Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Let the CORRECT countdown begin!

Last year at this time, I was in the midst of making difficult choices that I knew would forever change in my life. The blessings that have come from these choices FAR OUTWEIGH the trials & troubles that have occurred.

The divorce process seems to be never-ending and finances remain tight but God has provided above and beyond my every need. My continual prayer is for "chapters" to be peacefully closed and for my immune system to improve. I continue to catch every lil' germ that passes through my classroom and am starting off the final few weeks of school with walking pneumonia (which is thankfully minor but oh so exhausting).

The divorce process has become aggravating. Nothing should be as complicated as it has become. Sad to realize that every single thing a counselor told me would be said or done has happened. Sad because of the reality but also relieving in helping assure me that I absolutely made the right choice.

I somehow or another tacked on 10 extra school days in my mind. Pleasantly surprised that there are only 22 school days left!! Soooo ready for summer. I'm not certain what "my next step" will be but fully trusting that God will enable me to "stand" in and with whatever occurs.

I went to the baseball field tonight for Kaed's 1st "practice baseball game". I really enjoyed bring there. I'm not the most sports savvy person but I've always loved little league ball. I was reminded this evening how blessed I am in having such Godly women in my circle of acquaintances and friends. Meeting Carolyn was a pleasure. Spending time with Andrea, Heather, Kaylee, Deidra along with Sheryl and Mom filled my heart with joy.

Being where I am right now isn't my first choice but since I'm not wanted where I most want to be, I am especially grateful for being surrounded by "good people". Every day, my awe grows for the blessings I've been given.

I am still desperately wanting a private cabin getaway but am rethinking Arkansas. It would be great to revisit places that I once considered home but it would be very hard to be there and not be able to see those whom I would most want to see.

I still have a few weeks to decide and depending on the next chapter of life, a cabin may not even be financially feasible. But a few days to get away WILL happen. It's been far too long since I've had a non-obligatory trip somewhere.



Friday, April 24, 2015

Daily Gratitudes (from past week)

SATURDAY, APRIL 18th
1. Thunderstorms
2. Sonic ice cream
3. Talking with my momma

SUNDAY, APRIL 19th
1. Codeine-based cough syrup
2. Prom pics of "my kindergarten kids" all grown up
3. Permission to speak freely to
Liesa.

MONDAY, APRIL 20th
1. Near completion of CPALLS Testing
2. Warm, sunny day
3. Opportunity to sort through a lot of classroom books and files

TUESDAY, APRIL 21
1. Great day at the City Park with my classroom cuties
2. Encouraging email from Michelle W. at admin
3. Andria's friendship
4. Kind friends who can handle my tears

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22nd
1. Fever-reducing medication
2. Availability of an experienced sub
3. Pleasant weather

THURSDAY, APRIL 23rd
1. My momma
2. Sheryl
3. Amber
4. Randy
5. Jessica

FRIDAY, APRIL 24th
1. Rocephin shot and steroid shot. Not grateful for walking pneaumonia but grateful for fast-acting meds
2. Pay day!!
3. Supportive advice and care from Sheryl, Amber and Jessica

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mixed emotions

I was dreading the class field trip to the park because 5 hours seemed incredibly too long. I was pleasantly surprised. Every student did GREAT and we all ended up having a lot of fun.

Word is spreading that I won't be returning to WH next school year. I was caught off guard by Andria questioning me about such today and was an absolute tearful mess by the time dismissal rolled around. I'm touched and honored by those who are willing to go to the mat over this but I'm not waging war in a battle that actually isn't mine.

Mixed up emotional day and praying that sleep will come easily tonight in preparation for another field trip tomorrow.

