fortygirl

FortyGirl…that’s me! This blog is about a Christian wife, mother and educator who is working on being a better person. This is my very own personal self-improvement journey! I will share my successes, situations (so much better than saying challenges), and any other funny or serious issues that will come up along the way. I am an educator who absolutely believes we MUST be life-long learners…that is what keeps us young! So, the journey begins…here we go….

Prayer Warriors Needed…Immediately

All you have to do today is turn on the television and you are bombarded with negativity. I have this image that God is looking down from his throne on high, and is shaking his head as he observes the events taking place in our nation, and across the globe. We have violent protests, we have police officers getting shot and under public scrutiny, we have a terrorist organization terrorizing the world, Christians are under attack across the world, human trafficking is alive and well in this world. Our country is polarizing, our world is polarizing and it is scary! I truly worry about the future, not so much for me, but for my son, my nephews, our youth as a whole.What is going on???  We need prayer! We need action!

The beauty of this country is that you have a right to peaceful protest…peaceful. Now, our nation has a history of violence, as does the world in general, but what happened to learning from past history. I remember hearing in school “history always repeats itself”, well, at that time I wasn’t so sure, but I now know how true that statement is!

In conversations with people I am amazed at the fact that some people truly have no idea what is going on in the world. We are in the midst of an election for the next President, and many people do not know specifics about the candidates. They do not know what is happening in the world today, but can tell me what is happening on the latest reality show! Seriously! It is time to get engaged in reality! On the flip side I have had people say, “I’m just not going to vote or I will just write someone in on the ballot”. Come on…take a stand for one candidate or the other, after you get the facts, but don’t just remain silent by not voting, or writing in some name that doesn’t stand a chance. Get involved! Have an educated voice, Pray about it!!!

Our nation is hurting, our citizens are hurting each other and pulling away from each other, and we must take action to reunify. We need Prayer Warriors! We need Prayer Warriors that will pray every day for healing for our country, our world. We need Prayer Warriors that pray for our country’s leaders, future leaders, our people. We need prayer Warriors to heal hearts, mend families, cure addictions, bring about personal peace. God is listening!

As a Prayer Warrior you will be drawn, like a magnet, to make a change. Get involved locally, donate whether it is time, money or both. Support a cause, share the message of Christ. Now, I am the first one to say I am not comfortable approaching strangers, as I am not even comfortable praying in front of a group of people, but that is the beauty of being a Prayer Warrior. You do not need to approach strangers or pray out loud…this can be done privately, and as for sharing your faith, and God’s message…that can be done through your actions.

I will tell you I am working on the praying in front of people, and talking with strangers, remember taking action…baby steps. I took a leap of faith and began a book study at church, and I am preparing to lead another one. I have shared the books with co-workers and friends as well. Taking action can start out small. I promise you will find it easier and easier as you continue to take those small leaps of faith.

Stop and reflect today. What can you do to make a difference? Change does in fact start with us. Will you join me, and encourage others, to become a Prayer Warrior?

Here is a prayer to get you started…

Dear Lord, you are aware of what is happening in the world, and specifically in our nation. Please put your hand on me and lead me to help bring a positive change. Please heal the hearts of those hurting. Please refocus the eyes of our nation back on you. Please unify the citizens of this great nation, and please place in the office of President the candidate that represents you and your values, and will lead our country being guided by you, Lord.

In Jesus’ name…Amen

Welcome Prayer Warrior! God IS listening!

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

The Fabulous Life of…

In this day and age it is so easy to take a look at your life and think that you must have more, more, more. One click of the television remote and you can have your pick of reality television shows. The sad reality is most people know more about what is going on with the latest reality show, but have no idea what is happening in our country…the world. You would think with reality shows being so prevalent, people would be more concerned about, ahem…reality. With all that we are inundated with it is so easy to get caught up thinking that what you see on television is truly a reflection of that person’s life.

I have even found myself thinking, if only…I had a better body, a bigger home, more confidence, a husband who whisked me away on trips around the world, if I made more money, if my husband made more money, if I was a better mother, a better cook. Whew! The list can go on and on, but you know what I have to pause and remember? I am truly blessed! I have a loving and gracious God who has blessed me when I have not deserved it. He has guided me through challenging situations time and time again. He has blessed me with ALL that I need. The Fabulous Life of…ME, really is a reality!

