Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When a Baby Grows

Six years I have shared life with this little boy.  We have had a million hugs and kisses and probably as many tears.  Time rolls on, and his red curls get cuter.  His nose gets a bit frecklier, and his shoes get longer.

Today, we bought ties and sweater vests for his newest adventure in first grade.  We have fussed over missing pool goggles and the crazy mess he and his buddy made in his room.  We shared a raspberry tea and sunflower seeds for a snack.  His little freckles popping out as the sun gets hotter today reminds me of my younger days.  He grows.  My baby grows and grows.

Blessings beyond words.

B Charmer

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Have I Done?

 A lot is going on in our home.  Change is flooding through every corner.  The big boy is ready for school, I am going back to the classroom, and the baby seems to be happy just to go along for the ride.  I am overwhelmed.  I knew when I cracked open the door to getting back into the classroom that I would feel this way.  It is one thing when change affects yourself.  It is an entirely different thing when your change has a direct impact on absolutely everybody in the home.

Today, I felt the weight of it.   Today, I questioned if this was really what we should be doing.  I have been to three different schools this morning collecting records and getting academic references for the big boy. The amount of paperwork involved in enrolling a first grader in private school is a bit mind-boggling. Tomorrow, bright and early, he goes for testing to determine his learning level.  He will score well, he always does.  He is super smart, and I do not worry one bit.

After testing, we must go the uniform sale.  He will be in full uniform this year.  The prices are a bit hard to swallow.  He will be in school monogrammed clothing, ties, and button-up oxfords.  Then, we must purchase the PE bag as well as the PE uniform.  The school belt and shoes must also be purchased with certain socks. There are registration fees, supply fees, and preschool fees.  There are all sorts of things to do to get the children ready for their new journey.

I am overwhelmed.  I wonder is this the best?  What have I done?

Then, I visited my new classroom for the first time. My classroom is absolutely lovely.  It is large and has an entire wall of windows.  It even has a grand piano in it.  The large flat-screen TV in mounted on the wall as well as the projectors.  Brand new matching upholstered chairs are ready for the children. The acoustics are right, and the lighting is lovely. It is the nicest classroom I have ever called my own.  It is inspiring just to be in there.  But, the doubt creeps in.  Can I do this job?  Am I equipped for this task?

I will admit, I am a bit out of my element.  I have always been the girl that taught oversees in third-world countries where the children sometimes were barely even clothed.  I also taught in a sweet school in the country where the boys all got riffles for Christmas and the girls could drive four-wheelers.  I had to sweet-talk the powers that be to get the old piano out of the gym and into my mobile unit.  It was delivered to me by the boys on the football team.  My experiences in life have been simple but very sweet.  I am familiar with being creative and working hard to put lovely things together.  I am comfortable with taking what is available and making the very most of it.  I am at ease there....

I used to dream of things like grand pianos and walls of windows.  I drooled over technology and my own accompanist.  I longed for a spacious room and well-developed curriculum.  I would have been delighted to simply have matching chairs! Somehow, in the moment that I was standing in a dream turned reality, my legs felt shaky.  My palms were getting clammy.  Do I have what it takes to make the most of these gifts?  Can I do this job?  I am good enough for this?  Really?  I do not even have the exact college degree that was posted for this position. I know others that applied for the job did.

As I take each moment as it comes, I am trying to remind myself that I have been chosen for a reason.  I am trying to reassure myself that I can be a part of this and do this well.  These folks that have put me in this spot knew all these facts about me.  They knew my education,  and they knew my experiences.  I need to trust their judgment and and God's plan.

I feel a bit like David standing before Goliath.  I have on a simple shepherd's robe, a few rocks, and a slingshot.  My inner voice keeps questioning this whole thing. However, my heart tells me to just make beautiful music with the rocks in my hand.

I can tackle this giant one little stone at a time.  David did.  Through God's power little David found God's favor.  He boldly did the job the only way he knew how to do it, and it worked beautifully. So, regardless if the children come in my room with dirty bare feet or in leather shoes and plaid ties, we can make beautiful music together.  That is what I know how to do, and that is exactly what I am going to do.

B Charmer

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Country Garden

A lovely place I was able to visit recently was Boardman Park.  Lovely, lovely place.  Near one entrance, a homestead has been preserved.  The gardens have been maintained as well as the home.  Just over the ridge, the town sits busying along.  But in this preserved space, the country garden comes alive.

What is it about a flower bed that reminds me of my Grandma Richmond?  She loved flowers, and her simple home in the hills of Ohio spoke true to the lovely atmosphere of the country garden.  She had her flowers and her vegetable patch.  She lost her husband early in life and her gardens were not just something she enjoyed, but something quite necessary to the well-being of her family.  Some of my very sweetest memories in life were eating from her garden.  Grandma was picky about her garden, and we were not allowed in it much. She did the picking.  We broke the beans, and she cooked the deliciousness that grew.  Our plates would be full of food, and sometimes it was nothing more than vegetables.  If there were ever a time one could taste colors, it was when she would serve her garden treasures.

