Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Emptiness... Emotions.... Encouragement ... Excitement

Today as I write, my heart can't believe the weekend, conference weekend, has come and gone just.like.that.

It seemed like yesterday we were all at my moms house for the after conference festivities last year and now here we are 2015- another conference in the books & our lives can speed full force ahead looking forward to next year... Lord willing

Last week I was reminded about God's mercies and how blessed I am to be called His. The love of the believers is just amazing. Truly. (Thank you Jim & Sarah for my Ink gift! I go through black ink like ...C.R.A.Z.Y & Pam for your heart in creating a fundraiser that 1) saved me from baking for conference and 2)gave money to Syrian refugees. )
So after all that I should have been thankful for.. the blessings were and are many... my heart and soul grew weary ... I walked in our home Friday afternoon, after an early morning, long day at work, rushed after work time, to see toys...everywhere...pillows from the couch .... everywhere... looked like a real life 2 year old tornado had zoomed through the whole lower level of our place...which of course had happened... I was empty. I had literally given all my energy to 22 kids at Johnny Appleseed Day that day & then spent some time with our good friend Betty, who's health condition just breaks my heart, and then we dropped our 2 oldest off at KINGS club  ( Kids in need of God's Salvation- cool right!?) at the assembly by our house. Then I walked in. 7:30 pm on conference Friday. To that. Empty. Drained. Emotions ready to dump out. Been there?
Do my emotions come out or do my devotions? I thought it was a great time to take a walk and dump the trash. :) That seemed to be a great way to talk to God & breathe.
{On a side note, according to Bible Gateway NIV, there are 48 mentions of the word Empty in scripture... looking at a few of the verses, emptiness is not a good thing like using "empty words", but I love the passages about the good empty- The empty tomb! It needed to be empty to show us Christ lives! So I am guess I should be thrilled to be empty- knowing that ME is leaving... and Christ is filling...}
 I am slowly seeing how empty I am- and that I truly need God to fill every single place in me.

I love my written devotion time-but if I'm not applying those truths that I read and write each day - then what good is it!? I walked back from taking the trash out and just had to smile, through the tears, and be thankful that I have good husband that is working hard at home, and that our little kiddos are being just that. Kids. They are good kids, with big hearts. On a side note- markers will be in a locked cupboard this week. Clearly we have a budding 2 year old Picasso, as too many of my household decor showed ... and yes some of that artistic ability might have been done in a Sharpie... deep breath mama... we got this... ;)

I did my cleaning therapy that night once the kids were snuggled in their beds. Wow the place cleaned up great ;) Then off I went to grab surprises for the conference meeting bags. Meijer I love you. Your hours ROCK. Costco, you need better hours there my dear. Target, you too!! 24 hours is where it's at :)

Then Saturday at conference begins. Love conferences.Love the anticipation of good messages. Love the social vibe. Love seeing young people all mingling- love my childhood memories of conference hopping! Love that Harrison's 2 pals from MI were there. Love that this year our conference had assigned speakers at assigned times. Our outfits pulled together surprisingly and we made it one piece. Then we sit down. Then cars roll waaaay down the aisle ( since we are in a school and it's slanted stadium seating). Then Hudson starts fussing for that said car, which no one can get. And then... IT... starts. The IT of Hudson's fussings mixed with Hannah's needs mixed with my insane desire to actually hear what was being preached... Maybe 15 minutes in? at 10:15. Really?! So my emotions - are real. I am such a bad hider of reality. Anyone who sees me will know if I'm happy or ridiculously annoyed. {I'm still a massive work in progress and praying for the ability to be gracious while I'm ridiculously annoyed ;)}

I decided finally that the best approach was bribery & driving. So Hannah was bribed and she was fine and then I took Hudson for a ride, and he eventually passed out as I drove to the nearest Dunkin. He slept. I got more pep in my step & felt ready to conquer the last 1/2 of Saturday. The ministry that I did get was super encouraging and challenging. But the hymns. That may be my favorite part?! Hearing ministry related hymns and the whole place in chorus, is just heavenly. The melody and harmony combo is beautiful!!

