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A Girl, A Knee, God’s Mercy, and God’s Perfect Plan

You have no idea how GLAD I am that I can finally write this post!!!

You see, this is a story about a girl, a knee, God’s mercy, and His perfect plan.

You might remember that a month and a half ago, Chicky tore her ACL and, thus, ended her soccer career.

We were completely devastated.

Soccer was her life.

Then, a few days after the injury, Chicky got an opportunity to interview for a teaching job.

When she shared the news with me, I cried, and we talked about how, if she had not injured herself, she wouldn’t have been able to go to the interview.

So, she interviewed and got good feedback.

She toured the school and fell in love with it, the school’s philosophy, and the administration.

But she had to wait…

For a month…

Until she finished her internship…

Before she finally got the call.

It was the call that offered her the position as a 2nd grade teacher!!

We are all overjoyed.

Jobs are difficult to come by these days.

Chicky’s student debt is huge thanks to her private school tuition.

God is providing.

The thing that makes us even more grateful is the way God showed His mercy…in such a tangible way…so early into the trial she was forced to endure.

Life is full of difficult events that we must go through.

Oftentimes, we don’t see the good that He’s working…at least not immediately.

That’s not to say that He isn’t there working out the details.

I praise God that He did reveal Himself so early on.

I believe it was an act of mercy and compassion to begin healing Chicky’s broken heart over the unexpected end to her season.

My Chicky is officially a teacher.

I couldn’t be more proud or more thankful for God’s perfect plan.

 

Three Jacks and a Hodgepodge

Joyce has some Halloween-themed questions this week!  Thanks, Joyce, for always putting some fun, whether or not it’s a holiday, into my week!

1.  What’s something you’re dealing with that might be described as tricky?

This year, I am teaching Intensive Reading, English, and Writing to my tenth grade students.  In the past, I’ve only had to focus on one of these subjects.  Putting the three together is very tricky because there just isn’t enough time in the day and week to do everything.  I am an overachiever.  I am also a very slow, methodical teacher.  I want to do things well and correctly.  To be responsible, in large part, for my students’ graduation requirement (FCAT) as well as their statewide writing test is a very overwhelming task that looks easy from the outside but is very, very difficult when actually in the classroom.  Oh, and don’t forget that I teach struggling readers.  Yes.  This is very tricky indeed.

2.  What’s your treat of choice?

Rather than select something edible, I’m going for a luxury, such as a morning to sleep in.  That’s definitely my treat of choice!

3.  Did you/will you carve a jack-o-lantern this month? Which real (living or dead) or fictional ‘Jack’ would you most like to meet in person? Why?

I will not carve a jack-o-lantern this month or ever if I can help it.  I find the innards disgusting and am not very coordinated.  I think I would do more harm to myself than a pumpkin if I even tried to carve it.

If I could meet a fictional “Jack,” I think I’d like to meet Jack Bauer (24).

Save the world and then come home to me, Jack!

Oh wait.  Make that Jack Shephard (Lost).

I want to get lost just so he can help me find my way home!

On second (or make that third) thought, Jack Ryan (Tom Clancy hero).

Oh Harrison…I mean Indiana…errrr…Jack…I’d let you rescue me no matter that name you’d be going by on that particular day!

Ok.  Let’s just face it.  I’m a sucker for a strong, handsome hero who has an obligation to do the right thing.

4.  In your opinion, what’s the grossest sounding word in the English language?

I absolutely cannot stand the sound of someone puking.  Hearing someone gag makes me want to upchuck as well.  Blech.

5.  When did your heart last skip a beat?

Um, hello?  Didn’t you just scroll past three pictures above?

Yeah.  That’s what I thought.

6.  Monster Mash by Bobby ‘Boris’ Picket, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon, or Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters…your favorite ‘scary’ tune?

I love Monster Mash because it’s got an old-timey feel to it, but Jennifer Garner made me love Thriller when she danced to it in the movie 13 Going on 30.  This scene continues to make me laugh.  In fact, I remember watching it for the first time in the theater with Chicky.  I laughed so hard that I had tears streaming down my face.

We should all indulge our inner child, should we not?

7.  It was a dark and stormy night when______________________________.

It was a dark and stormy night when Jack Bauer, Jack Shephard, and Jack Ryan showed up at AuburnChick’s house, alerted by her distress signal, a neon green “J” that she had flashed into the sky.  They had come to rescue her from the dreary storms of lesson planning, which were far scarier than the hurricane-force winds blowing outside her window.

