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  


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.

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!

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 :)