Thursday, May 30, 2013

teachers change lives

our oldest child was born remarkable. he was the easiest baby i've ever known. my hubby and i raced each other to the crib each morning to pick him up and bring him to our bed where we'd lay him between us and marvel over this wondrous new life we'd been given. our eric was a peaceful, happy baby. i don't remember even once having to give him a swat on the bottom or a time out for being naughty. if he was ever frustrating us- just one look of disapproval and his little face would crumble. he was just a sweet loving child. three years later his little sister was born and he loved her so. from the first time he held her in the hospital he had her back. he was so gentle- he guided her and watched out for her and was so patient with "little sister's" antics. he just had such a big heart.

then he started school. his kindergarten teacher had her hands full. she was older and about one year from retirement. she had about 7 more kids in her class than usual. when i was in the class room she always seemed cranky. what i'd hoped would be a fabulous first year of school- out in the big scary world without me, did not turn out to be the experience i was praying for.

first grade came along and as a first time mother i just let the chips fall as they may and didn't realize that a lot of parents requested a teacher for their kids. i thought if you were a teacher- that you had to love kids and have their best interests at heart. boy was i wrong. that year his teacher was new in the school district. she wasn't a mother yet herself and she seemed completely overwhelmed with the whole situation. at conferences she did not have anything positive to say, and told us that eric talked too loud and insisted we have his hearing checked. strike one.  (his hearing was okay).

2nd grade went a little better, but he began to lag a bit in his school work and we found out that eric was having vision problems. this meant months of eye doctors and therapy. while i don't remember his teacher that year being as negative- she sure as heck wasn't looking for the positive in my precious little boy either. all I wanted was for these people to see what was good and amazing about him-  and to speak it out loud. i just wanted him to be encouraged!  even though i may have been biased as his mother- ask anyone who knew him- he was a wonderful little boy. a great kid who'd always been so eager to please. i remember feeling so sad. so afraid that his tender spirit was being crushed.

by third grade i'd caught on to the way things worked for the benefit of your child and i requested a teacher. we lucked out and got mrs. cunniff. she was one of the good teachers- the ones who deserve teacher of the year. she did recognize all the wonderful ways that our boy shone. about half way through that year tho, she called me late one night, more as a friend than a teacher- and told me she thought maybe eric was having petit mal seizures. lars was in canada fishing and unavailable by phone and for 4 days i freaked out -scared to death and unsure of what to do now! i couldn't bear the thought of one more thing being wrong with my little boy. first hearing, then vision- and now seizures? a whole lot more tests were done and for a while he was on anti seizure meds and again school work was more of a challenge for him than most kids.

by 4th grade i had had it. i just wanted him to be happy! i just wanted his days at school to go smoothly and for him to feel good about himself. when we went to the open house i met his teacher, mrs. schnell.  i remember thinking she wasn't real bubbly- she was quieter and more reserved than the teachers i was used to. i was nervous that she was going to be strict and all business. what i didn't know yet was that mrs. schnell was quietly and steadily going to change my sons life. she always saw the positives in him and was quick to point them out. i'll never forget going to conferences that year and hearing nothing but praise for our son. he heard it too. he heard it and it sunk in.  i could not hold back my tears of gratitude. when we left those parent/teacher meetings eric held his head a little higher and by the end of that school year he was doing better in school! i truly believe that her belief in him made a huge difference in his life. we had always believed in him and saw his potential, but some of those early teachers had done a disturbing job of making him feel "less than".

darice cunniff and bonnie schnell saw the potential in my child. they focused on his potential and his strengths. they made a difference that i am thankful for to this day.

with this being the final week of school for so many children, i just want to encourage everyone to be thankful for the women and men who choose to teach and do it with love. i wish that every teacher was paid more and felt valued for what they are doing. maybe if they did they wouldn't burn out and become like some of the teachers my children had over the years. i worked as a para professional for one year. i saw firsthand the daily challenges a teacher faces.

my children are grown now and I don't have the anxiety of worrying about how their school year is going, but will you do this for me?  if you have  school age children will you take the time to write great teachers a note- tell them you APPRECIATE every big and little thing they have done to shape your young ones into the happy, productive children we are all trying to raise. 

teachers have the ability to change lives- 


                                  THANK GOD FOR THE GREAT TEACHERS IN THE WORLD!!!

                                                                school's out for summer!   let the fun begin!