8.  My Random Thought

This will be the first year that I have not handed out candy at Halloween.

Oh, I’ll be home, but I’m choosing to keep my light off this year.

I have endured, for many years, the barking of my dogs every single time the doorbell rings.  It takes forever to hush them, and by the time I do, the next round of children are ringing it again.  Although I enjoy seeing the costumes, listening to the dogs bark is miserable.

I think I’ll use the money I would have spent on candy to buy cupcakes for my students.  They deserve a treat for being so good the day I had a sub (when I went to visit Chicky for Senior Night).

Tuesday Puppy Love

Here’s a quick post in which I share some recent puppy love that’s been going on in these parts…

Washing the bed cover didn’t stop Gambit from getting comfy on his bed.

Fridays are long days when there’s a football game. Molly was very happy when I got home and stayed home.

 

The cooler weather and cold floors mean that these two become the best of buds when it comes to sharing the bed.

 

By 10pm, Pele is tuckered out. He’s the sweetest, gentlest 90 pound dog you’ll find.

Grandpuppy love is the BEST!!! I spoiled her with a glow-in-the-dark collar, lots of play, and let Chicky deal with the aftermath. heehee

Under the Weather

Please forgive my lapse, but I’ve been a bit under the weather the last few days.

My throat started hurting last Tuesday afternoon.  It hurt all day Wednesday.

Still, I denied that I had a cold, chalking it up to the change in weather and the release of a month’s worth of stress.

Thursday, I woke up feeling better, but then I started sneezing.

I attended my school’s Homecoming football game that evening…probably not the best idea…because when I woke up on Friday, I felt as though I’d been hit by a truck.

I got up anyhow, went to school, and taught, despite the tightness in my chest.

My students mercifully were gentle with me and cooperated fully as I executed my lesson plans.

Friday afternoon, when I got home, I put myself in my pajamas…

And stayed that way…

All

Weekend

Long.

Saturday, I woke up with one of the worst headaches I’ve ever head…to the point that I was crying.

It felt as though someone had stuck an axe in the middle of my head.

My intent was to lesson plan.

I couldn’t sit up straight.

I conceded defeat and admitted that yes, indeed, I did, in fact, have a full-blown cold.

Sigh.

I spent most of the day asleep on the couch after dosing myself with migraine medicine.

When I woke up, my headache was gone, but my head was still very stuffy, and my nose would not stop running.

I skipped church on Sunday even though I felt a little better.  I was able to finish my lesson planning for the week.

Today, I thought I was feeling better, but my head started feeling worse as the day progressed.

Still, I persevered, got through the day, and am now at home.

I’ve worked on lesson plans (I’m forever tweaking) and am going to enjoy the rest of my evening in front of the TV.

So, I apologize for not writing.  If I could have put coherent thoughts together, I would have.

Hope you guys are managing to stay away from the ickiness that seems to be going around.

A Sunflower for Chicky

On Tuesday, I showed you the Boo Boo Bunny I knit for Chicky.

Well, I was busy the last few weeks, and I knit her another surprise, which I delivered last weekend.

This is what I’m calling Sunflower for Chicky…

It was a quick knit.  I think I made it over the course of two evenings, but it could easily have been finished in one.

Sunflowers are Chicky’s favorite flowers (they’re mine too), so it was a joy to make this for her.  Her kitchen is adorned with various sunflowery items; I figured this might play nice with the other things.

I love surprising my girl because, whether she knows it or not, she lights up my life just like those flowers light up hers.

A Hodgepodge Full of Good Manners

I like Joyce’s questions this week.  They aren’t too taxing on the brain, which I really appreciate given that we are now very much into the routine at school, and I am feeling, oftentimes, overwhelmed.

Let’s cut to the chase and begin!

1.  When it comes to good manners, what two top your list of most important?

Being a Southern girl, I really like when people say “Ma’am” and “Sir.”  Teenagers, especially, melt my heart when they inject a ma’am into a conversation, and I find myself less likely to write someone up if that person has said this one simple word.

Another manner I think is important is not talking when there’s a meeting going on.  I’m shocked when people sit and have small conversations during faculty meetings!  Trying to teach in a classroom when children are talking is distracting.  Sitting in a meeting trying to hear what my administrators are saying is equally difficult.

