A Time To Rest

Dear Friend, 

Oh boy, has it been a year. Never before have I felt so small, so ineffective, so unheard, so TIRED. This year has been one uphill battle after another, many of which I lost. 

I think I tried to pray through most of it, to trust that my God, ya know.. the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… was also the God of this year, of these people, of me. That even in the worst moments, He was working. And I just had to be still, trust, and ask to be a part of the work He was already doing (with or without me). 

So OH BOY. Guys, that is so hard, so mentally and physically draining. So many times of wanting to leave before my portion of the work was complete, wanting to end the race before the finish line, wanting to return to comfort before it was time. Only through His perseverance was it even possible. 

I titled this post “a time to rest” because today, in this moment, as I sit in a Starbucks in Los Angeles, that is what I have been given. After every storm, every battle, every war, every season you wish you hadn’t had to do, there is a moment to catch your breath. A moment, however long or brief, to reflect, to gain perspective, to rest. This moment for me is a beautiful week with a forever friend to recharge, and OH BOY am I grateful (and totally overusing the “oh boy” phrase, yes?)

I’ve been reading in the Old Testament lately with all of the laws and rules for living as God’s chosen people. One of the biggest things that stands out to me is that many of these laws and rules actually serve a practical purpose, like if you touch dead people than you are unclean and need to go through a process to be clean again (cause germs people!). He also makes clear that we are to observe a sabbath. A time of REST!! Because nobody can keep going and going and going without some time to BREATHE. Thank you Lord for knowing how much we need rest, so much that you made it a law. 

In the New Testament Jesus himself took time to rest. To step away from the crowds. At one point He even rested in the middle of the storm.

So, dear friend, I think my point in writing this was that after seasons of discomfort or difficulty, Praise God for rest and fully enjoy it. He knows what we need and when, all we need to do is be still, listen, and when the time comes REST. 

Love, 

Barb

The Joys of Potty Training

Dear Friend,

I heard that you are thinking about starting the potty training process with your dear little angel.  The one who is so smart and seems to pick up on things so quickly.  The child who has a mind of their own and is so creative with it.

I want to help prepare you for the days, weeks, months, possibly years (I haven’t made it that far yet) that are ahead of you.  There are so many joyful things that come along with potty training that you just wouldn’t have expected.  I mean, you already know that in the beginning there will be a few accidents, but oh sweet friend… you don’t really even know.

5 Joys You Can Expect from Potty Training Your Smart/Stubborn/Creative/Willful Child

  1. After the initial accidents on the floor, that occur simply because going on the potty is a brand new concept, your child will CHOOSE to pee on the floor.  Even if they have been successfully using the potty for months without issue, even outside of the house.  They will discover that they do, in fact, have free will.  And they will use this free will to pee everywhere.  On the rugs that are now so disgusting you must now throw them away (you know, the ones you carefully saved for and picked out pre-kids when the thought that one day someone would pee on them never occured to you).  On the floor.  On the couch (that you will ultimately just want to burn because there is no saving that thing…. if you ever come to my house, don’t sit on the beige couch.)  IN THE BATHROOM NEXT TO THE TOILET, BUT ON THE BATHROOM RUGS!!!  Seriously, it’s not an accident at this point, it’s totally behavior.
  2. Your house will smell like PEE.  EVERYWHERE.  You will clean and throw away and disinfect and somehow there will still be a lingering pee scent that you just can’t get rid of.  It’s everywhere.  It’s in the walls.  It may be on the curtains… maybe I should get new curtains.
  3. You will live a significant amount of time without anything cloth in your house that is unable to go directly in the washing machine.  Reasons for this have been mentioned above.  Don’t buy that new rug until that kid is at least 18… maybe even until they are finished with college… your call.
  4. YOU will smell like PEE.  I’m not sure how this happens.  But I’m sure it’s true.  I pull clean clothes straight from the dryer and get to work and I CAN STILL SMELL PEEE.  Gross.  Double gross.  Seriously, probably the worst smell known to man.  And woman.  And dog… probably worse for dogs… or maybe better?  Oh gosh, I have no idea.
  5. Those people on the internet who potty train in 3 days and then they are done are either liars or magicians.  Or their kids are ridiculously not strong-willed and stubborn.  Do those kids exhist?  Can I put in an order for one of those please?
  6. Okay, so I forgot one.  Your child will use this new “potty training” thing you want them to do as leverage.  Bedtime will no longer be a simple routine of bath, teeth, song, story, bed.  Nope.  It’s potty, bath, potty, teeth, potty, song, potty, story, potty, bed, potty, bed, potty, bed, potty, potty, potty, a song about “I’M GOING POTTY!!” … and really only about one of these “potty” times is actually a real instance of doing something on the potty.  Your child knows this.  They will use potty as a reason to not go to bed.  And if you don’t go up and put them on that potty for a significant amount of time until they declare themselves finished, you will have to go back up two minutes later because. they. pooped.

