Mango-Chai-Coconut-Poppy Seed-Avocado-Whatever

Dear Blog Lady,

You know that feeling you get when you just can’t look away from a train wreck?   You know, like when you watch Honey Boo Boo or Hoarders?   Oh, you’ve never watched those shows?  Hmmm…I should have known.  Well, just trust me, then.  They are the best kind of train-wreckedness that there is.

Well, here’s the thing.  Your cutesy little nook of the Web is the exact opposite of a train wreck, and yet I still can’t look away.  I feel that same mesmerizing attraction when I read about your picture-perfect backyard birthday party or the straight-from-a-magazine meals that you feed your toddler.  But here’s the important difference.  Honey Boo Boo makes me feel really great about my family.  You?  Well, you make me feel like a failure.

When your super shallow depth of field photos pop into my blog feed, I can’t help myself.  I must click and read.  I know that your latest kiddie cook recipe, complete with the tiny, trendy, retro apron and minty green Kitchen Aid mixer, are going to make me feel like a miserable mom for feeding Chica microwave mac and cheese six out of the last seven nights.  (And I didn’t even let her help.  Sorry.)  I also know that your latest craft project will leave me thinking I need to quick find some gelatin or Mod Podge or a Mason jar in order to keep up.  Then I’ll remember all of the other random crafty items I bought this summer thanks to you and your mommy blogger friends, and I’ll start to snap to my senses.  Oh, but then I’ll read the latest cute thing your kid said, and I’ll wonder why your kid never whines or sasses like mine.

At the risk of sounding creepy, I’ll admit I’ve thought about you and your wispy pig-tailed kid all day.  At first I tried to justify to myself why I should never expect to actually live up to your Martha Stewart Mommy expectations.  You probably don’t work, and I do.  You have one kid, and I have two.  Your husband probably makes a million dollars, and well, mine’s a teacher.  Oh, and you obviously have some sort of wicked camera lens that I don’t have in order to get pictures like that.  But then I decided to get real and realized that even if I had one kid, no job, a rich husband, and the best camera in the world, my life wouldn’t look like yours.

Then I started trying to convince myself that you probably aren’t as perfect as you really seem.  You probably have some days where you stay in your pajamas all day and feed your kid frozen chicken nuggets and apple sauce from a jar, right?  She doesn’t really eat mango-chai-coconut-poppy seed-avocado-whatever every single day, does she?  Just once can you post a picture of her vegging in front of the TV or your exploding laundry pile so that we don’t feel like total failures over here?  Thanks in advance.

So after thinking about you all day, I’ve come to one tiny (hopefully healthier) conclusion.  Just as the world needs all types of people, the world needs all types of mommy bloggers.  You just carry on with your show as-is.  We need people like you to inspire us once in a while.  Thanks to you maybe Chica will get mac and cheese five nights instead of six this week.  Ok…just maybe.

But the world also needs a few tell-it-like-it-really-is mommies.  And I’ll carry on and tell the world that my house is a mess, and I yell a lot, and my kids aren’t perfect, but we make it work.  Actually, some days, we even have a lot of fun.

Carry on,

TJP

 

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Important Reminder

Yes,
I am
(trying to remind myself that I am)
sure
that neither lack of sleep,
nor early mornings,
nor dishes,
nor laundry,
nor papers to grade,
nor bills to pay,
nor deadlines to meet,
nothing I’ve done,
nothing I’ve left undone,
nor anything else in the whole world
will ever be able to separate me
from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus my Lord.

Yes.  I am sure.

Image:
DIRTY DISHES III  
© kbcanon | Flickr Creative Commons

Exit Ticket

For my non-teacher buddies, you should know that an “exit ticket” is a name for a quick assignment you have to complete at the end of a lesson.  The purpose is to summarize what you’ve learned and help the teacher see where he or she should go next.  There are lots of different types of exit tickets, but here’s today’s….

3-Three things I’ve learned this week
2-Two moments to remember
1-Goal for the week to come

Three things I’ve learned this week….
1.  After the gas light comes on in our new van, I must drive directly to the gas station.  In my old car I could drive at least 2 more times back and forth to work.  In the van…not so much.  SO thankful I learned that the hard way on a day off and not a work day!

