A Tribute To Teachers!

A Tribute To Teachers!

As I walked into the store the other day…there was a stark reminder that summer will soon be over…say what!  It was always a little bittersweet sending my kids back to school; it was always fun to be a little more relaxed and spontaneous during the summer, but it was also nice to get back on more of a routine schedule.

A Tribute To Teachers!

“You know it’s time to go back to school when parents are singing….. it’s the most wonderful time of the year!”  Relatably.com

I am related by blood to many wonderful educators.  I also had many fabulous teachers during my 13 year stint in public education, as well as many beloved professors during my college years.  Sadly, I appreciate the talent and greatness of these wise people, who made a lasting impression and helped me realize my full potential, so much more now than I ever did then.  It’s never too late to recognize the influence of a good teacher…so here’s my tribute to teachers!

A Tribute To Teachers!

My dad, a brilliant teacher, offered up these words of wisdom often!

Reasons We Love Teachers!

1.  Teachers work hard!

Teachers don’t show up and sit behind a desk…they stand all day, talk all day, interact all day and learn all day.  Teachers are busy people.  Teachers know the work is challenging, but they’ve accepted the task and know they can be an amazing influence on their students by the sheer example of their own work ethic!  They may not be as prompt as you’d like at returning emails and phone calls, but the important stuff…the teaching…that’s what they’re getting done!

A Tribute To Teachers!

“Of all the hard jobs around, one of the hardest is being a good teacher.”  Maggie Gallagher       

2. Teachers foster a deep love of thinking and learning!

Even though every student learns at a different pace, teachers are devoted to making sure each one is learning and understanding.  Teachers don’t accept failure and try every angle and every strategy to help students learn and succeed.  Teachers gladly celebrate students accomplishments and although teachers know they only have their students for a short period of time, they are proud to see them succeed and move on.  I still remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Larsen.  I don’t think I will ever forget how enthusiastic and full of life she was–even at 60 years old.  She brought so much joy into the classroom, and that’s a lesson that will stick with me forever; whatever you do…find joy in doing it!

A Tribute To Teachers!

3.  Teachers are creative.

In their own creative ways, it’s not unusual for teachers to suddenly sing, dance or take part in any assortment of silly activities just to show that learning something new can be fun.  Teachers are mentors, coaches, supporters and yes, even friends!  Really, what can’t teachers do?  And when they can’t…they’ll find a way!  Teachers are also very adaptable.  They are quick to change a lesson or an entire class on a moments notice–which definitely comes in handy when the fire drill or unplanned assembly interrupts.  CFCC2278-4409-4907-A9E2-A627C8C4FA6F

“Creativity is intelligence having fun!”  Albert Einstein

4.  Teachers are lifelong students!

Teachers are committed to being the best teachers they can be.  Teachers continually take outside courses and professional training development.  Teachers share ideas with one another and sit in various classrooms to learn new teaching techniques.  Teachers learn from their students too.  Every strength a great teacher possesses is a result of their desire to continue learning themselves.

A Tribute Teachers!

5.  Teachers love what they do!

Teacher have been trained in a field with low pay and very few tangible rewards!!  Teachers know how to make the most of a lesson plan with little money, no supplies and limited time.  Despite the challenges that come with being a teacher, teachers love what they do and try to do it better every day, because they know they are making a difference in their student’s lives.  The joys of teaching can be so overwhelming and far-reaching that teachers inherently know it is one of the greatest professions on earth.

A Tribute To Teachers!

“Let us remember…one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world!”  Malala Yousafzai 

Student education requires team effort–so as kids get ready to go back to school, let’s all do our part to be involved…perhaps we can start by simply showing our sincere appreciation for teachers!

We love teachers because they make us love working with them and learning from them every day!

I’d love to know how a great teacher influenced your life!

–Love, Mary

A Blessing Named Elliot…An Adoption Journey!

A Blessing Named Elliot…An Adoption Journey!

As our family celebrated Thanksgiving this past week and expressed gratitude for the many things we have to be grateful for, I couldn’t help but consider the divine intervention in our lives that brought us a very special blessing named Elliot!

A Blessed named Elliot...An Adoption Story!

Elliot born September 28, 2016

“Babies are the beginning of a dream of possibilities!” Eda LeShan 

You might recall my daughter-in-law sharing her struggles with endometriosis in this past journal entry.  For those of you who have expressed love and concern for our family as my son, Jake, and his wife, Whitney, faced the challenges of infertility, I’m so thrilled and indeed humbled to share with you their adoption journey!

