the reason I broke quarantine

For 7 months I have been a responsible citizen. I stayed home and followed quarantine orders. I did not go out for any non essential tasks. I ordered online whenever possible. We cancelled our vacation in June. No celebration for birthdays or graduation. My kids have had very limited contact with their grandparents, cousins and friends. As in – drive by visits and 1 overnight visit against my better judgement. I have not been perfect by any means, but did what I could to limit the spread of the virus and protect those around me.

One of the events that was cancelled was my spring women’s retreat. Twice a year 12-14 of us rent a large home for 4 days and 3 nights and haul our crafty selves away from “it all” whatever “it” is. We sew, scrapbook, cardmake, (sometimes we even work) or other creative pursuit. It doesn’t matter as long as we are together! Our event was scheduled for April… everything shut down in March… so no get away for us…

We were unsure about rescheduling, but decided to go ahead and transfer our date to October and “see what happened” – risking losing our money if we were unable to meet. Well October arrived, and 12 of the 14 were able to make it work. I am one of the 12. After being one of the strictest people I know for 7 months, I packed my bags and went on vacation with 11 other people to get away from “IT ALL”. I’m deeply sorry for those of you still unable by choice or situation who have not gotten a break.

As expected, my 4 days, 3 nights were the proverbial chicken soup for the soul.

Episode 2020 – the one where we break Quarantine… I mean after all this time how do you even spell quarantine?

I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine.

Julie is such a good listener, we get along so well. I was so excited when she wanted to carpool. We just talk and talk and talk and get “it” all out. She lets me be me and say whatever I need to so I can move forward when things are bothering me. I love to bounce things off her. I’m pretty sure (I hope) I do the same for her! I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine .

I brought my earbuds – but forgot my laptop is older and doesn’t have bluetooth. I had signed up for an online training relating to my curriculum writing business. Mary didn’t think twice and walked her headset over to me. She is now a 1% shareholder in all future earnings or maybe a starbucks when we meet again… Because as it turns out I needed those headphones 3 times over the weekend! I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine.

My wi-fi problem followed me on vacation… when 1.) all I brought was computer work and 2.) I had a meeting with my confirmation candidate that I hadn’t seen in over a year. So what happens? Gini gives me her phone as a hotspot so I can complete the sponsor-candidate meeting without being dropped. I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine.

I have a standing roommate on these weekends – Judy. Judy is the saint that agrees to share a room with me and sleep with the light on. You see when I am away from home I have to have the light on to feel safe. Just doesn’t mind – and has always been my ride or die roomie! No teasing at all! I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine.

This season I was THRILLEd to be joined by dear Valetta. Not to call her out or anything, but she went to bed before I did, and that’s unheard of. In this group we accept one another for the beautiful souls we are and you can stay up late or go to bed early. I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine.

As a joke I asked if anyone was a closet accountant. I had no idea Bella and Ronna knew the ins- and outs of Quickbooks so well and were so happy to help me with the accounting I brought with me. Turns out my level of quickbooks was uber simplistic and perhaps an upgrade is in order because these ladies KNEW their QUICK BOOKS and although I held my own in the conversation – YIKES. Math is still not my thing. I was treated with nothing but patience and LOVE through it all. I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine.

I tend to get cold. Well, I haven’t left the house in 7 months. I didn’t bring a sweater. When I got cold Donna gave me her sweater to wear. No thoughts of cooties, just taking care of her friend, who was cold. I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine.

Laura and Sharon are like 2 peas in a pod. They have funny story after story and I have them to thank for my membership into the “Squirrely Scrappy Sisterhood”. You see, you must 100% absolutely love squirrels to scrap with us. I was an easy sell. I’m now feeding them and watching them out my window. I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine.

Lyndell is the type of person you easily get along with right away. She and Valetta are customers from about 5 years ago and our paths just haven’t crossed again until now. We sat across from one another and did lots of talking. The smooth easy kind when no walls are up and love and kindness fills the room. I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine.

Every woman in the room bought SOMETHING from my store… I’m sure they wanted/needed it…but they can easily shop at another scrapbooking or home decor store. I feel their love and support in every purchase. The bonds of creativity are deep.

We had 2 who didn’t join us. The gap that left was felt deeply, like a hole in your heart. We understand, because that is how this type of friendship works. The reasons don’t matter, the understanding is given without question. It’s not the first time friends have missed and it won’t be the last.

We will gather again in April (God willing) and fill our spirits with more chicken soup! Until then the Squirley Scrappy Sisters, all of them… those that were there, those that could not make it, those who have not made it in a few sessions, and those that are no longer with us, are in my heart and soul today and always.

I firmly believe everyone needs friends like these…They are why I broke quarantine. After this weekend I’m so sharp I may poke someone accidently, ha ha!

May the downloadable version bless and inspire you in your journey!

Christy

Happy Hive Homeschooling – Providing experiences for homeschoolers, classroom teachers and families because there is always something to celebrate!

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Being forced to do Laundry

Laundry is my nemesis … but so is exercising. I mean I guess if I was totally HOT I could just walk around like Eve in the garden of Eden and avoid laundry all together. But I’m not. I wear clothes, so I have to do laundry.

I usually manage to get everything washed and dried… but there is lands, in piles, unfolded and not returned to the hangars dangling alone in the closet…. I have no idea where this aversion to laundry comes from. Modern technology really makes it easy. It’s not like I’m scrubbing my clothes on a washboard and hanging it on a clothesline to dry.

My children have done their own laundry since before they could actually REACH the knobs on the washing machine. HONESTLY this wasn’t a ploy for me to get out of doing their laundry – it was a way of teaching them responsibility. And back then, they actually loved it. We made a game of throwing the wet clothes into the dryer and getting the basket of clean clothes to their room. Folding was fun. It didn’t take long before each person had a specific day to accomplish their laundry – and that schedule has stuck – to this day!

So I only have my Laundry (and my husband’s) to accomplish… and I’m usually an epic failure. This week I was FORCED to do laundry – not because I was out of things to wear – but because the internet was down!

