Sunday, March 31, 2013

Diet Coke

On March 19 I decided that I would begin a "no diet coke" day the next day.  I typically stop at McD's, Sonic or Chick-fil-A for breakfast.  The primary reason for this stop is to get a diet coke.  I didn't stop the next morning, but hadn't planned this in advance (ie or at all), so breakfast was difficult.

The first day was a breeze, which was COMPLETELY unexpected.  So, I've continued it.  Since March 20, I have had one diet coke.  I was a week into this "no diet coke" thing and had a bit of a stressful day and ran to Braum's.  It tasted weird, y'all.  Like, weird-weird.  I haven't had another one since.  I'm not going to go all crazy and say I'm never going to drink another soda in my life.  But the scales are 7 pounds down.  7 pounds!  In 12 days!

Granted, diet coke is the major change, but because I'm not drinking diet coke, I'm not eating fast food.  (If I go through the drive-thru, I will not order water with my meal.  I know this about myself.  So, I just don't go.)

Diet green tea with citrus is yummy!  

Friday, March 29, 2013


The moment I (no...we :), definitely WE...y'all have been so awesome and amazingly supportive ) have all been waiting for came yesterday.  Arrow emailed me and said they had a referral of a little girl and to call them as quickly as I could.  I stepped into another room and called her back, but she wasn't available.  (Oh. The. Agony!)  I left my phone on, told my kiddos it would ring and not to react (hey, I've taught long enough to know they'll react ;)) and kept on teaching.  10 minutes later, it rings and the comedy of chaos begins.

The room I stepped into the first time, now has kids in it.  There is another empty room in our pod, so I head that way.  I stop at J's room to tell her to watch my kids, but she doesn't see me and I'm snapping at her to get her attention, because the lady is talking to me on the phone the whole time giving me details of this child!  The kids get her attention and she's so excited, because she knows what's happening and we kinda squeal together (except I'm on the phone, so mine is a silent squeal), and then I head into the empty room which is right beside hers, but it's locked and I have a key, but it's not opening, and I'm now calmed down enough to start listening to the lady on the phone and hear some PRECIOUS details and my heart is already racing, but it definitely picks up speed and I look at J and S (who has joined us for the excitement) urgently and mouth "help me!" and they bust me into the room and then J goes to keep an eye on my class.

I'm in the room for 30 seconds before I hear that this little one is 4, but will turn 5 on Saturday.  I tell her I'm a teacher and she has to be able to come to school with me, and I don't think that will work, but I will need to hang up and go talk to my principal and call her back.  I run down the hall to Beverly's office.  I knew.  I knew a child's birthday has to be before a certain date, but the hope...
Beverly confirmed that there wasn't anything we could do, and I called the lady back to say, "no."  She said she knew my license was for 5-10, but she thought she'd try, and we hung up.  I walk down the hall, back towards my classroom and see J and shake my head "no" and the tears come.  I think I would have been okay, if I hadn't acknowledged them, but I said, "Ugh, now I'm going to cry." and then the floodgates opened, and I lost it.  Thankfully no kids were around!  The art teacher walked by and was probably like, "Um, there's a lady crying in the hall....crying makes me nervous!"  (Sorry, Cory!!)

J grabbed a tissue, and I pulled it together and went back in to the classroom to teach.

It was HARD.


Oh, not teaching.  That was actually a blessing, because it got my attention off the pain.  Saying "no" was HARD.  I knew I would get phone calls and maybe not get chosen (because they call everyone that fits the parameters of a child and CPS chooses a family).  I didn't think about the pain of when I would have to be the one to say 'no.'

I know other phone calls will come.  I know the Lord has a home for the little girl they called me about yesterday.  I know His timing is perfect.  I trust Him.

It's still hard.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Day in the Life

Another blogger I read regularly did a post like this and I thought it was fun.  So, here we go! :)

This is a typical day for me:


Alarm goes off at 5:45, snooze a couple of times, feel panicked and hop in shower at 6:15

Race to school for 7:15 tutoring, arrive at 7:12, but tutoring kiddos are a couple minutes late so I have time to check and reply to a couple of emails.

Tutor 7:18-7:50

Announcements and then switch homerooms.

Teach kiddos until 8:40:  We're reviewing several grammar concepts they've asked for clarification on: specifically commas.  Commas are hard!

Take students to computer (This is one of our specials: Students go to music, computers, art, and PE at some point during the week.) before I have a meeting with the 4th grade team and counselor at 8:45, but slip in to see Beverly about a DonorsChoose question and arrive a little late for team meeting.

