Friday, December 31, 2010

Visions: I AM a TEACHER

Spectrum Academy: I am a founding parent...look at the impact that 8 moms with one idea can create.  Ideas are powerful.
December 31, 2010

Dreams…what are they really? Sometimes they are stories with an entire plot and setting, sometimes they are scary, sometimes they are random thoughts, sometimes they express frustrations/joys/emotions, and sometimes they are warnings, directions, or they can be a life changing moment.

For me, dreams have always been a direction of communication between Heavenly Father and myself. I know that I have received true direction through my dreams. When this happens I call them visions. Now that doesn’t mean that I have nightly “visions” of my life, family, and the future, but it does mean that when those “visions” occur, I stop, ponder, and write them down. This is one of those times

A few nights following Christmas I had a dream about Spectrum Academy. The setting was an everyday school day: being a Special Educator to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. During my dream I was asked to see Miss Jaime (she is the principal). While in her office, I received direction about a “special assignment”. Miss Jaime explained to me that I would have 15 students in my classroom that needed me to reach them. These students needed not only the academic basics, but they needed to be emotionally healed, supported, and loved. She said, “As a teacher you are in the position to influence the life of a child for either good or ill. These 15 students have been given to you because no one else can reach them, help them, or cares for them. The task before you will be filled with risk: you will work hard, put in extra time, thoughts, and probably prayers for them. They will take and take from you physically, emotionally, and spiritually…you have to be prepared for that.” I remember asking her, “Why were they assigned to me?” She looked at me directly and with a firm and strong voice she said, “Because…You ARE a TEACHER.” As the dream continued, I saw myself teaching, disciplining, trying to figure out ways to break down tasks so that the students could better understand the material and so forth. I remember being so exhausted, but feeling like I was accomplishing this task set before me. Throughout the dream the thought that continued to echo was, “You ARE a TEACHER”.

Now to give a little bit of background in November 11-12, 2010, Spectrum Academy hosted the Autism Conference and we had a key note speaker come who said something that was life changing for me. (Although I must admit that I was fighting the change as it was going on—I am so stubborn sometimes). She basically told her story of how she became a teacher. It started off in a small school in the South and she didn’t even have a teaching certificate. She stuck with it and taught those children with the best thing she had: hard work and love. Her motto is very simple, “I AM a TEACHER!”

Now for the whole summer, I’ve been thinking about going into Administration so that we can better support our family. (I mean at the time we were looking towards an implant for Marianne and the cost and up keep could bankrupt us). So that was the direction, but as the sweet Lord knows all, he placed some people in my path (namely my 6 children) and told me that this career change was NOT for me. Why?? Why?? We don’t want to go into debt, I’m still with the kids, and I could still be at their same school. Why not??! It was simple, the answer would be revealed at a later time. That’s it? The answer will be given at a later time? Well, as the Sweet Lord always does for me, the answer came with a huge dose of Humility: April, you Are a TEACHER.

I was fighting it while she was speaking. I kept thinking that I needed to become more than a teacher, but it then the moment of truth hit me when the speaker talked about the letter that she gives to each one of her students and how (this is the very shortened version) that letter saved this student’s life. Basically the student (who is now 23 but at the time was 17) had a traumatic experience when he was 12 (he was kidnapped and sexually abused for over 4 months before he was found and his kidnapper was put into prision). The student because of those events was fearful and had trust issues. He would NEVER talk about it and began to self destruct. It finally came to the point of no return and he was going to be thrown out of the house because of the anger, the rage, and the terrible choices he was making. The impact on his family was tearing them all apart. He ran to his room to pack when the suddenly the letter that the teacher (the key note speaker) had written to him 4 years earlier fell on the ground and he read it. The words unleashed his emotional dam and needless to say it changed his life forever that day. He now runs a center to help other damaged children. She looked at the audience and said, “your influence is powerful—and you never know when it is going to stick. So, treat each day and each student as if they were gold, and see what your return will be.” The impact of her story, the impact on this one child’s life snapped in my head. I get it…I am a TEACHER.

