How A Letter Became My Burning Bush

How A Letter Became My Burning Bush

God spoke to me in a very unconventional way last night. I feel led to share the story. Please read with reflection into your own life and know this lesson is for all of us.

As one who possesses a highly extroverted personality, there isn’t much about my life that I don’t mind sharing with others. That quality is inviting to some and cringe worthy to others, but we are who we are and it is what it is!

However, lately there have been exceptions to that personality trait. Over the past several months, life circumstances have caused me to draw inward and trusting people doesn’t come easily anymore. My relationships with others must be thoroughly tested to prove they are worthy of my openness. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, maybe it’s fear or maybe it’s just simply the smart thing to do.

THE LETTER

Back in the spring, I was asked to write a deeply candid letter. It was for a family member and only a select few were privy to the content. It was a short three pages long (extrovert remember?) and what I said was incredibly raw and honest. What was written was meant for a time of reflection, support and motivation and it was personal.

Having it saved on my computer, I decided I didn’t need the hard copy. I remember it being in my purse and thought with certainty that I threw it away.

Yesterday afternoon, I’m in the car with my quiet, sit in the corner, yeah right NEVER, children with my husband driving to a friend’s house. All three kids are multitasking between iPads and the radio stations. The conversations:

“Mom, can you turn it up? That’s my FAVORITE.” (starts singing that Spanish Beiber song) Big Beast Child 

“Ugh mama I HATE that song! Change it! He ALWAYS gets to listen to what he wants and I never do!” Diva Darling Middle Child

“I got dat chicken mama and it had babies. Oh no! ‘Dere’s a skeleton coming! I’ll save ‘dem! (swoosh swoosh, growl growl)”  Tazmanian Devil Child

In the middle of the chaos, a private Facebook message alert from a stranger comes over on my phone.

My heart sank into my stomach, my hands began lightly trembling and I experienced the all too familiar “fight or flight” rush of heat from your core to extremities.

Somehow, some seemingly impossibly way, that very letter had mysteriously ended up on the floorboard of a complete stranger’s minivan floor in Florida. This lady was asking if I was the same person by the same name listed on the letter that contained certain subject matter. Oh wow. It absolutely was. There was no denying it. Exposed and on the verge of becoming an emotional train wreck, I give her my number.

Who else knew? At least two people. The person sending me the message wasn’t the same person that found the letter. At this point I knew the letter had been posted on social media. Let’s just say this “open book” who has zero problems keeping it together 99.9% of the time, was about to be straight jacket bound. Like a nightmare.

Four long minutes later, she calls.

A sweet, eloquent voice begins to speak. I quickly learn that she is a member of a closed, Christian mom’s online group and from North Carolina. She confirmed that my letter had been mysteriously found on the minivan floorboard of one of their group members and she had posted the letter to their secret group to pray for us. Complete strangers.

That’s nice and all but I’m still mortified at this point! How in the world? Dumbfounded.

“Your letter has blown up our secret group page and has really led to incredible discussions. So many of us are going through similar circumstances and your words have impacted us. We’ve been searching to find you to let you know you and your family have been being prayed for constantly. We’re also taking the letter down out of respect for your privacy, and for what it’s worth, you’ve touched a lot of people.”

My voice breaks. Is this sincere? It sounds authentic but how do you really know? My inwardness regarding this struggle has become a familiar friend lately. This isn’t easy.

After hanging up, God then spoke.

As God came to Moses through a burning bush that wasn’t consumed by the fire, this was a hot mess of a season but it would not destroy those of us affected. God also orchestrated this encounter with Moses as a call to action to free those enslaved. The action required of Moses was uncomfortable, wasn’t logical by human standards and forced him to operate in his weaknesses. Truthfully, there have been moments recently where I have felt as a slave to circumstances. I mean, don’t we all? Was this letter being found forcing me to act to free myself of negative mindsets and unnecessary strongholds I was allowing within myself?

What I have refused to share to only a select few, got shared out of my control for a greater purpose than my own.

You see, last night many of these women sent messages my way of encouragement, revealing how widespread the commonality of our struggles really are.

I facebooked stalked them all. 🙂  From New Jersey, Tampa, South Africa and more. Again, all complete strangers.

