Storage containers are bulky and ugly but are sometimes helpful so I am keeping two of them. One is for Christmas stuff. I previously used two for Christmas but I am downsizing. Anything that doesn’t fit gets a sleigh ride to Goodwill. And I’m keeping a second storage container for all the clothes Declan is super quickly growing out of.

Christmas Wrapping Paper

Also my second time getting rid of Christmas paper. I know there are super savvy ways to store wrapping paper, but I don’t want to see it anymore. It takes up a lot of space and only gets used once a year. Plus, I was stashing enough Christmas wrapping paper to last until Declan moves out of the house! And that thought does not bring me joy. 

Random Items

So many random items. Here are some water bottle holders I made when I was in high school. Ten years ago. Never used. I also gave these to the sixth teacher to use as prizes. Why did I never use them as prizes in my own classroom? They were lost in a storage container. (And I’m still on maternity leave!)

Bulk Unused Fabric

A few years ago, my older sister and I went to JoAnns Fabrics on Black Friday. It was so so so fun. People were grabbing fabric and yelling, “I’ll take the whole bolt!” or “I’ll take 10 yards!” And the fabric was so cheap! I got in on the action big time. The fun memories will stay, but the fabric I never should have purchased will go.

Looking at these pictures makes me realize how silly it was to hold on to things for so long. I got way more happiness from not having them than I got while having them.

I am so happy with the progress I have made so far. The room is walkable! The floor is visible! I can breathe. I feel peace and excitement instead of frustration. I have learned my lesson and will no longer buy extra fabric just incase. I will no longer overbuy stuff because it is cute or on sale. I will carefully watch what stuff enters my house. Including gifts. Christmas comes with gifts and gifts are more stuff.  Some stuff will be kept, and some stuff will be enjoyed for a while and then donated to be enjoyed by others.

And…..now I get to move onto decorating my room and making it a workable space. Good thing I just finished reading Chip and Joanna’s Magnolia Story! Although I’m not sure they’d think my orange walls are the way to go…

 

Continue Reading

My Word For 2017

Yay! I have a blog this year and can write about my word of the year!

Last year for 2016,  my word was faith. But I didn’t get to write a blog post about it because I kept overthinking whether or not I should start a blog. I debated and debated. And thought. And thought. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Here’s reasons why. Here’s reasons why not.

And then about five months went by where I didn’t move on it. Obviously, since you’re reading this, I eventually started a blog. I eventually had faith. After I thought and thought and thought and thought about it.

My mind overthinks too much and I waste a lot of time just thinking instead of doing. I make a decision and feel great about it, but then I start to rethink it. And keep rethinking it.

I believe the devil uses overthinking as a tool of distraction. There’s no movement from me when I’m overthinking. And there’s no fun. Overthinking is like driving someplace but instead of reaching the destination, all the time is spent driving back and forth on the highway. It’s so pointless. Especially because eventually the car will stop. Probably in the place it was headed the whole time.

No movement is definitely something the devil must love. And I don’t want anymore part of it.

I don’t want to waste my life away overthinking.

So this year, for 2017, my word of the year is…

UNDERTHINK.

Ok, it’s not even a word. I started to think of what other word I could use instead, trust? spontaneous? pray? but quickly realized — yikes! I’m already doing it! I’m thinking too much instead of just going with it.

So for 2016, I did execute faith in some ways. But it was a double-triple-check-really-think-about-it-first faith. Which isn’t the kind of faith I want to lead my life with. What usually prevents me from moving forward is overthinking.

My head hurts from overthinking. 2017 is the year for quick action and less second guessing myself.

It will be tough but I am so excited. I’ve already come up against a few moments where I started to get lost in my thoughts and the word underthink! popped into my head and freed me from myself. It helps me let go of the what-ifs and replace it with trust. Trust God. Trust myself.

Continue to have faith and start underthinking.

Do you have a word for 2017? You can always borrow mine if you feel your mind halting you from movement. 

Also, I’m drinking way more hot chocolate in 2017. I don’t know what I was thinking last year.

