New Year, New Pants: A Joy List

I knew 2017 was off to a stellar start when I split my pants in class on our first Friday back to school. Now, mind you, after teaching preteen girls for so many years, I could write a master’s course on the fine arts of concealing embarrassing…uh… wardrobe issues …that come with “growing and changing”.  Typically, this kind of seam-splitting embarrassment in front of my students would drive me to rework my New Year’s resolutions. I would vow to include more carrots in my diet and fewer tea cakes (which I may have unabashedly considered a main course over the holiday…which also may have resulted in me pushing the limits of Lycra and spandex!).

I could cry, however it was so much more fun to throw on my pea coat, disguising my malfunction, dismiss the kids, …and laugh with the other teachers about my afterschool plans would have to be altered… as well as my pants!

Joy! This year, the desire of my heart to is embrace more of it…intentionally. I don’t feel that you simply catch joy, but it is something that you foster and protect. In these next 12 months, I want to invest my time in the activities that feed my soul, leaving me feel more purposeful and fulfilled, while ridding my schedule of interruptions that steal away that life-giving spirit.
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Mother Knows Best: Mom’s Unconventional Wisdom

This week my kindergarteners were writing reports (okay, 3 sentences, but epic writing for 5 year olds) about the main gals in their lives… their moms! This week I also dodged questions of when I was going to become a mama (from both students and parents 😉 ), and my little class started to fixate on the shocking revelation that their teacher has a mommy, too.

In our class reports, we needed to describe our moms. Two words came to mind with my own… “silly” and “wise”. Growing up, I had a mother who helped me find the humor in situations, was able to lighten the mood with her goofiness, and parented a bit different that other moms I knew. Looking back, I see her little quirks in a different light as an adult. Her lightheartedness does not equate shallowness. These silly memories taught me more life wisdom than serious sit downs with my parents. I have always deeply loved my mother, but as I get older, I gain increasing respect for her godly wisdom as a mother.

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Lessons I learned from my mom…

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FOMO- Getting Over Your “Fear of Missing Out”

End of the week, exhausted, I looked forward to the upcoming community festivities with dread. Here in Japan, our cherry blossom season is short but breathtaking! When those pink blossoms start to burst forth, we are all in a hot hurry to get to the nearby castle (which is not so nearby … 3 hours away) to join thousands of others, to claustrophobically capture the fleeting beauty before the branches are emptied and the mote is filled with yesterday’s blossoms. Saturday or Sunday. We had to pick which day to block out for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

I wanted to go.

But I really didn’t.

Maybe it’s that I felt obligated, like going to this event was something I should do, or that I would truly be missing out if I chose not to participate. Afraid that I was about to spend a precious day off on an activity which I was only going to because I didn’t want to miss anything; I was FOMO-phobic.  FOMO is a sweet little acronym that describes the following:

Fear

Of

Missing

Out

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Unplugging to Connect: 7am-7pm

I got my first phone in Junior High…instead of a jewelry, my dad got me a Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go phone (“Purity ‘Ring’”… my dad is as cheesy and practical as I am). I liked having the security of being able to call for a ride after sports practices, but rarely used it because I had to protect those minutes… God forbid anyone text me at 10 cents a pop!

Having a smartphone was never a priority until when my husband and I moved overseas. The GPS helps us navigate nameless roads in Asia and FaceTime connects us to those we love. However, if I’m being transparent, the more homesick I get, the more I cling to the device that helps me feel connecting to the happenings back in the States. Yet, the time drain from these devices is keeping me from being present in where God has placed me now.

I need to unplug to connect.

At the beginning of this month I saw a great challenge to unplug from your phone in the evening and morning hours. I decided to set a 7am to 7pm challenge to turn off my phone and see what kind of changes I’ve noticed.  Barely two weeks in and I can see the impact.

Sleep:

Without a pandora’s box of distractions in my hand, I can actually stick to my early bedtime. I’m not exactly getting up that much early, but lately I’ve been getting about 9hours of sleep consistently and I think that’s my magical “sleep number”. Getting enough rest definitely reduces my stress.

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Lessons in Loving Difficult People

At work this week, I had to clean up someone else’s poop.

It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last. No, I’m not a custodian (the unspoken heroes of our building), but a Kindergarten teacher. As we dealt with the situation at hand, I thought in my head with a smirk, “You’re lucky I love you!” I adore my students, easily and ardently I love them. Quite literally, this teacher would do anything for them. But what about those who aren’t so easy to love? 

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15 Must Read Marriage Books for a Happily Ever After

14 Must Read Marriage Books

Ok, I know it sounds scandalous when a selection called “The Screwtape Letters” tops your love and marriage book list, but our marriage has been blessed by some incredible writings….Many of which where never written as marriage books.  As I’m working on my Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling, I see many of the same themes and advice run through my texts…(I abhor redundant reading, so I narrowed down my favorites).  By request of many friends, I’ve compiled a list of the “Best of the Best”  that I’ve read and little snippets on why they will rock your marriage and relationships! I hope you enjoy these mini-reviews and take time this weekend to pick out a new read! 14 Must Read Books For Marraige GumptionGrace.com Continue reading

Messy Desk: Full Life

Sometimes chocolate frosting, rainbow sprinkles, and a pony do solve all life’s problems… at least for a moment 🙂 There are events you can plan for and others you must embrace as they come. After a hard weekend (that included bashed-in nose, a war in my uterus, and the death of my dog), I needed a win this week. God brings you grace in the smallest things, if you’re looking for them. Today was one of those days in my kindergarten classroom that little moments of sunshine started to dissipate the clouds that have been relentless the last week.

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3 Joy Spots in our Kindergarten class after a rough week…

1. Word Confusion: A boy showing off his diligence yells, “Look I’m almost finished because I CONSTIPATED…. I constipated real hard and now I’m done!” … I really HOPE he meant “concentrated”  💩😂.

2. Detective Eyes: One of my struggling learners was being the biggest help by showing other kids how to use their “detective eyes” to look around the room for words they don’t know how to spell…and his squeaky little voice repeating his teacher’s motto: “We can be our OWN problem solvers!”🤓👍So proud of that little guy’s resourcefulness , independence, and kind heart!

3. Birthday Cupcakes… Especially when your student picks out the “My Little Pony” she says looks like just like you (I think I’ll ease up on the bronzer tomorrow 🍊) ! Cuteness (&sugar) overload! 🎂🦄

On Monday, my eyes and heart locked onto this passage that reminded me to look for the good work and the many (sometimes mini) blessings that God puts in our path:

 “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. “I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it..”  Jeremiah 29:13-14 (MSG)

May your week be blessed!

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