that time i said ‘no way’ and was wrong

I’m not sure how many people heard me say, “No way.”  Some heard variants like “no stinkin’ way” or “not even a possibility” or “ha ha!… no.”  Anyway, I told enough people that I wasn’t returning to full-time work that taking a new full-time position this week has merited an explanation several times a day. 

I just knew I didn’t have the stamina to handle a full day of teaching in a public school.  Maybe if they’d let me bring a cot in and get an extra “planning” period… Then I could do it.  And if they didn’t mind me shambling down the hall like a 90-year-old woman every once in while… Then I could do it. 

I turned the puzzle pieces over in my head until the curvy parts were bending and creasing, but I just couldn’t make things fit right for the coming school year.  Given all our families needs and desires, we knew something would have to be compromised, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.  I prayed for wisdom until God was probably like, “Yo, girl. Anything else you’d like to talk about?”

So then I ran a 5K with my family in June.  And more to the point, I finished in 37:27!

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(And yes, my husband pulled both boys in that Radio Flyer the whole way, with the exception of a few sprints by our 4 year old.)

I’ve never run a 5K in any form or era.  I probably couldn’t even have run 2 miles by myself without stopping at that point.  I’m not a natural runner, and I’d only done 5 training workouts with my couch-to-5K app.

And it got me to thinking… How in the world?!  I’m not a runner, and I’m struggling with fatigue every day.  Eventually I realized that when I’m around a lot of people, I can overcome so much that would normally keep me on the couch. 

At first, I felt bad about that.  I thought, it’s such a mental thing!  Why can’t you just do what you need to do?!  But then I realized that God made me to be an extrovert, a people person, a crowd-dweller.  Perhaps one day when my brain is donated to science, they’ll discover I dosed myself outrageous quantities of adrenaline while in the midst of throngs of people.  However it works, it doesn’t make pain go away.  It makes me get past it.

Instead of beating myself up about what’s hard for me, I decided it’s okay to capitalize on what’s natural to me.  And that became a, “Wellllll, maybe I could…”

A few weeks later, I found a doctor who thinks he knows what’s wrong and thinks he can help me.  I go for my second visit Monday, and I have a lot of hope that some things – if not all my symptoms – are going to get better..

In between the 5K and the doctor, even more changes were happening that aren’t really bloggable (read: boring.) 

My final holdout was chlidcare.  We’ve been so blessed to have the younger kids at home or at a wonderful morning preschool, and I really, really didn’t want to put them into daycare.

And God said, “Let there be a good family friend who loves our children, recently retired, considering looking for work” who will help fill the childcare gap.

And that was it.

There was a full-time elementary music position open, and so back I go into the land of small folk!  I’ll have more to say about leaving my alternative school family and joining a new crew in the days to come, but for now, I have to say:

My “no way” has become a “Here am I, Lord.”  It’s clear to me that he has orchestrated this thing in to place, and I’ll serve to the best of my ability. 

Also?  My husband is really pumped that 3 boxes of “school stuff” have a home that is not ours again.  Poor guy.  I thought he’d be happy I only brought home 3 boxes this year!

what i learned this week #6

whatilearnedthisweek

1.  The Zombies, Run! app has to be the most fun C25K (Couch to 5K) app ever.  Armband + earbuds + this app = me having fun running for the first time in my life.

2. Kale chips don’t save well overnight.  Eat them immediately out of the oven.  You’ll be happy.

library23. A trip to the library is the equivalent of me climbing into a Delorian with a flux capacitor.  I’m not making a statement about books being antiquated; I’m saying that being among gobs of paper covered with cardboard reminds me that once I was a bookworm, and I still like books very much.  Dear Books, Will you be my friend again?  Check yes or no.

4. There seems to be nothing more the neurologist can do for me right now.  He’s run all the tests he finds appropriate, and his parting words were pretty much, “Well, you seem to be getting better.  See you in 6 months.”  He’s a good doctor, and I think maybe what’s going on with me isn’t going to be addressed by his field.  I doubt I’ll go back unless something drastic changes.

5.  My kids are so full of grace toward me.  At the same bedtime in which I’m kicking myself for being a sorry, impatient, selfish mom, my kids are thanking God for me in their prayers and snuggling up to me.  The way they love me so fully in spite of my failures reminds me of the verse that says, “His kindness leads us to repentance.”  You can’t help but want to be better when you’re the recipient of such an undeserved gift.

graduation6. People are so weird when it comes to ceremonies these days.  We complain if it’s too long, we complain if it’s too short.  Some people wouldn’t mind if it didn’t happen at all, because “it doesn’t change anything,” even though others would pay more than $1000 to suffer in coach for 15 hours just to attend.  Some of us get dressed up in our best duds just to show up and chat with a neighbor the whole time. We are weird, y’all.  (I still think they’re important.)

what i learned this week #5 {a family health-related edition}

whatilearnedthisweekIt was after I’d written all these down that I realized they were all about food and exercise.  I may have learned other things this week, but I think I’ll save those for a blog post that will stay trapped in my head for a good two weeks.  Maybe this Summer I’ll be able to write more frequently.

