My First Student Was Myself (Special Education Teacher’s Story)

I have always day-dreamed of having a teacher blog and sharing ideas on Teachers Pay Teachers, so when a friend of mine messaged me and told me I should start blogging my ideas, I jumped on it. So…here we are! I am starting out with a Freebie for 9/11 activities and a little info about me, Addie. Click that link. Download the FREEBIE. See if you like my details in the accommodations, and expect that same support with all your future purchases.

41033391_10212778923243386_3575711697286987776_n (1)I am Addie. I am a 23-year-old entrepreneur-wanna-be exceptional education (Jefferson County’s inclusive way of saying special education) teacher wife. I am married to my college sweetheart, Tyler. He pushes me to be a better me, daily. He encouraged me to pursue my dream of special education all throughout school while even sharing memories with me at a summer camp for children and adults with special needs. I attended my 5th summer this past year, and I have dreams of going back every year.

I have always been a teacher. Since early elementary, I brought home every book I had at school in order to re-teach myself everything my teachers “taught” that day. I said “taught” because though they were exceptional teachers, 18 years ago education was different. I struggled. I could not process what my teachers said while lecturing. I am that student that has to write the information down, condense the information, and then illustrate the information. Back then, lecturing was huge.  Centers only happened in Kindergarten.

Sitting still in a seat quiet as a mouse was expected and demanded. Having piles of homework each night was typical. Chapter tests in each subject “directly from the book” happened every Friday. I had great  teachers, but I had difficulty learning in the early 2000’s manner. I am a “study all week and get a C” kinda gal.

I vividly remember sobbing each night in elementary and middle school over homework. I knew then I would not ever require homework from my future students. After trying so hard all day to do my best, pay close attention not to miss the homework page numbers being given, and hoping no one realized how weird I was, I was exhausted. I had very little time between the 3 o’clock bell and the 9:00 pm bedtime that was not filled with homework and studying. I honestly did not enjoy learning. I struggled to comprehend anything I read (more than a paragraph) until the summer between 6th and 7th grade when I went to a reading camp. “How embarrassing?!” I thought. At that camp I was taught strategies to help me process what I had read..a paragraph at a time. I learned that I had to take intense notes on what I read in order to be able to make any understanding of it. I continue to do that today. In college I would take intense notes, share them with my friends that slept in, and they would still do better than me on the test. After college I tutored elementary students. We played games, read silly poems, and learned how to enjoy even homework. I love 1-1 teaching.

For meetings now, I  have learned that I can first listen to what someone is saying to me by looking at them and I can go back and re-read the handouts. Or I can listen and take intense notes on everything they say.

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So here I am 5 years after high-school graduation, teaching students. My very own students. I teach them reading, math, social studies, science, life-skills, and so much more. It is my dream job.

When I approach my students today, I have a part of me that wants structure and silence, since I was raised with the “sit down and stay quiet” early education, and then I have a “duh” moment  and want my kids to just learn something in some form. So if you follow my blog, you’ll notice we paint a lot. We answer test questions orally standing in the hallway. We do data collection swinging on a swing, jumping on a trampoline, or laying on a rug. We learn, though.

IMG_3777We have fun. We dance everyday. We reward ourselves for the hard work we put in and then we jump right back into work. We use computers, task cards, dry-erase and magnet boards, games, flashcards, books, music, videos, crafts, projects, posters, and even cook.

We like to dig in and sit on a topic for several days instead of hopping from one thing to another. We move slow some days, but we grow and we build upon each concept. We back track somedays and fast track the others. We get discouraged and we get back up. We try out a lot of methods and discuss openly what works. We build relationships and we learn how to keep them. We act silly and sometimes we even dab (every time someone sneezes). We tell jokes and make each other laugh. We love so stinkin’ hard and care so, so much. We are one month in, and we enjoyed every little quirk and hiccup encountered along the way.

I’d love for you to follow my journey to changing the way we see school and learning. I am still learning to like learning.  I stopped actually enjoying reading around 2nd grade when I could no longer keep up with my grade level. I just started reading again. I believe helping others fall in love with growing intellectually has helped me in my desire to grow in that way, too.

Love,

That teacher wife, Addie

 

7 Questions Answered by Couples Striving for a Godly Marriage

There have been many interpretations of God’s plan for marriage come to light since the beginning of time. Since the New Covenant was established, it was made so clear in scripture that God’s intentions for marriage is for one woman and one man for life. Marriage is between two humans, and so unfortunately some spouses are abusive and some are unfaithful. Marriages do end and that not only hurts people but also God. When most couples say their vows, their intentions are to stay together for a lifetime.

Some people enter the marriage covenant abruptly without properly preparing themselves. Others enter the lifelong commitment without knowing themselves or their now spouse enough. And then there are couples who make the commitment based on the lust they have for their mate, not the love.