27 more work days(!!)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Daily Gratitudes (past week compilation)

Sunday, April 12-Friday, April 17th

1. Restful weekend
2. Productive meeting with Superintendent
3. Ease of conversation with Lisa S., Liesa L. and Tammy G.
4. No work drama
5. Wonders of a true thunder storm
6. Job possibilities in surrounding area
7. Taco Casa!
8. Last administration of the CPALLS test for the year. Ugh!
9. Students growth being evident through the CPALLS testing
10. Fun and enjoyment of Aiden's birthday. Autism and Aspergers has me intrigued.
11. Enjoyable evening with just me and Rhyder
12. The beginning of Tball season and baseball. Love Little League ball.
13. Progress being made as seen through lawyers email.
14. Ability to have a straightforward though awkward conversation with guy who misread.
15. Continued kindness and support of classroom families
16. Prayerful Pals who hold me up during times of weakness
17. Sheryl's surprise afternoon snack brought up to my work one day and a surprise breakfast on another day.
18. My momma's unconditional love, support and the sharing of her wisdom.
19. Potential cabin getaway in Arkansas
20. Suitable, affordable houses in area. Looks as if a house payment would be less expensive than this rent.
21. Convenience of online application process
22. Being able to actually come home during my lunchtime.
23. The musical group, Casting Crowns.
24. Simple joys of a tennis ball and a happy dog.
25. The fact that not one person agrees with a choice that has been made. Clear conscience is a powerful thing. Confidence in God is beyond tremendous. And supportive people are comforting.

Yay for the Weekend!!

It's been a difficult week. I wasn't able to sleep at all Sunday night so that set the stage for a tiresome week. Sigh.

I met with the interim superintendent on Monday. The meeting went well even though I'm not counting on it to change my situation. I didn't realize until this personal event that there has been some unrest on the campus for several years. I'm not about to join in on anyone else's agenda to change things within a school district that I'm just barely acquainted with.

Meeting with Liesa was beneficial on many levels and exhausting on so many more. 29 more days...Double sigh.

If finances will allow, I'm planning on renting a riverside cabin in Heber Springs pretty soon after the summer break begins. I need a place of calm, peace and quiet and I always loved the Little Red River. I debated between there or Oklahoma but Edmond lends itself to making plans ahead of time and I don't want to run around and do/see/go. I want a peaceful place to simply be still for a short while. I'm hoping to see some friends while in the area but I'm not scheduling around any other time frame than what will work best for me. I don't want any have-to type of agenda for a few days.

There is a promising job possibility that would be great if it works out. A much better fit  with my teaching style for both school-district and community. If it does work out, it'll be a great "God thing" to share one day. I've no doubt that I was exactly where God wanted me to be this past year. I don't believe that He has closed this door but I do know that He has allowed it to happen and He's got a plan even though I don't have a clue.

The aggravating, incessant cough has returned and is leaving me irritated and aggravated. I'm going to call the dr tomorrow for an upcoming appointment. My kind doctor in Tyler is still allowing phone call appointments and RX refills but it's time to move on.

Husband submitted the requested paperwork and the lawyers are almost through sifting through the information. Jenn keeps 'getting on to me' because I keep insisting that I don't care if I get a dime, I just want this chapter closed. Saddens me to think how all of this has played out when what could have been a good thing would have taken very little effort at one time.

I have been especially grateful the past 2 weeks for the conversation, insight and conversation that has happened with both Lisa S. and Tammy. Adrian has also been a tremendous blessing. I'm already missing the thought of not working with them every day. Kind-hearted Tammy has deciphered poorly written texts, proofread documentation and has been a source of comfort and strength through a couple of emotional moments. Kimber's kindness and professionalism will never be forgotten. Her spunky attitude, in general, will be a great help to get through these remaining few weeks.

I am so grateful for the upcoming weekend and half-way hoping that we have a torrential rain pour so that I can simply stay home or go to my classroom and take care of the little tasks.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Home...

Home is where the heart is.

Great sentiment but not sure what to do with it when:

...where your heart is becomes a place that isn't yours.

...when who you want your heart to be with doesn't want the same.

...when your heart is so heavy with sadness that it's hard to envision "all working out".

..."home" is a place you long for but you're not really certain you've ever been there.

...when you've allowed the closest concept of home that was known to slip from your grasp.

Found a quote on Positivity Inspires that spoke to this current train of thought:
"I am homesick for a place I'm not sure even exists. 
One where my heart is full and my soul is understood." 

Strength

Wishing my faith was stronger.
Strong enough to not allow any room for panic in my heart.
Strong enough to not allow tears steeped in fears.
Strong enough to not wonder "why?" and "how?"

I understand that the sadness and accompanying grief are understandable and acceptable but the underlying fears and doubts are not.