  1. Don’t bake with colored toothpicks.  The dye will come off around the holes where you punctured your newly Pinterested pesto-chicken-roll-up recipe, and while confetti cake is awesome, unintentional confetti chicken is not.
  2. Zumba makes me feel like one of the cool kids.
  3. This stuff should not go in your eye. bugrepellent It’s not the worst thing you can imagine, but it was probably the worst part of my Thursday.  It’s important to make sure that the pump spray is pointed in the right direction.  Oh, you knew that already?
  4. I’m the only one in this family of five who really, really likes kale.
  5. My husband likes golf enough to play during the same week that he breaks down and visits a doctor for a shoulder issue.  Hmm.  This I cannot relate to.
  6. My middle child’s love language decidedly is quality time. 5lovelanguageskidsWe rode our bikes and ran around the block together a couple of times tonight, and twice he looked up and said unprompted, “I love you, Mom.”
  7. Two of my kids are old enough and strong enough to help me train for a 5k.  My oldest can run like crazy, and she shocked herself – and me – with how easy it was for her to run 1.3 miles tonight.  She’s come a long way since February.  Now instead of thinking I can’t exercise because I’m with the kids, I should think I can exercise because I’m with the kids.  Hallelujah!

on forgetting important stuff

A dear friend, who shall remain unnamed in order to protect the guilty, and I were discussing some of our mutual flaws.  Though many elements of our stories are different, we struggle with so many of the same issues – like the monumental, soul-crushing task of changing bedsheets.  We laughed about how long it had been since one of us had last changed the sheets and how the other of us was currently sleeping on top of quilts while clean sheets lay in a laundry basket on the floor.

She laughed again and said something like, “Lauren, when it comes to us, sometimes I feel like it’s the blind leading the blind.”  And I said, “No, we’re sighted.  We just have really poor hand-eye coordination.”

remember3Isn’t this all of us in one place or another, when it comes to how we are versus how we want to be?

We get it.  We can see what should be done.  But somewhere, the connection is lost between what we saw and what we’re doing.  We forget.

This is why New Year’s Resolutions are the target of so many jokes.  We forget the beauty of the goal we’d set with the best of intentions.

This is why reading through parts of the Old Testament sounds like a broken record playing, “Then they served other gods and did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”  The Israelites, like me, forgot what they’d seen God do.

This is why marriage conferences and parenting books will always be in demand.  We forget the ways we want to serve those we love most.

This is why I didn’t complete any of my health goals this week.  I forget in the moment how important this leg of the table is and how many things may fall off if I don’t tighten it up.

This is why you are constantly enduring professional development on the job.  Somebody forgot that a Diet Coke 12-pack doesn’t belong in the freezer, and now you must be reminded of courteous workplace practices.

If I may say, forgetting is a big part of being human.

remember2You’ve probably heard that quote that just begs to be cross-stitched: “A friend is a person who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you’ve forgotten it.”  It’s so true.  (That is, unless the tune you were humming was “Murderous Revenge.”  If someone sings that back to you, get a new song, and get a new friend.)  I need people to remind me of the good things that I know.  Isn’t it weird how we easily remember the bad, but it takes effort to remember the good?

These are some things that help me remember the life-balancing good:

I’m so grateful for my friend who is hopefully sleeping on [clean] sheets tonight.  She helps me remember that despite my frustrations and failures, I’m a good teacher.  She reminds me that too much TV for my kids is stealing too much happiness from our home.  It takes effort to maintain our friendship, but I need it.  I’ll even guess that we both do.

I struggle to take in God’s Word on a daily basis, but if I don’t, I can forget how all the dots connect.  My heart forgets peace.  My hands forget love. (I’m still feebly kickin’ it Hello Mornings style, but that’s another post.)

It’s not easy to get myself and my dancing, hiding, whining, laughing, loud, squirming children to church every week, but there’s a reason that God says in the book of Hebrews: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see  the Day drawing near.” [emphasis mine]  He made it so that worshiping together makes us remember, too.

In other words, I’ve got to remember to do something to help me remember what it is I’m trying to do.  Need to read that sentence again?  I do, and I wrote it.

And maybe the beauty in forgetting is that we get a chance to experience joy all over again every time we remember.

what i learned this week #2

whatilearnedthisweek

ikea1. I wouldn’t want to decorate my entire home with Ikea products, but I could surely spend 6 hours and several hundred dollars there!

2.  I do have enough willpower to walk in a really cool store and emerge with nothing.  Take that, all you hipsters in the very, very long lines.

3. Riding a bike is still a lot of fun.

4. My 4 year old may know how to manipulate my phone into doing a back handspring double back tuck with a twist, but he still needs help learning how to capture a picture.

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5. I’ve been a bit naive about why many of the students I teach ended up at my school.  I usually imagine that someone pushed a principal’s buttons too many times, got suspended too many times, went off on a teacher, had too many absences… Hearing the word “probation officer” from a middle school student still makes me pause.

freezer6. It feels really, really good to be ahead of the ballgame.  These bad boys are ready to thaw for a day, get dumped in a crockpot, and be consumed by my hungry crew. If you want to learn what preparedness feels like, check this out.

7.  Earbuds are not for wearing while children are awake.  More like, The Eleventh Commandment:  Earbuds shall not appear in thine ear whilst Lutz the Youngest might possibly be inclined to stir.  My 19 month old made it clear that he is The Adventurous One when he was discovered by a neighbor in another neighbor’s yard — and I had no idea that he’d left the house.  I was cooking and listening to Dave Ramsey, the boys were playing in their rooms, and then… There he was.  In muddy socks.  Holding a basketball. 30 yards away from my door.  So now we know that he can hold the storm door open and get over the threshold.  Sliding chain locks will soon be placed up high on both doors.