Thursday, August 25, 2011

I can Remember... A recap of the past 2 years with Natalie Grace

Two years ago yesterday I woke up thinking I was going to have a baby. I was over 43 (Yes... FORTY THREE) week pregnant and I was not leaving the hospital without my baby. I went to the hospital for an scheduled induction and I hope she would arrive quickly. The birth story although long is so amazing. When I arrived at the scheduled 7am, the medicine used to induce was not there and I had to wait for someone to go and get it from Midwest City about 25 miles away. Chris and I sat there patiently and still thinking, "It is no big deal, the medicine will arrive and then shortly after that, the baby will come." HAHA... we were so naive. To sum the story up, approximately 23 hours after I finally got the medicine, I gave birth to Natalie Grace Davis via emergency C-Section. On August 25, 2009 God blessed Chris and I with the most beautiful gift, Natalie Grace. Today is her 2nd birthday and I spent most of the day just reflecting the past two years and how grateful I am that God chose me to be her mother.
In the past two years so much has happened to our small family of three.
I can remember the first time we brought her home from the hospital. Our two beagles, Abbey and Oxford, were so interested in her and jealous that she was getting all of my attention at the same time.
I can remember the 1st two nights in our house and how incredibly long they seemed. I swear as soon as I would get done feeding her... she was awake and crying for more. I thought "Sweetie, I am not a real cow, at least give me a minute to refresh!"
I can remember my mother-in-law, Jackie and my mother, Shirley helping me take care of her and just modeling how to be a mother and what to do. Honestly, if it weren't for BOTH of them, I would not have made it... Literally. I had so many panic attacks and anxiety issues those first few days and weeks.
I can remember the times we would put her on her tummy for "Tummy Time" and she would scream and cry and give me the look of "Why are you doing this to me?" She HATED "Tummy Time"! And then, as if out of NOWHERE, she decided to roll over. (This was the beginning of her movement phase. Which she is still in and I am sure will be from now on.)
I can remember our very first OU Game together! She has been my little OU Sooner since the day she was born! Boomer Sooner!
I can remember her very first Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as her first snowstorm in Lubbock, TX. We dressed her in a jacket and mittens and took her outside to the 4 foot snowdrifts and sat her on top of the snow. (I don't think she liked it)
I can remember the first time she sat up and immediately smiled at me as if she knew she had just achieved something.
I can remember the first time we feed her rice cereal and then yummy baby food and how much of a mess her and I was afterwards.
I can remember coming to my band concert at Grove and holding her plastic Saxophone and try to play along with us. She loved my bands even while I was pregnant, although trumpets seemed to always be her favorite. She would ALWAYS kick during brass class! I wonder what this means!!
I can remember her 1st trip to the beach when she was 2 weeks from her 1st birthday. She could not walk but I wanted her to be able to SO BAD. She loved the water so much and would crawl as far out as she could before getting tumbled over. She played and played and played and then fell asleep in the car before we even got out of the beach parking. She stayed asleep for 3 1/2 hours which is her longest nap to date.
I can remember the first time she took any steps on her own and how she walked all the way down our hallway to get to me and then fell RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!
I can remember her 1st birthday and waking her up at 6am in the morning and singing "Happy Birthday" to her. She tore open all her gifts and shoved her cake and cookies in her mouth so fast.
I can remember her first time to Trick or Treat and go to a carnival. She dressed up as a ladybug and loved EVERY minute of it!
I can remember the first time we sang "Happy Birthday" Jesus on Christmas night and ate a birthday cupcake in his honor. (This is our family tradition and I am so happy she likes it)
I can remember her first Easter Egg hunt and how she found so many eggs that she had to dump out her basket and pick them up again.
I can remember our first family vacation to San Antonio and how much she LOVED the "Kiddie Park"

These moments in our lives come and go without us even taking time to reflect and think about how precious life really is. Chris and I prayed and prayed and prayed for little Natalie Grace and she is a TRUE gift from God. I hope I will be able to reflect upon this gift for many years to come.
Take time today to remember your children or your childhood and thank God for his many blessings.

