My Why

So…one of the things I absolutely love to do is listen to positive, uplifting messages. I heard it said by Les Brown that when you are working toward being successful and living your best life, you must know your why.  What are you working toward?  What makes you want to get up in the morning and strive for your goals? Why are you doing what your are doing?

This past week I had the great fortune of spending six blessed and exciting days in North Carolina with my son and three year old grandson.  Each day was an adventure.  We visited local parks, chased waterfalls, hiked, had lunch at Lake Lure where Dirty Dancing was filmed and spent hours exploring small towns.  For me, of course, the days went by too fast and my time spent with them was too short.  However, to say that I am grateful for my vacation is the understatement of the year.

 

My boys are amazing!  My son is still the best kid I know.  He’s always been kind and loving.  Such a tender-hearted young man.  My grandson, well he is much like his father at that age.  I don’t think I’ve seen that kid walk.  He loves to run and explore. His favorite place to go is the park because he already understands that at the park he can run himself until he can no longer feel his legs.

I don’t think there is anything I wouldn’t do to help either of those boys to succeed in life.  My hope is that I was able to give my son the best parts of me so that he is able to give that and more to my grandson.  They give me life.  They give me air.  They help me to remember what’s important in life.  They are my “why”.  Anything that I will ever accomplish in life will be because of them, the future I wish to give them and the legacy I wish to leave them.  Because of them I will never stop driving, I will never stop pushing and I will never give up.

 

Living my best life…:)

 

 

 

 

Holiday Spirit

By a very generous stroke of luck, I had the house all to myself today.  As I sat on the couch watching television, I listened to this guy share that one of the reasons he loved his wife was because the way she viewed the world was unlike anything he’d ever seen or experienced.  He described how his wife simply loved people, saw the best in everyone and always wanted to help whoever and wherever she could.  He stated that he often wished he could see the world from her eyes.  The wife explained that she was a glass half full type person and made a conscience effort to be positive because she enjoys seeing people be their best selves.

Their conversation reminded me of the many conversations I have with my love.  He and the kids often tell me how different I am and that most people don’t think or view the world the way I do.  Whenever we have family discussions, I am usually the odd woman out.  I’ve always known that my way of thinking, speaking and being is rather different from what is considered the norm in my culture but there is just something in me that wants the best for every person I meet.  I feel that no matter the situation, there is a win-win solution for everyone involved.  Although it can be a tough job most days,  I often feel it is my purpose to love others, to find and make peace, to simply be kind.  I don’t seek attention or acknowledgement, I simply hope that by loving or being kind to someone, they will in turn love or be kind to someone else.

Today is Christmas and I spent the day basking in the quiet of an empty house.  My love and the kids are visiting their family.  I spent time with my family yesterday.  So today was about relaxing and counting my many blessings.  Earlier this afternoon I decided to open some of the cards I received from coworkers and I came across one that made me pause.   You never know how showing kindness or sharing a positive word will impact someone.  There is more than enough negativity and tragedy happening in this world, I don’t need to add to it.  I will be sharing this card with my kids when they get back so that they will know that it is very true that what you put out you will get back.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Mimi

When Saleem was about four or five years old I can remember, people always asking, “do you want any more kids” or “when are you having another one?”  My response was always the same, “if God wants me to have some, he better send me a man with some because I’m not having anymore!”  It was a joke to me until Saleem was about ten or eleven and I decided that I really wanted to have another child.  Around that time I’d met my love.  Although he already had five, we thought we’d try for one more or maybe two since he was a twin and twins were known to run in his family.  Either way, we would be happy with what ever God decided to bless us with.

Unfortunately, we were not prepared for the news we’d receive a few months later.  Turns out, I had uterine fibroids and my doctors doubted that I’d ever be able to have another child.  Under my doctors’ care, I decided to put off having surgery in order to try to get pregnant one more time.  After about eight months, I had not gotten pregnant but my fibroids had grown so large they were pressing on other vital organs.  My doctor was afraid my kidneys would be dangerously affected.  When tests revealed just how much damage my fibroids were doing to my body, my doctor gave me two weeks to get things in order so that he could perform my hysterectomy.

The day I left my doctor’s office was one of the saddest days.  Not only was I faced with not being able to have another child but I struggled with having to have such a major surgery at thirty-two years old.  Needless to say, the days leading up to the surgery were some of the most difficult.  I didn’t want my parents or Saleem to worry about me so I put on a brave face, said the most positive things when anyone asked how I was doing and tried not to cry.

The surgery went well.  I recovered with good friends, family and my love taking care of me.  I returned to work and life moved on.  At the time, only three of my love’s children lived in the area and we were able to see them regularly.  So between his three and Saleem, we were often pretty busy having family movie nights, vacationing in some small town in Florida none of us had ever heard of and hanging out with the kids at one of their extracurricular events.