So my suggestion is that instead of potty training we just introduce a new generation of adults who do not know how to use a toilet.  So much simpler.  Think of how much easier long car trips will be….

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I don’t have all it takes, I don’t even have 1%

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Last night I was restlessly settling down to go to sleep.  So many things had happened during the day, nothing huge or life changing, but my head was aching from the weight of it all.  I told my husband that there were just so many things going on that I felt I was in a constant state of “flustered”.  It’s not a good feeling.

How do people do it?  How do women work full time, come home and have meaningful time with their babies, maintain their marriage, keep their home organized, shower, build their relationship with God, keep friendships, AND make 2-3 pots of coffee a day?!?  I’m at a complete loss.

So, while I was trying to make my brain turn off, something I had heard the day before kept coming back to me.  1% of your day is only 15 minutes.  What could you do for 15 minutes that could make your day better?

Well, considering the fact that since the move to our new house I found my bible under our bed, I thought that perhaps 15 minutes spent with God would really  make a difference each day (I know, ground breaking idea!)

BUT I DON’T HAVE 15 MINUTES!  From the moment I wake up I’m taking care of children, mine or other people’s.  I told God this, because that seemed the most reasonable thing to do.  “Lord, you’re gonna have to create the time for me, I will commit to spending that time with you, but you’re gonna have to create the time.”

Now I know that doing this was probably not the most respectful or reverent way to address the Creator of the UNIVERSE.  But let me tell you what happened next…

I fell asleep.

When I woke up, it was from an alarm clock and not my children.  I got dressed for work, made coffee.  AND MY CHILDREN WERE STILL SLEEPING.  Well okay, God, I’m thinking this is the time you’ve created!

I’m not sure what lesson there is to be learned here, or really how to end this post.  But my goodness, my God is GOOD.

As he says in Hosea:“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” and,“In the very place where it was said to them,‘You are not my people,’there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ” 

Romans 9: 25-26

Me vs. God

I reread this today because I’m having a lot of difficulty wrapping my head around second semester of this school year. It’s helpful when past-me can share some wisdom with now-me. Re-blogging just in case anyone else is struggling with returning to work or picking back up after the holiday break. Happy New Year everyone!

Me versus

God:  Hey Barb, so I know you love staying home, but I’m going to ask you to step out of that for a while.

Me:  Um, I think no.  But thanks anyway!

God:  Hey, so…. actually yes.  But don’t worry, I’m gonna help you be okay with it.

**Husband: Hey Barb, I’ve been praying about this a lot and I think maybe we need you to apply for some jobs outside of the house.  Not forever, but for a little while.**

Me:  Um, yeah…. So still no.  But I get that I need to do something else so we don’t fall into a financial hole.  So look at all of these cool things I’m looking into that I can do WHILE STAYING HOME!  Isn’t it great!  Yay for a compromise!

God:  Mmhm… yeah… I see where you are coming from.  Unfortunately, ya know-being God, I don’t compromise because I really…

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If I Only Had a Brain

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“Remember before when I was kinda stupid?  Well, now I’m worser.”  –An excerpt from a real live conversation I had with a friend tonight.

Friends, let me tell you, adulting is hard.  And it requires a lot of brain cells.  And I appear to be lacking a whole lot of them.  I’m not sure if it’s residual ‘mom-brain’, lack of sleep, ridiculous stress, too much coffee (never!), or eating any and all the carbs I see (or smell… I went on a sniffing search today when I smelled chocolate in the hallway and decided I had to find out where it was coming from… but I digress).

Anyway, whatever the cause may be, there is clearly a decrease in brain activity happening over here.  I present you with the data:

  1. I said “worser”.  … Anyone who knows me knows that I get a bit snotty about well grammer and speaking proper.
  2. Yesterday I parked my car at work.  Or so I thought.  I went to get out and the door wouldn’t open.  AND THEN THE CAR STARTED MOVING BACKWARDS!!  I hadn’t actually parked my car.  I moved the gears, took out the key, and STARTED DRIFTING.  The car was in reverse.  I had to restart it and put it back in drive and repark (or park for the first time).  There was an audience.  It was a good moment.
  3. I stood in the lunch line with my students this week and for the life of me couldn’t remember what we were going to be learning about after lunch.  I had the lessons all done, copies made and ready to go.  But I couldn’t remember at all.  It took me 10 minutes.
  4. The English language has become very difficult for me to understand.  If you see me with a confunded (Harry Potter reference!) look on my face, and then watch me blabber on about something that has nothing to do with what you said, I probably had no idea what you said but didn’t realize it.
  5. It’s also become hard for me to speach (I’m leaving this typo, because apparently it’s become difficult to type as well).  A lot of my “intelligent” conversations that really matter have begun to come out in worser stupid.

