Friday, May 22, 2015

Personal Childhood Web

This week in my Master's Program (week 3, yay) we discussed theories of childhood development and the importance of the people surrounding each child, their personal childhood web. It really made me think through some of the kids that I teach currently and how I only really see a fraction of who they are. It also reminded me how as my own kids get older and start attending school I'm now a part of a much larger team of people who influence and help them grow, it's not just family anymore. But this also challenged me to think back to my own childhood years and who made up my own personal childhood web.

Danielle's Childhood Web:

My Mom, My Sister Julie, My Uncle Jake, & My Dad
1. & 2. My Mom & Dad. They were (and are) my most prominent influence. My parents showed me what
love and family were. They created a safe and loving environment where I could grow, explore, learn and fail, and knew no matter what they would be there to catch me. They taught me way more than I realized and now that I'm a wife and a mom I can truly appreciate all that they both taught me. I see so much of my parenting style and our family's choices come out of the environment my parents created and I'm very grateful for that model and love.

Julie and I parasailing in Wildwood, NJ
3. My sister Julie-We are 12 years a part in age. When I was really little she was my idol, I wanted to grow up to be just like her, she was my hero. When I grew a little she seemed so far away like we were on different planets, I was learning my ABC's and she was learning to change diapers. When I was a teenager, she was my cooler older sister who knew everything about driving cars and makeup. When I became an adult, she was my confident, my friend, the person who gave me the reality of a situation but never changed her opinion of me based on that. My sister is still my hero, we still live far away but now it's by actual car miles, I have my ABC's down pat but now we're both changing kids' diapers, she's still cool (but don't tell her lol) and I can't imagine life without her.

4. My Grandma Boles-She made a huge impact on me. My
My Grandma Boles & I at Easter
grandma babysat me until I went to school, she walked me to and from preschool where I went for a half day, and she helped me learn how to get on a school bus for Kindergarten. She also taught me how to play cards, which soap operas were the best to watch, how yummy celery was with peanut butter, and that rock piles are the best place to look for white lucky stones. My grandma really set a lot of the framework for my childhood and gave me so many amazing memories. My grandma passed away in 2002 but when I dig for rocks with my kids, one of them dresses in every color imaginable, or we eat celery with peanut butter, I think of her and smile knowing that I'm passing down some of the same memories that she gave me.

My Uncle Jake holding my youngest daughter Ally
5. My Uncle Jake-He's more than just an uncle, he's practically Dad part 2. He taught me how to play chess, how to paint, how to laugh at the humor of life, and what it meant to be in the role of aunt/uncle. My Uncle Jake believed in me more than anyone, if there was a fad I was interested in or something that I wanted to learn about, he was right there to help me explore it. We played chess by mail, painted landscapes, wired contraptions together, built lego towers, jimmy rigged fuses in my car, turned my clarinet into a lamp, and laughed till I cried or spit my pop out on my sister. He gave me the foundation of learning and exploring and taught me it was ok to try something new & to laugh at myself through it.

Who is in your childhood web? How did they help you to be the person you are today?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Importance of Reading (and New Bookshelves)

This past week I finally finished a Pinterest project I've been wanting to do for a long time. We turned Ikea spice racks into bookshelves!

Reading is really important to me and thankfully we've been able to pass that along to our 3 kids. 

"The more that you read, the more you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss

For me reading and imagination are very tied together. Dr. Seuss, I think, believed the same thing. With my own kids, and with the kids that I teach, when you read them a book, it opens them up to a whole new idea to interact with and explore. Books are a gateway to new worlds, new ideas, and new pretend play zones.

The bookshelves were a huge surprise for my 4 year old son Micah. He was ecstatic that they were up, mostly because he could now reach his books from his bed during bedtime. But as soon as Micah looked at the book shelves, he told his sisters that now they could play book store and book fair! These books are not only opening him up to new ideas but they are also giving him new games to play and explore. Who knows, maybe this will encourage him to be a librarian?

One of Micah's favorite books, "Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site" by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld, is on the top bookshelf.

When Micah was 2 and a 1/2 and 3, this was the only book he wanted to read at bedtime. We read it over and over and over until all of us had finally memorized this book. I could quote it in my sleep! But this book really helped him go to sleep when he transitioned to a big boy bed and it helped him go to sleep when he had a baby sister in the house. This book was a huge comfort for him. Now, we don't read it every night, we actually haven't read it in a long time, but it still had to have a special place on the shelf, just in case he needs it again.

What is your kid's favorite book? What was your favorite book growing up?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Life Isn't What You Always Think It's Going To Be

Last year we moved from our comfortable life down to a college campus. We started all over again but down in PA. We moved into the smallest apartment we've ever had. And Keven went back to school.

This past week I took the next step in my career too. I went back to get my masters. I'm going to Walden University for my Master's in Early Childhood: Administration, Management, and Leadership.

Through twists and turns, open doors and closed ones, sometimes life changes directions and sometimes it turns out pretty good.

You'll start to see some new stuff around the blog in the near future. As a part of my master's degree I'll need to post some blog entries from time to time. Hope you learn from the education stuff as much as I have or will.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Evil Twin

Have you ever had a dream? Not one when you were sleeping but one that you just wanted to have happen for a long time. One that maybe keeps you up at night or you keep chasing after. Maybe it's one that you've tried to achieve by reading books on it or by things to help you attain it. 

