Saturday, January 11, 2014

Shift in Focus

I'm happy to report I left school earlier than "usual" two days this week.  Sadly, I went back to school because my big kids have basketball practice Monday and Tuesday nights.  I went to my room and did a wee bit of work.  Neither evening was as productive as I had hoped for it being "after hours" when the place should be quiet and I should be alone.  We shall see how this next week goes.

I left late two days but my kids were with me and were having fun playing.  I've also been better about not bringing more work home.  I had to bring lots of papers home this weekend but they have been relatively quick to grade.

Just the mental shift of knowing I don't want to continue the way things have been is a change.  Sometimes that's all it takes to see changes in the bigger picture.

Of course, this week was also very dramatic with a sick kiddo at home.  Rylee fell off her scooter while at a friend's house last Friday evening.  She came home with a very skinned up face.  I cleaned it up and we put some antibiotic spray on it for the night.  The next morning the edges were looking pink and it had already started to form a think scab.  By the evening, the redness had increased and the area under her eye was swelling.  We showed a friend who works in the medical field and he gave us some things to watch for.  When Rylee woke up Sunday morning her eye was complete swollen and she couldn't open it.  We decided to take her to the after hours clinic for kids.  They told us to go to the Emergency Room to have it scanned.  The doctor said it was infected but she was concerned about something deeper.  We went to the ER and they did a CT scan. {We posted a prayer request on Facebook and were very blessed by the myriad of comments and people praying with us.} The scan came back clear, praise the Lord!  They prescribed a very strong liquid antibiotic for the infection.  Rylee took a dose of the nastiest tasting medicine in the world that night.  She stayed home from school Monday morning to rest.  She choked down another dose of her medicine (which is also a very expensive medicine...to go with the nasty taste).  Within two hours she was throwing up.  She continued to get sick several more times.  Finally, after getting some toast and applesauce and trying the medicine again, we gave up.  The swelling and redness in her eye was almost completely gone by Monday night.  She went to our regular pediatrician Tuesday and they prescribed a less potent antibiotic.  She took that one fine and went back to school Wednesday.  The scab had loosened and she pulled it off Wednesday night while we were at youth.  Crazy girl!  The skin underneath is a very faint pink and is so thoroughly healed that it is amazing.  I believe the Lord has honored the many prayers of faithful saints and been gracious to Rylee.

It's funny how I was contemplating all the issues of going back to work and wanting to see more balance.  There's nothing like having a sick child to put things in perspective.  I cried just a bit Tuesday morning as I walked up the steps to teach, knowing one of my babies was home and not well and I wasn't there to care for her.

This season of life has been such a change for us.  I remember struggling as a stay at home mom with my "job" and feeling guilty at times for not contributing financially to our family.  I felt guilty when working moms would talk about juggling everything and would tell me I was so lucky to be able to stay home with my kids.  I felt like my job was exhausting and never ending. {It was and it wasn't.}  Now, I struggle because I'm not with my children as much, I don't handle all the laundry, shopping, cooking, and homefront chores. I am not the one who helps with homework. Sometimes I walk in and feel like I have no clue what's going on inside the walls with these people I love so dearly.  I don't like that part.

Having an illness in the house made me more attentive to what was happening.  I chose to let go of some things at work and worry about my child, where my attention should be focused.  As much as I don't like when one of my children is sick, I was thankful this week for the chance to tune in more to the place that matters most.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Well, howdy!

It's a new year.  Maybe I'll be better about blogging, but I'm making no promises.

I just happened to pop over to send someone a link to something on my blog and decided I needed to write a post.  I mean, after all, I do blog when I'm on break from teaching and that's what I'm doing right now.

There have been many days I've thought about blogging.  In the end I concluded each time that what I thought about saying really didn't need to be said.

I think maybe I'm tired of blogs.  But, then I read them or think of a post and change my mind.  I feel the same way about Facebook, to be honest. 

