The Calm Before the Storm: Times Filled with Hope and Motivation

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In just a couple weeks I will be back to work full time again.  That means early morning postings on the blog at 5am, the 5pm dinner rush, evenings full of preschool activities for Superhero Son, lots of papers to grade, and the stress of school work piled on top of cooking, cleaning, and caring for my family.

Since that first summer after I had Superhero Son, I have felt a sense of loss when the summer winds down.  I love our days of hanging out in our pjs, the summer activities, time with family at the lake, and not working on Tuesdays when my husband is off from work.

When the end of summer is upon me, I feel like I need to treasure every minute with my kids.  However, something inside of me kicks into high gear, and I feel drawn to my classroom.  I acquire this need to get it ready for anxious fifth graders.  I have an amazing amount of motivation to be supermom!  At this point on the calendar, I believe I can do it all.  I can be the perfect wife, mother, and teacher. Then reality sets in!

I wish I could bottle that energy, motivation, and confidence and use it when I falter in a few weeks. At some point I will have to remind myself that I am human and not perfect.  For now, I am off to conquer the world!

Blessings!

I Love Getting a Do-Over!

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21 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22

I got my haircut last week by a guy named Will.  It was the first time he had ever cut my hair, but he showed promise when he walked in sporting his spiky purple ‘do.  After the usual small talk, he asked me why I was a teacher.  My first response was, “Not for the money!”  He replied that he had never met a teacher who didn’t go into it for reasons more noble than money.  After thinking for a moment, I told him I liked teacher because you get do-overs.

He asked if I meant that my co-workers or boss were forgiving of mistakes.  I told him that I meant we forgive ourselves and strive to do better the next year.  I could tell he was confused, so I tried to explain as best I could.

Each year, we work as hard as can to do our best for the kids.  We love them, care for their basic needs, teach them manners, honor, respect, integrity, and all of the content the state and school district require us to teach.  And every year we fail to be perfect.  At the end of each year, I know there is a kid in my class with whom I should have done something different.  There is always one that I failed to reach, motivate, and prepare for life.

In most businesses, failing means the loss of a client or loss of money.  In education, failing is unacceptable.  We cannot afford to lose the children.

However, each year we get a do-over.  We get to try again. We get a new batch of kids ready for our knowledge, love, and best efforts.

As I sit in meetings this week, prepare my classroom next week, and await the arrival of my co-workers and students a couple weeks later, I will strive to remember to forgive myself.  This passage from Matthew doesn’t just apply to forgiving our brothers; we must forgive ourselves.  We are not perfect; only Christ is.  We are created to do our best.  When we mess up, we must forgive and move on.

This is a year of change and a year of hope in my school.  The best part is a fresh start, a do-over.

Blessings!

 

A New Prince…Wait! Aren’t We All Chosen Royalty?

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I suppose everyone who isn’t spending their summer in a bubble knows that a new prince was born yesterday in England.  As with many Americans, I have a slight fascination with the Royal Family.  One of my favorite things about visiting London was touring the many castles and the gardens of Kensington Palace.

Yesterday, Prince William and Kate began a journey of parenthood that my husband and I began four years ago.  It makes me wonder how many conveniences they will have that we didn’t.  Regardless, labor and delivery are not easy on anyone.  I imagine they are as thankful today as we were with each of our babies.

Superhero Son had lots of questions this week about why a prince or princess was about to be born.  Then he decided that he would pretend to be the prince, and his sister could be a princess.  It occurred to me that I want my children to understand that they are a prince and princess in the Kingdom of God.

We are promised a royal palace and a place with our King.  Our status in this earthly life is not nearly as important as our status with God.

We have spent loads of time this summer working on preschool skills with Superhero Son.  I stress over his inability to write his name and celebrate his successes in counting, adding, and subtracting.  This conversation about the new prince serves as a great reminder that preparing my son for school is not nearly as important as preparing him for Heaven.  What if I spend an equal amount of energy and time teaching him scripture verses, praise songs, and prayers?

I guess my point is to remember that every baby born is a prince or princess.  England’s new royal baby will be raised with the understanding that he is important to his kingdom.  I want my kids to know that they are important in the Kingdom of God.

Blessings!

Around the Colvin Cottage: Beating the Heat

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It is hot! Welcome to July!  The heat of summer finally hit us!

The theme for this week was find a way to stay cool!  We spent our week eating freeze pops and playing in the sprinkler.  During the hottest part of the day, we stayed inside with the air conditioner on!

Here are a few pics of the kids from our week!

Darling Daughter loves the little pool!

Darling Daughter loves the little pool!

New favorite game....dump the crayons out, then pick them up.

New favorite game….dump the crayons out, then pick them up.

This kids loves spaghetti night.

This kids loves spaghetti night.

Superhero Son said he was relaxing in the sun.

Superhero Son said he was relaxing in the sun.

 

Last fall, our family sponsored a Compassion kid.  His name is Leonardo, and he is from El Salvador.  We have talked about his life a lot this week.  We are very thankful for our air conditioning, comfortable home, and fresh food from gardens and farmers’ markets.  

As always, we hope you are taking time today to enjoy your blessings!

When Looks Really Do Matter

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Beauty is only skin deep.

Pretty is as pretty does.

True beauty lies on the inside.