Thankfully many couples come in with all the right premarital counseling, the right intentions to have a God centered marriage, and fully knowing their spouse…but with even all of this, many do not follow through. Getting married is the simple part. Planning a wedding is nothing compared to being intentional daily to be what you need to be as a wife or husband. Staying married is the challenging part. Constantly choosing one another, being completely selfless in order to support each other while still taking care of your own personal needs, and  balancing work and play are just a few of the qualities one must have to be a Godly spouse for a lifetime.

I have personally noticed a trend of couples not staying committed to the commitment. Many couples are even choosing to not fully commit to marriage while enjoying the benefits that God purposed for marriage.

I want to place focus on those couples who have already made the commitment to be married for life…a life they will live together for Christ. I want to focus on sharing their advice on what they are currently doing to keep their marriage fun, focused, and fruitful.

To the spouse feels like you are the only one trying, you are not alone.

To the spouse that feels like you are not enough, you are not alone.

To the spouse that feels like you have messed up too much, you are not alone.

To the spouse that feels like you are too far apart, you are not alone.

To the spouse who lives in fear that this is what it will always be like, you are not alone.

AddieZAlana0346eYou are not alone, because others feel the same way. You are not alone because God hears your cries. You can have hope, because others have overcome it. You are not alone, because Christ died to bring you salvation. God is The Healer of more than just diseases. God can fix a broken marriage and mend a hurting heart.

I have used my Instagram platform to address 7 questions (so far) that I feel could benefit other married couples committed to a God centered marriage. Receiving these responses have been so beneficial to me thus far by encouraging me to be more intentional in choosing my husband, Tyler, each day.

Day 1 Question: What do you do to make your marriage more God centered?

  • We pray together every night. We always specifically pray for our relationship.
  • We try to read our Bibles at the same time every night to bring us intentionally together in God; I tell my husband I am praying for him and ask if I can pray for anything specific; say every day reasons why we are thankful for our marriage and each other!  
  • Openly communicating with each other about what they say/do when it may come across wrong. Helping each other think through whether or not it is a godly decision/one that represents Christ and His attitude. It will hurt your pride when your spouse speaks up over something you said/did, but we’ve told each other they have permission to say what needs to be said-because at the end of the day we are representing Christ and we want it to be an accurate representation, as much as possible. 
  • We pray together every morning. It may be on the phone, it may be in person, but we always pray together in the mornings at some point. 

Day 2 Question: What is your favorite “little thing” that your spouse does?

  • He ALWAYS hugs me as soon as he comes home from work, no matter how crummy his day was.
  • My husband works 12 hour days. He rubs my feet and back every night. I don’t deserve him.
  • I love it when my husband lets me sleep in on Saturday mornings and gets our daughter dresses and fed! It seems so small, but it’s greatly appreciated. Also, his “I love you” texts he sends while he is at work always puts a smile on my face. 
  • He always makes sure I get my coffee in the morning. It might be because he knows I can’t have a conversation without it, but it helps get my day started.
  • He cleans the house for me when I work weekends. Seems insignificant, but when you work 12 hour shifts it’s amazing to come home to a clean house. 
  • He washes dishes!! I have a really weak stomach, so I can’t handle cold leftover food or old food that’s been sitting on plates. So he washes all the dishes no matter how long they’ve been there.
  • My husband will make the bed, because he knows how much I love getting into a “fresh” bed.
  • He never leaves the house without kissing me.
  • My husband tells me I look beautiful every single day. I might be in pajamas with spit up stains, unwashed hair, and morning breath, but he is going to tell me I look beautiful….even when I don’t. And the thing is, he makes me believe it!! Even though I know I can’t possibly be attractive at that moment!! Mommin’ takes a lot of self-care time away.
  • My husband always washes the dishes! He knows how much I hate it and so he does it almost every single time! 🙂
  • He makes our bed in the mornings. 

Day 3 Question: What did you do to prepare for marriage as a couple?

  • We went to premarital counseling. It was so helpful to go through all of the topics together with someone we trusted. It makes all the difference!
  • As soon as we got engaged, we immediately opened up a joint bank account and deposited about 75% of each paycheck into the account. So, when we got married, we had a nice savings built up. This was amazing because we were living of a very, very small amount of money from his preaching job when we got married. Fun fact: we did not touch any of the money we had saved up pre-marriage until this past November when my car died and we had to get a new one!
  • We went to pre-engagement counseling instead of premarital! It focused on the exact same things, but without the pressure of an engagement and wedding dates looming over our heads. We wanted to take every problem head-on with time. honesty, acknowledgement, and prayer. We also saved money until it hurt wayyyy before we got married. We wanted to have a solid savings account to lessen the financial strains from the beginning. That savings enabled us to move without a financial burden and built on our nest egg. We went without for a long time, but it was so worth it. 
  • We just stayed true to our values we were raised on. But knew God was in the forefront no matter what.
  • Premarital counseling. It’s an absolute must. And not just a preacher. Use a licensed counselor (who might also be a preacher). Personal opinion, but it helped to be evaluated as a couple psychologically.
  • We talked about realistic expectations….like house cleaning, for example: I don’t mind folding clothes, but I hate putting them away. He doesn’t mind doing that.

