Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm Still Here

I have survived the first few weeks of my new job. I have been on a roller coaster of emotions from the beginning. I am so glad that I have been given the opportunity to work with kids doing something I love. That being said, it has been heartbreaking to see the situations that some of the children are coming from. For some, school is not only a place to learn, but a sanctuary from home. Things as basic as learning the alphabet, or looking at a picture book has never been done. It is sad to think that some of the simple joys of childhood have been missed.

I had a meeting with my co-workers this morning and asked the principal how do you stay focused on the task at hand without getting bogged down by lack of parental involvement at home. She understood my frustrations and told me to focus on my circle of control. So true.

I love the excitement of the kids when they work on writing in their journals. The stories are so creative. I think it going to be a great year. I can't wait to see the progress.

Friday, August 20, 2010

You Gotta Have A Little Faith

Happy Friday, Company Girls! It's been a week of ups and downs around here. As my husband pointed out to me, "You gotta have a little faith." He was right. Everything worked out just fine in the end. Getting myself to remain calm was the interesting part.

Tuesday evening I attended the local school board meeting so that I could be present when my pending job position was to be approved. Low and behold, my name wasn't on the agenda. There were several other positions which were mentioned, but not mine. I headed home and tried to remind myself that the principal had told me that I had the job. My husband and I decided that I should send an email to the principal telling her what happened, and find out what to do next. That very evening she responded, assuring me that I was hired. She was going to look into the matter, and see if I needed to be approved by the county school board. I would love to tell you that I remained calm. That I trusted God that everything would become clear. Not so much.

Wednesday evening my husband told me "You gotta have a little faith." I told him that I agreed, but the control freak, needs to know what's going on part of me was having a hard time. I wanted to know when the approval was going to happen, when my first day of work would be, and when I would be getting a paycheck. I was very specific in my frustration, thank you very much.

Thursday morning God answered all my questions. The mail came early yesterday. I received a packet in the mail from the county board of education. Included in this packet was my approval letter and a payroll dates and procedures sheet. Once I had the information I emailed the principal to let her know everything was in order. She let me know that my first day will be next Friday. God was very specific in answering all of my questions. I wonder if He chuckled a little bit at my behavior the night before. Now it was the Lord telling me, "Stephenie, you gotta have a little faith."

Friday, August 13, 2010

School Is Right Around The Corner

12 days and counting! This year not only will the kids be at school, but I'll be working there as well. I will be a parapro early interventionist. I get to go into the kindergarten and first grade classrooms and help students with reading and writing. I am so excited! I can't believe I'm actually going to be paid to do something that I love. I have volunteered for various things in these classrooms since my kids were in school. I never would have thought it would lead to this. This is the job opportunity I wrote about a while ago. I had to take a test, and then go through a background check, before I could officially be offered the job. Now, pending school board approval on Tuesday evening, I will have a job.

While I am so looking forward to this new opportunity, I have to say the other thing I love about the beginning of the school year is the return to a schedule. My family seems to thrive on it. Fall is my favorite season so that helps, too. The heat of summer doesn't bother me. The humidity I could definitely do without. How about you? Is there anything you are looking forward to?

Friday, July 9, 2010

A New Perspective

I'm beginning to emerge from the funk mentioned in my previous post. I don't have a list of clear cut answers for what will happen next, but I know that I know that Jesus is enough. He has gently shown me some areas I need to work on. I love that His mercies are new every morning! Sometimes we just need to be reminded of God's truths. If I could offer advice to anyone who has found themselves in a place of certainty, it is this: Park your mind on God's truths. Truth is so much stronger than feelings.

Monday, June 28, 2010

In a Funk

Okay, I'm finally willing to admit it, I am in a funk of what seems like gigantic proportions. At least to me anyway. I feel like I can't get handle on what my life's purpose and passion are supposed to be right now. My prayers seem to be more like whispers of "What now?" and "What am I supposed to do with the way I'm feeling?" I can't even put my finger on any one thing. Life used to be so clear cut. Encouraging others in marriage and parenting were what drove me. Now I seem to just be going through the motions. I'm not sure where I'm supposed to be or what I'm supposed to be doing. Anybody have any advice?

Friday, June 18, 2010

What A Baseball Game Taught Me About God

Okay, I must start this post with a disclaimer: I really need to work on the very thing I'm about to write about. That being said, I feel as if I'm going to burst if I don't get this out.

