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Friday, June 29, 2012

Transformer: Thoughts from the Perfect Moment

Good morning, my friends. I read a recent ebook by Andy Andrews entitled "Perfect" that changed my perspective. The point on the book was that we notice all the things that are wrong, but do we notice the perfect moments? Kip had sent me the ebook with a note that "let's start looking for perfect."
This morning is one of those.

I get up so early (5 am most days) that for me to sleep until 7am is quite a feat. Up at 7am, it was still foggy here in North Georgia, where my husband finally got me away from the self-imposed rigor of my daily routines meant to keep my house neat, the 3 kids in line and moving in the right direction, and to write and share with you in fulfilling my God given purpose in life of encouraging and helping others.

You'll be reading this post and living this morning with me in a week or so because my family has asked that I keep when I'm gone (unless to conferences) private until after we come back. We are pretty practical country people and there have been a spate of robberies in our local home town. While my house is not so fancy, I'd like to keep what is in it intact and respect my family's wishes.

But this morning, I got up and grabbed one of those TIME magazines that just came in but I have not had time to read with the end of the school year. As a child, TIME was my introduction to the world. Starting at a young age, I read every one of "Dad's" magazines usually ignoring Better Homes or Southern Living for Newsweek, or TIME. Reading TIME always takes me back in time to when I was a young child on a Saturday morning wrapped up in a blanket on the couch reading it while cartoons played on the TV.

The fog was out this morning as I settled into the garden tub overlooking the tops of the trees. I didn't put in my contacts so I wouldn't need reading glasses to get steamed up in the blistering hot water I was running in the tub. I started reading and stopped only to use my toe to turn off the water when I realized it was now running cold. Only half full (these mountain cabins don't have very large hot water heaters) I chose not to run the jets so I wouldn't wake up Kip in the other room.

Fascinated by a flow chart showing the various options laid out to Greece and its struggles for fiscal responsibility and the impact on the Euro - I was transported to a world and wondered what my friend Craig in Greece has to say about the veracity of the reports that most of the cost cutting has been on the backs of schoolchildren and teachers in Greece.

I read responses to a recent time magazine about Benjamin Netanyahu (another TIME I took time to read ;-) and found the critique fascinating of those within Israel who say that he gave access to foreign journalists that he wouldn't give to his own.

I read TIME's cover story about Mitt Romney's life growing up and was curious about the unnamed malady his Mom had and the fact that she turned down a sizeable movie contract and could have been one of "those actresses" from the golden age that we watch in Turner Classic movies but instead chose to marry Mitt's Dad, George.

As I read, the water turned cold and I got another tad of hot water from the hot water heater to heat things up. Not the steaming hot bath I hoped for but the view from the window made up for that. Over halfway through the magazine, I put it aside to look at the trees outside -- blurred like a water color painting by my not so great long distance eyesight, I realized that in the middle, there was a tree that looked a lot like a transformer. Yes, you know one of those transforming robots that my 11 year old watches on those movies with the tanned girl and quick witted Shia Labouf who looks just like my nephew Clint. There he was, staring at me.

It was then I realized. It has been so long since my mind could wander. Wander through the random thoughts of a mind without a list. I sat there looking at my transformer friend and filled with gratitude for the moment. Many people in this world live such hard, desperate lives that to think of having such a moment would be the ultimate in vanity. I don't mind working and don't "live" for such moments away but as I write more and more, I realize that these moments nurture my creativity more than anything else. Not only that, I can relate to the Psalmist who said, "I lift mine eyes unto the hills where comest my strength."

My family has been coming to these hills for at least 5 generations and I think perhaps it is something genetic - maybe our pale skin - that sends us here instead of the beach. (My son's nickname is "bleach" - just the way we're made.)

So I looked at Mr. Transformer in the treetops and for a moment thought about being afraid -- he looked so real. But I teared up with the realization that the moment was Perfect. I had found a perfect moment and I wouldn't be afraid of that.

Perfect because as I pondered all the different things I could do with my life that is left, that I'm perfectly at peace with asking God what He wants me to do with it and going that direction. (I profess that this is something many of you will find it very hard to understand and pray and wish you could.)

Sometimes I worry that I don't really know where this life is heading with me. My oldest graduates this year with his sister following the next year. I look at June after we come back and it is literally completely booked until July 1. I have a second book due in early July and already have notes for a third and fourth.