I started this blog to keep our family and supporters up-to-date on us as we served on staff with GFA.  When we left staff, life took some turns and I got really, really busy with preparing for teaching and then actually teaching once school started.  Posting pictures to Instagram (and Facebook) are much quicker.

Since I don't have the theme of being "home team staff" anymore, I haven't known what to write about.  I often wrote about my children, parenting, cooking, and home management.  I'm still very much a mama and parent my kids, but the dynamics are so different.  Maybe I've been a little afraid to really write what I'm thinking so I have just avoided it.

I might just resurrect this blog with similar content.  It's just that now my purpose will be different.  I have to say, I love going back to read some of my entries.  I remember being completely overwhelmed by having toddlers and now I can look back on those posts with fond memories.

I watched the video I posted here at least a half dozen times during this Christmas season.  I cried the first 5 times, for sure.  My favorite quote from those years of having preschoolers is still "the days are long but the years are short."  Yes, indeed they are.

My goals this year are simple.  I'm not going to say I'll blog every day or even every week.  I'm not going to say I'll lose weight or exercise, though I definitely need to do both.  I am not going to try and break a bad habit, though there are a few I need to consider.  What I plan to do is focus less on my job and more on my family.  I want to find balance. I want to figure out how to be a committed and focused teacher during school hours and how to let go of it and leave when I should.

I've come to the point where I must draw a line in the sand and set more firm boundaries for myself.  I've been incredibly blessed to teach at my kids' school and to absolutely love my job.  Not to sound snobby, but I'm also blessed to have skills for teaching. I see success in my classroom and know I'm a good teacher. 

However, it has become very troublesome to me that the very skills that have been or can be an asset are also my stumbling blocks.  I'm super committed, don't want to give less than my everything, empathize with others to a level that is crazy, and must have things orderly to function best.  What it has translated to with me teaching is that I am always working when school is in session and on many weekends.  I get to school around 7:15 every morning and don't leave until 5:30 or 6 most evenings.  I usually bring work home and either grade papers, figure out lessons, or do some kind of work once kids are in bed.  Even if I've planned for meals, Joel usually cooks them.  My mom cleans up the dishes afterwards.  The laundry gets done here and there as someone thinks to throw in a load.  Cleaning the house gets done by Joel or in a frustrated tone by me because I've let it go too long.  I don't do homework with my kids; I don't even know what they're doing most weeks!  I do eat with my family, help with showers, and tuck my kids into bed, but I'm not okay with where things are.

I went grocery shopping yesterday in preparations for having friends over for New Year's Eve.  I took Jett with me.  Tears came to my eyes as we walked hand-in-hand into WalMart chatting because I realized that these were the simple pleasures of parenting that I miss the most. 

I am working full-time because I am supporting our family.  We chose this season and I love that it has worked out the way it has.  But, that doesn't mean I don't have to work through issues while we're in it.  I remember feeling incredibly guilty for being frustrated with the season of my life when my kids were preschoolers.  I felt like I couldn't say anything about it being hard because then someone would reply "well, you chose to have those babies" or "you chose to move to Texas" or ...you know.  But, just because a season is hard doesn't mean you aren't doing what you're supposed to.  And, just because you chose something doesn't mean you can't talk about the hardships.  It doesn't make me weak, it shows my human weaknesses and frailties. 

I've concluded in these last ten days of thinking about all this that life is just hard.  It can be complicated.  It is always joyful and good and amazing.  I shouldn't be ashamed that I find some aspects of my life to be difficult. I don't think less of anyone else around me who shares a struggle they're having.

So, there you go.  If you've read this far, you can pray for me.  Pray for me to find balance.  Pray for me to grow closer to Jesus...that's really the answer to it all because as I abide in Him I will have wisdom and direction and know peace and balance!  Mostly, pray as the Lord leads you.  Feel free to comment and tell me how I can pray for YOU!