An Inconvenient Meeting

As I mentioned in my last post, my son had found a tick embedded inside of his shoulder.  Try as I might I could not remove the tick.  I was on and off the phone with my husband discussing ways to remove the little pest.  My oldest son was scouring the internet in search of some solution.  We tried tweezers, squeezing, Vaseline, liquid soap; we even lit a match, blew it out, and touched the tick’s back with the hot end.  Nothing.  He was not going to budge.

I thought to myself, “This is absolutely crazy.  How difficult can this be? Why in the world can’t I remove this minuscule little creature?”

Even my husband scratched his head at my seeming inability to do this simple task.  “How are none of these things working,” he asked.

We were both at a loss, and my son was at his wit’s end, so off we were to the doctor.

Frankly and honestly, I really didn’t have time for this today.  We had to do school work…tests…things to do.  We already had had a topsy turvy kind of week.  This visit was not on my agenda today.  I must admit that my insides were a bit agitated by this monkey wrench.  But, this is life, and life has it’s little unexpected, unplanned, inconvenient, tick-in-the-arm kind of moments.

Soon after checking in at the office, my son was called back to see the doctor.  Within ten minutes of that, we were asked to take a seat in the back.  There is a large common area where people wait to have blood drawn, have IV treatments, or like us, wait to see the nurse.  The nurse was quite busy that day, and as we waited, one person after another filed into the common area.

A woman, likely around my age sat next to me.  I nodded and smiled as she sat down.  The nurse quickly popped her head into the room to see us.  She asked us to show her where the tick was and took down some information.  She apologized in advance for the wait.  So my son and I waited, and we waited some more.  Then the woman next to me spoke.  In a few short sentences, she told me her story.

“It’s a good thing you came here to have the doctor remove the tick.  I have Lyme Disease, and it’s caused real problems for years.  I didn’t know I had the disease.  I got pregnant and passed antibodies to my son.  Now, he’s sick.  He’s really struggling, especially in school.  We had him in public school, then moved him to a private school, but he just can’t seem to handle anything.  The school officials think he is faking his illness.  We are frustrated and have decided to pull him out of school to homeschool him.  I’m not sure I can do this.”

And in that moment I knew exactly why I could not seem to extricate the tick from my son’s shoulder.  I realized why a simple task had become impossible.  I realized that the Lord had a meeting arranged for me.  He cleared my schedule to make room for this very encounter.

See, that woman’s story is my story…almost exactly.  I’ve had a little experience with Lyme Disease myself, been pregnant during my illness, passed antibodies along to my kids while pregnant, have one son who is sick and struggling, and, to boot, I homeschool.   Coincidence?  Oh, no.  This was an orchestrated meeting.  No chance or alignment of the stars here.  This was the Lord placing me in specific place, on a certain day, at an exact time, to say a few simple words to someone who needed them.

And with that I turned to her and told her that I understood exactly what she was going through.  I knew of her personal struggles;  I knew of her son’s struggles.  I knew of her apprehension regarding school.  I then briefly told her my story.  She looked at me and said one word, “Really?”

“Yes, really,” I responded.

I introduced her to my son.  She spoke a bit more in depth about her son’s struggles.  She questioned her ability to homeschool.  She was unsure and scared.  We talked about curriculum and such.  She then looked at me and said, “Just tell me that I can do this.”

“Yes, you can do this,” was my simple reply.

And that’s why I was there, to speak words of encouragement to a mom whose shoes I have walked in.  I was put there to show her that she is not alone in her struggles, in her concerns.  My schedule was cleared so that I could have this encounter.

All at once and rather abruptly, both of us went our ways.  She was called into the doctor’s office, and the nurse came in to take care of my son.  We quickly exchanged names.  I asked her where she was from.  “Connecticut.”

Connecticut?  Really?   She had come from two hours away to have this doctor’s appointment in New Jersey?  She had navigated Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey morning traffic?  She arrived when I arrived?

There are no coincidences in life.  They are providential, planned meetings of the Lord to carry out whatever His will may be.