I'm hoping that after my meeting with Liesa tomorrow, I'll, at least, have a sense of peace in knowing that I've done all that I can do. I simply want the chance to be heard and believed. I am praying for the option of a transfer but not counting on such.

I find it disheartening that one individual is allowed the power to harm and even possibly end ones long term and successful teaching career. I do not believe that the decision that has been made is based on my teaching abilities or performance.

My students have learned as demonstrated through their formal and informal assessments. I have not had any issues with students or their respective families. As far as I am aware, I have gotten along well with each and every member of the faculty and staff. I, in no way, deserve the treatment I have received. And for one who is always quick to assume blame for anything, that is saying a lot.

The situations/concerns that were previously brought to my attention are the reasons I assume are behind the decision made.  I thoroughly explained about each concern and thought all had been cleared up. I am not above reproach at any time but the concerns she expressed were explained in an honest, forthright manner. If she chooses to not believe me, I feel that she should have gone to the other parties involved for collaboration or disproof. She hasn't done any such thing.

I know God will work this out for something good in His plan but I am feeling so frustrated, infuriated and flat-out weary. I'm grateful that I am allowed the privilege of relying upon His strength because my strength is barely enough to keep standing.

My mind, body and soul are crying out for some sort of "break" in the sadness and confusion that has been a daily part of my existence for far too long.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Daily Gratitudes (from last week)

Saturday, April 4th
1. Getting to see my puppy-love, Josie
2. Both pups getting a good grooming at a reasonable price
3. Finding exactly what I needed at Big Lots
4. An enjoyable afternoon and evening with my mom

Sunday, April 5th
1. Sun-filled afternoon
2. Quality rest and relaxation
3. Finishing up some unpleasant tasks

Monday, April 6th
1. Friendship shared with Deidra and Diane
2. Good visit with Lisa S.
3. Discovering another option for a seemingly insurmountable problem
4. Enjoyable evening with Sheryl, her boys and our mom.

Tuesday, April 7th
1. Chicken biscuits and Diet Dr. Pepper
2. Tangible PROOF that someone's accusations are not true.
3. Fun celebration of Rhyder's 4th birthday!

WEDNESDAY, April 8th
1. Supportive classroom families
2. Encouraging coworkers
3. Prayerful friends

THURSDAY, APRIL 9th
1. Encouraging news
2. Fresh flowers
3. Delicious lunch

FRIDAY, APRIL 10th
1. Simple fact that it is Friday
2. Availability of time to prep for next week
3. Willingness of people to stand up for truth regardless of repercussions

SATURDAY, APRIL 11th
1. Lifetime of shared friendship with Randy & Debbie & Keith and Vickie
2. Kind messages from caring friends
3. 7 hours of continuous sleep

