Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lessons My First Graders Taught Me

{My adorable class on pajama day! They earned this by filling up the marble jar with good behavior moments.}

At the end of this year I will have taught 1st grade consecutively for three years!

It has and hasn't felt like I've been working in the "real world" for 3 years.
In this time period I've moved 3 times, meet tons of new amazing friends, started to truly grow up {yay for wearing big girl pants}, started attending a new church, AND changed my name {my personal favorite}... but wait... I was just wearing that cap and gown. Oh, for the love of the journey!

As you can imagine I've had the honor of teaching some really adorable, hilarious, bright, fantastic 6 and 7 year olds. My students are my absolute heart- the reason I smile at my job more often than not. Truly they are like my own children. They have taught me just as much as I've taught them, they just don't know it! So here {lifting my glass} is to lessons taught to a 20 something first grade teacher by many 6 to 7 years olds. Cheers!

The Art of Asking For Help

Growing up I always felt like I was inferior and this dictated many of my actions. I needed to prove that I was not the lesser being. Admitting that I didn't know how to do something or even that I needed help felt painfully threatening. To me asking for help let others know that I was not equal to them and that they were better than me. I had to prove my worth and I was desperate to do so.

I'd like to tell you that this is how it was during my childhood years and I quickly outgrew this as an adult, but that's not the case. Thinking back to my college days at wonderful Emmanuel I remember so many moments when I didn't want to give anyone reason to think that I was anything but great at ALL things. The sad news is that I didn't view myself as good at really ANYTHING and so I felt the need to appear to be good at EVERYTHING. It wasn't until after college that I invited God to work on this issue for real. I had prayed about it in the past {mostly because I felt guilty and silly} but I hadn't truly surrendered it to him and put my "work boots" on yet.

Now I wear the work boots daily {I'd like to imagine them as pink with white polka dots, thank you very much}. I am learning to be more open about my weaknesses and strengths. I'm also truly forgiving myself and MOVING ON!!!!

The best part of asking for help is what you get... HELP! We weren't meant to walk this life alone and try to piece things to get on our own. I'm so thankful God is gracious with me and loves me when I don't do this well and I pray that he helps me to always walk in his way better each day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratefully Yours

Oh me, oh my, how I LOVE Thanksgiving!

When my mind first drifts to thoughts about America's favorite food holiday my mouth starts to water as I imagine Parker's deep fried turkey, pumpkin pie (my favorite treat this week for some reason- Publix has some very yummy pumpkin pie on sale for $2.99!) along with the other yum yums at family gatherings.

Of course seeing family and catching up on some much needed hang out time is a priority above the treats we'll eat, but this season is also a fun one to share with my first graders.

Oh how they love to hear the story of the Mayflower coming to America. I have a funny book of Thanksgiving jokes that I read to them each year that would make your sides hurt from laughing so much! Oh and this year was even extra special because we had what we named a "Progressive Thanksgiving Feast" in first grade where we talked about how certain foods were prepared "then" and how we prepare them "now". It was all in an effort to create a sort of thankful attitude for the many conveniences we have now in this day and time. At the end of that eventful week, however, I told my kids that the only thing that truly mattered, the only thing that we should really spend our time on during the Thanksgiving season is thanking others and telling them why we are thankful for them (I wanted to say GOD too but it is a public school).

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season- which naturally is my and most people's favorite time of year (well with the exception of summer break- as a teacher that is definitely tied for first place)! I love that already in Target I hear Christmas music. It puts an extra skip into my shopping feet. Starbucks happily participates in the joyous celebration of the season with their ever enticing delicious mix of espresso and frappuccino holiday style drinks which I never successfully turn down.

Inhale, exhale...ahhhh... it's here again! Happy dance! The time of year when the world stops to love and laugh and recognize the important things. Simple lesson. Love and be grateful. Here's my prayer~ this Thanksgiving I may embody this: God, may I focus on what is truly important.

We have so many distractions in my life- little thoughts that want to steal our time and joy. We get to choose how I spend my time. I love God I'll spend my time honoring him by loving him and loving others around me.

So in celebration of Thanksgiving this week I'd like to name my blessings- count them one-by-one. My heart attitude this week, and for always I pray, will be one focused on gratitude for all the blessings I've been given and loving others around me in the way Christ has loved me.

"Count Your Blessings- Name Them One By One"
1. My God, my Heavenly Father, My Redeemer, My First True Love, My Healer: the one who rose me from the grave I created for myself, redeemed me, captured my heart, and gave me purpose and love. I live my life for Him.

