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Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Month of Thanks, Part 2

OK, so November is almost over, Thanksgiving has come and gone (unfortunately a few extra pounds have come also), and I want to finish my listing of top things I'm thankful for.

8. I am thankful for... my country. My father spent the majority of his life serving this country in the Army. The first song I can remember learning from him is "America the Beautiful," and it still brings tears to my eyes when I hear it now. He taught me that being an American is a privilege and to respect my country and treasure the rights that it affords me. Those lessons have never left me, and I love passing them to my girls. I am grateful for his service and the service of all other brave men and women who serve this great nation.

9. church. I love being a member of Long Hollow Baptist, and more specifically, a member of the Springfield campus. I am so grateful to be a part of a church that truly is Christ-centered and preaches the Gospel as it is. I have had the privilege of seeing amazing works done and lives changed through its ministry, and I am just thankful to be a small part. 

10. job. I know that it might sound crazy, but I love what I do. I have never felt that teaching is anything less than a calling. Every student I've had for the last 13 years is a part of my life and I love them all (although some might not believe that ;). I am confident that I have gained more knowledge from them than I have given them, and I treasure every bright and dark moment of my career. My job has also given me an awesome schedule for raising children, and I want my girls to learn and know that it is perfectly fine if they choose to work outside of their homes. 

There are so many things and people that I could go on listing, but couldn't we all? I have enjoyed reading the daily posts on Facebook this month, but we should probably not limit showing our thankfulness to just one month. I admit that I take too much for granted, but it was nice to sit down and reflect on my blessings. 

Here's a montage to some other blessings that I didn't include in the "top ten" but are no less meaningful to me... (and in no particular order)

(I had to include her-- she was one of my earliest heroes, and that outfit is awesome!)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Month of Thanks

It has been a while since I've done this, and a lot has happened since May. My little family has been pretty busy with softball, school, traveling, and life in general. And it's already November-- how did that happen?! Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and my social media friends have been posting daily about what they're thankful for. I've sat out on this for the last few years, but...

...come on, everybody else is doing it. Well, twist my arm, I guess I'll join in.

1. I am thankful for my salvation, for a God who loves me enough to forgive me. I can't even begin to imagine life without the hope of Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful.

2. husband, Jeff. I've said it before, but he is the best person I know. He is patient (for the most part :), kind, loving, funny, and pretty hot, too. He is the most wonderful father and husband a girl could ask for, and I'm one blessed chick.

3. ...Katie. Jeff and I waited for a long time for this gift, and God was faithful as always. Katie is one of the most incredible people I know. She's beautiful in every way, funny, smart, caring... but most important, she loves God. I am so excited to see what her future holds.

4. ... Aubrey. She is the most loving child I have known, but you'd better not cross her! Jeff and I joked before she was born that we should have a child that looks like him and acts like me (since Katie is the opposite). And then we were reminded that we should be careful what we ask for! She is such a special little girl and she brings us joy daily.

5. ... Abigail. Oh, where to begin with this one?! Abby was our biggest surprise-- our greatest gift that we didn't know we needed. This is the funniest kid I've ever met. She is always smiling and finding new ways to make us laugh, and she is another reminder that God's plan is always better than mine.

6. ...motherhood. I know I've mentioned all of my girls, but there was a time when I thought that I would not have the privilege of having children of my own. Now I don't remember what life was like before these beautiful little creatures existed. They have taught me more than I could ever teach them and my heart overflows with love and joy at the thought of them.

7. parents-- all of them. My beautiful mother is the epitome of love and loyalty. She taught me to work for what I want and to never settle for less. My father, in the short time he was with me, loved me. That may seem simple, but I know that some people don't ever have that knowledge. He also taught me to take pride in everything I do. My step-dad gave me love and respect when he didn't have to and convinced me that I can overcome anything. And my in-laws are pretty darn special, too. They raised a good man who I am more than proud to call my husband, and they have always treated me like I am one of their own.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Something very strange and surreal happened today. I walked out of my classroom, locked the door, and proceeded to exit the building like I have every school day for the last 6 years at BHS. I realized as I was exiting, though, that I will not go back to my classroom on the first day of school in August. In fact, it's now officially someone else's classroom. I don't have a classroom at all. It just feels weird.

Next year, BHS is beginning the transition to the International Baccalaureate program, and I will be coordinating our school's efforts in doing so. I am very excited about this opportunity and I look forward to the new experience, but part of me is a little sad. I have been teaching for 13 years and I have loved my career. Sure, there have been some rough spots, but I've definitely had more highs than lows. I can still remember what I wore my first day of school as a teacher at TCHS and how nervous and incredibly naive I was. Seven years later, I was a little more experienced but just as nervous when I made the move to BHS.

So, normally on the last day of school, I'm taking a deep breath and thankful that I've got a few weeks to recoup before I stand in front of my next group of students. But today is a little different. I am taking a deep breath and reminding myself that the only constant is change.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

13 Years, 3 Kids, and Millions of Smiles

I am one blessed girl. My life is beautiful-- God has given me much more than I deserve and I am humbled by His grace. I would like to take the time today to thank Him especially for the gift of Jeff.

