Monday, April 24, 2017

The Not Enoughs

A little over two years ago I started out on this blogging journey. This blog was never meant to be just about education and education policy. However that is what it turned into, and I don't regret it at all. But for my two blogger birthday, I wanted to get back to the roots of the For the Love, why I started in the first place. To share the love that I have for the all the things around me, and all the things that make up my life.

For those that are only here for commentary on education or for some education policy, bare with me. You won't get that in this post, but maybe you will get my heart or the heart of for the love.

I'm a hot mess. Y'all, such a big giant huge hot mess. I mean did leave my underwear on the floor of the QuikTrip gas station. I have had strawberries on my ceiling from blender with no lid moment, and I have more than once started to make coffee with my Keurig and not have a coffee cup in place.

I have embraced all of these qualities about myself. All the quirky and oddball things about things. I have embraced them and loved them. I have prayed over it, and Jesus has blessed it. I'm sure He even laughs at me when I leave my undies on the floor of a QT or have coffee spilling all over my counter.

But there are parts of my life I haven't embraced. Parts that I struggle with, parts that I look in the mirror and I see a broken, and incomplete woman.

I am not enough. 

I am not effective enough.
I am not smart enough. 
I am not talented enough. 
I am not blogger superhero enough.

I am not enough. 

I have always struggled with these things. This is nothing new for me. I have had these struggles for years. FOR YEARS.

I have allowed these "not enoughs" in my life to affect every part of my life. Every relationship, every encounter, every job, and every fiber of my soul. These "not enoughs" have held me back and I have kept me from becoming the woman God I want to be, the daughter I want to be, the sister I want to be, the friend I want to be, the writer I want to be, and the teacher I want to be. I believed the lies I told myself.

Then others started to say I wasn't enough. Their deep cutting words, cut into the already bleeding wounds of the "not enoughs" that I had already built up in my head. Here is the thing about how we think about ourselves. We eventually start to believe and live out the lies that our mind tells us every day. I want to fight back against my "not enoughs" and embrace them like I have embraced my hot mess. But here is the thing, and lean in close. My "not enoughs" and your "not enoughs" are meant to be overcome, not embraced.

Yesterday my senior pastor, Craig Groeschel, preached on those not enough moments in our lives, and I loved how he stated it perfectly.
God Loves You Deeply.
Good Values You Highly.
God Provides For You Fully.
God Planned You Carefully.

Those "not enoughs" they can take a backseat. They don't get to be embraced like my hot messes, oh no, those soul crushing things; they get taken out. They do not get to control me or my thoughts any longer.

I am effective enough.
I am smart enough.
I am talented enough.
I am blogger superhero enough.

My life is messy, but it is my embraceable messy. Those "not enoughs" they don't get to be a part of them. They don't get to speak power over my life anymore, and those that keep the lies going don't get to be a part of my life either.

What mess do you have that needs to be embraced? What "not enoughs" do you need to let go of? Be every ounce of your beautiful messy you! Let's sit in the mess together; there might be donuts.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pick Joy

I'm just so tired. 
So on Monday I lamented about how my sweet, thoughtful, loving, funny, and semi-adorable Middle School Choir students had lost their ever loving minds! Y'all the struggle was so very real. So real I don't think that even the most mentally strong human beings on the planet could handle. 

Then came Tuesday. It was the same. I was like having two Mondays in a row, I'm not about that life. 

Then came Wednesday. Glorious, beautiful Wednesday. Everything just fell into place and my sweet little angels were back. I mean they are still Middle Schoolers, but you get the picture. 

My planner as a little box for some daily inspiration, the quote that day was super profound and awesome. Okay so actually this quote was really on the Thursday page, but it applied more to my Wednesday.

"Today, whatever may annoy, The word for me is Joy, just simple Joy." John Kendrick Bangs.

Y'all (please read this blog in my sweet Arkansas accent) this quote is the bomb! That perfectly describes our life as educators here in the crazy world of Middle School. 

Today, whatever may annoy.....spinners, slime, the dab, JuJu On That Beat, farting, body odor, being "roasted," and all that other crazy crap that Middle Schoolers do...I will pick Joy! 