2.  Let’s open a proverbial can of worms…Common Core.  Are you familiar with the term (talking education reform in the USA)?  If so, care to share your thoughts? In your opinion, what is one of the biggest issues schools (in your home country) face today?

Ahhh…you just had to go there, didn’t you, Joyce?  I think that the intent of Common Core is good…to toughen up the standards and make them the same across the country.  What I disagree with is the testing.  Our children are tested every time they turn around, and it’s ridiculous.  Teachers (myself included) have our instruction frequently interrupted by said tests…to the point where we can’t even teach what they are being tested on!  Do I think there should be standards and accountability?  Absolutely.  I went to school with kids who would not have graduated, and probably rightly so, if such things had been in place.  They would have been identified as having learning problems and helped, I hope.

I think our schools are facing a problem with micromanagement.  Let the teachers teach without nearly so much oversight, paperwork, and meetings.  It’s a very overwhelming job as it is.  Those things make it even harder.

3.  Name a celebrity whose fashion sense you admire and share why.

Honestly, I don’t follow celebrity fashion, so I have no answer for this one.  I wear what I want and don’t pay much attention to what others are wearing.

4.  How are you affected by the changing seasons?

I’m not really affected at all.  I layer up as it gets colder, but I’m usually wearing a sweater anyhow because I’m cold-natured, so the weather changes don’t affect me too much.  I will say that my hair is easier to straighten during the winter because a lot of the humidity is gone.

5.  Scariest book you’ve ever read?

I once tried to read Pet Cemetery, by Stephen King.  I was much younger…barely a teenager.  I don’t think I made it past the first two chapters.  I’ve never tried to read it since.

6.  What time of day are you most hungry? What’s your go-to snack?

I don’t get hungry too often.  I don’t eat breakfast nor lunch.  Food is such an inconvenience to me, and I love it when I fast.  Yes, I realize that I have food issues.

If I’m going to snack, I’d prefer to have chips and salsa.

7.  Do you lean more towards being too needy or too independent? Which do you find harder to deal with in others?

I am fiercely independent, which puts me at odds with people because I do not like to get help.  Now, I will ask for help, when I’m teaching, but really, I like to work on my own.  I think it’s my desire for full control of my life (and God laughed).

I find needy people to be extremely annoying.  I don’t mind helping, but please at least try to learn while I teach you and then let’s move on.

Yes, I’m a bit impatient too.  🙂

8.  My Random Thought

During the past seven days, I have received two new books…both third installments in their respective series.  I am one happy girl!!!!

Boo Boo Bunny

Now that I’ve visited Chicky, I can begin to show off a few surprises I took down to her.

I needed to knit something quick and easy for the Harry Potter forum I’m involved with on Ravelry, so I selected the Boo Boo Bunny pattern.

Oh word, but this was such a quick, fun knit.  I reminisced as I thought about our own Boo Boo Bunny, sitting in the pantry, unused for the last few years.  It soothed away many tears that came about as the result of scrapes from childhood mishaps.

The new Boo Boo Bunny only took me one evening (albeit late) to finish it!  It has a cute little opening in the back for a re-freezable ice pack …

I did a bit of homework and found just what I needed at Target…

There are a lot of varieties of Boo Boo Buddies, but I wanted something small and round.

Plus, a person can never go wrong with Spiderman!

He was a perfect fit!

Now, when Chicky has a bump or bruise, I’ll feel better knowing that Spiderman is riding along, incognito, making her boo boo all better.

I Chose to Stay Home

This week is a big one at my school.

It’s Homecoming week.

We have functions every single day, and the kids are really hyped up.

I, however, am slap worn out, as we like to say in the South.

After spending fourteen hours in the car and an emotionally draining weekend, I needed the night off.

So…

I chose to stay home.

Yes, that’s right.

This will serve as official documentation that I decided to come home, fix Rooster a sort-of-homemade dinner, shower early, and jump into my jammies.

Ok.  So maybe dinner wasn’t exactly homemade, but the word “Homestyle” gives me some brownie points, right?

Because I wasn’t at school on Friday, I got behind in my grading.

Hence, I stayed home, graded what needed to be graded, and posted nine week grades.

Teaching is a profession where we give up a lot of extra time…time that we don’t get paid for…to support the children we serve.

Sometimes, though, I think it’s okay to be selfish.

In fact, I think it’s necessary to prevent burnout and to get other things done.

Tonight I chose to stay home.