I figured – oh well, I guess since I can’t work on the computer, I may as well fold all the clothes! It was so B-O-R-I-N-G. I couldn’t even watch TV while I was folding. But it did go fast… which begs the question? What is my problem with Laundry?

Attitude – Attitude is everything. Until I change my attitude about folding the laundry, like I have changed my attitude about Monday’s, I will avoid it like I avoid the plague. (Or should I say the Corona Virus!)

God’s attitude toward me is never changing. It is always loving, kind and patient. HE never tires of hearing the same prayer over and over (like repeated loads of laundry) – but instead rejoices and delights that I have turned to him. If I begin to look at my laundry, like I look at my dishes – as a blessing… I will begin to complete the chore each week with love.

Wish me luck. I will be strengthened by this verse:

May the downloadable version Bless and inspire you in your journey!

Christy

Happy Hive Homeschooling – Providing experiences for homeschoolers, classroom teachers and families because there is always something to celebrate!

Facebook Memes

Sometimes you get more than you bargain for…

One of the GREATEST things about Facebook is getting to keep in touch with my former students. My “lip rip survivors” as I lovingly refer to them are all grown up and many of them have families of their own. I love reading the antics of my “grand students”.

Recently one of these former students was relating a story about being educated by his wife about what WAP meant. He was positive it was Waffles and Pancakes. He was wrong. His fourth grade teacher was just as wrong…and almost choked on her Dr. Pepper when she looked it up.

I learn a LOT from my students – THAT was completely UNEXPECTED… go ahead and put down your drink if you don’t know. But it is NOT Waffles and Pancakes and it is NOT family friendly.

I forgot all about my old lady shock and went about my usual business of watching Little House on the Prairie re-runs, making Bitmoji classrooms, and designing curriculum to sell. I may or may not have watched an occasional squirrel video on you tube.

Bitmoji classroom I created custom for one of my students. She LOVES the Patriots. This allows her to learn about them in her Independent time and report back to me. Objects in the room are links, and she just clicks the links! She knows to click the “Cartoon Mrs. Crabtree” for instructions.

Last week I came across this meme while scrolling through Facebook, trying to relax (Snort) :

Just so we' re clear, Baby It's Cold Outside was deemed offensive last  year, Cardi B's. WAP is the #1 song this year. - America's best pics and  videos

There it is AGAIN, the (WAP) . Seriously – when “Baby it’s Cold Outside” was put through the wringer, I listened, analyzed and drew my conclusions. I looked into it completely. I listened to 80s music I had NO IDEA what I was singing… so trust me. I did my winter song research.

I now knew what the letters I prefer to think of as standing for breakfast foods actually stand for in mainstream 2020. So this meme got a GOOD snort out of me. I did NOT research the song – the acronym was enough.

I added the Meme to my collection of cool 2020 Memes. I have an entire scrapbook of them. It’s history.

This is going to seem like a tangent ( not the mathematical kind, the off topic story kind. Are those related? Is tangent mathematically LONG? I should look that up…)

I use Google Play Music. I have a nice little library of songs called “Mommy’s Mix” I have acquired by answering surveys and getting money in my Google account. Google Play Music is closing and is now You Tube Music. I had until some date to convert everything. Done.

Miley Cyrus did a cover of Blondie’s Heart of Glass. Don’t judge. I love Hannah Montana all grown up and singing – so I wanted to see if I could add that song to my “new” music thingy… BINGO! Heart of Glass added to Mommy’s mix easy as pie (and it was free!)

Lauren – Momma – Megan 2009 in the Movie Theater for: Hannah Montana the Movie! It was EPIC!

I push play, turn up the volume and enjoy the next 3 minutes and 34 seconds completely!

Then – my life will NEVER, NEVER be the same

What on earth is this playing?

I comprehend the words –

But there is NO WAY THIS SONG is on MOMMY’S MIX!!!

What is HAPPENING and HOW DO I MAKE IT STOP ???

I’m not sure there were NOT bad words. I think EVERY word was raunchy, offensive or classified as a “bas” word. Perhaps there were a few “a’s” and “the’s” in the 30 seconds before I found STOP.

………………………………………………………………Don’t do it. If you haven’t heard it, you CAN’T UN-HEAR it!

I have now had a sampling of the #1 song WAP. I am sure her mother is proud. I’m speechless (not really, because I have composed this blog post). I’m in shock that a human would write any such thing and that OTHER humans would listen so much as to make it #1.

The same as the 20 # 1 hits the Beatles had. WHAT – the WHAT?

I haven’t felt like I was in a Phineas and Ferb alternate reality

Phineas and Ferb' 10-Year Anniversary Video Watch | IndieWire

like that since I was sitting in the Principals office and he told me keeping me as the 4th grade teacher would be “Problematic”.

How is this even real? Did parents feel this way about Elvis? LOL Elvis the Pelvis was SOOOO controversial! Elvis knew how to sing some MUSIC!

I need to go lay down. I might need aspirin! This is going to be quite a recovery. This is the WORST 2020 has dealt me yet! All because I wanted to listen to Hannah Montana sing… sheesh!

I hope your Memes are less meaningful!

Until next time – be blessed my friends!

Christy

If your looking for a job…

I might not be the one to ask for advice!

This week as Lauren and I were chatting, I realized yet again how blessed my life is. I was talking to her about settling into her semester and finding a job. Lauren mentioned casually she didn’t really know HOW to find a job…she was feeling unsure. I laughed and said well, I think you might need to talk to Daddy about that because I don’t think I know how to find a job really either!

I’m not referring to the fact I lost my last job, I’m referring to the fact ASIDE FROM THAT, I have gotten every job I have ever applied for, with ease.

College Jobs

After High School, a teacher I knew hired me to be her son’s care provider. I went in the morning, got him ready for school, dropped him off – then I went to school myself. After school I picked him up, we did homework and any after school activities until one of his parents got home from their teaching jobs. That job fell into my lap.

When I transferred to A State Level College l worked in a small resale clothing store my mom owned. I simply showed up when I was done at school. We worked side by side and made some incredible memories. I learned a lot about running a business.

