Monthly Archives: January 2013

Report card from Jesus

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It is the stressful season of ending a semester and beginning a new one at the school where I work.  I know most people think that teachers sit around with red pens, drinking coffee, cackling with delight as they write large “F’s” on report cards.  However, that is not the case; it is so heartbreaking when my students fail.  Since I have always loved school, I am tempted to use this time to reflect on my own life and my  many resolutions and issue myself a report card.

The old me would have rushed to analyze yet another busy day of jugglemama, rushing from one activity to the next, striving for perfection that is unattainable. I already get a red slash for my eating habits today. I made Toaster Strudel for myself and the kids for breakfast; then when I dropped off my son I realized he never ate! I thought I had forgotten the pastries at home, but when I got to work I discovered I had put them in my lunch bag. So, I ate BOTH of them.  Then, during lunch, I ate a brownie that someone had brought in. However, I did got to the gym today, so does that even things out with a “C” ?

I blew my budget as well; I knew I was cutting things close,but  over the weekend I bought my daughter some earrings WITH A COUPON to thank her for helping me scrub the kitchen floor. I bought my son a $10 CD to even things out. However, I forgot that the health club payment hits at the end of the month, so I have a $2 overdraft. Another failure. I try to compensate for that by something else, like vacuuming the living room. I constantly check off items on my to-do list; keeping myself on such a tight leash!

But I am learning to walk in grace. I have been listening to Chuck Swindoll on my way to work in the morning. He is preaching his “Grace Awakening” series. He shared a very encouraging story.  When he was in seminary, he and his fellow students would rush to check their grades on their blue book exams at the end of the term. One student in particular struggled academically, so before he opened his book, he wrote “GRACE” across the cover.

So, today, I’m going to let Jesus grade my busy day of juggling my health, my budget, my work responsibilities, my parenting, my marriage, my heart. And I’m so grateful that the letters I find are G. R. A. C. E.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” Romans 8:1

 

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On My Bookshelf

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I have been reading some very good books lately!

  • Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks–This is a fascinating story about a Puritan settlement in Martha’s VIneyard in the 1660’s. The heroine is a pastor’s daughter who has secretly befriended a Wampanoag boy. The novel is based on a true story of the first native American to graduate from Harvard College. Go out and get this book!
  • Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman–This is a  book that I have returned to several times to soak in each chapter. It really fits the season of my life as I am trying to see what living in Grace looks like for me. I can identify with many of the “masks” that “good girls” wear. I even wrote the author to continue the discussion. I am wondering what role the church has played in this, and then I am curious to see what living out this grace looks like. This would be a great book for a women’s group to study and discuss.
  • The Charles Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible–This year I read my daily Bible in bed before sleep.  It has been a great blessing to end my day with God. I think I even sleep better! I am enjoying the familiar Genesis stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. If you haven’t tried reading through the Bible, it is a great resolution for 2013.
  • The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley is on deck as recommended to me by my colleague and fellow bibliophile Becky.

Manic Monday

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Today was a busy day of back to work, and is a great example of how I have to juggle the activities of my busy life. I got up around 5 and made coffee, fed and walked the dog, read my devotional, then woke up my daughter before I took a shower. 5 or 6 wakeups later, the princess got into the shower and I continued with the morning routine of making lunches, warming up the car, making breakfast, and rushing out of the house to get to work on time. I dropped off my son, then rushed to get to work. This morning I had a coverage, which means I use part of my planning period to substitute in a class for an absent colleague. It’s a great way to make extra money,  but I didn’t get much work done. During my first class, thirteen students were out, and in my second class, only four showed up! After lunch a fifth student showed up. After school, I had a fundraising meeting for a trip to Dublin, London, and Paris in April. I am coordinating a calendar raffle. After the meeting, I stayed to do some more correcting, then it was time to pick up my daughter and her friend from school; they had a meeting about the school musical. At home, I picked up my son to drop him off to practice. When I returned home, the girls had a healthy snack of strawberries and pretzels and I took them to the gym. ON my way home I stopped at the store to pick up a few things for dinner.  When I returned, I walked the dog, emptied the dishwasher, filled it with dirty dishes and then finally tackled the silverware drawer. I took everything out, washed the plastic sorting tray, threw away all the junk, and then washed the inside of the drawer and put everything back. Then it was time to pick up the girls and I brought my daughter’s friend to her house. When my daughter got home, she had a mini breakdown because this is a super busy week for her with lots of deadlines, including tryouts for the musical, an English diorama project due, an essay and payment due for her summer program, and twirling tonight.  I prayed with her, then she had some cereal and it was time to drop her off at twirling practice and then pick up my son from basketball. During practice, my son got hit in the face and his contacts came out, so he had to throw them away. I hope he has a new pair for tomorrow! Now I am typing while eating dinner, and at 730 it will be time to pick up my daughter. Then she has to type up her ELA homework so I can print it out tomorrow. Somewhere in there I have to throw in a load of laundry and bake a cake because I promised a birthday cake for one of my students tomorrow. I know we women and moms can identify with the many demands on our time. Make sure to take time out of your busy day to pray and be strengthened in the Lord.

New Year’s Resolutions

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I am a person that loves to make new year’s resolutions, and this year is no exception. I have chosen several areas to improve.

The first area is FINANCES. Up to this point, my money management has been a mess! Last year we were able to get on track with a budget and paying bills, but this year I want to focus on SAVING as we still live check-to-check. So, I am trying to follow the 80/10/10 rule of living on 80 %, tithing 10% and saving 10%. Today I started the saving part as my husband’s check came in; I transferred ten percent to an account to start building up a savings/emergency fund. Now I have to write a check for tithing and submit it on Sunday.

My second resolution is about RELATIONSHIPS. First, I want to improve communication with my mom and in-laws as they live out of state; I miss them a lot and I’d like to stay in touch more. Often the days are so busy that I think about picking up the phone, but I don’t make the call, and I hope to follow through with this. Second, I want to be more authentic in my relationships. This year my husband and I made a decision that was important to the family, but at the risk of gossiping, I never mentioned my thoughts or feelings to my friends, including my sister. Now that time has passed, I see that I should have said something just to get encouragement. I am glad we made the decision that we did, but there are lots of emotions to process that I need to express. Also, I avoid conflict, so I often avoid situations where I need to have a difficult, authentic conversation.  I often struggle, but I don’t let others know, and I need to be more vulnerable.

Also, I am going to pamper myself this year. Often I put myself last, and I want to be kind to myself. I need to allow myself rest and give myself freedom to try new things.

Finally, I am always working to improve my home management. Fly Lady’s system has been very helpful, and already I see some slow but steady progress in conquering clutter.

Happy New Year!

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“Your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, ‘this is the way, walk in it,’whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:20-21

This has always been a guiding verse for me when I come to a time of decision making. This morning I was led twice to this verse! How appropriate on the first day of the new year to be tuned to the lord’s leading.  I have many hopes and goals for the year ahead. Most importantly, I want to do God’s will.  Happy NewYear!