Official meeting breaks up, and then our team discusses a game plan for several upcoming events (with 3 new team members this year, there is more explaining involved than would typically need to happen.)

Pick up kiddos at 9:30, and they walk in to class asking if we can do Social Studies.  They absolutely LOVED acting out a cattle round-up yesterday and watching me demonstrate a buffalo hunt last week, so they ask for Social Studies constantly.  I LOVE hearing this, of course!

They eat snack while I review the 8 comma rules.  Several kiddos have "ah-ha!" moments in regards to commas with dependent and independent clauses, so this is a MAJOR success moment that I, as a teacher, and they, as students, CELEBRATE! :)

Students are writing to various prompts in the classroom.  In the next day or so, they will share their stories and classmates will need to identify if that author's composition is expository or personal narrative.  While they write, I answer questions and take posters down off the walls that can't be up for STAAR, which is next week.  I also create a DonorsChoose project for some whisperphones for our classroom.  I submit it, but have to wait for DonorsChoose to approve it before it goes live.

We go over a comma IP (independent practice) from yesterday.  They have a few minutes to read around the room and work on their extra credit projects.  Reading around the room is their FAVORITE, so I see lots of smiles and hear several murmurs of "yes!" as they scamper for their favorite spot.  Several students chose to re-enact a buffalo hunt as an extra credit project, so they work on writing their script while others are reading.  Another little one is researching a person she is enthralled with and writing a speech, so she's on the Mac tucked under a table, busily searching for information.

We switch classes at 11:10.

I am in a slightly different place with commas with this class, just due to length of discussion the day before, so we're still reviewing commas, but they help me remember what we've already done and what we still need to do.  (Gotta love 4th graders that can remember and help me out!)  They complete an independent practice activity to help me to see which types of commas we need to hit a little more.  They learn Washington has to be separated from D.C. with a comma.  I know it has to go there, but I'm not sure why, so I google it to learn, too!

At 11:20, I receive an email from our AP asking for a meeting with my teaching partner and me.  This week is slammed with meetings and J, my teaching partner, is off-campus for the afternoon, so the three of us go back and forth trying to find a time we can meet.  We offer for her to join us for lunch duty on Wednesday (yes, we're THAT busy with meetings and commitments that joining us for duty is what we have available this week), but the meeting has to take place today so she can get back to the parent asking the questions.

This group works on their compositions.  They ask some questions that make my heart go pitter-pat since the Writing test is next week, and I feel like they should know the answers to the questions they're asking, but I remind myself this happens every year, and the kids still do fine.  They DO know what to do, but sometimes they just need to hear it again.  I smile and answer every question they think of. :)

At 12:25, we line up for recess.  I'm on recess duty today and our playground and building can be a bit of a wind tunnel, and the current temperature is 49, so I encourage kiddos to take a jacket with them.  B, another teacher on our team, takes anyone to the field that wants to go, and I watch children on the playground playing basketball, 4 square and monkey bars, etc.  The sun is out and shining warmly, so many jackets get hung on the fence.

12:55, we blow the whistle and line up to go inside for lunch.  A couple of helpers hold up any forgotten jackets, and I walk in with one on my arm that wasn't claimed.

We try to walk in quietly, as there are classrooms around us, but 4th graders that just had recess are a little difficult to corral.  At some point, someone claims a jacket from my arm while I'm handing off the walkie-talkie to a teacher for lunch duty and passing on a lunchbox to someone else that forgot it, while letting a birthday child know that his special treats are in the office.

1:02: I meet with my AP to catch her up on some background in a certain situation.

1:17 I dash into the bathroom for the first time today.

1:18: I pop popcorn for lunch and drink an iced green tea while chatting with a teacher friend.

1:30 Kids come back from lunch.  They finish up the comma independent practice and continue to work on their compositions.  We go over the comma IP.

2:00:  I know the math STAAR simulation is tomorrow, and the Writing STAAR is next week, so I move desks around to be totally separate from everyone else, while kiddos are reading silently at their desks.  This is always fun (No, really!  We're all smiling!) , because they giggle while I drag their chairs and desks, but I need them in their desks to know who sits where so I know where I want the desks to go, and they're reading, so fluency and comprehension is being practiced. :)

2:30: We pack up a little early because one of my kiddos has cookie cake to share with our class for his birthday.  The parents forgot to send a knife/plates, so he passes out tissues while I pop over to another teacher's room to get a knife.  Kids want icing or don't want icing and everyone wants seconds. :)  We sing Happy Birthday to the birthday boy.