I think for women it is especially easy to get caught up in the comparison game. It is easy to think that the woman standing next to us in line must have a better life than we do, or the woman on the latest reality show must have a better life because, after all, have you seen her home?  Stop! All that comparison does is tear at you. The negative self-talk does nothing to make you feel better, to lift you up.

I must be honest, lately I have struggled comparisons. I have found myself over analyzing my life, questioning decisions I have made in my life, and the list goes on. Maybe it is hormones, maybe it is mid-life :), I truly do not know, but I have felt down about a lot of things. I have to shift out of this though, because I am a woman who is blessed beyond belief. I am married to a husband who still thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread, blessed with an amazing son, parents who are going to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year, a career in a field I love, good health, not only for me but my family members, and on and on. So, why on earth am I spending time focusing on what others have? Something for us to remember too…someone out there is looking at our lives and thinking we have everything together too. Isn’t life ironic?

I have always been a believer, but now I am trying to really dive into what that means. Sound funny? Well, I am trying to learn more about God’s word, surround myself with people who are Christians as well, get involved in church, make sure that my son is involved in church. In a nut shell I am trying to live a better life, looking up, not around. I am joining bible book studies, I have led a book study, I am reading Christian focused books, praying often, trying to simply be more of a Christian. My big goal is to read the Bible. That being said, I need to be honest about that. I have tried to read the Bible and have gotten so confused by the language of the bible…”Thee this and Thou that”, all the more reason to get involved in church, begin reading the Bible and feeling comfortable to go to my pastor and ask questions. I have got to step out of my comfort zone.

The other step in my walk as a Christian is less comparison, more focus on helping those around me, loving my family and being grateful. Grateful for the blessings that God has already blessed me with, continues to bless me with, all of this when I am not worthy of his constant forgiveness and blessings. What an amazing God we serve! How loved we all are! No need for comparison…we are ALL loved unconditionally. Whew! What a true relief! Thank you, Lord! We must each celebrate The Fabulous Life of…You and Me!

Stop for a minute and pray…Lord, please help me to stop comparing myself to others. Help me to stop looking around and help me to look up. Thank you for the blessings you have graciously given me, and I ask that you help me to look to you to address the areas of my life that need work. Always looking to you for answers, not others, and not through comparisons. That being said, help me to not judge another, because I truly have no idea of their journey. Amen.

Leave a comment »

Life changer…

Monday I am having surgery. A total abdominal hysterectomy to be exact. I have researched, not necessarily  a great idea I might add. I have had much discussion with my fabulous doctor. She took time to discuss my options, why this was the right procedure to have, truly cared about my decision, and my comfort and understanding of the procedure. At the end of the day though, all my doctor had to say to me to truly get me to understand the seriousness was…without this procedure Cancer is coming your way. UMMMM…the “C” word is not an option. I am sure anyone can understand that! I have a six-year-old son and my need to be present for his life is a priority, as is being a wife to my husband. So, accepting the total hysterectomy was agreed upon.

The surgery date has been set…this Monday…again logically I “get it”, but emotionally, as a woman, I am struggling. There is just something bizarre about having my reproductive organs removed, it is final, there is no going back. Now, my reproductive organs have been an issue of discomfort for me since I was ten years old, yes, ten. I have struggled with infertility, monthly discomfort, the list goes on and on. I have had atypical uterine cells, MRI mammograms every six months…so, you get the picture. Still I have cried and struggled with this upcoming surgery. Now, I know in my core that it is the right decision, that I will feel better than ever…eventually, but this time leading up to the surgery seems to have my anxiety at an all time high.

My doctor is a believer in balancing holistic health with modern medicine, so she is all about the bioidentical hormones…so glad! She has created a hormone specifically for me. Knowing this has helped, because the last thing I want is to be thrown into menopause, followed by no desire for belly button time with my hubby…that is not an option either. 😀 So, I am two days out from my surgery. I know it is what I need to do, but I guess fear of the unknown…the after the surgery, has me so concerned. Oh, and did I mention a six-week recovery? Wow! Laying around, taking it easy for six-weeks? I am thinking the healing process needs to take about three weeks…I think that is all I am mentally going to be able to stand. I have a feeling that is all my family is going to be able to stand too 😃. I am just not used to sitting idle! Oh well, doctor’s orders, right?

