Saturday, September 25, 2010

July Photo Shoot

A sweet dear friend of mine has a heart for the neediest among us...and she does something about it. These precious girls are in her care right now and she asked me to take a few pictures of them. There are more of these that I might post soon. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Finally! A post with a few pictures. I THINK I've got my computer issue resolved. It seems to be working right now, so we're going to continue as is. I have over 400 pictures to weed through, so pictures will be slow coming.

Enjoy a quick peek into the last month or so of our lives!

M's first day of 4K. She was thrilled to go back to school, but rather nonchalant about it. "Mama, I've been to school a me-llion (million) times."

First day of dance (which happened to be the afternoon after her first day of school)! This was another story. She was WOUND UP tight about going and loved every single minute of it.

This is what happens when you tell your rather quirky four year old to dress herself to go out to lunch. She's got on a "real" outfit underneath (khaki shorts and a purple shirt) with a princess dress on top, knee socks rolled down and mismatched "glass" slippers. Honestly, I didn't really care this time. She got lots of "knowing" looks from other moms and grandmothers, but she didn't even notice. If she's confident enough to dress like that and leave the house, more power to her. Most of the time, we pick out her clothes and she never fusses or argues. It won't hurt anything for her to exert her independence once in a while. Right?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quick School Update

I say know how that goes with me.

I really, REALLY love my class this year. I've got 24 little students, which is way too many in kindergarten. However, they are DELIGHTFUL. There are moments when I want to pull my hair out, but overall, I really enjoy them.

I've got an incredible student teacher. She did a lesson with them today, so I was able to sit back and be the support person. I loved watching the kids interact with Ms. StudentTeacher. I loved how they incorporated things I've taught them in their discussion with her. I loved watching their little faces completely focused on her. It made me appreciate them even more. I felt like I was watching them through a window.

I've been doing my annual conferences with the parents. As I pull their signed papers to show their progress, I'm amazed at how much they have already learned in 29 days of school. They are truly little sponges, soaking up all the teaching I put out there. Their handwriting has improved dramatically in the past few weeks. They are already beginning to read. Two little girls were in stations (centers) last week and one said, "I want to be the teacher and you be the student." Then I proceeded to listen to them do "Mrs. Benson." It was hysterical. They used vocabulary I used (schema, background knowledge, you can do it! Great job, buddy!) and pretended to teach one another. Today, two little boys were in the poetry station, reading our poems. They were so funny, "reading" the poems together. It was obvious they had memorized the poems, but they were moving their pointers left to right and top to bottom. They weren't quite making one-to-one (pointing to each word as they read), but they are well on their way.

It's going to be a good year, for sure.

There...that wasn't so bad. It wasn't too long, was it?

Monday, September 13, 2010


I have no idea what's wrong with me the past few days. I'm a ball full of rawness. Tears are on the surface all the time, ready to spill at the tiniest encouragement.

For example:

Comments: "I know this church has been hurting." *hiccup, sob*

Songs: Revelation song sung by a youth choir that I don't even know. *hiccup, sob*

Children: "Mama, I still think you're a good mama, even though you're treating me like a servant." *hiccup, sob*

Loss: Grandmothers of students, internet strangers that I've never even met before *hiccup, sob*

Pregnancy: Throwing up *hiccup, sob, sob*

What in the world? I honestly have no idea what's wrong with me. I'm certainly not crying all day, but don't think the tears aren't close. They are easily called forth without much (if any!) effort.

Strange. I certainly feel raw from being so emotional. It makes me even more tired than normal and less able to handle the small day to day stresses that normally (hopefully) roll off my back without much thought. I'm not sure if the Lord is just pulling scabs away, forcing me to really feel, live in the moment, rely on Him more heavily. If so, I accept the challenge. There doesn't seem to be much I can do about it, so I'll just lean into it and trust that He has a reason for wanting me to be so exposed right now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11...Nine Years

It's hard to believe that nine years ago, someone walked into my classroom and quietly whispered to me, "There is something terrible going on in NY. Make sure you don't turn on your television for any reason." So, as soon as I settled my children into an assignment, I turned the television away from them and turned on CNN, pushed mute and read the captions. At which point, my heart and stomach exited my body. I quickly turned the TV off and pretended that all was well with the world, even though reality as every one knew it had shifted about 10 degrees to the evil.

I couldn't stop watching the round-the-clock coverage. It became an addiction for me. I had a wedding shower the weekend after in the town where I grew up. Every chance I had, I was parked in front of the television, watching the same stories over and over again, crying, kleenex piling up beside me. I'll never know how I made it through the shower. It seemed to weird celebrating when buildings were still smoldering.

I remember one story in particular. A lady could not find her husband (I don't remember the details: maybe he was a rescue worker or perhaps he'd been at work in one of the towers), but she was pregnant and gave birth during the weekend, without her husband. She was so devastated that she couldn't even name her own daughter. The doctors named the baby Hope. Every year on 9/11, I pray for that family. Hope will be 9 years old in a few days. Did her father ever come home? Was he missing or dead? Hope. Hope. Hope. So much promise in such a tiny name.

And now, 9 years later. My own brother is out fighting evil on the streets, trying to make our nation a little safer, one traffic stop, one broken law, one stray bullet at a time. He was only 18 when the planes flew into the towers. He's had a rough, bumpy road, but he's found himself living his life's dream while wearing a bullet proof vest and a gun holster.

I could not be more thankful that there are men and women like him, who are willing to take on the dark sides in this world so that we can live in a country where we are free. Men and women who will confront all that is not safe to make us safe. Men and women, police officers and firefighters, who knowingly walk into situations that are dangerous and scary so we can close our eyes at night with confidence and sleep in peace.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thoughts on Week 30

Thank you, Lord, for 30 precious weeks with our boy.

I can't believe that 30 weeks ago (well, 28 to be specific), we weren't pregnant, although my body was preparing to carry our son. I live in awe that the Lord is blessing our family with another baby. I honestly had given up on the dream. I was at the end of my rope. I couldn't do it any more. The emotional cycle of hopefullness, attempt, hopelessness had left me empty and I was running on nothing.

And that's when He worked a miracle for us and in us. That's when He had me where He wanted me... utterly and completely dependent on Him.

In ten short weeks...somewhere around 70 days, we will see our miracle face to face. I will hold him in my arms. Can you imagine? Can you imagine the joy of actually SEEING a miracle? I don't know what that will look like. I don't know what it will feel like, but I feel a change in me already. A preperation. When M was born, I didn't know loss and desperation. I knew only anticipation and excitement. This time, there is a vast array of different emotions. Will I be able to let him go, even for a second? Will I be able to share him...the baby that was so prayed for, cried over, WANTED? Will I cry? Will I see the face of my God? Will I see His image in my arms?

I don't know what work the Lord will do in our lives, but I know His plan is perfect. His time is not (was not) my time, but He worked a miracle to bring Him glory in a time and way that only He could. And we get to live it. Perhaps that is the lesson in this...we are actually living the plan perfectly designed for our family. By taking the control away from me (the consumate control freak!), God taught me brought me to my knees and taught me to trust Him in ways deeper than I ever have before.