2:45: Younger siblings arrive and react to the moved desks.  I hear lots of calls of "What did you DO, Ms, Ross?!" General hub-bub of kids moving around and seeing friends in the hallway and sharing their day with their younger brothers and sisters that have joined us for dismissal.

2:50: Walkers leave to go with the walker crowd.  Car riders come outside with me.  The Lone Star Challenge team streams into my room with backpacks and flash cards and binders.  I'm calling numbers at car rider today.  That's a fairly new thing for me, and I'm still learning cars and parents' faces.  I'm not as good at this job as I am at directing traffic, but we get the job done! :)

3:05: Lone Star Challenge meets in my room.  We watch some videos on Colonial America and play a board game with questions they have made up to quiz each other.

4:10: LSC kiddos head home.  I answer 24 emails and make a seating chart for STAAR.  I usually tutor on Tuesdays at a student's house, but cancelled today due to my "to-do" list that I feel very behind on.  I've rescheduled his tutoring for Saturday at my house.  I've never cancelled on him before, so I don't feel too guilty about it.

6:00 Leave work and text Julie that I'm still coming to Let's Art Party, but won't be able to bring brownies like I'd planned since I left work late.

7:00 Join a couple girl friends I hadn't seen in awhile.  Eat pretzels and hummus, drink chardonnay while following the teachers' directions to paint a fun picture.

10:00 Stop by Mom's house to show her my fun picture...I remember I'm taking a meal to a new foster mom tomorrow night, and I haven't made the brownies yet!  Bolt for home.

10:15: Brownies go in the oven and I clean the house, wash my face, download a pic of my new painting to Facebook.

10:45: Brownies come out of the oven and I fall into bed, but my mind is running 90 to nothin', so it takes a few minutes to actually fall asleep.

11:15 Receive a text message (I have to keep my phone on, in case Arrow calls.  Can someone tell me HOW to not hear text messages at night, but still have the phone ring!? Sheesh!)

Monday, March 25, 2013

10 Random Things

I thought it would be fun to be random. :)  I'm taking a short break from fostering posts to post 10 random things about me!

1.  I like using the "little" fork for everything.  I know it's supposed to just be for salads, but I eat all my meals at home with the little fork.

2.  I have a slightly flat foot.  This means "cute" shoes don't work for me.  Heels are a no go.

3.  I count things.  I'm not as bad now as I was at a kid.  But I counted doorways by "5s".  Yep.  I would lay in bed and mentally walk through the house counting doorways.  I had to make it a 5.  So I went up the doorpost, across the top, down the other side and then crisscrossed it in my mind to get 5.  Then I counted all the doorways in our house.  I counted ceiling tiles (rows/columns) in school.  They didn't have to be 5s.  I don't understand my logic either, but it made sense to me at the time!

4.  I fell in love with Texas History when Mrs. Tucker, my 7th grade teacher, taught about Native Americans hunting the buffalo and eating the heart right there on the prairie.  What 7th grader doesn't like gross?  It is still one of my favorite lessons to teach to this day.

5.  I leave a trail of shoes behind me. Every few days, I walk through my house and pick up all the shoes (5-7 pair usually) and take them to my closet.  I once left a pair of shoes at my parents' house and drove home barefoot without even noticing.  (I was really tired!)

6.  I eat one food at a time.  I can't go back and forth from my entree to the side and back again.  I start with a side, then move to the entree, then to the other side.  I might not finish the side before I move on to the entree.  When I'm finished eating all the things on my plate one at a time, I'm then quite comfortable moving back and forth between whatever's left. :)

7.  A beach or cruise vacation is my favorite relaxing vacation.

8.  Foods that I swallow without chewing don't feel like eating to me.  (Applesauce, yogurt, pudding.)

9.  I've never broken a bone.

10.  I've been to more countries outside the United States than states within the United States.  I'm hoping to change that soon.  There is so much in America that I want to see!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Prayer for My Daughter(s)

We sang a song in church this morning.  We've sung it before and it resonates with me, each time, in a different way.

This morning it resounded in a way it hasn't before.  The Lord used this song to lead me to pray for my daughter.  I do that off and on, more so lately.  :)

Here are some of the words.

You take my mourning. Turn it into dancing.
You take my weeping.  Turn it into laughing.
You take my mourning.  Turn it into dancing.
You take my sadness and turn it into joy.

You bring restoration
You bring restoration
You bring restoration
To my soul.