                                                                      i'm off to plant all kinds of zinnias~
                                                                                   * in my world zinnias = happiness

                                                                                                               xo, beth

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

feeling blessed

a couple weeks ago one of my favorite blogs * * had a fun giveaway. i don't know if I've ever won anything- ever. EVER. ever. they gave away something delightful every day for a week- and i shamelessly commented on every day's post. i love these girls- jilly and mia, -best friends who write this blog. you HAVE to check it out.  the blog is called girls with good taste. they are mothers from arizona and i wish they both lived on my block. surely, even though i'm muuuuch older (and not nearly as cool) if they did,  I think we'd be great friends.
   the bottom line here is:

you've most likely guessed that if i hadn't
won i wouldn't be writing this post---right?
(man you guys are smarties!)
look at what was waiting on my porch one day after work last week!!!
i was so excited that i ran in with it and started to tear it open and then
had to stop, get my camera and place it back on the
porch for a photo! hahaha
how cute is their packaging?
these chicks have good taste,
big hearts~
and great give aways.
here's what was in the pretty package
a wonderful framed quote (by mother teresa)
and a book i am excited to read. it's a memoir
written by jennifer nielson.
thank you mia and jilly for the fun surprise...
it felt like my birthday all over again!
 i love you girls!!!
xo, beth


Thursday, May 23, 2013

 just giving a little shout out to the sun today~

                                                              it's the last day of work for me before a long
                                                                         holiday weekend and i'm so excited to
                                                                    be heading up north! we are going to finish
                                                           planting the garden and sit back in lawn chairs and
                                                                  catch up with family and my big sweetie is going
                                                               to smoke a turkey and make us all some bbq'd
                                                                        ribs. i'm going to make smashed potatoes to
                                                                     go with them and I think we just might end with a
                                                               big bowl of fresh strawberries and cream.  while
                                                                  we're on the subject of strawberries, we decided
                                                                to start a little patch of them at the lodge- in a raised
                                                                             bed the old owners had made. it will be
                                                                           so great if the critters leave them alone and
                                                                        we can pick our own fresh ones while we're
                                                                   there instead of having to buy them in the city and
                                                                    bring them up. there are raspberries everywhere
                                                                          on our land- but no strawberries...... yet.    : D

                                                                                                              xo, beth

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

several years ago my family gave me a nanking cherry tree for mother's day.
for most of the year it isn't anything special-it stands there looking quite ordinary and not even very attractive. it's worth those 51
 plain-jane weeks though... it's worth it for this
 one incredible week every spring when it bursts into bloom
and delivers this kind of magic.

as a blogger, it feels wrong not to mention my heartfelt sorrow for all the lives lost and homes that were destroyed in oklahoma's horrific tornadoes. sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the monotony of your days- resenting yet another sink full of dirty dishes that need to be done, or floors that need to be swept. mother nature can bring us the most wonderful blessings (like our green, green grass or my cherry blossoms) but it can also wreck havoc with floods, hurricanes, tornadoes etc... i guess what i'm trying to say is that i just really try hard to remember, notice and give thanks for every blessed day here on this earth when my family is safe and this little place i call home is wrapped safely around me. dirty dishes, muddy floors, and all.
 * let's be a little bit kinder to someone today. everyone you meet is most likely fighting some kind of battle, whether it's a great big hurricane or a storm within them. 


                                                             wishing you a peaceful day,   

Sunday, May 19, 2013

and so it begins


                                                                      the spring has come-it has finally, finally come.

                                                                           in the last few days I've planted seeds and
                                                                           transplanted hopeful little plants, added
                                                                             water to my fountains and pulled up weeds.

                                                                           i lugged home 480 lbs. of black dirt for my
                                                                         flower bed and today my grandboy and i
                                                                     started a project I've known needed to be done
                                                                                                          for quite a while.

                 here's the beginning of the project. these flagstone rocks make a pathway
from our patio through my arbor. over the last few years they've almost
disappeared! they kind of just sank down and the grass grew up and over them
and I've noticed that each one now looked like it was about a 12 inch piece-when
in reality they are each big and beautiful and that means they needed to be dug out
and raised up by putting more dirt under them and trimming the grass that had
         grown up over all the edges.

                                                   here my trusty helper boy and i get started....