Our adoption journey began with trying to conceive for nearly five years without success.  Due to Jake’s career as a dentist in the Army, our road with fertility treatments included doctors and specialists in Oklahoma and Germany.  When our last IVF (in vitro fertilization) treatment in 2014 was unsuccessful, without any explanation as to why, we felt adoption was the path for us to take.  It is amazing how right adoption felt as we made this decision together!

A Blessing Named Elliot...An Adoption Story!

“Babies are a link between angels and man!”  Author Unknown 

The process of finding an adoption agency, along with the subsequent paperwork and home studies, is overwhelming; it has its own set of challenges, but we relied on each other’s strengths as we worked through it all together.  The waiting period to be chosen was a difficult time, and the year and a half  it took seemed to have no end in sight, but our primary case-worker always said that when it is meant to be, it will be the right baby that will come into your arms.

A Blessing Named Elliot...An Adoption Story!

“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on!”  Carl Sandberg

When you least expect something–that is when it is bound to happen…..and that is exactly how Elliot came into our lives!  Due to the time difference between Germany and our agency in Utah, we received the surprise of our lives at 2:00 am in a one sentence email with the subject line, “Great News!”  The body of the email read: “Birth mom and her mother want to place baby with you!”

Coincidentally, Whitney’s dad and mom were visiting at the time they received the email that they’d been picked for adoption.  When Jake and Whitney realized that they only had eleven days to prepare and be in Utah, the decision was quickly made to cut her parent’s trip short and book flights back to Utah with them.  They landed in Utah at 8:00 pm the night before Elliot was due to be born.  As they anxiously awaited his arrival the next morning, they spent the last few hours of their time together as just the two of them, baby shopping, going to lunch, and even getting pedicures.  When at last they received the text that their baby had been born, they rushed down the hallway of the hospital and knocked on the nursery door.

Throughout the adoption process, we often wondered if we would feel a connection with the baby right away or if we would feel as though he wasn’t ours, but those worries were quickly dissipated when the nursery door was opened and we saw Elliot for the first time–we instantly knew he was our son; we truly believe that God intended for him to be in our family.  As we drew closer and saw how sweet and small Elliot was at 6 pounds, 4 ounces and 19 inches long, we’ll never forget how surreal and perfect that moment was in our lives!  Elliot stayed in the hospital for three days, and during that time we were able to pray for him and have him receive blessings to ensure his continued good health.  When the pediatrician finally gave us the green light to take him home, we couldn’t have been happier!

A Blessing named Elliot...An Adoption Journey!

“Having a baby is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body!”  Elizabeth Stone 

After Elliot joined our family, we were amazed at the outpouring of love and generosity from family and friends.  It has been remarkable to see the power that a newborn baby has to bring people together!  Each day is an exciting adventure and learning experience, as well as a blessing, now that Elliot is home with us.  We are humbled to be his parents, although the titles of mom and dad are still novel to us.  We want to express our gratitude to all those who helped to bring this joy into our lives.  Our goal is to ensure that Elliot will grow up learning that the Lord loves him and that he also has a birth mother who loves him, and that she made the ultimate sacrifice to place him with a family who will always strive to do everything within their power to ensure his happiness and give him every opportunity to grow and progress in this life!

A Blessing named Ellito...An Adoption Journey!

A Blessing named Elliot...An Adoption Journey!

(Two photos above via Green Apple Photography)

“It is not a slight thing when those so fresh from heaven love us!”  Charles Dickens

In closing, I’d like to say that it is so heart warming to see two wonderful people survive the ups and downs of this journey together, leading them to form stronger bonds of commitment to each other, making their ability to love their new baby, without reservation, so endearing!  There truly is no greater joy than watching your own children become parents!

All our best wishes to you, Jake and Whitney, and precious little Eli!

Have you had any personal experiences with adoption or know someone who has?  Please, please share any insights you might have on this amazing process

–Mary

Thankful Giving!

Thankful Giving!

Love it or loathe it…..seeing a myriad of department store displays welcoming the Christmas season long before November even gets underway is all too common in the retail world!

Christmas store displays!

Like many of you, I look forward to Thanksgiving as a holiday to just “breathe, so to speak, and think about the many wonderful details of my life that I’m thankful for before the Christmas season gets underway…so perhaps, at the very least, the upside of being inundated with holiday overload this time of year, (and its making its appearance earlier every year) is that it makes us all try harder to find ways to really celebrate the season of thankfulness and giving!