Fresh Faced with ZERO Experience

Fresh out of College I thought it would be perfect if I went to work for God. I applied at the school affiliated with the church I had attended since I was 6 years old. That’s it. I applied for 1 job. I had no credential, no experience but all the enthusiasm of a fresh faced college graduate.

I’m not sure what the Principal saw in me, but I was hired as the 4th grade teacher.

The memories made this very first year are ingrained in my mind and on my heart. My guess is when I have dementia I will remember these children and our classic adventures with yellow paint in hair and sitting in bird poop long after I forget my own children.

When it was time to move to public school so I could save for a house, start a family I got an interview in the district my mother in law worked for as an aide. She mentioned it to a principal she was friends with and low and behold that principal sat on the interview panel.

I was hired into the public school system.

When Douglas was born I was able to stay home for 6 precious years.

In 2010, just 10 short years ago, God asked me to leave my homeschooling life and return to teaching in a classroom full time. That wasn’t an easy thing to do, but he perfectly laid my path. On Thursday Facebook lovingly reminded me of my all-time favorite memory of my return to the classroom.

What I was wearing for my “interview”. I wasn’t having trouble adjusting, but my awesomeness was overwhelming for others (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!) the image below summarizes the memory:

In late summer of 2010 I was hired by a dear friend whom I had actually mentored/coached when she first became a teacher (she changed careers and is a bit older than I am). This friend had remained in the private school system and was now a principal. She was well aware of my teaching style based on my past. You see not only did I mentor this friend, I had also been her daughter’s 4th grade teacher. My official interview started on the phone – in just as I described… housewife wear that was quite mismatched. I’m fairly certain they were some sort of pajama, or had been slept in. I’m 100% certain without a shadow of a doubt my shirt was on inside out. I had to go in the following Monday to sign paperwork, but the deal was made over the phone, based on my reputation and rapport with this principal.

When I switched private schools 2 years later I did NOT know the principal but I was recommended to him. My very first principal was now the superintendent of the school system and many parents and former colleagues had whispered my name when the need arose there in my original school. During the course of that interview the Principal joked he couldn’t find anyone to say anything negative about me.

My response: I would gladly give him my husband’s phone number. I was hired and remained, devoting myself to my parish and school for 6 years, eventually operating in a position of administrative capacity recognized by everyone except the pastor.

When I became a lunch lady it worked in much the same way as working for my mom – Mrs. Bri is the best friend anyone can ask for. I’m not clear if I asked her, or she asked me. Her company had just lost 2 employees and my life had just crumbled to the ground in my eyes. I had never had a safer place since walking through the doors of a business owned by my Mom. For the record, Mrs. Bri is younger than I am but wise beyond her years. As bossy and in charge as I am – I do believe I did a great job being respectful and learning a new skill.

Over the course of that same year, while working for Mrs. Bri – I have also been working side by side diligently sharing the knowledge I have so my dear friend can open her OWN private school. Jointly with accepting the offer (or begging) Mrs. Bri for a year to learn mad Lunch Lady skills, I also presented my services – or was asked – (Again the lines are not quite clear) to Love Source School. I was placed on retainer so to speak until the school was ready to open for the 2020-2021 school year. My position begins in 3 (GASP!) days!

So you see… I have absolutely NO IDEA how to get a job… I know in theory the process… But I applied for 1 job when I was 23 years old and the rest has miraculously led me to today.

I thank GOD for this path, and placing the desire to become a teacher in my heart. I thank him for putting each and every very special person along the way because that 16 year old girl who wanted to make a LOT of money as a Lawyer never dreamed she would be as RICH as she is today!

Stay tuned for more adventures – I hope your lives are as richly blessed.

(PS) If anyone is hiring, my kid need a job and doesn’t know how to get one HA HA HA!

Christy

Working from Home Realities

The private school I will be working for won’t celebrate our “Change of Grade Day Ceremony” until September 8th so I am still enjoying these dog days of summer! For the time being administration has decided it is in our best interest to follow state guidelines and begin the year virtually. As a result I will need an area dedicated to video conferencing with my students.

While most teachers figured all this out back in March and April… I was blissfully whittling away the hours thanking my lucky stars I wasn’t dealing with the virtual teaching crisis.

(Insert sound of tires screeching here!)

My turn! The great thing is I have had plenty of time to gather data and be prepared. Anthony built a backdrop for me so

1.) There are no distractions behind me and

2.) My family has privacy.

There isn’t much I can do about my  “Virtual Assistant” … Jack. He is not camera shy and is often found typing with his head during the most inopportune moments…

I also chose to relocate my workspace. I now sit facing a window with a breathtaking view of my backyard and all the nature that entails. I might be more distracted than my students! The squirrels scamper right before my eyes and the most beautiful butterflies fly by many times a day. Watching the birds hop along the path or flutter branch to branch is likely why Jack is a common visitor! My area is peaceful and not in the main path of household traffic. It allows for the other members of our home to engage in life without too much inconvenience as well.

In the meantime I continue to feed my television addiction. It’s amazing how selfish with my time I have become. Or I suppose a better way of looking at it is –  I have set healthy boundaries. You may think with 2 weeks before school begins I am going crazy planning. N. O. P. E. And it does not mean for a minute I’m less devoted to my students. I’m simply equally devoted to myself, and my family.

Recent Family Game night – BINGO.

I’m watching teachers all over the country work harder than they ever have – E.V.E.R. because they are being F.O.R.C.E.D to – what choice do they have? Years and years of “teacher abuse” means they are EXPECTED to rise to the occasion all in the name of “for the kids”. SNORT. Teaching and overseeing their own children – it’s an impossible situation with no great solution. I’d support teacher protests and riots in a heartbeat.

You might say I’m bitter for being fired – but soul search yourself if that is what you think. I stood up for what was right and JUST by asking for a raise and the proper title based on the job I was performing. When that was not awarded, I politely asked to resign from that VOLUNTEER position, and simply TEACH – to do what I was being paid to do. Remember – the school tried to give me part of my own COST OF LIVING RAISE as a little “pacifier” of income to keep VOLUNTEERING. They did indeed offer me a raise, as slightly more than what the teacher next door was also getting. It was not what my position was justified in earning, and I am not greedy, trust me. Instead I was REPLACED because there is always someone else who will do your job. Always. To be blunt, whether I died or was fired, the result would have been the same.

