Mommy Monday

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The other day, I read a great article about praying for your child as they head back to school. Which I feel is very important. As parents, we should constantly be covering our children in our prayers (and not just in a “Lord, help me not smack this child” kind of way–ha!). I also think its very important to cover your child’s teacher in prayer.

Teaching is a very noble and draining profession. I don’t just mean physically draining, I mean draining in every area of life: emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and financially. With educators in my family and having many friends who teach, I see first-hand the effects (both good and bad) teaching can have on a person. If you’re wondering how to pray for your child’s teacher, I have a few starting points for you!

Pray for your childs teacher

 

Their Mental Health 

“…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Ephesians 4:23 

In a 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey in which over 5,000 teachers from all over the country were polled, teacher’s reported poor health. To elaborate, this was pulled from the poll’s website: “Sixty-one percent of the teachers said their work was always or often stressful. Over half agreed that they didn’t feel the same enthusiasm as when they started teaching. They reported experiencing poor health and being bullied at work — by superiors, colleagues, students, or parents — at rates far higher than are reported for other professions. And the vast majority said they are sleep-deprived.” 

You may say, “Yeah, well, my job is stressful too.” And I get that. However, these men and women are literally working to prepare your child for the world and they are getting push back from a myriad of places–their superiors, the district, students, and parents. Not only that, but teachers are having to fight for attention from their classes–many of which are way overcrowded. With social media, YouTube, and gaming right at students’ fingertips, its difficult for teachers to cut through the noise and cell phone usage to actually teach the 30+ students in their classrooms!

What to pray: Pray for your child’s teacher(s) to get adequate rest, to be surrounded by encouraging and uplifting administrators and peers, for a stable and peaceful home life, and that they practice self-care, helping them de-stress. Pray for them to be filled with joy, hope, and renewed zest for their job.

 

Their Financial Situation

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

A study by by the National Association of Colleges and Employers revealed that the national average of  a first-year teacher is $30,377. Not only was teaching found to be one of the lowest paid professions, but the study also concluded that the more years a person taught, the more the wage gap grew.

Some people think, “They knew what they were getting into when they started teaching.” My response to that is quoting Marie Madison from a piece in Tulsa World: “The problem with the phrase “They knew what they were getting into” is that it ignores and dampens hope. It assumes that because we knew we were walking into a difficult situation, we shouldn’t have hoped that we could improve it; that we shouldn’t have hoped that our state would see its children struggling and decide to do something at last.”Our teachers are counting on politicians to make good on promises to fund education, thereby improving their working conditions (i.e., giving them what they actually need to do their job) as well as improve their pay. Something I learned from the teacher walkout earlier this year is that educators would rather have fully funded schools with the resources their students need than get paid more. Teachers around the nation spend an average of $500-$1,000 out of their own pockets to supply their classrooms with basic needs such as pencils, paper, notebooks, and erasers. So not only are teachers paid the bare minimum they also have to buy the basic necessities they need to perform their job. Don’t you think that would add some stress and worry to their day?

What to pray: Pray for the local and federal legislatures to fund education, increase teacher pay, and hire more teachers, creating smaller class sizes. Pray for financial wisdom for your children’s teachers, for donations to be made to their classroom (perhaps that’s something YOU can do), and that the teachers would be blessed financially.

 

Their Physical Safety and Health 

“I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” Psalm 57:1b 

We face a sad reality: school shootings have become more and more present. With a sister who teaches and a mother who works in a school office, I’m always full of worry for their safety. I never thought I would have to worry about my family being shot because they worked at a school. I know this is a fear of many educators but I also know that every single one of them would put their lives on the line for the safety of every child in their room. The chances are slim, I know, but it is still a reality in which we find ourselves living.

What to pray: Pray for the safety and security of your child’s teacher(s) and school. Pray for teachers and students to be attentive and aware of any potential dangers and for them to speak up if anything seems “off”. Pray for security measures to be put in place at your child’s school to ensure the highest level of safety (another area in which you could volunteer!) and for your child’s teacher(s) to be physically healthy and take care of themselves by staying hydrated, physically active, and eating healthily.

 

What are some prayers you would add to the list?

Mommy Monday

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If you’ve got a little fan of Nature Cat in your house, you know that yesterday was Earth Day! It was crazy-hectic this weekend, so I didn’t get to talk with the kiddos about it. Luckily, they can’t read a calendar so we can celebrate today! Want to teach your kids about taking care of the earth? You’re in luck! I’ve found some great Earth Day activities!

“Stained Glass” Earth Suncatcher

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This project has little prep! Some clear contact paper and green and blue tissue paper and you’re all set!

 

DIY Crayons 

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We ALL have broken crayons somewhere in our house. Instead of tossing them, teach kids about recycling with this DIY project!

