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Remember how I said I had a new project idea? Well, I finished it! This was something that had been rolling around in my head for awhile, but I finally decided to do it for VDay this year.

I initially bought a circle punch to create a bunch of tiny round notes, but when I found this cute Valentine paper, I decided to go with that.

Cute Valentine Paper

My plan was to write 365 things that I love about Matt on them, like I love you because you are trustworthy. “Love” notes, if you will.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t actually think of 365 things I love about Matt (I know, I know), so I improvised.   I also wrote things like, Rachael will pack your lunch today. and Needing a little help? Ask Rachael one thing and she’ll take care of it today. and *Let’s put the baby to bed early tonight, if you know what I mean… I also added a few Bible verses (from God) and some Daddy love notes (from Caleb).  I bought a pretty jar and put them all in there.

This was actually a great exercise for me. It really helped me think of small specific things that I am thankful for or love about Matt. Even when I got stuck for awhile, I went back later and was able to think of more. It was even good to work on it when I was upset with Matt for a few days. (Though not easy.) It helped me to stop throwing myself a pity party and get over my selfishness.

I think Matt liked it.  We’ll see if he ends up reading one each day.  I am sure he’ll like it more when he finds the *less boring* ones.  (No cheating honey!)  🙂

If this is something you want to try, I recommend typing it all out on a document first. I did this (password protected, of course) and it was easy to write in parts-I could highlight what I had already written and come back later.

I have a great idea of what to do with my leftover paper squares.  If I ever follow through with it, I’ll let you know!

After writing my last post, I tried to think of what my parents wanted to pass on to me.  I’m not sure what the answer is, but here are a few of the good things that they taught me:

1. God is in control (and he is good)-This has been proven over and over again in my family.

2. Make wise choices-I think both of my parents taught me this in different ways, from my dad reading me Psalm 1 to my mom teaching me about what it means to be a woman.  I probably also got the luxury of seeing my older brothers make mistakes and cause my parents grief over it.

3. We are blessed to be a blessing-my dad drilled this into my head, and always showed by example that people are more important than money.

4. When cleaning, always be thorough.  (Thanks mom…if only I had learned to do it more frequently!)

5. Have fun when competing.  I think my dad passed this along, because he always played games for fun.

6.  Eat your vegetables.  (But a treat is okay sometimes, too.)

7.  My parents are always there  for me, even if our family was a little broken.

8.  Work is secondary to enjoying life.  I think I learned this because dad was always free to take vacation days for whatever, and mom tried to keep me as young as possible by not letting me get a job until I was over 16.  “She has her whole life to work,” I believe is what she said.

I know there are many other things, but these were the things that popped into my head.  I’d be interested, Ben, Becky…anyone else in the family, to see what you would say???

What did your parents teach you?

Well, I’m trying to do a post a week, so today I’m going to write out something I’m a little excited about.  Matt and I started a parenting class last night at Bannockburn church called the Legacy Breakthrough class.   It’s only four weeks but the premise is how to raise your children with intention.  One of the first things that the pastor mentioned last night was that good parenting doesn’t just happen-it takes being intentional and purposeful in how you want to raise your kid.  I don’t know from experience, but I agree that is probably true.  It’s definitely easy to be a bad parent, that’s for sure!

What really excites me is that this class is kind of like setting goals and planning, two of the things I’m pretty lousy at but really want to improve in.  I think that if I improve in these two areas, it will pave the way for me to improve in a lot of other areas of life (discipline, follow through, finishing things, challenging myself, etc). How can I accomplish anything if I don’t have a plan?  Exactly.

Growing up so quickly!

Last night our homework was to think of some things that we really want to pass on to our kids.  When Caleb leaves for college, what do Matt and I really want him to know?  Here are some of the things we came up with:

1. How to have a close personal relationship with Jesus

2. That we love him no matter what

3. How to live with integrity

4. How to make wise decisions

5. How to manage money well

6. How to care for others

There were more we wrote down, but I can’t remember at the moment.  I think this is definitely a challenge, because I’m (and probably Matt) still learning how to do these things myself.  I’m no expert.  It will be interesting to look back in 18 years and evaluate if we were able to do these things or not.   My thought is that it will probably take me learning how to do #1 well along with a lot of prayer.

What would you want to pass on to your kids?

After reading these two posts on Ellen’s Blog, I am feeling a little convicted about some things.