I will never be paid what I worth. I know that I am looked down on by society as being “just a teacher”. I know that I will be pitied for “wasting my talents” (I’ve actually been told that). I know that will never be able to reach everyone academically that comes into my classroom, but I know that I am in the business of changing lives for good or ill based on the choices that make: the choices to work hard and love the students every day. For some students I might be the only positive Adult model they have in their life. I am in the business of service. I am hired by parents to teach their precious children. They trust me to do this. They are counting on me to deliver the service of teaching to their children. They are giving me that responsibility. It is the most powerful job in the world (next to parenting), and I am blessed with the opportunity of changing children’s lives. Now think about it. Can you name me the teacher that impacted your life? I bet you can name the teachers that impacted you for good and unfortunately for ill. I know I can.

I find it fascinating that it took me till I was 36 to FULLY embrace the fact that I have always been, and forever will be a teacher. Now something a little silly, but it opened up a world of other teaching opportunities. Duh! I can teach some on-line classes, adult classes, and so forth to help bring in a little extra income when we need it. Ohhhh, that’s right I’m still teaching and helping others. Anyway, the dream, the vision about me teaching these 15 students hit me again with soberness and truth. I am what I am. I’ve known it since I was 6 but I have not fully EMBRACED it until I 30 years later. Oh well, better late than never.

My resolve to do all that I can is real. I am now a better mother because of this vision. I am a better wife. I am a better friend. I am a better member of my community. And I am a better person because the Sweet Lord is willing to stick with me through my stubbornness and help me to see the direction that my talents were meant to go…It is a humbling place to be in…I pray that I follow the Spirit and direction so that I can best help others, impact other, and direct others as they cross my path along their path of life.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Zoo...Winter Break Fun

Our furst stop at the Zoo...the Monkeys for Isaac

Zoo Time!  We have a season pass so why not go to the zoo?  Garrett was super excited becuase this time at the zoo the "White Witch" will have frozen the squirels and the wasps would be DEAD!!!  YES! (short squirel story: when Garrett was 2 he was asleep in the van with the doors open while his brother played t-ball at the park.  Suddenly the van is shaking back and forth and death screams are coming from the van!  I race over to find a squirel hissing and chirping at Garrett while he is strapped into his car seat...can you see why he hates them??)
stop number two...the Elephants.  But it was cold--they came out made some yellow snow for us...Great!

The Rhinos!  This is all that we saw of them...they are inside for the winter.

Isaac on the Elephant's the summer it sneezes water on you...not today!  Just Ice bugers!

The Tigers!  Margaret reminds me of a tiger: she is beautiful, strong willed, sometimes fights, and loves the water.

This tiger was eating some type of steak...YUM!

Here is Virginia with the Burrowing Owl.

Story time!  Virginia and I were togther in the "Small Animal House" and we were just enjoying our time there.  Suddenly we came acorss the "Burrowing Owl".  He is only5-6 inches tall and they live in small Burrows.  This little guy was napping when we came to take a look at him.  Virginia said, "let's sing him the Harry Potter song to see if he will wake up."  GREAT--I love this kid!  So we start humming the song.  His little eyes peeked open and he nearly smiled at her.  SOOOO cute!  (we have listened to all 7 HP books three times through--we know them very well).  To continue, Viginia then says, "He looks like the little Owl that Serious Black gave to Ron Weasley." (Love this kid!) I look at her and before I can say anything else she says, "his name is pig-wigen".  Again I am floored.  She turns at looks at him again and says, "I love you pig-wigen." At that moment he shyly turns his head away...(see the below picture) and wont' look at her again until she humms the song again.  TURE TRUE!  It was the cutest thing in the world.  I said, "Heavenly Father must love you so much Virginia to give you a little Pig-wigen smile."  She blushes and then Pigwigen turns again and shyly flurts with her.  My heart was sooooo full that day!  I nearly cried! 
Pig-wigen is a little shy...

