What I Want You to Know: Self Image

So, as I was scrolling through my various social media today, I couldn’t help but notice something. All day I’ve been thinking about it, and I finally decided to write it out before bed, so that I’m not up all night. This is a long one, so bear with me, and if you make it all the way to the end give yourself a high five– I would.

One of the projects I did this year in school was a monthly newsletter for my students. It had important dates, reminders, motivational quotes, the learning focus for the month; I worked really hard on it each month. I even got creative and used colored paper for certain months, like green for March and orange for October and so on. Every month I would be so excited to print them off and divide them up to pass out, and every month I would be disheartened that students crumpled them up, made paper airplanes, or just threw them out. Sure, there were kids who read them and appreciated my effort and took them home to their parents, and regardless of the amount of them that were tossed out I still plan on making them for my future classes. Once, though, I was upset by the ones being thrown out and I asked the students how they would feel if something that they worked on and created and were proud of was neglected and tossed in the trash. They didn’t answer.

Recently, Brian and I were gifted an amazing starter camera for us to learn photography together. So far, Brian has learned all about aperture and ISO and I have learned that nothing is sacred and Brian will take candid pictures of me whenever he gets the chance. It was frustrating at first to look at the pictures. Look at my acne, my hair is funky, I’m not sitting up straight. I didn’t even think to appreciate how he sees me and loves me. Here I am doing the same thing to myself that I try so hard to convince my girl friends and my girl students not to do. I hear things all the time, “let me see that picture” and “oh no, delete that”. I’m always so confused, especially by my middle schoolers. Love yourselves, you’re awesome! why can’t you see you like I do? Yet, 24 hours after receiving this awesome camera, I found myself literally saying the same things to Brian, and I’m snapped back to my insecure high school self. Overly editing every picture before I post it. Making Brian confused because he sees me in a way I didn’t see myself anymore. I had worked so hard to learn to love myself, especially after I found my relationship with God, and here I was, throwing it all away. Tossing it in the garbage.

To tie this all together, at some point today I had a thought that wouldn’t go away. I remembered the frustration I felt every time a student took my newsletters and discarded them, and I couldn’t help but think of how upset it made me. To have something that I created, and put time and effort into, thrown out. I feel like this is how God must feel everytime we think something bad about ourselves, or say something self-deprecating. Genesis 1:27 says that God created us in His own image, “male and female, He created them.” How frustrated He must be that He put so much thought and effort into each and every one of us, just for us to throw it all aside.

But I want you to know about self image is that you are created to be you. Each one of us has the unique thumbprint of God. Psalms 139: 13-14 says, “for You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” Say that to yourself; you are fearfully and wonderfully made. So let people take candid pictures; stop seeing those imperfection you put on yourself. See yourself as God sees you, and thank Him.

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Week 4!

This post is week 4 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators! The prompt for this week is: How are you a leader among your peers? How are you a follower among your peers? This is actually I difficult prompt for me because I can’t really put my finger on a specific trait I have when I’m leading or following.

An example of a time when I was a leader for my peers is when I planned field trips for our team. The challenge at doing this was delegating tasks. The problem I have as a leader is I’d like to control everything and plan everything myself even though I know that’s not possible. So something that I tried really hard on this year when leading my peers was to delegate specific jobs to help get things done in a timely manner with less stress. And anyone who has ever planned a middle school field trip knows about stress.

Anytime that I’ve need to follow my peers’ leadership I try my hardest to do whatever tasks I can to the best of my ability. I used to try and acvept any task that was asked of me because I thought that is what was expected, but as I’ve grown I have learmed that I shpuld only accept tasks that I know I will be able to complete with 110% effort given, because it’s better to complete fully one task than to half-attempt five.

Letter to my Best Friend

Hey everyone, I would like to take a moment and dedicate this post to my best friend.

Brooke, it has officially been one year of sobriety! One year ago you decided to make a huge change and I can only imagine how difficult it is to give up something that was once a big part of your life. I know I haven’t been in your life forever, but we were starting a friendship while you were still drinking and to watch you turn away from that and work so hard to be the best you you can be has been such an inspiration. Your perseverance is something I admire. I appreciate you being so open and honest with your recovery because it has helped me to learn more about addiction and I’m thankful for that.