Sometimes, we would climb the hill and pick the blackberries that grew thick on her ridge.  We would bring them back to the kitchen and she would work her magic.  Blackberry cobbler was her specialty, in my eyes. She would make a large cobbler for the family, but many times she would make individual ones for the children.  She would use the lids of her canning jars as tiny pie plates.  When the oven finally finished baking, there waiting to be devoured was a tiny cobbler just for me.

When I see a lovely country garden, I remember sweet times.  I know that I am one lucky girl.  The love and goodness passed down to me from both sides of my family is a blessing that I truly treasure.  I hope that I too can resemble my rich  heritage in some small way in my life.  Perhaps, I might have to make my own tiny cobblers in jar lids.  I think that would be a good start at  passing down the goodness.  You know, even as a child, I always knew that there was a lot of love baked in those tiny treasures.

I'd love to know what you are passing down...

B Charmer

Friday, August 16, 2013

This Moment

. . . . . . . . . 
{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

B Charmer

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What a Day

This day started so lovely.  The weather was just unbelievable for August in South Carolina.  Jacket-like temperatures were in full force.  I walked with the baby around the neighborhood.  I drank coffee and he peddled his trike.  We talked to neighbors and had a merry time.  I was at peace.

I thought a little bit about last week.

Last week, out of the blue, I found out about a music teaching position.  I wasn't even sure I wanted to know the details.  I have been so completely happy at home.  I felt a small tug in my heart to at least crack open the request.  A simple email was sent.  In mere minutes my phone was ringing and an interview was requested. It was whirlwind like.  So much whirlwind, I was taken back a bit.  I wasn't even sure I wanted to work.

I nearly cancelled the interview.  I was so torn about the whole thing.  I eventually decided to go, and I very plainly told them I had nearly cancelled.  I told them that I certainly loved teaching and that it was no-doubt a love and passion that God had given me.  I also told them that I was in a good place.  I didn't have to have a job, and that I did not want to sacrifice my family just for me to get a paycheck.  I was not up for that, and I really felt like they needed to know that.I shared how much I missed the classroom, but how much I firmly believed that any job I take from now on would happen only if I believed God was leading me to do so.  I just couldn't spend another year of my life just working a  job.  I want to work at something I love. I want to do something where it means a little to somebody along the way.  I need to be in a place that understands my time with students is not just a slot to fill, but a time that I pour my heart into their lives.  I told them I put all of me into my work, and I wanted that to mean something to the school.  Those were my conditions.  Yes, I gave them conditions.   It was certainly not a typical interview for me.  At all.

I left feeling so energized and hopeful.  I felt like if the opportunity came my way, I would be happy to take it.  The boys could attend school there, Lincoln would have a lovely preschool on-site, and we would all be together.  The headmaster and his assistants were so encouraging.  I left feeling like we were on the same path. They understood my heart, and that is a rare thing.

The school is lovely.  It it is brand new.  It is well-supported and well-staffed.  It has a wonderful reputation for excellence.  The more I learned about it, the more I doubted my qualifications.  I was certain that in all the interviews that were still to come, somebody else would be far more qualified and polished.  I was OK with that, truly. It would just confirm that I wasn't meant to be there if someone else was chosen.

A week passed.
School starts very soon.

Teachers have already been selected in every position I knew was available.  There were no phone calls or emails.  There was no "thank you for applying" letter in my mailbox.  Ordinarily a week would not be a big thing, but for this time of the year it is.  I have been just fine.  I have been peaceful and certain that if that door didn't open, it wasn't meant to be opened.

Besides, I am writing.  I am so happy writing.  All is well and things are moving along in that department.

I registered Jack for school yesterday.  We were moving on ahead with the old plan.

The phone rang today.  The invitation for the position was extended.  Sweet words were exchanged.  My heart was a bit in shock again. I am not sure why, but I nearly declined.  I was really happy today knowing that life would be calm and I would be home.  But then she told me all that had taken place.  They were hiring someone to develop the program further after school.  They had another person they were hiring that could assist me during program times.  They hired another teacher that will assist with my Chapel service work.  I have a whole team waiting on me!  A WHOLE TEAM!!  They want to go all out for their arts department, and I get to lead it.  Humbled.  The only word that comes to mind.

God opened a door.  He is giving me a place to be used.  This little voice and my little piano playing fingers are going to be used again.  My work will mean something.  It will not just be a job.  It will mean something.  My boys and I will be together....and I get to be used doing something I absolutely love.

Who I am that God would be so mindful of me?  I get to make music, write stories, and be with my family.  I dare anyone to tell me He isn't good.  I can tell you with certainty that He sure is, and I am so honored to just be walking on His path.  I think my book just grew another chapter or two!  For we all know...I will always be writing.  Ah..what a day.