Time seems to have flown by.  The picture above is of me and who I refer to as “The Last of the Mohicans.”  These are my love’s youngest two…the twins and the last two at home.  They were three years old when their dad and I met.  I was blessed to be Saleem’s mom and to be apart of his everyday life and upbringing.  Even though God decided that having another child was not in the cards for me, I have been truly blessed to be Mimi to my love’s kids, especially these two.  I have been blessed to share in many firsts with the twins…their first day of kindergarten, their first day of middle school, their first day learning to drive, their first “unofficial” date and today, their first day at their first job.  In a few years, we will be dropping them off at their first day of college.

Prior to gaining full custody of the twins and their older sister almost four years ago, my love and I were weekend parents along with giving as much support during the week as needed.  Granted our lives have changed quite a bit now that the kids are with us full time and I must admit, I was not at all prepared as Saleem was out on his own by then.  I was enjoying being a semi-empty nester.  I understand now that even though all those years ago I joked about God sending me a man with kids, He has actually answered my prayers.  I am so grateful to have had this time with them.

 

Be careful what you ask for…:)

Summer Closing 2018

Seems like this summer has flown by!  As an educator I am often asked this question nearly all summer long, “are you ready to go back?”  I really don’t like that question.  Even when I’m not at school, I’m working.  Even though I decided to take a summer job at a department store and tutor the grandson of a friend of mine, I have also been meeting and planning with my team so that we are prepared when school actually goes back into session.  For most educators, not working all summer long is not an option.  We squeeze in some fun time with the family and maybe a vacation but a lot of us are planning, in trainings and preparing for the upcoming year.

I didn’t get an actually vacation this year but I did have some fun with my family, enjoyed my son and grandson for two weeks, and I even got to sleep in some days.  The best part of my summer was having lunch or dinner with friends I don’t often get to catch up with during the school year.

In an effort to get some cleaning and organizing done around the house, I finally got a chance to start working on the garage.  I got about half done when I came across a box that my aunt sent me over a year ago.  She’d been holding on to it since my mother passed away a few years ago.  I attempted to go through it when I first got it but didn’t get very far.  Although it was still very hard, I’m glad I was able to do it now.  After my mother passed away, I wasn’t able to have anything that belonged to her and that made me really sad.  However, while going through her box, I came across an old driver license and her last pastport.  It was awesome!  It may not sound like much but for me, to be able to have just those two things of hers meant the world to me.  To go from growing up in a house that reflected our family history to having it all lost after my mother’s death was very devastating for me.  Not only did I lose her but I lost many things that meant a lot to me and my parents.

I didn’t get to finish the other half of the garage but with about six more days of summer break left, my goal is to rest, rest, rest!  Goodness knows I’m going to need it!  I am looking forward to another successful school year.  I will have a new team this year which will be absolutely no problem for me because I am a serious social butterfly!  Meeting and getting to know new people is one of my favorite things to do.  I’m looking forward to seeing my students, coworkers and getting back to my routine.  This is going to be a great school year!

 

Give, live and enjoy…🙂

 

 

Summer 2018

I had a plan this summer!  I was going to rest…a lot, summer clean the house, clean the garage and spend my evenings with a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other.  I am one month in and I have been just as busy thus far as I normally am during the school year.  Not sure how it happened but I think it’s my mother’s fault.  That lady never knew how to sit still for more than a few minutes and I believe I inherited that gene!

Being that we purchased our first home last summer, I thought it would be a great idea to work “part time” this summer and use that extra cash to paint and decorate.  Yes, I know, now…that was a bad idea!  Although I only work about twenty hours a week, it is a bit more than I bargained for.  The work is easy and my co-workers are pleasant enough but couple that with trying to fit in appointments for me and the kids, squeezing in all the things I intended to do this summer and it makes for some very long days.

The week school ended, my fifteen year old daughter announced that she signed up for a summer course to prepare her for dual enrollment in the fall.  The course is eighteen days, three hours a day, four days a week!  To make matters worse, she goes to a magnet school for business, the school is forty-five minutes from our house and there are no busses running in the summer.  Needless to say, my plans to sleep in are a bust.  I can’t be mad at her though, she is at least looking toward her future.  Now, if she does not pass this course, she will be grounded the rest of the summer for making me get up early for nothing!

I am optimistic!  I am certain I will have time to do most if not all of the things I had planned this summer.  There is still plenty of time to sleep in, read, write and clean.

Here’s to a restful July…:)

Summer Learning Success

As part of my extended job as Title 1/Parent Involvement Coordinator at my school, I was asked to present our end of the year Parent Night.  Preventing summer learning loss was the topic given to me and the following is what I shared.  Thought it would make a great post.

