Deja Vu!?!

Have you ever felt like you’ve been down this road before?  Like, wait a minute I already went through this a few years ago, do I have to go down this path again?  Haven’t I paid my dues, done my time, learned my lesson?!?!  This is how I’ve been feeling lately.  I’ve gone through my husband’s career change and subsequent move , a hurricane that destroyed our house, a serious illness (TN) which was debilitating until I had brain surgery to repair damage, (the suicide disease).  And now my husband has guillain-barré syndrome which has made it so he has had to go on Family Medical Leave from work., we’ve sold our house and moved to a rental home and my mother now lives with us for  half of the year.  Life has changed dramatically!

And yet, I realize that as we walk this same road of big life altering changes and everything is topsy turvy and uncertain that what has not changed is that God is walking this path with us.  In fact, God already knows the path, is going before us and is directing us as we go.  He’s been there everytime!  God was with us through the job change and the hurricane homelessness, the crazy illness when I couldn’t smile, eat or sing, (3 of my favorite things to do), and He is walking with us and going before us through the life-changing things that are happening to us now.  Everytime He was there!  It’s only been December since life has been altered in the Twachtman family but God knew before and was putting things in place as we started down this new journey and as my husband and I keep on walking we see God’s hand in everything that is happening.  It’s amazing to see.  I’d love to tell you about it in more detail.  It’s an amazing story and it’s not over yet.  My husband’s illness is one that will not be over soon.  Who knows how long we will be in this rental house.  Will my husband be able to work again?  Will we be able to buy our own house again?  Will my mom come to live with us full time?  We don’t know.  We only know that we’ve been here before, we weathered the storm with God’s grace and goodness and we are trusting in that same God to see us through this one too.

So, if you’re wondering how we’re doing.  We’re weary and tired and sometimes grouchy and numb but we are hopeful and our faith is strong.  God will see us through this.

If you’re going through a dark time, you’re feeling under attack and you aren’t sure what’s next for you I hope you will hold on to the only One who can see you through this crazy time in your life.  God is the answer and faith will give you the strength to get through to the other side.

Keep on holding on!

Blessings, Barbara (aka Mrs. T)

James 1:2-8, Psalm 31:24, Ephesians. 6:10, Romans, 8:28

 

 

 

 

What’s your story?

We all have a story.  If you’re alive you have a story.  You may never have thought about it before but you have one.  You might even think your story is pretty boring but you’d be surprised.

A couple of years ago.  I was asked to speak at a woman’s retreat at our church.  They had been asking me for a couple of years and I always put them off saying I really didn’t have anything to say.  I couldn’t imagine doing a whole retreat.  I didn’t have that much information to impart.  I’m not a Bible-teacher, I’m not a scholar, I’m not a renowned speaker.  I agreed to pray about it and let them know.  Prior to that I realized that I enjoy doing training for my teachers at school.  I researched some fun ways to teach certain subjects to the teachers and I really enjoyed doing it.  And I got some feedback that it was a fun day of learning.  So, why was I able to do it?  I think it was because the subject matter was something I know about.  I work with children everyday and have worked with them for over 20 years and I know my craft.  As I was thinking about that, I thought about the women’s retreat and I thought about what I would say to the women.  My Pastor at the time was talking about how we all had a story to tell about our life and that we should share it with others.  Also, the marketers that I work with also talk about telling your story to your clientele so they get to know you.  And I thought that I could probably tell my story.  The story of my life, of my spiritual journey to know Jesus as my personal Savior and how that decision has impacted my life’s journey.

Well, long story short…I did it.  I spoke an entire weekend, Friday night, Saturday 3 sessions.  It was amazing!  I was able to tell about my life’s story and people genuinely listened and, I think, enjoyed it.

We all have a story to tell.  We just have to be inspired to tell it.  What I realized is that when you tell your story to others, you open yourself up to more intimacy with that person.  A connection happens.  You don’t have to tell all the details of your life and what you want to keep private you keep private.  But, allowing yourself to share with another person is liberating.  It has the power to change your life!  Really!  Don’t take my word for it, share your story with someone and watch what happens.

Give it a try!

 

Stuff

Do you have a lot of stuff?  I know I do.  Sometimes when I see how much “stuff” I have accumulated over the years I wonder just how come I keep it all?  A colleague and I were just talking the other day about how stuff becomes way less important in our lives when we have to pay to move it or pay to store it.  I would also add if you have to clean it.

What kind of stuff do we have anyway?  Is it sentimental?  Is it collectible?  Is it a family heirloom?  Or is it just junk that you’ve let pile up?  I would say that my stuff is some of all of the above.  And, of course, that’s just my stuff.  That doesn’t include my husband’s stuff and if we start talking about that I might just get on a rant.

