Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Teacher Encouragement

This sweet post (Why I Hated Meredith's First Grade Teacher) made me cry.

Take a minute and read it.  It really is a sweet tribute to mom's letting their babies go off to school as well as the teachers who love those kiddos dearly.  I understand both sides of that fence.

I take my job as Mama very seriously and have for the last 8+ years.  My children's teachers have become part of our family, just as Meredith's did.  I have been incredibly grateful for the amazing teachers my children have had and appreciate their sacrifice and commitment to love my children.

I also take my job as teacher very seriously.  I am entrusted with great treasures each day.  I pray each morning that I have His eyes to see them, His heart to love them, and wise words from Him to guide them.  My job is much more than teaching Reading/Language Arts and Social Studies.  I can build up or tear down.  I can encourage or do lifelong damage.  My words have power...and so do the looks I give.

If you would be so kind to stop now and pray that I will do both of these jobs well, I would appreciate it!  On my own, I know I'll mess them both up, but in His strength I can share Light and Love!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Unfair Labor

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.  
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today many in our country will take a day off from our jobs to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.  No matter if we’re celebrating at home or at the beach, we’re entering into a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions - organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions.  Today as we lounge around or hang out with friends and family, we’re not only celebrating hard work, we’re honoring fair, ethical working practices and the laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor in our country.  Without these laws in place (and enforced), the most vulnerable members of society suffer.  Who are the most vulnerable? Children. 

Today as we’re celebrating the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, we’re mindful of the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them.

As a mother, it’s difficult for me to imagine my children working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I’m unable to wrap my brain around the thought of my children engaged in long, hard days of physical labor, eating one meal a day, and then falling asleep at night on a dirt floor filled with other slave children.  Yet this is the daily reality for kids who have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa.  As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again.  Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves.  Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta. 

Get involved.  Watch the video.  Pray. Give.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Our Trip to Arizona ~ July 27-Aug 7

 The wind turbines in west Texas are very cool.  We drove from Dallas to Amarillo and then across northern New Mexico and into Flagstaff, Arizona, where I finished my last year of college.
 Northern Arizona is so beautiful.
 The kids traveled very well.  Jett napped, played with this toy (that we got Rylee on one of our first road trips with her back in 2004!), and babbled.  Rylee read, played her DS, and played games.  The twins did the same and also watched movies.

 I spent a good part of the trip studying for my upcoming (last of 3) teaching exams.  
I also helped navigate since we had to rely on paper maps.  No more iPhone mapping.  We missed it!
 We stopped at the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest just inside Arizona. It was beautiful! The next day we went to the Grand Canyon.

 Jett was being difficult, so he ended up walking barefoot pushing the stroller through the park.

 I got to visit with my dear friend, Kathryn, who serves the Lord with her family abroad.  
I haven't seen her in 7 years so it was really good to visit in person!
 We stayed with our friends, the MacHughs, while we were in Phoenix.  
Jett loved their dog!  Can you tell?

 Between the MacHughs and Fletchers, we had 7 kids (and their #4 will arrive in November).  
It was a full house of laughter and fun, for sure!

 My beautiful friend Kara (and her baby girl).
 We spent time with the Burks family.  Our kids had a blast with their not-so-little guy.

 We went to Arizona to help Nana pack and move to Texas.  Our days were busy with sorting, purging, and packing.  Then, we would visit friends for lunch or dinner.  It was a good balance.
 The kids had a blast at Pastor Chuck & Mrs. Mary's house.  The men were outside with the kids in the pool.  I'm not sure what all they allowed, but I'm certain I would have had a hard time watching some of it!  Then Pastor Chuck and a few men from Calvary came to help load the moving truck on Friday.

 We went swimming with the Benders and another sweet family.  And, Mr. Max stopped by to say hi. The kids had fun joking with him.

 Before we left town, we made sure to visit the Norris family.  The kids jumped on the trampoline with the sprinkler underneath, then watched a movie and had popcorn, theater style.

 Denelle and Jerry had just moved so we stopped to see them on our way back to Texas.  It was great to hang out for a few hours and enjoy lunch at their new place.

 On the way back to Texas, Joel drove the moving van that was pulling my mom's car.  Mom and I drove in the van with the four kiddos.  We took three days to come back home since we couldn't go as fast with the moving truck.  We celebrated my birthday on our second day of traveling.  And, the kids did quite a bit of sleeping.

 The kids were funny as we drove through west Texas.  West Texas is just a L-O-N-G, hot, boring drive.  (sorry west Texas people)  We got to El Paso around mid-morning, which really messes up the schedule/routine.  There is not much between El Paso and Odessa/Midland...which is a four hour stretch.  We ate lunch at a gas station, making the best of what we found.  It wasn't exactly my best birthday lunch ever. But, I was thankful for food and being with my family!

 We had a fun trip!