Well, I have prayed, because I know God is with me throughout this entire process…daily as a matter of fact. My faith is so important. How can anyone not have faith? I get so much comfort knowing at anytime I can pray to God and he is there for me…Whew! So glad!

Well, another chapter, another experience, another journey in my life begins…onward with prayers…here I go! Oh, by the way, did I mention six weeks? Uh oh! Prayers, for sure!

5 Comments »

Who Gets The Reward? YOU!

We, as a culture, tend to be focused on getting more. You know it’s true! As a matter of fact marketing strategies are set on that human feeling of comparison and having more. Have you ever thought the following…I will be happier if I looked like that person, had that car, was able to buy that or go there? Sad to say, but these thoughts have crossed my mind a time to two, well, maybe three or four…you get the picture!

Well, yesterday my husband and son had just finished with soccer practice, and we were on our way to dinner with my parents. As we were leaving the soccer park we saw an elderly lady pulled over on the side of the road. She looked distressed, so my husband pulled over to check on her. She had gotten lost trying to find her church. Normally the church bus picked her up, but tonight they had not. My husband sought more information as to where her church was, and sure enough she was headed in the opposite direction. It was a that point whatever decision we made was going to make a difference…we could have just given her directions and started on our way to dinner, or we could make a better choice that would curtail our plans a tad. We made the better choice…I knew where the church was, and we were heading that direction for dinner. I am so proud of my husband because he cared enough to stop and check on the lady, and he offered to drive her vehicle and follow me to the church.  When we arrived at the church, another lady in the parking lot came over to check on the lady. I am sure it had to do with some stranger driving the woman’s car, being led by another car with strangers in it. Both ladies were so apprciative…truly appreciative.

It was in that moment that I felt a great feeling…we had made a difference in another person’s life by changing our plans and taking time to help someone else…someone in need. I was proud of my husband for his caring, proud that we had taken the time, and I also realized we had just set an example for our 6-year-old son watching from the backseat. While the lady we helped was thankful…WE got the reward! Our evening was made better because we took the time to help someone else. The focus was not on us, it was on someone else.

That right there, my friends, is the key…helping others. Taking the time to be aware of what is happening around you, and offering to help someone else. In other words, take the focus off of yourself for a while. The bonus? Our son was able to witness his parents showing care and concern for another human being, in a safe environment, of course.

Last night the reward was ours…simply because we agreed to take time to help someone else. Who will you help today? The reward can be yours…I guarantee you will feel great!

Leave a comment »

Angels Among Us

Goodness! It has been a long time since I have written as FortyGirl. Well, with the new year I have done some reflecting…as I am sure you have been as well. It is funny how a change of the year can cause deep reflection, and at the same time motivates us to set goals.

Well, my new year started out in a way that has given me an even deeper perspective and cause for reflection, even a change of attitude. My goal this year is to look at humanity through a more positive lens. Now, I know this won’t be easy, simply because as humans we tend to focus on the negative…just watch the news. However, after my New Years Eve and New Year’s Day, I think seeing the positive just may be a lot easier. By now, you are probably wondering…what happened? Well, here we go…

On New Year’s Eve we always get together with my mom and dad. My husband, son, myself and my parents usually start the evening with dinner, then we like to go listen to the music at a local town square. The town square we visit is located in a rather large retirement community known as The Villages. No, my husband and I are not retired, but the nice thing about The Villages is the music is nice and the atmosphere is a friendly environment in which we feel comfortable taking our son. Probably more information than you needed about our choice of location, but anyway…