This past Sunday Rick and I were able to attend the Indians game thanks to the generosity of some family members. We had a blast! At one point the bases were loaded with two outs. This was the stuff great stories are made of. The crowd rose to its feet in an attempt to encourage the batter to knock it out of the park. The mood was electric. There was total focus on the battle that was being fought to score at least one run, if not four. Unfortunately, the batter struck out and the inning ended. It got me thinking about how many times the bases are loaded in our spiritual lives. Are we aware of what is going on around us? Look at what the Bible tells us to do as believers in Christ:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6: 10-18 NIV (emphasis added)

Are you providing encouragement? Are you praying? Are you alert? Now is the time. Let me know what your thinking.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Women of Faith Worship: A Review

I recently had the privilege of listening to "Women of Faith Worship" from the Women of Faith Worship Team. Wow! From the first note this recording grabbed my attention. Instead of paying attention to the things in my life that aren't set in stone right now to focusing on the One who created and loves me. I don't know about you, but sometimes I can get caught up in how I feel, instead of what I know God says is truth. I love how the lyrics of these songs are filled with truth.

The song selections are awesome! From "God of This City" to "Amazed" this recording is like a soundtrack of the journey we all take to our home with Jesus. From proclaiming that God is in control and over all things, to songs about who each of us are in Christ, and asking Him to meet us right where we are, this c.d. is wonderful. I have listened to it almost daily since I received it about a week ago. "Just Wanna Say" and "Glorious" took some getting used to, since they aren't the normal style of music I listen to. They are growing on me though.

If there was one thing I could change, I wouldn't include "Indescribable". I love the song, but I can't seem to get past the fact that it's not Chris Tomlin singing. I highly recommend purchasing this c.d.; you won't be disappointed. God inhabits the praises of His people and "Women of Faith Worship" is an invitation to stay and praise a while.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

One Month Later...

I can't believe it's been a month since I've blogged. I'm still working out and trying to eat better. I feel better and my clothes are fitting better, and I have more energy. However, the scale isn't moving at all. My husband found a healthy solution for my chocolate cravings. Luna Bars are nutrition bars designed especially for women. With flavors like caramel nut brownie and smores, I am one happy girl.

The Spring and Summer schedules have hit full force. The kids have Junior Soccer Academy once a week. Rick is coaching our church's softball team, and will coach the kids summer soccer team. Summer soccer starts the week after soccer academy is finished. Soccer and softball both go until the end of July. Rick has spent this weekend in Columbus attending a Upwards soccer clinic. Upwards soccer will begin at our church in the Fall. Rick has said he will not be a coach, but a coordinator. Busy, busy, busy!

While I cannot go into detail just yet, I have a possible job opportunity coming up this Fall. You won't be wasting a prayer on me right now, as the testing process will be starting soon. My family are very excited about this possibility. I promise I will blog when I can say more. Have a great week!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Can Chocolate and Healthy Choices Coexist?

What a week it's been! I know it's been more than a week since I blogged, but I have an excellent reason. Rick and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary last weekend. We agreed that Rick was in charge of planning our getaway; and I had no idea where we were heading until we were actually on the way. Exciting, but the 'need to know what's going on' part of me was going a little crazy. Anyways, Rick made reservations at the hotel where we spent our wedding weekend. I loved that he thought of something so sentimental. The area where we were has developed quite a bit since we got married, and we had a blast. Rick made reservations at a fancy restaurant. The food was great. I know our waitress was doing her job, but it was strange to be served in such an elaborate manner. I kept wanting to say, "Thanks, but you really don't have to do that for me." May I say, the dessert was worth the price of admission and then some. I wish I had had my camera with me because the presentation alone was stunning. A singe tart filled with the most amazing chocolate mousse, covered in whipped cream (the house recipe), drizzled in raspberry sauce and garnished with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Amazing!

I love me some chocolate. My over 30 waistline, not so much. I headed back to the gym after a lengthy absence on Monday. I am sore! I'm trying to figure out how to satisfy my sweet tooth without sabatoging my workouts. Anyone have any suggestions? Oh chocolate, must we say goodbye?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Angels Are Having A Party

Matt was so excited that he ran up to recieve his award.

