Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why I'm Only Making One New Year's Resolution This Year


Hello all! I am basking in the glow of winter break. So much so that I am even blogging. Crazy right? I'm here today to get personal with you again and talk about why this year, in 2015, I'm only making one New Year's Resolution.

Yep, just one. 

This year I am resolving to do this one thing better- faith.

Let me start from the beginning.

I'm typing this at 1:30 in the morning. I slept in too late this morning (oh how I love winter break) and can't fall asleep. So naturally, my brain starts to bring up all of the things. You know, the things. The list of "Things That Are Currently Going Wrong In My Life That Need To Be Fixed Right Away". Those things. So here come the questions...Why me? Why can't I have that? When is that going to happen for me? Why can't I be happy all the time? Blah blah blah. The usual.

But this time, something stopped me ("Hello, God here!"). I started thinking about my hand. It was stretched out across the bed, just where my fingertips could touch my husband's arm. He doesn't notice. He's sleeping like a rock over there. But sometimes, like this time, I just want to reach out and know that he's there. And God reminded me in that moment that He keeps his promises. 

I didn't date in high school. I didn't date until college. And it killed me, as many things do at that age. Anything that set me apart from what I thought was "normal" or "cool" or "expected" was literally the end of the world. I spent countless nights asking God the same thing over and over- Why me? What's wrong with me? When is it going to happen for me?

When I think back on those days, I am heartbroken all over again. But for different reasons. First, I would tell myself to get it together and put on some makeup. Because I needed it. But then I would grab myself by the shoulders and shake me and say, "If only you knew what I know now! If only you could see what God's going to do for you!" 

And don't you know that's exactly what God is saying to me everytime my insomniac mind brings up my laundry list of problems? In the midst of my whining He is dying to shake me and say, "If only you knew what I know! If only you could see what's going to happen next!"

I met my husband during my sophomore year of college. I was honestly just around the corner from all that God had for me. But I was letting my selfish thoughts blind my faith. So often I let a bad case of the "why me's" get the best of me.
So let my husband (who was and is more than I could have ever imagined myself deserving and a million times better than high school boys I might add)- let all the countless blessings that surround me- be my constant reminder that God is a promise keeper. While I am whining my life away, He is waiting and ready to reveal to me a plan that is so much more wonderful than my small, human mind can imagine. Through my most broken moments (though there are may more to come I am sure), God has brought and will bring me joy.
 I only need faith to see it.

And that, my friends, is my New Year's Resolution for 2015. To live by faith, and not by my stupid, selfish, go-to-sleep-it's-one-in-the-morning sight ;)

"Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory." 1 Peter 1:7 (MSG)

"Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:31 (NIV)

"It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going." 2 Corinthians 5:7 (MSG)

     
P.S. - God keeps lots of promises in my life (and yours). This is just one special example :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The DIY Woman

We live in a DIY culture. With easy access to the internet and our beloved Pinterest, it has become increasingly popular to do everything ourselves. Whether it's a new recipe or doomsday prepping, Pinterest has it all. And I love it. In the midst of house shopping, I went on a pinning spree of DIY house remodeling. What? I can remodel a whole kitchen for under $500? That's amazing. *Pins* You can redo countertops with spraypaint? *Pins* And so on. 

Pinterest is especially wonderful for my classroom. When looking for a good Thanksgiving craft for my kids the other day, I didn't even bother with Google (what is this the Stone Ages?), I went straight there. And I love it. I love finding things I never thought I could do. I love pinning projects I know I will never complete or things I know I will never own. It's like window shopping on your couch. It's perfect.

 But here's what I think. (Take it or leave it). Sometimes Pinterest can make me feel...small. Let me explain. My husband and I recently went through the process of joining our church. Part of this process included thinking about your gifts and talents, and what you can get involved in doing for the church and for God. This is where the thought came from. There are A LOT of things that I wish I was good at. Singing, for one. I love worship music and my car is my personal concert. But I know that singing can't be my thing. Art is another thing. Back in the day before reality set in, I thought I would be an architect. Until I realized that I absolutely CANNOT draw. I can't build or fix things. I can't talk for long periods of time in front of crowds. I can't bake and decorate cakes that look like they should be on Cake Boss. (Another talent I wanted to have once upon a time). I can't build houses or fix computers or do anything other than drive my car.

And the thing about Pinterest and the DIY movement (as I'm calling it), is that it makes you think you CAN do it all. Homemade chapstick? I can make that! No, Hannah, you can't. You can't make a homemade cake. Don't even go there. Build your own farmhouse table? What? I can do that! No, Hannah, you can't. You can't even hammer a nail properly. If someone on Pinterest says it's "DIY" or "Make it Yourself", I should be able to do it, right?! That's where I think we're wrong.

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) says, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms". Similarly, Romans 12:6 says, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us".

What I'm getting at is that "DIY" is not a gift. I cannot do everything. You cannot do everything. Not every project I take on will be successful, and I shouldn't feel bad if it doesn't. As social media has taught us, not everything is as good as it seems. If you follow me on Instagram, chances are you won't see me post a "I woke up like this" selfie, because that is a truly terrifying site to behold. I don't let my husband video me when I'm grumpy because I wouldn't have any Facebook "friends" after that. We show what we want others to see. If my "DIY" project didn't turn out, I'm not going to post it on Pinterest for others to try out.

But here's the good news. God tells us we are "fearfully and wonderfully made". In Jeremiah 1:5 He says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart". God doesn't expect us to do everything. My worth to Him is not determined by my Pinterest projects or my craftiness. 

