Make Me Great

18 Dec

Author: Bagande

 

This is part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me Series. The topic….. Something I wish I was great at.

 

There are many things I want to be good at. I would love to be able to play the piano and the guitar. I’d like to be able to bake something from scratch. I wish I could dance. There are several things I’d like to be better at. I strive every day to continue to be better at my career. Writing, singing, car mechanics, and computer skills also come to mind. (And I’m certain my husband wishes I were a better driver.) But if I could choose one thing to be great at, the choice would be an easy one. I want to be a great example.

 

I want to example a great wife. I want my husband, my daughter, any other girl watching me, and even my son to see grace. To see humility. To see selflessness. To see forgiveness. Purity. Partnership. Kindness. Passion. Gentleness. I want to show them that a woman can be independent and strong, to stand up for herself,  and still be an effective member of a team that compromises and gives when it’s needed. I want to example a love and respect for my husband that will leave a legacy of successful and happy marriage for my children and grandchildren.

 

I want to example a great mother. I want my children, my nieces and nephews, my students to see sacrifice. To see unconditional love. To see boundaries. To see structure. Fun. Laughter. Openness. Memories. I want them to learn to prioritize the people in their lives above the things. I want them to learn all of the personality traits it takes to be a great parent and I want them to be able to apply them when they have children of their own.

 

I want to example a great friend. I want my friendships to be great examples of love. Of laughter. Of sharing. Of fellowship. Of loyalty. I want to show how important it is to have people in your life who challenge you and make you better. People who will support you and lean on you. People who laugh and cry with you. People who listen to you and trust you. I want my children to learn how precious true friendships are and what to look for when finding those people they can count on.

 

I want to example a great woman. I want everyone who crosses my path to see joy. To see faith. To see courage. To see freedom. To see strength. To see hope. I want people to see that, despite life’s struggles and disappointments, there is One who offers strength when we are weak, comfort when we are broken-hearted, and a safe place to land when we fall. I want people to see God’s love when they look at me.

 

That is the wife, the mother, the friend, the woman I want to show my children. Those are the footsteps I want to leave for them to follow. I want to be a great example so that I may leave them a great legacy.

 

Happy Moments

28 Nov

Smile icon

Since Thanksgiving is upon us, I thought I would tackle two things at one time.  This is part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me series.  The topic, 10 thing that make me the most happy right now.  These things are also the things I’m the most thankful for….

1.  My relationship with God.  It’s easy to see how my life has been a work in progress.  The most difficult memories I have are during times when my faith was being tested.  As I look back on those moments, I can see how much I’ve grown.  I have come to a place where my spirituality is deep and personal.  And I look forward to the growth yet to come.

2.  My husband.  It’s not a joke when people say that being married is hard.  It’s not a statement to be taken lightly.  But, when you find someone worth being married to, it is so worth it.  He makes me laugh, he makes me smile, he brings tears to my eyes.  He takes the time and puts forth the effort to make our marriage better and stronger each day.   His presence in my life each day makes my world a happier place.

3.  My children.  Beyond all the mundane.  Beyond all of the worry.  Beyond the struggles and stresses of motherhood.  My kids are truly my joy.  Simply being able to love them and call them mine.  A sweet hug or corny joke just in time.  Knowing that their love for me is unconditional.  That even on my grouchiest day, they will never hold a grudge.  The big days or the simple days at home.  I am one blessed mommy!

4.  My friends.  I have never been someone to have bunches of friends.  I have several friendships but very few close friends.  But, this is one of the areas of my life where I feel I’ve been the most blessed.  I am certain that the people that are in my life have been placed there for a reason.   I have a pretty fantastic small group of friends!

5.  My family.  My family is huge and it seems to never stop expanding.  We are a noisy bunch; always talking and laughing.  My siblings are hilarious and when we are all together it is nonstop.  But we also share the tough times life sends us through.   There have been several times in my life where my family has been my strength.  I’m thankful for the times they’ve lifted me up and I’m thankful for all the moments of joy.

6. My work. I love my job.  I get the amazing opportunity to spend each day with high school kids.  I hope that I am making a positive impact on their lives.  I also work with a pretty great group of people. And my job allows me to help provide for my family.

7. Chai tea lattes. They’re so yummy! They give me an opportunity to slow down and enjoy a moment. They let me relax. It’s not just a drink…… it’s an experience.

8. A good book. There is nothing like losing yourself in a well written book.  There’s something about letting those words create scenes and characters in your mind. I love to read because I love the freedom it gives me to be a part of someone else for a short time.

9. Summer time. The time of the year that the sunshine and warm weather make anything possible. The time of the year that our little family is all together. The time we get to plan and take family vacations. I love just about everything about summer time!