Sunday I restocked-... new things in the bag and note to all you moms- Mr Potato Head is NOT a meeting toy... I thought it would be IDEAL and of course Hudson LOVED it- but when dropped on the cement floor a few times?! And the rolling!? Yeah.. lol... nope! Only on carpet and flat surfaces ;) The convo that I was blessed with during lunch was amazing & uplifting & real. Thankful for friends who are open. Who share. Who shoot straight and let you know they are real and breakable and dependent on God too, even those friends who look super strong and unbreakable.
Best hour.
(And yes, you read right. I left my kids completely parent-less, as my hubby is equally as social and was in a great convo too, and then we had to do a man hunt for Hudson who gotten lost in the MASSIVE school, but after we calmed his RACING heart ( wow!! It was beating very fast poor boy!!), it was all good :))
Emptiness gone. My heart was full. The remembrance meeting was opened by a youngish guy who just read a few verses and then prayed. I love simple. I love the real honest authentic fresh prayers and thoughts.
(It also helped that Hudson fell asleep in the car again earlier in  the day, and that Hannah slept A.L.L afternoon meeting) The messages of encouragement to be hospitable and to build relationships with our fellow Christians spoke to me. As well as making sure we listen to God when he clearly talks and directs us. Prayers answered. Emptiness gone. Emotions still here, but hopefully more controlled.

And then today, I'm at work early loving the feeling of Monday....Excited for conference leftovers for supper...excited to see how we handle the ministry from the weekend after the weekend is over...{You know that Monday after conference feeling? Will we heed the word or keep living like we had?} and then my neighbor teacher knocks on my door with a double chocolate donut. Because she just knew "chocolate would be a good Monday thing". AMEN sister. :) :) :)

I  hope that you feel empty of you, and full of Christ. I hope that you can be encouraged during your week & excited to see what's next in your journey for Him. XO
 Ms Wards, our assistant principal... the Seahawk lover and Boo-er of all things Patriots. She is such a great lady. I love her glitter & pizzaz &amazing untiring support. 

 Johnny Appleseed Afternoon Centers
Rhyme Time with Miss Williams

 Apple Puppets with Miss Morris

 Playdough Apple Life Cycle with Miss Jordan

 Apple Jack Necklaces with Miss Clark

 Tasting homemade Applesauce & drinking juice time, with me :) 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Multitude Monday 9/21

Monday is here! I love new weeks, yet I get family withdrawal hard core after the weekend too...

Thankful today for seriously SO much... here goes... This weekend just blew me away...

1)for the opportunity to coach cross country. The PE teacher and I co-coach, and she is really the leader, but I love getting to know the older kids ( grades 5-8) and it feels awesome to jog 2 miles each day after work.

2) for my amazing hubby .. the master chef & Super Dad... work and parenting and outreach is a team thing... no one was called to do it all! (As much as I totally want to! The need everywhere is great right!?) His heart is huge and its just awesome knowing he is my better half - through it all.... Sigh... Big heart eyes here :)

3) for texts that come at JUST.THE.RIGHT.TIME. Love you Rach!

4) for our new schedule at church... because we are building a new building... we are temporarily meeting above a busy cafe. With that comes the need to lessen the stampeding sounds that only my kids ;) and the whole city of Joliet can make ... so our Sunday School is now at 530 pm, then a light meal, then Gospel til 7:30. It def has its pros and cons, but today I will focus on the pros ;) I love that I can hear ministry. Normally ministry was during Sunday School, so during my 3 month rotation, I would be lacking ... Yesterday we had a couple from West Liberty Iowa with us, and his message was simple- but RIGHT from heaven... Example: Matt says "Pray that something speaks to us during this message". Then Ryan speaks... One of his examples was about our "idols" such as "vehicles"... just so happens our hearts have been seriously idolizing trucks... and our "need" to get one before winter... and the time spent browsing online for the "perfect" truck ... the message came at yet again- the perfect time.