                                    * just have to add that he loves when i take his picture so he offered
                                                  to go get the camera and then after i took a couple of him
                                                          "digging in" he snapped a couple of me. good thing
                                                                         he was on this side of my body right?
remember a few years ago when those hideous garden cutouts appeared in
yards across america of women bent over? their ample back ends were all you saw.
if you're reading this and you have one- run-don't walk- to your garden and get that
bad boy outta there- really people- we can do better than that can't we? i have a
sense of humor i promise- but those? not funny. just plain lame-sauce. :  )
we were diligently working away when the skies just opened up and rain
 poured down, chasing us inside so i'll show you a shot after i finish getting
the last of the flagstones dug up and replaced-hopefully tomorrow.
did i tell you about careening to the side of the road on my way to work to
rescue this old, crusty wicker rocker? well i have it on the deck now
and it maybe doesn't have a whole lotta life left in it -but for
whatever time it does have it's making me happy.
*my entire family thought i was nuts and they refuse to see
the potential here. even my daughter! do you see it?
the beauty? the character?
can i get a big "amen"?
if you come over i will let you sit in it.
(maybe wear long sleeves though, the paint is kind of crackly and hurts
your bare skin). : )
the pink table next to it came from a house demolition that my
son was part of. prince owned the house.
yes you read that right.
he's practically my neighbor.
bet if he came to visit he'd like to sit in my
crusty rocker.
especially if i painted it purple.
~i can't believe it's memorial week already- boy did that ever
sneak up on me. we helped cousin nancy celebrate her 50th birthday
on Saturday night and had fun catching up with a bunch of my family,
& our youngest has a job interview
4 hours away today- i'll be thinking of him all day, praying and trusting that
the good Lord is directing his future.
rain, rain go away- come again some other day~
soooo over the rain for now...
i'd like to get out in the yard and plant roses!
viva la Monday!!!
xo, beth

Thursday, May 16, 2013

decisions were made....

once upon a time my sister and i went to bible camp...

did you ever have that experience growing up?

the camp was called decision hills

i remember watching my grandparents drive away that sunday afternoon- feeling a little bit
scared and so relieved my big sister was by my side. here we were, being dropped off in the woods in the middle of nowhere, a long, long way from home. (it was actually about an hour and a half).

                                                               there are no actual photographs of us~
                                                                        use your imagination people.

some of my fears were:

which cabin will i be in and how far is it away from the bath house?

will my sister be in my cabin too? (i wanted her there.)

how will i hide the fact that i can't swim?

will the food be yucky? (i was the worlds pickiest eater)

what if i get my period? (which was just a given- i have had it for every major and minor event of my entire life).

what if there's no cute boys?

well, some of these fears came to fruition- (like the period part and some yucky food), but
some of the things i remember fondly are the new friends i made, the campfires under the
dark night skies,  the guitars softly played by the cool teenage counselors and the boy
named jon whose face i can almost conjure up if i think real hard. he was dark haired and

he was even a bit of a hero on the day we canoed about 560 miles- portaging across fields and streams in our efforts to get to a neighboring lake. my sister and i chose to be in the same canoe ( a-hmmm ~ big mistake) and neither of us was even an ounce athletic or coordinated, so we were always lagging behind the others- arguing about who wasn't pulling their weight.

by the time we paddled into shore- long after the others were done eating their roasted weinies, we were exhausted and more than just a little bit sunburned. we dragged our sorry arses up on shore and quickly ate so we could begin the trek back to good old decision hills.  as soon as i was done eating i hustled back to our canoe so i'd be ready to roll and in my haste didn't realize that i'd pushed the canoe off shore. as i began drifting out to sea alone, i panicked just a little. (no... come to think of it it was quite a bit of panic) because if you didn't remember this part of the story- girlfriend can not swim!!!!!!

so there i was, drifting further away from shore- without my trusty partner and unable to bring myself back in.....    :  (    but who should come to my rescue but JON!!!  he swam out and pulled the canoe in and he and his friend decided to give my sister and i the lifesaving opportunity to have one of them in each of the canoes with one of us! SCORE!!!!!  now the trip home didn't seem so unbearable- in fact i'm pretty sure sister and i just layed back and let them do all the work while we watched their 14 year old muscles rippling in the sunlight.

i'd like to say that i made some life changing decisions in those few luxurious days away from home- but if i'm being truthful i think the only major decisions i came away with were that i liked boys and that i was always glad to have my sister by my side in good times and in bad.

two of my three kids went to bible camp a few times when they were younger and based on the stories they've told they too had some great times in those little cabins in the woods. far away from their parents watchful eyes...seeing the moon rise over the trees in the dark of night, kids begin to grow up and change and it's good. it's all good.

