31 Days of Living Local · thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday {31 Days: Day 10}

I used to do a lot more Thankful Thursday posts, and then, I don’t know, I got busy and though I wasn’t ungrateful for anything, sometimes I act like it. So today, all I’ve got is this.

That’s last fall.  New pictures are being taken tomorrow.  He’s bigger, their hair is shorter (well, not Amelia’s), and time is marching past me way too fast. I’m thankful for my incredible photographer friend and that she’ll spare a few moments tomorrow to capture just a bit of what really is my local these days.  {and guess what?  Keep reading, you might even want to subscribe!, because at the end of the month, she’s part of a giveaway right here.}

When I was being more intentional about counting my blessings, I often linked up with Julia.  She’s a local friend who moved to Louisville for her husband to finish seminary, and now it’s their home and ministry.  She and Lance are incredible people who are bringing home a baby girl from Ethiopia very soon!  If you’d like to read about their adoption journey or support them by making a purchase in her Etsy shop do so here.

Embracing my blessings today. What are you thankful for?

For all my posts in this 31 Days series on Living Local click here.

reflections · school · thankful Thursday

How A Teacher Keeps Her Optimism

 

When I left my classroom two years ago to stay home and raise babies and blog stats, I didn’t expect to miss teaching much.  I didn’t expect that this time every year, I would get a little wistful for new pencils and Expo markers and highlighters.  I didn’t expect that this time every year, I would miss the anticipation of readying my classroom for a new group of silly, rambunctious, and yet, ambitious young teenagers.  I didn’t realize that even though I had left the classroom, that my teacher optimism, that beautiful gift teachers have to believe every new year will be better than the last, would remain so deeply embedded in  my heart.

You see, it never occurred to me that I could miss teaching because by the time I left, I had allowed myself to be so beaten down and discouraged that I had no hope the next year would be any better.

 

Teaching is an ironic profession.  In the same day that you can spend all your extra planning time helping a student organize their backpack and locker in order to find three weeks of lost homework, you can sit at a conference table with parents and have profanity hurled at you for not giving enough of your time and energy to have made that same student successful from day one.
One thing that drove me away was the feeling that I wasn’t doing a good enough job raising my own children, because I was so afraid to fail at raising someone else’s.
A teacher’s career is filled with accolades and rewards, but that career is forged in the fire of expectations from lawmakers and parents that are often unrealistic and unachievable for our current system.
Teaching today is an intense, data driven, marathon.  There is always some new piece of technology or curriculum on the horizon.  Textbooks are becoming obsolete, and classrooms are equipped with laptops and iPads.  Email is the new parent contact, and weekly, if not daily, updates of grades and reports are expected.
When I was teaching middle school, I could use my 90-minute planning block to attend a parent conference, help write an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), analyze benchmark test scores to determine our Response to Intervention (RTI) tiers, administer a make-up test, pull novels for my students’ next library check out, and grade half a dozen essays.
There was nothing easy about it, but one thing that made my days worthwhile, and kept me going through eight years and five certifications, were the all too rare times a parent was supportive.  When a parent took the time to acknowledge the work I was doing to bring education alive for their student, that’s when I knew I was in the right place.
So, this fall when you take your student to Open House, when you meet their teacher for the first time, when you attend a parent conference, or chaperone a field trip, go out of your way to thank your student’s teacher for all they do.
It’s those few and far between accolades of support that fuel a teacher’s optimism, that reminds them, indeed, every year can be a little bit better than the last.

 

 

Home · thankful Thursday

Letting Go of My Next House {thankful thursday}

So if you’ve followed me for anytime at all, you’ve heard me refer to my tiny house.  This house, right here.

Don’t worry, that’s an old picture.  I don’t still have pumpkins in my yard.  I do, however, still have Christmas stuff on the porch.

For a few years now, I’ve really struggled with this house.  With the fact that it seems to have no living space and there’s only one shower and at some point all of my kids have had to share a room.

Whoa, epiphany.

I get those sometimes, like this morning, while I was brushing my teeth and Gus was unfolding the clean socks on my bed using his new top teeth.

Even if our house was bigger, I would still have four kids.  And guess what?  They would still have to share rooms because no house within our budget needs five bedrooms.