Pig-wigen is given eys to was super sweet!

Kellis's favorite animal: the wolf...this artic beauty was howling...she was beautiful!

Garrett enjoying the Gorillas! 

The final story: The last stop in the "Main Zoo" (before we go to Discovery land) is the Gorrilla house.  Ok, we walk into the house--the strong smell hits so we watch the two males just ripping up boxes and doing their thing when suddenly the one male looks side to side and then puts his head under his "bum" and out comes the hand with a fist full of "scat!"  EEEEWWWWWW!!!!!  Isaac nearly  pukes!  (he has a thing with Monkeys thanks to the discovery channel's "Walking with Beasts"--the half human monkeys in there scared him to death!)  Garrett is jumping and clicking around shouting "scat!  Scat!  Scat!!!" (Scat is poop--thank you Nature/Nova/Animal planet)
That is as close as I want to get to a gorilla!

My beautiful Margart.  Stike a Pose!

My favorite Animal:  The Giraffe!  Why?  Because his pattern is unique to him, he has a purple tonge, and hello they are quiet.  Ahhhhh

We have given him the name of "pig-wigen"...see the above story.

Merry Christmas 2010

Mama at Christmas

Merry Christmas!  Christmas is that time of year that we all have the opportunity to remember the Saviour.  To feel of the love of the Lord on a daily basis because the whole world seems to stop their bickering and just stop to help others.  Service is the Lord's way.  Service to others is the way that we can help others to feel the Spirit of Christmas.  It is a feeling of love.  True a tree, decorations, traditions, music, food, and some gifts also play a part of it--but they mostly enhance the love of this time of year.  Our Christmas 2010 was our 3rd together, and our 2nd as a family.  The beauty of the Christmas feeling was strong, gentle, and filled with love this year.  It was a year that changed how we look at Christmas.  We have our traditions, our family, and we are able to feel the love of the Lord through the service rendured to others.  So, onto the play by play of Christmas 2010.  It went something like this: Grandma Ann's house for Christmas Eve.  All the "Wanship" Giauque cousins, Uncle Marc, Aunt Sherie, Grandma Ann, Grandpa Dale, all of the "Bountiful" Giauques, Grandma Sue and Grandpa Billy-goat.  Oh yes...two other lovely helpers: Sammy and Fenway...both boys, both cute and both hungry!
Mama and the Boys: Kellis 12, Isaac 9, Garrett 11

Mama and Marianne:  Her smile sums up Christmas 2010.  What a sweetheart!
 Yummy dinner, good company, and then the program!  Now I must interrupt: isn't she the cutest baby in the world?  Her smile was so her!
So onto the program.  Since this is Marianne's first Christmas and since she can't hear the music or the sweet words of the stories, how is she going to understand it?  Grandma Ann came up with a story that helps us all to think about ways that she can understand.  The children gave great answers: we can sign to her, we can show her pictures, and she can feel it.  Each one of the children were able to give answers and really help to show their love of her and how they were going to help her understand.  Marianne loves to sign and whenever we sign "Jesus" to her, she looks at his picture and smiles...ahhh she brings in the love!
Grandma and Elise reading our Chistmas Story.

Grandpa Billy-goat being silly.
So, following the story, it is time to open up the stockings.  A little candy, a little bit of toys, socks, and the one gift.  Grandma Ann is so giving of herself--she goes all out!  We love to feel the love, see the looks on the kids faces and we love the spirit of Christmas...
The whole Giauque clan opening gifts!

What I love most about this time is listening to all the excitement: I lovew to hear the shouts of surprise, the wows, and the ahhhs
Baby's first Christmas.  What a darling stocking!
 Surprisingly, there were no cries, "hey I wanted that!", or anything negative.  Kellis was great!  He would  say things like: thanks for the pencils, I can really use these, and you really thought a lot about this--thank you.  But the best part of the night was when we were packing the car and I saw Kellis kind-of wipe his eyes.  I asked him what was wrong?  He said, "I just really felt the Spirit when Grandpa Dale gave us the blocks."  (Dale suffered a stroke in February and has been fighting his way back to health ever since.  He gave both sets of grandkids blocks that he cut and sanded).  I just hugged Kellis and he just said, "I can really feel the love."  Ahhhhh!
What did you get Garrett???  TOY STORY 3!!  YEEEEHAAAAWWWW!!