You've taken my pain.   You call me by a new name.
You've taken my shame.  And in it's place,  you give me joy.

Here is a link to hear Hillsong sing it.  It starts off a little slowly, but it's beautiful.  I encourage you to listen!

I began to pray for my daughter.  The one that is coming to me soon.  I can almost see her face.  I asked the Lord to protect her, right in this moment from whatever she is going through that is causing her to need to come live with me soon.

Heavenly Father,

You are good and righteous and holy.  You are bold and beautiful and just.  You are gracious and loving and merciful.  You are so many things I cannot wrap my mind around.  Right now, Lord, I'm coming to You as a mommy.  My heart is breaking for the little girl You are preparing for me.  I beg You to keep her safe, Lord.  Yet, I know sometimes You allow things You hate so You can accomplish something You love.  I don't understand it, and I don't have to.  You are God.  Not me.  Lord, I ask that You bring to light whatever evil is happening to my little girl.  I ask that you give someone the boldness to speak up and bring it to the right person's attention.  I ask that You give that person the focus to act on the information quickly.  Lord, You are a God of details.  I know this.  I have seen it.  I have lived it.  Lord, You are a God of the big picture.  I know this.  I have seen it.  I have lived it.  Lord, I praise You for who You are.  I know You love my girl more than I do.  I know that You are growing this love for her inside my heart.  You are God.  You can take my little one's mourning and turn it into dancing.  You can take my little's weeping and turn it into joy.  You bring restoration.  I know it takes time.  I know Your timing is perfect.  I trust You...not just with me...but with her.

In Christ's name, I pray,

I'm here, Little One.  God is working.  I'm praying for you.  And, when the timing is right, God will bring You to my waiting arms.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Constant Change

I thought I was going to sign licensing paperwork on Friday, but received an email late Thursday night (which NEVER happens) that we needed to reschedule because my case manager was on call and was going to be up all night.

She did offer to come to my home next week, which is nice, because driving to Carrollton isn't a big deal, but driving home is so much better.

We're currently scheduled for Wednesday, but I won't be surprised if that changes, too. :)

Just a short update :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Email I Didn't Know I was Waiting For

I didn't know how I would find out.  I didn't know what I was waiting for.  I assumed there would be some more, "You still need to turn in _______." type of communication.

Today I received an email from Arrow that said:

Your home is officially opened! J

That is all it said.  That one line...changed my day!  I knew I was close, but WOW, really!?  I could get a call at ANY MINUTE.  I have found out this evening that it takes a few days for my info to hit the CPS system and most people I've talked to have said their first call/placement didn't come for approximately two weeks, but it could be any minute!

Life is about to change.

Of course, there is always more paperwork to do.  I got another email this evening from Arrow that asked me when I could come sign licensing paperwork.  Sigh... Yay, paperwork! :)

A Different Spring Break

This is the first time in a few years that I've been at home over Spring Break.  The last two years, I've left for Haiti as soon as I could leave work Friday afternoon and spent 7 wonderful days in a beautiful country filled with hurting, yet strong people that have sweet spirits and gorgeous smiles.  I learned a little bit of Kreole and ate delicious food.  I hiked a REALLY hard trail and held a friend's hair while she puked over the side. I saw gorgeous mountain sides with clouds wisping by.  I worshiped the Lord at the top of that hard trail and, while I didn't forget how hard that trail had been, I didn't mind it any more.  I crossed fast moving creeks while holding cinder blocks and bags of food and toys.  I rode on the back of a moto and had a truck almost clip my leg.  I learned car horns can be used for MANY things, mostly positive. :)

I was challenged to share what the Lord was teaching me and to always use "I" or "me" instead of the more general "we".

I met Lacey and Mark Stockeland and their two sweet children and made friends for life.

Friends from Houston's First Baptist Church are in Haiti this week, and I am blessed to be able to pray for them.

I love my Spring Break plans for this year and am excited for what is ahead in the coming weeks.  But Haiti will always hold a dear place in my heart.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Reminder of How Far I've Come

Sometimes I don't realize how long the road of becoming a licensed foster parent has been until I'm talking to someone at the beginning. Believe me, I know I still have a LOT to learn and a LONG way to go.  But, tonight I had a conversation with someone who's sister/brother in law are at the very beginning of the application process and she had SO many questions and it was a blessing to realize how far I've come.  Every meeting, every phone call, every email is a learning experience...and it can definitely be overwhelming.  It was nice to finally be the one that had a few answers instead of oh, so many questions!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Fostering: A decision

I am surrounded by loving and supportive girl friends and family that are willing to pray with me and for me.  They're willing to be my sounding board and my voice of reason when I'm being all emotional.

