Category Archives: christmas

In spite of me

Standard

I think that I am the one making a difference by wearing a dress. But really,  the difference is being made in spite of me.
Bringing attention to myself by posting about myself, words or pictures, isn’t as helpful as I would like it to be.

I am not important.  It is not me that makes this work or go away.

Sure, I am a vessel for the cause.  But it all works in spite of me. In spite of my self-consciousness, my forgetfulness, my desire for attention, my fear, my inattention, and all my other faults!

Here’s what I mean: I am important.  My voice in the fight may be the only voice some hear.  AND despite all my faults a difference is being made.
Someone once told me that it must take courage to do this challenge. To wear dresses every day and have my own style.  Another person said I was a trend setter due to my eclectic pattern mixing. I heard someone ask, “What is she wearing?”
What’s interesting is that it takes more courage to move that conversation away from my fashion choices and to the real issue of slavery.  There is a special kind of courage to move the conversation away from ME & to the issue at hand.

I am working on having that courage.  Your choice to read this blog is helping me find my voice and courage.  I appreciate that you have chosen to read my blog.

IF you are able donate to the cause of freeing people form the bonds of slavery. Not only will you help free them, you will help to rehabilitate them by your gift.

 

 

Advertisements

19 down ~ 12 to go!

Standard

I have spent the last 3 weeks working Monday through Friday.  I work at a high school, in case you hadn’t noticed from previous blogs.  It’s funny what students notice.  It’s also funny what happens when you engage with them.

I have been trying not to be impatient with my students this week.  It has been hard.  They have been a little squirrelly due to the 2 week break that is now here.  They have also had changes in schedules both here and many times at home.

There are concerts to attend, cookies to bake, projects to complete, unit tests to study for, & so many other things that make this holiday lovely.

Some of my students moved, found out about illness, lost their homes, made bad life choices, forgot about projects, didn’t study for those unit tests, and many other things that may not only make the holiday less lovely but also the life that comes after the holiday.

The last three weeks at work have been good and my eyes have been opened to their conditions in and out of school.

I came to a startling realization this morning when, at 6:00 AM my husband went and gently woke our younger son up so they could make fresh salsa for the cultural experience they had today at school.  Ethan helped his dad make salsa and my mom helped him carry it into his school this morning and give proper storage and warming directions to the teacher for this afternoon.

My children have had that sort of support their whole lives.  They do not know what it looks like to have their safety or well being jeopardized by anything!

While I am fairly certain (notice I do not say 100% certain) that I do not have many students who are held in bondage against their will or who have been sold I am certain that I have quite a number who have not known the certainty of the love and support my children have had their whole lives.

To have both a parent and a grandparent go out of their way to take food to a school party is something many of my students do not understand.

That sort of support allows a freedom to be who you want and to pursue a life of freedom and choice.  That sort of freedom can also be very scary without close conversation about direction and purpose (we make sure we try to give the proper guidance).

What is fantastic is that they have me (and the other teacher and support staff) at our school.  My students share information with me that I can either counsel them on or send them to the right person who will be able to counsel them appropriately.

It is nice to be the person they see and then walk in the room (actually having been looking for me) with a “hang dog” look on their face to tell me something they think they did wrong. It is nice to tell them they are over reacting or that they aren’t and they have a chance to change their direction.  It is also really  nice when I can challenge them to do better and BE better.  I always smile when they call me mom because they have no idea what calling me mom allows me to do 😉 they just trust me enough that they want me in the inner circle of confidence.

I love that I am able to reach them on a different and life lesson level not just on a textbook and test level.

That is what this whole month has been about, so far, right?  A chance for others to have a different life? A chance? A choice, finally? A change?

If you haven’t already check out the change IJM is making in the world.  It has been amazing what the 700 staffers around the world are able to do with the money that people like you and me give to their organization.  This month the dresses you have been watching me wear are similar to a 3-day or a 5-k that other people do.  Mine just last a lot longer! I am wearing dresses so that I can help raise awareness about the 29.8 million slaves in the world and also raise money to rescue them.  I am also spending time in prayer and meditation about their plight and the courage it takes IJM to find them and rescue them. My friend wrote a fantastic holiday meditation book called O Antiphons.  While is it about the holiday the tip that you leave on Noisetrade will benefit IJM as well.  You should check it out!