These verses from Proverbs say it best:

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.  Proverbs 19:21

The Lord is always at work.  He is not just sitting around casually in heaven as an observer.  He is in control of all things and orchestrates our coming and going.  Oh, how fast we can be to complain or moan or gripe when our best laid plans are disrupted.   How easy it is to become frustrated by life’s inconvenient moments.  We can get downright crazy when delays or setbacks come our way.  Yet, the Lord is in control of all of these things.  He is at work.  His plan is simply unfolding, and you may have the privilege of being part of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letting Down Your Guard

Yesterday morning my 14 year old son came down stairs visibly flustered.  “There’s a tick stuck in me.”  I squinted and strained my eyes to try and decipher what I was actually looking at.  This was a speck, no bigger than a grain of sand or the tip of a pin;  it could easily be mistaken for an ordinary skin mole or a fleck of dirt.  After several minutes I concluded that this little dot was indeed a tick embedded in his shoulder.

Me.  My kids.  We have a history with ticks.

The ironic part of this episode was that just two days earlier I was speaking to a friend telling her that I felt so fortunate that I have never had to pull embedded ticks out of my children.  “The Lord must know that I would not be able to handle it;  He must know that I would get a little crazy.”  Well, fast forward to today.  One child, one embedded tick.  Oh, the irony.

Lyme Disease has just become part of our lives.  It’s what our family lives with.  We’ve become careful and always take precautions.  We have our little routine; we have a dress code when outdoors.  We still camp; we still hike; we still live.  We have our guard up, and in doing so, we have managed to remain tick free.  We’ve protected ourselves and remained vigilant.  But not this time.

I spent nearly an hour trying to gently remove that tick.  Try as I may I could not extricate that little bugger from my son’s shoulder.  Knowing when to stop, I called the doctor and asked them to make room on the schedule for us.  They did.  As we were driving to the office, my son confessed:

“Mom, I was rolling around in the grass yesterday.  I was in shorts and a tank top.  I didn’t change my clothes when I came in.  I didn’t shower.  I didn’t have you check me out.”

That was one of those situations as a parent where not much else needed to be said.  He knew he had dropped the ball on this one.  He had ignored everything that he knew he should do: dress appropriately, change immediately, shower, and get a tick check.

I know, I know.  You’re probably thinking:  “Relax, lady!  The kid was just rolling in the grass.”

Well, we live in tick-central.   Sometimes rolling in the grass is not so cut and dry.  Knowing this, we keep up our guard and are diligent with what we know we should do.  And, when we follow the “protocol”, we can not only have fun, and, yes, roll in the grass, but we can remain safe while doing it.

The problem occurs when we let our guard down, when we don’t do what we know we should.

It’s pretty easy to let our guard down in everyday life.  How simple it is to sidestep doing what we know we should.  We grow tired of the routine.  We feel bogged down.  We want to scream, “I just want to live without having to do this or that.” And then when something unfortunate happens, we want to kick ourselves because we dropped the ball.

Today’s little episode immediately took my mind to this verse:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Have you ever watched one of those nature shows where they track a hunting lion.  Hunting lions are rather patient.  They wait for just the right time to pounce.  They scope out their prey and observe.  They watch for that one split second when their guard is let down, and then they seize the moment, and go in for the kill.

That’s kind of what happens when we let our guard down.  It only takes a moment of weakness for things to go horribly wrong.  It takes a tiny little crack in the door for someone to gain a foothold and bring the whole door down.  Satan waits like that patient lion.  He waits for just the right opportunity to bring us down.  He waits for the moment of weakness.  He waits for us to let down our guard, and then he latches on.  That ultra, microscopic tick was the perfect picture of this.

As I walked outside with my husband this morning, I paused and stared.

“What are you looking at?”, he asked.

“The grass,”  I answered.  “Underneath that beautiful green blanket likely hides millions of ticks on our lawn, their lawn, that lawn…everyone’s lawn  There’s really no way to avoid them.  We’ve got to live with them and keep up our guard.”

While it’s too hot to require my kids to play outside in a full snowsuit, or wear a wet suit to romp around in the yard, or dress in a full coat of armor, I am reminded that there is one coat of armor I am told to dress in everyday.  It is to protect me and remind me to be prepared and be on guard.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Ephesians 6:10-18

So keep up your guard….and check your kids for ticks too!

