Friday, April 15, 2011

Extraordinary People Series - Part 1

Extraordinary person #1 is my bestie, Steph. Let's see...I've known Steph for about 8 months now & yet, I feel like there was never a time when she wasn't a part of my life. She was the 1st person I saw on my very 1st day of nursing school, the 1st person to speak to me & the 1st person to smile at me on that very nerve-wrecking morning. Since then, she's been there when I felt like giving up, celebrated happy times with me & supported me through rough ones, she's laughed with me, vented with me, & got to see what happens when I am beyond the point of mad ;).

I remember Toby telling me, "When you start nursing school, I bet you make friends that will last a lifetime."  I remember saying, "I doubt it. I'm there to get a degree & get on with my life."  Boy, was I wrong! 

Stephanie & her family have become a part of our family. She's taken my LiviGirl under her wing, her Sweet Sadie has stole our hearts...I just can't imagine a day without them in our lives. (And, her Steve is an alright guy too! :) 

I'm still sometimes amazed at how a liberal, red-head & this moderately conservative introvert ever became friends, but I know for certain that every day of my life is better because she's in my corner.  Toby thinks we were separated at birth, I think God just knew that I wouldn't make it through this journey without her. 

So, "Thank you Steph, for everything...for the support, the listening ear, the acceptance of me for who I am, the texts & calls when you somehow just know I need them, for loving my LiviGirl nearly as much as I do, & for being the best female friend I've ever had.  There is no way I would make it through this without you.  You have enriched & brightened my life in so many more ways than you'll ever realize. I can't imagine traveling this road without you.  In a nutshell - You're awesome!" 

"There are those whose lives affect all others around them. Quietly touching one heart, who in turn, touches another. Reaching out to the ends further than would ever know." ~ William Bradfield

Today, as I was driving home from school, I got to thinking about all the people in my life who affect my life for the good but probably don't have any idea that I feel that way.  

I love the picture to the left because that's how these people appear to me.  As a smile, a kind & supportive, positive & uplifting word in a sea of negativity & gloom (which is what life sometimes feels like).

Now I'm not referring to people like Toby, Livi, my parents, or grandparents, etc. I try to tell these people I love them & "thank you" every time I see them. In fact, Toby & Livi are probably sick of hearing how much they mean to me - haha!  

No, I'm talking about the people who probably assume that either a) you don't know they exist, b) you know they exist, but they mean nothing to you or c) you know they exist & you care, but thy're nothing special to you...

The more I thought about this, the more I thought about how important it is to tell others what they mean to us. So, for the next few blogs, I'm going to write a little bit about some of these people in my life. It's not real original, but I'm calling it "Extraordinary People Series". Not in any particular order, these are the people that have changed or continue to change or enrich my life in some way.  People that, having never met them or took the time to know them, my life would definitely be less satisfying & fulfilled.  

I hope in doing this to achieve 2 things. 

1.) I hope it will serve as a written reminder to these people that, regardless of how busy I get or how grouchy I can appear, they truly have touched my life & changed it for the good.

and 2.) I hope it will encourage others to do the same.  Whether someone does something nice for you, encourages you, smiles at you, brightens your day or changes the entire course of your life...take the time to tell them!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Many changes are taking place in our household.  After some problems at school escalated last week, we decided that it was time to take control of Livi's education & make sure that she was educated both in a safe environment & in a manner that enriches her life. 

We've heard about every argument for or against homeschooling, but we believe firmly that no one loves Livi more than us and, therefore, I think that puts us in the position to make the best choice for her. 

I think the most frequent question we've heard is "How will you find time?"  Most people know that I am a full-time nursing student & Toby works full-time.  I can answer this question in a couple of ways...

1.) Livi has always been & will always be my #1 priority.  Raising her into a productive, happy, successful, enriched young woman is more important than anything else to me. So whatever it takes to make that happen is what I'm going to do.

2.) It doesn't take 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week to educate 1 child.  I'm not a teacher of 20 kids which are all learning at different levels & require me to answer multiple questions over every subject.  I have only 1 student & she has my complete & undivided attention whenever she needs it. 

I firmly believe that our children need more independent studying time, more critical thinking exercises, and more time to "think outside the box".  For our LiviGirl, none of this (except maybe for the independent studying when she taught herself her math lessons each night) was taking place.  In fact, she was often penalized on homework for thinking critically instead of just copying an answer from her books. 

So, what have I learned this week so far:

1.) I had forgotten how rewarding homeschooling can be.

2.) I didn't realize how large our support system was until they appeared alongside us to support us. For each & every person who has stood with us through this, I can't say "Thank you" enough.  Especially, to my dear friend who was by my side through my major meltdown last week. There is a reason God brought her into my life & she is such a blessing to me! 

3.) LiviGirl is more advanced than even I realized! Today I received the math text book that she should be finishing right now in the mail, but she already knows everything in it. I'm returning it.  Looks like my baby is ready for Pre-Algebra!  I ended up purchasing an 8th grade spelling & vocab book. I hope that it will be challenging to her.  So far all the 6th & 7th grade ones were way too easy. Lastly, we're reading a novel that is normally for the 8th-9th grade level.  FINALLY, Livi has a novel to read that has some words in it she doesn't know & has to look up.  It feels good to see her actually challenged & she seems to enjoy learning new things instead of just doing a bunch of busywork :) 

4.) I CAN operate on 3-4hrs of sleep a day :) LOL! I'm hoping that beginning next week we'll have all the books I ordered for her & we can begin following a schedule. That should help me with having time to teach her & keep up with my nursing classes too...

5.) Livi apparently wants to learn to play piano.  Who knew?!?! So we are working on getting her a piano or keyboard to start with & setting up her 1st lessons with a highly recommended teacher.

6.) I missed my LiviGirl's genuine smile which had all but disappeared in the past 9 months. Her giggle & her beautiful personality is emerging again & I love every second of it!

Is my life full? Yep!  It's overflowing!  But I love it! I love the people that nursing has brought into my life. I love the things I learn in nursing school (even though I sometimes feel like I'll never "get it").  I love watching my baby girl grow & learn. I love that my hubby supports my goals, dreams my dreams, understands my fears, worries, & anger, and works hard to give me a life that I've always wanted. I love that my phone rings or my text tone goes off at all hours of the day & night with silly questions or serious calls or just support from a friend that makes me wonder how I ever thoroughly enjoyed life before I met her. 

The past week has been extremely stressful & full of a lot of tough choices for our family, but it's also served as a vivid reminder of all that is good about life.  I am truly a blessed woman & I am so grateful.  So maybe I'll lose a few hours of sleep, but what's that old saying... "I can sleep when I'm dead."  :) haha! 

Wish us luck!