2. My sweet, wonderful, and loving husband Parker Bailey. My life has changed in every wonderful way since I started dating him in May 2009. God has answered all my prayers for a life mate through him and I'm forever grateful that I get to spend my life with this amazing person.

3. My family: each person in it. I have a family of unique and fantastic individuals! They are beautiful in ways that I rarely see. I love them more than words and their friendship in my life makes every day brighter. We are such a cohesive unit!

4. My amazing friends: I have girlfriends and some guy friends who have stuck it out with me through dark places, the highest of mountains, and boring plateaus. :) These are the folks that see me for who I really am and can laugh at my goofiness and flaws and forgive my shortcomings and mistakes. You are like a fresh breathe of grace in my life.

5. My job- Even though my future plans are to work in a different position than first grade teacher I appreciate the gift that God has given me in this current situation. I don't feel that way everyday, but goodness it's true! When I break it down here's what I get to do everyday: I teach sweet 1st grade minds, hearts, and souls the information they need for their lives. I play mom, doctor, counselor, babysitter, mentor, instructor, interventionist, and disciplinarian. Kind of amazing!

6. My abilities and gifts that God has given to me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Newlywed Summer Bliss

Summertime is here and I'm blessed enough to have nearly 7 weeks of freedom to be with my handsome husband, relax, and complete some summer projects... life is good!

I looooveeee playing housewife for the summer. <3 I'm learning to cook more and more, decorating our little abode, finding fun new little places to shop for goodies for our home (such as auctions and garage sales), but most importantly getting to spend valuable time with people that I love so dearly and could never be with enough (Parker, especially, and all my friends and family).

Also, since I'm married to the one of the greatest movie buffs I know, I'm spending a lot of time this summer watching movies/series I've wanted to see for a while.

My heart will be full throughout my life for various reasons, but not many will touch this moment in time in our lives. Nothing compares to being a newlywed. <3

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just BE Free

For as long as I can remember I've always pondered that greatly weighted question that we all struggle with at some point: "Who am I?"

I'm trying to always remembering life is the journey. No one destination will ever bring you true happiness. Happiness is a result of the journey of walking closely and contently with God everyday... growing, loving, learning and finding comfort in just BEING.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Scriptures for the day

Isaiah 55:8-9 (New International Version)

8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (New International Version)

5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I Shall Fear No Evil

Lyrics from Jars of Clay's "The Valley"

To remind us that we can rise from the ashes.
To remind us that there is always hope.
To encourage you to share it with others.
You have led me to the sadness
I have carried this pain
On a back bruised, nearly broken
I'm crying out to you

I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy

When death like a Gypsy
Comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens
I will still seek your face

But I fear you aren't listening
Because there are no words
Just the stillness and the hunger
For a faith that assures

While we wait for rescue
With our eyes tightly shut
Face to the ground using our hands
To cover the fatal cut

And though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 68 {Wedding Planning}

An Ode to Wedding Planning:

Oh wedding planning, you are the ones I spend most of my time with these days (along with my fiancee) and sometimes you drive me crazy, but all in all it's also fun to dream of my day of being a princess and a bride {a princess bride} to my dearest one. You have placed me on a journey towards strength, love, and patience in a new way that ever before.

Since November, the time of my engagement, life has speed up quickly! After Parker proposed to me two days before Thanksgiving 2009, we set our date for April 3, 2010. We saw no need to wait any longer and that gave us a solid 4 months of wedding planning. It has been challenging, but God has really provided and graced us with incredible friends and family who are willing to help in big & small ways. Not to mention Parker has been the most amazing fiancee in the world during this time. He is so supportive, sweet, giving, loving, and FUN and I get to MARRY HIM!

Wedding planning has been more for me than finding my dress (which I did in a short two weeks of being engaged) or picking out table centerpieces. It's been about finding out how strong I am with God's grace and the love of others around me.

At the end of most days I am totally exhausted, but it's in those moments that I remember that the end goal is to marry Parker Lane Bailey. The details don't matter. At the end of my wedding day I'll be surrounded with people who love and I love dearly, and even if that weren't to happen I'll have Parker. He's THE one, the one I will lock eyes with at as I walk down the aisle. It's God's love for both of us that has brought us together and will make us one. What more could a girl ever ask for?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

First Blog!

Drum roll please....
this is my first blog on my newly created blog site for newlywed life.

I've been wanting to do this for ever since the engagement in November and decided to finally make it happen. There's a lot going on in my life so I figured this would be the perfect time to start recording all of it! In 2 short months I will be married and become Mrs. Amberly Bailey. 2 short months of a lot of business and I don't want to forget a moment of it. My solution? BLOG!