True Words from Another at Just the Right Time

BORROWED WORDS FROM www.stephanieclayton.org 
(CAPITALIZED WORDS ARE MINE)
To you that feels broken…afraid…lonely…in a tough spot…I NEVER IMAGINED THE PAST 8 MONTHS WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN WHAT IS. I AM NEVER ABOVE REPROACH BUT I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR DOING WHAT I TRULY FEEL IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN ENTRUSTED TO MY CARE NOR WILL I BE A PAWN IN THE SENSELESS POLITICS THAT SOMETIMES RULE AN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM.
If there was an easier place to go, you would have gone…but you are here… HERE AND ATTEMPTING TO BE FILLED WITH GRACIOUSNESS AND KINDNESS DESPITE THE GLARING INCONSISTENCIES AND HURT FEELINGS.
The place where the weight of the world meets your shoulders in a fiery crash. I get it. TRULY DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE SURVIVE THE DAY TO DAY WITHOUT HAVING HOPE IN A HEAVENLY FATHER WHO CAN AND WILL CAUSE ALL THINGS TO BE WORKED OUT FOR HIS BEST.
Shame and hurt have not abandoned you, although you certainly wish they would. They hang on tight like a rod wrapped around a string. Pulling you this way and that. Seems so unfair. And at times irrational and illogical. How many broken pieces can one already shattered heart hold. But God sees you. HIS AWARENESS, HIS COMFORT, HIS PEACE AND HIS GUIDANCE ARE IMMEASUARBLE. 
It hurts. But you are bold. You have strength. It’s strength of far greater value than gold. Not your own. But bought at the highest price. Paid for. It’s yours. PRAYING DESPARATELY TO REMEMBER THIS TRUTH IN THE MOMENTS OF BEING OVERWHELMED WITH SADNESS AND ANGER.
You are going to be ok. Today. Tomorrow. Forever. It’s not a chance or gamble.  Your bends and breaks are known. He’s noticed every salty sweaty tear. Each bendy twisted place. The knots tied over again and now solidified by fear can still be undone. I know this for sure. SO GRATEFUL THAT HE IS TRUTH AND HE FULLY KNOWS WHAT IS TRUE. PRAYING THAT HE WILL LEAD ALL TO THE AWARENESS AND ACCEPTANCE OF WHAT IS TRUE.
The pressure you place on yourself to be ok, right here, right now, is not necessary. You may not be ok. And that is ok. All God’s people endure fiery trials. They aren’t what makes us clean but they are what makes Holy. GRATEFUL THAT I AM ACCEPTED JUST AS I AM. MU UTMOST DESIRE IS TO LIVE IN A GENUINE, AUTHENTIC WAY THAT ALLOWS OTHERS TO FEEL COMFORTABLE IN DOING THE SAME. 
Small shards of broken glass that when put together make a glorious window. A unique lens through which we view the Savior. SHARDS OF BROKENESS IS AMAZINGLY AND ACCURATELY DESCRIPTIVE.
Dear friend, He sees you. It’s rough. But the water you swim in is safe. Take a breath and keep pressing on. Lift up a Hallelujah even when it’s grey. The clouds will part. Where He multiplies suffering there is fertile soil for healing. It’s planted and on the way. Prepare your heart and home for the harvest. In the end it’s going to be a blessing.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Then there was light...

Some days are significantly darker than others.
I will forever be grateful for knowing and being loved by The One who created the light.
Remaining in prayer for the ability to see even the faintest flicker on this current path while seriously considering what my options would be if I were to stop teaching.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Battle Fatigue

Nothing infuriates me as much as seeing someone being taken advantage of and someone choosing to believe something that simply is not true.

I seem to be fighting a battle that I can't win and the battle itself is ludicrous. As maddening and hurtful as it is, there is a strong sense of peace in knowing that the accusations against me are false and that I'm not responsible for someone accepting what is true. The circumstances certainly aren't fair but fully knowing that God is aware and will take care of it all, including me, in the ways and timing He sees fit is comforting and grants me a level of strength that I wouldn't have otherwise.

I am so thankful to the few that are privy to this circumstance "see" things as I do and have only offered support and encouragement. I'm not able to distinguish if anger or sadness is the dominant emotion. Seems to vary.

I have one more potential option then I will place the shields down and accept whatever occurs. I'm so thankful for the blessings of a clear conscience. I am not above reproach at any given time but the action(s) taking place are not in any way deserved and if the suffering is due to "doing the right thing" then so be it.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lost foothold

Within the past few weeks, I finally feel like I've regained my footing then today knocked the breath out of me and has literally left me on the floor in sobbing prayer.

I KNOW that God is in control and all will be okay.

I will be okay.

But despite that knowledge, I wish I could see even a tiny glimpse of light on the path He's preparing. Part of me finds the "openness" of opportunities exciting while another part of me is fighting off the grip of fear of not having any idea what the future holds.

I'm thankful that the next 4-5 months have some sense of stability and desperately trying to focus on that blessing and not worry beyond the moment but that is so much easier said than done.

I was really looking forward to this holiday weekend. The first holiday since the big life changes that I feel healthy and there are low-key but enjoyable plans in place. But now I sit on yet another level of grief, anger, and confusion while pleading with God for some sort of direction.

I won't allow this undesirable news/situation steal a moment of joy from the privileged time with my family this weekend. I will also not allow such to interfere with my work responsibilities and professional attitude.

A few years back, a lady that I didn't know very well was under an intense amount of burdens. I regularly prayed for her and I will never forget the intensity and power of her "claiming her rights as a daughter of the Almighty King". She ended her talk by sharing with us her daily proclamation of speaking out loud: "In the name and power of Jesus, 'Devil, go to hell! And stay there. You will not take me from my Father's side".

