A year of losing…

If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans.

So…it finally happened. Well almost. I'm scared to even say it's finished until all of the documents are signed. We have sold our land. I feel happy that the chapter has closed, but empty and sad too. Since January we have…

Lost someone that was the cornerstone of love and family…My husbands grandmother.

I have been falsely accused and publicly attacked. Update: The person at the center of ridiculous lies is in jail serving a year term for breaking probation.

Dealt with a tremendous and unexpected blow of bizarre health issues with My Mom.

Closed LLL.

I took a new challenging position at school that terrifies me because my prior job as a K teacher was so comfortable and secure. I'm really starting to wonder why I wanted to make life hard on myself.

Had our closest breaking point as a couple.

Decided to give up on our dream of building. Piece by piece this dream was taken away. No matter how many ways that we tried to hold on to it and persevere.

Life could be much worse. We have been blessed beyond measure, but to say that these steps are easy right now would be a lie. These were not our plans. However, we know that God has plans for us and sometimes it take breaking a part what we built in order to build a strong foundation and giving us a firm place to stand; in His plan. (Psalm 403:2-3) Perhaps, we are being pulled from the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire…I have a mouthful of dirt right now, but I also have faith that the sun will shine on us if we stay disciplined. Right now, I am thankful for His Grace of our children, our family, lake house and boat to escape it all.

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is refuge for us. Psalm 62:8

Glory, Suffering and the Purpose of it All

Romans 8:17.  But if we are to share glory, we must also share his suffering.  

That line from Romans is staggering.  It is almost a promise of the hardships that we will face if we choose to follow Jesus.  Honestly, it frightens me.  I cling to this life that I have, to these plans that I have made, to the common sense thinking that if I put good in that good will come out.  I have lived long enough and have seen enough to know that isn’t the case.  Bad things don’t just happen to bad people and good things don’t just happen to good people.  I have been in situations that I wanted to scream out and probably have “That isn’t fair.”  How far my heart is from God and His purpose for my life.

In the early years of my marriage and family I felt guilty for how much happiness that I had. I didn’t deserve it.  I layed my head on my pillow at night and said a short pray and summed it all up to God’s grace on my bad decisions.  Then, there was a shift. Happiness, Contentment, Protection, Nearness to God, Inclusion….these are things that  became difficult to find. For the last four years I feel like I have prayed the same prayer and the hardships continue to grow; each of them stranger than the one before.  One of my main prayers has been to feel close to God….then today like a stack of books the answer comes down on me…..you cannot have the glory without the suffering.  Jesus is love. Jesus suffered.  I need to love.  I may even need to suffer a little bit. I can handle all of that, but how do I do that and stay loving and kind….especially  in the situations that cause the hurting and frustration.  I think the most important is to not allow my heart grow cold, because that is exactly what I want to do.  I want to clam up.  I want to say that it is all a sham, a machine of control against a large population of people that need something bigger to believe in because we are too dumb or weak to accept the truth that this is all there is….a big blue sky and cold dark ground. I want to feed the momentary needs that will bring me happiness.  I want to run. I want to quit.

Then, I pick up My Bible and see this…..

Mathew 24:12  Because of the increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold. 

What?!?!  No, it must be a coincidence.  No, it isn’t.  This is how God speaks to me when I am weak; when I humble myself to Him and call out for help.  He is there.  Always there.

It all begins to make sense in the most illogical way when I spend time in the word.  We have this perfect savior that showed love in the most sacrificial way to set an example to us to love and sacrifice for one another.  When that model is followed we will suffer just as The Trinity did, however that suffering is not without glory.  The strangest part being that the thorns bring us nearer to God and we become more Christlike…even when we want to fight it The Bible speaks to us and compels us to live out a sacrificial life that brings glory to God, our maker. Our personal glory may not  even be experienced in this lifetime….this lifetime could all be the process of preparing our souls for the eternity, the oneness, the agape love that we are promised in His Word, The Bible.

In the words of one of my favorites, Jack Johnson:  Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it’s so hard?
It’s not always easy and
Sometimes life can be deceiving.

If only it were that easy.. I seriously want to turn the other way.  Following Jesus isn’t unicorns and butterflies.  It’s tough.  I want to quit all of the time… Just like real love does I am pulled back in every time. 

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 I will push on and rejoice in the hardship, because it is in the hardship that I am learning more about the most amazing love that has ever existed. My son wrote it the best in our afternoon Bible study.                                                        “The purpose of life is to get stronger while bad things happen and get closer to God.”

I will lean on these ideas and verses as I struggle to make sense of this strange world.
*Disclaimer* I do realize “the suffering” that I feel like I have in my life is nothing.  I feel like an idiot for even calling it suffering.  My life is full of amazing gifts and I am beyond blessed…much more than I deserve.  I am still a person and just like every person reading this I have issues in my life that affect my heart…hand picked issues that were picked just for me to see which way I would turn in the chaos….that’s another beautiful part of this story…We get to choose Him. 

