Posty-Post

Little things.

I need to start paying attention to the little things.

For it is in the little things that God has been showing me that He hears my heart, and knows the thoughts I don’t outwardly express to Him. The idea of God being all-knowing is Sunday School stuff, yet how often do we forget the most basic characteristics of our amazing Savior? I have so much to say, but there’s this research paper that has been nagging at me to be written, and I have yet to compose a single sentence.

So for now, dear WordPress blog, you will be cast to the side, but you, dear reader (whoever you are), are most definitely not forgotten.

I leave you with my new favorite album, and a picture of Milo. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/the-drop/borderland#uvEauVoRtGeImTqH.01

*This link is no longer working & valid, but please, for your own good, go listen to John Mark McMillan’s newest album. It’s ridiculously good.*

milo in the ligth

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100 Blessings

This Week:

  • Caleb got a snow day on Monday, but I had to drive in the snow and go to work.
  • On Tuesday, I got stuck in a snowbank and had to shovel my tiny car out. All by myself.
  • I almost got frostbite because I shoveled my car out with a small scraper and my gloveless hands.
  • Yesterday we lost power at 3 a.m. It’s still out, and PECO said it could take up to five days for it to be resolved.

I’ll admit, I’ve complained.

A lot.

I was annoyed that I had to go into work even though there were only three children that showed up, and I was annoyed that I had to drive in the snow which is one of my least favorite things to do.

On Tuesday, I complained that my car got stuck and that I was cold, and that I had forgotten that there were gloves in the backseat of the car. I was also annoyed that we lost power and that it is still not working, and that I couldn’t make chicken fettuccini last night, and that we’ve had to resort to eating fast food for all of our meals.

While I sat wrapped up in my favorite Ikea blanket (life is realll hard over here. please hear my sarcasm), I started reading The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D, an assigned reading for my Perspectives on Parenting course. Although it provides a Jewish approach to parenting, I am learning so much, and realizing things that I want to change in my own life right now.

I got to chapter 5, “The Blessing of Longing,” where Mogel discusses how we must always be grateful for what we have already been given. Somehow, the idea that we need more, more, more in order to be content, has instead taken away happiness and our ability to be a blessing to others. Mogel writes, “In Deuteronomy, God reminds us that he will punish us for feeling deprived when we have ‘plenty of everything’ but ‘will not serve God with happiness and a glad heart.'” Oof.

But what really got to me was when Mogel says:

The rabbis respect our passions but require us to refrain from overindulgence. What, then, are we to do with our natural desires? We are to convert them into good impulses via prayers of gratitude called “blessings.” Jewish tradition encourages adults to say 100 blessings of gratitude a day. To fill a blessing quota this huge, you have to be vigilant about looking for things to be thankful for.

100 blessings?

This seems so minimal, because when I stop to think about it, God blesses me with so much on a daily basis.

However, how often do I actually take the time to thank God for one hundred blessings in my life? Not often enough, that’s for sure. And even though we are experiencing less than perfect conditions, why am I so ungrateful when compared to others, I have so much? That being said, today I decided to try and think of 100 things that I am grateful for. For the sake of those who decide to read this post, I will only write down 20.

  1. My good health
  2. A loving husband
  3. A professor that blessed me with $20 for food, because our power is out
  4. Warm blankets
  5. An apartment that is still in one piece
  6. A working car
  7. A warm coat
  8. A friendly cat
  9. Avocados (we had avocados for breakfast)
  10. A caring family
  11. My job
  12. For the dreams and goals that God has given us
  13. Good books
  14. A warm bed
  15. A working phone
  16. Sweatpants
  17. Chapstick
  18. Tea
  19. A good education & knowledgable professors
  20. Flashlights & candles

Some of the things I came up with seemed so insignificant at first, but when I stop to think about it, shouldn’t I be thanking God even more for those small insignificant things?

I shouldn’t have to wait for God to bless me with a new job or car to begin thanking Him. I need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude even in the smallest, (and often most difficult) moments.

Keep in mind those of us here in Pennsylvania. Pray the power lines are fixed quickly, and that families will stay safe and warm.

-Kelly

Saturday

A few days ago I received an email from Dana Emery, the Children’s Events Coordinator at the Phoenixville YMCA; she was searching for volunteers to work with classes to promote inclusion, and to become buddies for children with special needs.

I immediately replied.

Last semester I took a course completely focused on inclusion, and had worked with special needs students in the past. Dana was excited to get a response, and mentioned that she was in need of someone to work one-on-one in a gymnastics class with seven year-old Jayden who has Autism, and is non-verbal.

I was so excited – not only was I going to be able to help this little boy, but how great would this look on a resumé? I am always looking for opportunities for childcare/education experience, so I jumped at the chance to volunteer.

This morning, I put on my YMCA staff shirt, and drove enthusiastically all the way to the Y, where I was going to meet with Dana and discuss what my main role was during the class. She asked me if I was volunteering for school hours, and I proudly answered, “No, I’m just interested in helping children with special needs.”

At this point I was definitely thinking, “How great am I?!”

Sometimes I feel like I have a movie projector in my head, and before I am thrown into unknown situations, the projector plays a glimpse of what will take place.

This particular movie portrayed me, the main character, as the beautiful heroine who steals the heart of this Autistic child, and helps him learn how to jump on a trampoline, and in a dramatic twist, Jayden smiles at me and begins to speak.

I would then be commended for my patience and kind heart, and I would be his buddy until he was able to be completely independent.

Obviously, none of this happened, or probably will ever happen. Jayden and his mother arrived 15 minutes late, and after introducing myself, we began our trek to the gymnasium. We never actually made it into the gymnastics class, but spent almost an hour trying to pry Jayden away from the (fortunately locked) doors to the pool. He loves to swim, and as soon as we passed the pool, he wanted to run and jump right in.

Jayden cried, and screamed, and after pulling me to the doors to see if I would open them, he became even more frustrated, and scratched and pushed me away.

Despite this long hour of trying to reason with a child who is non-verbal, and overall in a state of frustration, his mother was so patient, and so loving, and should really get an award for just being able to walk through the hallways of the Y without giving up on a boy that most would dismiss as ornery and hopeless.

As he was screaming at the doors to the pool, she took his face in her hands and quietly said, “Jayden is a smart boy, he is a good boy, and he makes his momma very proud.”

I had placed myself on such a high, self-centered pedestal, that I forgot that my role is minuscule compared to what his mother does every single day. I am sure that volunteering will in some way ease the stress of this amazing woman, but ultimately, she quickly became the heroine, and I was just the useless extra that is known as “Girl #2.”

I am sure there are days when she gets upset with Jayden, and cries out of frustration, and wishes that the life of her little boy could be completely different, but seeing this interaction between mother and son, even if just for an hour, made me want to cry because of my own vanity. I wanted to volunteer so that I could gain something, but this woman makes a daily choice to be patient, and puts his needs before her own so that her son will thrive and exceed the expectations that were placed on him the moment he was diagnosed.

In the past year, I have become more aware of the woman I want to aspire to be. I am inspired by my Advisor, Sheri Aspito, to be a teacher that is filled with the Holy Spirit, and prays over her classroom with strength and fervor. I am inspired by my adjunct professor, Lori Scheib, to pursue a career in Reading Instruction, and to be professional in all situations. And today, I was inspired by Jayden’s mother. What more can I say? For the past 20 minutes I have been trying to figure out a way to end this post, but I don’t quite know how. I suppose I will end with this:

“Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be so shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.” {Elif Shafak; “The Forty Rules of Love”}