Granola Dipped Fudge Striped Cookies

One of the little perks of blogging is having the opportunity to work with some delicious food products.  Often companies will pass along a few samples in exchange for a write up and blog post about their product.  It’s a great way to try new products…for free!

The Golden Girl Granola Company is currently hosting its Second Annual Blogger Recipe Challenge, and I am happy to be a part of it.   The challenge?  Come up with a dessert recipe featuring one of Golden Girl’s granola products that is family friendly, easy to recreate, and delicious.  I was given the choice of one free bag of granola in a flavor of my choosing.  This was not such a difficult choice considering my affinity for chocolate.  A bag of their Chocolate Decadence was on the way!

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Once my granola arrived I opened it to try a sample.  Then, I promptly closed the bag and hid it.  I hid it far away in the depths of some obscure cabinet where none of my children would ever dream of looking.  Why do such a thing you ask?  Well, this granola was so good that I knew that if my kiddos got whiff of it, it would be history.  Oh, no.  This was going to be mom’s little secret.  Besides, I actually needed to use the granola to make a recipe.

What makes this granola so good?  It’s simplicity.  Most of the granola that is on the market today is laden with sugar and more sugar in various forms.  The resulting product is too sweet and hard.  This granola is different.  First of all it’s loose, meaning that I can tell it is not bathed in excessive sugar.  The oats, almond slices, and coconut have a subtle sweetness that is just right.  I don’t have to break my teeth biting into large boulders of granola either.  This granola is perfect for sprinkling on top of yogurt, oatmeal, or ice cream.  It is also a great base for a homemade trail mix.  In all honesty this is the best granola that I have ever had, and I am not just saying that because my bag was free.  My job is to provide you with an honest commentary about the product and to give you a mouth-watering recipe to try.  This is some good stuff!

Let’s get to that recipe.  My inspiration came from one of my childhood favorites:  fudge striped cookies.  I absolutely loved the thin, crisp cookie and the thick chocolate coating.  If I had a choice as to what cookie mom would buy, the fudge stripes always got my vote!

My recipe is a simple and straight forward take on the original.  Since the granola contains a bit of coconut, I wanted to use some coconut oil in the cookie dough as well.  The result is a crispy, coconut scented cookie, covered in chocolate, and dipped in the Chocolate Decadence granola from Golden Girl.  One bite brought me back down memory lane.

My kids agreed; these cookies are good.  They did have one question for me, though.

“Mom, where did this bag of granola come from?”

Well, that will be my little secret!

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Granola Dipped Fudge Striped Cookies
yields 15 cookies

4 tablespoons salted butter, cold
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour (or equal amounts of a gluten free flour mix) + more for rolling out dough
1 cup dark chocolate chips, melted over a double boiler
1 cup Golden Girl Chocolate Decadence Granola

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper.

Remove the butter from the refrigerator.  Yes, you read correctly.  This recipe requires cold butter. The use of cold butter will allow us to skip the step of chilling the dough which is often required when rolling out cookie dough.  Slice the butter into thin 1/8″ thick slices.  Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or you can use a food processor or handheld mixer).  Cream the butter together until smooth.  Add in the coconut oil, and continue to cream together until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.

Add in the superfine sugar and mix for 1 minute.  Superfine sugar is regular sugar that has a smaller granule than regular sugar.

Gradually add in the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough with your hands a few times.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with a bit of flour.  Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness.  Using a 2 1/2″ or 3″ round cookie cutter, cut out cookie rounds and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.  Using a small 1/2″ round cookie cutter, cut out center circles from each cookie.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden and crispy.  Allow them to sit on the tray for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

Place one cup of Golden Girl Chocolate Decadence granola into a shallow bowl.  Set aside.

Keep your baking sheet with parchment paper handy.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler.  You may use a microwave, but I prefer using the double boiler method because the heated water in the bottom pot will prevent the melted chocolate from cooling too quickly.  This gives me more time to work!