This is the reality that has me watching TV every night and Scrapbooking on Saturday or Sunday each week – I will no longer give so much of MY LIFE away. If not for the philosophy of Love Source School – Love and Kindness, frankly I would NEVER have returned to teaching.

I am going to watch the squirrels, hummingbirds, backyard sparrows and butterflies. I will wait for Jack to lay down before I can continue to work on the computer. I will live as God has asked me to… within the boundaries of TODAY. I don’t know what tomorrow holds. Worrying about it is simply a waste of time. I have too much today to experience! I will work with my students during school time and within the confines of a community built on mutual respect, love and kindness. It will be so refreshing. Revolutionary. And to think my virtual assistant is welcome and my office view can’t be beat are just blessings beyond measure! When the time comes I will be glad to shift to in person instruction.

Think of the adventures we will have during sky time. We can keep track of how many squirrels, birds, butterflies and other local critters we see all year!

Until next time – I truly, truly hope you are BLESSED. Take time to balance what is important to YOU. Do not give away your life.

Christy

My happiest Moment of BEING A Teacher

I had the pleasure of being a guest on a podcast… if you follow me on my Homeschool Holiday blog , you already know a little about my 5 minutes of fame! I always look at things a bit more personally over here on Gratitude – Little Things- Contentment, but that post is worth a read! The purpose of that post was to promote the

Inspiring Teachers Podcast and YouTube channel as well as one of the hosts products on the Amped Up Learning marketplace.

Before the interview took place I received an email with a bit of an overview outlining what we would focus on for the episode:

MY “why” of teaching

MY journey in education

MY happiest moment of being a teacher. 

I have to admit. I panicked when I saw the questions. I panicked when I volunteered to participate. Do I take the homeschool angle, or the classroom angle? Am I healed enough to talk about MY journey in Education. WHAT ARE MY HAPPIEST MOMENTS of being an educator?

The homeschooling is so easy..but the other teachers are classroom instructors I might stick out like a sore thumb with the homeschool thing. I sent a quick reply asking the host his opinion on which angle I should take…..

I never heard back. YIKES. I needed to be prepared.

My Why of Teaching

My Why of Teaching was easy, however cliché it may sound: God called me to teaching. … I don’t think I would have gone into this detail on the podcast for time issues, but every year I told my class this story:

I was a teenager, in High School. I wanted to be a lawyer, because lawyers made a LOT of money. That seemed like a good decision. I arrived to my weekly volunteer position of teaching “CCD” as it was called at the time, and the Nun who ran the program met me in the parking lot with a box of worksheets…. She gave it to me and said: I heard you wanted to be a teacher. I am retiring and though you could use this to get you started.

Um… there was no way I was going to sass a Nun in the Church parking lot and tell her I was going to be a Lawyer, so I thanked her and put the box in my car…. The seed was planted and the rest as they say is history. I have known that I was called by God to do his work. I mean, he sent a NUN to tell me I was going to be a teacher – that’s a pretty clear message!

When I applied for my first job, I applied for one, yes – O N E and only one… at the school, in that same parking lot, of my parish church. I was crazy young and very naive. In fact, I wasn’t yet finished with my credential. You didn’t need one to teach in a private school. I had no back up plan. With stars in my eyes I wanted to work for God. He came trough for me!!! I got that job! In 1994 I became a teacher ! Ha ha kids, do not try this at home. I would never advise applying for ONE job and then going home and doing noting. I suppose I had some crazy trust in God’s will in my life and didn’t even know it!

Over the years returning to the classroom to continue the “Why” was easy and also perhaps cliché. I became the favorite for 180 days for so many because I connected with them. I found what they needed and helped them understand they were brilliant and could do anything. Simply stated, I loved them.

My Journey in Education

The short ” blog interview” answer is that I have taught in private, public and home school settings, giving me a well rounded experience. The long answer is:

I spent 6 wonderful years at my Parish school… ventured into Public School for 4 amazing years (where I may have learned more than the first 6!) and then I began my life as a Homeschool Mom. Public School was hard on me. I gave it my best shot. I had 3 different principals in 4 years. The most difficult year I ever had teaching turned into 2 years when my grade level was changed to one higher and I had the students again. I loved them, but did not have the tools or support to properly service them. Those last two years broke my “teacher magic”. You might not believe me if I told you I sat in the parking lot and cried until the bell rang, wiped my eyes, walked to get my class, taught like it was no-one’s business bell to bell, then left crying again at the end of the day.

Homeschooling was everything I dreamed of and more. Don’t ask my children about it though, you will get mixed reviews. It’s the classic “you want what you don’t have” syndrome. The girls especially claim they hated it Then in the next breath they will tell you how supremely prepared they were when they DID go to school compared to their public school peers. How they can make choices and decisions and not wait to be told what to do. They don’t quite understand that came from their home-education. I want curly hair and brown eyes. I have straight hair and blue eyes… Poor God, we always nit pick the gifts he gives us! It’s the same with their homeschool. I think homeschooling suits Douglas’ personality and I am HONORED to issue him a diploma at the end of the 2020-2021 school year from our homeschool in the way I dreamed from day 1, but it was, admittedly, my dream.

Trust the Lord.

There is no truer statement for me when reflecting on what happens next in my education journey.

My husband does not ask much of me. He does not tell me what to do, or how to go about life. We make decisions together. There have been 2 things he was pretty firm about in our relationship. The first was no multi level marketing businesses. He has his reasons. I started 1 Creative Bug (Now Happy Hive) and he has supported me 100% for over 15 years, including purchasing a top of the line “cricut” type cutter before that was a thing! The second thing was in 2012 when he said I needed to go back to work. I told him I could NOT do public school again, if I was going to go back we were going to trust God and I was going to private school. He agreed.