Will you join me? Hit any of the links above to find out more or to give.  If that isn’t something you can do then I know you can pray. That is something we all can do.  A short simple prayer of supplication for freedom and courage for those who need it most.

Thank you for joining me so far….only 12 days left in this journey!

PS aren’t my students adorable?!

Fotor_141900181686114

My 3rd period senior class.

vertigo & understanding bosses

Standard

Fotor_141893974771539

So last night while I was blogging the room began to spin and my fingers forgot how to type.

This morning I got up and went to work, still spinning.

When students have prepped for a presentation and the teachers isn’t there to see and grade the presentation then some trust is lost between the two. Plus, I didn’t want to write lesson plans! We are two days from a break & I wasn’t feeling bad enough this morning to call in so I went to work.

During first block my brain wasn’t connecting to my mouth and I felt sluggish and dizzy. I had them do vocabulary while I tried not to fall out of my chair.

Luckily 2nd & 4th block were presenting their career research and I just had to grade their work as they presented.

I came home during my planning, (after I finish with students) crept to the basement and slept for 3 hours.

I am blessed (always!!) to have a boss and family that care about my well being.

When I messaged (I had to rewrite the email a few times due to finger brain lack of communication) my boss to let her know I was headed home due to extreme vertigo she asked if I could drive and also to take care and rest.

I have worked at the school for 9 years now.  At my old work, which shall remain nameless, my last boss was heartless (for the record I had more AWESOME bosses there than this last one but he is the one who drove me out!).  I would have to justify absences and it was often easier to go to work and stay for an 8 or 9 hour shift and put up with him than listen to him passively a aggressively complain about my absence. It is so nice to work for a boss who cares.

As soon as I got home my son came out a greeted me at the car to see why I was home.  He also asked to make sure I was OK and to see what he could do to help.  (My boys! I tell you I am raising an awesome pair of men.) My husband and other sone went and got dinner.

Now it is the end of the day.  I am going to work at my second job (I teach online school too).  Then bed.

My vertigo is annoying more than anything. For instance as I look at the keyboard, it is moving back and forth like a boat on the water.  It makes me nauseous. I can’t talk properly.  There are other problems that the vertigo poses too. That is a post for a more lucid time.

What became clear today is that I have options.

I left my old job because I didn’t like the boss.  Is my new boss perfect? No-one is! But is she understanding?  Yes.  She knows I get my job done and take care of my students.

I have choices.  I get to choose to wear a dress to work or not every single day!

Today I made the choice to wear black and white houndstooth leggings, a black and white dress, with a velvet-ish jacket that has flowers on it. I added a green scarf to the ensemble.

I make choices everyday.  Some are good & some are meh. But the point is I still get to make them.  I own them.  No-one makes me do things I do not want to do.

There are so many people in this world who do not have that luxury and many of them are in bondage.  In slavery because they needed to feed their family and this long term solution seemed the good thing to do so their family can be fed. In slavery because their parents sold them due to a promise of a “better” life.  Working for pennies a day unable to see the end of the tunnel, plan for retirement, a vacation, a sick day, a mental health day.

My vertigo changes my day.  I am unable to do things I want to do.

My boss changes my life.  I do not call in sick for random things nor do I call in often.  But when I do I am not afraid to take the day to watch my kids or to heal myself.

Check out what IJM does for people to free them and then after they have been freed from slavery.  A bondage that they could not escape without our help.  My Dressember donation site is a good place to give.  As a collective we are raising $500,000 for IJM.  That money will go to help so many people discover a freedom they may never have known. Of course you can also pray, always, for the enslaved, the people working to free them, and the people who are helping the free in after care.

Just blessed

Standard

Fotor_14188686746619

So cliche.

At Christmas we say such cliche things.

You can look at and say, “Man, I am so over that!”

Or you can say, “Oh tradition!  So wonderful to have the same things said at this time of year.”

Some may even choose to just go against the whole idea of anything anyone has ever done and say, “Festivus for the rest of us!” (HA! Seinfeld, gotta love some old school sit coms.  They just don’t make them like they used to.)

Anyway, all I have to say today is that I am just blessed.