As we were walking up to the square, my son was being a typical 6 year old…bobbing and weaving while walking down the sidewalk, as he was very excited about New Year’s Eve. My dad and mom were walking behind him. My dad tripped on my son’s foot and began to fall, and fall he did. Now, I have not ever seen my dad look vulnerable…not ever. But when he fell, he fell on his face. His face was covered in blood. At this point, we had no idea how bad he was injured. Here is where I know there are angels among us…two complete strangers fell to their knees, one on each side, and began to comfort my dad…and us. As my husband called for an ambulance, they made sure my dad stayed awake, they continued to talk with him, held his hands, etc. These two individuals, who were out to enjoy New Year’s Eve, took care of a complete stranger and his family. They were amazing. I only know the name of one of the individuals, a wonderful man named Jerry, and the other individual was a fabulous lady who is a retired PE teacher from Wisconsin. I do not know her name but I am forever grateful to both individuals. They stayed with us until my dad was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital. They are truly angels! As we arrived at the hospital, we did not know what to expect. I am happy to say…my dad does not have any broken bones, no concussions…simply some bad abrasions and a sprained wrist…Thank God!

That was my New Year’s Eve, now for my New Year’s Day…as I am shopping for items for a bridal shower I am throwing in February, I apparently left my wallet sitting on a counter in the store. I realized I had lost my wallet at another store during check-out. I hit the panic button! As I went back through my steps, I contacted the previous store, and someone, another angel, had turned in my wallet-all contents in tact! I am so thankful to that unknown person as well.

So, in less than 24 hours I was touched by the work of angels. Now, believe me or not..your choice, but as a Christian I have always known there are angels, but I can honestly say I have witnessed the work of angels, and have experienced their works first hand. Who knows…You just may be someone’s angel. You may have had an impact on someone who has moved you into the angel ranks….God always has a plan! Many times we do not have any idea what is plan is, but know this…there ARE angels among us! Thank God for that!

Leave a comment »

Saying Good-bye is never easy to do…

Monday was one of the hardest days of my life. It was one of the hardest days for our family. We had to say good-bye to our family member and companion of 13 years, Cookie. She was 15 years old. My husband and I adopted Cookie when she was two years old. She has been a part of our family ever since. She was a sheltie mix, and she was wonderful. Believe it or not, she even smiled, yes, smiled. She would raise her gums and show us her teeth when she was excited about something. She was our “baby girl”. We added a male sheltie, Max, to our family 3 years later and then our son, Alexander, was born 3 years after that.

Cookie was a part of our family through many changes, and she was loyal and loving. We have had the hardest time getting through this week without her.  We knew the time was drawing near, as her age began to be more and more obvious. She was sleeping more, and just showing signs of aging. On Monday, we knew we needed to take her to the veterinarian to have her checked and as I sat in the waiting room with her head on my lap, crying, I just knew. I cried the entire time as we waited. As the vet checked her out and then told us that he believed she had cancer and it was “time”…I can simply say I, we, were devastated. 

We knew that letting her go was the right thing to do. We did not want to see her suffer, but letting her go was also the hardest thing to do. Coming home to her bed, toys, and of course, Max our other dog, who is still trying to figure our where she is…we were, and are, completely heartbroken.

Our son has drawn pictures, and says “Cookie is peeing on pansies in Heaven”, something his grandparents told him, and a phrase that did bring a smile to our faces through the tears. As a Christian, I believe in a loving and gracious God, and I know that I will see our Cookie again someday. In the meantime, I will remember the precious times with our “baby girl”. So many people have told us what a good life we gave her, but the fact of the matter is she made our lives better.  She made us better people. 

Our Max is now getting all of the attention and is not quite sure how to take that, but is enjoying it all the same. He brings a smile to our face each and everyday as well, and we are thankful for him. Our son, Alexander, told me just a day ago that he misses Cookie, and my only response was “me too”. 

Pets bring so much joy to our lives, in our case our dogs, and saying good-bye has been one of hardest things we have ever had to do. I just want the hole inside of me to close, and I know it will get smaller as time passes. In the meantime, I just cry when it hits me and miss her and remember her.

We love you, Cookie…so very much…we are heartbroken without you.

We said good-bye on July 28th.image

2 Comments »

Father’s Day…post about a special memory

Father's Day…post about a special memory.

Leave a comment »

Quote to ponder…

Quote to ponder….