Natalie Grace, I love you and I am so glad you are my daughter. Happy 2nd Birthday Nattie!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Good Luck Honey!!!

Tomorrow, August 22, 2011, my hubby starts his new job and new career. He has been without work for about 20 months total and is so EXCITED to start work. He has chosen teaching and I can already tell he has a passion and calling for this career field. He has been so excited and anxious for about 1 month if not the whole summer and tomorrow is his big day. It seems like he is always telling me a new way he will teach and what he will do in his classroom.
He said he has made lots of friends during the teacher in-service and cannot wait to start working with them. In fact, he told me on Saturday, "I am sad... I don't have morning duty with any of my friends". I could not help but laugh and continue to listen to him.
He is going to be SUCH AN AMAZING TEACHER and I know he will do well. I love you Chris and I cant wait to hear about your first day!
Good Luck!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Who is really driving you car?

This week, I started the always needed Staff Development meetings at my school. These were alot different from anything I have experienced since it was in a massive school district and I am used to a tiny district.
Let me give you an idea of what I am talking about:
(I am leaving the actual name of my district out for necessary reasons)
36,000 Pre-K to 12th grade students
25 Elementary Schools
7 Middle Schools
5 High Schools
In the top 15 biggest districts in the state of Texas
I showed up to the "New Teacher Orientation" with about 200 other people all of whom were so grateful just to HAVE a job in this Texas Schools budget crisis. The following day I showed up to my campus along with about 90 other teachers and administrators. That is 100+ employees at my campus and I am one of 25 elemenataries. The enrollment for my school is pushing 1100 at the moment and we have not even started school. This is unbelievable to me and I am not used to these large numbers.
Now to the point of my blog today... I went to the Fine Arts Meetings on Friday at one of the high schools and there I sat with over 200 other music and art teachers. I felt like I was back at TMEA or some other conference with all of these teachers. We went around the room and introduced the "newbies" as they called us and then started the meetings. As we went around the room, there were only about 10 actual new teachers to the district and several other people just got moved around from position to position within the district. I was the ONLY new music teacher and there was only 1 other Middle School Choir director hired. Even after we went through the intros and I had determined that there weren't any band jobs open in this district and I was lucky to have this job in the first place, I continued to sit there and ponder my situation.
Now if you know me AT ALL you know I am a very ambitious person and I have LOTS of career dreams and goals. I left OU in 2005 with a "plan" and I was going to achieve this plan soon. I left and went on to teach at Bowlegs which was an amazing experience and then on to Grove which again, if you know me, you know I have often preached that it was a best job I will ever have. I was able to do what I LOVE, which is teach band, and even get my Masters degree while there. If you would have asked me 3 years ago about where I would be when Chris and I moved to Texas, I would have said "Teaching band at a High School or a Middle School in a "major" district". Well... I got the "major" district part right as you can see from above!! But for the past few weeks I have been sad and frankly depressed about not teaching band anymore. I love teaching and I love kids but band was MY path.
So I am basically having a pity party in my head yesterday while looking around the room at these other band directors. There were not that many but I just couldn't help thinking:
"God, why couldn't I be one of those?" or
"How am I ever going to be able to teach at the collegiate level if I can get a HS Band job?"
or the thought I kept coming back to was
"Will I ever be able to get back into band once I spend a few years in elementary?"
I want to do big things in my career like teach band at a "major" district and work alongside really important and talented band directors and even go on and teach band at the collegiate level. This has ALWAYS been my dream and still is I guess, but I sat there for close to an hour just getting all jealous and upset that I couldn't have what I always wanted.
At the break between clinics, 2 other elementary music teachers came up to me "Hey Oklahoma (I find it humorous everyone around her calls me that!), we have a job opening for the District's Elementary Honor Choir Director position and we looked at your resume and you seem perfect. Want the job?" Here I am still in the fog of my own and I am a little startled. I talk to them a little longer and then accept the job.
All of this is just to show you that God works in mysterious ways. There I was basically questioning God and HIS path He chose for me and getting sad and depressed thinking I knew which path was better for me and out of nowhere, God sends these people to guide me further along HIS path for me. Now we are ALL bad about wanting to do things OUR way and go down OUR path but we have to remember that God chooses a path for us and it is HIS path that we flourish on the most. Since yesterday I have thanked God many times and spent lots of time in prayer about why God put me in an elementary school and what I will do while I am there. He has guided me down HIS path to love and care for these children. These kids will be unlike ANY OTHER I have EVER taught. The demographics alone will be uncharted territory for me and I know He put me here for a reason. I just have to follow His will and not worry about MY road but continue down HIS road. I have to remember that I am NOT THE DRIVER of my car. God is the driver of my car. He has chose the path and He knows what He is doing. I just have to LET Him be the driver.
I used this song in a blog earlier but it brings me back to the hymn "Wherever He Leads I'll Go":
"Take up thy cross and follow me"
I heard my master say;
"I gave my life to ransom thee"
Surrender your all today
Wherever He leads I'll go
Wherever He leads I'll go
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so
Wherever He leads I'll go
I don't know what else is down HIS road but I am open to it!
"Thank you God for your continued blessings and I ask you help me to be open to Your path and what else you will do in my life while along Your path. Thank you."
I cannot wait until Wednesday to see these kids and just love and care on them. They are the reason I am there in the first place and I hope to be the love and compassion they may not see at home. I hope you will take this story and think about if there are areas in your life where YOU are the driver instead of God. Let him take the wheel and guide you as you go along the path you are on.
"God is good... ALL THE TIME!"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Life is Hard... But God is Good