Continue Reading

Church Learnin’ – Responsibility to Maintain

At church last Sunday, somewhere between breastfeeding Declan and sneaking peeks of him falling asleep in Daddy’s arms, I heard the pastor say, “God won’t give responsibility to irresponsible people.”  Most of the sermon I was distracted by the baby, but as soon as I heard that I wrote it down in the back of my Bible.

Because I want God to give me responsibility. I want to make a difference. I want to be trustworthy. But I know there are some areas in my life that I’ve been neglectful. Thankfully, I didn’t have to think over which one I’m supposed to tackle first because one of them immediately popped into my mind.

My craft room.

I have been so irresponsible with maintaining that area of our house. It’s an embarrassment for Dillon and me. When people take a tour of our house I’ve stopped making excuses for the mess. “There’s no excuse,” I say. “It’s messy and it’s my fault.” It’s the room where all my hobbies go to die. I dread walking into it and try not to look in it when I’m walking past it in the hallway. It almost has it’s own dreary theme song.

As I write, I’m sitting in here now and my desk is so cluttered I can hardly find a safe place to put my drink. I bought a new pair of scissors from Wal*Mart yesterday because I can’t find any except my fabric scissors. And fabric scissors ain’t for nothin’ but fabric.

My craft room started out as this great dream project of mine. When we bought the house, Dillon got the garage to play with and I got one room in the house to play with. He painted his blue and that inspired me to paint mine orange. Then I picked out sheer white curtains and Dillon hung them up for me.  War Room had come out fairly recently, so I was excited to put up huge framings of some of my favorite worship lyrics. It was going to be the ultimate prayer, sewing, reading, and writing space. I was going to have craft parties in it.

Instead I have a cluttered, depressingly messy room. Walking in that room is a hazard. My scissors might be on the floor somewhere. Every once in a while I’ll hear Dillon call out from that room in frustration, “where’s your scotch tape?” And I have to answer back, “uhh….I don’t know. Good question.” That room is definitely not baby friendly. I can barely find space on the floor for Delcan’s bouncy chair. And all the hobbies I love — sewing, scrapbooking, writing, etc… just don’t happen very often in a space that is so uninviting.

Well. It’s time to clean it out. Once and for all.

I really don’t want my only assignment from God to be clean your room. 

Stayed tuned for updates and a makeover reveal!

Is there something in your life that you have been irresponsible about?  Start tackling it today to make room for greater assignments! 

Continue Reading

Speak Out – My Abortion Story

Before I became a Christian, I would have listed Dirty Dancing as one my favorite movies. What was not to love? Romance. Hungry Eyes. Watermelon.  This movie had it all. Or so I thought. I was blind to how the entire plot existed so that a young woman in crisis could have an abortion.

I was twenty-three when I had a pregnancy that ended in abortion.  Except, there was no dancing romance happening in the background. Just two panicked people, rushing into what would be the most devastating choice of their lives.

Dillon and I, newly dating at the time, convinced ourselves it was the smart choice. I was already battling an autoimmune disease, and he had just started his dream job out of state. We told ourselves my body wasn’t strong enough to have a baby. Except, we didn’t call it a baby. I repeated to myself that it wasn’t a baby yet. It was just tissues forming. Abortion is just another form of birth control. I read on the abortion clinic’s website how abortion is safer than childbirth.

Did you know you can get a same day appointment for an abortion? It takes five hours to get inside an ER but at an abortion clinic they don’t want you to have any time to think.

On the day of the abortion, when I walked into the procedure room, I started to cry. Immediately, as if routine, the nurse handed me a tissue and then spoke. “You’d better stop that,” she warned me. “If the doctor sees you crying, he won’t do the procedure.”

Instead of compassion, she fed me more fear. Had she let me cry out, had I refused to hide my emotions, would my baby and I have left together? It makes me angry me to imagine how many other women were handed a tissue. Abortion is a carefully crafted assembly line.

I had wiped away the visible tears and I tried to look fine, to look as though I was confident in my choice. The doctor came into the room and told me to count backwards from ten. Oh, how the enemy must have cheered at his victory. He was going to have my life after this

I woke up from the anesthesia screaming, crying out and grabbing my abdomen. I looked around in the recovery room filled with at least ten other women. What did I just do? It became oh, so clear the moment it was over. I wanted my baby back. This was a huge mistake. Why was I such a coward? But it was too late. Abortion is permanent. The promise of relief did not come. I didn’t feel relief to no longer be pregnant. I felt a deep, deep heartache.