10. Life. It’s messy. Sometimes it’s painful. It’s full of surprises and disappointments. But it’s also fun and exciting. It’s full of love and laughter and opportunities. Life is beautiful.

Dinner Party

7 Nov

This is part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me series. The prompt…. dinner party from history.

If I could have dinner with anyone from history, I believe it would be a four course excursion. I would also like to request no caloric repercussions for this dinner, since it’s my magical meal.

For the appetizer section, I would request spinach and artichoke dip, potato skins loaded with cheese, bacon, and sour cream, and cream cheese with pepper jack stuffed mushrooms.

Next comes soups and salads. Beautiful and delicious garden salads with potato soup. Served with garlic cheddar biscuits and crusty french bread with oil and herb dipping sauce.

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

Then the main entrée. Crab legs with melted butter, shrimp scampi, and grilled barbecue chicken. Served with sides of grilled veggies and baked macaroni and cheese.

For desert, fried ice cream, fruit cobblers, or salted caramel sundaes.

Goodness, that makes me hungry!

Now…… who to invite.

My first choice would be Jesus. It would be amazing to have the honor to sit face-to-face with the man after whom I’m striving to model my life. To hear Him speak. To look into His eyes. To embrace Him. If I ever got that opportunity, I would revel in it.

Hannah, the mother of Samuel, from the Bible. I find my circumstances having things in common with hers. I would like the opportunity to learn from her faith.

I would also love to sit down with Thomas Jefferson. He was a brilliant man and had so many ideas that were beyond his time. It would be so interesting to hear stories of how our nation was founded. To hear of his inventions and ideas. To get his take on our world today. To listen in hopes of learning something from such a man.

Marilyn Monroe has to make the list. I am such a fan of hers. She just oozed sexiness in a way that few other women ever have. I would love to be able to be that effortlessly beautiful. At the same time, her personal life is a sad, tragic story. I wonder what an honest, heartfelt conversation with her would be like.

Finally, my papaw. He passed away when I was very young. I have no memories of him, but I love who he was based on the stories I’ve been told. I missed out on so much as a little girl, growing up without a papaw, and I want to be able to get some of that back. I want to know what he smelled like. I want to sit next to him, close my eyes, and listen to his voice. I want to hear him tell me he loved me. I want him to meet my husband and children. I want him to be able to kiss my mamaw and hug my dad one last time. I want some of the time with him I should have had.

There you have it. My dream meal with 5 people I would love to share it with. Get creative. What and who would yours include?

Ten People That Changed My Life

14 Oct

This is part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me series. The prompt…. ten people who have influenced me.

The Heart

1. My husband – The things that I have learned (and am continuing to learn) because of this love are things that I never imagined I needed. I have learned that I don’t always have to be strong. I have learned that I don’t always have all of the answers. I have learned that depending on someone else is not always a mistake. I am learning that vulnerability is not weakness. I have learned that grace and forgiveness are gifts of freedom. I have learned about the power of prayer. I am learning more about who I am. I have learned the true meaning of unconditional love. I am learning that God’s plan for our lives doesn’t always look like we think it will…. but if we trust Him and follow Him; He will bless us beyond our imaginings.

2. My son – Before I found out I was pregnant, I was a totally different person. I was just going through the motions of life. Nothing was really important to me. I merely existed each day. Just taking up space in this world. Because of Isaiah, I turned my life around. I reconnected with God and my faith. I started making decisions based on what would create the best life for us. I had new drive to be the best person I could be. Raising him to be a good man. Teaching him to be a good friend. Showing him how to be a gentleman. Talking to him, answering his questions, giving him love and the best life I can. I frequently say that he saved my life. Maybe the better way to say that is that he gave me a reason to truly live.

3. My (step) daughter – Knowing that someone is watching you and learning from you makes you better. In those moments when I reflect on my life and who I am, I think of her. She makes me want to be a better wife, because she’ll become one someday and I want to be a good example. She makes me want to be a better mom, because she’ll become one someday. She makes me want to be a better Christian, because, I pray, she’ll become one someday and I want to be a good example. She makes me want to be a better woman, because she’ll become one someday. She makes me want to example strength, grace, love, beauty, faith. All of the things that I pray make up her personality when she chooses who she wants to be. And, like my prayers for Isaiah, I pray she’s better than me.

4. My parents – Obviously my parents are a big influence on many aspects of my life. I would like to focus on just one of those. My parents taught me how to get along. They showed me how to maintain a positive relationship with someone because of children you share. They taught me how to create an environment for my children where it is safe for them to love all of their parents. They taught me about sacrificing any grudges or bitterness for the happiness of my child. They also taught me about love and laughter. Faith and family. Marriage and motherhood.