B Charmer

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Baby Steps

Well, I did it.  I have the domain and the B Charmer Facebook page.  Thanks so very much for all the "likes" on the page launch!  It was truly heartwarming.  If you are a B Charmer reader and would like to follow the Facebook page, there is a badge at the top right-hand corner of this page to click.  Click on the badge and you will find yourself on the B Charmer page.  I hope to see many of you there!  I find that many of you interact with me much more frequently on Facebook, so why not make a page? You can share as much as you want on that page.  I like to think of it as my virtual kitchen table.  The place where we can swap thoughts, pictures, recipes, and encouragement.

So, why all the fuss?  Well, sometimes you just have to kick it into high gear.  I am feeling quite certain that it is time to write more.  Doors are cracking open, and I want to be prepared.  Sometimes the weight of not knowing everything, fighting with grammar, and my reserved personality get in the way of me reaching some goals I have had for a long time.  I am learning to walk a bit more boldly with the gifts I have. Writing is a love, and words are my friends.  I figure if God put the love in my heart, then I better put some feet to this thing and do something with it.  I will leave the outcome to Him.

The encouragement from you, my readers, has been the sweetest gift.  The old adage that there is strength in numbers really is true.  Sometime tonight or tomorrow, this page will hit 30,000 page views....uh what??? Thirty thousand is just unbelievable to me.  When I first started this whole thing, I was like a kid sending notes to Santa.  Me and the world wide web all alone writing little bits of this and that.  Now, today, it is a different story.  Every time my tablet or phone dings from a reader, my heart warms.  You inspire me to keep honing the craft.  So, I keep on keeping on, and I am loving it every step of the way. I would have written to nobody forever, because I just love writing.   But knowing that there are somebodies out there following this journey is a sweet treasure.  I do not take that for granted.

Memories of late, late nights with a new baby in my arms and typing with one hand flood my thoughts when I think about the beginning.  My old house full of bad plumbing and fireplaces was the backdrop of many thoughts.  The little school house I worked in found me writing a bit here and there.  Play-lands with WiFi and a coffee shop here and there have all been perfectly good places to tell my stories.  The breaks in the office and the outdoor picnic tables gave me space to breathe.  Today, I sit on the patio in a city apartment.  I watch the hummingbirds feed and think how completely over-joyed I am not sitting at that old desk downtown.  Somehow this little writing thing just fits.

One baby step at a time.  One story after another.  Late nights and warm afternoons. You'll find me here....writing.

Thank you, my friends.

B Charmer

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Own Domain...Finally!

I am so excited to debut my own website!  Did you notice the address?  It is now....


I will post more tomorrow on the significance of this, but suffice it to say I am totally excited!  I am bit worn from the hours of phone calls it required to complete a very simple process, but I am very hopeful for the doors it will open.  Be on the lookout for The B Charmer Facebook page coming very soon!  I hope you will like the page when it debuts and continue to follow my journey.  Thanks for being the most wonderful readers!

The B Charmer

Drawing Near

This summer I have had some close encounters.  Really close.  I have seen wildlife just inches from my face.  Absolutely stunning creatures that seem oblivious to my presence.  This butterfly feasted in the garden for two solid days.  I was so close I could feel the soft wind of it's wings on my cheek. 

I saw a momma and her cubs very close by in the Smokey mountains.  I was so enamored that I forgot  to snap a picture in the moment.    They were so very close.  I could see the stiffness of their coats and hear the sound of their claws on the tree trunks.

Just a bit later in the day, I walked right upon two grazing does.  We exchanged hellos and I left them to their snacking. 

I bumped into some curious ducks coming out of the lake.  They peered into the lens quite photogenically.

I have no pictures of my humming birds.  I wish I did.  They visit throughout the day.  They venture into patio and buzz alarmingly close to my eyes.  I cannot decide if we are best of friends....or perhaps I am being analyzed for future demise.  However, the closeness is remarkable. 

I find myself entranced in the moment with wild creatures.  I want to draw near just as closely as they will allow.  I often disregard the obvious and just venture on into their space.  They rarely seem to mind.  I think it is quite the moment.

I marvel at their beauty.  I marvel at our Creator.  From tender, winged butterflies to rugged bears of the mountains, I find myself in awe of the God of this universe that sculpts these things into being.  His tender, strong hand that shapes this world also shapes me.  I wonder, do I draw near enough to Him?  Do I venture in for a close look?  Sometimes, I do. 

Sometimes, I am like the bird that hovers then flies away unsure of the closeness. 

Just as I hope these little creatures will trust that I mean them no harm, I must trust my Savior.  I must find comfort in His presence and feel the certainty of His provision and strength. I do not know His ways.  His ways are not my own, but if I draw near I can be sure He will show me love. 

I find myself humming this hymn these days of late...

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
May I ever want to take steps closer and closer till I at last reach His home for me. 
B Charmer

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