April 1, 2020

Life Lessons from Adilynn

When I look at Adilynn, I can't help but imagine all that is in store for her. She seems to grow and learn so much each and every day that each morning she wakes up this totally new person who has precious new tricks to practice and show-off. I envy this about her, as I tend to wake up thinking of all the things that happened yesterday, last week, last month, where she wakes up and is just happy to be ready for another day (as long as mommy gets her milk and muffins for her immediately). I was looking at this photo of the two of us and started thinking about all that she has taught me over the past 20 months and just had to write it all out for the world (me) to read. 

Failure isn't permanent.

Let's face it, if we had to learn to walk like babies do, after a few times of falling down, we might just resort ourselves to the fact that we just weren't meant to walk. Babies don't understand the complexity that is walking and how much it will impact their life, yet they push through the falls, the aggravation, the frustration to keep trying until they get it. Oh how I wish I had that kind of tenacity. To know that even when failure presents itself that it's not the end all. In fact, it's just part of the stepping stone to being a master in whatever I am working on. 

If we just listen, we can learn so much. 

Adilynn copies things that I say, even when I wish she wouldn't. I will find her sitting near me, seeming as though she's not paying attention and then she will either jibber jabber in response to me or repeat words back that I had just said. When I'm talking to her, especially when I say "Adi, listen to mommy" she gives me her undivided attention, looks me in my eyes and just listens. Sometimes, most of the time, people just need us to listen. They don't need our own stories, our opinion, or even thoughts on what they should do. They just need to talk it out with someone who will listen. 

Love without Expectations

The fact of the matter is that Adi doesn't care if I knocked out my to do list at work, that I failed in my reaction to a tough situation, or that I didn't go for a run that day. She loves me regardless. She has no expectations for me to be this perfect human-being for her. She just cares that at the end of the day, I walk into that daycare, grab her into my arms and smother her in kisses. She cares that I read her her favorite book at least 5 times a night and that I sing her to sleep every. single. night because she loves me so much. She doesn't love the school counselor me, the wife me, or the friend me. She doesn't care about my failures that I tend to focus on. Instead, she just loves that I'm her momma and that I love her. 

Who cares. 

That should probably have a question mark after it but really....who cares. Why does it matter if you make mistakes? If your opinion isn't the popular opinion? If you aren't the best version of yourself every day? To be honest, babies could care less about any of those things. And ultimately, we (me) as adults need to remember this. All too often, I find myself thinking that people actually care about what I am doing. It's human nature to think that our little lives are bigger than they really are. But in the grand scheme of things, the choices that I make every day should benefit myself and the way that I hope that the man upstairs sees me. 

I could go on and on, but I'll end there for now. I needed to slow down and remind myself of all that is around me to learn and grow from in the heart of that sweet baby girl who fell asleep to my awful singing and loves me anyways. 
April 30, 2019

Slow to Speak

I was listening to a local radio station the other day and the hosts began to talk about the verse "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" James 1: 19. Although my first thoughts about this verse are to ensure that we are conversing with people in a respectful way and taking time to choose our words correctly, it also made me think about how I approach my part of a conversation with people. 

I've always prided myself on being a good listener. I mean, as a counselor (even if I am just a school counselor) that's pretty much my job. Listen to the worries, the fears, the excitement, the stories... I feel as though I listen all day long. Yet as time has passed, I have learned that I'm not good at really listening. I find myself preparing for what I'm going to say, how I can relate to what the person is telling me, or my mind has wandered to other things that I need to do or accomplish.  

As I was self-reflecting on my listening skills, I thought about the saying "We have 2 and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak". People don't always need to know that you have trudged through the same waters, or what your opinions are about the topic they are discussing. Sometimes, they just need to speak those words out loud, get them off of their heart, or share them with someone who will stop what they are doing, give them their attention, and listen. 

This hit home with me as a partner, friend, family member, mother, and counselor to young students. If I am spending all the time doing the talking, then I am missing out on what is being said or needing to be said from the other half of the conversation. I think as humans, we want to be able to make a connection with people, and we do that by sharing our own personal experiences but the more I've thought about, the more I see that sometimes the connection is made just by being the listening ear. 

In traveling along new paths lately, I feel like I have come to learn a lot about myself. There are moments when I am proud of new skills that I have learned, ways that I have grown, or things that I have learned about myself that I didn't know already. But with that, comes things that I wish I did better, was better at, or could accomplish in a better way.  Being a better listener, being slow to speak, is definitely an area that is a work in progress for me. 

Do you find yourself speaking more than you listen? 

March 15, 2019

Carousel Ride | Life Thoughts

Adi and I went to the carnival during the local fair last weekend. I love that she is getting to an age where she enjoys things more and more although #momfail. I let her wear these cute new moccasins I had purchased for her before she was even born and all she wanted to do was walk around through the dirt in them. But that's besides the point.

What ride is the one ride that kids of any ages, young and old, can ride? You guessed it. The carousel. Adilynn has an adventurous little spirit. She loves to try new things and can be very independent when she sets her mind to it. I had no doubt in my mind that she would love riding around and around on one of the horses as it went up and down. I could just picture her little tooth-filled grin as she smiled her way through the whole ride.
At least that's what I lead myself to believe it was going to be like. We stepped up onto the carousel, followed our friends until they found the animal they wanted to ride and then I put her on the pretty horse nearby. I just knew, as the ride started, that she was going to squeal with delight. Wrong. As it started to move, she hated it. I mean full on panic set in on her face and I could see her shaking trying to figure out what was happening. She wanted absolutely no part of any of it. So I spent the whole ride standing between moving animals, holding my sweet girl who glared at the animals as they went up and down beside us.
So what gives? She had her momma right there beside her, she loves to be adventurous, and she smiles her biggest smiles when she's riding different toys of hers. Everything was set for success yet she hated every minute of it.