5. My siblings – My siblings have influenced me in very different ways. My younger brother influenced my career choice and instilled in me the drive to be an advocate for struggling students. My youngest brother gave me a deeper appreciation for music and musicians and the passion they possess for sound and rhythm. My baby sister made me view dancers as artists and the movements of the human body as something that can be used to make beautiful pictures.

6. My best friend – She gave me the push I needed to discover who I am. She convinced me that the person that I am was someone worth knowing and loving. When other people were feeding my insecurities, she was pointing out those same things as things that were awesome about me. She calls me out when I need it. She supports me when I need it. She’s always on my side. She has helped me become more confident, more self-assured, stronger. Her impact on my life helped me to realize that I had wings that were made to fly.

7. My close friend – A woman who came into my life when I was praying for a mentor, of sorts. A woman who challenges me to be the best wife, mother, and woman I can be….. and then be better. A woman who speaks truth into my life, even when she knows it’s hard for me to hear. A woman who holds me accountable to the life I’ve chosen to live. A woman who shares my love of Starbucks and sarcasm. She is invaluable to me and I am so grateful for her.

8. The only other long-term relationship I’ve had, aside from my husband. The relationship that started when I was extremely young and lasted far too long. The relationship that gave me an opportunity to learn so much about who I was. To learn about who I wanted to be. To learn about strength and how much of it I possess. To learn about the ways in which I should let people treat me. To learn about self-esteem. To learn about standing up for myself. It was a situation I should have gotten out of much earlier. But, it was a relationship that produced my son, the best part of me. And for that, I will always be grateful.

9. My 5th and 6th grade teachers – The two women who inspired me to become a teacher. The two women I thought of, especially in my first years of teaching, when I was deciding what kind of teacher I wanted to be. The two women I used to gauge myself and how I was connecting with my students. I want to be the kind of teacher that touches her students so profoundly that they look back 20 years later and remember that impact on their life.

10. My students – These kids have given me more compassion. More patience. More tolerance. More empathy. More gratitude. More understanding of the true meaning of life.

My Wish For You

30 Sep

This is part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me series. The prompt…. my hopes and dreams for my children.

To my children,

I want so many things for you. There are so many dreams inside of me that awakened because of my love for you. I know that there are great things in store for your lives. And I look forward to watching you fly.

I hope you laugh. Find reasons every day to enjoy being alive. Surround yourself with people that make your smile meet your eyes. Don’t take yourself too seriously. There are very few things more beautiful in this life than someone who is truly happy. Be beautiful.

I hope you dream. And dream big. Never let someone tell you it can’t be done. If you find passion in something, pursue it. You are capable of great and wondorous things. Believe in yourself. Never give up. Follow those dreams, wherever they may lead you.

I hope you love. Fearlessly. Recklessly. Once you find someone worthy of your heart, don’t hold back. The greatest loves are founded on the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, love yourself. I assure you, you are someone worth loving.

I hope you cry. Emotions are not to be hidden. In fact, it takes strength to be connected to your emotions. To feel so strongly that your heart can break. Shed tears of sorrow without feeling weak. And shed tears of joy without feeling shame. Allow yourself to be passionate. Allow yourself to feel.

I hope you pray. Realize that your strength does not come from within. But from a God who loves you beyond logic and expectation. A God who’s love for you is infinitely more beautiful than any other love you’ll know. A God who will speak to you, you need only to listen. Follow Him.

I hope you are kind. Truly care about others. Be polite. Reach out your hand to help where you are needed. Give of yourself. There are people all over this world considerably less fortunate than you. Not just because you have things, but because you have love. Give freely to them.

I hope you are happy. It is easy to worry and be afraid. It is easy to let the trials of this life beat you. Be strong. Be courageous. Look yourself in the eye each day and decide to smile. Decide to laugh. Decide to dance. Decide to sing. Whoever it is that makes you happy, be that person.

I hope you live. We only get one chance to change the world. Don’t waste it. Live freely. Without regret. Make your mark. Make a difference. Make your life beautiful. Fly.

Truth I Can Cling To

25 Sep

Real life is hard.  It’s unpredictable and it’s messy.  Sometimes it’s painful and scary.  The one thing you can always count on, is that there are no guarantees.  People disappoint.  People walk away.  People say things that hurt.  People take you for granted.  People make mistakes.

In the midst of all that life throws at me, there are several truths I cling to. They are the only things that keep me going some days and they are my hope for sanity in this crazy world.

1.) God is faithful.  I can stand on His promises and rest in His peace.  He’s the only one that will never let me down. Because of His love, I am never alone.