Even though I worked from home, I was still able to sit at the table with my precious son, who’s growing up too quickly, and have a few minutes to chat before he headed to his night class.

As this weekend with my girl should remind all of us, children grow up too quickly, and before parents have time to blink, the kiddos are out the door, on their own.

I think I need to choose to stay home a little more often, because this felt rather good.

🙂

She Left It All On the Field

Dear Chicky,

I thought about the best way to blog about the events that transpired the last couple of days, and I decided that the most fitting format would be in the form of a letter…to you (not exactly private, though, since I am writing on a public forum).

I remember when Daddy and I dropped you off for the first time at school.

We were so upset at having to let you go but excited for you at the same time.  We wanted so badly for you to have a great soccer experience because that was what you had worked so hard for.

We didn’t really know how they did things in college soccer, but it didn’t take us long to learn what our new roles, as the parents of a college athlete, were.

I remember watching the first Senior Night that year, and in my head, I think that’s when I started looking ahead.

When I saw Puma’s pictures of the girls’ cleats, given up during a traditional end-of-season ceremony, my heart jumped in my throat, and I began anticipating what kinds of emotions that I, as your Mama, would feel when it would be your turn.

Never, in a million years, could I have imagined the joy and bits of sadness that this past weekend brought me.

I had known it would be difficult.

Soccer had been a part of our lives since you were six years old.

I remember how I’d felt your senior year of high school after that wonderful final season.

This past weekend was on another level altogether.

What intensified my feelings was your injury…which rendered you unable to play most of the season.

Yet, you showed such fortitude and determination as you planned your exit.

You have always lived life on your terms, and the final night of your soccer career was not going to be any different.

As you rehabbed last week, I sat on pins and needles.

Though I wanted to cry out, “No, don’t try it.  I don’t want you to risk further injury,” I (surprisingly enough) kept my thoughts away from your ears and chose to support you.

You needed closure.

Honestly, so did we, even though this has never, ever been about us.

So I prayed.

And yes, I worried.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t.

I enjoyed the hours we spent leading up to your game.

Our time the night before, watching M in her Senior Night at UCF, spending precious time with the family we had traveled to dozens of tournaments with, was a precursor to the gamut of emotions that would invade my heart the next evening.

Yesterday (Saturday), as we shopped together, we shared some laughs and bonding moments (our love for all things office-supply related).  I wanted to keep things as low-key as possible.  I knew you were nervous, and I didn’t want you to feel my nerves as well, even when tears threatened to spill over a couple of times.

As we parted ways for you to prepare for your game with your team, my stomach started turning, and I grew silent…even as I watched the boys’ team play before it was your turn to take the field.

I prayed for you even as I spied on you as you warmed up on the field behind us.

I am ever the #stalkingmydaughter mother, after all.

🙂

It wasn’t long before your Daddy and I had to gather with the other parents of Seniors (I prefer this wording to that of “Senior Parents,” which would make us sound old).

I talked with the assistant coach to see how you were feeling.

You were nervous, she told me, and not sure how long you’d make it out there.  Your goal was 25 minutes.  You weren’t sure if you’d last ten after the warm-up.

As long as you got on that field and had your chance

It was time for your senior rite of passage…Senior Recognition.

Walking you to the center of the field as we linked arms, felt very surreal.

Was this really happening?

Were you really wearing a shirt that said Senior with your name across it?

How in the heck was this possible?

It’s almost a blur now, but I remember the cheers…cheers for YOU, my sweet daughter…recognition for all that YOU had done for Southeastern Women’s Soccer over the last four years.

You had made an impact.

But your time wasn’t finished yet.

We parted ways on the field, and I kissed and hugged you goodbye, desperate to hold on for as long as I could.

You had a game to play, though.

As you gathered beside your teammates, part of the starting lineup, I was so thankful that you were getting to do this one more time.

One month ago, we did not have this assurance.  You had worked hard, though, and God had been merciful to allow this one final night.

I watched as you met with the other team captain in the center of the field, shook hands with the other team’s captains, and did whatever you guys do with the refs.  For all I know, you could be talking about what you’re having for dinner afterward.  I think it must be some big joke on the rest of us, because we really never hear those conversations, now do we?

Then, you gathered with your team for a pre-game prayer, and I smiled with a grateful heart that you have been at a college where the Word of God is the focus, as is developing a God-serving heart.

And then it was time for the game to begin.