Day 4 Question: What’s your process to make big life decisions as a Godly couple?

  • We pray about the decision separately and then together! Usually, we’ll have a coffee date or go on a long walk and talk about our thoughts, our prayers, and how the decision can be made. We encourage each other to trust God will lead us in the decisions we make!
  • Pro/Con white paper. We write it down and weigh out the pros and cons on whatever the choices are. 
  • We discuss it, write it down (pros/cons), pray over it, and give ourselves a set time we come back and talk about it again.

Day 5 Question: What do you do to continue to intentionally and fiercely date your spouse?

  • We act like it’s our first date each date we take.
  • This one is hard since the baby got here. We try to pick out a movie on Netflix to save for later in the week, to anticipate. We normally get ice cream and sit and watch something together. Really its just planing and anticipating something. Doesn’t matter what. 
  • Now that our twins are here, we are still working on this! Usually we wait until both babies are down for the night, and we eat ice cream and watch Andy Griffith. Good for the marriage….not our weight!
  • We Netflix and chill!! We also try to go on an adventure a few times a month!
  • Well since we just got married, we are still in that phase where everything seems like a date. But I love nights when he just asks me to watch a movie with him and we just cuddle up on the couch. 

Day 6 Question: If you could give advice to a couple about to enter the marriage relationship, what would you say?

  • Date! Keep dating always, no matter what it takes!
  • Read good books together. We read out loud when we are traveling so we can discuss them.
  • Enjoy everything you go through in the present time. Soak it all in. Because one day you’ll look back and say “remember when….those were great times” Also—-keep God first in all you do!
  • Learning to be selfless is hard-SO hard- but necessary for marriage to work. It’s a learned habit that you still have to choose each day!
  • It will BY FAR be the hardest things you have ever done. If you are blessed to have kids, for most people, that love comes naturally. No matter how many times our kids hurt, disappoint, or offend us when they are young, we always just love them no matter what. With a spouse, it’s different. It’s a choice you make everyday. There will be days you like them and days you might look in the mirror and thing, “What have we done? Do we even have anything in common anymore?” There will be HIGH highs and LOW lows. What a lot of people don’t tell you is that when you stick through the lows, the highs become much sweeter. Some seasons will be much easier, fun, and new. Some seasons will feel stale.  IT IS NORMAL, but that doesn’t mean you just accept it and don’t do anything about it. You continuously fight to be the best you can be together. Marriage is not 50/50. It is 100/100. Sometimes you have to pick up the slack for your partner, and that’s okay. But I really believe that to make it work the best, God wants 100% of the best you can do from both the husband and wife. Also as weird as it might sound, I don’t believe God created marriage for us. Do we get perks from it, pleasure from it? Yes. Husbands get a help-meat, wives get a protector, both spouses get strength and a place to share a physical desire. But the ultimate purpose of marriage was to further God’s kingdom. So if your ultimate plan for marrying someone is for them to make you happy….ACK (insert buzzer sound). Happiness can’t come from another human, that void can only be filled by God and it’s something most people work their entire lives to figure out. So understand that you’ll have happiness (and sadness), but the purpose of your marriage isn’t about you or him, its about HIM. 
  • The small things are the killers. You discuss and agree on a lot of big things, but you didn’t realize he leaves his towel in the floor, puts toilet paper on backwards, and likes sleeping on the same side of the bed you do. Communicate about all these little things. Those are the things that become big fights over time. 
  • BE KIND! Kindness matters in friendships, work relationships, etc. and it is SO important in a marriage. Kindness fills each other’s love tank instead of depleting it. A lot of things can be solved if each person is kind in speech, attitude, and actions! 
  • (The small things) Some of our biggest arguments when we first got married were over him always leaving his clothes on the floor beside our hamper and the fact that I always sleep in the middle of the bed no matter how big it is!
  • COMMUNICATE!!!!! Being open with each other makes things so much easier! And never go to bed angry. Even if you have to stay up later than you want, talk it out. A lot can happen during the 8 (or probably 5-6) hours you are asleep.
  • Never forget you are on the same team.  If a problem comes up, frame it in a way that you’re both working toward a solution together instead of being against each other. 
  • Be slow to anger and quick to forgive. The longer you let something frag on the harder it is to forgive and let it go. Communication is a huge thing. If something makes you upset, then tell them. Don’t pout around hoping they’ll just know what they did because men will never just know.
  • Remember to have fun!!! Go and do and play! You work so hard to start your life and build up your bank account but having fun with your spouse will mean so much more than whatever number is in your account. And once kids come (speaking from experience) it’s hard to go, do, and play! Enjoy each other and have a blast!
  • That everyday you are not gonna like each other, even though you love each other!!! In the bad moments, remember they are human too and you are in this together!!! Some days you will not remember why you married them, and other days you will see every good thing in them. You are in this TOGETHER!!!
  • Don’t give up!!

Day 7 Question: How do you serve your spouse and your family like Christ served the church?