It’s really a small world and I’m still completely overwhelmed. The unconventional means that God orchestrates to communicate with us are evidence of his constant presence and relentless actions behind the scenes in our lives.

When you feel alone, you never are. For months I have praying for the very thing I received last night: evidence of God’s hand and a bird’s eye perspective in the stormy fire. I am surrounded by great friends that aren’t strangers and fabulous people that are.

May God also give you your burning bush moment that you need at the very exact time it is needed. Finally, let this be a reminder that sincere words of encouragement really do help heal.

Be the good.

 

 

 

 

10 Teacher Appreciation Ideas And Why You Should Do It NOW

Parents listen up! This one’s important and it’s a call to action.

I’ve done my fair share of school volunteering over the last several years and have seen firsthand what my children’s teachers do all day. In fact, anyone that spends enough time in a school environment should recognize the amount of time and energy that teachers invest into one’s kid.

You have the power to extinguish their resolve or throw gas on their fiery efforts. It’s your choice. Choose wisely.

I look back at my early college days and pat myself on the back for not proceeding with that Early Childhood Education degree. Why? It’s not my gift and I’m afraid I would have failed miserably. I can teach adults and handle large crowds but a classroom of KIDS? Seven plus hours a day? Five days a week? With decreasing funding? With a large percentage of parents either absent or absent yet complaining? Uh uh.

What can I do? Partner with those that are fabulous at it.

Through personal observation, I’ve learned that teaching, especially educating children, is a God-given GIFT and it’s not an easy job. However, I’m in absolute awe of how well they work their craft and how educators command the attention of multiple, sometimes as high as twenty plus, focus challenged, diverse personality filled younglings.

Pending no homeschooling, listen up parents! Your kids spend more time during the work week with their teachers than they do with you. Teachers are our partners in this thing we call parenthood. They are your village and the majority love your child fiercely and want them to succeed.

Now, I get that not all teachers are created equally and, like in any field, there may be a few bad eggs. What’s the big picture people? The majority of teachers are committed to advancing our children and encouraging them along the way. As a parent, I WANT to encourage my child’s teacher because of three reasons:

A) They desperately need it. Those that complain are the loudest. Those that don’t are generally silent and assume that teachers know how they feel. We have all been on the receiving end of lack of appreciation. It’s a devastating feeling. What do we remember folks? If a person receives 9 half-hearted compliments and 1 screaming negative, we remember the bad one.

B) They teach your child in ways you cannot. I’m owning it: I have little patience teaching my kids things they don’t particularly like and don’t catch on to quickly. Hats off to teachers that can. We need them.

C) Showing appreciation is a dying art: In a world where people are increasingly after number one only, make it a point to tell those people who are in your child’s circle of influence how thankful you are. An appreciated teacher makes for a healthier learning environment for your child.

If you feel motivated next week to do something to put a smile on a teacher’s face, then here are some ideas (don’t forget the support staff either…they make that school run).

10) Positive morning surprises: Bring your teacher’s favorite beverage to school one morning (Understandably, some may beg for a margarita machine…Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or coffee from your favorite Bread company should do the trick!)

9)  Turn in and sign all your kid’s forms on time: It REALLY makes their day.

8)  Ask what supplies he or she needs and send some with your kiddo (sharpies, expo markers, copy paper, etc.).

7)  Send out positive vibes on social media about how great the teacher or school is and tag a bunch of people.

6)  VOLUNTEER at the school. Regardless of your work schedule, there are ways it can be done (Count or organize something at home or ask for a day off in advance for a big event).

5)  Make it a point to find out their birthday and send something to celebrate (drink and a snack, Plug In Scent, cupcakes, iTunes gift card).

4)  E-mail the principle and brag on something that teacher did that either impressed you or something your child came home from school talking about.

3)  Be a constant resource. You get a letter saying the teacher needs supplies for a classroom project…make it priority and deliver results on time.

2)  Honor their wishes. It’s the teacher’s domain at school, not yours. Some teachers like parents in their rooms and others prefer to keep parents out to maintain order. Kids need to learn to grow up without mom or dad there looking over the teacher’s shoulder and they also need you present at school when requested.