2.  One year olds should not play with full soda cans.  It’s quite funny to see Bubba carrying around the can, pretending to drink it, but that quiet little voice whispering that this might not be a good idea is actually right.  Man….the look on his face when we both figured that out was just priceless.

3.  When Bubba is stuck in his room by himself and mad, you can actually hear him screaming all the way from the street.  And the front door was closed.  That kid’s got some pipes!

Two moments to remember
1.  Last Friday my students and I were in the right place at the right time.  Read about it here.

2.  Girls only kickball games are the best.  I love to play kickball, but I usually don’t join in because it means less kids get to kick.  During our extra recess time today, my teaching partner made the boys sit on the curb and watch for a painstakingly long five minutes for being rowdy in the hall.  One team of girls was short a player or two, so I got drafted.  Hearing the boys’ comments over my home run kick somehow makes up for all those times I really stunk in my own fourth grade kickball games.

One goal for the week to come
1.  Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world.  Instead, be transformed by the renewing of my mind.  Repeat.  Apply.  Repeat.

So, how ’bout you?  Do you have time for your own 3-2-1?  I’d love to hear them!  Leave a comment!

Image:
PENCIL ‘N PAPER  
© quacktaculous | Flickr Creative Commons

Guest Post: I Love Teaching

I’m excited to share a guest post from a great friend, Ruth Erquiaga.  I’m hoping your positive comments will convince her she needs a blog too!  : )

P.S.  In case it’s been a long time since sixth grade for you, you might want to review this first.

___________________________________________________________

I love teaching. Some days are more fun than others, but I am choosing to write about today because I want to be able to remember it when one of those not so fun days shows up.

The day started on the way to school with Tres and Carrington. “Today is the second of November, and I would like us to be audibly thankful each morning on the way to school.” Tres says he is thankful for his family and his friends. Carrington is thankful for her talents and her family. I proudly announce that I was thankful for the commutative and associative property yesterday, and today I am thankful for the identity property and distributive property.  They both rolled their eyes and huffed loudly because they knew a mini math lesson was coming.  : ) Too bad we were in the parking lot, and I had to be in devotions in five minutes.

As much as my own children didn’t have to listen to my lesson, the 110 students under my tutelage did.  Sometime in the near future my students will be required to write a letter to God about why they are thankful for the four math properties. I’m hoping their letters sound something like this:

Dear God,

You are amazing and indescribable. We learn this every day in Bible class, but today we were reminded of it in math class. You are the God of order. If you hadn’t created the commutative property, then we would live in a world of chaos. Grocery stores would have massive fights always breaking out because the order that the groceries were rung up in would change the total that you owed. You knew when order should matter and when it shouldn’t. If we swallowed before we chewed or got dressed before we showered, we would be absolutely miserable. However, what I am most thankful for is that when we do things in the wrong order, not according to your plan, you don’t stop loving us. There are things that you have set out in scripture that should be done in a certain order, but we live in a corrupt world where people do what feels good and what is easy. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for the commutative property to remind us that you are a God of order.

The associative property says that though groups can change, amounts don’t.  This is a reminder that things change, but you don’t. If the associative property wasn’t true, then changing houses would change population. Switching friends at school would change the amount of students. It’s kind of mind blowing to think about how crazy this world would be if there wasn’t a creator behind it all. Thank you for remaining the same when the things around us are constantly changing.

For the Identity property, Mrs. E gave us each an ID card. She told us to remember that any number times one or plus zero remains the same. The very best identification that we can have comes from you. Once we are a Christian, we are identified as a child of God, and you promise us in your Word that nothing will ever change that. The enemy tries to make us feel like something less. He lies to us and tries to convince us that we are alone (1) and that we have nothing (0). Thank you for your promise that you will never leave us or forsake us. Thank you for your words in John 10 (there is that 1 and 0 again) that the deceiver will never pluck us from your hand. Thank you that I will one day live in heaven forever with you because I have become a child of the king. Please help me live each day reflecting you in my life that others may see my true identity.