Jeff and I met 16 years ago and have been together ever since. We had a rough start to our relationship because we lived in different states. I think we broke up about 10 times during that first year, but we just couldn't stay apart. We had a lot of growing up to do (and we still do, truth be known), but we decided we were going to make it work, no matter what. And here we are: married 13 years as of today, with 3 of the most beautiful children God ever created, and we're still smiling and still making it work-- no matter what.

I am so thankful that God gave me Jeff. It has been one of the greatest joys of my life to watch him grow as a husband, as a father, and as a man of God. He is truly the best person I know and I love him more today than I ever have. I am so proud to be Mrs. Jeffrey Hall and I am smiling at the thought of  the many, many years to come. Again, I am one blessed girl.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Remembering Dad

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
 ~Sir Winston Churchill
Dad and I, 1990

 We all  (hopefully) have a person in our lives who helps us strive to be better people, loves us unconditionally, and understands us more than anyone else. Mine was Tom Killian, my dad.

Dad was actually my step-father, but he grew to be so much more than that. This picture of us was taken near the beginning of our relationship-- when we were both miserable. Those of you who know me well will notice that I do not have my usual toothy smile in this photo. It was intentional.

You see, he became my step-dad when I was 13. My real father died when I was 6, and by this time I had no need for someone else to try to step into that role-- especially not a man who was 50 years older than I was. I spent the better part of 2 years trying and succeeding to make our lives together as difficult as possible. He wanted me to call him "Dad,"  and I refused. Out of respect for his age, he required me to call him "Mr. Killian." I spent so much time trying to convince him that I didn't need or want him, but he just wouldn't stop convincing me how much I truly did need and want him. He was like that-- he always knew what was best for me.  I remember I told him once that he would never be able to take my father's place in my life. His response: "I never want to take your father's place. I would just like to earn my own place in your life." And that's exactly what he did. He's the only person I've ever known who was as stubborn as I am. I am so thankful that he wanted to invest in me.

There's a long story to our relationship, but the most important part is the happy ending. I grew to love this man with all of my heart, and I eventually was more than willing to call him "Dad." As this month comes to a close, I miss him more than ever. Dad died in April of 2010. This past Wednesday would have been his 86th birthday. I turned in my last assignment for my Master's degree today, and he's really the biggest reason I started and finished. I dedicate that degree to him. We never ended a conversation without him telling me he was proud of me, proud of Jeff, and proud of all that we had done. I know that he would be proud of this, too.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Where did April go?

I realize that the month is not yet over, but WOW! It has gone by so fast! I hate to admit it, but I really did hope for this month to pass quickly.
For the last 18 months, I have been working on getting my Master's of Education. I started this process during the summer of 2010 (actually I started way back in 2001, but that's another story entirely), and it was pretty much a breeze to begin with. I could do my classwork while my babies napped or slept at night, and I didn't have a stack of student essays to grade. When the school year started again, it became a little more difficult, but it was manageable. "Manageable" would be a good word to describe the whole experience until this semester.
 When I saw my course requirements for my last two classes in January, I told my husband that I was going to quit. Smart, huh? My last semester of this journey and I was going to quit. It just looked like too much to handle: writing an action research project, tutoring students, teaching full-time, being a mother, having two of my girls playing softball, feeding my family, sleeping, breathing. I was positive that all of that could not take place at the same time. I broke down. I cried. I threw a fit. And then my husband told me what he's always told me, that he would do whatever it took to get me through it. And he has. He has always been the voice of reason to my emotional outbursts. I thank God for him daily.
So here I am, April 23, and I just submitted my last assignment for one of my classes. The final assignment for my other class is due Sunday, my birthday. As sick as it may be, that will be the best birthday present. With all of the activities that have consumed this month, though, I am refuting Eliot's claim that "April is the cruelest month." This month started with my mother's baptism-- how beautiful is that for beginning a month?! We celebrated Easter, Mom's 68th birthday, and Aubrey's 4th birthday along with her first softball hit.
It's been great, April; now bring on May!
Mom's baptism

My girls on Easter

Aubrey's 4th birthday cake

Aubrey's game ball for her 1st hit!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Here We Go...!

I honestly don't know why I'm doing this. Blogging is not something that I ever anticipated doing, but lately I've felt compelled to do a lot of things that I never thought I'd do.
I guess I'll start by introducing myself. My name is Pam, and I'm a child of God, first of all. Thanks be to Him, I have the most wonderful husband a girl could hope for, 3 beautiful daughters (Katie- 8, Aubrey- 4, and Abby- 2), a career that I love, a comfortable home, a wonderful family, and beautiful friendships. I am blessed beyond measure, but sometimes I feel like I'm stretched a little thin. I don't want to sound like I am the only one who feels this way, in fact, I intend quite the opposite-- there are many of us who feel like this. I am guessing that all moms feel like this. I think that's why I wanted to start this whole blogging process-- to communicate my experiences and maybe learn about some others who feel the same.

I am excited and nervous about this adventure, so here we go...