My whole body shook so a nurse came over to ask what was wrong. What was wrong? I felt like yelling at her. What kind of place is this? What kind of people are you? What kind of person am I? What kind of stupid question is, what was wrong, wasn’t it obvious? Didn’t she know what I had just done?

I used to replay that day and imagine myself bolding walking out of the abortion clinic and grabbing the hands of the other women there. There were so many other women there. So many little lives taken.

For three years I silently suffered. I couldn’t talk about it to anybody, including Dillon. Occasionally I would get really sad, and he could tell something was wrong, but I kept my mouth shut and continued to let fear silence me. It was my own fault and suffering was a punishment I deserved.  I went on with my life, got a teaching job, got an apartment. But the abortion never for a day didn’t come into my mind. Flashbacks controlled my thoughts and I spent so much time wishing I could go back and fix it.

It was a terrible and unsustainable way to be living. I didn’t know God at all. I didn’t grow up going to church or hearing God’s word. All I knew was what the world offered me. Which I was learning was not so great. I thought there was no way out of this grief I carried. I was convinced I’d have to live the rest of my life haunted by my past.

But then one day, a day I will forever be thankful for, I accepted an offer to go to church. I was living a very superficially happy life, but like many people, I had hidden hurts buried inside me.

I showed up at God’s house and God showed up. I got saved in church that day. I heard real truth preached for the first time and it shocked my body and soul. My heart changed that day. I knew God was with me in that church. I felt a special love wash over me and a strong peace fill me from inside. I knew I had been living life all wrong.

I was hooked and craved more. I started going to church. I starting reading the Bible. I listened to Joyce Meyer on my daily walks. I listened to Elevation Church’s podcast on the way home from work. Anything that encouraged and strengthen my faith. Anything that spoke hope.

Through all of that, God slowly starting working with me in areas of my life that needed fixing. I didn’t want to be a fake Christian so I knew I had to step out in faith and do what God was telling me to do. God immediately told me to stop sleeping with Dillon, still my boyfriend at the time, and to also tell him he was no longer allowed to stay over at my apartment.

I had honestly always wanted those two things. But in today’s world, we are told to test each other out, make sure it’ll last. We have to make sure we’re sexually compatible. What nonsense to hear now. So much of my life I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut about my feelings and God was reteaching me how to express them in a way that is good.

As I’m sure you can imagine, telling Dillon those two things was not an easy discussion. But I didn’t approach that conversation alone. I brought God with me and Bible verses to back me up. Although with some hesitation, Dillon finally agreed. Or God spoke to Dillon and changed his heart just as He had done mine.

The next big thing God told me to confront was my true feelings about Dillon occasionally watching porn. I was never okay with it, but I’d figured all guys watch it, even nice guys. But that’s not true. Not all guys watch it. I told him how I really felt about porn, including movies or TV shows with graphic nudity. But way more importantly than what I feel, I told Dillon what the Bible says about lust.  I was obedient to what God had told me to say to Dillon and I understood that the rest was out of my control. I spoke out about something I had been silent and accepting over in the past. God was teaching me how to voice my true opinion when the topic got complicated or unpopular.

God stayed with me as He worked with Dillon. I learned that I can trust God to help me win the battles He tells me to fight. After seeing God’s victory numerous times, I felt God telling me it was time to confront my darkest secret sin. The secret sin I didn’t dare mention.  I had already confessed and repented of my abortion, but I could hear Him telling me to be fully healed, I needed to voice my hurts and share my story.

I had to first voice the pain of the abortion to Dillon. We had talked about it on and off over the years, but I never really said what I had needed to say. This came at an inconvenient time though because we had just gotten married. Happily ever after and abortion talk don’t mix.

I put it off. And put it off. And when I finally did start talking, it didn’t all come out great. It took us on an emotion driven rollercoaster for the first few months of our marriage. When the rollercoaster slowed down, we were happy and in love. I could accept God’s forgiveness, I could forgive myself, I could forgive Dillon… but then something would trigger my memory and instantly I went back to that day. Instantly I felt lifeless as I’d yell at Dillon, “Of all the things we could have done, we did the most absolute worst thing imaginable! How could we have been so stupid?”

