Giving and Thanks

A lot of people use November to list something they are grateful for each day on Facebook. I have never participated, not because I don’t have 30 things to be thankful for, but because November is insane and I never remember about it until, like, the 5th. Then I am already behind.

I also like to think of November as a time to give as well as to be thankful, and that’s just a lot for Facebook where I am pretty sure people already “hide” me.

Besides. I have a blog for these things, yes?

So because it’s November 10, here are 10 things I am thankful for AND 10 ways I try to give (and one request)…

I am thankful for…

  1. A husband who doesn’t consider being a good dad something “extra”, but something that is just his job as a dad. Not only does it make my life easier, but it is priceless for Eddie, Charlie, and Alice to have such an involved, loving dad.
  2. Three healthy kids who are the perfect fit for our family. Each fills a roll in this family that make us complete.
  3. A job I love.
  4. My students and their middle schoolish-ness. They want so badly to be adultish, but they still are very much kidish as well.
  5. This little house that drives me crazy. Eleven years ago, Cortney and I started the process to buy this house. It seemed so big and so full of possibilities. With three kids and a zillion more tubs of stuff, this house is starting to feel like the shrinking house. But it’s cozy and keeps us safe. It’s seen us through lots of loss and even more happiness. It is our home.
  6. My mom and dad. They have been married over 40 years and they are wonderful models to us of what a good marriage looks like.
  7. my internet friends–you are proof that the internet is not all mean comment sections and uproars over coffee cups.
  8. my “in real life” friends–I love you and cherish you and do not do nearly enough to show you that.
  9. my siblings. The older I get, the more I realize how rare it is to not only have siblings you get along with, but siblings-in-law you love and get along with as well. Wait. I don’t just get along with all 8 of my siblings/in-laws, I consider them my friends. That is a gift.
  10. health care that lets me take care of my family’s medical needs, vision needs, dental needs, and mental health. It’s costly, and it means I make way less than I could be making, but I have never had to worry about the cost of taking my child to urgent care for a fever.

Ways I am (we are) giving…

  1. We support my school’s theater program. Theater and the arts save lives.
  2. We are donating all of our baby items that we are done with to family’s who need them.
  3. We are buying books for my classroom library. Books save lives, yo.
  4. I donated children’s books to a local charity.
  5. We donate to the food drives at Eddie’s school and my school.
  6. We do the Angel Tree.
  7. We give collection in Sunday School (Children in Worship) to help buy goats for a needy community.
  8. We donate gently used clothes, toys, and household items to GoodWill
  9. I give my time as a Sunday School (Children in Worship) story-teller/leader.
  10. I cook meals for family and friends when they have a BIG LIFE EVENT like a baby or a loss.

Not all of the above ways to give are monumental, but when you don’t have a lot, you give where you can. We are not in a time of life where we have an overabundance in the finances department, but we always have an overflowing of love to give.

And now that request…

if you have stuck with me for any amount of time, you know that one of the places that the most of our money and the most of my time goes is the literacy of my students in the form of my classroom library.

You have all always been so generous.

My students have come together and made a list of 25 books they really want in our library. I posted it on DonorsChoose.org where people can put as much as they want toward our “project”. If you type in SPARK when you donate, your dollar amount will be matched.

View our project here.

We are already about a third of the way to our goal; we need under $200 more. A $5 donation could be $10 when you enter SPARK and put us that much closer to getting these books.

If you’re looking for ways to give this season, I would love to be on your short list. Otherwise please consider passing our need to someone else who might be looking for a place to donate.

Thank you. THANK YOU for your continued support.

UPDATE*******
Because of your kindness, we are now halfway to getting the books for my classroom library! Only $150 to go!

Good Things

We do something at my school called “good things”.  It’s where we share good things that are going on in our lives. Almost every teacher does it, so when great stuff is going on, a student will come in and ask, “Hey Mrs. S, are we doing Good Things today??”  Our assistant principal also shares Good Things during announcements at the end of the day in the form of a Wolf Pride Roll Call where students and teachers can give and get shout outs for doing great things.

I love this because it really creates an atmosphere of positivity in our school.

Today I was a little cranky (yes, again. What?) and I realized that I needed to stop and do my own version of Good Things.

I can feel Alice kicking up a storm! Eddie was a regular mover, but Charlie was a regular gymnast. So far, Alice has Charlie’s booty-shaking tendencies.

Charlie is a complete ham. I find myself looking forward to seeing him first thing each morning, because even as he stumbles out of his room rubbing his eyes, he will still exclaim, “Oh. Hi Mommy!”

Eddie is writing sentences. SENTENCES!  10 weeks ago he wasn’t writing anything but the letters, today he wrote, “I like my mom” next to a picture of me. I melted. And his innocence is almost as sweet. His homework lately has been a sheet of 6 pictures that he needed to write the names of underneath. They are all three-letter words like “dog”, “bat”, “nut”, etc. Then they have to write four sentences using a variety of “popcorn words” (sight words) along with the words they just sounded out.  This has led to the following sentences: “I go to my bat cave” and “I see my nut” and my favorite, “I like my moms (sic) pot”.  Yes, there as a picture of a pot…the kind you cook spaghetti in. But we laughed and laughed.

My classroom library is being used, and people still love to give! For nine weeks students checked out my books and read them. This week I started hanging the Book Ads they made around the library to help them have ideas of what to read next. I also asked my students in a reflection piece, what they wish was in the library.  They listed books, authors, and subjects they wish I had.  I added them all to my Amazon Wishlist–over 100 new titles! Yesterday I shared the link on Facebook and I’ve had four more titles purchased. I can barely contain myself. Every time we have a need, people help. Those people are YOU. Six hundred titles seemed like so many at the beginning of the year. Then those kids started consuming them!  I have girls who read every one of the Princess Diary series in the first nine weeks and wanted something else. Suddenly with 150 students, 600 seems like a small number for the whole year!  Thank you for supporting them!

Cortney is the best husband I could ever ask for. He should be number one on this list. Seriously. He goes out of his way–even when it’s totally uncomfortable for him–to make sure I get enough sleep, have enough time to do my grading, and get off my feet enough. He does far more than his share with the boys, with dinners, with household chores. Not that we keep score. But if we did, he would be winning. Against everyone.

And lastly, tonight I made homemade chicken & rice soup and banana bread for dinner. And it was delightful. Perfect for this rainy, blustery, chilly fall day.

What are some Good Things going on with you right now?

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