5) Pandora Pandora Pandora! Current fave: Beautiful Things by Gungor... Being able to listen to KLove each morning while I hustle and bustle around Room 108, before these adorable rugrats meet me, really helps to guide my heart. Although I think maybe on my sluggish days I need some "eye of the tiger" jams ;)

6) for the love and support that my fellow blog readers, and Christ followers have showed me over the past 2 weeks with school supply donations... the love, support and prayers have BEEN REAL. Thank you for being do-ers of the Word... thank you Auntie Jack, Dusty, Jill & Lois.

7) an extra shout out to Mrs. McCandless ;) Jill- I hope you read this, this week. When my mom showed up with the boxes from your sweet self, I was super excited to look through your old teaching supplies, thinking you were sharing your oldies with me ( and I knew whatever was from you would ROCK!) and then I peeked in one box- to see brand new everything!?!?!?!? What in the world!?!?!?! Your love, across the many miles, really really touched my heart. Happy, awe-struck tears wouldn't stop, until I was semi- tackled by a Sunday school kiddo ;) No one understands the needs of a classroom unless you have taught- which you have- so you know. And the needs of an inner city school are very real. These kids are still being held at the "same" standards of every other school nationwide however, yet with 1/10 of the supplies and resources... The social injustice and poverty isn't fair... it shouldn't hurt to be 5... (some of these kids, namely all 12 girls are completely perfect in every way, right down to their adorable crazy beaded hair {that makes so much noise during silent reading :)!?!})  Thank you for knowing. Thank you for acting on your selfless love for others and being doers of the word too. I am so totally grateful & cant wait to see you someday (hopefully soon!?!) and give you a major hug!

8)Uncle Dusty & Auntie Mila time... can you believe we literally live 15 minutes from each other yet haven't hung out since they got back from Hawaii?! Kamila's Polish souvenir loving self cracks me RIGHT UP....she had to buy an extra suitcase at Walmart for all her loot from the ABC store which she discovered was 1/2 the price at that local Walmart :) We cant say no to chocolate covered macadamia nuts :)

9) For Hudsie snuggles. The bee sting last week really affected him. So much so, Tuesday after work my phone starts going crazy. "take hudson to the ER"... WHAT!? Got home to him growling, flailing, screaming, panicking like hard core- because of 2 flies in our house. We hadn't ever ever ever experienced that reaction, and poor Matt and H & H, they were so sad to see our normally happy & joyful Hudsie FREAKING out... Off to the pediatrician to make sure he was ok... He was... but we have kept him indoors since & Saturday we had to take him outside for extended periods of time because of football, which meant he was snuggled on me, with a sweater covering his head. He didn't fall asleep. He didn't make a peep. He didn't move. I really pray that he can overcome this. I adore adore adore the snuggling, #keephimlittle, but I really dislike the tightness and anxiety he feels... cmon frost,,, freeze those bees! (And disclaimer, Fall is our FAVE season, but now Winter is a close second, NO BEES! :) :) :))

10) for another door opening for Matt to speak the Gospel... Radio... weird right!? { It feels like a 1960 thing, but he really enjoyed it and cant wait for Friday night to bring our good friend, Pa Tenorio too.} Link: http://m.ustream.tv.recorded/73534138 : Matt's message is there somewhere, but as of now we cant re-access it once last Friday's show aired. In a nut shell- it's Spanish, but Matt speaks in English, David his friend is part of the bible program at PGM, the owner of the Radio Station is Catholic, yet stayed and listened to Matt's message and allows this preaching to continue. Pray for him. The bottom of the building is a new church. Seriously, so so cool. So outta the norm. Love outta the box Christianity! Be free from the norms! #fiercein15

 (Miss Jordan is on my left, she is a LIFESAVER, in my room for 3 hours each morning. Today I was blessed with Miss Lashure's help too. Those 4 extra hands were sooo helpful!)

