For most of you who know me personally, you know that a little over a year ago I completed my Masters degree in Education. You probably also know that unless something tragic or unexpected ever happens to us, I do not plan on ever returning to the classroom.
A little background--
I am a Math teacher by trade. I left the classroom after four years of teaching to become a full-time stay-at-home mom. Though teaching wasn't always perfect, I do often times miss my career and the empowerment attached to being good at it.
But the Lord had different plans, and early in my working career He made it very clear to me that I was to give up my paycheck in order to pretend to know what I was doing by caring for my family at home.
So teaching-year number four rolls around and the time to (ahem...) try to get pregnant rolls around as well.
If you know anything about how a teacher's salary works, you know that your salary can just about double depending on your years of experience and your level of education. So since we didn't know whether we'd get pregnant right away or not, I began to work towards my Masters degree "just in case."
Lo and behold, we get pregnant with Emma just in time to wrap up my fourth year of teaching and with half of my Masters degree required credits completed.
What's a girl to do?
I know I'll never return to the classroom.
But, OH! how I hate to see those credits wasted...
Emma turns one, and thanks to my husband's kindness, the helping hands of family members, and some savings, I decide to go back and complete it.
It's now or never! -- I said.
So back to the original question...
You see, I'm one to believe that an education opens doors, not closes them.
Let me explain--
I meet many people who feel that because they have a career, because they've done the whole school-thing, that they must do what they were trained to do. That it would be a waste of time and resources to do otherwise.
I don't know about you, but that doesn't make much sense to me.
My higher education provides me with the opportunity to go back to work if I want to, but does not force me into that option.
(Note: If you are in debt because of your training - or have any kind of debt, for that matter-, and this career will provide you with the fastest way to pay it off, then well... I guess you really don't have an option after all).
My point is--
Given the option,never choose your career simply because you feel you have to.
One of Emma's new favorite things to do these days is play hide and seek. This was one of the games Oma taught her while she was here taking care of Great Gram.
Of course, hide and seek for her consists of her telling you where she wants you to hide, then her counting until ten, and then spotting you where she expects you to be. If she suspects you are not going where you were told to go, she will "cheat" and look to see where you are going. She will then correct you.
Now if you are the one counting, she will find a good hiding spot, but as soon as you are done counting, she'll pop her head out and say: "I right here!"
Emma went to her little friend's birthday party last weekend and indulged herself in the very blue, dye-colored cupcake frosting. Though she had had a very short nap that afternoon, she was wide awake until 10 pm that evening. After about the nth time of being called into her bedroom that night, Byron officially declared I was on what he was calling "cupcake duty."
Breakfast at our household normally involves Emma going through three different food selections before deciding she doesn't want to eat any of them, LB throwing all of his food on the floor, Daddy trying to read his Bible while listening to Christmas music or the "Disney Princess" Pandora station, and Mommy drinking her morning smoothie while getting Daddy's lunch ready and unloading the dishwasher... we are quite the whirlwind that time of the day.
But if you look past the craziness of the moment, you'll see sweet little children laughing at each other, playing peek-a-boo, and wearing Mommy's headband (note Emma).
One of my greatest pleasures in life is reading. Nothing quite like a good book at your bed side table (or reclining chair in the TV room, as is the case for me).
Over the course of this past year, I have read about 20 books (both fiction and non-fiction), most of which have been absolutely incredible. All of them have impacted me to a certain degree-- some much more than others.
One day I'll write a post on a few of my favorite books, but today I am just going to focus on one:
by Kevin Deyoung.
People-- all of you do yourself a favor and click here right now (yes, right now!) and purchase this book immediately.
A few sample quotes from the book--
"But the truth is, you're only indispensable until you say no. You are unique. Your gifts are important. People love you. But you're not irreplaceable" (p. 36).
"Good hospital-ity is making your home a hospital. The idea is that friends and family and the wounded and weary people come to your home and leave helped and refreshed. And yet, too often hospitality is a nerve-wracking experience for hosts and guests alike. Instead of setting our guests at ease, we set them on edge by telling them how bad the food will be, and what a mess the house is, and how sorry we are for the kids' behavior. We get worked up and crazy busy in all the wrong ways" (p. 41).
Ummm... guilty as charged.
"The people on this planet who end up doing nothing are those who never realized they couldn't do everything" (p. 60).
"God does expect us to say no to a whole lot of good things so that we can be freed up to say yes to the most important things he has for us" (p 63).
In regards to raising children--
"I just know that the longer I parent the more I want to focus on doing a few things really well, and not get too worked up about everything else. I want to spend time with my kids, teach them the Bible, take them to church, laugh with them, cry with them, discipline them when they disobey, say 'sorry' when I mess up, and pray a ton. I want them to look back and think, 'I'm not sure what my parents were doing or if they even knew what they were doing. But I always knew my parents loved me, and I knew they loved Jesus'" (p. 74).
And the home run, the theme of all Themes, the one that hits the nail on the head--
"We want to be harried and hassled and busy. Unconsciously, we want the very things we complain about. For if we had leisure, we would look at ourselves and listen to our hearts and see the great gaping hole in our hearts and be terrified, because that hole is so big that nothing but God can fill it" (p. 83, emphasis mine).
And with that, my friends, I bid you a good day :)
We have a very fearful little girl at home, but her newest *thing* these days is jumping. Walking with her anywhere now takes twice as long since we now need to stop at every level drop we come across. She also likes jumping over things such as small rocks or holes along the way.
I love observing her conquer her own Goliaths in life.
It's ironic that I find myself writing a post on slowing down time, when just a couple of weeks ago I wrote on longing for these little years to be gone. But hopefully I find an empathetic ear out there who understands the daily battle between longing to be child-free and not wanting to wish my life away.
About six months ago I read the book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I am actually borderline embarrassed to admit I even read it. I am not a huge fan of hers, and her style of writing is kind of annoying to me. But, if you can get over her overly melancholic way of expressing herself, what she has to say is pretty awesome. You can find her blog here.
Anyway, the whole point of her book can be summarized by her following quote:
"Giving thanks for one thousand things is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with the weight of full attention."
A second quote by Mark Buchanan that compliments Ann Voskamp's previous quote is:
"I cannot think of a single advantage I've gained from being in a hurry... through all this haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was just throwing it away."
The moment we start rushing through our days, trying to keep up with laundry, dinner, and our never-ending to-do list... yes, our life gets lived out effectively, but there is nobody there to enjoy it.
Yesterday was one of those days. My sweet children were there usual selves, and had I continued doing all that "needed to be done," I would have never been able to savor the precious gift of simplicity through them.
1. Getting to see my little girl imitate the only mom she knows to be hers, and liking what I see.
2. The way my fearful girl learns to overcome simple fears such as getting close to a cooking stove.