Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Goodbyes and Hellos

      Today was the end of something beautiful. I turned in my key and walked out of school for the last official time. I've been feeling the bittersweetness of this day as it drew near, but I didn't realize it would hit me quite as hard as it did. This was my fourth year at Heartland Christian Academy and they were amazing years. I learned so much working there and have been truly blessed to be Mrs. Williams the 3rd and 4th grade teacher. I've grown and learned, been taught lessons and laughed. I've been frustrated and overjoyed and I am so thankful for all of it.
      I got hired for the job a week before school started back in 2013. I was thrown into it and started learning right away. I've never enjoyed a job quite as much as I did working there. I was beyond blessed by the women I worked with and created some very strong friendships. God is so very good!
     And now comes my next job, being a mom. A job that I have dreamed about and waited for. It is going to be so good. Adventures Ahead!

The week before I started at Heartland, getting my room in order.(Photo credits to the Lovely Keren Ruth)

It's a good place and I look forward to stopping in throughout the rest of the year for things like science fair!

Saying goodbye to my classroom today. 

This morning at assembly, they had me come up so they could pray for me and give me this lovely painting. It's the fingerprints of everyone at school. Pretty sweet!

And now Baby Williams, please feel free to make your appearance(My due date is Friday). I can't wait to meet you!

"Every story has an end, but in life, every end is a new beginning." ~Unknown

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Life Lately and the Waiting Game

      Sunday evening is here and we are at the beginning of a new week. Life is good and beauty abounds. We have been having some of the most ridiculous February weather. It has been in the 40's and 50's. It is so warm and when that is coupled with sunshine, it just doesn't get much better. On Friday, I took the kids out and we enjoyed the sunshine. They had to wear snow pants and boots due to the mounds of melting snow, but other than that we were in shirt sleeves and sweatshirts.
      It's also getting lighter in the mornings, to the point that the sun is pretty much up by the time I get to school in the morning and I'm starting to hear birds singing. There is something about those first sounds of bird song in the late winter that always fill me with joy and peace. I am the first person to get to school in the mornings, and I will often get out of my car, stop, and just listen to the sweet sound. It makes me smile.
      Speaking of school, things are starting to get real around here. My sub starts this week, I will be working with her for about a week before I am done(unless Baby Williams decides to come earlier than his due date, which is less than 2 weeks away!!!!) It is a little bittersweet. I am so excited about becoming a mom and all that but I also know that I am going to miss to Heartland Christian Academy and teaching. It has been a truly amazing blessing to work there. I think God pretty much tailor made that job for me. I was just out of college and starting to think that I wouldn't find a job that year when I got called for a interview a week before school started. I have had such a wonderful time gathering stories, creating memories, laughing over the things students say and do, and building friendships.
     But like I said, Baby Williams is due in less than 2 weeks and the excitement is mounting. I have been thinking about how waiting for a baby is unlike waiting for anything else because the date you are counting down to is really just a rough estimate. Who knows when he will decide to show his face. I can hardly wait. I've decided that elephants must be his thing because he already has three of them as well as a couple blankets with elephants on them. I'm good with that.

    I have discovered that making double thick receiving blankets is a rather quick and easy project, plus they are fun to personalize with some embroidery. I started this one yesterday. 

      And then there is music. I don't know about you, but music has a way of imprinting in my brain in a very strong way. I associate times in my life with the different songs that I was listening to at the time. Also, when I find a song I like, I tend to listen to it on repeat(sometimes to the chagrin of the people around me). One artist that I particularly like is Owl City. I was first introduced to it by My Love before we even started dating. In some ways, I would say that we fell in love to a sound track of Owl City, and it continues to be music that is able to take me to my happy place. I bring this up, because today the Lovely Keren Ruth sent me a text to let me know about a new Owl City song she had discovered, it has been on repeat around here this evening. Go ahead and enjoy!

     As for things I've been learning lately. In my journey of changing my perspective and finding Jesus in a new way, I'm coming to the realization that I simply cannot listen to the voice of worry that so often pops up in my head. It seems like this should be common sense, and believe me, my husband has told me this on many occasions, but I am silly and sometimes I need to come to realizations on my own in order for them to stick. I just can't give that voice the time of day, no matter how persistent it is. Also, I need to be extra vigilant to guard my thoughts when I am tired. Because when I am tired, I am completely irrational and loose my line of defense against fear. 
    Another thing I realized the other day(Though My Love has tried to get me to see this before) is that I simply have got to stop looking backwards. I get so caught up in the past, in whether I should or should not have done something that I trip myself up in my forward motion. It's like I try to move forward by walking backwards. Sure I may make it a few steps, but inevitably, I run into something or fall over. If I am going to move forward, then that is where my eyes have to be. 
     Well, that about sums it up for now. May the week ahead of you be as lovely as the weather around here as been. Keep your eyes forward and remember that The One who created music is writing the soundtrack of your life and it's a beautiful thing! Happy Sunday. 