                                                         if you get the opportunity, send your kids to camp.

                                                                                   peace and kumbaya, beth

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

a whole bunch of great stuff...

                      i truly believe this....being a hungry reader myself i always read to my
                          kids. whether we were at home tucked in our beds or in the middle
                     of a state park in sleeping bags, in a tent with a flashlight-we ended
                                                      our days with a stack of books.



                                         i love everything about this poster and this wall of
                                                         art for a child's room~

                                                       pink lemonade and saltwater taffy!

                                          as the school year wraps up- let's celebrate the wonderful
                                                 teachers that have devoted their lives to our children.
                                          if you have littles, pretty soon they are going to be yours again~
                                                                               all day- every day-

                                                and if that alone doesn't make you aware of how awesomely
                                           awesome teachers are- then nothing will!  :  )  isn't the simple gift
                                                  in the photo above great? again, thank you trader joes for
                                                          all the wonderful products you carry that make our
                                                                               lives more fun! (while you're there
                                                                     pick me up some ranunculus will you? thanks!)

                                                                                  have a simply lovely day, 

                                                                                               xo, beth                   

Friday, May 10, 2013

me plus three


                                                   i have this photo in a frame in the bedroom. it's one of my 
                                                                      favorites from a few years ago.
                                                                               thanks to these three amazing kids
                                                                  i am a mother. there's just nothing in the world
                                                            i wanted more or would rather be- than their mother.

                                                                                            i love you so much
                                                                                                   and cole


                                                           i'm hoping all of you who are mothers have a special
                                                                 weekend - and if you aren't a mother - i know
                                                                  without a doubt that you have blessed a child's life
                                                              in some way, at some time, and made a difference in
                                                                     their lives- thank you for that. you matter too.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

                                                          here's a little peek at my busy, happy week~

                                              the birthday celebrating just went on and on....friends and
                                                    family surrounded me and treated me and it was almost
                                                 embarrassing- the amount of love that has come my way for
                                              the past 5 days. (i'm not complaining- or bragging- just feeling
                                                 so unbelievably thankful and undeserving of it all).

                                                     this cute little sign was sent to me by an old friend

                                                 my hubbie always makes me a birthday cake- (love him)
                                                    real whipped cream and raspberries were to follow.

                                                         after a really fun dinner out on my birthday,
                                              i begged and yimmeled for my family to gather together for
                                                   a group photo- my daughter adria's cute boyfriend was
                                                willing to shoot the shot- well folks- here's what we got.
                                                   the 3 subjects on the left and the dog- GREAT. the 3
                                                       on the right? ummm, yeah- nooo. much to the children's
                                                                     chagrin- this will not be our Christmas card
                                                          photo. seriously. we were too full from dinner out- the
                                                             sun was in our eyes. we blinked, we
                                                               winked - and this was the best of them all. hahaha

                                                                         I put this cheap, old happy birthday sign up
                                                                           for everyone's birthday- year after year- it's

                                         my friend leslie was here from out of town and she, daughter
                                                      maggie and grandgirl josie and i met on sat.
                                               evening where they made me feel like a QUEEN for a day

                                     now, as if I hadn't been celebrated enough already~~~~ these
                                             darling friends, who are part of a dinner club, surprised me
                                      last night with cake and goodies too! (love these women so much).

                                            my cup runneth over and now- i think that's enough about me for
                                              a long, long time. i hope i can shower a whole bunch of people
                                               i love with the goodness that came my way this week and
                                                       make sure they feel even half as loved as they've all
                                                                                  made me feel !!! 

                                                                             oh WAIT!!!!
                                   * altho i have no photo proof- dear friends took lars and i out to dinner
                                        for our birthdays and then my coworkers did too-thanks ALL
                                                                     of you for heaping on the love!!!!

                                                                                      .I AM BLESSED.

                                                                            do you have any fun weekend plans?
                                                                       do you think we dare plant flowers yet? the
                                                                      temporary greenhouses are popping up around
                                                                          the area and they sure look enticing~

                                                                                                 xo, beth