For My Birthday….

Just a few more days of being 35, which is fine since I thought I was 36 until May of this year when I realized I was off a year.

Although Matt and I knew each other this time last year and as his kids had become such close friends with mine just as he and I had become pretty much the best of friends, never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be where we are today. Never did I think in my friend I would find a man who I could love the way I do now, and I wasn’t interested in adding another relationship to my life – not a more than friend type of relationship. I could never see myself dating again nor could I see myself loving again, but here we are.

Im thankful that God is always true to his word and gives us his grace and mercy so freely when we’ve done everything not to deserve either of them. His word says he makes all things new. His word says all things can work together for the good of those who love him. His word says to knock and seek and ask and we will find. His word says he made us in his image and we are his children and he loves us more than a father loves his own child. His word says he will fight for us if we just be still and let him. His word says where his spirit is we will find freedom from whatever we need to be set free from. His word says that what the enemy intended for evil – God will make good and it can and will be used for his glory.

God is good all the time, and I look forward to my 36th year. God told me jan 1, 2014 that my relief would begin and I would see him fight for me…. And I did. I am such a different person than I was this time last year. I’m so thankful for what God has and is still doing in my life. And im thankful to have finally allowed my heart to open up but this time i feel like I allowed it open to the right person. I learned what it meant to guard my heart and I feel like God blessed me abundantly because of it.

****Here’s to a few more days of 35 and to year 36!****

LifeChanger — Who Me?

lifechanger

Wow!  What an exciting time in my life! I don’t even know where to begin.

First Thing’s First

I have to announce that my newest book, Jewel of Light, is so very close to being in your hands, and I’m like a kid on Christmas Eve who is too excited to go to sleep!  In the next week or two I will reveal the cover in a post, and I will begin taking preorders.

***FYI*** The cover will first be revealed to my Facebook audience, so if you haven’t LIKED the page, go ahead and do that so you can be the first to know. facebook-like-512  I will also be running a few contests for people to receive the book for FREE, and this will all be on my Facebook page.  What are you waiting for?  Click it   facebook-like-512

An Honor

A few weeks ago I received an email saying,

“We wanted to say congratulations one more time! As you already know, you have been nominated by someone in your community for National Life Group’s 2014-2015 LifeChanger of the Year award.”

My thought was, “This is the first I’ve heard about it, and what in the world is it?”  I just assumed it was spam, but I responded anyway and asked.  Apparently they had sent a message out when our district’s server had crashed, so I didn’t receive it.  It was (is) real!

Someone thought enough of me that I was nominated for this award, and I can’t even explain how honored I feel.  I want so badly to make an impact on people’s lives – change lives.  By giving my name for this award, someone is saying that I have impacted life in some positive way.  There are no words to express the feeling I get from this.

Please check out the nomination here at 2015 LifeChanger of the Year Nominee, Misty GatlinPlease, leave a comment on my nomination page as I believe it’s part of what they look at to determine the Top Ten Life Changers. 

In the News

Yesterday I received an email from someone with our local newspaper.  She had received word of this nomination and wanted to write an article about it.  Schedules got hectic, and I found out this morning that she would be here today rather than tomorrow as scheduled!  Remember how I said God has the coolest timing?  Well, she came at an incredibly hectic, but exciting and perfect time.

I had a student from 2 years ago who had just walked in my room to visit.  I wanted to visit so badly, but I also just had a student complete his final two classes (both were classes I teach), and I had to average his grades and complete a credit slip for him so he could graduate!

So in the middle of me getting grades and trying to catch up with this student I hadn’t seen in forever, the woman from the paper came in.  Just as we started the interview, the music began to play throughout our campus.  This music tells us that a student has graduated and is about to walk.  When we hear it, we all come out from our classes to line up on the sides of the hallway to cheer on the student who just finished his or her high school career.

While we have graduation just like any other high school, this is something we do to celebrate each graduate the moment they finish.  Their family is invited to come to the school, they put on their cap and gown, and they walk down the hall where our principal meets them and says a few words about them.  Then, they take pictures with the principal and their advisory teacher, and it’s just a really cool experience – just another reason I love where I teach . . . and this all happened while the reporter was here to interview me.  She got to be a part of this wonderful experience.

Timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Today I am walking on clouds because things have just been so exciting.  God has blessed me in more ways than I could have ever asked for.

I want to say thank you to whomever nominated me for this award, and I want to say thank you to those who have allowed me into their lives, and I do hope to some extent I have inspired or encouraged each and every one of you.

Below you will find links that take you inside of who I am and where my heart is whether it’s as a teacher, mentor, mom, coach, or leader of any sort.