And in my mind, I’d be glaring at him and thinking, How did you convince me to kill my baby? Why weren’t you a supportive man who owned up to his responsibility? If you would have told me to keep the baby, I would have. You never feel the pain I feel about it. I hate you and I hate myself. We don’t deserve to be living. Sex with you has caused me nothing but grief. 

It seemed like a pointless battle. The flashbacks got worse and the yelling got louder. I couldn’t see a way out.

But God told me to trust and to keep going.

Once I had been vocal in the wrong way, it became easier to find the right words. I had to voice my true truth and not the truth I thought Dillon wanted to hear. We did an abortion Bible study together called Forgiven and Set Free. It was slow and painful.

Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of joy. – James 4:9

But God stayed faithful as we walked with Him. I had to let go of the anger. I had to let go of the what if. I made a decision to choose grace over guilt.  I no longer have nightmares or flashbacks. My days and nights are not drenched with shame. I do not blame Dillon and our relationship is good. I have hope for the future.

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. – Pslam 103:12

For a long time I felt like less of a woman for having an abortion. Liked I had an A etched onto my forehead. So while it is scary to share my story, God had promised to use it for good. I share my story because I know there are other girls and women who are just as naive as I was about abortion.

I’ve learned no amount of tears will allow me to go back in time and make the right choice. I can’t go back and save my baby. I can’t go back and be brave, but I can be brave now. I can help prevent other women from believing abortion’s lies. I can help save innocent lives. I can help point other women to true healing through God and His word.

I can speak out instead of staying silent.

 

Continue Reading

What This Mrs. Misses About Teaching

I am on my sixth week of maternity leave. I do not have the itch to return to work. I thank God each morning that I’m able to stay home with my baby boy. That being said, my heart does miss a few things about teaching. And I’m going to write about them because my head is still dizzy with all things baby and my mind is aching to play with words.

What This Mrs. Misses About Teaching

1.  Scholastic Book Orders

Scholastic

I’ve said it before, but scholastic book orders are basically why I became a teacher. I get way more excited when The Book Box arrives than when a student “gets it”. The lightbulb moment is usually gradual and often happens when I’m distracted from actually teaching the lesson to the whole class.

The Book Box allows me to slow down and take in the scent of brand new, shiny, silky books. And the look of excitement my students get over BOOKS makes me so happy. When I carry the Book Box from the office to my classroom, I hope to run into some of my students just to give them a big open mouth smile of excitement because The Book Box came!!

2. Donors Choose

The first two years I taught, like most new teachers, I spent a good chunk of my paycheck on stuff for my classroom. Decorations for the walls, prizes for my student store, stickers for days and days, fun colored white board markers, food snacks for parties, books for my class library, and the list goes on and on. I put a big halt to buying stuff for my classroom once I noticed my savings account didn’t have any… savings.

But I still wanted my kids to have a nice classroom and get to experience new things, so I wrote out requests for items with Donors Choose,  a website that allows teachers to request certain items, write up a proposal, and then donors get to choose which projects they want to fund. With Donors Choose, I’ve been able to get LEGOs for center time, a huge cozy rug for reading time, a bunch of jump ropes and soccer gear to make PE more legit. It’s such a great program that really helps teachers bring in new supplies to the classroom without spending so much of their own money.

3. Playing Soccer With Students

Soccer

I’ve never been athletic. So my skill level at soccer is about the same as my 2nd grade students, excluding the ones who are in some type of soccer league outside of school. Those students are way better than me.

My students love it when I play soccer with them and so do I. When I put on a green or blue jersey that team gets super excited. It’s a bonding time where we can play together and build up that teacher-student relationship.

Playing soccer with my students is where a lot of the magic happens.

At times it’s incredibly tough to take on the role of coach because I have zero life experience to draw from so all the coaching knowledge I have comes from sports movies. But it’s magical all the same. At the end of a long day, it’s so refreshing to go outside and have fun. If I were in charge of the education system, there would be so much more PLAY time. For the KIDS. Go figure.