  • I had to really think about this one. I believe this has to do start with being selfless. Now, I am NOT selfless all the time. I am human. I am an emotional woman. I am definitely not always selfless; however, I should be. I am constantly working on that and praying to be more selfless–not just in my marriage, but also in my other relationships. I am not saying to let anyone run over you, but when you put God first, other people automatically become second. It isn’t about me and what I want. It is about pleasing God and bringing Him glory by putting others above myself. That’s why he died for us. He put God first and us second. When each spouse is working to be selfless, their marriage thrives. Again, we are human and don’t get this right all the time, but I truly believe all the other godly things in marriage grow from selflessness. That’s where is starts.
  • We seek to keep each other pure! Purity is often synonymous with sexual purity, in Christian minds, but it reaches far beyond that in marriage. From movies to books to speaking or people in your work environment, we strive to keep filling our lives and minds with purity. 
  • I try to love them and try to remember that it is an honor to serve them, not a duty or a drudgery. I try to do for them the things no one else wants to do. But, at the same time teach them in a way they can understand because I know I won’t always be here for them physically and in person. 

WOW! Isn’t it a blessing to learn from other couples who are fighting against the devil each day to sustain a marriage that resembles the way Christ loved the church? How awesome would it be to hear what works for other married couples more often? Sometimes the truth hurts and it steps on our toes. I feel like we find it easier to air our dirty laundry instead of encourage others with our personal war story! (Our war against the devil.) We chose to complain about what our mate doesn’t do rather than praise what they are already doing. We focus too much on the let downs, and not enough on the pick me ups.

My goal is try to implement at least one of these ideas/actions that I have learned from my survey each day as I try to be a more Christ-like bride to my sweet Tyler.

A huge”thank you” to all who shared how you and your spouse are nurturing your marriage in a way God is proud of. I would love to collect more insight for each of these questions from other couples who are pursuing a Godly marriage.

Click here to participate.

Sincerely,

A Wife (in progress)

 

Jud Davis Photography

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Paul’s 17 Dos perfect for after the I dos.

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My top was made from my mother’s going away dress that she wore in 1990.

Sitting up late, searching verses about marriage from my phone, I was scrolling through the google searches, and I clicked on a “The Knot” blog that had 33 different references from the Bible that talks about marriage. It just included a variety of verses with all different contexts. Scrolling through I saw the reference to Ephesians 5 where Paul, in prison, writes to the Christians in Ephesus. Reading the intro in my She Reads Truth Bible it says that in his letter he keeps the theme of unity of the Church in Christ. I am just going to quote it, because I can’t say it any clearer. “The overall theme of Ephesians is the unity of the Church in Christ, through the power of the Spirit.” (Through the POWER of the Spirit!!) This was directed towards the Jews AND the Gentiles being one in Christ.

This blog post is focusing mainly on Ephesians 5 and how we can use all that Paul says to do as a wife or husband.  The scripture has a lot of “do nots”, but today lets focus on what we CAN do. Grab your Bible, and you can follow along as I list it out for us.

  1. Be imitators of God
  2. Walk in love
  3. Give thanks
  4. Know & recognize this: Every sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.
  5. Let no one decieve you with empty arguments.
  6. Live as children of light
  7. Expose fruitless works of darkness
  8. Pay careful attention to how you live (as wise)
  9. Make the most of your time
  10. Understand what the Lord’s will is
  11. Be filled by the spirit
  12. Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord.
  13. Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
  14. Submitting to one another in the fear of Christ
  15. (Wives) submit to your husbands
  16. (Husbands) love your wives like Christ loves the Church
  17. (Husbands) love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

I’m a teacher, so I am giving you homework. Take this list from Paul and add in what you do, what you are working on doing, and what you know you need to do but haven’t yet.

For me, I am fully aware of who has not taken hold of the commitment of marriage and taken it as seriously as God created it to be. (#4). Hence I am pleading for people to join me in learning more about what a Godly marriage is. I am pleading for people to join in the #Godlymarriagemovemement. I am currently working towards being filled with the Spirit (#11) and understanding what the Lord’s will is for us in our marriage. (#10). And I am not there yet, but I know that I need to educated myself more in the Word in order to do #5. Let’s be honest. The world’s opinion of love and marriage is so loud right now, that it has become so easy to stay silent in order not to “hurt the feelings” of you co-worker, friend, or even family member. More about that coming soon…

If you would like to join the community of married couples wanting to learn more about what Godly marriages look like or have resources that I might enjoy digging into, comment, message me, and join.

Sincerely,

Addie Williams.

Wife. Teacher. Learner.

Photography by Jud Davis 

Dollar Date Nights

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This is actually in my parents side yard. We have gotten our money’s worth of these enos for sure. 

Hi fellow cheapskates, penny pinchers, or just married people keeping it real. This one is directed toward the married, but if you can definitely incorporate parts of these wholesome activities into your date nights if you are not married. Some of these we have personally done..others I feel like we would totally do but haven’t got there yet.

