Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kindergarten, Serving, and The Beginning of the End

This morning my alarm rang at 6:00 a.m. and a part of me sighed with dread.  I pulled my sleepy, creaky, body up and headed for the restroom.  Groggy and not at all prepared for summer's end I started the procedure of getting myself showered and mostly human looking.  After deciding that as usual this was as good as it was going to get; I checked to make sure that teenagers were getting ready, I went into my son's room where he was praying likely for a good day on his first day of school.  I went downstairs and wrote checks for lunches and started getting myself a bagel for breakfast that I gave to daughter number one then started making the last bagel that I gave to daughter number two.  I then made myself toast while my son settled on cereal.

Today was a day that I was not at all mentally and probably not physically prepared for.  I had a fantastic summer with the exception being the continual necessary acceptance of the fact that my birthday is forgotten more times than not at this age.  Our summer was relaxing and yet exciting with anticipation of vacations and the start of this school year that happened to start today.  I had planned on getting in shape, writing a book, starting on another one and having friends over regularly to swim.  The only shape I contributed to was the shape of round.  As far as book writing goes didn't and the swim part I blame mother nature for.  It has been unseasonably cool this year and our pool heater bit the dust.  The number of times I myself got into the pool is equal to a big goose egg.

My oldest is a senior.  This was her last first day of school with the exception being college.  College, that place where she begins the part of her life that does not include me as much as my checkbook.  In just a short year she will venture off and this year is the beginning of the end of her needing me.  There are days when I count down the time because she makes me so crazy.  This morning however, I found myself dragging my feet to this beginning or ending as the case may be.

My middle child is a sophomore and she had just as much anxiety as I did with the one teacher at school that she had bonded with left to teach somewhere else.  My musician was not looking forward to band.  I am hoping that even with the changes she will find a way to focus on her dreams and make the grade.

My youngest child was heading off to another school and starting the adjustment of switching classes.  Hence the morning prayers from his bed.  He was excited but cautiously so.

I was excited to start school in my class today.  I have this thought about work.  Work isn't work when you decide that no matter what the day holds you are going to strive for nothing less than your best.  When I go to work I feel joy.  It makes me happy to serve others.  Perhaps that's the secret.  I don't really think of what I do as work.  For me it isn't really a job, it is an opportunity.  An opportunity to serve others.  I get to work with some fantastic people.  Not only that I get to work with some really cute kids.  Kindergarten is great.  I know for some people it is overwhelming and they wouldn't want to work with that age for anything.  I feel the same way about teenagers.  But kindergarten makes me feel like a rock star or Santa.  I can't even decide which.  It just has so much to offer.  The kids there smile, they are happy to see you, anything you draw they think it's a Picasso, and I can think of nothing more rewarding than hearing them read a full sentence for the first time.  Plus there is my love affair with the copy machine and the laminator.  (Seriously I get excited every time I get to use either machine.  Weird I know.)

Here is where it gets good.  So I get up dragging my feet.  I get to school and I'm anxious about my son taking a bus to get to his school.  I have a bit of jitters about a new class of kids because I loved the kids last year.  I'm a bit sketchy about what I had volunteered to take on in addition to my class and putting on my game face when God steps in.

I was outside in a sea of kids getting off of buses and getting on buses.  Taking care of business in general when God says, I've got this and sends the form of first graders.  There they were a few of my favorite girls waiting to get on the bus to get to their new school for first grade.  They saw me and I saw them and then they swarmed.  I was surrounded.  As I sit and think about it I can't help but think about how God knows just what we need.  My heart is full to overflowing and I can only think of how thankful I am to be given the opportunity to go to my job.  After all the hugs and everyone was settled and the rush inside began I realized that I wouldn't want it any other way.  It was a crazy day and I'm exhausted but while I was rushing around going here and there helping everyone I could I was content.  It was awesome.

Some people thought I didn't need to take on this job.  Some people would have thought wrong.  I can still write and I can still spend time with family and friends.  I'm pretty sure that I needed this job in order to be a better person.  I have no time to think about myself and what I think I need while I am there.  It is a great way to take me out of the equation.  It is a great way to put others back in the equation.