Lately I’ve been struggling in my communication with Matt.  I think for the longest time I’ve felt that a husband and wife should tell each other when something they did is bothering them.  While I still think it’s good to be open and honest, I’m starting to wonder if my means of communication are doing more harm than good.

Before Matt and I got married, I learned what the role of the wife is.  In Genesis, when God made Eve, he called her Adam’s “`ezer”, or helper.  Interestingly, the only other times when this word is used in the Bible is in reference to God Himself.  (See this page for information; scroll down to the bottom.)  I took/take this to mean that a wife has an extremely significant and honorable role in the life of her husband.

To get more specific without airing all our dirty laundry, what I really want to know is how to fulfill my role as a wife in an honorable and Godly way.  When we have conflict and I disagree with Matt, how do I communicate my feelings and still submit to him as God wants me to? (Eph. 5:22-24) How can I be a helper to him when I sometimes disagree with what he does and I think my way is better?  At the same time, it’s extremely frustrating to feel like I could help a situation, but not have him understand me or not accept my help.  Like I said, it’s something I’m struggling with.

At the beginning of one of her posts, Ellen shared this verse, which really hit home to me:

Proverbs 18:2

“A fool has no delight in understanding but only in expressing his own heart.”

I’m wondering if this is one of the mistakes that I’ve been making-speaking rather than listening.  It’s one that I’m definitely sorry for and hoping that I can improve in the future.  I feel that my relationship with my husband is the most important one I have, and I want to take care of it.  Wives, has anyone else struggled with this same thing?  What do you think?  How do you communicate disagreement in a respectful way, and still fulfill your role as a “helper” to your husband?

About 3 years ago, my school participated in a pilot program for AISD.  I was one of 10 teachers to help pilot this program, called A Legacy of Giving (ALOG).  ALOG is a non-profit organization started by Linda Brucker after watching her son give back to the community for part of a school assignment.  The assignment that the kindergarten teacher gave her students was to observe the homeless in our community, find out what they need, and then act on that.

ALOG’s primary purpose is to expose and educate young children about philanthropy so they will grow up giving back to their communities.  Sounds great, right?  To be completely honest (and expose just how selfish I am), I was NOT excited about being part of this pilot program.  Like many programs that get thrown at teachers, this program required us to attend trainings, integrate yet more curriculum, and organize comminity service projects for our school-in other words, more work.  In the three years I taught this program, my effort was probably half-hearted.  Sure, there were things that I liked about what we did, but I wouldn’t have felt bad if the district cut the program.

The last training I went to was in May.  At this training, Linda Brucker told us the story of why she started ALOG and described the project that her kindergarten son was assigned several years ago.  Through his observation and research, he concluded that homeless people really needed clean socks.  So, that day at the training, we replicated what that 6 year old had done several years before: we made tube sock gifts to give out to the homeless we saw on the street.  Inside one tube sock we placed a juice box, crackers, candy, etc, along with the other sock.  We each made two and were given the instruction to hand these out when we passed a homeless person in our cars.

I went along with the project, but I doubted I would ever hand out the sock.  Something about it made me uncomfortable.

Well, weeks went by and the socks sat on my desk.  Then I moved out of my classroom, and the socks made it to the back of my car. I wasn’t thrilled about handing these out, but I couldn’t just throw them away either.  One day a few weeks ago I was at a stoplight on 290 and saw a homeless woman asking for money.  With my heart pounding, I reached back behind me and grabbed the sock.  Waving at the woman, I hesitantly asked her, “Would you like a sock?”  I didn’t expect the response I got: smiling, she said, “Sure! I could always use clean socks!  God bless you!”

Needless to say, I was humbled.  And happy.  And surprised.  I’m not sure what was holding me back (pride, fear, shame, disdain, selfishness?), but once I got over it and did this kind deed (though small), I felt good.  In that moment, I connected with her, and we were equals.

Last week I gave out my second sock to another homeless man who was equally as grateful.  Do you ever feel guilty when you drive past a homeless person on the side of the road?  I think that perhaps I feel this as I look away and pretend they’re not there.  Something about such a small act changed that.  It’s hardly anything tangible that I’m giving, but maybe there’s more to it.  I’m giving kindness? respect? care?  acknowledgment? And in return I’m getting peace. satisfaction. gratitude. thanks.

After three years of teaching children about philanthropy, I think I’m finally learning about it myself.  All it took was a couple of juice boxes, some tube socks, and a few people who care about our community.  Thanks, ALOG.  You’re reaching more than you know.