Shifting Perspective…

Have I been unschooling in public school for years without even realizing it? Who taught me this? I think taking time to understand our beliefs and drive is imperative for moving forward. 

I have found myself in a very interesting position….not at all surprising to me. It’s almost as if my feet were leading me here the entire time and I knew it. I trusted the plan without knowing the plan.  I’ve tried to explain it, I’ve wanted it to be accepted and it wasn’t….not yet…the timing wasn’t right. I wasn’t right yet.  Every experience…every thought building on the next led me right to this magical place of a dream being fulfilled. A dream that I was too scared to even voice.  Except when I did…except when I stood and gave my thoughts…except they didn’t feel so much like my thoughts but rather a collection of thoughts from a frustrated group of dreamers and thinkers….ponders…misfits…hippies…Place whatever label fits, because I won’t identify anyways.  

Life is funny that way. Just when it all seems random and empty and your soul has almost died enough to just accept that; a sprout appears that allows hope to grow in knowing that there may be purpose to the whole thing after all.  

My visions of kids learning in their home environments blended with the best that the public school has to offer and seasoned lightly with what technology can lend to us and our moving lifestyles  has led to an innovative idea of blended education for 5-8 year olds that are eager to explore the world around them and learn from experiences that matter to them.  I believe that it is very possible to rid young children of the push education that we have shoved them into but rather allow them to pull their own desires, experiences, self control and use them to become leaders in their own education that will be around the clock rather than 8 to 3.  There are non negotiables in  learning…children need books, children need guided reading instruction, children need a team behind them that provides structure and at times teaches them that needs must be met before wants in life.  

This isn’t going to be flawless. There will be mistakes, but isn’t that life? Isn’t that more realistic than the hoops that we can sometimes let ourselves jump through. Focusing on pleasing the status quo rather than investing in the reason for obtaining skills?

A community of learners working to get better not finished. 

#SaveChildhood 

“You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. Won’t you come and join us and we can live as one.”

How Beautiful Excitment is

We are not servicing a large group of students in their LRE (Least Restrictive Environment).

Students with Other Health Impairments

-allergies

-gifted students

-arthritis

-sensory

-ADHD

-anxiety

-aspergers

-depression 

-limited strength, vitality and alertness

-ADD

-“including a heightened stimuli that results in limited alertness with respect to the EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT” (from State Dept Definition)

The plan has been to change the child not the environment that is making life difficult for them. How many 5 year olds have to pop a pill just to make it through class everyday?  All because he/she just wants to be in the world creating, discovering, learning. 

Not to mention the students with Specific Learning Disabilities.  
This all came to me when I thought about the fidget spinners…how far have we come?! There was a time that nobody would want anything that was a tool for their brain…now we have kids actively searching them out and stating that it helps them to focus. Inclusion has shifted. There has been a self realization in society that we all have abilities and disabilities. Students and teachers alike are noticing how OT tools benefit us….because we all need resources….we all have disabilities at different degrees. We have taken a survey and parents have answered that they need another choice….we want to give it to them….the state should us allow us to service children in their LRE; which happens to be a blended approach as defined by our main stakeholders.
Another group that we are not servicing is “red shirt kindergarteners”. Kids born premature that land in the summer months. (Or, students that are not yet mature enough to handle the rigor of an 8 hour school day) I know that we have at least 2 in K right now that we’re born 9 weeks premature and met the cutoff by weeks for K. Their mom is a single working mom and needed free education for her boys.  
All students deserve a plan that is individualized to fit their unique needs, provides access to general curriculum, meets the grade level standards established by the state from which the child receives benefits from. (Textbook definition)
We want a social and inclusive environment outside of the four walls that impede the students learning styles. This program will be the birthplace of lifelong learners that use the world to give them freedom from their impairments meeting their academic and cognitive goals as defined by the states definition in the state accountability plan; Every Student Succeeds Act. 

We will follow the plan, do, check approach.  Academic identity begins in Kindergarten the judgement is heavy within four walls that can sometimes only highlight your flaws. That is not to say that students shouldn’t face that adversity, but we could control it differently and do it more meaningful. School should not interfere with education.  We need active citizens, problem solvers, kids that learn to question in a respectful composed manner.

These may just be thoughts that sound good in my 2am wandering mind. I do feel like I am on the right track though with guidance from people much more intelligent than me.  

I would really like to create an atmosphere that values home school, virtual school, and public school. I want to use the best of all three to change the happiness of millions of kids.

Sent from my iPhone

Joy

I have been asked before what the biggest misconception about me was.
I had a terrible answer. I answered that I care too much. I have thought and rethought on the answer for over 3 years now. Maybe I do care too much about the misconceptions that come out of my mouth. 