You’ve accomplished so much in the last year alone. You are a beautiful and intelligent woman and an outstanding mother to your children and on top of that, you’re enrolled in college and passed your first class with a 99% A!

I would also like to say how motivating it has been to see you grow and mature in your relationship with God over the last year. Seeing Him work in you and mold you into the version of you that He has created to be a vehicle to share the gospel is somethimg that I can’t even put into words. Remember this, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted , He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it,” 1 Corinthians 10: 13

Week 3

This post is week 3 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators. The prompt for this week is: What is the biggest change you are considering making for your learners in the coming school year?

Well, honestly I changed a lot of things in my classroom from year 1 to year 2 that have worked. For example, I had a Donors Choose project for a classroom library funded and gave my students more opportunities for silent reading. Then, later in the year I had a second Donors Choose project funded for flexible seating options in my room that gave my students a more comfortable learning environment. I would like to keep these two things in my classroom for the upcoming school year and continue to add books to my classroom library and continue to be on the hunt for more flexible seating options.

In addition to these things, what I would like to add to my classroom for next year is time in the day for silent independent reading for my students to help grow their vocabularies. I would also like to implement grammar practices every day.

Week 2!

This post is week 2 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators. Thank goodness these aren’t daily prompts or I would be so far behind.

This week’s prompt is: Share the most important/impactful professional learning in which you have participated, so far. How did it impact your practice moving forward?

I would say that the most important piece of professional learning that I’ve had so far is a session on differentiating lessons for students. I feel like it was very important because each and every on of my students learns differently, and it’s my job to teach them all. I feel like the professional development was helpful because I struggle with differentiating on the lower end more than the advanced end. I can make something that helos my advanced students dig deeper and think more critically, but I have a hard time making my slower students undertand something. I appreciated that during the professional development I was abke to collarborate with my fellow teachers and see what we all struggle with or what we all succeed at. Movung forward I plan to do my best to help every student succeed.

New Challenge!

This post is week 1 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators! I’m a little late as I didn’t see this challenge posted until today, but hopefully I will catch up!

The first challenege prompt is this: Reflecting on the past school year, what is your biggest area for professional growth going into next school year?

I would say that my biggest area for professional growth going into next year is to stay consistent with my classroom management skills and keeping open communication with administration when I have questions or concerns with my classroom management. Being as this was only my 2nd year as a full time teacher I would say that my classroom managment has improved some and that I have some good ideas of what works and what doesn’t. However, I know that when I find something that works I need to stick with it!

Challenge 10: Best Trip of Your Life

First let me start by saying that yesterday’s prompt was “what’s in your purse?” Nothing special. My wallet? Some chapstick? Not nearly blog-worthy material. So I skipped! And today I’m writing a bit late because I spent the morning with my BFF at the hospital for the birth of her 3rd child. He is a healthy boy and I’m so glad I got to be there for her.

Anyway today’s prompt is the best trip of my life. I think that this would have to be a recent trip actually, where my family and I went to the Outer Banks, NC. We had gone previously in the summers and rented a house with some family friends. My brother and his wife and son lived in NC, but found out that they would be going to Okinawa,Japan before Christmas. Since Brian and I moved to Arizona it had been a few years since we were all together as a family, and we knew that it would be longer once they moved out of the country, so we decided to go on vacation at the beach! My parents graciously rented the house and Brian and I flew to Ohio and then drove with them to NC. We spent a week there together and it was so wonderful to enjoy each other’s company. I won’t forget it.

Challenge 8: Your 5 Current Goals

What a hectic day today was. We woke up after getting almost no sleep because of a hot water heater emergency that kept us up until 2 am. But the day wasn’t all bad even though we’re exhausted. Church had an amazing sermon and then we had a second cake tasting for our wedding and met with our wedding coordinator and ironed out some more details. Anyway, apologies that this is late, but it’s still done!