Maybe the lesson I needed today was a reminder.  I get really sick of me.  In the summer I get about as much me as I can really handle.  I'm here to serve others.  Sometimes that is a hard thing for me.  I like to stick my feet in the sand and I struggle with ideas of what I think I'm supposed to be doing, but it's really hard to be the hands and feet of God if you have your feet firmly stuck in the sand and you tie your own hands because of fear.    I don't know what God has planned for me.  Maybe the things/ ideas that pop into my head are of my own imagination.  We will have to wait and see what comes next.  In the mean time I guess I have to learn to get over myself and get on board.  The best way to do that for me is to plop me in a place where I am continually amazed my others so much that I don't have time to worry about me.  I want to do everything I can to help them to continue to be great.  Greatness doesn't lie in the doing things of your own making.  Greatness lies in doing what you can to further the kingdom and helping others along the way.  Maybe nothing I will ever do will be considered great, but I serve a great God.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bee Keeper

I have a problem.  OK I may have more than one problem but the one I am referring to is bees.  They are still residing inside my shed.  I have made it my husband's job to get the mower out of the shed so I can mow.  (Yes I mow.  I love mowing.  Notice I said mow and not trim.)  I then will leave it out and wait for him to put it back.  Today he had to go to work while I was mowing.  I left the mower and such out as long as I could, but then I started worrying about rain and do I really want to leave the shed open and the mower out when it rains?  I started weighing the options. Like:  Would the rain kill the bees and if it stormed hard enough would it knock their hives off the inside of the shed door if it is left open?  What are the chances of some crazy person using the gas for the mower to set my shed on fire if they go to steal something and the bees attack?  Those bees are either a nuisance or a really great security system.

After I finished weighing all of the options and asking everyone I knew if they had a bee keeper costume (Is it a costume?  Uniform?  Suit?  No clue.) I could borrow to put my mower away (they didn't), I decided to get creative.  I decided that the best way to get the mower put away without getting stung on the back of the neck (again) was to come up with something to wear for protection.  So...I put on my long winter recess coat with the hood up to protect my head and neck, my tall rain boots to protect my legs and feet and some gloves.

At the moment I finished getting ready to go my son came downstairs.  He took one look at me and said, "Really mom?  What are you doing?"  To which I replied, "Going to put the mower away?"  As if it should be obvious what I am doing dressed like I'm ready for snow and  flood.  Hello?  Bees?  They stung me on the back of the neck not long ago.  "You are going outside like that?" he says.  "Uh yeah I need protection from the bees."  (And as my bee keeper costume is in the shop I decided to use my creativity to get it done. I think to myself.)  He just shook his head and went back upstairs.  I went stomping outside and took care of business.  It worked like a charm.

So the bees may have won the first round, but this time I think I figured out how to get around them.  I have a problem.  That problem currently is a family of bees living on the inside of my shed door.  They need to move or I need to move.  Neither of us seems in a hurry.  Until then I have created my own bee keeper costume for getting in and out of my shed. 

Why I Move

If you look at my personal Facebook page you will find that I tend to live anywhere from Maryland to France.  I tend to change where I live and where I am from every few months or so.  I also never refer to my husband or my children by their real names and I have every protective block I know how to put up on my account.   

You may think that this seems a little bit extreme and you may be right.  Oh I also never “check in” anywhere and I will not be giving a play by play if and when I go on vacation.  I do have what I think to be very good reasons for why I do what I do.  The main reason is that I’m scared of crazy town.  My mother was married to a crazy person for fifteen years and when I got married I couldn’t put in the paper where we would live and I didn’t put it in the paper when I had children.  The reason is crazy town.  My mother’s husband lived there and he may have been the leader.  He has long since passed away but I know there are more like him in the world and I will do everything I can to protect my family.

I don’t state where I went to school and I don’t put where I really live because I don’t want to be found.  The people that I’m friends with know where to find me.  They know where I live.  They also know who I am referring to when I refer to my husband and my children.  I don’t have to spell it out for them.

