In focusing on enough this year I have seen that my value is not in how many steps I walk or how often I win the “workweek hustle” on FitBit. It is not tied to being the first car in the parking lot or the last one left at work each day. It is not in how many Starbucks stars, LulaRoe leggings, or tubes of LipSense I collect. It is not even tied to getting my preferred seat at church on Sunday mornings. My value is not in the percentage of times I win at Words with Friends, not even when that friend is my brother 😉 It is not in how clean I keep my house or car, how well behaved others believe my children and grandchildren to be, or how neat I write in cursive. It is not in the price of my house, car, or other material things. My value is in who God says I am and who He made me to be. He is my Father and I am His child. He loves me unconditionally regardless of any of these things.
The biggest thing that I am learning in this focus is that my “enoughness” is not based on how well I was parented or how well I have parented my own children. I keep being brought back to this and having to remind myself that even though there are pieces of both that were not and are not perfect, they are best left to God as I, myself aside from Him, do not have the tools to take them on. This does not mean that I am any less of a daughter or mother. It just means that I need to learn what areas of my life to turn over to God and let go. No matter how often they return to my sight and thoughts, they are not mine to pick up again unless and until God gives me that skill set and tells me to go slay those giants.
Linking with 5 Minute Friday today.
Taking 5 minutes to write what’s on my heart in this month of celebration and reflection.
December is the time of year that the air gets cold, but our hearts become warm as we celebrate the birth of our savior by giving to each other in a symbolic gesture of love. It’s also the time of year that we realize everything we failed to complete over the course of the year. It’s a sign of the finishing of another year and the coming of a new beginning. We spend the month making up for lost time while adding a variety of events to round out and celebrate the year as well as Christmas. It’s a time for goodbyes, but also a time to prepare for hello’s both literally and figuratively, We see family and friends that we may not see often and get to spend time catching up on their lives as well as sharing ours with them. December is lights and feasts and gifts and love and warmth all surrounded by the bitter cold air from the north wind. It’s a time for both celebration and reflection.
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.
Growing up, some of my closest playmates were my cousins. My mother is a twin who spent a lot of time with her sisters, especially her other half. So, my cousin Debbie and I, who are 4 months apart, grew up like sisters or better yet, best friends. We would cry to stay at each others houses every time we had the opportunity. Her mother, my Aunt Sandy, was my favorite person. I often wished she was my Mom. Debbie and I baked her a cake from scratch one time and even walked to the store to get icing for decoration. I remember Debbie following the directions from a magazine to create a clown on the top of the cake. I learned so much from Debbie growing up. I continue to learn things from her to this day. She is such a strong, talented woman with many traits I admire.
My mothers younger sister, Diane, had two daughters. They are much younger than my sister, my cousin Debbie, and me. So, we loved to play with them and carry them around when they were little. It was like having our own real life dolls. They were still very young when they moved from Texas to Oklahoma and I often wish they had been closer so we could have gotten to know them better as we grew. I saw them for the first time in many years when their Dad, my Uncle Billy, passed away. It was great to spend a little time catching up with this little piece of my family so far away. Once again recently at their mother, my Aunt Diane’s, funeral we had an occassion to do some catching up. I am so impressed with what strong women they have become, and how they have raised their children to be the same way. Still, I wish I had the opportunity to grow up with them the way I grew up with my cousin, Debbie.
Because I had such a great experience with cousins as my extended siblings growing up, I wanted to give my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews the same experience. When our children were young, my sister and I did a lot together which allowed our now adult children to become friends. My brothers children have also followed this path and over time have become friends with my children through family events, Facebook, birthday parties, etc. Some of my siblings children have even lived in my house for a time and have used that experience to grow more important in the lives of my daughters. I am so thankful for this extended family and their impact on my life and the lives of my daughters.
In the future I hope to continue to cultivate relationships between the little cousins in my life. I like the statement “Nauna’s House: where cousins go to become best friends!” I need that on a plaque in my house. It is not unusual for my brother and sisters grandchildren to be at my house playing with my grandchildren. I am so thankful for the opportunity to host them at my house and pray for more opportunities in the future. There is nothing better than being best friends with your cousins and knowing that they are family who will be with you forever.
