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They all give advice, think they have the best plan, set standards and expectations, raise the bar, and make it all look super easy.  They tell you fairy tales are real, and you are not enough if your life isn't one.  Who knows, maybe there are real people out there living their real fairy tales where everyone is perfect and their issues are shallow and easily resolved, where the happy ending is too easy to predict.  Maybe that happens, somewhere, for some people.  You know what though, I sure don't live in one of those, but for some reason, I find myself measuring my success as a wife, friend, daughter, sister, teacher, etc. according to everyone else's happily ever after.  I see people living these perfect lived that look so flawless, so effortless, so painless, so...heartless.  And I so easily let myself ignore the reality that most people don't broadcast their B-Roll to the rest of us. 

They don't air their flaws and imperfections, hang out their dirty laundry.  We can't compare ourselves; I can't compare myself to other peoples' final product, and ignore the rest of their writing process.  I ignorantly and naively presume that because I haven't read the rough draft then one must not exist!  I presume in selfish blindness that I must be the only who is still on the editing step, and whose draft is covered with red marks and corrections.  Covered with things to work on, words to change; covered with stains and smudges, scribbles and scuffs.  I don't realize that in the proofing, that is where the real growth begins to be evident.  That is where one begins to realize that they might just be on to something.  That even though they have made a mistake, spelled something wrong, mis-worded a phrase or two, or done something out of order, that in addressing those errors and correcting or changing them, growth occurs. 

It is in the realization and identification and then correction that true beauty and potential are demonstrated!  It is not in the final draft, but in crumpled coffee-stained copy after copy.  Anyone of us can print off a fresh, "final" draft, deceivingly clean of stains and errors, but it takes true courage, vulnerability, and trust to share the mess with other people.  If you are willing to be honest, we are all a mess of mistakes do-overs, only some people are open to to living with their mess visible to others.  I really think if we all shared a little more of our rough draft and a little less of the 12-point, Times New Roman seemingly "perfect" version, I think we might do a little less comparing and envying and a lot more loving, encouraging, and walking together with each other in step through life.  I think if I quit trying to live a fairy tale, and embraced my own story, I would find it a lot easier to be content and joyful. 



We began the last week of our first six week period today.  It is crazy how fast the time flies when things are in full swing!  It is also insane how different this second year of school is compared to last year.  I feel so much more confident as the leader in the classroom, as well as more comfortable letting the students have some of the control.  I am definitely beginning to get it, although I still have so so much room to grow and improve.  I love the new class I am teaching, and feel like I am getting to be myself so much more in the classroom, as I have far fewer discipline problems, and can get to know the students on a more personal level since there are fewer of them.  I don't know if this position is forever, but it is most definitely the right one for this present time.  I have so much more peace and am a lot happier.  All that being said, I do really miss many of my students from last year!  I was so ready for a break in May that I didn't really expect to miss them, but I sure do!  There are a few little stinkers I don't particularly miss, but after a year school year together, most of them earned a place in my heart. 

I am truly in constant awe of the abundant blessings God is heaping on Nick and me in this season of our lives.  We are lucky to have Nick's brother Nathan and a friend of ours, Taren, living with us, as well as our two precious and poorly behaved pooches.  We are able to spend a lot of time with friends as well as see our families often.  God is truly providing for our every need and his blessings are overflowing.  I can only hope when things are harder and more complicated, when times are messier and God's hand and perfect plan are harder to see, that we have dug my wells deep and surrounded ourselves with people who will lift us up and remind us that God truly grows our faith in times that are not easy. 

I am confident, now more than ever, that God is alive and real and has a perfect plan He is completing in and through me.  I am struggling through mistake after mistake as I try to become the perfect version of me, when God sees that without my efforts.  I often feel defeated as I fail again, but take comfort in the truth that had I not tried at all, only then would I truly have failed.  I am blessed beyond measure with a husband who forgives me endlessly and challenges me to become more than just average.  He pushes me to be better than worldy, and to work on the parts of myself that don't reflect Christ.  He is a constant picture of Jesus to me, as he seems to have endless grace and unconditional love, and loves me enough to say hard things and see the things in me I don't always see. 

We are praying this week, and hopefully always, that God would empower us and make our faith alive, that we would be boldly seeking and asking for opportunities to be used.  We are praying that our daily interactions with others would paint a picture of the love and grace that God has freely gifted to us, that we would look past imperfections and shortcomings, past what is at eye level, to what is on the inside, people who need God as much as we do.