 

 

Milk Carton Bird Feeder

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Bird feeders are a great way to let your child show their creativity while also teaching about how, just because something may look like its ready for the bin, you can actually make something useful out of it!

 

God’s Creation Coloring Sheets

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Of course, the cornerstone of Earth Day should be that since God created the world, we should be good stewards of what has been given to us. These coloring sheets are a great way to help kiddos grasp the concept that God made everything so we should take care of it as an act of worship to Him!

 

Do you have any Earth Day activities you like to do with your brood? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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Last week, Huff the Hubs had his tonsils and adenoids taken out as well as had surgery to fix his deviated septum. When he told me he wanted to have these procedures done, I didn’t know too much about them. Then, I read about how awful it is to have a tonsillectomy as an adult and that you’re basically in a A LOT of pain and pretty much helpless for 14 days.

I was less than thrilled when he said he was making an appointment with an ENT to schedule the surgery.

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For one, I didn’t want him to have to go through all that pain and suffering (even though all procedures were very necessary–his deviated septum was so bad, the doctor said it was 90% blocked. Poor guy has been breathing out of only one nostril for his whole life!). And two, I know how men can be when they’ve got a tiny cold, let alone surgery.

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But, then I thought back to how sweet and caring Huff the Hubs was when I was recovering from giving birth both times. He really took great care of me. I also thought of something I read in my daily devotional the other day. Granted, it was about parent/child relationships, but I feel like it could be applied to marriage relationships as well. The writer of the devotional said, “Sometimes God uses the struggles of your child to sanctify you both.” I knew it was going to be tough taking care of The Hubs and 100% of everything else in the household. And, for a hot minute, all I could think about was myself: I’m never going to get any rest! I’m going to be so wore out and crabby! I’m stretched too thin as it is! 

But–as weird as this may sound–I’m actually enjoying taking care of him. I’m trying to take this time as a way for God to work in me, to show me how to have self-control and not complain, to show grace and mercy, and also to grow a servant’s heart. I know that, in this day and age, the thought of being a “servant” is met with gasps and statements such as: “I am no one’s ‘servant’!” But God calls us to love and serve one another (now, that doesn’t mean be a doormat and bow to everyone’s will; just wanna clear that up right meow). I’m talking about showing each other genuine love and care and not for praise or for what you think you may get in return. But serving with a loving, giving heart just because.

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Now, come Day 11 or 12 of HtH’s recuperation, I may be going a wee bit crazy (which means imma need some prayer, mmkay?) and I’m sure I’ll probably lose my cool. But for right now, I’m going to embrace this time of service as a “serving bootcamp” of sorts.

How can you be a blessing to someone today and mirror a servant’s heart?

What’s The Deal?

With prepping for new baby, dealing with morning sickness, and general everyday stuff, its been hard to keep on my blogging. I forgot to do a Try It yesterday and I thought about skipping today because I wasn’t really in the mood to write. Then, my news app blew up.

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Early this morning, I saw the news about a gunman opening fire during a live news broadcast. The gunman, later identified as a former employee of the news station, killed a reporter and camerman and injured one other before taking his own life.

 

In Oklahoma, we’ve seen a rough week. Our Labor Commissioner was brutally murdered by his own son at an Oklahoma City restaurant.

 

Just a few moments ago, a man broke into a church–a church– on the northeast side of town.

 

And yesterday, a student held a teacher and a classroom of students hostage. Thankfully, the teacher talked the student down and convinced him to let his hostages go.

 

I just don’t understand why the world has gone so crazy. It makes my heart ache to think of the world that I’m bringing Huff the Babe up in as well as her younger brother or sister. When I was growing up, I don’t remember the world being this crazy. Maybe it was and I wasn’t so aware of it as I am now, but it scares me sometimes. It scares me so bad that there are times I lie awake at night and imagine all the horrors that tomorrow could bring. I mean, my brother-in-law is in the military, Huff the Hubs works with the military, and my mom and sister work at a school. I feel like these places that were once safe are now full of horrible possibilities and are constantly in the news because someone decided to go on a rampage and hurt innocent people. I fear, not only for my future, but my children’s future.

Then, I remembered this:

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For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP)

 

Now, I can boldly look toward the future and know that, no matter what happens, it’ll be okay. I know that not everyone is a “praying person” or a “spiritual person”, but I hope that you can be comforted by these words, too. I also hope that you’ll join me in praying for our nation. America was once a great place and I’d like it to continue to be for future generations.

 

 

Mommy Monday

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Some days, I feel like a horrible mother. I’ll lie awake in bed, thinking over the day’s events and list all of the things that I did wrong.

I didn’t tell my daughter she was smart, I only told her she was “so beautiful”. Will that give her a big head? Will she only find value in her looks? 

I didn’t get in the floor and play blocks with her, I just read a book to her. Is she going to miss out on critical cognitive development? 