1. Finish out the school year strong and with a psitive attitude. I am not returning to the middle school I am currently at next year. This can make things seem to drag by as I am excited to embark on a new teaching journey. However, my goal is to stay mindful and present with my current students and give them my best in the last month and a half of the school year.

2. Continue to grow in my relationship with God. This is always on my list of goals because it’s something I can continue to work towards forever. Currently I’m attending two community groups and so my goal next year is to also join a ministry team since I will be working closer to home and have a bit more time to devote to the church.

3. Continue to prepare myself for marriage and being the best possible wife I can be. This is a goal that I am so excited for. As Brian and I have been completing our pre-marital counseling, I am learning so much about the person God wants me to be in this relationship.

4. Stay creative. I have a habit of wanting to do creative activities and then not follow through with them. For my own mental health I would like to continue to do creative activities.

5. Be more active. Now that the weather is warming up I want to make sure that I’m spemding as much possible time as I can outside. Swimming, walking, fishing, reading a book, etc. I love living somewhere with so much sunshine and I would like to make sure that I remember to appreciate it.

Challenge 7: Your 5 Favorite Songs

This was yesterday’s prompt that I ended up missing. My best friend is preparing for her newest baby and we decided to spend yesterday together on a double date as a last hoorah. We started with mini golf, then played a few games of pool, and ended the night with a card game. So anyway, I’m going to do yesterday’s prompt today, my top 5 favorite songs. In no particular order of importance.

1. Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers- this song is my favorite for a few reasons. First, it’s classic. Second, it’s “our song”. One summer day, Brian and I were in his parent’s kitchen. He was cleaning one of his guns and this song came on Pandora and he just stopped what he was doing and started dancing with me and we decided on it being our song. Little did we know that it was also both of our parents’ song as well.

2. Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells- this song is one of the main reasons that o found my relationship with Christ. I had started listening to KLove to and from work just because it made me feel good, but then one day this song came on and I was moved to tears. Listening to the lyrics I realized that God isn’t there just when you feel good, but also when you’re struggling. He’s always there and should be praised always.

3. God Only Knows covered by Michael Buble- this is the song that I would like my father/daughter dance to be at my wedding. I love Michael Buble’s cover because it’s so soft and jazzy, but the lyrics are what really get me. “God only knows what I’d be without you”. I have so much to thank my dad for. He was tough when he needed to be, but I always knew he loved me because he told me and showed me. He taught me so much and I’m so grateful that God blessed me with him as my dad because I can only imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have him.

4. Maggie May by Rod Stewart- I can’t list my favorite song for my dad and not have one for my mom. My mom was and is such a big influencer in my life. I have so many great memories growing up with her. Singing Rockin’ Robin while she pushed me on the swing set or Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot bikini while we played with the hose in the summertime. Of all those songs my favorite is Maggie May. My middle name is Margaret and so my mom affectionately called me Maggie some days. For a period of time in my life o remember her waking me up for school in the morning singing, “wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you” and I wouldn’t want it to end. She is an amazing woman. I can’t wait to have children so I can make memories with them like these.

5. Black Velvet by Alannah Myles- there is no sentimental story behind this one. I just really like this song and any time we go to a karaoke night you can count on me to sing it.

Challenge 5: Your Proudest Moment

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

I was struggling with this blog post today, and considered skipping it altogether. I should preface by saying that if you asked me to answer it two years ago I would have no problem answering it with an accomplishment that I thought I completed all on my own, like graduating college for instance. And I would have been wrong.

It is so easy for us to seek God when things are rough. When we’re going through the valleys and we realize that we need Him to get through it all. It is hard for us, as selfish and flawed humans, to seek him from the mountain when we reach the top. It has taken me a long time to realize that none of my accomplishments are mine. Nothing that I have done in my life has been done by me alone. No. My help comes from God. I finished college because God blessed me with loving and providing parents who helped me and an able mind to complete my hours of coursework. Which leads me back to the verse that opened the post, I can do all things with God. Praise him on the mountains and in the valleys.