Philippians 4:7 "and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

After yesterday's post, I had a restful night of sleep.  I had emailed my girls, my prayer warriors.  I had conversed with one good friend of several years and one soon to be good friend that is a few months ahead of me down this road of single fostering.  I could let this worry go...and sleep.

I left God is a Warrior playing softly on repeat.  

And I slept.  

I talked with Mom and Dad today and told them my new friend's advice and parts of her story.  I cried.  I started feeling all "mama-bear-ish" for the little one coming, and I don't even have her yet!

I'm not really a crier.  I mean, I tear up in sappy movies, sure.  But, I rarely get all emotional about life.  When I cry, it's either a single tear or two...or it's body shaking sobs.  I've already cried for my little girl several times.  Really cried.  In the last 24 hours.  It's like I'm hormonal and pregnant or something ;)  Good thing I'm not getting any weird cravings!

I jest, but this has been one wild ride of expectant motherhood.

It ain't for the faint of heart!

I've emailed Arrow and confirmed I am sticking with licensing for one child.  I will trust in the Lord's timing for when He has a precious one for me.

Friday, March 08, 2013

One or Two, What Should I Do?

I received an email from Arrow this afternoon that froze me.  I had been told years ago to expect this.  I might have even been told more recently than that, but it wasn't on my radar and I emotionally froze.  I closed the email and continued teaching my students and sent them on a lovely Spring Break and drove to meet V for dinner and a movie without thinking about it again.  Um,  yeah.  If you know me at ALL, you know this is abnormal.  I think about something TO DEATH sometimes.

Arrow wants me to strongly consider being licensed for two girls.  They don't receive many single placements in my age range and while it would always be on a case by case basis, they think two would help me receive a placement.

I just described to you what my brain did.  Hard shutdown.

I had forgotten that they would pressure me to accept more than I had asked for.  I wasn't emotionally prepared to think about it, face it, deal with.

When I started talking about it with V, logistical questions arose.  What about a bed?  It's no longer man on man defense.  They outnumber me!  Where is the second one going to sleep!  Two.  TWO!  I'm just one.  single.  girl.  I'm not super woman.  Throughout so much of this process, I have been trembling inside the whole time.  I'm not strong.  I'm petrified.  PETRIFIED.  I'm alone and that's scary.  I've never been a parent.  And that's scary.  I so want to love her well.  But, what about when I mess up?  She's already had the kind of life that caused her to be removed from the human beings that should love her above all else.  My stumbling around not knowing how to be a parent could be huge.  See?  Fear!

I'm just a teacher making less than most of America.  I can't provide the same lifestyle she could get with a two parent home.  I just can't.  And two cost more.  That's just facts.  See?  Fear!

But then I start thinking about how she could have a sister to play with and fight with and learn social skills with and learn to face life head on together.  That would be amazing, right?

Ok, but back to logistics.  I have a trundle that literally does not have space to be pulled out.  Which means buying a bunk bed, which is doable....but is that even the path I want to take?  The path of two?  How do I know?

I am 100% positive the Lord has called me to foster, but the small details He hasn't been as clear on.  Timing (Summer?  School year?  Now?  Fall?)  He hasn't given as much direction.  Numbers (One?  Two?)  I know there are times in my life He can glorify Himself as He wants to no matter which path I choose.  I know that.  That doesn't mean I don't want Him to just make the decision and allow me to be obedient.  I can do that.  I can be obedient.  Just don't ask me to choose.  That's hard!

I "met" a Facebook friend tonight for the first time.  We talked on the phone almost 30 minutes and she was so gracious to share her experiences with me.  Some things I hadn't thought about that will break my heart when the time comes.  Some points I just wasn't sure of, she cleared up.  The entire conversation was a gift from the Lord, and I am so grateful.

One thing I do know...this has magnified being single.  Being single sucks.  There are certain aspects of single hood that don't bother me. (but that's not really the point of this particular post.)  There are certain aspects I'd thought of in regards to parenting: loving her, raising her, looking towards her future, having a solid, Christian man around to show her how a man is supposed to treat a woman, disciplining her, having a second set of hands around, and the list continues.

One thing I hadn't thought of...that will be excruciatingly painful for me.  I will have no one to talk with about certain things.  It will be HER story to share and there will be SO much of it that I cannot share.  And that will be hard.  I will cry alone.  And that will be hard.  I will parent alone.  And that will be hard.  I will not be the only one to love her, but I will be the one to raise her for the precious time we have together.  And I will be alone.