At the time we had only 1 car. I called the parish school I had worked for, as it was within walking distance…but God had a different plan… within a few days I received a phone call from a friend who was now a Principal at a school over 20 miles away. She had a position and wanted to know if I was nterested… After talking and telling her I really had no letters of recommendation, no references, I had been home for 6 years, I just had me… she said something like: “That’s fine Christy, Can you come in on Monday and sign everything, it will all work out”

I was in my pajamas, in fact the pajama top was on inside out and backwards, my hair was haphazard, I had to close my bedroom door because my children were playing through the house… and I just got a teaching job after being out of the classroom for 6 years! The principal that hired me…. I was her mentor teacher when she first began teaching at that parish school I worked for many moons ago. I was her daughter’s fourth grade teacher. She trusted in my teacher magic!

It only get’s CraZier…. we still only have 1 car and no money to by a second. As the beginning of the school year gets closer and closer, we need a solution. One evening, Anthony comes home and tells me he is being re-located for work. His new “plant” is one exit BEYOND the school I am working for… we will be able to take the kids to my sister in law’s…he can drop me at the school and go to work himself each day, then at the end of the day…he picks us all up. (My sister in law gets BIG HEAVENLY WINGS for taking my kids for some 12 and 14 hour days..even overnight back then!)

After 4 years of blessings at that school, I was sitting in our parish hall at choir practice for the kids, when one of the Moms told me that our Parish needed teachers for the next school year, and I should apply… not 5 minutes after she told me, my friend and Principal called and told me the SAME THING… I was torn between my loyalty to her, and walking to work and having the kids at HOME everyday!

As God would have it, not only did I get re-hired at my parish school, I was put BACK into fourth grade! My original grade level. That gift, is immeasurable on the God Gift Scale! I live and BREATHE 4th grade! I worked with the architect that designed the amazingly awesome 4th grade classroom when the school was updated in 2000. I was going HOME!

My Happiest Moment of Being a Teacher

When if first saw this as one of the questions for the podcast interview I was overcome with fear. I almost drown in the feelings… It’s because I was afraid. What if there are NO MORE HAPPY MOMENTS? If I go back and identify any of my happy moments, if I narrow it down to one of the “happiest” I might have to admit that there will be NO MORE! (Remember grief does not follow logic!)

I did not have an answer if asked this during the interview. I would default to a homeschool answer: Being able to teach my own children is one of my happiest moments… Because you see the TRUTH IS:

I want to REGRET going back to work in 2012. I want to say we made the WRONG decision, that we should have TOUGHED it out, worked harder to spend less, to put the kids homeschooling as a priority. I want to say that it was a BAD DECISION. I want to say we made the WRONG CHOICE… but really? can I really?

I don’t want to carry that burden. It’s WAYYYYY to heavy. My other choice is to blame God… How can I do that? Look at the BEAUTIFUL path he laid out for me? I was hired in a time with no face time or ZOOM, so I was a MESS, inside out and backwards phone interview! Then my husband gets re-located weeks before my job starts? Those 9 years of my work-life were all HAPPIEST!

Watching Hannah Montana with 6th grade girls during lunch on Netflix in my classroom.

When the students found out I had been the Principal’s mentor teacher

Hiding my stuffed DOMO to teach 8th graders prepositions

Developing my “Super Saints” theme

Finding files in the fourth grade room from my FIRST time in the 4th grade

Being appointed to the leadership team

My monthly projects

Living Wax Museum

Panning for gold in a plastic swimming pool

Paper airplanes…eating lunch UNDER the desks…Disco Balls and dance parties… Jumping Jacks at the top of the hour…Parents and guests coming in to read to the class….

Receiving the Dandy Award, being recognized for who I TRULY am as an educator!

I could go on and on….


Look at all the AMAZING things GOD has done for me over my teaching career – this is the first skim of story after story I could tell of the amazing blessings… HIS HAND WAS UPON ME WHEN I DIDN’T EVEN ASK HIM!

I asked for HIS WILL in my life in May of 2019 and looking back – like a silly girl, I have been receiving HIS WILL all along!

So if I had to pick my happiest moment as a teacher. It was that day in late May 1994 when the very first Principal I worked for called me to tell me I got the Job!

My Happiest moment was the day God gifted me with the responsibility of being a teacher.

God is not done with me yet. Whether I am in a classroom teaching virtually or just interacting with people. I’m a teacher no contract gets to define my impact on the world. God does. When I logged into the Zoom game night with my friends – they even joked – Teacher’s here! Getting told I was no longer needed at that school did NOT change that FACT. God made me a teacher, and only GOD can take that away from me.

Ironically…

The interview didn’t mention ANY of these topics! I spoke about my store on Amped Up Learning and what outcomes teachers could expect by using my products… in a nutshell because EVERYTHING is learning, I’m designing quirky holiday products so both teachers and homeschoolers can take a break to do FUN things. Learning about these holidays refreshes everyone!

I hope to have over 100 products in my store by 2021 Some are “REMOTE READY” while others are best as designed, for home or “FACE to FACE use. I’m never one to compromise quality to just make a buck…

If you would like to keep up with the “teacher” side of me, check into my HomeschoolHoliday blog .

Until next time – BE blessed my friends!

Christy

Accepting my faults

One thing about blogging is that everyone seems to have all the answers…the perfect life. The greatest, most supportive husband, kids who always do exactly what they are told, the “Martha Stewart” Christmas tree….

Pfft. I totally have all that on every third Thursday in months with a blue moon! AND.. my house is clean too. Too bad for social distancing or I’d invite you over to see!

Anyway, all jokes aside. I have in fact cooked dinner every night (I count reheating leftovers!), except for one (1) pizza night my children requested due to having a friend over when we relaxed for a minute. It is my effort to not only save money, but to serve my family with love, not a sense of obligation or dread. Cooking dinner and cleaning the bathroom should not feel the same. It has been wonderful to make new things and serve old favorites! We still only eat as a family once a week, but I am GOOD with our choices!

So those that know me, but choose to love me anyway could likely start blogs of their own simply on ways I drive them crazy…

One of my self identified faults is that I don’t respond well to schedule derailment. I like to know details, and if you need me to do something for you, you must schedule it in advance ( 2 weeks notice appreciated…in writing notarized and read by my legal department…). I don’t do well with…” Can you go get XYZ, before 5 today and by the way they are closed Saturday and Sunday” …. at 3:00 pm on Friday when I also have to cook dinner and be in a class at 5:30. Even if I was just scrapbooking, I don’t do well with that type of thing.