Spread about a teaspoon of melted chocolate on the bottom portion of each cookie.  Immediately sprinkle the granola over the melted chocolate, gently pressing it into the chocolate.  Be sure to cover all of the chocolate.  Place the cookie granola side down onto the cookie sheet.

Once you are finished, dip a spoon or fork into the chocolate.  Moving in a back and forth motion over the cookies, add stripes to the tops.  These are not meant to be perfect stripes but more like drizzle.

Allow the cookies to completely set.  You can put them into the refrigerator to speed the process along.

 

 

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Choosing to Be Mom

In the six short years that followed college graduation, the Lord had changed my heart dramatically.  He had allowed me to see that His way was best.  He had opened the path for a new career and a fresh outlook on family life.

Last I left you I was preparing to meet with my principal and superintendent to sign my first teaching contract.  This had been a long time coming, and I was excited beyond measure.  But, alas, there would be one more wrinkle.

About a week before my appointment I found out that I was pregnant.  Yep, pregnant!  I had traveled from the New York City work scene, to a new job in the suburbs, enrolled in college to work on my Masters degree,  obtained my teaching certification, completed student teaching, and was offered the “perfect job”, and now I was pregnant.  What should have been a joyous moment was a tear filled episode.  Before I even stepped foot into my new classroom, I would need to tell my principal that I was leaving.  And while I held firm to the fact that the Lord’s timing is always perfect,  I simply could not wrap my head around the timing of this.

When my husband arrived home I waved the pregnancy test in the air and exclaimed that I was pregnant.  He was surprised but so very happy.  Then he laughed.  He laughed.   “This is pretty funny timing,” he said.  “I mean you have to sign your teaching contract next week and tell your new boss that you are pregnant too.”  I failed to see the humor.

So, in I went to the principal’s office as scheduled.  We shared a few pleasantries and discussed business.  Then she sat back in her chair and said, “I just want you to know that none of the parents want their child in your class next year.  Parents in this district do not like new teachers.”    Well, that seemed like the perfect segue for me to drop my bombshell.   I went on to explain to her that I was pregnant.  Her first reaction was to congratulate me, then she paused.  It was kind of a long pause, the kind of pause that leaves that uncomfortable silence in the air.  And then like that she snapped back to life.  “Okay, so let’s make a plan,” she said.   And we did.

The plan was to work as long as I could, take a six week maternity leave, then return back to school to finish out the year.  In order to receive my permanent certification from the state I needed to complete my first year of teaching.  My husband and I agreed that I should complete the process.  Then at the conclusion of the school year I would tender my resignation.   It all seemed a bit overwhelming, yet at the same time I felt peace.

So the school year began.  I had my own little class of little people, and I grew to love them more and more each day.   Eventually I broke the news about my pregnancy to my classroom parents and students.  They were happy and unhappy at the same time.  But nonetheless, they embraced this wonderful event in my life, and we all enjoyed the wonders of pregnancy together.

About a week before my due date I began my maternity leave.  My son was born right on time.  He was healthy and amazing.   My new journey in motherhood had now begun.

Those first six weeks of being a mom were not what I had expected.  I had anticipated the sleepless nights, the crying, and the diaper routine.  But, I did not anticipate the emotional rollercoaster that I would be on.  I believe that I cried nearly everyday for the first two weeks.  Instead of joy, I was profoundly sad.  I knew that hormones could really be tough on a new mom, but this seemed nuts!  I prayed a lot those first few weeks.  I prayed that the Lord would calm my worried soul, that He would give peace, and help me find joy.  And so, I spent a lot of time in my son’s room on the glider.  I held him and prayed.  I held him and sang.  I held him and read.  And the more I held him and slowly released my fear, the more I felt the Lord holding me and comforting me.   Joy was to be found.

The Friday before I was to return to work, I took my son to school to introduce him to the class.  Oh my!  What a joyful time.  It was love at first sight for my students.  After a short visit we said our goodbyes, and I told them that I would see them on Monday.