Blessed to live in the US

Blessed to work for the public school system

Blessed to worship how I like

Blessed to have friends over for dinner in the middle of the week

Blessed to go see movies with my son

Blessed to have 3 beautiful children

Blessed to have an amazing husband

I am just blessed

As cliche as it sounds, I am.  I am blessed! Part of my family just had a fantastic dinner with a family we have gone to small group with for the last (almost) 4 years (in Feb.). Lauren and I have shared so much and our boys are such good friends.  It is nice to have a closeness with a family, share a meal, & a faith.  So blessed.

The thing about being blessed is that many of us have no idea how blessed we are.  We take advantage that things will always be the way they have been. We shouldn’t, we should savor every moment.

I try to remember how blessed I am without being arrogant about it.  I try to look at the gift of life, liberty, & pursuit of happiness I have been given and remember that not everyone has those blessings.

This month I am reminded of that as I talk to people about IJM and my Dressember event.  I ask if they are reading my blog and tell them they should.  I ask if they know that there are 29.8 million slaves in the world today.  When they say no and get that far aways look in their eye, I just encourage them to come here and read about my self discovery.  I hope that they are and that it is ok to not realize.  It is ok to still be learning about the world.  No-one is expected to know everything about everything.  But once you are exposed to it you can no longer feign ignorance.  I am trying to learn and do.  I am trying to teach so others can help too. I am not perfect.  Never will be.  I am not better than others, that’s not my thing.  But I do want to be better than I was last year.  I want to share what I have with others.  I want others to be blessed.

The busiest season of all…

Standard

Fotor_141859586895669

…Is the holiday season.  It doesn’t matter what you celebrate.  I happen to celebrate Christmas in all it’s glory.  We enjoy time worshiping and fellowshipping with family, friends, eating delicious meals together, and of course the giving and receiving of gifts.  My children are old enough to know exactly what they want and usually pick it out.  We have always had a very limited budget on their gifts and have made that clear to them.  We started this when we couldn’t afford much but continued the tradition because we didn’t want Christmas to become a “want” fest or a “pout because I didn’t get it ALL” fest.

This limit means that they sometimes can choose to have grandma and mom collaborate on a gift that may be more expensive than my budget allows. It also means that they can connect money from birthday past or future to get a larger gift.  The limit also makes them very aware of the cost of their toys and the power of thinking about how you spend your money.

Our family has always been a giving family.  We have family in El Salvador that we help on a regular basis.  It is nice to know that they benefit from what we are able to give.  Recently we have also been helping out a family from our community with some basic needs and building relationships. I believe that our frugality in giving to our children (during holidays) has allowed us to save and be able to give to others more generously.

The hardest part of the holiday’s is BUSY-ness.  I hate that we are so busy during this season of the year.  So busy that we wake up tired, go to bed tired, don’t get done what we want to (see boxes of Christmas ornaments STILL in boxes in my living room), and then end up feeling incredibly stressed out and cranky.

I want that to stop.  I want to have an afternoon like I did today.  I went to visit a friend because our boys had a sleep over.  I kept looking at the clock thinking that I had to rush but time nearly stood still for 2 hours. We chatted and laughed.  We listened to each other and chatted with our children.  It was a wonderful rest in an otherwise incredibly busy time of year.

Tomorrow I go back to the grind.  We have 5 more class days left until “winter break” AKA Christmas break for 2 weeks.  That will be filled with busy too.  (I know I will eventually write about that so you’ll have to wait and see what that busyness looks like.)

The best part of all this busyness is that I can control my busy.  My friend at work had nothing planned for the weekend, on purpose.  She decided that she needed to control the busy in her holiday season.  I admire that ability to control the busy.

What if you couldn’t control the busy? What if there were someone telling you when to wake up, when and what to eat, if you could sit or stand to work, and you had no choice but to listen? That sort of busy you couldn’t control.  I know I have said this statistic before but the number kept rolling around in my head, according to IJM there are 29.8 billion people in slavery.  They are kept busy without controlling why or how they are busy.  It isn’t because they are taking children places or making fun gifts for family and friends.  It isn’t because they are working at a job they love.  It is because they are in bondage.  I am trying to help make a difference for people in bondage.  I am asking that people who read my blog this month learn more about modern human slavery, say a prayer for those who are fighting slavery and those who are in bondage, or donate to my giving campaign. I am wearing dresses all month.  This is way out of my character but it is my choice.  I am able to choose to wear a dress.

Please consider stepping out of your comfort zone this month and learning about this human tragedy that is a very real and pressing issue.