I will pick Joy when my Men's Choir can't stand still while singing a beautiful ballad and my "basses" sound like lawnmowers because the refuse to sing up. 

I will pick Joy when my Seventh and Eight Grade Women's Choir love each other then hate each other then love each other again. 

I will pick Joy when my Sixth Grade Girl's Choir slides down to their pitches on "fruited plain" in America the Beautiful even though have literally gone over that darn phrase 75,000 times. 

I will pick Joy when my Show Choir's facials and energy level match that of the box of fish sticks I have in the freezer. 

Because I only have just a few more days with these kids. Some of them have been a part of my life for the past three years. I can't think an age group that I love more. Yes, their brains fall out, and they go a little nutty in the month of April. However these kids, my kids, they are my joy in a world full of annoyances. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Middle School Man

Me throughout the entire month of April. 
Holy Moly Spicy Gucamole...Middle School is rough. As I have had discussions with many different middle school teachers and staff, after Spring Break is a very difficult time in our lives. We love our students, we love them so very much. But oh my stars and garters...what has happened to their brains? Y'all I love my students and I really cannot put into words how much I love them, but oh good gravy. Cabin fever is real. The struggle is real. The cabin fever brought on by state testing struggle is real. If there is another Full Moon between now and the end of the school year, I very well just might lose what very little of my precious sanity I have left.

This has been one of the most interesting years in terms of funny, what it in the world are they thinking things that Middle School Kids have done.

The 2016-2017 School Year: the year of the dab, the bottle flip, the mannquin challenge, Andy's coming, the slime, and the spinners.

Teachers we have survived the snezzing dab, water bottles flying through the air, children freezing in time, yelling out Andy's coming and falling on the ground, the homemade slime craze (seriously a sixth grade girl at my school made 40 bucks selling slime), and the spinners that are supposed to help kids focus, but are now just distractions.

And we taught them stuff at the same time...or at least we tried too.

Stay strong, hold steady, don't die. We can do this!

Where else but Middle School will you find something so wonderful and so crazy at the same time? Middle School is the bomb. Now excuse me, I need to go bang my head against the wall.

Friday, April 14, 2017

100% Real

Sometimes people suck. Sometimes people say mean things. For the love, people say mean, hurtful, and harmful things. Sometimes they don’t mean it, and it just happens, but then sometimes they know exactly what they are saying and what they are doing. As educators, we develop a tough skin to all of the things said about us and said to us, but sometimes we just can’t have a tough skin about some things.

I love my job as a Vocal Music teacher. I love every part of it, and yes, some of it is hard to love, but I do. One of those hard to love areas is when I hear the one comment (in some form or another) every Elective and Fine Arts teacher hates hearing, “You aren’t a real teacher.” I can handle when I hear this from those outside of education, but when I hear it from other educators, I can’t even describe the hurt I feel. Just stop. Please for the love just stop.

I can assure you, what I do in my classroom is 100%. I went to and graduated from a real college. I earned a real degree. I teach at a real school. I teach in a real classroom. I teach real children. I am a real teacher. My classroom and my subject area might not look like your classroom and your subject area, but I do not teach at and in some magic fairyland. It is 100% real.

So many students I have had the opportunity to teach and love come to school not because they love going to math class; they come to school so they can sing, play an instrument, draw and create amazing masterpieces, act in plays, play sports, create computer codes, and learn a new language. For many students who feel they would never be successful in another area of their school career, they are successful in mine. They show up each day knowing no matter what happens in another class or any other circumstance, they can come to my classroom and be so successful. If that isn’t real, I don’t know what is….

This needs to stop. Teachers, we must stop shaming each other and check the egos at the door. It doesn’t help us and certainly doesn’t help our students. We are fighting uphill battles daily and fighting each other shouldn’t be one them. For the love, we need to get it together, before we end up biting ourselves in the butt. Legislatures, this applies to you too. I hope you understand how vital and important Electives, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Athletics are to students and to student engagement and success. However many schools due to the budget cuts that they have to deal with are having to cut and end these incredibly important programs.

So for the love, please pass a budget, and some form of budget reform would be awesome as well so these 100% real classes and real teachers can be protected!