As the soul who inhabits this body, it is in my nature to ponder my own path -- I care about myself - of course I do. And one of the biggest things I've come learn after hitting 40 is the finite-ness of my own time. I can't do everything or be everywhere. When I was in Canada and my son got pneumonia it almost killed me. So, I've booked 3 events for the fall and a filming thing for a friend and that is probably just going to have to be it.

There is definitely a force that tries to inhale me when I go to conferences. There is a certain pull to "be on stage" - be one of "those" people that we all secretly think of becoming that is up there while the rest of us listen. Those people who are lean, fit, have a perfect life, and have everything in order. Maybe if I travel all the time I could be "that."

But reality has shown me that "that" would mean sacrificing "this." This is more moments with my babies and laughter with my husband. We laugh so hard sometimes at my house that I literally cry and we just can't stop. We talk about interesting things and work so hard together. My home is a fun place to be and I'm so grateful for the 19 years with this hero of a man that is my husband.

You can see it is getting brighter and the fog is dispelling. So, as I ponder Mr.Transformer man, I get out of the bath, put down TIME, run to the kitchen for a banana because I don't want to fill up before the incredible breakfast that my husband always cooks on the first day of vacation (Stripling's sausage - yum)

Then, I realize that in the spirit of continuing the perfect moment that what I want to do most is write. I used to write in journals for hours a day but now, this blog is my journal. Most of my writing is for you who read this blog. I admit that some days it is so very hard to write and I don't feel like it, but I know that 95% of what I accomplish daily is my habits. I mess up all the time and wish I could do better or spend more time writing for you (and me, because my ephiphanies often come as I compose) but this is my life.

I keep thinking that maybe I can show teachers a new path. A path of being and STAYING a teacher while taking a little time out to speak to help send your children to college. And yes, paying for college has been on our mind a lot lately. Within 2 years we'll have 2 in college and every book I can write and speech I can give will help us do that which we can't afford even on the salary of a teacher and an engineer.

It comes to me that there are more of you out there that may want to take this path. While I have an immense amount of respect for those who "do the speakers circuit" I totally know that isn't a life I want. My strength comes from my family and I love and adore getting out and speaking to any audience of teachers. To do it all the time, however, would be too much. I have babies to raise still.

Who on earth will ever even read this meandering post but me? This has got to be the longest post I've ever written and it breaks every rule of blogging, I think, that I've learned EXCEPT one -- being transparent and being real.

If I share with you my goals and you share with me yours then perhaps we can help each other along the way. I do know what I do want to be. I want to be an excellent author who helps people and makes their lives better.

Recently I was in a webinar with a college professor and her students and one student told a story about an autistic boy that bought tears to my eyes. She said "Vicki, I read in your book about the autistic boy in Austria who presented online and didn't have a speech impediment then so I decided to try it with one of my students who had a terrible stutter. I want you to know that when he presented in the online classroom, his stutter went away completely. It changed his life and I cried." (This is one of the stories in Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds) - That is what I want to do. Help people.

I want to write books that change lives and soon will move beyond education books. I'm never going to write a book just to write a book but will only write books that solve problems. I'm not going to pretend I'm perfect but will be real about what I share. I want to be incredibly helpful, kind, and respectful even to those who are unkind to me to model my faith and the forgiveness I've received to others who may mistake Christianity with hate mongers.

Should the good Lord let me write books to reach through the paper and ipads and computer screens to improve someone's life in some way - then let it be. Wherever I share whether it is here, tumblr, pinterest, facebook, Twitter, let it be to help others. There are enough narcissists in the world and arrogance is repugnant. If anything I'm pretty normal and probably boring. People where I live think I'm geeky and that I can't carry on a normal conversation but I disagree with them.

God has a plan for you and a plan for me. I pray for each of us to find it. Now,I hear sausage sizzling so I'm going to be done and enjoy this perfect moment even if it produced a quite imperfect blog post though one that accurately represents the mind of a very tired teacher.

As you think about transforming - what are you transforming into? Do you like the direction you're heading? Are you willing to change course if you're going a direction you don't like? Do you know what is important to you so you can make decisions?

Have you had your perfect moment yet this summer?

Written June 3 or so in the mountains.
Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Oak Hill Dr,,United States

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