 Jill, Auntie Jack, Dust, Lois: These adorable, energetic, precious to God little weasels are THANKFUL for the gluesticks, the Astrobright paper, the copy paper, books, crayons, binders for scrapbooks that I think are a MUST for every student :),  markers, ETC.... 
They love walking in room 108 & I am SO thankful for your help in that love of learning... The cycle of uneducated youth ends this year for 21 little people. I will teach them. I will empower them to do hard things. Positive self talk will stick in their brains. Sight words will be exciting. Math will come to life. Hands on activities will happen.
 ( Someone please send me some more time in my day ok? :):))
 Their homes may not support learning & love & care & compassion, but they know Ms. Hebert "do" :) Thank you for using your money, love, prayers & supplies for us. XOXOX

 Only you, Dust

 Being silly with Auntie :)

 Blue skies... Puffy Clouds.. Cammo shirts.. Football ready :)

 Cheer picture day

 "Cheeeese" {Someone thoroughly enjoyed his train cookie}

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 1 Reflections

The alarm goes off at 4am.... but wait why was I already awake?! 1st day jitters happens to teachers too :)

 Tuesday ( Sept 8) was the 1st day & I vowed to hit the gym before work as a way to 1) start a new routine and 2) get the stress outta me! It worked! I was excited & ready to tackle whatever challenges were there... and whew... there were many... I think the biggest part was the lack of organization for registration.. I had 24 students on my roster, 8 of which still haven't showed up and all their name labels were smacked on anything that was still long enough for a label :0 My current roster has 18, and that seems TOTALLY perfect, although I'm told to enjoy it while it lasts as it probably wont last long

{My 1st official day was Friday Sept 4. The staff seemed super sweet. Although I am one of 4 white people in the entire school, I feel like family. I love the energy of the African American culture & the enthusiasm and loud vibe. I fit right in :) After an all morning meeting I was given precious hours to tackle the dirty tables, boxes & nasty bulletin boards... which I posted last week... }

I love the decorating part but was soon stopped- where's the supply room? Where can I get my butcher paper cut? Where's the staples for my stapler?  My expectations were quickly dismissed and  reality was soon quickly managed...Oh the supplies ? Yeah, you buy your own. Student supplies? You buy those too. Paper for copies? One ream, for an entire month. That seems impossible,  but of course, I can always buy my own and clearly did, thank you Costco, since 500 sheets lasted me 2 days!  I am not a paper and pencil type of girl, but when there are ZERO white boards and zero Ipads... handwriting practice is with paper and pencil... I will bust out some salt tracing boards next week... salt is cheaper than paper ;) Books for the class library? You buy those too... Seriously!? Isnt that a given? All rooms in schools have books? I always had teachers leave me oodles of books - but with our move from AZ to here and mold in our storage, soo many of my great books got trashed... thankfully my own kids have an amazing library and we have been blessed by a Mimi who loves gifting books to our kiddies... and an aunt who has stocked us up too... thrift stores... here I come... I love having a real need to thrift store dive ;)

I drive home a short 19 miles, thankful for the amazing staff that I share my days with & the ADORABLE kids with the brightest, most curious eyes, that greet me at 8am each day...I am thankful that I am able to support the classroom & provide an literacy foundation for these little people. Although this job blows my expectations and teaching norms right out the window, we feel this job is straight from Heaven & that it fits just perfectly with my 2015 motto #fiercein15... blow those comfort zones away! And hallelujah for a classroom of kids who know not to take God's name in vain (another wonderful cultural perk, I assume!) and when I was pretending to cry about the clouds and rain during recess, one girl stopped, closed her eyes and starting "talking to Jesus about this".

Friday- on an NFL high that the Patriots won their opening game on Thursday night...I wore Matt's Brady jersey to work & was wondering how a Pats jersey in Bear territory would go over... I got much flack from staff... in a fun way... but then discovered... I could be the principal's fave staff member ever this year... #HUGEPATSFAN.... WHAT!?!? He was SO excited & made an announcement for my class :) What a perfect end to a strange, fun, exciting, humbling, reality- check kinda week!!

