Tag Archives: teaching

Wear Those Hats Proudly

This morning as my daughter was getting ready for school, we almost forgot that it was Hat Day! Therefore at the last minute, we searched through her closet and found several options to choose from. From a beach hat to a few wool ones to the princess cap that she picked, they were all right there. She did not need to carry a bag full of them to school or pile them all upon her head. Instead, she picked one and went off to school. I could not help but reflect on the simplicity in that and how life these days has become quite the opposite. Our days seem to be full with a large arrange of hats to wear and roles to fill with no choice on the table but to wear them all.

For most of us, 2020 has given us so many more hats to wear. From wife to mother to teacher to therapist to technology support to coach to comedian to detective to motivator to entertainer to EVERYTHING ELSE, this year has given us all so many more roles to play. And that alone is exhausting. I don’t know about you, but I was exhausted before 2020 even hit.

Still, it came and continues to challenge us to the core. 2020 has challenged us out of our comfort zones and into uncomfortable places. And while most of us do not like to be uncomfortable, it is in the discomfort we grow. It is in the discomfort we learn. It is in the discomfort we are challenged. It is in the discomfort we step into more. It is in the discomfort we become everything we were created to become. It is in the discomfort that God is working and right besides us. So, embrace God during this time and even if it all feels so heavy and like nothing makes sense, lean into Him and trust. Make room for Him. Put it all into His hands. Then, use those emptied hands to grab a hold of His word and His promises. Then together with Him, embrace those hats and wear them all proudly and boldly, knowing that there is a whole world out there, out of our comfort zones, waiting for us.

So, while there may be a lot of suffering, pain and discomfort, choose to trust and believe that with every step you take in and through it, God is using it to make you stronger…because YOU were made for more.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So wear those hats proudly and wave them boldly through the raging storms. Celebrate all that you are growing into…and the strength that is being uncovered within you… because it is something truly amazing! Most importantly, use your gifts and embrace the most important hat we all have access to… being a believer and child of God.

Why Wait?

In even these days alone,

where handshakes and hugs are all pushed aside

forbidden protection behind locked doors

there is a God who provides.

There is something greater,

We can all embrace.

for we all have gifts,

no matter what we face.

We are all made for a purpose,

no matter what giants come our way.

We all have the ability to make a difference,

no matter where we must stay.

For we are all made for more

so we must silence the questions

and doubts that ask, “What for?”

We all have the chance to use this

to make someone’s day or even our own,

for in the quiet times of chaos,

if we rest with Jesus,

out of discomfort,

strength is grown.

 

So while we may be at a pause,

and while the unknown tries to spin us round,

why wait for tomorrow

when today is where life is found.

 

Therefore, think about it.  What have you been gifted? No matter what you do not have right now; you have even more.  No matter how unsettling it may feel; use this time to find peace in God. Use this time to draw nearer to Him and ask that He shows you how to use your incredible gifts.  He has always called us to rest in Him and now is the perfect time.

The time is not perfect.  Our situations are not perfect. But, it doesn’t need to be perfect.  It cannot be perfect. Nothing in life is perfect.  In fact, our imperfections are what make us beautiful.  They are what make us real. They are what make us capable.

So think outside of the box and use your gifts right here, and right now.  Use them to create and spread love at a time when the world needs every shade of hope,

every avenue of love,

every color of the rainbow.

Why wait?

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#bettertogether #thinkoutsidethebox #itsnotperfect #usingwhatwehave #alwayswantedpinkrainbows #spreadlove #godisgreater #pray #everythingwillbeokay #spreadtheword #makearainbow #righthererightnow

 

Equipped with Gifts
Luke 9-10:42, ‭Psalms‬ ‭37:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬, ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
but they do not come from the world,
still in the craziness of life
the true essence of our lives can become lost,
for though few are needed,
God’s will has a plan for us all
it is free, ready and prepared
but when we waste our skills, time and focus on selfish ways
there is a cost.

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
for we are each God’s handiwork
we are each created in Christ to do such work
that is beautiful, selfless and good
God’s will has a plan for each of us
it is free, ready and beautiful
this work He prepared in advance
for us to do
that is the principle
that now must be understood.

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
we must trust in the Lord and do good
dwell in the land where He has called
and enjoy safe pasture each day
for God’s will has a plan for each of us
it is free, ready and laid out
so we must go to Him to lead us
He is the truth
He is the light
He is the way.

Ready are our gifts
prepared are our calls
for humble our hearts
and silence our ways
to see and hear like Jesus all of our days.
So let’s discover and uncover our gifts
let’s grow and flourish them in His word
let’s not try to be who we are not
instead let’s be who God calls us to be
let’s use those incredible gifts to do our part,
and to see and act on what He needs us to see.

And even if it is not how we expected
even if it is not how we planned
in love and truth we must live
using our gifts to serve
giving all we have to give.
For every moment can be a new start
where we first
take delight in the Lord
for that is where He will give you
the desires of your heart.