I cannot tell you that I wasn’t scared.

I was.

Holding my camera and snapping nearly 400 pictures kept me from wringing my hands.

I watched, breathless, as you called for balls, chased people down, and didn’t hesitate to get in the middle of the action.

I also saw as you pulled back when you knew things weren’t the safest, cautious about doing worse damage to your knee or injuring the good one.

Thank heavens you showed some restraint…very uncharacteristic but a wise decision, nonetheless.

As you deftly handled the ball, it was clear to see that you hadn’t lost your touch or your mad ball skills.

You connected passes together…a strength you have always had.

You’ve always been able to read the field and deliver the ball to people’s feet.

You came off the field after twelve minutes, and the crowd yelled and clapped in appreciation.

I wanted to cry as I saw you walk into Coach’s arms for a well-deserved hug, but I didn’t.  My emotions were going crazy.  I was thankful that you hadn’t gotten hurt.

The game went on, and I, in my #stalkingmydaughter way, continued to snap photos…namely of you holding court on the sideline.

🙂

The second half began, and to my shock, you were back on the field!!

I grabbed my camera, worry creeping back into my heart.

Oh Chicky, as I watched you speed down the field, often just a half second shy of beating the goalie to the ball, I was filled with such pride in you.

Girls pulled on your shirt and fought you for the ball, and you refused to give up.

I continued to snap photos.

And then came the moment I had dreaded.

You went down as you stretched for the ball, and as you struggled to get up, I knew you were hurt.

But you got up without anyone’s help, and as you limped off the field, in obvious pain, the crowd clapped.

I started to cry.

Ms. Barbara told me that she had seen an amazing thing.  One of the refs had clapped as you had taken yourself off the field…in obvious respect for you.

I used my camera’s ultra zoom to spy on you, once again in #stalkingmydaughter mode.

I saw you wiping your eyes, and the only thing that stopped me from going around the field to you was FEAR…fear that you would take my head off if I even stepped foot on your sideline.

heehee

So I stayed on my side, made sure you were okay, and cried as silently as I could in the stands.

My other daughter, your BFF, “M,” reached behind her and patted my leg to comfort me.

I can’t recall the last part of the game.  I remember bits and pieces.  I only know that I kept my eyes glued on you.  By the end of the game, you were standing up again, and I knew you were going to be okay.

After the game, you shook hands, and then both teams prayed together.  Once again, I was reminded of God’s graciousness and providence in leading you to a school that honors His name.

As you walked off of the field, a large icepack tied to your knee, I saw that you had a HUGE smile on your face.

Your joy was genuine, and it radiated from your eyes.

Thank you for humoring me and allowing me to take photos with and of you without complaining.  I will treasure the ones you took with me for years to come.

I watched you make the rounds, thanking everyone for coming, and then we made our way out.  We parted ways with the plan to meet for dinner a few minutes later, after you could grab your stuff from the locker room.

I’m not ashamed to tell you that when I got to my car, I broke down completely.

It was the last time I had walked off of the field as a soccer mom, even though in my heart, I’ll be a #soccermomforever.

Still, though, the emotions from the weekend and, in fact, the last sixteen-plus years, flooded my heart, and there were no gates to hold them back.

As I reflect on this time, I want to tell you, once again, how much you inspire me.

How I wish your career had not ended the way it did, and despite whatever feelings you wrestled with before stepping on the field last night, what you showed to me and everyone who knows your story and/or had the privilege of watching you play was that you are a young lady who handles herself with grace and determination.

You have always aspired to greatness, not for your glory but simply because you don’t know how else to do things.

You told me that you were going to leave everything on the field if given the opportunity to get back on it.

Oh Honey, you certainly did that, now didn’t you?

Not only did you leave everything on the field, but YOU decided how and when you would leave it.

You also managed to play a little over the 25 minutes you’d hoped for, once you tallied up the minutes from the first and second half.

Never have any regrets, my Dear, about the way you played the game.

Never have resentment over how your last season went.

God has a plan for your life, and His ways are not our own.

This you have learned, unfortunately, the hard way.

You did it wonderfully.

I’m thankful I could be there with you every step of the way.

It was a wonderful sixteen (nearly seventeen) years.

Hundreds and hundreds of practices, dozens of pairs of cleats, dozens and dozens of tournaments, countless minutes traveling in the car and by plane were all worth it to watch you exude joy in your final game last night.

I love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Mama ♥

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