1. Go to a local park and hang in a hammock, play disc golf, etc. Tyler (my husband) and I started playing disc golf while we were dating in college. We thought it was a thrilling afternoon activity that was free and included exercise. Also we liked that we weren’t around a bunch of other people. We also hung in hammocks at least once a week to avoid homework and to sip a Sonic slush. Now as old married folk, we still enjoy throwing the discs around at our local park. (Ask Tyler who almost won last time.)

2. Go to the river and collect drift wood or shells. When we lived in Florence we were blessed to live 10 minutes away from the Tennessee River. We loved grabbing a Miami Ice (snow cone-ish type thing but made with crack or something super addicting) and sitting on the boulders watching the sun set. We would also collect shells, skip rocks, and find driftwood. Driftwood is so flippin’ cool.

3. Grab ice-cream and play corny games like M.A.S.H., TicTacToe, word searches, etc. Tyler and I love to race each other solving word searches or sudoku puzzles. Does that make us nerds? We are known to be a little competitive with one another.

4. Buy pizza, build a pallet, and binge watch Netflix shows. We live too close to Dominos and enjoy being kids. It does not have to look like a Pinterest picture to be a blast.

5. Fast-food and house hunting/window shopping. Growing up my family and I would take neighborhood walks and look at the houses and talk about simple improvements that could be made to the home (paint, porch, shutters, etc.)  or what we really loved about it. (Sorry friendly neighbors). We live in an apartment currently, but love looking at Zillow.com and dreaming about what a small starter home might be like one-day. Also you could do something like this at your favorite department store. We personally like walking around Target after eating an out-to-eat meal to work off the “yuck” feeling. You might find us on the toy aisle reminiscing on the good ole days or  planning for the future.

6. Set up camp. We have talked about doing this, but haven’t yet. But we want to set up our tent in our living room, fill it with string lights, and eat hotdogs (a Williams’ staple) and oven baked s’mores (not yet tried).

7. Spa Night. Dig out all the smelly lotions, oils, and tubs of water. Put on the cheesy music and dice up the cucumbers. Pretend like you have been a certified masseuse for years.

8. Thrift shop. My personal favorite. We do this thing where when we go in we will plan to find the wackiest item or ugliest t-shirt. Then we come show each other and decide who really won. It just helps us create weird conversations.

9. Yoga. Get your stretchy pants/calming music/fruit infused water and get to it. This little date night will make you belly laugh if you are unskilled like the two of us.

10. Painting portraits of each other. Do you think Tyler would actually comply?! I have so much paint and some canvases. Cast your votes!

The Devil Don’t Care

Twenty-two years old. That’s my age. The first 2 years were spent in a daycare as my parents worked their tails off. The next 15 were spent at Mars Hill Bible School being asked if I was a twin with my older brother, Will. My parents were still working their tails off so that we could attend a private school and get a Christian Education. Sweet blonde headed, pale, lanky (with the exception of my middle school years when I think Will and I had a competition to see who could have the most belly rolls) Addie did her best to grow close to God.. to form a relationship with the Lord.. to be an upstanding Christian girl. I was the grand-daughter, daughter, and sister to a former Mr. Mars Hill. It was “family tradition” to be a spiritual leader…looking back I think I was just obsessed with church-y things. I do think that I had a deep relationship with the Lord. I loved staying up at night studying the scriptures. I had a deep desire to understand the Lord and his path for me. I wanted to be so close to God that he might share with me his “secret will” for my life. (Pls girl.) The Lord heard about my obsession with the same boy from 6th grade-12th grade. The Lord heard my pleas for certain friends to come back to Him. He heard about my desire to have better friendships, for everyone to just get along, for my future husband to sweep me up at 16, for my brother and his relationships, and for all the poor..sick..and those who lost loved ones. When I was in 11th grade, the Lord heard all about my daddy. (He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after emergency surgery).

When I was 18, I met Tyler Williams. My first and only boyfriend. The Lord heard from me all the time then. I would talk his ear off about Tyler, my roommate, my classes, my FHU experience, everything. At Freed, it was just a natural transition for me. I went from private school to private school. Freed was like Maywood year-round for me. I loved it. But, reality hit me that I was not as much of a spiritual leader as I thought. It was so interesting to me to see people who had such tragedies in their life, be so strong. Some of the strongest leaders on campus were converted in High School, or their parents were drug addicts, or they grew up at someone else’s house because their parents kicked them out. These friends truly understood what it meant to sing that the Lord is a shield about them. (Psalm 3:3)

Most all of my prayers centered around my uncertainty of the future. I was worried about who I would marry, who Will would marry, who would heal, where we would live, where we would work. Now I have been married for over a year, my brother and his sweet wife have been married almost a year, we have lived in the same apartment for almost a year, I have had the same job for a year, Tyler has been rocking grad school. This past year should have been singing praises to the LORD. ALL DAY.  Yet I moped because there was nothing moving and changing around. I slacked in my communication with the Lord, because I had nothing to be anxious over.