Our gifts are ready
our callings prepared
let’s use them to be who God wants us to be
let’s use them do what God wants us to do
He honors obedience
and so use those gifts and do not wait
for fully equipped are each one of you.

 

 

Use What You Have (Luke 9)

In the chaos the day, in the haunting of the night

what is being lost

God needs you now

so use what you have,

it is free of any cost.

 

Bring what you have, bring the gifts,

bring them all

for He will multiply

do not question

just listen to the heart

for that is where He speaks truth

louder than any lie.

 

What can we do, what can we say

it is a troubled time

each night, and each day

and yet He tells us all,

“You give them something to eat.”

with only what we have

God uses our little to do

great thing after great thing

so be the one who listens

and let it be your gifts that you bring.

 

In the chaos the day, in the haunting of the night

we cannot risk what can be lost

God needs us now

to use what we have,

for if we don’t,

life, lives and love all can be the cost.

So shine the truth, shine your light

through your gifts

no matter where you are at

shine, shine, shine

use it all

so that through the darkness

the great news of Jesus shines bright.

 

 

How will you be remembered?

james & katie

During a few teachable moments throughout each year, I ask my students to think about how they wish to be remembered. However, it is not just a message for middle school students. It is also one everyone can reflect on including myself. Despite any mess we may be walking or even sitting in, we all have purpose. Our stories are our greatest testimonies.

On the toughest days, place your hand on your heart. Feel that? That is purpose! You are alive for a reason. Keep moving and believingkeep learning to live.

Keep moving forward step by step even if it is uncomfortable at first. And forgive yourself if you slip up and fall back. Today is a new day for a reason. Never give up, no matter how messy life gets. For it is in the mess, new beauty can be found. So hold on boldly to this wild and precious ride we call life.

For it will change you as you change the world in your own unique, and beautiful way. But first remember the change starts within…

You’re a “Dump Truck”

Maybe I’m bias, but TJ has the cutest little voice. No matter what he says I just want to eat him up even if the words are not properly pronounced or if his story about school does not add up.

Likewise, watching and listening to a toddler first gain their voice is amazing and a learning experience in itself, even more than I thought it was…as I recently found out.

My daughter started to speak in sentences way before we remember my son doing so. Or at least, her delivery was much clearer. However, as parents for the first time, we had no idea what was “typical” and what wasn’t. (I say that loosely as no two children are alike.)

Sure, there were times, TJ got frustrated with us when we did not understand fully what he was trying to tell us. But then, we saw how clever he was to figure out how to give us clues to get us to understand.

“Mommy, you know what I mean.   It rhymes with pain and rain, and it is on your head.”

“Oh brain! How clever! Great problem-solving skills!

Plus, as a special education teacher I never wanted to over-analyze my own children when it wasn’t necessary. So we corrected him when needed and even had a good laugh the times that called for it… like the time he called to my brother-in-law,

“Hey! Uncle Frankie, you’re a dumb #$@%!” …

…aka dump truck.
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What a cute, hilarious scene at Christmas that year when TJ was 3.5.

But …

Fast forward to just after Christmas a year later…

when I received his preschool report card. He received all 4s out of 5s except for speaking in full sentences which he did for us. He got a 2!?!?! Then I turned to the back to read the note,

“TJ has a kind heart and is nice to everyone. He gets frustrated when his friends can’t understand him. I love his art!”

What!?!? “He gets frustrated when his friends can’t understand him.”

Okay, maybe there was more to this than we knew. After I started to panic, how could we have missed this? Or overlooked it? Did we not read enough books? Would he get picked on or bullied in kindergarten? Did we teach him all wrong? Did we fail him? What other trauma did we cause him? What did I do wrong? And a million other questions….

But then I reminded myself …. breath … pray… breath …

So, I spoke to a close friend at work who works part time at another facility for speech and she calmed me down, suggesting I take him there for an evaluation.   She also mentioned that sometimes problems with eating and speaking are related which got me thinking some more.

A week later, I took TJ to get evaluated and sure enough, he needed speech. Interestingly enough, we learned that some of the problem letters like g and k that were causing him to not be understood were due to lack of muscle strength in his mouth. All related to feeding too!!!

Now, anyone who knows us and knows TJ, knows how we have spent his whole life asking him to chew or eat…. reminding him to chew and eat.

“TJ, what are you eating? TJ, chew your food. TJ, eat. TJ, EEAAATTT!!!!!”

He has always been such a sloooooooooooooooow eater and now we knew part of a reason why….

He mainly uses his front teeth.

So, we had a couple added challenges. But wherever there are problems, there can be solutions as well. Thank God for that!

Therefore, we started using bite blocks and a chewy tube to strengthen his back mouth muscles while also practicing letters and words that he knows how to say but has started to form bad habits with.  This is in addition to speech/feeding class thirty minutes a week.

So while our dining room table now has even more clutter on it with our speech tools and worksheets on it, at least we won’t let any dump trucks trip us up anymore.