Monday came and I jumped right back in the saddle.  After a week or so my principal called me into her office.  She wanted to know what my plans were for next year.  She wanted me to stay, and there was a huge part of me that wanted to stay as well.  I had finally found my niche in teaching.  I truly loved the children, my coworkers, my school, and my job.  But, there was a still, small voice guiding me in a different direction.  “No, I will not be returning next year.”  And with that, I would finish out the year and pack up the very classroom I had just set up.  My coworkers had mixed reactions to my decision.  Women who had already raised their families reassured me that I was making the right decision and it would be one that I would never regret.  The younger teachers told me that I was crazy…literally, they told me that.

And like that, I was now officially a full-time, stay-at-home mom.  Me, a stay-at-home mom.  I really never thought it would happen.  But it did.

I’ve been home now for sixteen years and there has never, ever been a time that I regret that decision.  It was a decision that changed the course of my life.  It was a decision that would change me. It was a decision that caused my husband and I  to make many, many sacrifices.  But most importantly, it was a decision that was made based on the leading of the Lord.

Time is short.  We have one chance to raise our children.  We have but a narrow window to impact their lives, to teach them right and wrong, to laugh and cry with them, to celebrate and console, to bring them up in the way that they should go.  When our children are but babies we feel as if we have all the time in the world.  But it won’t be long until we realize that time in flying by.  My boys are now sixteen, fourteen, and eleven.  I’m telling you, they were toddlers just yesterday…I’m convinced of it.

If you are a mom I want you to know that you have THE most important job in the entire world.  You have the opportunity everyday to make an impact, to make a difference.   You will never regret choosing time with your children.  It may not always be glamorous.  The house may not always be clean or the laundry done, but hearts will be full and love will be plentiful.

These are a few verses that have meant a lot to me over the years:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3: 5-6

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.   Isaiah 41:10

Happy Mother’s Day!

From the Corporate World to Motherhood

I remember having a conversation with a college friend about what our future plans after graduation were.   I wanted a big city job, with a big city paycheck, and big list of accomplishments.   I wanted to dress in my tailored suits, carry a briefcase, commute to New York, and have the corner office.   Married life was not a priority, and the thought of being a mother was not even on the radar.

My post-graduation job search proved to be difficult, and I found myself working as a teacher’s aide in a local elementary school.  Working with children was quite a departure from the corporate ladder I thought I would quickly ascend, but nonetheless, it was providential.  Those little kiddos began to soften my heart. I mean, how could they not, especially when they call you mom by mistake!  Despite the school’s request for me to work into the next school year, I pursued a full-time job elsewhere, securing an entry level job in Human Resources with a prominent investment banking company.  This certainly seemed more my speed.

I remember my last day at school.  My little kindergarten children , their parents, and my cooperating teacher threw me a party.  There were little notes from my little people, tiny handmade gifts, and lots and lots of hugs.  As I walked out the classroom door for the last time, my cooperating teacher, whom had now become my friend, left me with one thought, “Get your teaching certification and come back here to student teach.  I’ll be your mentor.  You should be a teacher.”

I hugged her, and tucked her challenge away.

My new job provided me with exactly what I wanted.  I rubbed elbows with some pretty important executives, had the opportunity to work on Park Avenue in New York City.  I wore my suits,  sipped my expensive coffee, and took the elevator up to the top floor.   I also got a taste of the not-so-savory aspects of work: power hungry colleagues, down right nasty bosses, and a cutthroat environment that pointed fingers, shifted blame, and beat people down.  I was offered a significant promotion and turned it down.  I feared that if I accepted the position, in time, I would grow callous and cruel like the people around me.  I remembered those little people and their little notes and their little hugs.  It was at that time, I opted to leave my current company and move to a smaller business outside of the city.

By this time I was married.  My husband and I began to talk about our future plans.  Lord permitting, we agreed that we would love to start a family.  Then, the big question came.  “What do you think about staying home with the kids?”  After much discussion and prayer, we decided, and felt led, that I would stay home and raise a family.    However, I was not pregnant at the time, so I tucked that commitment aside and continued on as normal.

