Molding hearts, shaping lives

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A few First grade girls made my day this afternoon. I volunteered at my girls school to help some classes carve soap into hearts (it was Pioneer Day, it’s not a usual thing.) ;) I was going from table to table asking if anyone needed help. As I was showing a girl how to carve with her little plastic knife, she looked up at me with crystal clear blue eyes and whispered, “You are so beautiful.” After not having time to wash my hair this morning and considering how tight my pants were feeling today, this was so encouraging to hear. Ah, the power of little voices speaking positive thoughts. Two other girls who were at different tables and didn’t hear each other, voiced similar compliments to me while I was helping them. My heart swelled. For a split second I wanted to be an Elementary school teacher. But just for a split second. I joke… but, seriously. I honestly don’t know how they do it. Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe my admiration for my girls teachers and their school. We have been more than blessed to live in a neighborhood with such a high-caliber public school. I thank God for it everyday.

I was a Preschool and Kindergarten teacher for a short time before I had children and I know it’s incredibly hard work. I also know that it’s the most rewarding job on the planet. Today I got a glimpse into what keeps teachers going on the really hard days. Those imploring, innocent little faces with bright eyes and eager spirits just got to me today. Is there a more fulfilling role than to teach, inspire and change the lives of the future? It doesn’t matter if you home school, choose private school or send your kids to public school – each one is impacting the world on a large-scale. I would venture to say that teaching is absolutely the most important job out there. I am thankful for teachers, principals and volunteers who pour their time, energy and love into children every day. Just like the soap we made today, these teachers are molding and shaping children’s lives – carving big dreams onto their little hearts and lives.

I have been reading Lara Williams blog for a couple of years and her writing really challenges me. Today’s post was especially good. She makes some great points. Just some food for thought since I was on the subject of schooling… Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://tooverflowing.com

Categories: Spiritual Reflections, Writing

Saturday Coffee

On this frigid Saturday morning, I was able to rest in my warm comfy bed and go back to sleep while my husband took the girls to their dance class. When they came home he had coffee and breakfast waiting for me in the kitchen.

The thing is… it’s not the first time this has happened. This is a way he shows me he loves me every week. He knows that come Saturday, I’m a worn out mess from busy days catching up with me. He takes our oldest to her Book Club every Friday morning because he knows that just the process of getting ready for the day is sometimes unbearable for my body. I never asked him to do these things. He just does them. He takes a job from my endless list of responsibilities and lightens my load during the week and he has no idea how much it helps me.

I’m not posting about this to brag or make other women show it to their husbands and say, “See, other husbands do it, why don’t you do this?!” (Please don’t do that.) Not that you would, but I know it happens because I’m guilty of doing it. Ugh.

I’m not gloating about our “perfect” marriage, because believe me it’s far from it. I’m talking about it because even during a week that has been emotionally strenuous on both of us, and when it could have been easy to hold on to grudges or hurt feelings from a fight we had this week, he didn’t. He still got up without being asked and took the girls to dance and came home with coffee for me.

I am thankful today for a help-mate in life who shows me how to love selflessly and who brings me my favorite coffee after a week when I deserved it the least. I think marriage can be incredibly difficult, but it also can be quite simple if we live by this truth: love big, give of yourself when you don’t feel like it, and serve each other well – even (or especially) when it’s hard.

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Categories: Random Thoughts, Writing

Fall’s First Frost

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The first frost of November. There is a crisp chill in the air, winter is whispering that she is on her way. Little bodies need warm coats and little hands are forced into handmade mittens for the first time this season. My girl notices nature’s beauty before she even steps foot on the ground. The shimmer of the frost is mesmerizing – a tiny scattering of ice that has fallen on the leaves like glitter. She holds the autumn leaf in her hands like glass, fearing it will break. She studies it and memorizes the feel of frost on her fingertips. Oh, that fall would never end… the beauty is worth more to me than gold.

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Categories: Mommy Musings, Random Thoughts, Writing

The Hat

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Today, I had the pleasure of spending three hours celebrating and honoring our nations finest – the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. I am thankful for the men and women who have made countless sacrifices – even their lives, to give me and my family the freedoms that we enjoy.

I am thankful that my girls have grown up knowing how important it is to support and respect our country’s heroes. My father served in the Vietnam War during what was arguably the worst years of that war. Two of my brothers were born in Japan, where he was stationed. He saw things no human being should have to see. When he came back from that war, he was not celebrated. He was made to feel ashamed for fighting for our freedoms. The first thing he did was throw his uniform away. That is a travesty. What I wouldn’t give for that uniform – a reminder of his dedication to our country.

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This summer, I watched my girls run to catch up with a man in a motorized wheel chair who had passed them a short time earlier. They had noticed he was wearing a WWII hat. They caught up and stopped him to thank him for his service. They told me later that they had wanted to thank him for “fighting for them.” They were 8 and 6 years old at the time, tender ages to be aware of what a symbol on an old man’s hat meant. It seemed like they knew immediately that war and personal sacrifice which took place sixty years before they were even born, was something to honor. It was personal to them. They felt deeply that this stranger demanded their respect and thankfulness.

Now, I don’t know what this man went through. I don’t know what he saw or what he sacrificed for our country. Though, I’m sure the sacrifices were great and the memories are marked in his mind forever. I don’t think he knew that my little girls sprinted almost a mile in a public park to catch up with him to tell him their thanks. But I hope it meant something to him that they took the time to appreciate him, even if it was just a few minutes. Maybe it gave him hope that a new generation – the future our our country, values the military that keeps us free. I don’t know what it did for him that day, but I know what it did for me. I stood with misty eyes and a full heart, oblivious to all that was going on around me, because I saw my young children understanding in a tangible way that we can never take our freedom for granted, not even in the small daily moments.

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“It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”  -Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace.”  -Ulysses S. Grant

“Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” -Daryn Kagan

“Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.” -Baruch Spinoza

 

Categories: Mommy Musings, Random Thoughts, Writing