You see, my husband grew up in the oldest house in Winter Park and it is 3 stories and big.   And the attic is the whole 3rd floor so you can imagine the stuff that was in that house.  I’m sure it was also fun to explore all of the things up there.  My husband’s family also are collectors so there were lots of collections in my husband’s life and still are today.  Except…we live in a small house so that makes it harder.  Well, I’d better stop about that before I get on my rant.

So, back to stuff.  Everybody has it, no one is immune.  It’s just a question of degree.  Lately I’ve been thinking that the degree of stuff that I have is too much.  I’m in the mood to purge.  I just hope my husband is okay with my newest campaign to de-clutter our lives.

Now the question is, do I sell the stuff I have or just give it away.  I guess that’s a topic for another day.

 

Feelings!

Aloma_ECLC_Logo_stacked_RGBA couple of Sundays ago our Pastor was talking about new people that come into the church and why they might stay.  He was saying that some have told him that it just “feels” right.  As I sat there listening my mind started to wander.  I know, I know, that never happens to you during sermons, right?  Well, my mind wandered and I started thinking about how I have heard many, many people say that they toured a lot of Preschools but when they walked into ours that it just “felt” right.  I have always wondered exactly what that meant and how did our school hit the magic “feelings” button.

When I first started here at the Preschool in 1995 as Music and Movement teacher, I didn’t know that I was walking into a school that was having some deep problems. Within my first year of teaching here I got right in the middle of a feud between the teachers and the Director.  Many of the teachers were wanting to go behind the back of the Director and go to the Administrative Board of the church to talk about some of the problems they were having.  I wasn’t very happy about that and wanted the teachers to talk directly to the Director and try to work out their differences.  I was on the phone a lot after hours just trying to talk to people and hear their concerns and see if we couldn’t fix the problem.  Needless to say, the year was not the most pleasant one of my career.

When I became the Director I made a promise that we would all try to work in harmony with one another since we were all sisters in Christ and part of God’s family.  We were called to love one another and work out our differences according to the Matthew 18 principle that I have tried to live by and have challenged and required my teachers to live by.

Here I am going on my 17th year as Director and I am still being told that people “feel” a difference when they walk in the door.  Is it because we honor God here at our school?  Is it because we try to love each other in spite of the problems we face each day?  Is it because when that parent walks through the door they are not treated like just a client of ours but like a member of our family?  I like to think it is all of the above and more.

So, now when someone says our school “feels” different, I just smile and thank God that I get to work in a place where we make a difference and where the families feel secure in leaving their children here.

We love our families!  I think people know that…even just when they walk through the door.

Have a great day!

Barbara

 

 

Christmas vs. Xmas

Just recently a few of the staff were trying to come up with an alphabet game and match pictures to the words that had to do with Christmas.  For example… M – Manger, J – Jesus, O – Ornament.  And then attach a picture to it.  But when we got to the letter X, we were struggling to find a word that related to Christmas.  The only one that we could think of was Xmas.

I don’t really like to use that symbol because I think the world needs to see the word Christ in Christmas.  But did you know that the X is the first letter in the Greek word that means Christ.  It has been used like that for centuries but in our current modern world we have changed what it means and now it has become a negative.

Anyway, I wanted to say all that to say that there are so many things in the world today that keep us from really celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.  I encourage you to dig through all that “stuff” this year and make sure that you keep Christ in your Christmas celebrations.  Because that little baby grew up to be the Savior of the world and that’s something worth celebrating.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Blessings, Barbara

Knock Knock, Who’s There?

I’m baffled!  For many years now I have seen an alarming trend in parents to “not parent” their children.  I’m not sure where this is coming from.  Is it the fact that we now live in an amoral society and morals and values don’t have a constant meaning?  Kinda of like a “You have your morals, I have mine” kind of mentality?  Or is it that a parent who got bad parenting doesn’t know how to parent?  Maybe it is that we just want to be “friends” with our children and make sure they like us so we “let things go”.  I could go on and on with a lot more reasons that I think but suffice it to say that many parents just don’t know how to “parent” their children.

So, I’ve been pondering on this today and, really, many other days before this one and here’s a little advice from someone who has raised her own children (along with my husband, of course) and who has helped to shape and mold many hundreds of children in the last 20 years of working in childcare.

Children need guidance!  Children need discipline!  Children need someone to tell them right from wrong!  Children need someone to teach them.  Children need someone to love them SO MUCH that they will do whatever it takes to help them to learn how to be a great person.  Because, really, what is it that we want from our offspring?  We want them to love and be loved.  To be respected by others, to be able to self-regulate themselves.  We want them to have compassion and wisdom and empathy for others.  We want them to be confident and likable.  Again, I could go on and on but you get the picture.  The question is “How do we as parents help our children achieve these attainable goals”?