I was enjoying my new job.  I had my own office.  Liked the work.  Had a great rapport with my colleagues, yet I couldn’t help acknowledge the growing realization that I was feeling very unfulfilled working in corporate America.  Those little kindergarten kids kept coming to mind.  “Get your teaching certificate and come back here to student teach.  I’ll be your mentor.  You should be a teacher.”  I could not get it out of my mind.  My husband and I began to pray for direction.

Again, I came to another crossroad.  The director of my department offered to promote me to the position of Assistant Director at a neighboring facility.  This was kind of a big deal.  I was pretty young, and I imagined that with time, I would have quite a bright future here.  I also saw that with a bigger paycheck and more prestigious title came longer hours, more responsibility, working from home after hours, and being on call to handle problems.  Again, my husband and I prayed.  Our answer was clear.  I not only turned down the promotion, but I put through an application to attend a local college to begin Master’s work and the  process of obtaining my teaching certification.

I approached my boss and told him my plans.  He was surprised, but encouraged me to go for it.  I was still able to work until the point where student teaching came around.  And when it did, I knew exactly who to call.

It was all arranged; I would be student teaching in my old school, with my old friend.  After the first week of school, I was given full reign and responsibility over the class.  I kind of questioned that, but my friend and mentor assured me that I would get a student teaching experience like no other.  She knew me, had watched me work, and had no reservations about putting me in the driver’s seat.  I became the teacher in every way, every day, every hour of the school day.  I had a new crew of little people, and my heart was full.

Again, providentially, the Lord had placed me in that classroom at just the right time.  My mentor’s mother grew ill and eventually passed away.  Her time away from the classroom was significant.  I was literally handed the reins of the classroom and was flying solo.  I approached my principal and questioned if I should be on my own.  He looked at me and reminded me that if he was comfortable having me in charge, then I should be comfortable being in charge.  That’s all I needed to hear.

Like I said, I had a student teaching experience like no other.  When my college advisor came to evaluate me in class and talk with my cooperating teacher, she confirmed this.  I remember her telling me that most student teachers are never given free reign, that they rarely have the support network I had from my cooperating teacher,  the principal, the secretaries, and fellow teachers.  I was truly blessed.

I could clearly see the hand of Lord in all of this.  He had put those little people, with those little notes, and their little hugs into my life years ago for a reason.  They chipped away the stone around my heart and made it more receptive to what the Lord’s will was for my life.

As my student teaching time came to an end, my cooperating teacher had set up several evaluations for me.  She was determined to get me a job within the district.   I had a string of township principals in the classroom to watch me teach.   I did secure a long term substitute position in the district, and continued there until the end of the school year.

I would then turn my attention to finding a full time teaching position somewhere for the next school year.  I sent out a slew of resumes and received one rejection letter after another.  Then I received a phone call from my mentor.  The second grade teacher in her school, whom I knew,  had a daughter who was the librarian in a neighboring school.  There was a first grade teaching position open at her school.  I was instructed to promptly get my paperwork together and get it over to her right away.  From there she would pass it along to the second grade teacher,  who would then send it to her daughter, who would then give it to the principal.   I did as she instructed.  I wasn’t expecting much.

But in short time, an interview was arranged, and then a demonstration lesson with the class.  My mentor would stand by my side, look over my lesson plans, make me practice my lesson on her.  She’d encourage me, help me put together a portfolio, and would be my biggest cheerleader.   In the end I was offered the position.  I truly could not believe it.  This was an incredible school in a distinguished district and they took me, a newbie with little to no experience.  Only through the Lord did this happen.  Looking back on it, I could see His hand connecting the dots, lining things up, making His plan for my life reality.

So as the school year closed out, and I completed by substitute roll, I turned my attention to getting ready to have my own classroom.  I had an appointment with my superintendent and my principal in two weeks to go over my salary and benefits, and then to sign my contract.  The pieces were all coming together.  I was beyond excited.  My husband was thrilled.

The Lord had truly done a huge work on my heart over the course of six years.  He had taken me to the place I thought I wanted to be, the corporate world, allowed me to get a glimpse of what He really wanted me to do, work with kids, and now, provided me with a wonderful job.  What would He do next?

Well, the Lord was ready to shock my husband and I with something quite unexpected.  Something that would really test us and the commitment we had made.

More tomorrow…