As I was sitting in bed last night, I started thinking about how her reaction to the ride is like our reaction to new situations. We can prepare for them, be excited about them, feel in our hearts that it's the best situation ever, yet some how it doesn't always meet our expectations. Or, in some cases, we absolutely hate it. I had so many preconceived notions in my head about how our ride would go that I didn't think twice about her possibly hating it. I know that is a fault of mine. I see clearly one side of something and don't always take the time to get a feel for the other side.

As our carousel ride ended, I could see the relief on Adi's face as we walked away from it. I know that feeling of relief. It's like surviving your first day as a brand new teacher, that awkward moment when you walk into a room and don't know anyone but you finally spot your best friend, or when you go for something not really sure if it's the right next step and all the pieces fall into place. Relief. Thankful you tried, thankful it's over, and more hopeful than ever that the next time you try, it won't be quite as bad. Here's to our next carousel ride sweet girl.
February 28, 2019

Who is Your One?

One by Kathryn Otoshi

One of my favorite guidance lessons to go through with my students involves this book. I love getting to read it to them and watch as it slowly clicks on what this book about. After we're done reading it, we talk about how they can be the "ONE" in someone else's life and what that means. 

I think that part of the reason that I love this lesson so much is because I can think of several people who have been the one for me in my life. Whether it was saving me from making bad choices, picking me up during some of my darkest times, or just standing next to me for support when I didn't even know that I needed it. Those "ones" are more precious to me than anything else in this world. 

What about you? Who has been "the one" in your life? Has there been someone who has made a difference in your life and helped shape you into who you are today? Have you told that person that they have made a difference in your life and how? I can promise you that it will be one of the most powerful and emotional conversations you can have if you take the time to tell that person. 

January 3, 2019

10 Years From Now

When you think about it, 10 years, a decade, seems like such a long amount of time. Like, surely 10 years means I have so much time to do all the tedious little things I want to do. But yet here I am, almost 10 years into my career and there are days when I feel like I just started this whole education gig. 

So when I think about 10 years from this very moment, it seems like such a long way away. Surely I have all the time in the world to get me from point A to point B. But knowing how quickly these last few years have gone, I know that each moment will tick away faster than I think. 

A few interesting facts about 10 years from now

  • I will be 41...what the what...that's just not possible
  • Adi will be 11 going on 12...I mean what is this life
  • Michael and I will have been married for 16 years...together for 21 years. I can't even. 
  • Tilly and Lucy (our dogs) will be 19 and 16 years old...yes dogs can live that long....
  • Iphones will be invisible and we will text in our heads
  • We will all be flying around in our cars. 

Ok... too much on the last 2 but still. So much can change in 10 years. We as people change. Our focus and where we spend our energy WILL change. What is important to us will change. It's like asking water to stay the shape of a glass once the glass has tipped over. So what's in store for me by or in 2028? That's such a hard question. I want to do so many little things that I have a hard time narrowing the path of "what ifs" to what I truly see myself doing. 


Option 1: I would be working at a college as a professor. I know that this is my end goal at some point. I want to impact the educational world on a deep level and motivating, supporting, and encouraging new teachers on this path would be a dream come true. Now if only I could talk Michael into moving to a city where there is a college closer than an hour away.... 

Option 2: I would be an assistant principal. If you have ever had a discussion with me about education, you would know that this was never part of my grand plan. I wanted to teach forever, be a counselor at an elementary school for a little while, and then end my educational career at the high school level supporting high school students discover who they want to be. 

Option 3: I would have my own counseling clinic and help adults in various aspects of their life. Whether it be marriage counseling, grief counseling, or just plain counseling. I use to think that this would have "children" in front of it but the older I get, the more I feel called to help other adults like myself who just need someone to talk to. 


Family. I wish I was one of those people who could say that I've always dreamed of a certain number of children or that I was a girl mom or a boy mom. But the truth is that I always just wanted to be a mom in whatever form, shape, size that looked like. I feel so content with being a mom to Adilynn that I'm not sure what it looks like for our family in the form of siblings. I picture us getting to travel with her and take her on adventures as she continues to grow. So for now, that is where my focus is. Giving her adventures that she might not ever remember but that I can share with her as she continues to grow. 

Location. This has been weighing on my mind more than usual for some reason. I have loved where we live currently. I have the best of friends, we have a beautiful piece of land with a house that has given us a roof over our head, and we live by the ocean. Not sure I could have checked off more boxes if I had tried but there is something about where we are that doesn't feel like our forever location. I see Michael and I having a home on a big piece of property where our kids (or kid) can roam, explore, enjoy, and just be. And the same for me. 

Me. I hope that over the next 10 years, I continue to find my strength when I need it, learn more about what my voice is worth, and become an all around better version of myself. Life lessons, situations, trials, and triumphs continue to shape the person I am. I learn hard lessons through those trials and gain tremendous knowledge in the triumphs. 

I hope that no matter what comes my way, that I continue to stand strong in my faith, my values, and my love of my family. Cheers to the next 10 years friends.