Saturday, July 12, 2014

Camping Is Great For Families Getting In Touch With God

My children and I love to go camping!
I really enjoy being outside, and feel closer to God as we "rough it" on a primitive campsite.

We pack up our tents, a cooler with food, sleeping bags, and toys.
We spend quality time outside - having fun in nature.
It's great to get away from the stress of every day life, and just exist.
We fish. We ride bikes, play games, and sit around and read, and pray.

The kids are exhausted at night and fall asleep faster than ever!
So does mommy!


Here are a few of the items we bring with us to make our camping trips easier!













Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Feeling So Small

My daughter and I visited the ocean in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The sheer size and power of the waves made me feel incredibly small.

Then I remembered one of my favorite verses from the Bible...

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:17-19

God's love is higher than any of the waves, which were much taller than me. His love for us is wider and deeper than the Ocean, and the power I felt in those waves cannot compare with His love for me.

That was quite a powerful moment.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Battles With Herself Over Job Offer

The thought of entering the work world again scares me a little bit, but at the same time it is exciting.
My husband and I waited until he had a really good job, and we could pay the bills on his salary before we had children. We planned to have me stay at home and raise our children, and to be able to afford to not put them in child care. That has been one of our biggest priorities since we ever even considered having a family.

I have been very happy staying home for the past ten years, and seeing my babies grow. Now that they are bigger, and going off to school to learn from other amazing teachers, I am faced with the fact that I would love to teach again too.

For the past ten years I have been a stay-at-home mom. I quit a job I loved to stay home with my children. As a certified Spanish teacher, I have really enjoyed teaching children of all ages, including my own.

This year it came time for my youngest child to enter full-day Kindergarten. I knew I had to do something during the school day, while all three of my kids were at school. So, I took some classes over the summer and renewed my teaching certificate! It felt good to be getting back into my professional enrichment, and to consider being more than "just a stay-at-home mom".

Since I renewed my teaching certificate, and signed up to become a substitute teacher, I have had three full-time job offers! I cannot believe it! In this tough economy, a full-time teaching job has become VERY difficult to find!

Each time a full-time job has presented itself to me, my husband and I have had a heart-to-heart discussion of whether or not I should become a full-time teacher.

Every time, we decide that it is not the right time for our family to have two parents who work full time.

I know so many families who do not have the choice but to have both parents work full time, in order to simply pay the bills. We are truly blessed, that we CAN make the choice to have me stay home. I don't have to work. I still want to work, though.

So, rather than take a full-time classroom of my own, I have decided to remain a substitute teacher, and use my professional skills in classrooms throughout our area. I will bring home some extra money, and support full-time teachers by stepping into their classrooms when they cannot be there.

I had a mom ask me why I would choose to substitute, when I could have a full-time classroom of my own. The answers to that are numerous and a few of them selfish.

For one thing, when I step in to substitute teach, I arrive at school and spend the day with a classroom full of kids who really don't know me well. I follow plans that have been made by their full-time teacher. I can use tricks that normally wouldn't work for that teacher, but that work for the short-term! When the school day is done, I write a note to the teacher, and go home. That's it. I'm done!

If that were my full-time classroom, I would have arrived an hour before school started to prepare for my day. I would teach, and work with my students on everything from emotional, physical, and educational development to just getting along with their peers. I would have recess duty, and plans to make for the coming days. I would have to make phone calls home to some parents, and meetings with faculty and staff to attend. Then I'd have progress reports to write, papers to grade, report cards to prepare, and parent-teacher conferences to attend. I would have cross-checking of my lesson plans with the common core, and then with the state and district standards. Then add a few more meetings for who-knows-what to each week. Then, about two hours after my students had gone home, I could pack up my bag with some other preparation work and/or grading to be done at home, and finally go pick up my own three kids from child care. Then we would arrive home, where I would prepare dinner, and work on homework with my children. We would eat supper, and I would have to clean up the kitchen. At some point I would have to play taxi cab, driving my kids to their various sporting practices or other after school activities. Then, after bathing my kids, and getting them ready for bed, I would sit down to a at least another hour of school work before I collapse into my bed to rest up for another day of the same full-time teaching.

Could I take that full-time teaching job? Of course I could.
Would I love it? Probably so!
Could my family make it work, and survive? Absolutely, we could.
Do we want to? NO!!!

I would be giving up so much time with my own family to spend tons of time and energy teaching other kids.
I am so thankful that there are amazing teachers who make this sacrifice every day, to teach my kids. I choose to support them by providing quality teaching when they cannot be in their classrooms. As a substitute teacher, I love being in the classrooms, and impacting kids, as well as their teacher.

Another benefit to substitute teaching is that I can pick and choose when and where I work on a daily basis. This week I have an assignment to teach in my own daughter's classroom! That makes me so very happy! Then later in the week, I am not taking a teaching job on a certain day so I can attend my youngest's field trip to the apple orchard. I would hate to miss these opportunities with my own kids, because I was teaching another bunch of children full time.

There will come a day when I will say yes to a full-time classroom of my own again. I know that is in my future, and I really look forward to it. Until then, I thank God that I can spend more time with my own kids, and my husband, without being stressed out about the time and energy a full-time classroom would take out of me on a daily basis.

Blessings to teachers everywhere!! And Thanks be to God for the choices He has given me, and the family He has blessed me with. I am humbled to think that God really has blessed be so abundantly. Amen

"He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you." Deuteronomy 7:13

“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the father-less, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever…” Jeremiah 7:5-7