something god alone can see

Bad things happen to good people. We know this, and yet it still hits like a punch to the gut every – single – time.

Just over a week ago, my friend’s wife died, taken by cancer, leaving behind her husband and two young daughters, her family and friends, her congregation, and countless others whose lives she touched. The day we received news of Becky’s death, Lydia’s bedtime Bible story, out of the Jesus Storybook Bible, happened to be the story of Jairus’s daughter being raised from the dead. Below is the final page of that story.

2019-02-20

As I read it aloud, in my mind’s eye I imagined Becky, the “still little figure”, as she breathed her last. And then I saw the strong hand of Jesus reaching down into death to grasp Becky’s hand, his sure and steady voice calling her name – “Becky, it’s time to get up!” But unlike the girl in the story, Becky’s awakening was not on this earth. Instead, she opened her eyes to a world too wonderful for words and found herself healed and whole, face to face with her loving Savior.

While trying to wrap my mind around the reality of it all, a song came into my head, something that I am pretty sure I first learned in my youth choir days at my childhood church. Like most hymns, I suppose, the text of the first verse is what was stuck in my head, but it was the last verse that spoke to my heart.

In our end is our beginning; 
in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing;
in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection;
at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

Hymn of Promise, Natalie Sleeth

Phil, Eva, Ellie, Bud, Patty, Kristen – I love you all and continue to hold you in my heart and in my prayers.

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syad wons 5

There are many superstitions about snow days. Spoon under your pillow, pjs inside out, flush ice cubes… And, of course, the first rule about snow days: never talk about snow days. In my classroom, we handle this by instead referring to them as yaD wonS, which is, of course, snow day spelled backwards.

Well, I don’t know who the heck was flushing ice cubes this week, but they must’ve clogged their toilet with them, because we had an entire week of snow days.

What. The. Fork. That never happens.

And what, pray tell, did I do with these 5 days of nothing? Um… Pretty much nothing. I’m just over a week in on cold #2 of the winter (because my upper respiratory system hates me and wants me to be miserable from December to April). My ears are plugged up (which is awesome when you are a musician and music teacher, let me tell you). If I could sell mucous on the black market, I would be able to retire tomorrow. It’s that bad.

And yet… I still have a twinge of guilt, as if I should’ve conquered the world this week- Marie Kondo-ed my entire house – cooked a million freezer meals – planned the rest of the school year – something, anything resembling PRODUCTIVITY. What do I have instead? Several trash cans full of Kleenex, an emptier bottle of NyQuil, an expanded “recently watched” queue on Netflix, a playroom that looks like a toy explosion, a couch with sleeping bags on it, and a kitchen that is just as trashed as it was a week ago. And, hopefully, kids with some fun memories of being couch potatoes during a whole week of snow days.

Self-care? Survival? Some of both, I guess. Hoping for less snot by the time real life resumes on Monday.

Image result for head cold meme

now is the winter of our discontent

It has been a long winter.

I feel selfish saying that, because others have surely had winters longer and more difficult than mine. Mine has been a winter of first-world problems. Two rounds of the stomach flu went through our family. Kids have had the usual colds. And I’ve been sick with non-stop congestion of some sort since late January. (Hello, third round of antibiotics.) But we are all here, we are all alive, and in the grand scheme of things I have no complaints.

And yet…

I feel weary. Bone-weary. Tired of the rat race. I love all the things I do, and yet I wish I could just be still for awhile. I wish I felt like I had time to do something fun with my girls. I wish there was space for a dance or music class or something more than the hurry from daycare-to-dinner-to-bed. Saturday and Sunday are for exhaustion and recovery, with no energy for adventures.

Granted, it all looks worse when I’m sick. Round 3 of meds made me so sick to my stomach this morning that I ended up staying home from school. I’m in a low spot of depression and anxiety. Today is not a good day to make decisions.

And yet…

Are my feelings and thoughts only valid when I’m strong? Do I only make good choices when I’m operating outside of anxiety mode? Or does the weakness help me see what’s really important?

Image result for shauna niequist quotes

Image result for shauna niequist quotes

 

I am a teacher.

I am a teacher.

I hope I don’t get shot at school today.

I wonder how many students can hide behind the piano? It is the best barrier in my classroom from AK fire. More will fit if they are kindergartners… kindergartners are so small. I bet I could fit an entire kindergarten class behind the old upright piano. Fifth graders, however. Oh, fifth graders, you are so tall now. There are so many in your class. Which few will get the protection of the piano’s sounding board? What else do I have? A xylophone, a teacher desk, a drum.

“Review lockdown procedures with your students.”