After the Identity property, Mrs. E told us she was going to give us cookies. I am thankful for cookies. : )  She said she wouldn’t give us cookies until we came up with four different ways for her to do it.  It took us awhile to figure out what she was talking about, but we finally did. Then she paused and got this big smile on her face. She asked us to think about something that has been distributed to the entire world that we should be thankful for. We guessed land, water, people and some other things. She asked us to think about John 3:16. Oh yeah! God’s love! Thank you God, for distributing your love to all of us. Mrs. E passed out the cookies, and we watched as she got so excited about this giant equation on the board. It looked something like this:

God Loves The World
God Loves (N. Amer. + S. Amer. + Antarctica + Aust. + Asia + Euro. + Africa)
God Loves North America + God Loves South America + God Loves Antarctica + God Loves Australia + God Loves Asia + God Loves Europe + God Loves Africa

I get it God. I really get it. It doesn’t matter how we say it, the amount of your love remains the same.

You love us. You love them and me. You love them, and you love me.

Thank you for your incredible love and a math class full of reminders of it.  Help me love “them” the way I know you love “them”.

Your child, forever and always.

I love teaching. The activity today with the cookies and the class discussion was a reminder that I have so much to be thankful for. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I got home. I love laughing with my students. I love watching my coaches teach one of their final lessons before they become student teachers. I love being in a school where this lesson is not only allowed, but expected. I love when a student and his older sister stay after school to get help and leave smiling because they “get it now.” I love that God is in the details and provided this job for me. And, oh yeah, I love that when fifth hour was over today, one of my students said, “Mrs. E, if I were to rank all of my math teachers, you would be at the top! I hope you have a great weekend!”  Did I mention that I love my job?

Images:
CHOCOLATE CHIP SHORTBREAD COOKIES  
© neil conway | Flickr Creative Commons

Getaway

Prepare to be amazed.  Or, at very least, pretend to be amazed.

Yep, that’s my luggage for an overnight trip.  What’s the big deal?  Notice:  no diaper bag.  I am actually away without my two little people.  That means I didn’t pack a single diaper.  No blankets, no little packs of snacks, no Barbies, no backup changes of clothes in preparation for a blow out.  Oh, and no one to (openly) make fun of my choice of luggage.  It’s just me, a change of clothes, a toothbrush, pillow, and sleeping bag.

Cue amazingly long sigh of peace, relief, and a very tiny amount of worry.

Jay has graciously agreed to stay home with Chica and Bubba so that I can attend this year’s Get Away.  He says he’s had both of them overnight by himself before, and he’s usually right when it comes to remembering things like that.  I just don’t remember this intense, strange feeling of freedom quite like I felt it last night.  Either way, I’m here, they’re there, and I’m eating it up.

Speaking of eating…can I just say that meal time without ANY kids is revolutionary?  I spend 2/3 of my life’s meals cutting things into tiny pieces, catching projectiles, trying to interpret very confusing baby signs, and begging people to eat.  The other 1/3 of my meals are woofed down while trying to keep 45 nine and ten year olds in their seat and to a mild roar.

So last night as I sat at dinner…and sat….and sat….I marveled at the novelty of not having to feed a single person around me.  And as I sat some more trying to decide what to have for dessert, there was no banging or throwing involved.  Call me crazy, but I think I’ve teared up now twice just writing about it.

Later last night, after worship and a conference, I walked outside to my car to head to our lodge.  I was struck, yet again, of the aloneness of it all.  I had no one to carry, no one to watch, no one waiting for me.  I walked very slowly.

In my real life, I am almost NEVER alone.  Yes, I know this is what I signed up for when I got married, made two babies, and became a teacher.  But I really consider myself a pretty extreme introvert who has learned to cope in an extroverted world.  So this, this being on my own time for almost 24 hours, is a massive, beautiful gift.

Tearing up again.  Sheesh.

Most Saturday mornings at 6:15 are reserved for family wrestling matches in our bed.  There’s lots of growling, tickling, and, “Don’t get too crazy,” reminders involved.  I spend 50% of that time enjoying it, and the other 55% of the time wishing for at least another hour of sleep.  (Mistake intended, Mom.)  But here I sit, 6:15 on this Saturday morning, typing, thinking, reading.

Amazing.