The last few years my dream has been to be a writer. To be a published writer. So I bought a laptop. And I've read some books. I've met and talked with people. And I've started to create a desk. I write and I rewrite. And I just wait for it to happen. Except it seems the more I push and try to make the numbers on my blog go up, it doesn't work. Yet when I write from my heart people want to read it.

It really doesn't make sense to me. Except that it's not really us that needs to do anything. We need to be true to ourselves and true to the passion that God has placed on our hearts. And if we're doing that; the numbers and fame and attention really shouldn't matter because we're doing what we love.

My husband Keven is in a new band, The Death of Saul. They came out with this song "Evil Twin" and for me it just hits that on the head. I never bought a Twin Reverb (honestly I didn't even know what one was until they explained it to me: I thought it was a metaphor but turns out it's really an amp) but I did buy writing gear and buy into ideas. The lyrics are below but you can also listen to their song here.

Whoever your evil twin is-don't let them steal your dream. Hold on to the dream and let go of the guilt, let go of the pressure, let go of the evil twin, and hold onto the Dream Giver. 

The Evil Twin

Written By: David Saul
When I got the Twin Reverb I thought I'd be a rockstar
Only to find out that I'm not one at all
I'm glad cuz this life it won't last very long
I just want to taste heaven thats where I'm coming from
And Now I'm a going on a plane by myself
I'm headed to judgment with nobody else
My sins and my failures wanna meet me up there
But Gods interception delivers me here
And ooo its been awhile
Since I've had awakening style
All my life I've been looking for you
Now this needle in a haystack dream
Is more than its ever been
You're taking away my sin and healing disease
You're taking away my sin
You're taking away my sin
You're taking away my sin
And healing disease
When I got the Twin Reverb
I thought I'd be a rockstar

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Joy Stealers

Life is a humorous thing. And very ironic.

Last month I was asked to be a guest contributor on a blog: Delight and Be. So earlier this month I wrote up a post on Joy (their theme for this month). Last night I found out that it was going to be on their blog today!!! *Happy Dance*

My post is entitled Happiness Stompers. Can you guess what it's about?

So this morning I woke up and I was so excited that I was going to have something I wrote up on a website. And what's even cooler is their website is geared towards teens! This week my husband is at a conference geared towards youth pastors and here I am getting a chance to write to teens all over the world. Who would have thought I'd be in youth ministry?! (not me, lol)

And on my way to work you know what happens. The car runs out of gas.


In the middle of a very busy intersection of course. Thankfully people stopped and helped. Friends came and helped. (So thankful for them!) And I got to work ok.

But see now I'm at work and I have a choice. Do I let this car situation be a happiness stomper? Do I let it steal my joy for the entire day? Or do I listen to my own advice and remember that joy trumps happiness and our joy is fitted in God? Advice that is up on the interwebs for all to read, today.

Today, of all days!

Guess God knew that I was going to need a little reminder about keeping my joy in Him today. It's like He left me a big giant post-it note reminder. :)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Encouragement of a Child

"Wow you just rolled over!" "Look at you sitting up!" "Great job walking, you can do it!" "You can do it, keep going!" "Good job going potty!" "You were so close, keep trying." "I'm so proud of you!" We encourage our child in many ways, and it starts when they're so little. We praise them for the little things, because to them it's a big moment. And oh the look on their face when they know you're happy with what they did! :)

But when they turn that same encouragement on us, it's just hilarious.
"Good job going potty mommy!"
"Daddy, this dinner was so yummy."
"Mommy good job opening the yogurt. Keep doing it just like that."
"That was a great idea to buy me this toy Daddy."
"I'm so proud of you for not yelling mommy."
And the list keeps going.....

We encourage to teach them. They encourage to learn. To learn how to encourage, what to say, how to tell someone that they're proud of them.

Their encouragement may be funny and it might be over something simple but it can show us that we're doing something right, even if it's just going to the potty.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Becoming Undone

Every day we have a choice: to be happy or to be grumpy. Sometimes the choice is easy, obvious, and clear but other times we have to make that choice about a thousand times. And that's just 1 day.

For me the easiest way for me to become undone lies within my kids' health. One minute they're healthy and fine and the next minute it's the coldest snowiest February and we've got medicines lined up along the counter. This winter seems to be known for it's coldest temps, highest snow accumulations, and most RSV sightings on social media. Maybe that's just my newsfeed.

As a human we tend to wrap ourselves up in other people. Maybe it's your kids, your spouse, your parents, whoever is your closest and dearest. When they are at their worst, that just seems to transfer, one way or another. We take it and pile it on in heaps. And before we know it, we're drowning in their sickness but not receiving the medicine for it.

But instead we need to take some advice from our friendly neighborhood flight attendant. "If the plane drops and your air masks descend, please put your own mask on first before assisting others." We laugh at this don't we? Ha, of course I'll do that, everyone knows that. Until we get off the airplane, live our lives, start to descend, and no actual air mask is dangling in front of us.

We grasp for all we can for the other person, trying to help them, without receiving life first. On an airplane that would be dumb. In the real life that's normal.

So how do we do it? How do we remember to put our own air mask on first?
-Talk to someone
-Call or text people who can pray for you
-Remember to drink water, eat food, and get sleep----just like you're telling them to do
-Do what you can and let the rest go
-Remember this is just a season----whether it's long or short, it is just a season
-You're not alone

Winter is coming to an end, and hopefully this sickness season will too. Whatever the cause for you, may God heal your closest and dearest and may He put you back together again through it too.