Personal Blog by Rhonda Crowdis Hardisty

Archive for November, 2012

5 Minutes from my Thankful Heart: Wonder

wondersI am linking up with Lisa-Jo over at www.lisajobaker.com for the last time this year for what she calls a flash mob of people who all join together for a common goal of writing for just 5 minutes, no major corrections, no spell-check. Just straight from the heart and on to the page. Today I am linking it with my last Thankful Heart for this year. It’s what I call 5 minutes from my thankful heart. Here goes:

10:01 PM – Go

I am thankful for the wonder of Christmas

For the wonder in the eyes of my grand babies and great nephews when they see Christmas lights for the first time.

For the wonder that God so loved us.

For the wonder in the hearts of all when they receive gifts from family and friends during this holiday season.

For the wonder that God gave us his only son, Jesus Christ; the one true gift from the one true God.

For the wonder in the minds of those who know it is truly better to give than to receive.

For the wonder that God gives us eternal life.

For the wonder in the souls of those who receive His gift.

For the wonder that God only requires that we believe in Him.

I am thankful for the wonder of Christmas!

Stop! 10:06 PM

Thankful Heart: Day 29 – The end

It is said that all things must come to an end.

Our lives end. Our childhood ends. The day ends. The month ends. The year ends. You get the idea.

There may be some sadness in ending things like a marriage, a career, or a season. There may also be joy in ending things like a project or a class at school. There is usually both a sense of relief when something is over and a sense of loss.

I remember graduation from high school being a lot of both. Since I was in a private school it was the end of 8 years of my life. It was saying good-bye to the place I had spent nearly every awake, and some asleep, moment for 8 of my 18 years. More importantly, I was saying good-bye to the people with whom I had spent 8 of the best years of my life. We had spent at least two years planning our graduation, only to arrive at it and wonder why we ever wanted it.

I think the same is true of a lot of divorces. People nag and complain until they finally get served papers, then they fight harder all the way through the process, only to get to the final decree and wonder why they ever started the process.

As we near the end of another month, and draw close to the end of the year I am thankful for everything I have learned and look forward to the new that comes every January, but at the same time I am sad that my time with the boys is going too fast and ending too quickly. I am sad that my granddaughter will be starting her third year of life after her second birthday in February, and that my middle daughter will be turning 21 in just over a month.

On the other hand, I am looking forward to the end of January which marks the mid-point of this school year; the end of the first semester. I am looking forward to all of the birthdays that fall between January and March; almost half the family, including my girls and me. There are vacation plans, holidays, family gathering, first birthdays, and annual events we will do all over again in a bigger and better way in the coming year.

I am anxiously awaiting the move of the Lord in the new year. With the elections that just passed, and the rumors of things to come I believe He will continue to show Himself even greater than before in the coming year.

An end is really just another beginning, and a beginning can be scary. I am thankful for the opportunity to start over once again and work toward a more positive outcome than we had with things in the year that is ending. I am ready to start over and face those fears with the grace of God to guide me.

What are you thankful to see end? What are you looking forward to seeing begin?

Thankful Heart: Day 28 – Snow

Today was another rough day in my classroom, but at the end of it I had a spur of the moment idea to skip plans for the afternoon and just enjoy my students. So, I gave 5 of them a piece of black construction paper and a tub of sidewalk chalk. I simply asked them to draw snow; whatever that meant to them. What I received was a great opportunity to just sit down and talk to each one of them; soaking in their knowledge and their innocence. One student in particular is a real handful, but on rare occasions like this he opens up and does something I have never seen or heard him do before. Today he spelled out the letters of his name verbally as I wrote them on his paper. This is a fairly non-verbal student who, prior to today, has never shown any sign that he knew more than the first letter.  This is a huge things for a special ed teacher because for us progress is measured in inches rather than feet. Following are the pictures they drew, which are now hanging in the hallway outside my room. It was the best snow ever and I am very thankful for every moment of it.

First grade student

Kindergarten student

First grade student

3rd grade student

Kindergarten student

Thankful Heart: Day 27 – The Process

There have been times when I have had a need in my classroom for more staff to provide a better student-teacher ratio for my unique student dynamic. This is never something that will just be given to me because I have asked for it. A need must first be established. This includes drafting an outline showing where my students spend their time during the course of the school day and which staff members are responsible for them at each point of the schedule. Next, this information will be reviewed by administrative staff who will forward it to other administration staff and so on. Then someone will come visit my classroom and assess the need for themselves, making suggestions on how to better use the current staff before changes will be considered. At some point more questions will be asked and if there is funding available, or maybe if I have enough student parents involved in the situation, a requisition will be processed for the additional staff and the position will be posted on the job board for the district. It’s a long process and at times seems to be never-ending; definitely a test of endurance.