I understand her words and passion-filled plea so much better now than then.



Daily Gratitudes (from past week)

SATURDAY, MARCH 28th
1. Shaved legs
2. Clean sheets
3. Relaxing day

SUNDAY, MARCH 29th
1. Finding Josie a "forever home"
2. Spending some one-on-one time with Rhyder
3. Blessings of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Harris this afternoon

MONDAY, MARCH 30th
1. Safe arrival of Kim's grandbaby
2. Enjoyable evening with my momma
3. Unexpectedly short faculty meeting after school

TUESDAY, MARCH 31st
1. For all of the unexpected blessings throughout this past year.
2. Fun evening with Sheryl, her boys and my mom at the 1st Japanese restaurant I've been to
3. Unexpected text from a much-missed friend

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1st
1. News that Josie is much-loved at her new home
2. Afternoon thunderstorms
3. Peaceful evening at home

THURSDAY, APRIL 2nd
1. A good night of sleep
2. MUCH improved behavior from my classroom cutie pies.
3. Landlord's approval to "better" the property at his expense.

FRIDAY, APRIL 3rd
1. Half-day off for the Easter weekend!
2. No traveling plans for the holiday weekend.
3. Such good participation of "school families" in the Egg Hunt
4. Kindness, support and tears from those who were made aware of my unsettling news today.
5. Kelsie and Baby Weston being released from hospital

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Truths of the Heart

This time last year, I was headed to Edmond, Oklahoma in a desperate plea for a "safe place" filled with anxiety and grief. I felt like, for all practical purposes, my life had truly come to an end. That was the.LONGEST.drive.EVER!

My safe arrival was only through the providence of God. Dear friends alternated the timing of their phone calls. Had I not been on the phone with Randy during that massive panic attack, I would have been in a wreck. He helped keep me calm enough to pull over to the side of the highway. The moment that I finally laid eyes upon Becky & Wayne was the moment that I knew NO MATTER WHAT, I would be okay.

I will forever be in awe of the love that those two have shown me since I was 5 years old despite my dad placing them in harms way; even to the point of being in a witness protection program. They have NEVER wavered in their support, encouragement and love for me. Wayne has always had the ability to make me laugh and Becky has always spoken the truth to me even if I didn't want to hear it.

A year ago, I realized that my life was no longer working and changes had to be made. I NEVER imagined the changes that would occur but I've no regrets other than not having made the changes earlier.

I have several life scenarios that play out so easily in my mind but haven't any idea if those ideas match up with the plans of God. Time will tell and I am learning to fully trust in Him even if I don't understand. Looking back over my life, I wonder "what if" I had heeded those heart-tugs from God rather than dismissing them or responding/reacting in fear.

I am far from being "fearless" but am growing closer to being such with each and every day. The next 11 weeks hold some pivotal moments and it is a struggle to not give in to worry but that is my goal and I know that I am blanketed in prayer which is a huge comfort.

I heard an "old song" by Reba McEntire and Vince Gill earlier this week and it brought to mind how I've never allowed myself to trust my heart. But now that is the only thing to trust PROVIDED THAT God's Word and His Will are first and foremost in my heart. What heartache I could have missed if I'd only heeded that Truth 28 years ago. But...can't go back so forward I will go.

THE HEART WON'T LIE
(Reba M. & Vince G.)

"Looking back over the years of all the things I've always meant to say
But words didn't come easily
So many times through empty fears...
You try to live your life from day to day...
Cause the heart won't lie
Sometimes life gets in the way
But there's one thing that won't change
I know I've tried
The heart won't lie
You can live your alibi
Who can see you're lost inside a foolish disguise
The heart won't lie...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

366 days later...

Yesterday marked the 1 year date of a decision that would forever alter my life. When I took that first step, I never imagined that it would lead me to where I now am physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. 

These past 12 months "have God's fingerprints" all over them. The journey hasn't been easy but the most important thing I've learned is that God really does care and He really will work things out, even to the smallest details. I haven't always understood why or even how at the times but the evidence is real and for that I'm grateful. Leaves me to wonder where the next year will lead. I, of course, have my own ideas of what I would like to see happen but I'm absolutely fine with allowing the Lord to guide the way with the continual prayer that I'll be blessed with the ability to discern His will.