And...well....that just stinks.

I'm crying for the second time tonight.  Because my heart is already breaking for the little one He has for me.  And because I'm listening to God is a Warrior on repeat...and it has a whole new meaning for me tonight.

Monday, March 04, 2013

God is a Warrior

We sang this song in church on Sunday.  One of our worship leaders, Isaac Wimberley, wrote it.    Don't just read the words...try to visualize them. :)

God is a Warrior, fighting for me
Forever reigning in victory
He has defeated death and the grave
Overcome sin with the power to save

Oh, strong and mighty is His name
So, strong and mighty is His name

There in the face of enemy
You have prepared a place for me
Though I walk through shadows dark
You put a song in my heart

Defending Your glory, you have conquered all
The kingdom, the power is yours

God is a Warrior, fighting for me
Forever reigning in victory
He has defeated death and the grave
Overcome sin with the power to save

He is my strength!  He is my song!
He is the God of my salvation

God is a Warrior, fighting for me
Forever reigning in victory
He has defeated death and the grave
Overcome sin with the power to save

Ok, this is me again...  :)

God is a WARRIOR, y'all!  A WARRIOR!  So often, I think I visualize Him as a peaceful, loving, gracious Lord.  A gracious Father, a Loving Counselor.  And He is....Oh, He IS!

But, this is a different picture.  I'm thinking a combination of Mel Gibson in Braveheart and Russell Crowe in Gladiator...but so much better.  SO MUCH BETTER!  He is a warrior.  AND...oh, AND, He is fighting for me!

He has already conquered anything I will ever face.  Anything my mind could even possibly conjure up.  He has conquered it.  CONQUERED it, y'all.

Worried, I'm going to be single forever?  He's conquered that worry.  He's conquered facing life alone.

Frustrated and heart sick with the neglect and abuse children are facing?  He's conquered it.  CONQUERED it, DEAD!  He is with them.

Knots in my stomach over becoming a single parent ON PURPOSE?  Oh, yeah, He helped Mary when Joseph wanted to walk away.  He has CONQUERED that, too.

But, Lord, what about _______________________?  Y'all.  Whatever worry you're putting in the blank.  He's conquered it.  He's defeated death.  He rose from the grave.

He is strong and mighty.  Not even just Him and His presence....but His name.  His name!!  Can your name be called strong and mighty?  Nope.  Mine neither.  But, my God's name is strong and mighty.  He's a warrior fighting for me...and for you.  He is reigning in victory.

He's got this.  My God's a warrior.  I don't need to worry.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Debt Free!

The one thought that is constantly crashing in my mind this weekend is that I'M DEBT FREE!

The only word I can use to describe the emotion of this particular place in life I have found myself is relief.

Utter and profound relief.  I don't owe.  I'm not accumulating interest.  I can use my money as I WANT to rather than as I HAVE to.  I've had a car payment for the last 9 years and began working on my master's degree 6  years ago.  This has been a long time coming...most of my adult life has included some form of debt.  When the March paycheck comes in and I'm budgeting for April, I almost think I won't know what to do with myself.

Part of me wants to go buy something luxurious.  And, I admit, an iPad is being purchased next week.

But, I'm not going bonkers.  I've set a goal to purchase a home by the time I'm 35.  That's not THAT long away, but it's a goal.  That means all the money that was going to M.Ed. and Honda are now going towards a home.

I am constantly in awe of God's goodness and provision.  In August, as I was preparing my classroom, I remember a trip to a teacher supply store.  I needed a small item that cost less than $5, and I bought it...but knew I shouldn't have, because I flat out could NOT afford it.  I wasn't sure how I was going to pay September's rent, much less the car payment and certainly didn't need to be spending 2.99 on a classroom item.

I remember another moment when I was painfully aware of the $14 I had in my checking account, but was going to a dinner meeting in which every person was supposed to bring an item.

That was August, people.  August!  7 months ago...and God has provided a steady income, of not only my primary career, but also of tutoring students.  I'm currently tutoring 5 students and two of them would like to meet more than once a week, but it's hard to schedule that many sessions!  Two students came to my home this weekend, they were so desperate for tutoring!

There have been many years when my tax return came at just the right time to pay for an emergency, but this year, I was able to use it to pay off the finishing touches on both my M.Ed. and my Accord.  Thank you, Lord!  You are a God who provides and I see Your hand every day.