And much thankfulness that my awesome sitter, mentioned from last week's post. is safe after totaling her car on the way home Wednesday afternoon from our house... SO thankful she was safe & that our kids were not part of that either... the prayers when we drive our own kids is great, let alone when we trust our kids to another's care... Also thankful, that my phone got its life back, thanks to our super tech friend Peter. Using a 3G phone for a week gave me a reality check & allowed me to unplug basically... which I appreciated. Yay for having my contacts back & Pandora for running :) Thankful for weekends where our kiddos are active, enjoying the fresh air & can just have FUN. Thankful that Hudson's 1st bee sting was not super crazy and after a few minutes, he was okay. I think I may be more traumatized..
Score updates...Harrison's team got crushed at Homecoming...  while Hannah's adorable little Orange Gladiators (who dont keep score), made 2 goals and Hannah was the goalie and told a little boy he was cheating which made him run away from the ball & field in tears... I think she will be safe from the boys for a few years... hallelujah ;)

Being 2 1/2 is exhausting ;)
Pearls to school? Why of course Mom. Just like Fancy Nancy ;)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Back 2 School ... for ME!!!

Thankful this week..

 that I have a full time teaching job!!!!!!! {Insert a million more exclamation marks!} I will be teaching full day Kindergarten... in a very needy part of Chicago... school starts tomorrow.. and 1) all the teachers wear a uniform on the 1st day & every Monday as a way to show that we are Family with the students and their snazzy uniforms... and 2) my phone died... as in no response.. as in no instagramming my 1st day (Insert SAD FACE;)), PS- I bet this is a direct answer to prayer too about time management.....

that our amazing sitter Esther can help us out this week and come to our house... our kiddo's school pick ups and drop offs are intense and we are thankful for her help & love for our kids.

for safe arrival home for the honeymooning Love Birds. We missed them and it makes me smile in a huge way seeing Dustin with a R.I.N.G on his hand!! What !?!?!?!??!?! Praising God each day... Wow.... still slightly in shock... in a really good way :)

for a husband who is my biggest cheerleader. Man his texts make my day and his support at home {putting all the laundry away with the kids} while I get back to school clothes, made my DAY!

that Ray & my mom brought over our massive heavy dirty grill... labor of love... and it has been put to great use already :) Yay for no salmon in the house smell :)

for the cutest ombre skirt at Old Navy, I saw it 1st in Coral, then Olive and Navy... yes for 7.49 each, I bought all 3 :) Perfect price. Perfect length.

 after 8 years of teaching ... I finally get to embrace SmartBoard tech in my classroom :) 

 Class setup Part 1: Covered all the nasty old chalkboards & bulletin boards... it is SO fun to open all my teaching boxes again after 2 years...

Thankful for my girlie. 
 I needed to see this driving home my 1st day... after waiting seriously ALL day Thursday in the CPS staffing office for paperwork and the financial pieces etc.. I was 2nd guessing this "door" that I walked through for our family...  we have prayed very specifically.. God answered... and then I doubted... and then He answered again with John 3:16 in front of me for miles, in traffic.. His love is so great, and He wants our best... and I'm pretty sure this next step is for our best, as we serve Him
Pray for us over the next couple weeks as serious changes occur :) :) :)
 Hudson Frederick.

Brothers. Nothing better than snuggling during movie night :)

Happy Labor Day :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mr & Mrs Dustin Maxwell Hill 8.30.15

Yesterday (Sunday) our family was blessed with an official addition... Hooray for having Polish blood in our family! Kamila Hill....what a nice sound :) :) . I gained a SISTER!!! As the wedding approached I became like a turtle- I kept all my feelings in my shell & I have a hard time with big life changing events... although my heart is bursting with joy... there is SO much in Dustin & I's life that just comes out during wedding planning in my mind... - the memories are SO SO SO many... and he's all I have! My one big bro. It felt like we were inseparable growing up. Always a pair. Dustin & Alison. Just how it was. He had my back always. We never tattled on each other. EVER. We were wicked smaht ;)
 We have been through serious stuff....but today... while the happy couple goes to Hawaii... I sit & can't help but hum that Matt Redman Song... Bless the Lord O My Soul...Bless His Holy Name...

It's all because of Him...