Hide, children.

Hide. Be silent. Pray. Wonder why the adults have put you in this situation. I will protect you with my body, with a fire extinguisher, with… I don’t know what.

What if I had a gun?

I don’t want a gun. I don’t know how to shoot it. I don’t want to learn. I don’t want to know that there is a gun hidden in my desk drawer, next to my attendance book and my lesson plans. I don’t want to take a life.

I am a teacher.

I want to teach my students to sing, to dance, to play instruments.

I don’t want to take a life.

I don’t want to watch my students lose theirs.

I want my students to know that they are safe. Completely safe. I want my students to know that they are loved.

I am a teacher.

I hope we live to see tomorrow.

that song from Frozen

Sisters,

I have my first-ever student teacher right now. It is my eighth year in Helena, my ninth year as a teacher, and apparently that makes me qualified to help someone else become a teacher. Terrifying, right?

I spent Christmas break making an epic student teacher binder. Seriously, it is a work of art. Custom cover, tabs, and LOTS of pages with cute fonts: standards, class schedules, classroom management pointers, and all sorts of details about how my schools operate.

This project masked the fact that I was feeling completely terrified at the prospect of sharing my classroom. I was dealing with major impostor syndrome.

Imagine my surprise when the first week with Mr. R revealed that I have, in fact, spent the last 8+ years carefully crafting a method of teaching that actually has a thought process behind it! As I explained my classroom routines and my curriculum, I discovered that there is actually a method to my madness and I have real thoughtful reasons for why I do things the way I do. You guys, I might actually know what I’m doing!

This week is Mr. R’s fifth week. In two and a half weeks, he moves on to his secondary placement. He has rapidly taken on more and more teaching responsibilities and is now teaching every class for the entire week. I spent last week hanging around in the back of the classroom while he taught, taking notes and observing. This week, however, I am tasked with getting out of the classroom and leaving him alone to teach.

Sisters, this is SO HARD for me.

What if my students are obnoxious? What if he can’t find a material he needs? What if, what if, what if?!

He’s fine. He’s more than fine, he’s doing so well.

That doesn’t make it easier to let go. I should be relishing this opportunity to get extra planning and prep done. I should be making manipulatives and planning epic lessons for the rest of the school year. I’m doing some of that. Mostly I’m wandering aimlessly, unsure of how to occupy my time without my students.

As I was lamenting my control freak nature to my amazing school secretary, she leaned back in her chair, swung out one arm, and started singing…

You know, that song from Frozen.

Letting it go,

Abby

my sister told me to write this post.

The funk.

Y’all with me?

Nothing is “wrong”, per se, but things just feel… off. Like at any moment I might teeter over the edge and be swallowed up in a canyon of anxiety or depression. Which is why, earlier this afternoon, I found myself asking my best friends – my sisters – what to do to try to get out of the dreaded FUNK before it was too late.

Image result for anxiety stay away meme

And so here we are.

My first thought was to go somewhere, like a coffee establishment, to write. While there are many Starbucks (Starbucksen? Starbucksi?) close by, the closest are all of the “Starbucks in the grocery store” variety. My options: Meijer, Family Fare, and Target. All fine stores, but let’s be real here.

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So the Target-bucks it was.

However…

I had to stop at home to get my Chromebook. Which meant I had to let Duke out. Which meant I saw the disastrous state of my kitchen and the half-finished load of laundry in my room.

And so here I am, sitting in a somewhat cleaner kitchen, with a shot of decaf from our espresso maker, waiting to hear the “ding dong ding dong” of the washer when the cycle is complete. And then it’s off to daycare pickup, and then on to mommy time for the rest of the night. Or at least until the girls are in bed.

Did I get myself away from the edge? I hope so.

the unbearable heaviness of being

I wrote this quite awhile ago, but never posted it. It’s still true, so here it is.

Sometimes there is just too much.

Too much pain, suffering, sadness. Too much that is unfair. Too much that hits too close to home. Too much fear.

Why are things the way they are?

Oh, sure, I know the Sunday school answers. But those aren’t cutting it today.

I am a jumbled mess of sorrow and anxiety. Why are these things happening to these people? And what’s to say I won’t be next? Whether it’s me or someone close to me, it’s become painfully clear that no one is safe from the horrors of life.

Somewhere inside me is the knowledge that God is still in control, a seed of faith buried underneath a mountain of doubt.

I alternate between a fiery desire to live fully every moment I’m given and a crippling sense of futility that makes me want to pull the covers over my head and give up on it all.

I gave in, and admitted that God was God.

-C. S. Lewis