Seeking to Become - October 2017

It's been two months since my last challenge, but this is better than the track record before that one! So I am feeling good. While I'm on the topic of progress, I want to add that I have been pondering what to focus on, so it's not as if the challenge has been completely off my mind, so that's good too.

I've had change on my mind lately. Everything about my life seems to be on the table for possible change within the next year or less actually. I just don't know what or when. Therefore, I have become reflective and immersed in trying to feel the gratitude that is warranted in my life—not taking things for granted, so I can know what needs to hold firm and not let go in this sweeping motion of change. I have room to improve in the gratitude department, but this reflection process has helped me to better appreciate what I have.

As I've worked on developing gratitude, I decided to focus on finding scriptures that have the words rejoice and joy in them. It has drawn my eye toward some familiar scriptures as well as ones that I have seemed to gloss right over and seem new to me! I've really loved discovering so many uplifting and meaningful passages as I seek to grow. One such scripture is found in 2 Nephi 4:30 of the Book of Mormon:

Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
To praise God forever is what I want to do. I seek to be a rejoicing and thankful person. As the month of November draws nigh, you will be hearing from me a great deal more as I do my annual gratitude challenge. I want the gratitude challenge to have a strong theme of rejoicing in what God has given to me.

I invite anyone who would like to participate this coming month in rejoicing in God and counting blessings to leave comments each day or a link to your own blog each day. Have a wonderful Sunday!

editor eyes

Editing: My Early Years

Not sure if this is common knowledge among my readership, but I'm not just a teacher and private school social media director for my profession. I'm also an editor. And over the past few weeks, I have had to put my blinders on and focus on the largest project I've ever edited. 

By blinders, I mean shut out the world, so I can focus! To carve out more project time, I've put off some school work, canceled plans, not set plans, stopped cooking dinner for my family (lots of fend for yourself nights and pizza just got ordered yesterday to save the little guy's mac n cheese chef skills for tonight), missed out on several activities and dates, etc., and I have got to have the most exhausted eyes ever. Like, I'm pretty sure I have the eyes of an old lady for sure now. There is nothing wrong at all with having old lady eyes—except if you're not one yet. I'll have to treat myself to some kind of eye treatment or something to refresh them. I don't even know. If anyone has ideas on what to do to give eyes a rest outside of sleeping for a year, please leave a comment. I'd totally appreciate it for real. 

My eyes are so done with reading and scanning and close, close reading that I don't know if I'll want to read a book for leisure for like a month after this is done! I know, I know. I must be losing it big time. And I probably won't stick to that, but right now, even typing this is reminding me that writing is reading and my eyes are going to break up with me if I don't show them some love and lay off. 

There is a truly wonderful side to all of this—I love the project. It is filling my mind with ideas and great treasures of knowledge as I read the author's work. What a fantastic by-product of working so hard.  

Another pretty great part too is that I am getting to do another thing that I love, so I can take care of myself and my family. Teaching has always been my calling, I think. And social and marketing and public relations fit with my personality and natural talents. Then this editor stuff takes my English teaching skills and word love and technical training and wraps them all into one big nerd fest every single project I have the blessing to work on. 

How awesome is it that I can do what I enjoy? These eyes see blessings. I think I'll train my focus on that to pull me through the final leg of this marathon manuscript I'm working on. 

But you people really need to come up with some ideas for how my eyeballs will get some rest. Okay? I'm counting on you. 

I want you to know

I don't cry every day anymore.
There's a hole where you lived
In my heart,
But the tears finally dried up.

That said, I can't say that I'm not sad
Or disappointed
Or a little more broken than before;
I ache all of my waking hours.

I've learned to live with it though.
I've learned to live without dreaming
Of you or an us.
I've become accustomed to ignoring my heart.

You never let me in,
And I'm sorry I imagined that you did.
Looking back, I still don't understand though.
I don't imagine I will ever understand.

Why didn't you let yourself love me
When you know it was all there—
The ingredients for making love new
Like bread, every day.

Why wouldn't you let yourself care enough
To dissolve the walls that trap you

*This poem was found in my drafts folder, obviously unpublished, from May 4, 2017. I have left it as-is because as I read through it now five months later, I know that it would cost too much to write more of it. It's all true. It's still true. Decide for yourself if you believe it is unfinished or less true than what you read.

no stupid questions

Not sure where I want to go with this, but I'll start with the fact that there are stupid questions.

Some of you teachers will be aghast at my statement, but I'm telling you, I believe that perpetuating the notion that "there's no such thing as a stupid question" is part of the problem with our decaying society. And now the aghast are probably hyperventilating because that's a pretty bold assumption I've just made. But here's my case:

If children and adults have all the information at their disposal (handouts, visuals, internet accessibility that moment, whatever), and they don't take the time to review the information at their disposal only to ask a question that could be answered if they took the time to review said information, that constitutes a stupid question. What makes it stupid isn't that it doesn't make sense but that it could easily been avoided if that person valued the time of the all-knowing answer giver enough to use some of their own to see if they even needed to ask a question. I am not talking about after taking time to read/review/search the topic at hand the individual has a question. Not at all. After doing all one can do for themselves that's when questions are the best plan of action! No need to sit confused or misunderstanding or even completely clueless if you don't quite get what's on those pages of info. You tried, and that's what matters. That's showing respect for your own intelligence and knowing it's okay to need help sometimes.

It boils down to respect for self and others.

Disrespect is stupid; therefore, if someone isn't respecting their time and the person they are asking, it's a stupid question. Plain and simple. It's so basic that I wonder at how the first person to utter "there are no stupid questions" could even come up with that and not realize they are opening the door for people to get lazy.

All that said, I'd like to know your thoughts on my stupid questions philosophy.

he made me a real teacher

You try to make a difference as you teach each day
You find the ones who need a little love
Encouragement and lent confidence dosed out
In between the lines of each school day
Pep talks and positivity and teacherly friendship
Buffing out life's smudges the best you can

Watching students grow gives fresh hope
For the future
Their future
Your own

Every gain of theirs is a feather in your cap
Every tiny triumph, every giant step
Proves that you knew good and helped it grow
With the promise and expectation
That they would continue showing the world
How brightly they do shine

But the world would have to weep
Foregoing such a privilege and treat
For Heaven needed him back Home
To shine with angels, leaving this temporary stone

And leaving this teacher's heart to mourn
The suddenly changed world, steeped in reality
Yet always to remember his kind and thoughtful smile
And the light that ignited as his confidence was born

For Jacob,
You taught me how teachers become a true teacher, a teacher forever, by loving their students and losing them too soon. You will be missed.