"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." ~Omar Khayyam 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Stories, House Help, and Fun

     It was Beach Week at school this past week. This week tends to be one of my favorite out of the school year. It allows my inner Miss Frizzle to shine. Some of the days included:

Wacky Wednesday. I was struggling to think of what to wear and so Luke googled ideas for me and this is what the results were. I just so happened to have a shirt that was the perfect color for Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. I think this was my favorite outfit of the week. 

 Hawaii Day. I will say, I don't like to be cold so I went for the layered tropical look. 

Crazy Hair Day. I brought back the 80's

Class Color Day. My room had yellow. Wearing a tie with your apron is the classy way to go.

      Friday was the end of quarter reward so we took the kids skiing at Buena Vista. This was the first year that I didn't get to ski with them, but it was enjoyable day regardless. 

     Then Yesterday, the Lovely Keren Ruth and Benjamin were taking pictures for a wedding, so Mr. Ephraim and I got to hang out together. He helped me with my house cleaning. He is one happy camper and laid back little dude. 

We started by cleaning the bathrooms, he did the sweeping. 

Then we vacuumed. 

And he decided to organize my cupboards even though that wasn't on the list for the day. 

All that work makes a body hungry. 

    On to other things, the Lovely Keren Ruth and I have taken pictures together in the same spot at Church ever since Luke and I got married. Some how that just became the place where we would take a picture when we had a color contest, showed up matching, or just needed a photo. We hadn't taken one recently, so today we made it happen. Keren pointed out the other day, the fact that we are truly spectacular posers. What can I say!

Mara used our spot today as well. 

    And then there is this crazy story, and it makes me smile. This is my friend Katy. A couple years ago, her husband Andrew got a job up here. He showed up at Church one Wednesday night that Luke and I had stayed home. I got a text from Bonnie telling me that a family member of mine had visited Church. I asked her the name and it didn't ring a bell. But she said that he was somehow related to my Grandpa and Grandma Shearer, so I texted my Dad. It turns out he was my second cousin, meaning we share great grandparents. His wife Katy grew up in my grandparents Church and I remember her from VBS when I was quite little. Our parents all know each other and our grandparents are all friends, It's a small world out there. In these past two years they have become really good friends and we feel blessed to have them around. It just so happens that Katy is expecting their third baby and is due 1 day after me. So, these babies are 3rd cousins. 

May the rest of your Sunday be delightful and your week ahead a grand one! 

"Look at the beautiful world around you." ~Unknown 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

For the Days We Don't Understand

       I do not always understand the Bible or God. I have frequently ended my devotion time confused and frustrated.  I read something and I allow the tangled web that is my brain get it all mixed up and confused and before you know it I'm frustrated or worried because I either don't get something, or I've allowed my own understanding in and that has clouded the truth.
      What I'm starting to learn is that I will never fully understand the mystery of God, at least not until I meet Him face to face, and that is ok. I need to get comfortable with my not understanding. I don't mean that I should give up pressing in or trying to understand, what I mean is I need to come to the realization that it's a learning process and I may not understand everything right away or in the time frame that I would like. I'm also slowly starting to learn that when I don't understand something, I can't let fear and the idol of my own understanding come flying in, because the minute I let that happen I loose all sense of logic and end up taking steps backwards instead of forwards.
      As I was thinking about this this afternoon, I thought about how it relates, in a way, to a problem I often come across as a teacher. Occasionally, usually in math, we will hit a topic that for some reason my students just can't seem to grasp. It doesn't seem to matter how much I explain it or lay out the steps, I simply end up with blank stares or looks of dismay(long division anyone).
      I know that the best way to teach students a topic is to help them to understand the "why" of something, but I also have come to realize that there are days they may just not get the "why," but we still need to learn the "how." They may not yet grasp the "why" of how long division works, but we need to at least get the "how" so that they can begin working to solve the problems.
      I know that for myself, the "why" for a lot of math things didn't really click till I was much older, but I could do the problems, I had figured out the "how." When we hit these road blocks in the classroom, I tell the kids that for now they need to just trust me and follow the steps that I've shown them, and that we will survive the unit.
     Back to my struggle with understanding, I can apply this same lesson. When I hit a road block and don't understand, instead of freaking out(which doesn't help ever, be it the Bible or math) I need to lean back into trust and God's peace. Trust what I do know, trust the wise and godly people God has put in my life, trust that some day I will figure it out, or even if I don't that's ok, because God is so good and full of grace. It says in Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I love this verse for multiple reasons, one of them being that part about God's peace transcending my understanding. But I've got to be willing to let that peace in. 
      Well, a brand new day is upon us. Lessons and Adventures abound. Happy Thursday!

"Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching." ~Unknown