Leave a comment »

Education…Just my opinion

I am an educator…that being said I go to work each day with the goal of being the best educator that I can be. I pray everyday on my way to work for guidance and strength. I believe in public education! That being said, it is difficult to continually listen to the comparisons that are reported comparing our public education system with that of other countries.  Do we need to make improvements to our system…YES! That being said, what makes this country great is that we educate EVERYONE. Sorry for the emphasis on everyone, but not every country that we are compared to does educate everyone. Public educators in this country are more than just teachers…they are counselors, advocates, surrogate parents, they buy clothes, they feed, they nurture, and then they educate. Let’s face it, when a student is hungry or surviving they do not care about “fact families”.

We are always compared to how much we are behind other countries in education. Well, I do not believe that some of the behaviors public school educators face everyday would even be allowed to go on in other countries. I do not think a student would be allowed to go into a fit of rage, throw a chair and level a classroom in say, Japan, and return a day later. More and more we have students sitting in our classrooms with mood disorders, medical conditions that are classed as fragile, and we are still expected to educate, and we do. 

Now, are there some folks that do not need to be in the teaching profession, absolutely…are there folks that don’t need to be in the medical profession, or sales, etc.? Absolutely.

My point in this rant, sorry, a little fired up here, is we seem to be blamed for anything wrong with the system.  Again, do we need to work to fix our system? Yes. Do legislators and the public really need to know a little more about what is expected of educators and what we really do everyday? Yes. 

The amount of testing, so teachers can be held accountable, is unbelievable…if you tally up how much the students at my school are tested over the course of a year, it is close to a 4 week period. Teachers are not against accountability; however, they need time to teach and the freedom to teach. They also cannot be held accountable for what a child goes home to every day or whether or not that child is getting the appropriate medical treatment. I have students who do not know whose home they are going home to each day, or even how they are going home.

I think honest dialogue amongst educators, legislators and the public needs to take place.  A willingness to listen…is imperative in order to make our public school system what it needs to be. Everyone must do their part. Continual comparisons of apples to oranges doesn’t help either. We are not Japan, we are not China, we are not India, we are not any other country but the proud and great United States. I would not want to be an educator anywhere else!

 

Leave a comment »

Blessings…

As I sit here drinking coffee, watching my son play on the floor, hubby sitting nearby, beautiful red Cardinal perched outside on the patio, I am reminded of the blessings of God.  My job is a stressful one, but one that I truly love. I must say that with the stress of the job many times I can get stuck looking at the negative and missing the blessings in front of me. Today, I am trying to take a moment to truly focus on the positives.  Yes, there are people in this world that drive us crazy, the economic situation of our country is a mess, but that being said, the world around us  still has so much beauty.  There are beautiful people in the world still too, and I do not mean in a Hollywood sense, by any means.  There are people that still hold the door open, allow you to go ahead of them in line, give you a smile, and on and on.  I have found that if I give positives I tend to get them back.  I am sure most of us already know that to be true, so it is not as if I am saying anything profound.  But, do we really stop and think about it?  When I leave the house I try to send positives into the world.  If I am going to wear a cross around my neck, then I should live by  His principles, right? People should see Him in me, right? 

In the scope of my job, I have tried to make sure I lead by His example. I have prayed for my staff, prayed for my school, prayed for my students, prayed for their parents. Many say that prayer in not allowed in schools, I disagree!  Prayer is alive and well.  It may not be directed over the PA system, but I can guarantee you prayer takes place in classrooms.  I pray on my way to work for guidance and to make the right decisions for the greater good of my school and community.  Do I fall short still?  Of course, after all, I am human and making mistakes still happens and always will, but I will not give up. 

I hear people comment about the demise of society, and I have even made the comment, but then again, I imagine everybody at some time or another felt the same way.  I do believe that we must focus on interacting with each other in a positive way, and become a blessing to the world. One person can make a difference, and I am determined to make a difference.

 I sent an email to my staff yesterday, simple telling them how hard I know they are working, and that while they are not always thanked for their hard work and sacrifice, I have noticed. I also asked them to lift one another up, because we had members of our community that were struggling personally.  I had no idea that my staff needed to hear that as much as they did.  I had responses from them saying “I needed that” and many more. We highly underestimate the power we have as individuals.

 Imagine if each person, or the majority of people had the attitude they are going to go out and be a blessing to the world?  Our world would begin to improve drastically!  So, let’s get out there and become a beauty and blessing to the world! That smile you give just may be the smile that keeps someone going!

 

Leave a comment »