She didn’t have a vegetable at dinner. Now she’s lacking the vital nutrients she needs to be successful in life and I’ve effectively doomed her chances of getting into a good college. 

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Then, after worrying about all of the things I didn’t do right, I try to justify it.

Well, I had to cook dinner. Even though she’s not two yet, she could see I was busy and she’ll understand, right? Right? 

Even though I don’t go into an office, I still work all day. I was tired and didn’t feel like getting on the floor and chasing her around. That’s valid. 

 

After this, I start to get a little resentful.

Well, maybe if I had help cooking, I could’ve played on the floor for half an hour with my daughter like Someone Else.* 

Why does He get to come in and look like the hero and ‘Fun-Loving Dad’ while I’m stuck doing all of the housework?!* 

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I’ll lie awake and stew for a little bit and feel myself getting angry at the bearded man lying less than a foot away. I think of all the things I’ve done and how I’ve carried this family through. Who cleans? Me. Who cooks? Me! Who takes care of Huff the Babe, makes sure we have food in the pantry, and keeps track of everyone’s appointments? ME. ME. ME.

Then, I hear a Soft Voice. “Who gives you the strength to do it?”

Humbly I have to say, “Not me.”

Finally, my thinking changes.

Who pays the bills so that I can go grocery shopping? 

Huff the Hubs.

Who pushed himself through college to get a degree in Electrical Engineering so we could have a better life? 

Huff the Hubs.

And who supports me through all of my craziness, no matter how insane I get? 

Huff the Hubs.

 

The Soft Voice returns and asks: “And Who has trusted you with all of this?”

You, I say.

“And who are we supposed to serve?”

Everyone. 

“And how are we supposed to serve?”

Sigh. Gladly. 

Soon, instead of tooting my own horn, I’m shamefully reproaching myself for my attitude. I have turned my own insecurities into a “Battle of Who Does More” and before I knew it, I was contemplating shaving off one of HtH’s eyebrows.**

As if knowing the train of thought that had already derailed in my mind–and in perfect timing–HtH rolls over and says, “I love you.”

He still loves me. After all the things I think I did wrong today, he still loves me. Finally, I can fall asleep.

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Do you ever do this? How do you talk yourself out of the “All About Me” trap? Do you find yourself growing resentful because of your motherly duties? How do you split responsibilities with your spouse?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This is not husband-bashing. These are real thoughts I’ve had (and I know other women have had). They may not be accurate–actually, they’re not accurate–about life in the Huffman Homestead. Huff the Hubs is an EXCELLENT father and laughs, plays with, reads to, and loves Huff the Babe so much. He is also a WONDERFUL husband and helps out quite a bit. We’re a team.

**I wouldn’t do that. Well…maybe. No, I wouldn’t.

Integrity, schmegrity…

Here lately, I’ve been wondering: is integrity a lost character trait?

I don’t know about you, but integrity is an attribute hard to describe and even harder to emulate.

I know I’ve seen integrity before: my parents taking a receipt back to the cashier because they didn’t charge enough for something or forgot to ring something up.  A cub scout on the news making sure a lost purse was returned to the owner, even though the manager at Wal-Mart didn’t care.  But still, how do you show integrity in your everyday life?

Huff the Hubs, I think, has a ton of integrity. He’s a salaried employee, meaning he doesn’t have to clock in or out, he just shows up to work and leaves at his assigned time. The days that he leaves the house late (which, is more often than not; he runs on what I like to call “Huffman Time”) he always, always, always stays late. He checks receipts meticulously, making sure we were charged for what we took from the store or ate. He won’t do something that’s easier or that’s cheaper if it means doing something wrong.

If he’s 5 minutes late, he stays 5 minutes late. If he’s 15 minutes late, he stays 15 minutes late. There are many employees (and I’ve been guilty of this too) that will show up 30 minutes late and leave at their normal time.  And even though it may not seem like that much to us, to others it makes a big difference.

I’ve been flummoxed (yes, that’s a word) lately by business practices. There are companies out there that tout a certain belief, using it to bring in business and make more money. But do they really have integrity? Do they help others without expecting anything (even a “thank you”) in return?

Yesterday morning in church, the message was about love. The pastor said: “Love is the choice to perform a sacrificial action. You do things for others not because of the accolades, but for the growth of God’s Kingdom.”

Yet again, that’s something I need to work on. I don’t mind doing stuff for people, but most of the time (especially if its for a family member; namely Huff the Hubs) I want to hear a “thank you”. I want to know that they appreciate it. In some cases, I don’t think that’s wrong. I truly feel like affirmation is my “love language.” But how much of my wanting affirmation is my love language and how much is it just me wanting to feed my ego while my integrity wains?

Sigh. 

I know this has been a soap-box type of rant, but its been something that’s been on my mind lately. What do you think? Has integrity gone the way of chivalry? Is integrity something you find hard to mimic?