We have heard all of the sayings.  We try to convince ourselves that our looks are good enough for God, good enough for the world, and good enough for ourselves.  However, do our looks really matter?  Did they matter to the Proverbs 31 woman?

Looks probably mattered quite a bit to her, but maybe not the way our society promotes beauty.  She would never grace the cover of a magazine in a bikini or revealing dress.  Modesty would have been a huge priority.  However, we know that she worked hard to prepare clothing for her family.  She tried her best to make them all look good.  She wanted to present her family to the world as a well clothed group.

13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes. (Proverbs 31:13, 22-24)

The chapter goes on to say in verse 30 that “beauty is fleeting.”  So should we value beauty or not??

Here is my opinion.  As always, my opinion evolves as I age and grow.  At this point in my life, my goal is to make sure my family dresses well.  I want everyone to have clothing that is clean, fits well, looks attractive, and is modest in nature.  My husband and I must look professional for our careers, so we pay attention to our closets.  We don’t spend a lot of money on clothing, but stores like TJ Maxx and Target keep us clothed.

We all know that when we see people whose clothing doesn’t fit, who appear dirty, and those who look disheveled, we form an opinion about them.  The Proverbs 31 woman tried to promote her husband’s social status by ensuring that her family was clothed well.  To me, that doesn’t mean expensive, designer clothing, but it does mean clean and neat.

What about the hair, make-up, nails, and jewelry?  As with anything else, an obsession with it would detract from our relationship with God.  We cannot spend our lives worrying about looking perfect.  It won’t happen.  We are created to look different, individualized.  We should embrace our differences and our features.

Having said that, there are times when I go to the expense of nice jewelry, professional hair coloring (shh…) and cut, and get my nails done.  My husband works in a world where looks do matter to many of his clients.  To some of his clients, appearances show a social status.  In order to make my husband look good, I need to look good. ( I know, rough life when my husband is forced to pay for a manicure for me!)

I remember hearing stories as a child of churches who wouldn’t allow women to wear jewelry.  I know there are sects of Christians who still believe and practice this.  They do not allow make-up or professional hair and nail services.  I disagree with them.  I do not believe that God considers valuing the way we look as a sin.  Only when we put beauty ahead of Him or treat others poorly based upon their appearances will God become angry with us.

I know this is a touchy subject.  I could go on to discuss weight and our family’s journey to fitness, but I will save that for another post!

Blessings!

Percy Jackson and Other Heroes of Olympus

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Percy Jackson movie poster

Percy Jackson movie poster

One of my goals for the summer was to read a ton of books I have on my classroom shelves that I have never read.  I had stacks to get through, and I have spent a significant part of each day reading through these books written for 8-12 year olds.  I know!  It is a tough life when you have to read each day!:)

Who knew that I would find worthy, biblical lessons in a book about Greek mythology??!!

I knew the Percy Jackson series was extremely popular, but I hadn’t actually read any of them.  The first book is called The Lightning Thief.  I didn’t know that! Well, it just so happens that I read the first book of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, The Lost Hero,  instead of the the first book of the Percy Jackson series.  I realized my mistake, but I was already into the book, so I finished it.  Then I watched the movie of The Lightning Thief.  

Lessons learned:

  • I then had to go read The Lightning Thief.  I liked it so much better than the movie.  In fact, the ending stunned me.  The book’s ending is way better than the movie’s ending.  I have since finished the second, and I am half way through the third in the series.
  • There is a huge difference in the Greek gods and our God, but our God has the power of all of the Greek gods rolled into one being.
  • If my children were old enough, I would read these books to them!  We could have long talks about the power of God in our lives.
  • These books perfectly illustrate the power of prayer!
  • When I get hooked on a series of books, it gets expensive.

The other Percy Jackson books are slowly coming out as movies.  I imagine the other series, The Heroes of Olympus, by the same author will be turned into movies as well.  The fourth book in that series will be out this fall.  Despite my infatuation with the Percy Jackson books, the other series is better.

You know, many Christians shy away from popular culture.  We have to learn how to live in this world in a Christian way.  These books have a lot of value to them as great works of fiction.  They have the potential to turn kids onto reading like the Harry Potter books did several years ago.  As long as we remember to discuss with our kids the myths of the gods and the truths of our God, our children can enjoy books like these for years to come!

Blessings!

Return to Routine

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I love summer.  I love the freedom, the sun, the ability to pack the kids and go wherever we want, and I love getting together with friends and family.  I especially love having so much time to spend with my kids.  I even see my husband more since I don’t go to bed as early, and we are all home together on his day off, Tuesdays!  The only thing that really bothers me is the lack of schedule!

Lately, the kids have been staying up later than usual, our meals are haphazard, I haven’t been working much at all, and I have spent far more time reading than cleaning or folding clothes.  While this has created a fun month or so for our family, I think the remainder of the summer is going to have to get back to a more normal routine.

I can’t help it!  I thrive on routine!  It drives my husband crazy, but I need a schedule.  When I make schedules, I need for everyone to stick to it!  Did I mention that it drives my husband crazy?

So….after more than a week without writing, several weeks without planned meals, and far too many days with cranky kids who need more regular sleep, it is back to the schedule we go!

Coming soon…. more inspirational women, lots of book reviews, guest writers, devotions, and more!

Blessings!