4. Chapter Book Read Alouds

Chapter book

Ok, this is where the other real magic happens. I once was told by a student’s older sister, “My brother hated reading before he came into your class. We were always trying to get him to read at home but he never would. After being in your class, he loves chapter books.”

That was so rewarding to hear because it’s not easy to read chapter books aloud each day to a room full of wiggly kids.

But I’m a firm believer that if someone doesn’t “like reading” he/she just hasn’t found the right book yet. One of my goals as a teacher is to get my students to fall in love with reading.  Old Yeller, the kids from Wayside School, and Winn-Dixie are just a few of the characters that help me accomplish that goal.

5. Math Challenge Problems

In second grade, students are supposed to be able to add problems such as 345 + 459. Once my students understand the basics around that, I love giving them challenge problems. I change my voice to sound like a guy from a boxing match, “ARE YOU READY FOR A CHALLENGE???” And I slowly write 347913074 + 392412798 on the board, sometimes pausing before adding yet another digit!  Their jaws drop as I write the problem on the board, but as soon as I encourage them, “You know how to add. You can do this. Add it up!” they get going — and when they get it right, man does my classroom get LOUD. They want more, they soon will demand more, and I will increase the rigor as high as they will allow.

It’s one of my tricks so when they see a problem like 562 +432, they have this new confidence. And 6+7, no sweat!

 

Yes. Teaching has its awesome moments for sure. And while I do miss some parts about being in the classroom, this mama is exactly where she wants and needs to be. It was just  fun to remember some of my pre-baby daily occurrences.

Continue Reading

When Love Songs Go Christian

My mind is dizzy with what to write about labor, birth, postpartum, and all things newborn, but it all is mixed up in my head right now so instead I will tame this itch to write with a thought I frequently have while listening to music.

So many of my thoughts start with “Before I became a Christian” I should have an acronym for it. BIBAC. Just kidding. Since I teach public elementary school I am overloaded with acronyms. At each teacher meeting we are presented with new ones. ELD, RTI, PLC, TPA, ELL, and so many more that are not as strong in my mind since I’m still on maternity leave and cannot even recall most of my students’ names. I only taught three weeks this year.

So, BIBAC – my favorite songs were country songs. I was particularly obsessed with songs about infidelity. Give me a good country song about cheating and I would repeat that bad boy nonstop. In my old car, the skip-back button’s ink had rubbed off because of how often I would play it again, play it again, play it again. My obsession with songs about cheating slowed way down once Dillon and I got serious. Cheating songs became super unappealing and listening to many of them now will get me talking to the radio. You do have self control and shame on you, honey. You need to go to church. Get out of the bar. Go meet Jesus instead of going back into his/her bed.  

I am still a country fan if the right song comes along, Outskirts of Heaven anyone?!, but when I’m driving my radio is almost always tuned in with K-Love. Especially if I’m getting on a freeway. Lord, give me strength.

Listening to worship songs daily has caused me to have an interesting transformation when I listen to other songs. Particularly love songs. I’ve noticed how many love songs turn into worship songs. For example, It’s Your Love by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

This song no longer makes me think of the love between Dillon and me, but the love between God and me. I don’t know the song word for word, so I’m sure there must be some lines that are more towards husbandly love, but when I sing along with…

It’s your love. It just does something to me. It sends a shock right through me. I can’t get enough. And if you wonder, about the spell I’m under, it’s your love. 

… my mind immediately pictures the love that saved my life. The love that fuels me. The love that forever changed me.

Is that not a great worship song all of a sudden? It’s your love becomes it‘s Your love. The capital changes it all.

 

 

Continue Reading

A Baby Boy

birth

Declan Ray Mowdy

Born October 8, 2016 at 12:29 A.M.
Weighing 7 lbs 8 oz
Measuring 20.75 inches

Declan is pronounced deck-lin. It’s an Irish name meaning full of goodness and man of prayer.
Many miracles have taken place at St. Declan’s stone in Ireland.

                              Ray is the traditional middle name of Mowdy men. Just like Daddy Dillon Ray.

Baby Boy Declan is more than I could have every dreamed up. We can’t get enough.

 

Continue Reading