7 Ways to Prevent Summer Learning Loss

And just like that, summer is upon us once again. As you begin to plan for days without your child’s school schedule with free time, family vacations and outings remember that summer is also a great time to strengthen academic skills and close learning gaps. Research shows that, a nonacademic summer can cause students at every grade level to digress two to three months in their academic skills. A little time each day during the summer will go a long way in helping students be successful when they return to school in the fall. Here are a few tips to help set your student up for summer success.

1. Make Time for Learning

Set aside time for your child to read and practice math skills each day during the summer break — 15 to 30 minutes per day is all it takes! Summer is the time to encourage reading for enjoyment. It is also a great opportunity to preserve and strengthen their reading and math skills. Keep track of summer academics by using a calendar. Give your child a stamp or a sticker each day for working on summer academics as they work their way toward earning a reward at the end of the summer.

2. Learn and Practice Affixes

To help kids of all grade levels improve their reading and spelling skills include some learning activities that include affixes. Most multi-syllable words have prefixes and suffixes added to a base word. You can find a list of affixes and their meanings in a dictionary or in many online sources. To make this practice appealing, turn it into a game! Students can create flashcards of prefixes and suffixes using index cards or sturdy construction paper cut into squares. For each affix, they can write the meaning on the back. As they practice the affix they can try to guess what they think the affix means. Create the same activity to help students learn new vocabulary words.

3. Develop Math Skills

Getting your child to read during the summer may be an easy task to accomplish. However, most children will want to steer clear of math practice over the summer so keeping it simple and making it fun will be the key! Working on just three to four math problems per day during the summer can prevent students’ math skills from getting rusty. For help with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts, students can create their own flashcards to use for a quick review while riding around in the car.

4. Improve Reading Comprehension

Consider reading with your child and asking questions about the story along the way. This is a great way for students to hear and see new or unfamiliar words. Reading together is also an opportunity for you to help your child understand the meaning of words they may not be familiar with. Be sure to keep a dictionary handy while you read to help students build problem solving skills by looking up words they don’t know.

5. Encourage Creative Writing

Give your child a journal. Encourage them to write all about what they see and do over the summer. A short paragraph or two once a week is all it takes! You can join in on the writing fun by helping them choose a topic to write about. Remind them of all the fun and exciting things they are doing.

6. Send Them Outside

Keep children active and healthy by sending them outside. This is a great way for kids to meet up with friends for impromptu games, making up rules and learning to play fair to keep everyone involved.

7. Buy a Bird Feeder

While kids are exploring outside, a bird feeder will activate their scientific discovery. This will give students something else to write about as they observe nature around them!

School’s out for summer! 🙂

Granting Grace

After nearly thirteen years together sometimes he just works my last nerve!  Last night I was frustrated to no end with my Love so I decided to leave the house to get some air.  I needed to go to Wal-Mart anyway but then I figured since Chick-fil-a was right next to Wal-Mart I deserved a cookies & cream milkshake…heaven on earth!

At the light while waiting to pull out of my subdivision, still fuming, I was going over the events of the past few minutes.  Even though I was in the car by myself and no one would have known, I was silently praying to God to help control my anger as to not start cursing that man out verbally or in the quiet corners of my mind.  

Sitting my anger at that light I clearly heard God say, “grant him grace.”  Ugh!!! God has been doing that a lot lately.  Just jumping into my thoughts, reminding me that in order to complete my circle not only do I have speak my faith, I also have to act my faith.

Grace is one of those words we hear so often that we tend to brush it aside when we are frustrated or angry.  In general, we all know what grace means but in all things Christ-like we have a choice in whether or not we use it.

Like I said, I know generally what grace means but I decided to look it up anyway so that I could make sure it was really grace God wanted me to extend in this current situation with my Love. (Won’t we try to find a way not to do what God tells us to do?  The flesh is weak!)

By definition, grace is the unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.

In reading the definition, it was the word unmerited that stood out the most so, I looked it up too.

Unmerited – not adequately earned or deserved.

I meditated over that word for quite sometime before I started this post.  No one and I mean no one, not even I, deserve grace.  If I were totally honest I know without a doubt that I sometimes say, do, think and act in ways that anger or frustrate God yet, even though I did absolutely nothing to earn or deserve it, I EXPECT God to grant me grace.  To forgive me, bless me and love me no matter what.  So who am I to not give to others what God so lovingly and freely gives to me each and every moment of my life?

I had the most enlightening drive to Wal-Mart! I also enjoyed my milkshake but then went home with a better attitude, helped my son with an online exam, hugged my Love and peacefully went to sleep.

Learning how to listen so that I can listen to learn.