 Thankful Giving!

A neat trend I have noticed lately in many social media circles and even in some retail marketing advertisements, has been the celebration of “Friends Giving” an adaptation of the Thanksgiving mindset that shows there’s some conscious effort being made to give some thoughtful observance to this special time of year!

In my desire to make Thanksgiving season more meaningful for me this year, I’ve decided to use this fun idea and do a little “Thankful Giving” of my own for many dear friends and loved ones!

Thankful Gift Ideas:

My mother was a huge advocate that gifts should be given with some thoughtful consideration and should be accompanied with a heartfelt note to the recipient, expressing gratitude for their influence in your life.  With this advice in my mind, here then are some gift ideas I’ve found that I thought would be good for thankful giving.

Craftberrybush "Thankful" pillow.

Even if you aren’t one to go all out with your holiday decorations, a festive pillow with a fun greeting sets the holiday mood and greets visitors with a warm welcome.  I love the watercolor print pillows by Craftberrybush sold by Society 6.  The pillows are beautifully made and reasonably priced, and very fitting for a Thankful Giving gift to a good friend or family member when accompanied by a note listing some of the reasons you’re thankful for their influence in your life!  

Ann Romney's memoir "We're In This Together!"

All political pandering aside, if you have a friend who has shown strength in the face of adversity or a loved one who has helped you get through some tough challenges, then Ann Romney’s new book “In This Together” is the perfect Thankful Giving gift. 

In her own words, Mrs. Romney says, “A lot of people talk about the transformation that throws you a curve ball, and the big one in my life was my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.  With all the blessings I have had, MS has been my greatest teacher.  It has taught me about faith, compassion, and serving others.  I’ve met many people along the way who’ve shared and demonstrated enormous resilience in the face of challenges; their stories gave me strength.  In sharing my story, I want to give others hope as I’ve been given hope on this journey.”

   How wonderful would it be to share with a friend or loved one the ways you’ve gleaned strength from them on the inside cover of this book–it will be a most cherished gift!  

Thankful Giving! (Plaid Scarves)

I love gifts that provide memorable experiences, so how fun would it be to give some pretty plaid scarves that are so popular now, (Target has some really great choices) for your Thankful Giving gift, with a fun note attached that tells the recipient that you want to plan a time to go on a morning or evening walk together, followed with getting a cup of hot chocolate afterwards.  More memorable than the scarf perhaps, will be the conversation shared–especially when you tell them how thankful you are for their friendship!  

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Obviously, it goes without saying that I always think some sort of Gratitude Journal makes for a great Thankful Giving gift, and I especially like this one by Studio Oh.  Share your grateful thoughts about the person you’re going to give it to on a page or two, then wrap it up with some colorful pens and a fun treat–and there you have it!  Wouldn’t you love receiving this?   

Thankful Giving! (Celebrating You Cards)

Do you remember receiving one of those folded chain letters that got passed around your classroom in grade school, that you then had to share with at least one other friend?  When I saw this darling box set of cards with their simple drawings and sayings, celebrating what is good and decent in all of us, the thought came to mind that I would take the first card and write a note on it to a friend, then tie up the rest of the cards with a ribbon and tell her to pass on some fond sentiments to another cherished loved one, and so on…an ongoing Thankful Giving chain of sorts–may it never end! 

(It’s sort of ironic that I bought these cards quite some time ago–long before the tragedy that befell Paris this last weekend…so they seem more poignant than ever before now, and serve as a bittersweet reminder of a lovely and simpler time, one that I pray can somehow be restored.  Perhaps concerted efforts of Thankful Giving from each of us is a good way to start!)   

Now for the good news–my Thankful Giving gift to a couple of you is that I’m giving away two of the Thankful pillows!!  All you have to do to enter is make a comment here about a Thanksgiving tradition you have or a neat Thankful Giving gift you have received.  You can also visit my Instagram account here, like the post and tag one other friend.  Like my “Lucky Day Giveaway” last March, my cute hubby will exert his most trusted efforts on your behalf and pick winners at random.  Good luck and please know that I’m so thankful for all my readers and any comments that are shared to help us all live and learn better!

(Giveaway is open until Wednesday evening November 18, 2015, 10 pm–MST.  Available for mailing in the U.S. only.)

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Feeling so grateful, thankful and blessed!

–Mary