1B) One more thing: Make educated arguments: You will encounter real issues in the education of your child, but in most cases, teachers want to help be part of the solution. Don’t alienate them prematurely. If a parent has little to no involvement at the school and chooses to complain, then that person has no business voicing a hasty opinion. Get your toosh up to that school, make time, get involved and witness what your child and the teacher do all day. I guarantee your perception will most likely be broadened.

1A) Constant praise and affirmation. Hand written notes and verbal compliments to your child’s teacher go a long way. Do it often and be genuine. You never know how bad that day has been for a teacher and the power you have to encourage his or her spirit.

Teachers are a large part of our village as parents and be assured you are in the minority if you choose to be a source of light for them. It makes for a healthier school environment for everyone and a happier soul for yourself. Choose to encourage and not tear down.

I challenge you! Be that difference this week!

 

Skittles and Weeds

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I NEVER get headaches. There was an exception today. Took a nap, Advil, then Tylenol. Baby daddy and the eldest went to practice ball so I get moving because I have to. Trying to get some Teacher appreciation gifts ready for the week at my office desk. I hear yelling, crying, baby girl comes in my room and and locks the door.

I unlock the door, of course, because I don’t trust my three year alone for a SECOND. The damage has already been done people! An empty skittles bag, skittles ALL over the living room and these weeds he picked earlier…all over my floor.

IMG_3522 IMG_3519The pictures don’t do the scene justice. I just snapped a few, put on Mickey Mouse and got back to work😎🌱🍃 Think my headache MAY be coming back.😏

Carpool Confessions “Tangled and Tardy”

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Confession – We’ve been tardy all of 5 times the month of March! This is not the norm I assure you. Daylight savings…sheesh. In my defense, our tardies have been in the 8:01-8:02 range and there has been major construction on the road. However, technically kids are supposed to be in their classrooms seated before the bell rings. Soooo yeah…I’m failing at punctuality and mornings have been a mess. YES, I do everything I can the night before.

So how can one have an hour and half each morning to get three kids up, dressed and in the car and STILL be tardy? There are, surprisingly, MANY.

For example, today Offspring #2 decided it was more important to play with fur baby Bella and mark dates off her calendar than to brush her blond locks and attach her size 3 sneakers to her 10 piggies.

It went down a little something like this…

“Kids we CANNOT be tardy again! You have a whole 45 minutes to eat, dress, brush teeth and get bottoms in the car. Chop chop! Make it happen or those little iPads you see right there are going POOF.”

Older two are dressed within 10 minutes but the Tasmanian devil child is still asleep in MY bed because he is in the habit of sneaking under the covers around 3:00am every night. The battle of wills begins with me stripping off pajamas and him kicking while I wrestle the darn “choo choo” pull up on over his cute little buns. Phew! He’s ready.

Fast forward until 5 minutes pre departure time.
Baby girl is KILLING me.

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“Brush your hair child so help me!
“What do you mean you can’t FIND your brush?! You just SAID you were BRUSHING your hair.”
“Where are your shoes?”
“Never mind. Here they are! Put them on in the car.”

I begin brushing her tangled mop. She’s screaming for maximum diva effect, Tasmanian devil child hits her in the head with his firetruck and yells “stop it sissy!” Oh it’s on now.

Finally…I open the back door and then fur baby Bella runs out. Geez! Ok, fur child is back inside, everybody is in the car and the beast child is contained in his car seat. Baby girl is holding her shoes and sobbing “I hate my life! You don’t understand the ways of little girls!”

Me – “Baby! Mama loves you but all I asked you to do was brush your hair so we wouldn’t be late and you had like 30 minutes to do it.”

“You don’t know what’s it’s like to have long hair like me! You aren’t a girl and you don’t understand me!.”

(Insert deer in headlights emoji)
Ummm…
A) I had long hair as a kid (it’s long NOW)
B) Last time I checked I was, in fact, a girl.

Eldest child throws his hands up in the air and gives me that “seriously?” look. I look back at her “Seriously?”.

20 minutes later we arrive at school. As the car comes to a halt, I cheerfully proclaim “Mama loves you! Have a FABO day! Yay! 5 minutes to get in your seats. Smooch.”

The toddler and I then round the corner. He lets out this massive sound and proudly states “Mama, I burp”.

At least we weren’t tardy!