Thursday, January 28, 2010

Out of my comfort zone

Out of my comfort zone... and it's not such a bad place to be...
I have been growing and stretching in ways that have gotten me out of my comfort zone. I have been challenged to grow and to lead and do things I usually shy away from. I am finding out that I can do so much more than I ever thought possible. And the things I am not-so-good at... well, I am learning that I need to be in a place that if it does fall on me to do those things, how to do it with a smile then trust God to let the pieces fall into place. When God is in the midst of you serving, it is not you, but God.

My confidence has been growing. It has even started showing up in other areas of my life. Yesterday, I was treating myself to Starbucks (thanks, those of you who provided me with gift cards for Christmas!). I was running around after work and did not know HOW I would stay awake for Wednesday night services. While I was waiting for my coffee, the barista asked me if I was having a good day (did I look that tired?) and I actually engaged in a conversation with her. This is something I usually do not do. But I did. It was good. I walked away determined to keep taking those little steps out of my comfort zone... and just see where they lead.

Skip to church...

I am helping lead the children's Wednesday night services. I enjoy it. It is magical for me... I am so exhausted on Wednesday nights. Getting everyone ready and up to church can be a struggle. But once I'm there and see the kids, it all lifts. I am energized, headaches go away, and words just seem to come. God is there. God uses me. Me! He takes this person, who constantly doubts herself, who doesn't know what she is doing, who is not comfortable in front of people and allows her to take part in His work. I am constantly amazed.
I had thought that me doing so much more serving would be hard on the kids, but they love it. Their faces light up when they see me with the microphone. My face lights up when they tell me I did a good job, and I've even heard "I'm proud of you, mom!" It has given me so many opportunities to grow closer to my family, form wonderful relationships with others, but more importantly, to grow closer to God.
... and it feels good!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Homework tip

Spelling Pre-tests.
I've done them every week with my kids. Sometimes there are tears. I often hear "but my teacher didn't say to do this!" or "It's not on my planner, I don't have to do it!" or other things I won't relive by writing down. We've done creative things, writing in sand, chalk, eraser boards, you name it, we've probably done it. BUT those really cool ideas take time. Now I do FOUR pretests at the same time. That takes talent, people. So we stick to pencil and paper. Until this week with my genus idea!
Nintendo DSI Pictochat!
The kids now all have Nintendo DSIs. There is a chatroom feature. The chatroom capability reaches from our house to a few steps from the back fence. And the kids LOVE it! How cool is it to chat with someone in the same room with you?! It totally cracks me up! But they love it. And now I do too! Why? Because it has saved my Thursday nights!

I get on one Dsi and the kids get on the others and we do the pretests. They all get to chat the words to me. I give them time to set up different colors or backgrounds, so I know who writes what word easier, then we start. I know immediately if they spell a word wrong and I mark it on the list. At the end, if they only have a few words wrong, they get to write it on the chat feature. If it has been a not-so-good pretest, they have to use the old fashion way of pencil and paper. The only problem, we only have 4 Dsi's instead of 5... (HA! "only 4"! Not to long ago, I never thought we would even have one!) someone has to wait until Angela finishes her test (she only has a few words) to start on theirs.

Try it! Or another creative way to do spelling pretests and let me know!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A New Year!

It's a new year. Some very exciting things are planned, but it's the unknown that makes me a bit nervous. We ended 2009 with a two-week vacation for Christmas. It was incredible! The family drama that sometimes accompanies holidays was not there! My kids are old enough now for me to not worry about them and hover over them constantly. The cousins all got along without any problems. I am so blessed.
Christmas was focused on Faith and Family instead of the usual get get get and give give give that can be so exhausting. And what was really cool, as far as presents go, the kids all got what they wanted. (one felt a little slighted by Santa for not getting a webkinz, but on the other hand, was incredibly overwhelmed with what she did get!) The BEST part... MEMORIES! We talked a lot about faith, but the fun times just hanging out with the cousins is what will be remembered. The faith is in the heart daily, the family is something we don't get enough of.
The kids made so many memories, flashlight tag, smores, producing their own Christmas Pageant, dancing, pettiskirts, first hunting trip, playing, games, puzzles, just being together. The memories were not made of expensive outings, but simple, free, just hanging out and letting kids be kids!
In that environment, my kids thrived!
I am so blessed!
Now that we are back from the vacation and the real world is setting in, the fear is back. So it's time to trust. And rely on that faith. I know I can do it. I know through my faith, I can face it and whatever happens... and not just survive, but thrive!
I think I just found my goal for 2010!