As an example, I am currently working on 2 projects for friends… Both texted me so far in advance of the “deadline” it’s almost funny. But they know and respect that I have no less than 5 Google calendars to organize even my crazy virus life! They know I like my schedules.

Now, before you say…”just say no”, don’t run the errand, because it’s always an option… This person who ask/told

1. Is incapable of doing the errand themselves for reasons I won’t disclose

2. Needed the item without question.

3. Kindness matters.

It truly is my problem that the lack of “notice” derailed me. I had PLENTY OF TIME to run the errand and cook dinner.

But guess what I decided to do? (I’m kinda giddy with excitement to tell you!)

Run the errand and stop for burgers! I did indeed allow myself to be derailed.

So now do I feel guilty about my choice? No. I recognize my weakness and I PRAYED ABOUT IT. I asked God for help to overcome this weakness. I’m not going to be cured in just one weekend, but identifying areas of concern and turning to God for his guidance is all that matters. At least for me!

I’m sure most of you appreciate at least some kind of notice…but even I, the master of scheduling, have needed a last minute favor! I even run to God at the last minute, when I am desperate and he never says – well Christy, you didn’t call in advance…

I can accept my faults AND I can work on IMPROVING myself to be a better servant of God. I took the weekend off from cooking… I’m doing a “reset” and Christy’s Cafe will re-open on Monday where my family can get Service with a smile and a whole lot of love!

I hope you will be reminded of God’s infinite love for you and allow Him to help you work on fine tuning some of those areas that may need adjusting. Cheaper than the Chiropractor!

Until next time, be blessed my friends!

Christy

God doesn’t forget, even if you do.

Remember being little and finding a full, beautiful dandelion ready to be blown and turned into a wish? Oh how I would race to be the first to grab it, blow it and make my wish. I never remember what I wished for… Those wishes are like our prayers. Perhaps it is now they are beginning to come true.

Perhaps what Heaven looks like…. a field of wishes

The other night I was looking through my saved videos. I was looking for squirrel videos if you must know. I stopped dead in my scrolling when I recognized the school playground and the stage… Why did I have a video from the old school? That was odd.

As soon as it began it all flooded back. In May of 2019, I had just returned to work after my rotator cuff surgery. I never blogged about this event back then… I was overwhelmed by it!

One of the parents had nominated me for an award and was there to present it. I had no idea!

I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Rodriguez when her daughter, I will call her “Sassy” was in my 4th grade class. Sassy was transitioning from public school, receiving her sacraments, and balancing her father’s deployment. We had some work to do, but in the end, my Sassy came out like a champ!

Fast forward to 2015 when the youngest in the Rodriguez family was not even quite school aged yet. Mrs. Rodriguez was commenting how she felt about her youngest daughter, not being able to attend the school due to her having Down Syndrome and the special needs associated with that.

Me, being me…quipped that I didn’t see any reason why Lily could not attend the school, and in fact, I didn’t care where she went for her other grades, I expected to be her 4th grade teacher.

This planted a seed in Mrs. Rodriguez and that morning in 2019… Lily was most of the way complete with the TK program, and ready to attend Kindergaten full time.

As Mrs. Rodriguez spoke, and I cried…unbeknownst to either of us… 2 short months before the administration would see my service as the 4th grade teacher as being problematic – Mrs. Rodriguez showed the WORLD who I REALLY AM!

I was presented with what the Catholic Board on Full Inclusion calls the DANDY Award… you see their “logo” is the dandelion. This award is presented to people in education who simply behave inclusively in a non obvious way…someone who just KNOWS all students are welcome, sacred and holy.

This was my send off… my goodbye from mainstream education and the awakening of who I was meant to become – of who I have always been. Someone who knows children are sacred.

On Monday I begin my journey with Love Source School: a place which welcomes all ages to learn through experiencing life with the focus on loving kindness of self, others and our connection to all. 

When I accepted the award, I told the community that I was being selfish – that what I really wanted was to be Lily’s fourth grade teacher. Those words were very true. I don’t know what the next years will bring. I do know I fully accept God’s will in my life… and like blowing on a beautiful dandelion… If it is God’s will that I am Lily’s 4th grade teacher, I trust in his plan.

If you care to watch what Mrs. Rodriguez has to say, and my reaction I have included the video below. At the very end I say: All I’m really doing is what God asks me to do. (AMEN!)

Be blessed my friends – make those wishes!!!

Christy

God might not have a phone, but he is texting me.

When I was working as a classroom teacher and held the position as discipline coordinator for a Catholic School of over 250 students, my phone notifications were pretty non stop. I had special tones set for text messages from those most important so I knew if I needed to look while teaching or wait for a break.

One of my class helpers was in charge of answering our class telephone and was trained to say: I’m sorry Mrs. Gandara is teaching right now. Can I help you or take a message? (They knew if it was the Principal I would take the call😋). Even if I happened to be grading papers and (cough cough) not teaching… that was the protocol! My phone and text messaging was THAT far out of control… I was doing the job of 2 people easy, lol.

notifications = prayers

I do not get nearly the amount of messages as I did then, and that is 100% okay with me! Each time I DO get a notification of an email or text message on my phone, I say: Thank You Jesus, before I even look at it!

This keeps my mind focused on God throughout the day. It’s an easy thing to do. It doesn’t matter what the content of the email or text message is, God is in control. HIS will be done.

celebrate everything

As you know I have been selling curriculum since January 2020. I’m certainly not one of Teachers Pay Teachers 10K sellers…but every once in a while I hear the distinct notification from my “other” email that gets the sales reports . It gets other emails too. After my prayer, when I check…Let me tell you…it’s like an email from the California Lottery came in!

Congratulations! You have sold a product!

From the title I have no idea what sold – but I am giddy with excitement. Will it be a *new, never before sold item* or one of my “best sellers?

No matter what it is, or what my price point is – I am ALWAYS excited! Today’s product was a Dollar Deal (making my commission much, much less than $1.00 – but that’s okay!)

private messages and comments matter!

THANK YOU JESUS!