So I’m letting go of my “next house”.  I’ve been working on this for awhile.  Lately, we have people over more and I just let the kids make big messes that then we clean up.  We hang out in the kitchen or the living room or the dining room but it’s all the same room, so no one is ever left out or wondering what’s going on in that other room.  We leave dishes in the sink and shoes in the foyer and kids cut through my bedroom to the back deck and it’s all good.  It’s cozy and comfortable and chaotic.  But when the day comes that I can have that “next house”, it won’t be like this.

My kids will be bigger.  My friends won’t be just down the street or up the hill.

So this house might be little, but it’s got a foundation that’s solid.

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family · sisters · thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday {it’s a whole new month!}

I’m with Julia.  I’m so glad my series is over.  But, I might do it again next year…maybe.  Today I’m just thankful to be putting up a little post about little things and introducing you to a few little changes on the little blog.  Which makes me grateful for my 31 days posts because that definitely prompted me to make some changes.

I’m going to be adding some pages over the next couple of weeks, a little more about who I am and why I write and what this blog is and a page to begin linking my favorite recipes to.  I’ve decided that right now my favorite things to write about are random motherhood musings and really delicious whole-food recipes that fit my budget and my family.  Hopefully you’ll find something to interest you in keeping up with me.

I’m so glad it’s November.  I could hang out in November a lot longer than 30 days, not because I don’t love Christmas, but because it doesn’t come with the rush December inevitably brings.  November, for us, is slow.

We bid October farewell with lots of candy and frigid (for Georgia) temperatures.  I take no credit for those Halloween costumes hiding under the big girls’ coats and scarves.  It was all their dance teacher and for that I am very grateful.

My baby sister drove three hours to hang out with us for one.  I sent her home with lots of candy and the promise that she’s the favorite aunt…for the moment.

This exersaucer is the best $12 purchase I’ve ever made.  Viva la consignment sale!

Leaves are my one of my favorite fall motifs…though I wish jumping in them didn’t result in little leaf bits all over my house.

I’m so grateful that we had a quick beach getaway a couple of weeks ago, but I’m not sure how I feel about Amelia trying to kiss the fish at the aquarium, although I gotta admit, I love this picture.

Another item coming to the blog is going to be a series about how I’m learning to love the home we’re in.  The Nester is partially responsible for challenging me to stop putting so much pressure on my next house, but I’ve also spent a little time over at Bird and Branch and am realizing that a small home can be amazingly beautiful if I will open my eyes to what I have.

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motherhood · thankful Thursday

Why Yes, I am "Just" a Mom

In the past year, ever since I resigned my teaching position and became a full-time stay-at-home-mom I’ve had an identity crisis.  I used to tell people I was a teacher.  Actually, I used to tell people I was a middle school reading teacher and then laugh and accept the humbling praise that inevitably came along with telling anyone that I was choosing, willingly, to spend all day long with a bunch of fresh teenagers whose hormones controlled their every mood.

Then I started staying home with my almost two year old.  And, I’ll confess, it was a little hard to introduce myself to people as just a mom.

For some reason that phrase carries a tinge to it that feels indulgent.  Shameful, almost.  No, I couldn’t hack it as a full-time employee outside my home, so instead I chose to stay here.  And instead of sarcastic teenagers, I get screaming toddler.

Sure, it’s an even trade.  So why did I have a hard time admitting that it’s what I do, it’s what I’m proud of, it’s who I am, and what I’m called for?

Because sometimes people just don’t quite get it.  There’s almost a martyrdom associated with being a mom who works and still does everything (and sometimes more) than I do in a 24-hour period.  I know women who admit that working makes them a better mom, makes them appreciate their children more, makes them value the time they have.

But I wasn’t one of them.

I wanted to build a home at home.  Each day.  Every day.  All the time.  Well, occasionally, I like a break.  But, generally, I wanted to be here, not there.

Yet, I held myself back from embracing that identity.  For so long, I have been a teacher, a coach, a mentor. I’m good in the classroom.  I’m confident and interesting and probably too arrogant.  I know what I’m doing. I know which books to put in the hands of reluctant readers and how to analyze test data and when to introduce complex-compound sentences.