And here is the answer.  We, as parent,  must guide, direct, love, challenge, discipline, correct, lead and help them.  That is the ONLY way that they will be the kind of adults that someone wants to call their friend.

If I had a friend that hit me all the time, I would discontinue our friendship.  (And maybe have them arrested.)  If I had a friend who constantly interrupted me when we talk, I would cease talking to them.  If I had a friend who talked about me behind my back while smiling at my face, I would not be their friend.

Parents, do you want your children to be like a good friend?  Do you want them to thrive and excel?  I know the answer is YES!  Then my question to you is “Why don’t you do those things that will help your child achieve this goal”?  What is preventing you from being the parent that you need to be?  Fear?  Boredom?  Busyness?  Maybe you just plain don’t know how to do it?

Mom and Dad, if this is you.  I encourage you to get moving.  Read some books on the subject.  Ask a trusted friend.  Get counseling.  Seek out someone you trust to help you.  Children do not come with a manual on how to raise them.  (I wish they had.)  But God did give us some great older parents that we can look to and ask for advice.  They are out there, willing to give you some help if you just ask.

My door is always open to help you navigate this tricky road called parenthood.  I may not know all the answers but I do know who and where to ask for help if we can’t find the answer together.  I hope you’ll knock on my door soon if you are struggling.  I would love to help you in any way that I can.

So maybe soon I’ll hear, Knock, knock.

And I will be glad to answer

Who’s there?

Blessings, Mrs. T.

102011_parents_544111021135643111021135742

What Just Happened!!mp

Have you ever seen that “Friends” episode where Rachel decides that Monica is going to make all of the decisions for her life.  Because of some bad choices she was making in her life, Rachel decided that was a good idea.

Unfortunately in my line of business, I see this happening quite frequently with parents and children.   Some of the conversations go like this…”Johnny doesn’t want to go to Extended Care today but I need him to go because I have an important thing I have to do and I can’t bring him.  But he doesn’t want to go.  I don’t know what to do”.  Put on the brakes!!  Stop the presses!  What?!?  Here’s what I saw and heard.  An adult person needs to do something important and can’t bring her child with her but asks her child what he wants to do.   What does a child know about important meetings and adult needs.

Here’s another one I hear.  “Sally, don’t run.  It’s a parking lot, you might get run over.  Sally!  Sally!  You need to hold my hand.  Sally!  Sally!  If you don’t want to hold my hand then you can’t run.  Sally!  Sally!”  Put on the brakes!!  Stop the presses!  Here’s what I saw and heard.  An adult person reasoning with a child about their safety.  What does a child know about keeping themselves safe.?

Does this make sense in anyone’s world?  A child does not have the capability to make the right decisions for his/her life.  And a child certainly doesn’t have the capability to make the right decisions for an adult.  God fashioned children to rely on their parents for guidance and discipline.  Hebrews 12:5-11  This is the BEST scripture about discipline.  It says that as father/mothers we discipline our children because we love them, as God disciplines us because He loves us. Proverbs 3:11-12 says it too.  So does Dueteronomy 8:5.  I’m sure there are many more.  It’s in the Bible so many times because God wants us to get it right.  It directly correlates to how a child will grow up, be respectful of others and then will be able to pass on this legacy to his/her children.

Does that mean we never give children the right to choose.  Of course not!  We do it all the time here at the Preschool.  “What color would you like to paint your picture?”  “Do you want to play on the swings first or the monkey bars?”  “Would you rather sit in Mrs.T’s office or play on the playground with your friends?” “Which choice do you want to make?”

At home, the choice could be, “Billy, why don’t you pick where we eat tonight, Chuckie Cheese or Perkins”.  Well, we know how that would go, don’t we?  Or how about, “Tonight, Bobby, I’ll read 3 books before bedtime.  Which books do you want me to read?”  “Do you want to help unload the dishwasher or help fold the clothes.”  “Do you want green beans or broccoli with your meal?”  “Would you like to go to the park or go to the mall?”  “Sally, which dress do you want to wear to church?”  The sky is the limit on ways you can empower your child to make choices.  To help him/her make decisions about their life and take a turn making decisions for the family.  But NEVER decisions that usurp the authority of the adult.  This is a slippery slope and one you do not want to start sliding down.

I’ve raised 2 of my own children and one older teenager and had experience with almost 2000 children in my 20 years of working in childcare.  I know children!  I know what works and what doesn’t.  And when I can’t figure something out about children I go to experts to help me.  If you’re having problems, let me help!  I know together we can work out a solution.

Parents, don’t abdicate your authority to children.  Lead them, guide them, encourage them, discipline them.  This is your right and your duty.  God made it that and he said so in His Word and that’s enough for me!