Today and everyday I am thankful for my co-workers. Over the years I have had co-workers who have become some of my very best friends. Often they are people who you see more often than you see your own family. They become just that, family. I am working on establishing that type of relationship with my co-workers here at my new school. Being here without that support and family is part of what makes it difficult to make the transition from one job to another.
At Fossil Ridge we had a community, actually a little hidden community, that few people in the building even knew existed in our little special education suite. We had three classrooms that connected by an interior hallway. That hallway was our lifeline. Along that hallway were a kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. We all bonded in that hallway over the years. Whether it was someone from one room helping someone from another change a student who was not necessarily their responsibility, or passing along the recipe of something wonderful that had been prepared for us the day before. Every birthday was celebrated with great fanfare. We baked cupcakes for every student birthday. We brought food to celebrate every employee birthday. We held a real Thanksgiving Feast for our parents to join us at lunch with their student. We did Secret Santa. There is not a day that goes by that I do no fondly remember something that occurred in that unit. I miss it every day and must remind myself that I moved on for career reasons and that it was time to grow. I am still close with many of them, and see them at home football games on most Friday nights. They were, and always will, be my family!
Here at my new school we are working on building that same type of family bond. Of the 6 teachers/para-professionals in special education on this campus, three of us are new. So, that allows us to grow, while at the same time presents its own challenges. The para-professionals in the other two classrooms are new to their current assignment just as am I. They are each getting to know their teacher just as I am getting to know my para-professional. It’s a work in progress. Unfortunately, we do not have the interior unit that I had at Fossil Ridge, but with a much smaller faculty at this campus, I am actually getting to know a larger percentage of the faculty in just a few months than I did in 6 years at Fossil Ridge.
I realize every day just how important my co-workers are; here and there. I could not do my job most days without the support I receive from an extended network of co-workers I call family. Each and every one of them is just an e-mail or a phone call away, even if they are not here on my campus. Those who are here on my campus have my back and together we are growing more and more; forming a bond that I am sure will be as strong as the bond I have with my former co-workers.
- Thankful Heart: Day 5 (ourcrowdedheart.wordpress.com)
“Sometimes the person who you’d take a bullet for is the person behind the trigger” – Taylor Swift
I accidentally found this quote on Pinterest and it so describes what I am feeling at this moment.
I am the one who walks away to keep a fight from starting.
I am the one who keeps my mouth shut while you run yours.
I am the one who takes care of everyone else.
I am the one who tries be the peacemaker to keep others from being hurt.
I am the one who leaves early if it means others may enjoy the event.
I am the one who gives my all so that everyone receives a benefit, even at my own expense.
I am the one you can call in the middle of the night no matter what it is you need.
I am the one who will drive across country to let you cry on my shoulder.
I am the first one to arrive for set up and the last one to leave after taking it all back down.
I am the one you can depend on.
I am the one who always listens.
How is it that I am the one who is blamed for everything that goes wrong?
Why is it that I am the one who is stepped on as you climb the ladder?
Where are you when I need a shoulder to cry on?
When will you listen to me?
Why must my heart be the one broken?
I am thankful for friends who love you through thick and thin. Those who you can go weeks without talking to, but the minute you need them they are there for you without question. I just love how on a moments notice we pick up right where we left off. When one of us hears a story or ends up in a setting where we have previously been with one of these friends, we quickly think to call the other and share our memories or complete a story that did not previously have an ending. It’s like we complete each other in that instance just like we were two pieces of the same puzzle.
I spoke to one of those friends today because I found myself in a situation that only she would appreciate. We laughed and reminisced for a moment. Then she noticed the stress in my voice in regard to another issue and just like the good old days, she said exactly what I needed to hear. Then she e-mailed me a verse from the Bible that was very fitting.
Friends like this are priceless and I am so thankful to have more than one.