Happiness is not an if then statement. I understood this at a young age. Our journeys through deployments and across the world taught me this. If I waited for perfection to find joy I never would. Instead we found happiness in everyday moments…catching lizards in The Mojave Desert, counting snowflakes in Kansas, playing on the park at a rest stop on a 20 hour journey between moves. There were 100 reasons to be unhappy, but it seemed that we always focused on the one happy detail and we were happy. There was always joy in the present despite the difficulties of deployment. That’s what you did. You powered on. You kept your composure. Especially if your Dad was a leader, because that meant that your Mom had to lead other wives and you had to lead by example. Guess what else that strong Mom who led the other wives…sometimes she crumbled. When you are a leader you don’t call others…you don’t call your family 2,000 miles away you lean in and you deal…then you all go out with your head high and you find joy. You find it in anything and everything that you possible can because if you don’t. If you focus on anything else you will crumble. That is how I was brought up. That is what is inside of me. So when I laugh and smile it’s not fake. It’s the resilience that only bringing an army brat can teach. Don’t call me fake, don’t say that I’m not dealing with it and don’t for one second think that I don’t feel it. I just know how to feel the joy deeper.  

If some people had any idea how much work is put into just making the carefree mess of my life look so well carefree. I’m not a martyr and I’m not going to talk about the attention to detail or the work I am just going to enjoy it. So don’t accuse me of throwing it together. It’s not. Don’t think that it’s effortless. It’s not. Don’t think that I only feel joy. I don’t. I’m just choosing.  

Today I am once again thankful for the safety that my job gives me. I’m not sure that my heart could make in in the unhappiness of this world. I am thankful that God chose to hide me in the safest place for my tender heart. Kindergarten. I’m not sure I could cope in the unhappiness/dullness of this world.
Everyday I am surrounded by happy people. They are happy because they saw a bee, because they have a new red crayon, because the sky is blue. I don’t know why they are happy but dang it they are so dang happy.  What a gift.   The most unhappy Person in the room is…well…me. That actually makes me laugh out loud when I think about how lucky I am.  How powerful that thought is. 

The Fairy Tale of the Clouds, Rain and Wind

Who do you connect the best with….God, Jesus…The Holy Spirit?  The Trinity. So amazing and unfathamable that it can either confirm your beliefs completely or seem so preposterous that you are left scratching your head thinking that it must be a fairy tale.

I am so whimsical that I like the idea of life being a fairy tale. We have all of the components of a fairy tale….a protagonist, antagonist, the problem in the middle; starting with Adam and Eve and countinuing in our lives. Then, finally the happy ending; an eternity with God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit.  Ahhh… Those three.  Three.  When you read a fairy tale the number 3 is a dominating component.  So why does The Bible revolve around 3, also? Is it a coincidence or are the parallels on purpose?  The more I’ve gotten to know God the more I get his off kilter sense of humor. It seems very fitting that he would want us to connect to him just like a child connects to a fairy tale.  Completely mesmerized and held in anticipation for our happy ending….complete with The Prince Charming that didn’t  slay the dragon, but died for it.  He laid His life down, in love for me (and all of us individually) so that I can continue to be so imperfect despite my effort to please.  The hero’s death for IMPERFECT people… Not so whimsical after all.

So, while I can connect to the fairy tale aspect of it all lately I’ve been connecting with one particular being…The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit…Is this the indescribable presence that made me run up the stairs a little faster as a kid? Comforted me at a new school? The one who stirred in my heart to get up and write at 4am? At times, I’ve never been able to believe in The Holy Spirit and now I’m wrapped up in companionship…still so new to it that I cringe a little when I write that sentence because I know what the me of 5 years ago would have thought of someone who said that.  No, I’m not going to dance with snakes.

I woke up with this thought. (I’m sure I’m just repeating what I’ve heard somewhere else before or expanding on random thoughts sprinkled on me throughout life….thank you HS for that pattern of randomness.)

God is like the clouds, Jesus is like the rain and The Holy Spirit is the wind.  God.  He holds it all….pours it all.  The beginning of the storm and the end.  Jesus, whom I relate best with is the rain. We could see him and feel him in the flesh….something tangible so to speak.  The Holy Spirit is the wind; all around us, moving and working through the patterns of the storm.  Maybe that’s why we feel closest to The Trinity in life’s storms….He is not just the one who calms the storm…He is the storm. Sent to hold us and guide us and cause uproot and shaking in order to prepare us for who we are meant to be and what we are meant to have after this.  My walk is still so young, even though I’ve been making it since I can recall, that I am hopeful that in a few years when I read this that I will have newly gained insights and Biblical understanding of the whole thing. This is where I am in my toddlerhood of seeking The Truth. The feel of the rain on my face, the wind in my hair and the big clouds over my head confirming that Fairy Tales may not ALL be make believe.  While love is at the center of it all….. The characters are complex, the beginning wasn’t simple and there is science in what can only be felt.

Writing 

Writing for me sometimes is something that I have to do. The thoughts won’t leave unless I get them down. It’s not that I can’t sleep so I write. It is more that the words have to get onto paper so that I can go to sleep.  It doesn’t make sense to me either….