2.) My children are the future. They are my legacy. When all else is going wrong, they are the thing I’ve done right. They are a beautiful combination of love and laughter. They are the embodiment of all of my hopes and dreams. They are proof of magic.

3.) I am surrounded by people who, when life falls apart, will step in and help me sweep it up. My family and friends are strong and supportive in ways that I never knew. When I need it the most, they are the constant faces in the background reminding me of everything I am.

4.) My husband has always been right where I’m supposed to be. He’s imperfect and frustrating. He’s the exact opposite of me. He’s confusing. But, he’s mine. I know that I could never feel, about anyone else, the things I feel when I look at him. I know that we were fated to walk this life together. I know that the love I have for him has changed me in ways I would never have imagined. I know that, for better or worse, I will always fight to love him the best I can.

5.) Me. I am easily amused. I am easily distracted. I am loud and outgoing. I am passionate. I am forgetful. I am temperamental. I am loyal. I find it too hard to say no. I am emotional and illogical. I love to laugh and play. I give too much of myself to other people. I am flawed. I am valuable. And that took me far too long to learn.

Growing up is hard to do

11 Sep
BXP46603

BXP46603 (Photo credit: Wilson X)

Life has bumps.  All of life.  It seems that just when things might be going your way…. something happens that tries to bring you down.  My life has been hit with one of those times recently.  I haven’t even been able to begin to write anything for quite some time.  It’s very strange for me, a writer, to not be able to form words on a page.  Scary even.  Confusing.  But, I’m starting to dust myself off and what better way to do it than to write.  I’m going to write from a very real place without sharing details that I’m not ready to put into words yet.  And I’ve found the perfect way to do it.  This post will be part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me Series.  The prompt is The hardest part about growing up.  Here goes…..

When you’re young, all you want to do is grow up.  Big people have cars and phones and their very own money.  They get to go where they want and do what they want.  Nobody tells them what to do.  They make their own bed times and drink coffee.  It must be so nice to grow up.  And, growing up does have its perks.  But, then there’s the other side.  The part of life that makes growing up difficult and sometimes painful.

Decisions.  It sounds great to be able to make your own decisions.  Seems like the perfect way to live.  Sometimes it is.  I do enjoy eating a bowl of cereal at completely irresponsible times of the night.  And I like to choose what I watch on television. But, honestly, sometimes I just want someone to take those decisions from me.  I don’t want to have to decide what’s going to be for dinner when I’ve just had a long, stressful day.  I don’t want to have to choose whether the car gets new tires or the house payment gets paid on time. I don’t want to feel like my children’s entire lives can be changed by one decision I do or don’t make. That is a lot of responsibility. And there are days when I just don’t feel like deciding anything.
What I’m learning: Sometimes it’s ok to eat takeout after a long, stressful day. And, sometimes, you just have to close your eyes, pick the bill to pay, and pray. It will always work itself out in the end. Sometimes, you have to take a good, long look at the whole picture, make the decision that you think is right, and pray. It will always work itself out in the end. And, sometimes, you just need a day that includes a glass of wine, a good friend, and the time and space to vent about how much being an adult sucks. And know, as long as you never stop trying, it will always work itself out in the end.

Relationships. Fairy tales never give you the whole picture. Childhood doesn’t either. When you’re young, while you’re busy knowing everything, you are blissfully unaware of how difficult marriage and adult relationships can be. You think you know what love is. You think you know what committment is. But, until your love and committment are tested, you never fully realize the meaning of those words. And it’s in those moments that you are tested when you wish you could be blissfully unaware again.
What I’m learning: Relationships are hard. They are difficult and draining. They take work. They take an unbelievable amount of determination and sacrifice. Sometimes they are painful and scary. But, when you find the right person; they are worth it. The experience of loving someone so completely, of building a life and a future, of sharing all of life’s struggles and joys, is absolutely worth every single tear you may cry along the way.

Standing alone. Perhaps the hardest part of growing up is learning to walk without a safety net. The comfort and stability that you had as a child is gone. You are seemingly alone in a big, scary world. And with every wrong decision or rough patch, you wish there was someone there to help you pick up the pieces. It’s difficult to navigate when you’ve always been a passenger. It’s difficult to take the first step into the unknown without someone holding your hand. It’s difficult to begin a journey on your own. But, let me tell you this, the reward at the end of that first solo journey is a feeling that can’t ever be duplicated again.
What I need you to learn: You’re never alone. You, my children, will never be alone. I won’t be able to walk right next to you. I won’t be able to always hold your hand. I won’t be able to offer you an easy way out of every situation in which you find yourself. But, I can offer you a place to land. A safe place to lay your head when life gets rough. A place to come home to when you are overwhelmed. And, the confidence I have in you that you can accomplish everything you dream!

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