But I don’t want to do it anymore.  And I may not ever want to do that again, at least not full-time.  Knowing this used to scare me.  I felt like I was losing a bit of who I had always been.

But something’s happened to me in the past few weeks.  Somehow, I’ve started to see who I really am and who I want to really be and where my heart is right now.

And there should be no shame in that.

This is what He’s called me to.  This tiny home that’s full to bursting with laughter and tantrums and garden tomatoes and birthday parties and nursery furniture and baby dolls.

So, hi.  My name is Lindsey.  I’m a wife.  A mother.  A homemaker.  I work everyday, all day, all night too. Just like every other mother in this world.  I know where to find lost shoes, how to get ketchup stains out of white shirts, when to give Tylenol for a fever, and what’s on the menu for dinner.  I coordinate MOPS and help with AWANA and attend Community Bible Study.  This fall I’m going to garden with first graders and volunteer with preschoolers.  I write a little bit about being a mom and raising girls.  I’m learning what it’s like to have a boy and how to appreciate quiet and revel in noise.  I’ve been a mom for almost eight years, but I’m just now really starting to slow down and enjoy it.

Who are you?

linking up with Julia today because I am so grateful that THIS is what I do.

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reflections · summer · thankful Thursday

A Slower Time

There’s nothing like a few days camping in the woods with the rain to remind me to slow.

Slow down.  Set a different pace.  Our only clock was on the dashboard in the van, because when cell phones can only be recharged by a running vehicle and electricity is for those folks “not real camping” as my children say, a specific time ceases to matter.

We measured bedtime by exhaustion and dinner by hunger.  I fed Gus when he seemed hungry and my full chest agreed.  It rained for hours or maybe less, but its hard to count when raindrops on the tent fly pulse out a rhythm ideal for sleeping.

It was chaotic,
but slow.

It was work,
but there was also play.

We camped at Davidson River Campground in Brevard, NC.  It’s a place that ushers you into Mt. Pisgah National Forest and invites one to stay for days exploring land that once all belonged to George Vanderbilt and his Biltmore dynasty.

Could you imagine owning a waterfall?

Last year we swam at Looking Glass Falls and plunged into the frigid waters of Sliding Rock, but this year the rain kept us exploring in Asheville all day and drove us to a hearty breakfast at a local Cracker Barrel.  When it wasn’t raining we stayed in camp, swimming in the icy waters of the river and watching the girls jump off the rocks countless times.  We talked to strangers like they were old friends and we all delighted in our little explorers who paddled upriver to see what they could see.  They sailed back down on inner tubes and rafts, shrieking summer as the sun struggled to peek through the clouds.

We had to pack up way too soon and back home in the reality of missed calls and emails, answering machines and deadlines, I longed for the woods.

For the pace of slow.

Linking up with my friend Julia who gave me the perfect excuse to cheat my “no dairy for baby” policy and eat amazing pimento cheese.  Also linking with Kate Says Stuff.

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amelia · motherhood · savor · thankful Thursday

The End of the Beginning

My baby crawled into bed with me today.  The baby whose world is about to be completely different.  The baby who is about to learn how to truly share mommy and share toys and share space and share love.

She woke up from her nap and couldn’t find me.  I heard her pitter-patter feet on the hardwoods and then a moment later she was using her daddy’s side of the quilt to haul herself up beside me, whimpering a bit because she wasn’t quite awake and mommy hadn’t immediately been there.

Almost every afternoon I lift her from her crib turned toddler bed and buckle her into her carseat to fetch her sissies from school.  Almost every afternoon I’m right where she expects me to be.  And today when she finally discovered I was resting, she crawled up beside me, tucked her head under my chin and went back to sleep, all heavy limbs and soft breathing and swirly hair tickling my nose.

I love her so much.

I love her sisters, too, but she was different.  We expected her and anticipated her and savored her, sure she was the very last.

I cried the first time she walked and again when she finally nursed for the last time.  For the past few days (and probably for the few remaining) every time I rock her, I wonder if it’s the last time it’s just the two of us on these sleepy afternoons.

Today I held her close and marveled at how perfectly and wonderfully made she is and thanked God that He has taught me to appreciate these moments.

So I will be ready for the ones to come.

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