Dustin can tell you 1st hand about the Lord's faithfulness. The times when he had hit rock bottom, the Lord was always there for him. Thankfully in 2013, he called upon the name of the Lord and was saved for eternity- so he has a very special Hope of the future and that was the ticket to change his everything.

From early days, Dusty had it hard. Imagine a 4 year old losing his mommy. I've looked at Harrison & Hannah at 4 & just wondered what they would do without me around. My heart broke thinking about it. Dustin had to overcome such a huge life tragedy so young & I believe, that those early heart break moments came out in not so positive ways later in life, as a way of dealing with grief. He is strong. Our extended family is strong. Support in family is by far the greatest gift ever given. Money cant buy the bonds of love or support or strength that family ties bring.
After my dad passed 7 years ago, Dustin hit rock bottom & spiraled out of control a bit more. So fast forward to yesterday. 2015. The gap from Aug 2008- Aug 2012 was a time of God speaking & working in Dustin's life in a very real, very real way.
We were blessed (although I was firmly opposed to relationship mending initially) to be able to live together for nearly 2 years. During  those 2 years we watched Dustin grow & learn new ways of adapting to stress, he learned how to bite his  tongue, he learned how to love on our kids and create a true Uncle relationship, he learned how valuable he is to his Heavenly Father & that the hope of the reunion in Heaven with both Mom & Dad & the Lord is the only inheritance that matters.
 The spiritual growth has been encouraging ( baptism link below :))
. It has helped Matt & I understand certain biblical truths for ourselves, as we had to explain them to him & then later to Mila. When you have to explain why or how something is done etc, it really makes you pray & consider why you do what you do.... and that soul searching has kept our fire alive & helped our souls grow for God.
We were blessed to discover Pacific Garden Mission in trying to help Dustin. {We thought Dustin may need to be housed somewhere temporary upon his move back to IL from NY in 2013, so Matt got in touch with the President of PGM to discuss housing. That discussion, led by God clearly, led to Matt & Kerwin & others, helping preach the Gospel each week down there. It'll be 2 years of consistent preaching, come October! That encouragement of PGM is invaluable. Isn't it just awesome to look back & see how God had it ALL perfectly planned!?}
Excited for this new chapter in our lives as a family & for Dusty & Kamila HILL :) :) :) :) :)

Thankful this week ....

for gathering with like minded believers... a block away! I love the location of a new local assembly that we discovered.
for ministry on Sunday about marriage... exactly what we all - but especially Dustin needed to hear. It was ideal.
for heart felt speeches
for tears of love & joy
for my amazing sparkle bridesmaid shoes
for having the best sitter in the world- so that we could enjoy the entire wedding day without our adorable energetic littlest buddy.
for out of town family trekking in
for Red Sox tickets
for adjusting to week 1 of school routine... our nights are early- but Hannah has ROCKED the new schedule!!!!
for Hannah's precious infatuation with my mom in law... the bond is seriously beautiful. The love of a grandma is too much! My heart is so full!
 3 of my favorite people: photo credit to another favorite person Auntie Jacki

 Ok guys I got DECKED OUT! Kamila got our hair and makeup done for us, and it was like those makeover TV shows... close your eyes and open in an hour... I had eyebrows!! LOL YAY!! It was pretty gross taking it all off and the 300000 bobby pins, but SO SO SO fun getting totally made up & hair did.

 Best notification ever :)

 No sand for mama ( GROSS!) but yay for a new home for our cars outside ;)

 Playing with Auntie Paula & Uncle Steve

It's a pretty fun surprise when Daddy picks up his Princess

 Face planting 3 days before pictures? Only Hudsie ;)

Kid gift bags :)

Ready for school Day 2

Red Sox!!!!

Back row: Peter (Kamila's Brother), Ziggy (her dad), Ola ( her sis), Mihow (her sister's fiance). Peter lives north of Chicago, but the rest came from Poland and speak 99 % polish :) 

 There he is!

 Saying goodbye to Auntie Paula & Uncle Steve 
 Donut Date with little man, while big kiddos are sleeping over with Memere & Pepere
 Back to no eyebrows... lol... man make up lady I miss you already!