Monthly Archives: September 2013



“Disappointments, challenges and failures are not meant to destroy you.  They are meant to strengthen you, to build your character, to give you fortitude to accomplish your God-given destiny.”  J. Osteen

What is our God-given destiny?  How do we know, exactly, what we are supposed to do with our lives?  It is an easy question to answer for some, but much more difficult for others.  For those that know exactly what it is you’re supposed to do with your life, I’m in awe.  To have that kind of clarity would be an amazing thing to have.

Most adults get this very small window of time to decide what they want to do with their lives.  You pick a career in college, get a degree, start working, get married, have children, and then what?  Are your choices suddenly over?

For many, aren’t they?  When responsibility becomes the guiding force of your life…responsibility for your home, family…personal needs begin to shrink and vanish until we become simply workers.

We work because we have to, but what about the joy?  Shouldn’t there be joy in our jobs or should we simply grin and bear it?  If we wake up one morning and see a middle-aged employee in the mirror, what do we do?

Do we get up and give it our all or do we hide under the covers?  Do we put on our uniforms…suits and ties, mommy pants, or ugly polo’s…and give it a go one more day?

Of course we do.  We keep going and we keep searching and we keep digging because somewhere out there is our place, our destiny…our special somewhere.  The thing is, we may never see our place through God’s eyes.  We may work at a job and never see how our work has impacted others.  Or we may work and show others through our perseverance what responsibility really means.  Perhaps our destiny is simply more than numbers on a pay-stub.  Perhaps our destiny is what we instill in others by how we work, how we respond to work, and what we let work do to our souls.

For those who are searching, your passion, your dream job is out there somewhere.  You may find it after the children are grown or it may be next week.  It may take years or it make take hours.  But it’s there.  Why do I believe this?  Because my passion for writing didn’t develop until I was in my thirties even though my love for children has been around since college.  I can’t see what’s before me…and most days I don’t want to see it…but I have faith that each step I take is leading me forward.  I have faith that I’ll end up exactly where I’m supposed to be.

P.S. – To my sweet Billy…I know your dream job is just around the corner, but more than that, I adore your perseverance, your dedication to family, and your laughter.  Those are the things that make you who you are.



Even on the tough days, you have to look for the perks in life.  One of my perks is working with children on my birthday.  I know, I know…most people want to be off work on their birthday’s.  Not me.  Six and seven-year-olds make a birthday nothing but fun.

Perk 1:  a tiny girl comes up to my desk, wraps her arms around my shoulders, and begins to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me… all by herself in her sweet, squeaky voice.

Perk 2:  handwritten birthday cards all throughout the day.

Perk 3:  little ones asking how old I am.  For fun, I made them guess.  They yelled out various numbers – 20! 50! 32!  When I told them 44, a bright, gentle girl said, “You don’t look 44, Mrs. Rackley.”  I told the other teachers that this little girl is my new BFF!

Perk 4:  lots of goodies.

Crowns and Candy

Crowns and Candy

Beautiful mums

Beautiful mums

Another perk of first grade is the humor (because if we all don’t laugh, we’ll cry, right?)  Today, I introduced synonyms.  After writing words on the board, I asked the children to think of words that meant the same or almost the same as the one on the board.  We successfully made it through that part of the lesson, and then I asked, “Now, what did I say these words were called?  Say synonyms.”  One high-pitched voice yells out, “M & M’s!”  I said, “What, honey?”  And she says, “You said they were called M & M’s.”

What else can you do but laugh?

I Beg Your Pardon…


I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden…”

This song keeps slipping through my mind…the few verses that I know.  It’s the Lynn Anderson version – the one from the seventies, the one from my childhood.  “I beg your pardon,” this voice says to me.  I never promised you a life full of roses…or a life of ease…or a life with no pain.  I never promised you that life would be simple in any way.

It’s been my anthem the last few weeks.  Work is kicking my butt, and when I start to pout about it, this voice whispers in my ear.  She says in her best southern drawl, “Hush now, honey.  It’s just a thing.”

It’s all just a thing.  Things happen nearly every single day.  Meetings happen, stress happens, a six-year-old pooping in their pants happens (we made it four weeks before the first accident at school – hopefully that’s our quota for the semester).  My issue is dealing with the effects of it all.

“Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometimes…,” she whispers again.  Life is going to get wet and messy and slippery.  So what do I do?  How do I handle it without it handling me?  Because most days I feel like I’ve been man-handled enough to go to bed with a couple of black eyes.

She sings, “When you take, you gotta give, so live and let live.  Or let go…”  And so I let it go.  I breathe.  I pray.  I focus on things getting better.  It’s extremely hard, but really, what choice do any of us have?  We move forward or we wither away.  I’m not quite ready for the withering yet.

I have to believe there’s a reason for all we struggle through.  Whether it be work, family, or the countless things beyond our control, these hardships are here to help us grow.  Maybe we only grow if we’re stretched a bit.  Maybe we’re pulled and prodded and reshaped to make us better.