I had never had tragedy strike me until the week of my wedding (terrible right?) …I found out my grand-father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I don’t remember questioning God.. I think I have just ignored Him. I think I felt like he had just let me down. And with tears rolling down my face right now…I think that because I had 21 years of a what seemed like a “perfect life”, that broken-ness shocked my spirit. I don’t think I was as strong as I made it seem. My prayers have never really had a reason to have depth. I have never had to call out to the Lord to shield me from anything. I have never had to call out to ask for him to forgive me from something so disgusting I couldn’t talk about it with anyone else. But, I did not even know how to talk to God about something so uncomfortable as my 60 something year old grand-father dying..the man who took you on adventure after adventure, the man who taught you to color code your Bible, who taught you about giving, who asked you to always sing out in church no matter the notes coming out… How do I talk to the God who let that happen? How do I find rest with Him?

Sailor Analogy.

Waves=Life, Sailor=Me, Boat=My transportation to Heaven, Help=the Lord.

I was a perfect sailor to my boat. The waves were always smooth. There was never anything to rock my little ship. But once the waves came, I just jumped off. I didn’t call out for an extra hand to help me maneuver the sail. I just got off. I knew who could help me. I knew who to tell others to call upon. But I just jumped. 

The Devil does not care how perfect your life has been. He does not care about the awards you have won. He does not care about the non-profit events you have hosted. He does not care how much money you raise for families adopting from Uganda or mourning the loss of their child. The Devil does not care that you were named one of the strongest spiritual leaders in your 12th grade class. He does not care that you went to camp every year for 11 years. He does not care that you have the gift to teach or the heart to serve. All he cares about is finding that little hole to burry down into and to destroy the relationship you have with the Lord. My hole was “loss”. I had never experienced loss. And the Devil has taken that. He has ran with it a year and a half too long.

So whatever the Devil has found out about you and ran with, take it back. Whatever he has decided about you is his loop hole, kick him out and sew it back up with these words:

“But you, Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.” Psalm 3:3

This Whole Teacher Thing…

Fresh college graduate walks into her twelfth interview with a Birmingham area public school. She sits down across the table from a principal that messaged her the day before about his interest in interviewing her for the open exceptional education position at his school. Throughout the interview she explains her philosophies, her experiences, her dreams, and her goals. She gives details about her family, her college experience, her summer jobs, and her future plans. After about an hour and a half of going back and forth, he finally explains that he would like to hire the girl if she is willing to commit to several things. First, love the kids. He believes his kids are the absolute best, and he believes that they deserve the absolute best. His mantra is that the most important thing is to get to know the kids. Next, he asks her to commit to continuing to learn. He believes that all excellent teachers are still learning. He wants his teachers to attend professional developments, to read, to research, and to continue to grow. 

I am the girl. One year out of college. I have just a few days left of my first year teaching. From June 2017 until now I have not stopped dreaming. I have not stopped learning. Though I have had some difficult situations and tough cases, I hope that my actions have shown that I have not stopped loving those kiddos. Everyday when they walk out of my room to get ready to go home I tell them how much I love them. Forget the assignments due. Forget the test they should study for. If they go home only remembering one thing from their school day, I hope it is that they have a crew of teachers who show up everyday for them that love them dearly, talk about them often, plan for them daily, and pray for them nightly. I hope that they know that no matter how many A’s or F’s are on their progress report, that they have cheerleaders in their stands. I hope that they go home knowing that no matter how big of a mistake they make while at school, our hearts are not hardened by that…yet they just break over and over. I hope that they know that no matter how dysfunctional their home life is, that they can count on their teachers to remain committed to their learning and growth. I hope that if not because of us, by some other reason, they know that their value is high and that their potential is out of this world.

I hope that they know that we all had the choice to go into whatever field of work that we wanted to, but we chose to invest in them.

The dreams don’t stop just because school is out. My worries for my kiddos success will not stop just because they are headed to the high school. My fears of them forgetting their potential will haunt me throughout their lives I am sure of that.

I hope that if you are starting your career as a classroom teacher or an educator, that you are able to see that your kids story is the most important thing to know. I hope you realize that your dreams don’t stop now. I hope that you remember that you chose this profession for a reason.

I hope that together we are able to make this profession more professional with our generation. I hope that we can grab hold of the millennial stigma and represent our generation  positively and courageously. I hope that we can join together to make sure that love is what the kids go home remembering. I hope that we are able to prepare them for the jobs that they will pursue, for the families that they will have, and the generation that they will raise. I hope that we can feed their dreams, touch into their creativity, expose their strengths, and extend their possibilities. I hope that you and I together are able to make this whole “teacher” thing something people respect, honor, and admire.

Sincerely,

An Almost (HOW IN THE WORLD??) Second Year Teacher

 

P.S. It is an extremely tough job, but it is just as rewarding.

P.S.S You are gonna rock. I just know it!

Picture from fanpop.com

Here’s the Thing About Social Clubs

 

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I wrote this during college but never posted it.

Freed-Hardeman University gave me some of the most incredible memories.

Here you go.

Love God first. That is pretty  much it. If you can love God first, then the social club will not be you top priority.