God has been showing off at our house lately. I just had to share. First and foremost, Matt prayed the Sinner's Prayer with his Sunday school teacher this past Sunday. We had prayed that prayer before at home, but Matt told his teacher he wanted to be sure. Well, I can't argue with that. Matt's teacher told my husband, but Matt was a little nervous to tell us at first. I found out later that he was concerned that I would be upset since we had prayed for Matt to accept Christ as his Savior before. I reassured him that I was quite thrilled and let him know that if he had any doubts whatsoever that his decision was the right one. Luke 15:10 says:" I tell you, it is the same in heaven. There is joy in heaven over one sinner who turns away from sin." I told Matt that the angels in heaven were having a party because of the decision he made. His answer was "Sweet!"

The good news for Matt just keeps on coming this week. On Monday morning I got a call from his teacher. He has been selected as the "Above and Beyond" student in his class for the third grading period. This award is given to the student who goes the extra mile to achieve success. His teacher went on to tell me, that what we thought were the symptoms of dsygraphia at the beginning of the year, have all been corrected. It's not effecting Matt academically at all. In addition, everything has been documented so if the symptoms present themselves again next school year, we know what direction to take. A weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Go God! If you would have told me at the beginning of the school year that Matt would have this big of a turn-around I would have been shocked; now I'm humbled.

On a different note, we are so thankful that Rick was able to repair our car. We were actually contemplating a car payment :( However, we have committed to becoming debt free so we agreed to do our best to repair our vehicle. Rick did the repair and we thought not much had changed. In some ways it seemed worse! Rick was about halfway to work when he thought the car was going to die. He came to a stop sign, and when it was his turn to go the car began running better that it has in a long time. Go God! Thank you for providing for our family.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Let the Sunshine In

Hello everybody! (I always feel like Grover from Sesame Street when I type that.) It's been a while since I've blogged, but I hoping to return to my once a week posts. I miss Company Girl Fridays. Last week brought warmer temperatures and sunshine to my neck of the woods. It was a welcome sight. The kids have playing outside a lot and I have begun cleaning like a crazy woman!

I have never been one to "Spring Clean" until now. The aforementioned sunshine streaming through my windows made a winter's worth of dust overwhelmingly noticeable on my walls. So what started with deep cleaning the dining room has now led to the living room and enclosed front porch. I confess that I'm waiting to tackle the front porch windows, though. Consistently warmer temps will need to be in the forecast before I deal with those. The awesome part of it all is that I'm actually enjoying it. I can't believe I just typed that! Hopefully, I'll have the downstairs finished by this weekend, and will start the upstairs next week. Welcome Spring!

Friday, February 26, 2010

10 Years Ago

10 years ago, tomorrow, my life changed forever. It was then that I became a mom to my beautiful baby girl. Only now, she's not a baby. She prefers to be called a 'tween'. She's not 10 years old, she's a decade. (At least she wants me to say that.) Time really does fly. For some reason this birthday is hitting me hard. I am more than halfway through the time when Abby will be at home.

I remember the fresh, and in some ways, completely unanticipated feelings that accompanied my entry into motherhood. I never knew I could love someone so completely. I had a new understanding of how my mom stepped up, when my birth mother did not. That was bittersweet. And last, but certainly not least, I felt a different kind of relationship with God brewing. I didn't know at the time, but he would use motherhood as a way to draw me back to him and allow him to love me in a way I had stopped him from doing before.

Abby has grown into a girl that loves Jesus. Her favorite Bible story is Esther. We are enjoying the fact that tomorrow at sundown the Jewish people will begin their celebration of Purim. The entire narrative of Esther will be read and she will be remembered as a girl used of God "for such a time as this". My prayer for Abby is that she will be an Esther in her generation.

Happy Birthday Abby! Your momma loves you very much!

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Momma on a Mission and Other Stories

Hey Company Girls! I love spending time reading your blogs. It's been a busy couple of weeks around our house. This post may ramble a little bit, but stick with me, pretty please. I became a momma on a mission after my son saved his commissions for 5 months to purchase a certain LEGO set. Matt finally reached his saving goal on Sunday evening only to learn that the set he had been working so hard to get was discontinued. The very set that his parents had seen several times in stores over the holidays and could have purchased. We didn't though, because we wanted Matt to keep up with his goal and learn some patience along the way. After some frantic Internet searching and a lot of phone calls, I found the set. Thank you, Jesus! Matt had that set built in no time; and said he was really glad that he saved his money for it. I used to be bothered by how quickly he could build a set. I worried that he really wasn't enjoying it. Then I thought about how when I get a new book and I can hardly put it down. LEGO sets for him are like books for me.