I don’t “check in” because I don’t think anyone needs to know where I am and I am not going to update you while I’m on vacation because I don’t want to get robbed.  As far as I’m concerned nothing says “please rob me” like announcing on the internet that you are on vacation.  I’m not going to post pictures of the beach when I’m at the beach so you know how far away I am from my house.  That’s asking for a personalized visit from crazy town. 

I’m a writer.  I have a vivid imagination to be sure, but also I have people who think they know me because they have read what I have allowed them to read about my life.  The reason I know this is because I have authors I read and I too feel as though I know them and that we are friends.  I don’t know them and we are not friends.  This was confirmed when I went to another author’s book signing in June.  She told a story of one of her readers showing up at her house.  They had found her and thought they could show up there unannounced and uninvited.  This only confirmed my fears and solidified the ideas of protection that I had set in place.  Stating that I live in the Midwest gives me a few states as a cushion.  Moving anywhere that sounds interesting that day will serve only to confuse those who don’t know and entertain those who do. 

So I move around mostly to ease my mind.  I understand that it may seem odd or even ridiculous.  For me though as I look at my children and the life we have together I know there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to protect them.  I am greatly blessed by my readers, those known and those unknown, but I don’t want you coming for a visit unless I invite you or you call first. 

To the authors that I love to read and sometimes I think I know; I get it.  I am not going to hunt you down to visit and be best friends.  I’d like to be best friends but I’m not going to show up unannounced at your house.  That’s just creepy.  You can just come visit me...if you can find me.  Just don’t forget to call first.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Opposites Attract

 Our pastor at church just started a new sermon series about the many names of God.  He has been at our church for about six months now but already I like his style.  He doesn’t use any notes.  This impresses me because I have a tendency to forget what I am going to say mid-sentence.  I will start to say something and get distracted and never finish.  By the time my husband asks me what I was going to say it is gone.  Obviously it wasn’t as important as sharing God’s word but I still have a fear of public speaking.  Or maybe it is more of a fear of being looked at.  All those eyes looking at me, waiting for what I would say, it freaks me out. 

Anyway, I like that our pastor doesn’t use notes but I also like that he breaks things down so I can understand it.  Sometimes the message hits me like a wrecking ball.  I stop and I’m like, “Wow, how amazing is that?”  I have never been good at math or science.  They aren’t my subjects.  My husband is very good at math and science and history.  I prefer English and literature and creative type subjects.  We are opposites and yet we complement each other.  I bring this up because Sunday the pastor used some Chemistry to get his point across. 

Protons, neutron, electrons, atoms, positive charges, negative charges all things that I vaguely remember from school and you can be sure I haven’t thought about since.  I did remember that positive and negative charges like each other and I do know enough to know that everything is made of atoms.  I will tell you that I snuck glances at my scientific husband every now and then to see how it was going.  Normally I would have to ask for the breakdown from him afterward but I followed well…I think.  Protons and neutrons are at the center of a nucleus.  Protons are positively charged and neutrons have no charge so what keeps them there?  It is a mystery until you realize just what it is that holds everything together.  Jesus.

Have you ever had things just fall apart?  Have you ever just been broken?  Have you ever had a hard time just holding it all together?  I have.  Jesus holds the entire earth and everything in it together.   He holds them in the palm of his hand.  The same hands that took the nails when He died on the cross to save you are the ones that hold everything together.  He can hold you together too. 

It was a powerful message as I said before.  I like the messages that shake you up the best.  Thing I hadn’t really considered really came together and when they did I was awed.  I was awed by the wonder of a powerful God.  How amazing is it that we have a God that we can come to and just fall apart?  A God that we can take our burdens to and lay them at His feet and know that He will handle it is a powerful thing.   

What are you searching for?  What are you missing?  Can I suggest that it may be the same thing that I searched for in all the wrong places?  You can search your entire life on earth for someone or something to make you complete but you will always come up lacking.  We are designed and made to make connection with God.  He is the only one who can complete you and make you whole.  What a relief it is when you finally do. 

Protons, Neutrons, Electrons, You, Me, The Earth, The Moon, and everything in between God made them all and holds them all together.  Let Him hold you together too.