The notifications remind me …as I sit making paper plate animal patterns – that I AM on the right path… I’m helping other educators with quality resources in their homes or classrooms!

Another way I know I am helping is when I get comments or private messages. My last post on Homeschool Holiday was about the “fear” of homeschooling. As I was preparing to link the post to my Instagram account, I noticed I was on my personal Instagram, not the Happy Hive Homeschooling Instagram… I had even typed my whole “spiel”… I figured what the heck – I’ll just double post it. Totally worth it. My niece from NJ sent me a private message on Instagram. I have not seen her since she was 5 or 6… when I was on my honeymoon over 20 years ago. She was full of questions about homeschooling, even though children are nothing but a glimmer in her eye! Her heart is heavy with the burden of schooling and the pandemic and what the future will look like for her family. I was able to help her in a small, but, for me at least – profoundly meaningful way.

I also had a comment from a retired teacher on that same post. Her view on homeschooling and the relationship between homeschooling and public education are shifting as a result of what she is learning from me. Small steps lead to big changes.

making a difference

We all strive to make a difference in the world, to matter. My confirmation sponsor gave me a cross stitched quote that has guided my path since high school: What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God. Every day I continue to polish the gift I am, so that I may become that Gift to God adjusting and listening to HIS will in my life each email and text notification at a time… Thank you Jesus!

If you take the time to comment – I’ll get a notification and another opportunity to pray, so thank you for commenting!

Until next week, be blessed my friends!

Christy

Ever feel Like a Squirrel in a bird feeder?

Let me tell you – a squirrel in a bird feeder is living it’s best life! This little guy (or girl…or do I need to be politically correct – perhaps the squirrel identifies as a bird!- hell no… my blog, my backyard squirrel. I didn’t see his nut, but he’s going to be my guy.) … back to the story… this little guy has some lessons for me!

  1. Try new things. That most definitely was NOT squirrel food, it was bird food – I put it there myself. I’m not good at trying new foods, although I have a bit recently…but in the past year I have indeed tried new things! I took a job well out of my area of “expertise”. I am now selling curriculum online in 3 different marketplaces and I make videos – definitely out of my comfort zone.

2. Be brave. He has to take quite a leap to get into this bird feeder. I know he’s a squirrel, he’s leaping all over my backyard – but leaping from branch to branch is different than this. Somehow I just know it. HE WAS hanging upside down at one point trying to get inside. How will I ever know if I don’t try – if I’m not brave. My curriculum is good, I’m confident of that – but is there really a market for holiday themed curriculum? I don’t know – but I’m going to find out!

3. It doesn’t matter if you fit in – get in there anyway. The next day he was back and completely inside the feeder. I don’t have a lesson for sitting on the food you eat, but he shoved himself all the way in that feeder tail and all. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to go into new situations, or expose yourself to things that “don’t quite fit” (Like my pants, ha ha!) I have to market myself – I have to convince people they NEED my products. I need to shove my fluffy hiney inside a bird feeder, and I am a squirrel. This is the truest of all. My kids are grown – I don’t homeschool. I’m not in a classroom, so I don’t teach – but I want You, and you and even YOU to buy my curriculum. I’ll just sit on my food now.

4. You don’t know who is watching. This guy has no clue I’m watching him from inside my window. The first day I did sneak outside to get pictures, but after that, I just let him do his thing and I sit back and enjoy his antics. The example he sets for me runs deep, and I appreciate him and his forest friends so much. Others are watching me too and how I behave. Most importantly my children. They watched me when they were little and I was home with them. They watched me implement holiday curriculum with THEM and they talk about how awesome it was. The watched me when I went back to work and I dedicated myself to the relationships with my students and making each of them the most important things in my world. They watched me ask for a raise, lose my job and re-imagine myself into the woman who is typing this blog. But others are watching me too.

I have readers and followers who I know, by my stats read my blog and never comment or “like”. That’s ok. They are watching me , a squirrel in the bird feeder and they will see:

I have gratitude for what God has given me – the good, the struggles and the good: He has blessed me with far more good than struggles.

I appreciate the little things in life, like watching the birds, squirrels and opossum in my yard.

I find contentment in the day to day, even dishes and laundry. Through the quarantine of 2020 I can honestly add cooking dinner to this list.

I seek balance between what I want in life, and what God wants for me.

I work at having an organized home and routines that allow me to simplify my life. These things give me the margin I need to always have time for prayer, because when I realized that God was first, My life changed in miraculous ways.

God and my family must always be something I prioritize. I practice habits that lead to happiness (I call them Happy Habits) and after allowing myself a tiny bit of time to wallow – I always manage to CHOOSE JOY!

I began practicing these key concepts in 2010 and will continue until God thinks I am finished. I am not adding any other concepts to my philosophy as I feel these define my leap into the bird feeder…

Be blessed my friends – and thanks for watching the show. Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be further adventures!

Christy

Out of body experience

My life has slipped into summer mode – I’d be crazy if I didn’t admit it was difficult to watch a school year end and realize again last year was my LAST YEAR and just how unfair that feels wrapped up in the comfort of being my own boss.

I really like being in control. That sounds awful out of context. I suppose everyone likes some element of control in their life.


How wonderful it would have been to “retire” – to CHOOSE to leave and be CELEBRATED – to get to say goodbye and tell people your plans for the future. I spent 15 years working in Private Education. I got nothing.

It all feels so unfair, and when I admit that out loud I feel like a 5 year old who didn’t a new toy in Target just after her birthday.

Life isn’t fair, and I circle back to – GET OVER IT ALREADY: You just don’t LIKE the answer they gave you.

Is that it? I just don’t like the answer they gave me?

I was given a reason my contract was not renewed on July 1, 2019. It was as follows: Keeping you as the 4th grade teacher, without having you continue to serve as a member of the leadership team would be problematic, therefore we are not renewing your contract.

I can see myself sitting there, like an out of body experience. I just sat there and said, ok.. so my only choice was to sign the contract in May in which I was offered more money, but not the title? (I don’t even recognize my own calm voice – I do not know who is speaking.)

The answer is: That is no longer an option.