Our Chrismtas blessings...all around the tree!

Christmas Morning 2010: Kellis and Marianne, Isaac, Garrett, Virginia, and Margaret Susanna waiting at the top of the stairs with their new blankets!

Mama is excited!  LET's BEGIN!
So, just to fill in the night gaps...Sleeping with excited children?  Yea...the kids got up 4 times...1am, 2:30am, 4am then 7...we gave in at 7 and went with it.  New tradition for the Giauques?  Opening up gifts one at a time.  (usually it was free-for-all: paper flying, screaming, shouting, and all over in less than 4 mins).  Not this year---we went from 4min and 37 sec to one hour.  There was not one fight, not one tear, and everyone looked to see what we all got.  ahhhhh, PEACE! 
This is my favorite Christmas photo:  Everyone is happy, smiling, and really showing the true meaning of Christmas.  It warms my heart!

What did Garrett get?  GUM!

Rock'n Around the Christmas Tree...

CANDY CANES!!  My Favorite!

YES!!!!  LEEEGOOOOOS!  Thanks Virginia!

Christmas PJ's!  Margaret got stars, and Virginia got Frogs...

THE ROBE!!!  Margaret has been earning her robe all of December...well Virginia just needed one (because sister did--less fights that way--don't know what we are going to do when they both want a car--haha!)

A PILLOW PET!!  It'a a pillow---its a pet---IT's a PILLOW PET!

Mama and mer Margaret Susanna...What a star!

What the heck is this?  I don't get be used on a computer??  Wait...

RIP it APART!  This is the big gift that dad has been working on.  The kids were floored!

Get the knife!  Let's cut it open!

WOW!!  What have we here???  The New COMPUTER!  WOW, WOW, WOW!

hum....what is in there?  Kellis: look harder!

You found it!!!  A new bike for all the scout trips!  We love you Kellis!
 The gift total: Marianne: 1) tubby toys, pjs, outfit, and lots of love! Virginia: 1) pillow pet, 2) pj and robe, 3) Swimsuit, 4) doll.  Margaret: 1) pj and Robe, 2) coloring tools, 3) swimsuit, 4) a stuffed puppy. Isaac: 1) Legos, 2) legos, 3) candy, 4) I think I already mentioned it.  Garrett: 1) dinobooks, 2) dragon,  3) stupid animals, 4) coloring things.  Kellis: 1) Calendar, 2) MP3 player, 3) a bike.  Mom: gift of service from Scott (love it), pjs and a purse.  Scott: gift pf service from April, wallet, tie, and shoes.  I sewed everone some blankets and they each got a pillow that said "Prayers are Powerful".  It is true!  Our whole new life started because of prayers...Powerful!  Scott made a computer for the family.  It Smokes!  The kids love it.  He is so talented...just love him!

London Bridges falling down!  Marianne loves to hang upside-down!

Mom, Marianne, and was a great Christmas!

Grandma got the kids: the Clone Wars!

Grandma also got them fashion Barbie...WOW!

Yummy!  ORANGES! 

Well, in summary: the lights at Temple square, two family parties, gifts to neighbors, reading  scriptures and Christmas stories each night in the living room in the glow of the tree, dinners, family, and some gifts to top it all off.  My heart was full this year.  Merry Christmas to all--and enjoy the rest of the pictures.  Loves!!
Look mom!  I can lift them with both hands!  I love my strong girl. 

Gifts from my students.  These are the best!

The girls at Christmas: Margaret, grandma, Mariann, Virginia, and Elise.
Isaac found this cute thing under the tree!  Love it!