I recently attended a "Ladies Night Out" event at Mims Baptist Church with my Sunday School class and was so enlightened by Christian Radio DJ Susan O'Donnell. She said she was a Christian Comedian and made me laugh several times. She used this light-hearted-ness to help share her very moving testimony and shed light on how blessed we really are and how no matter how deep your "pit" is... God is right there and is in control. As I sat there listening to her share her testimony and how she got out of this "pit" in her life, I began to reminisce the last 2 years of my life and how I have thus far come out of what seemed like a never-ending "pit".
I have shared many times about Chris and the how him getting laid off in 2009 changed our lives forever but this was yet again brought to the forefront of my mind during this ministry event on Friday. There were times where I too got on my knees and begged God to help me get out of this "pit" and hole. I cried and cried wondering how we were ever going to get by and how we were even going to have a roof over our heads sometimes. As Chris would go to interview after interview and come home and nothing turned out, I would question God and his power. Of course, I knew this was wrong but just as all of us do, I began to wonder "Why are you letting this happen to me?"
This trial went on for about 9 months and I just couldn't seem to pull myself out of this "pit". Chris and I were really struggling financially and emotionally and I wondered how "WE" would survive. About June of last year, I decided I had a long enough pity party and for whatever reason, I heard God speaking to me. He said, "Kellie, I AM in Control and I will provide for all of your needs." Somehow over the next year God DID provide for us and we were able to survive financially and emotionally and now our marriage is stronger than ever. It was about this time that Chris decided it was time to look to another career path. He continued to go on interview and nothing came about but I trusted God and let him take the burden.
In January of 2011, Chris took the plunge to become a teacher and began taking online courses to get a teaching certificate in Texas. By March of 2011, he was in Houston interviewing and completing the necessary tests to get his certificate. The following 3 months after these interviews was in and of itself another "pit" but here I sit in Houston this evening creating this memory. On May 27th, Chris was offered a teaching Job in Aldine ISD and accepted. This was my last day of school at Grove and I literally had 4 hours to tell all of my students and fellow teachers I was leaving. The following month of June was another test of Faith for me as I was looking for a job but on June 30th, I was offered a job in Spring ISD and accepted.
These "pits" in my life have helped me grow not only as a Christian but as a wife and a mother as well. There was never a time in these past 2 years that God wasn't there beside me the whole time trying to help me get out of this "pit". Speaker Susan O'Donnell sang a song entitled "Life is Hard... But God is Good" that really spoke to me about how no matter how deep your "pit" is, God is in Control and he will take care of you. I am so grateful he has and is taking care of me.
God can take care of you too, if you let him.