When you feel like you had a killer Makin’ Music show, best of the best, and you get second. You congratulate the other club. You cheer for their handwork and dedication to the fundraising of the school. You tell them how much you enjoyed their show. You are Christ’s hands and feet.

You are his hands and feet on the field too.

Therefore when you are in the heat of the last quarter in flag football, your blockers get trampled and you get sacked by an ex-soccer player, you keep your cool. Because you love God more than this social club. You smile, and move on. (I totally did not keep my cool, and so I am telling you this with 20/20 vision.)

It’s 5:45 on Wednesday. You have a meeting to plan, posters to make, games to cheer at, a group project to work on, a memory-verse test, and rock collection to make (aka find, break, glue, and label.) You go to 5:45. As hard as it will to shove an hour of worship and learning into your busy schedule, you go. You may have to skip those games, but there will be more.

When you love God first, you will see that student sitting alone in chapel. You’ll give up your seat shoved between all your best friends, and you’ll share yourself with another “kind”. Someone who maybe not make you feel as comfortable. Someone who might not be wearing any sort of jersey for club day. But, someone who God made. And remember, you love Him before your social club.

When you love God first, you will not only enjoy the company of the guys and girls that wear the same letters as you, but seek friends in other colors. You will agree to workout with, eat with, ride to church with, share your story with, study with, and worship God with someone who fits in a different group as you. You love them. (I stink at making friends who aren’t in the same letters as me.)

Funny to think that God is most likely going to welcome many different types of people into heaven, and unfortunately it is most likely not every single Chi Beta member will be there.

The colors you wear do not represent the worst or best. They don’t represent the jocks, nerds, goody two shoes, go with the flow-ers, preps, partiers, or pokemon freaks. They are in every club. Social clubs don’t represent who you actually are. They represent who you wanted to be like. When you ranked the clubs your first year, you marked that you wanted to be with those you saw in those colors. They represent who you felt like home with. They sometimes represent your dare to put yourself out there, or you challenge to make a difference. The colors do not represent who you are, but who you wanted to be. You change the stereotype of the letters. You change what they mean. We recruit not to get all, but to get who think will be the best for us all. We recruit who we know will keep a good name for the club. Who we think will carry the legacy of what we believe we represent. We recruit to be better, not cause we think we are the best.

TIPS:

The letters don’t change you, God does. Allow the people wearing those letters to influence you for the better. Keep an open mind. Go somewhere that you feel at home. Go somewhere that you know the people there will help you make positive changes in your life. Go to the colors that you see people that you know will hold you accountable for sin, who will laugh with you, cry with you, but mostly pray with you. Run to the colors that you believe will benefit you.

And when you get in, make it your mission to serve others. Serve them. Get involved, and serve your club, school, and community. Use your club family as resources of encouragement, help, and your hands and feet to your crazy ideas turned into projects.

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The key to being great is to humble yourself, and serve your God in your club, with your club, and all around this campus.

Love,

Addie Williams

Six Foot Three

 

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“And here you are…sweeter than you admit, funnier than I admit, and six-foot-three.”

I had dreamed of this man, more than the day. I looked forward to, planned for, and stressed over that day. I loved it all. Absolutely all of it. I would relive it, if I could. But that day could have been in a court-house with a plain silver band from Walmart (which one of the jewelers tried to talk Tyler into.. I could’ve have hurt her for trying to put that idea into my money-saving fiance), and I would still be living a crazy, fun life with my six-foot-threeman.

Since I am not sure if I will ever get around to making a scrapbook, and since there is no way to explain all the fun that happened that day in a Facebook post or a few Insta pics, I’ll write a blog
(or 4) about it. (It being one of the many best days ever!)

First off you should know a little about the groom and I. We met at a church on August 11th, 2013. I had just graduated high school, and would be going to Freed-Hardeman to begin college in 9 days. He was a sophomore at that university, and our siblings had just gotten back from a mission trip to Ukraine. He was going to be at the mission report event, and my brother convinced me to come. *Will jumps on my bed like he did when he wanted to stay up and talk for a while.”I really want you to meet Hannah’s brother. He is nothing like her. I don’t mean that to say Hannah isn’t good, she is just a lot more talkative than him.” (I had met Hannah at the Airport a few days prior. Talkative indeed.) “He is actually volunteering at a camp for kids with special needs this summer, I think.”

And that heart of mine said, “Oh. Hi. Addie here. I’ve never heard of guys like you.”

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The masterminds who set us up. They got married this past July (seven months after us)!

We talked after church, and that fall he became my first kiss, boyfriend, and the love of my life (in that order).  We dated for 2 1/2 years and were engaged on February 13th, 2016. I had about 10 months to plan a wedding (and a move), and here we are.

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Here he is proposing outside my dorm at FHU. This is where we had our first kiss, where I asked him to ask me to be his girlfriend (true story), and where he got down on one knee.