I said I understand. I am watching myself sign the paperwork while it is explained that the terms of the non renewal are such that I am free to apply at any catholic school in the diocese. I simply nod my head.

(But clearly, one year later DO NOT UNDERSTAND AT ALL!)

Again I speak, and I have no idea how these words are formed with such clarity and care: How should I get my things out of the classroom. (The keyword is THE classroom. A little background – In the year 1999 that classroom was constructed and I was in direct consultation with the architect, where I wanted outlets, shelves, whiteboards… it was a blessing to have input into the design of the new classroom. To know me is to love me and everyone who knew me knew that was MY CLASSROOM! – when I returned to the school just 7 years prior, to be returned to my grade and MY classroom was more than I could ever dream of! – where in the world in THAT moment as I am being told in essence I am being fired – did I find the ability to suddenly calmly say : remove MY things from THE classroom???) God – God was speaking for me!!!

Needless to say, I am instructed the janitor can let me in anytime.

Thankfully I am given the professional courtesy that I am not supervised as I remove items from the classroom as is the usual protocol when someone is terminated. The amount of personal things I leave behind is now mind boggling. I took only what would fit in the truck in one load. I had 2 of my children with me. One of the girls, and Douglas. I *think* it was Lauren, but I honestly have no idea. The truck was full of items that needed to be donated, so I went, dropped them off , picked up the 2 kids, returned to the school that same day -Today, just one year ago: July 1st. We loaded as much as we could and left the rest.

I can see myself moving like a robot through the room, trying to give the kids instructions without freaking out. I can see their faces – they are SO CONFUSED and I just keep telling them that I am ok, everything is ok.

But I’m not ok.

Everything is not ok. It still isn’t. I wonder if it ever will be?

I know there are people out there with problems far greater than mine. I do need to JUST GET OVER IT ALREADY…

But it’s kinda like when we went bankrupt in 2010 and lost our “dream home” – that wasn’t our fault. The construction industry fell apart and we ended up loosing our business and home…I keep waiting to hear about a random tornado that takes out a home in Banning at that address so I will KNOW why God got us out of there..you know – a DEFINITE answer.

I like a good solid answer, all neat and pretty wrapped up with a bow spelled out plain as day… and, SIGH – God just doesn’t work that way AT ALL! I’ll just have to keep working through it. Replaying the day over in my mind, looking for an answer I can accept. I’ll keep praying and giving the broken pieces of my heart to God because I do know without a doubt HE has the power to mend them.

Christy

Every morning I walk into a sink full of dishes


You don’t really want to know what I think.

But if your’re still reading then I imagine your slightly curious. Well I’m NOT Mary Poppins. That sink full of dishes does not make me break into song…. I loaded the dishwasher AND started it after dinner… So I completed my motherly duties already. I should wake up and be able to walk into a clean kitchen. Alas… Hobbits have second breakfast. Teenagers have second dinner.

Spoiler Alert: I get tired of cleaning up after them.

But I do it anyway. Go ahead…it’s okay! 100% think your thoughts. Provide your suggestions. I would be Monday Morning Parenting if I were reading this on YOUR blog. Trust me. I’m judgy-mc-judgerkinns disguised as a So Cal Helpful Honda Worker, lol!

I clean up after them every morning for a few reasons. They are 16, 17, and months away from 19. I’m on the tail end of having them home to even leave dirty dishes…. Another reason is they did their daily chores – it’s not like they do nothing and I’m a slave to their every whim. They have a teenage chore chart Monday – Friday and a lesser, but still chores on the weekends. It does not take me longer to unload/reload the dishwasher than it takes the coffee pot to make me a 12 cup pot of coffee, so I’m in the kitchen anyway.

But the biggest reason is related to this story… I read this on Facebook…it is not my own original work, although I did re-word it to put it in my “voice”.

I was at Stater Brother’s yesterday and heard a loud crash and something shattering. Being curious to see if I could help I  walked towards the sound. I saw  people whispering and looking back at the end of the next aisle. When I walked down that aisle, I saw an older lady had hit a shelf with her cart and all sorts of stuff had fallen to the ground and broken.  She was kneeling on the floor embarrassed, frantically trying to clean up. I felt so bad for her, and everyone was just standing there staring at her. I’m surprised no one was filming with their cell phone. I went and knelt beside her and told her not to worry and started helping her pick up the broken pieces. After about a minute, the store manager came and knelt beside us and said, “Leave it, we will clean this up.” The lady, totally embarrassed, said, “I need to pay for all this.” The manager smiled, helped her to her feet and said, “No ma’am, we have insurance for this, you do not have to pay anything!” 

If you have read this far, give me another minute. Wherever you are, close your eyes, and imagine God doing the same for you! Imagine the broken pieces of your mistakes or the pieces of your broken heart from all the blows life has thrown at you all over the floor and you’re there trying to collect all of the pieces and fix them yourself. Now imagine God comes and kneels right down beside you, smiles and says to you, “Leave it all there, l will clean this up for you.” He loves you that much and wants to put all of those pieces back together if you will let Him! 

With Him we have insurance too and it’s called GRACE! It’s free! All you have to do is ask Him to forgive you, help you, and to heal you. 

As I do the dishes, cleaning up the mess my children have left for me I can only imagine how man messes My own mother cleaned up that I left her… And how many messes God continues to clean up for me! Perhaps someday, my children will look back and realize that every dish I washed, every towel I folded and every meal I cooked was my love pouring out more than any Lego set, Disney pass or new pair of shoes. Cleaning up their messes is giving them the GRACE to grow into becoming the people they are meant to be – just as God gives that Grace to me!


If you like my blog – especially the fact that it is free of crazy pop up advertising, consider supporting me and my quest to blog / work from home full time. I’d love to convert Gratitude.Little Things> Contentment to a full . com and maintain 100% ad free reading.

If you homeschool, or are involved in education, you need to check out my website: HomeschoolHoliday. There are free printables, curriculum suggestions, tips and the “history”behind the holiday of the day.


Be blessed as you serve your family and clean (or make) the messes this week!

Christy

Every year since 2010 I pick a word to guide my outlook on life. Now I'm sharing that Outlook with the world.

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