I can’t be alone in this!  Anyone else adulting with less brain power than you started with?  I want to hear your stories too!

See Barb. See food. See Barb eat food.

Dear World,

I am here today to re-introduce you to a lifestyle/diet that you may have forgotten about.  There all all of these lifestyle changes and diets going around that make promises for you to lose weight and feel great.

Well, let me remind you of a diet that will not fail to keep its promises.  It will do exactly what you would expect.  And I’m sharing this with you based on personal experience.  I have recently re-adopted this lifestyle and the results have been exponential.  No meal prep at all and probably the least expensive lifestyle out there.  Here are the steps I follow for the classic “See-Food” diet.

  1. Begin a stressful season in life.
  2. Eat a brownie because someone brought them to you and it’d be rude not to eat one.
  3. Eat the whole batch.
  4. Make your own batch of brownies.
  5. Eat the whole batch.
  6. Become obsessed with eating.
  7. Be stressed, bored, busy, anxious, overwhelmed, tired, energized, whatever emotion there is basically.
  8. Feed that emotion.
  9. Eat all the food.
  10. See food?  EAT IT!

I can absolutely promise you that with this diet you will get 100% results!  Will they be desired results?  No.  Will they be attractive?  No.  Will your face break out and your stomach be bloated?  YES. Guaranteed.  Will you start craving sugar like it’s going out of style?  Absolutely.

So… no diet advertisement is complete without a before and after…. you’re welcome :).

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Practically Perfect

I have this idea in my head of Mary Poppins living… Practically Perfect in Every Way.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Doing it all and doing it all practically perfectly?  This working momma definitely wants to know her secret to keeping it all together and NOT having a mental break-down.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, NOBODY is super mom, NOBODY has it all together, NOBODY is Practically Perfect.

Perhaps for our parents or grand parents generations there was a big push to not “air your dirty laundry” and always appear under control and happy.  I am so so grateful for what I’m seeing from my generation.  Transparency. Vulnerability. Grace.

Ya’ll, we don’t have to be perfect!  We can have limits!  We CAN HAVE MESSY HOUSES AND MESSY LIVES!!

So, in the spirit of being transparent, here is a look at my not-so practically perfect life:

  1.  This morning I went to pick up the coffee creamer and give it a bit of a shake… what I didn’t know is that the top was not closed right … CREAMER EVERYWHERE.
  2. When reading a letter at my youngest son’s dedication, my oldest son shouted at me to “stop saying” and hit me when I didn’t.  In front of the church. #winning
  3. Life has gotten so crazy lately that the only time laundry seems to get done is when neither of us has any clean underwear left… stinks to be the first person to run out. (pun intended 😉 ).
  4. We have a new definition for put your toys away at our house (for the time being).  Away seems to be in the middle of the floor, in between doorways, and under the couch.  Anywhere but in the bins on the shelf.  Because that would just make sense.
  5. The amount of coffee consumption has sky rocketed to new heights since going back to work… and getting an incredibly awesome automatic pour-over coffee machine… We also now ONLY buy fancy coffee… no place for folder’s in our cups!
  6. It’s getting a bit cold now and so I’ve been wearing a robe in the mornings.  I put it on inside out today and didn’t realize.  I’ve been awake for over an hour.
  7. Do kids reaaally need baths more than once a week? (the answer is yes… probably… does using a baby wipe count?)

But, my kids are alive, my family is clothed ( although sometimes a bit smelly… but that’s what cologne and body spray are for right?) and fed and the adults are most of the time appropriately caffeinated.  That’s as close to practically perfect as I think I’m ever going to get ;).

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Wholly Surrender

Any parent of a toddler knows that you cannot force a kid to do anything with a smile.  If you want them to get to the car and they are dead set on driving (but being 2, they just aren’t quiet old enough yet), odds are you are going to be carrying that kid kicking and screaming to the back seat.  You may even have to tackle them into the straps and endure about 20 minutes of screaming as you journey to your destination (and for your sake, I’m praying that destination has coffee…. or wine.)

Did the goal get accomplished?  Yes.  The kid got in the seat and you got wherever you needed to go.  Was it pleasant?  No.  Would you want to repeat it?  No.  Did anyone learn anything of value?  Meh, probably not.  Do you have a headache?  YEEES.