I have spent many days and nights crying over the fact that I was not equipped to teach a class just the available staff. I have felt as if I were asked to paint a picture, but  have been restricted from using paint or a brush. I have said many times that I forgot how painful growth can be, but I also find it painful to be stagnant and lacking in opportunities to become a better teacher, a better parent, a better employee, a better Christian, and even just a better person.

I am reminded tonight that just like the school district has a process, God also has one. He does not just give us the things that we ask for without requiring something of us. Something like a relationship with Him, faith in Him, hope in Him, love for His people. God expects us to be faithful and follow His direction; move through the process so to speak. It is during this process that we learn to trust in Him. It is also during the process that we realize He is always with us, even if it does not seem like things are going our way. He has a plan. He is in control.

It’s time to start enjoying the process and asking God what He would have us learn through it. Today I am thankful that He teaches us through His process and in teaching us makes us better equipped for the future.

Thankful Heart: Day 26 – Gods Promises

I used to sing the song, ” I am a promise. I am a possibility. I am a promise with a capital P.” when I needed to remind myself that God has a plan for me. Notice, I said has, not had. I still believe that God has a plan for me. His plan for me did not stop when I turned 14 or 21 or even 40.

2 Peter 1:4 tells us that “…because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”

Some of these promises include eternal life, forgiveness, grace, hope, joy, mercy, peace, salvation, strength, wisdom, and there are so many more!

He also tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 “… I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Gods promises are what I live for. They are the reason I live by His word. I know that His plans and promises for my life will take me in the direction that will lead to a perfect future. I am thankful that His word reminds us of these promises and that His promises are yes and amen.

Thankful Heart: Day 25 – Second Chances

A friend of mine recently responded to one of my thankful heart posts, which asked what he was thankful for, with the answer, second chances. I had not really thought much about second chances until my niece posted tonight that she is starting cosmetology school tomorrow. It is a second chance for her to start fresh and head in the right direction for herself and for her children. I am so proud of her for taking this option and accepting this second chance.

I have received second chances in my life as well. These include a second chance at being a supportive wife, a loyal employee, a creative writer, a good daughter, a loving sister, a patient parent, and a supportive aunt.

God gives us all the option to start over with a second chance every morning that we wake up. All we have to do is receive it. According to Lamentations 3, He gives us the chance every morning with His mercies being renewed through His faithfulness. He also told us in Matthew 18 to give others second chances, third chances, even 10th chances when Christ told Peter to forgive them not just seven times, but seventy times seven times.

I for one am willing to receive His mercy and take a fresh look at my life every morning with new mercy. How willing are you to give yourself a second chance? If God is willing to offer it, who are you to turn it down? Allow yourself to receive a second chance. Do not stop what God has for your life by refusing to believe it is for you. Listen carefully, IT IS FOR YOU! Accept it.

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Thankful Heart: Day 24 – Giving

My family signed up earlier in the month to spend a few hours today helping out a family who was less fortunate. The church we attend calls is Life Giving Weekend. Our assignment: to paint a house with a group from our church. We bought our volunteer shirts and were happy to put them on this morning to give back to the community in our own way. It was just something we wanted to be a part of, no reason in particular, just an opportunity for a good deed. Little did we know just how much WE would receive from this act of giving.

We headed to the car about a quarter to 8:00 this morning to find a flat tire on one of the two vehicles we would need to get all 6 of us to the job site. So, while my husband worked on fixing the tire, my oldest daughter and I headed to Wal-Mart for extra supplies and hoped to pick up some coffee from our favorite place while we were out. We grabbed what we needed and got in line at the register of our favorite cashier who is always so friendly and helpful. Just as we finished paying for our items, she noticed our shirts and asked if we were painting houses on north side. I admitted that we were, and she continued to tell us that there was a sign in her families yard that matched our shirts. She said that the house our church is painting on a certain street is her house, and asked if we had worked there yesterday. I said no, but we were on our way to the area now. I thanked her for her help with our purchase, and she thanked us for our help in her neighborhood.

I teared up. This was not just some stranger whose house we might have the opportunity to paint. This was a real person who we see and interact with several times each week. I was also very touched by her sincere thankfulness.

We were scheduled to work on another house in the neighborhood, but since we were running late due to the flat tire, they already had enough help. So, the shuttle driver dropped us off at HER house! We were actually going to get to paint the house of the cashier at Wal-Mart we had just spoken to moments before. I cannot tell you how much this meant to my family. Knowing that this house belonged to someone with whom we had a connection made us want to work that much harder to make it perfect. We had a greater stake in doing it right.

I met her Dad, her two sisters, and her daughter. Her Dad told me about a family with a 9 month old child who needed clothes and how they were going to go help that family. There I was helping this family and they were going to help another family. This really brought home that they were just like me. They may live in an older house in an older neighborhood, but they were people who care about people just like my family.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to give to another family today and surprised by how much my family received through our giving! It was not just life giving to the families who we served, but also to the families who served.

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