One of my favorites: Confessions of a High School Spanish Teacher

Absolutely Perfect Imperfection 

Hey There, Beautiful

Why I Cancelled My Son’s Birthday

no birthday

Today is a special day for me.  December 7, 2005, my first child came into this world.  If you know me, you know I go all out for birthdays.  My own is just 2 days after Christmas, so celebrations and presents were few and far between because my special day got mixed in with all of the Christmas chaos.  I think that’s why I go overboard to make my children feel special for their day.  We start 7 days before their birthday when they begin opening 1 gift each night of the week leading up to their special day.  For months I plan parties and themes and cake designs, and I put those plans into action all throughout that week.

This year was different though, at least for my oldest.  This year, he was not allowed to have birthday presents nor was he allowed to have a party. There has been no party planning or invites sent out, and I didn’t wrap the traditional 7 gifts for each day of the week.  This has been very difficult for me, and it is my hope that it has been extremely difficult for him . . . because I hope to never have to do this again.

Just a Little Fib

It started back in October when he was caught telling an incredibly huge, very detailed “fib” that could have caused some major issues if it were true.  He was grounded for quite a while, but since telling the truth has been an issue with him for years (with no luck in the various types of consequences we’ve tried), he was also told what would happen if he lied again.

  • Lying again would mean he could have a birthday party but no gifts, and if anyone gave him gifts (even if it was money or a gift card), he would have to donate them. This was me not wanting to give up the cake I had spent so much time designing, and I was so excited to make it for him.
  • If he lied again after that, he would not be able to have a party.
  • If he lied a 3rd time, he would not be allowed to have Christmas gifts and again would have to donate any that were given to him.

When I was telling him I didn’t know what I would do after that, he stopped me saying, “We won’t get that far. We won’t even get to the first one because I want to have presents for my birthday.”

Whew. . . I was so glad to hear that he knew how serious this was, and I was confident we wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.

Then, just a week later, I caught him yet again.  I didn’t yell.  I didn’t let him see how angry I was.  I simply told him that means he can’t have presents for his birthday, and I hope he makes better decisions so he can at least have a party.

And I said it all without crying because of my disappointment and my concern for his struggle with telling the truth and hurt because I knew it would be hard for him not to receive gifts for his special day. . . BUT he would still have a party, and we can make him feel special without gifts.

Standing Firm While Breaking Inside

All was good until right before Thanksgiving – right before invitations were to go out.  He was caught in another lie.  I wanted to give him every chance to tell the truth, reminding him of the consequences of not telling the truth, but he didn’t come clean.

You know that saying, “This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you?”  I think a parent is the only one who can truly comprehend the meaning of this saying.  Do you understand how difficult standing firm on consequences can be?  I know this is why parents often give in and make idle threats to their children without following through.  I’ve been guilty of it many times before, but I was determined this time not to give in.  I told him his consequences, and they were severe (in my opinion), and I wasn’t going to back down.  He has to learn how important it is to tell the truth at all times.

I begged and pleaded with him to make better decisions so he didn’t have to watch everyone open Christmas presents while he got none as I told him he wouldn’t have a birthday party.  He cried about having no party, and I somehow found strength that wasn’t my own as I stood firm and did not cry through his heartbreak.

Here We Are

Not doing anything special for him made me forget every day to tell him, “Today is your last Tuesday as an 8 year old,” or, “Today is your last Friday as an 8 year old.”  The previous week was no different than any other week.  I was supposed to be stressing over getting the cake perfect and making sure I have all the RSVPs and planning who was doing what and finalizing the time everyone would arrive.  Instead, I was decorating the Christmas tree and helping with homework and driving to and from school.  There was nothing to make him feel special for his day that comes only once a year and already makes things difficult for him to be celebrated when it comes right after Thanksgiving and just a few weeks before Christmas.

I feel like a horrible mom . . . but I know what I’m doing is best for him in the long run.  I pray desperately that I never have to do this again.  I took him to lunch today, and I asked him how he felt about his birthday this year.  I asked him why he didn’t get a party or presents.  I asked him again to please think before telling something that’s not true – reminding him that he might get in trouble if he tells the truth about something he did, but consequences will never be as serious as they will be if he lies about it.

Yes, I’m going to make him a smaller version of the cake I designed, and we’re going to have it as a family.  I hate this.  I hate this so much, and my heart is breaking because I have to wait a whole 358 days before I can start going all out again for his birthday (remember 7 days of celebrating).

Oh, I hope this works. I hope he gets to open Christmas presents with us, and I hope I don’t have to figure out what consequences come from lying yet again after losing Christmas gifts.  However, I know in my heart my child grasping the concept of right and wrong in a very real way is much more important than one party missed or a few gifts not received.

Please, Jesus, let this be the only time we have to do this.