If you’ve been following my blog or instagram, you know that I’ve returned to work teaching students with special needs an elementary school.  I didn’t want to go back to work.  It wasn’t my idea [for more details on that, read my post Me Vs. God].  But it was very very clearly what God was asking me to do.  After a lot of back and forth, I decided, “okay God, I surrender.”

And I was pretty sure I had.  I did what he wanted.

But not gonna lie to you, I’ve been kicking and screaming along the way.  And I’m TIRED.

Yes, I’ve been going to work everyday (except for the two days… the first week of school… that the plague hit our house… ).  I’ve put in my all.  I’ve stayed up late.  I’ve tried to make everything perfect.

And I’ve fallen short.  And when I fall short, I fall apart.  When I don’t have the kind of control I want, I fall apart.

See, I was pretty much okay with giving in to what God wanted, as long as I could do it on my terms.  My terms mean that my class will run without issue, I won’t be staying up until 2:30 or 3, only to get to school to realize that nothing I did actually mattered or I did it wrong.  My terms were “As long as I can be the best at this and it is easy and everything goes smoothly”.

God’s terms I’m pretty sure are different.  Yes, we might both be heading toward the same destination, but I’m thinking that I’m behaving as the toddler and creating more of a headache for both of us.

And so, I’m trying to remember God’s purpose here.  It’s not so that I can have an easy year and bring home a paycheck.  It’s hopefully so that I can be used by Him to love my students and my coworkers.  So that I can make an impact that will direct their eyes toward Him.

In public school, we aren’t allowed to say His Name.  But we are allowed to pray for our students.  We are allowed to love them.  We are allowed to show them grace.

So here’s to ending the kicking and screaming and wishing I had a group of well behaved kiddos.  These kids are people too and come to school with their own set of baggage and difficulties.  I don’t know what goes on at home, but I do know that while I have them in my classroom I can love them as Christ does.

Grace and R.B. Face

I feel a poem coming on

There must be something seriously wrong.

I don’t normally write in rhyme

I don’t normally have the time

So all you working mommas out there,

Come take a seat with Mrs. Fehr.

Please remember, criss-cross applesauce,

Oh, and that deadline from your boss.

The kids come first, paperwork is due,

Today was not the day to wear new shoe (s).

“Mommy I want to hold you”

That’s the only thing I want to do,

But the dishes are overflowing,

Your dad’s out mowing,

The baby is screeching

Your little arms are reaching.

It’s 12am

Finally some peace and quiet again.

Time to get that paperwork done

So maybe tomorrow you can have some fun.

This poem was supposed to be funny

Let’s definitely not talk about money.

Sometimes poems take a life of their own

just like those kids that one day will be grown.

It’s okay to not be perfect, it’s okay to let a few things slide

A pan a brownies doesn’t really show up on your thighs.

So go brew the coffee

Maybe eat a toffee,

And give yourself some grace

Otherwise you might end up with Resting B**** Face :0 !

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This Year Barbara Will…

As a special education teacher, I had to take classes in college that were about writing appropriate goals for students.  “Given  hmmmmm Student will hmmmmm by or over hmmmmmmm” (Thanks Dr. Meese!)

I think that it’s only appropriate that I have goals this year too… Enjoy!

  1.  Given [an IV of coffee] Barbara will [not become jittery, but instead become super human and have all the energy and knowledge available to man kind] by the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
  1. Given [two weeks packed with professional development and teacher meetings] Barbara will [refrain from playing Faculty Meeting Bingo even though without it her head might just explode] by the end of faculty/professional dev week.
  1. Given [five minutes in the morning] Barbara will [write a blog? shower? wash bottles? brush teeth? drink coffee?…. write a blog/drink coffee] over the course of each morning that she is awake BEFORE 5AMMMMMM.
  1. Given [$10 and freedom in the grocery store] Barbara will [buy two bags of Hershey Kisses, eat them, and discover cavities the next morning] by…  over… okay, so my creative brains are running out.  Oh look there’s a two left in the bag!! *Cue Frozen* mmmmmmm choocolate!
  1. Given [a blog idea in the middle of the night and waking up too late to do anything about it in the morning] Barbara will [waste time, let the bottles soak in the sink, not get dressed until the last minute, be okay with yesterday’s makeup, and write the blog because it is OBVIOUSLY much more important than any of those other things] by 7:45 am when the baby sitter gets here and I really do need to get ready for work. 😉

BONUS:  Given [little time to format the blog] Barbara will [let the numbers all say 1 instead of 1-5 because I’m not sure how that happened or how to fix it] by the time she’s run out of things to say.

Goals
Thank you to Pinterest for this pic!  I’m pretty sure I’ll be making one and hanging it in my classroom (not where the kiddos can see obvi 😉 ).