I think another fuel to this fire is our obsession with the Proverbs 31 woman and being just like her. "She makes coverings for her bed" (v. 22). "She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes." (v. 24)
Here are the verses I want to draw your attention to: "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue" (v. 26), "She is clothed with strength and dignity" (v. 25), and "Honor her for all that her hands have done" (v. 31). Here's the thing, I don't think God is calling me to be the perfect woman. I don't think God wants me to spend my days making "linen garments" or sashes. First of all, because they would suck. Second of all, it's not my thing. I should let someone that is actually good at that, do that. Instead, I choose to focus on the "honor" and "strength" and "dignity" and "wisdom" that I know he wants to give me.

God gives us what we need. Not what we want. Not a perfect singing voice to me (probably because he knows I would be selfish about it and not God-glorifying). Not the mind or hand of a mathematician, carpenter, computer worker, or artist to me. But He did give me the magcial, powerful patience it takes to be a teacher. And He did give me a sprinkling of creativity to go along with that. 

So my point is this. Shake off the pressure of a DIY culture. Take Pinterest projects with a grain of salt. Stop obsessing over the Proverbs 31 woman. God fearfully and wonderfully made you. Just as you are. And though he wants you to grow and improve, He doesn't expect you to do it yourself.

P.S. - If you need to feel better about your DIY skills, or just need a laugh, check out http://pinterestfail.com/  

      

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Spreading Schoolwide Thankfulness - A Thanksgiving Freebie

Yep! It's me. Blogging. When was the last time that happened? August maybe? Ha. Well, as always, despite my best intentions, school overtook my blogging. More like my whole life. But today I'm popping in to share with you a fun Thanksgiving activity I created for my kiddos next week!

Inspired by the idea of doing Random Acts of Kindness, my students and I will be working next week to spread thankful notes throughout our school. And you can too! Here's the plan.


http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/We-are-so-thankful-for-you-Spreading-Schoolwide-Thankfulness-1556473

Each student will get a note (I'll be doing the black & white version on cardstock) that they will decorate. They will then write a short note of thankfulness and sign our class name. As a class, we will go throughout the school and deliver our notes of thankfulness, sometimes leaving them as a surprise! 

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/We-are-so-thankful-for-you-Spreading-Schoolwide-Thankfulness-1556473

The idea of this activity is to get students thinking about thankfulness, and to spread some much-needed kindness during the crazy days before Thanksgiving break. And maybe to take up some time, too. But I didn't say that ;)

There are so many ways you can tweak this...You could have students send notes to their parents/families or one another. Or you could just send notes yourself! Share your ideas in the comments if you have them :)

The best news? It's FREE! The "We are so thankful for you" notes are a freebie in my TPT store. Grab them and get some gratitude going with your students!

So how are you teaching your students about thankfulness? I'd love to hear your ideas!  

Have a great week and a Happy Thanksgiving :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the Teacher Linky

Hello all! Well, school has officially started for me. We are in PD all this week, then kiddos come a week from today! I am so excited for my new class, and I have a really good feeling about my second year of teaching. But, of course, I am super busy. And tired. It's hard to get back into my routine after being spoiled all summer with sleeping in and being lazy!

Anywho, I am so excited about this linky from Stephanie over at Falling Into First! I am loving reading about my blogger friends and I love sharing with you guys about who I am "behind" my blog. So here's a little about me :)

http://fallingintofirst.blogspot.com/2014/08/meet-teacher-linky.html

Hey guys! I am Hannah Burns, a 23 year old fourth grade teacher from Arkansas. I am staring my second year of teaching! I love my fourthies and I love that I only teach Literacy ;)


Here's me and Husband in Hawaii this past summer! We've been married two years now. I am so thankful for him and how he puts up with all my crazy teacher madness!


  Me and my dog baby Lewis. Yes, he is spoiled :)
And below is me and my two sisters and best friends. 




These are a few of my favorite things...
 Pens. School supplies in general. Books. Reading. Creating things for TPT. Dumb TV shows. Sleeping. Shopping. Candy. Instagram.

If you weren't a teacher, what would you want to be?
A wedding or party planner. I love crafting and being creative. And I can't sit still. So I think that would be a good job for me! Ha.

Three Little Words That Describe You.
Restless. Bossy. Free-spirited.

Finish the Sentence, "_______, said no teacher ever!!"
We should have more meetings....said no teacher ever! ;)

It's your birthday and you can invite anyone (dead or alive) to the party. Who are you inviting?
 Ahhh so hard to choose. JK Rowling to rub off some genius on me. The Civil Wars (I'm in denial about them breaking up) to sing. Ed Sheeran to also sing. And all my blogger friends!!!

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would be the title?
Life in the Clouds

You get to pick one superpower. What is it?
I think I would have to agree with Stephanie on this one...teleportation would be legit. Think how much time you could save not driving in the car! And maybe then I would be on time to things. But probably not.

What's your favorite quote or saying?
"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." - Henry Van Dyke 

If you had to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
Um, none! I have a horrible voice. Maybe Broken Wing or Strawberry Wine. A classic. A hilarious classic.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I am so a night owl. Me and mornings don't jive. But once you get me up and caffeinated, I'm good.     

What's your favorite resource that you've created in your TPT shop?
This is so hard to pick....I think every new thing I make is my new favorite. Haha. 

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/If-We-Were-Helen-Anne-Helen-Keller-Activity-575125

I think it would probably be my Helen Keller activity. This was my very first TPT product. I created it for my second grade student teaching class. And I will always love the spark of creativity this little freebie started!

Share something we might not know about you...
I love to sleep! I take a nap after work almost every day. No shame in this game.

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http://fallingintofirst.blogspot.com/2014/08/meet-teacher-linky.html
 
I LOVE this linky party! Go add your link so I can read all about you! And thanks again, Stephanie :)