Camera class was absolutely fabulous! I learned so much. First, I have to get all the pictures off my computer and put them on a flash drive. I would be so upset if something happened to our computer and I lost all those photos. Second, and I loved this thought, the instructor said that when you have a digital camera it doesn't cost anything to actually take a picture, so just take a bunch. I took comfort in knowing I wasn't the only one who goes a little crazy with picture-taking at a sporting event, and then ends up deleting. The perfect shot is rarely planned so just keep trying. There will a class offered soon on sports photography which I definitely plan on attending. This soccer mom needs some tips. There was so much in the class that I could probably fill an entire blog post on that alone, but maybe another time.

Matt's room is finally painted. After going back and forth on the color, we agreed on Desert Fortress by Valspar. It's a light tan color. His room has white trim and navy blue curtains are on the way.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Company Girl Coffee 1/22

This post is gonna be a short one. My camera class is tomorrow, which means that I really do hope to figure out how to place photos in my blog posts. I'm looking forward to learning something new. Last weekend's reunion was sweet. My brother was unable to attend due to last minute glitch, but other than that it was good. I got some super cute pictures of my nieces and daughter playing together. The boys were too busy playing with their brand new Nerf guns to bother posing for a picture.

This week will bring organizing/de-cluttering, parent-teacher conferences, and the return of lake effect snow. Oh, and the Indianapolis Colts game. I love watching Peyton Manning play football! Have a fabulous week!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Family Reunion

I'm so excited because tonight begins a long awaited family reunion/delayed Christmas celebration. My siblings are all coming home and we will be hanging out at my parents house. Of these things I am sure, at some point at least one of us sisters will get the giggles. And it is contagious! We will consume entirely too much food. Tonight will probably be appetizers and desserts. Tomorrow morning will be Christmas breakfast and tomorrow evening will be Christmas dinner.

All that, and Rick should be home for all of the festivities, too. All the snow that we have gotten over the past couple of weeks is beginning to melt. I'm thankful to have this time together. I will try to post some pictures next week.

Friday, January 8, 2010

He's Home!

After 10 days in a row of the night shift of overtime, Rick was home yesterday. He took a vacation day so he could catch up on sleep and spend some time with me and the kids. It was nice to have him around. Overtime came up again today, but Rick got called out early this morning so he will be home around noon. What a crazy schedule; there is no rhyme or reason to it. The way Rick put it, getting put on the shift that stays after the regular work day is good from a financial standpoint. Getting called out early in the morning is a lot easier when it comes to family life. Please pray that our family would have a peace that passes all understanding as we learn to balance the two different shifts.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

8 Days and Counting

Yesterday marked the 8th day in a row of overtime for Rick. This schedule is starting to put on a strain on our family. The way the days have gone lately, Rick works his regular shift and then stays until around midnight. He comes home to go to sleep, and then gets up to do it all over again. We are are all trying to keep our eye on the prize which is an emergency/moving fund. That being said, one night at home without interruption would be wonderful. We are still planning on a family overnight at a hotel when winter comes to an end. Anybody have suggestions for ways to deal with a very unpredictable, but mandatory, schedule?

Abby and I were watching the news last night. A reporter said he wanted to tip his hat to those who plow in Chardon (which is where Rick works), all the roads looked great despite an unbelievable amount of snow. Abby excitedly looked at the television, and said "That's my dad!" Pretty cute.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year Company Girls

UPDATE: The photo is the view from my front door, taken with the new camera. I love the look of fresh fallen snow. My husband teases me by saying, "Look at all the snowy trees!" (faking excitement)

Y'all, I am so excited! I could just about burst. My man completely surprised me on Christmas morning with the camera I have had my eye on for quite some time. The camera that I knew was beyond our Christmas budget. As much I am loving the camera, the thing that excites me the most is that he went above and beyond and gave up some things to give it to me. I was floored! Abby said, "I think Mom is going to cry." I found out that he sold some of his things and didn't tell me. Then, in true Dave Ramsey fashion, looked high and low to get the best deal. In the end, he made the purchase from a camera store, and we will be attending a camera class sometime this month. Once I figure out how to post pictures on this blog, I will show you some of the pictures I have already taken.

On to today, Rick is on a call out. The kids spent the night at my sister's house for a cousins New Year's Eve party. I wonder if they stayed up until midnight or not. Rick and I were able to go out on a date. (Sweet!) Today, I'm cleaning and getting organized. Let the decluttering begin. I'm off to tackle another pile...