Last fall we did the totally “unromantic” thing of going ring shopping. Yes, I got some looks when I had mentioned that we went looking at rings TOGETHER. How awful? The poor guy didn’t know where to start and neither did I. We spent one of the most romantic and fun-filled days going all over town looking and trying on different styles and we finally had picked out a ring and band. I had pictures of it on my finger, and I couldn’t wait to see it again. On February 13th, 2016 my sweet man finally got down on one knee (Yes I believe in good timing, but I had wanted this to happen since about 4 months into dating), I looked down, and to my surprise it wasn’t the ring we had searched all day for back in September. I had never seen this one before. (Y’all are thinking that I am such a materialist, unromantic, spoiled, “no way living in the moment”, skank right now I am sure). I look back at him and he says with tears in his eyes “It was my grandmothers.” And I sank. A month after we had been ring shopping, his aunt had given him her mother’s ring that she had been saving. WOW. I love the ring. A few weeks later we took his grandfather to Cracker Barrel for lunch. We talked about his wife and the joy he had when he picked that ring out for her. After I wore the ring for a few months, the back of the band was getting thin. One day I was moving furniture at the place I work, and it broke in half. My grandmother allowed me to use her original wedding band to fuse to the back of it. So now I have both my grandmother and his grandmother represented on my left hand each day. It is better than anything ring from any price range. I will treasure this history as long as I live.

I also feel this joy of knowing my grandfather, Fred, had picked this ring out for my Nana. He was diagnosed with cancer the weekend Tyler and I got married. He passed away in October. He was absolutely incredible. He belly laughed over so many things. (Hee He Hee). It was like his personal jingle. He yelled “Hello” really loudly when he walked into our home. He sat quietly when he was in places he didn’t want to be. He probably drilled over a thousand holes into jewelry pieces I have made. He was creative and smart. Good as they come. The Cadillac of grandfathers. The real McCoy. They say the first year is the hardest. I would say they are right. But I couldn’t have made it emotionally without the support of my sweet husband.

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

I knew from the first time I visited Tyler’s house and met his family that I would want his father Bob to preach our wedding. We immediately clicked, and there was no one else that I knew who would be funny, serious, and make me cry all in one sentence. It had to be him. I have adored getting to know Tyler’s family over the past 4 1/2 years; they have always treated even better than family should

.

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I have never been able to meet Tyler’s paternal grandmother, but I have been blessed to be around his grandfather “Poppa”. He is also my brother’s grandfather (in law). (Family Holidays will be confusing for our children.)

Since the day of the wedding, I have probably gotten over 75 compliments about how fun and sweet our ceremony was. I have to give credit to Bob, Tyler, and our groomsman who decided last-minute to ditch their shoes in the back of the auditorium to wear hand selected socks that Tyler and I picked out on sale at JC Penny’s. It at least helped my nerves seeing them enjoy themselves. Find Happy Socks Here!

During the ceremony, Bob mentioned that he and his family always take the cup from the center ring during communion, because when Tyler was a senior in High School, his father had to move about four hours away for work while Tyler finished his senior year at Mobile Christian. They not only remember Christ and his sacrifice on Sundays, but they started to also remember the love they have for their family wherever they may be worshiping this morning. Though I had always felt like family, for 3 1/2 years I avoided from taking the communion from the center ring, because I knew how special it would be to practice that once we were married. During that moment of the ceremony I was complete mush. It reminded me of how far Tyler and I have come together, how long I have waited to be standing where I was, and how special it will be to be apart of another family whose lives are dedicated to the work of the Lord.


Our day was decorated by my family, especially: Aunt Jolie, Aunt Lela, Bama, Johnnie Lou (basically family), mom, and I gave a little input.

Our day was photographed by: Jud Davis and Alana Wallace. Assisted by Paula Hatton Jud’s Website

Our cake was made by Jill Larkin. Pies by Tyler’s family. @jillssweetmemories

Our day was made possible by our friends, family, and The Lord.


It has been a whole year since we met for our rehearsal dinner. Friends. Family. And friends who are basically family. We came together to celebrate the memories that led up to this point in both of our lives. We came together to give a “toast”, if you will, to our future lives together. (Toast is in quotes because it was sweet tea in coca-cola glasses). We came together for one last “hoo-rah” as unmarried “babies” with their people. Thank you to all those who were there. You had a seat at those round tables, because you have always made sure there was a seat for us at your dinner table or dorm room floor. You were there because we needed you there to tell you that we need for the always too.

To those whom we have met our first year of marriage. Welcome to our crazy story. We are so glad you have joined us so soon into our journey. You are those people we will reflect back on and say, “Remember I think we met them our first year when we were__________.” (There is a blank there because we have already moved twice, held over 7 jobs together–Tyler worked three at a time, I worked two until I got my teaching job at Corner, and have been members at two wonderful congregations of the Lord’s Church.) To those who have gone on since we have been married, you are shaping our lives still–even more now than before.

To those who have made it this far into this blog, you are a super trooper. Thanks for being a part of the celebration of our 1-year anniversary post.

Here are some fun facts about our wedding.

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Here is the gorgeous ring Poppa picked out for his wife. It is now shanked with half of my grandmothers original band from my Papaw.

Stay tuned for a blog about all the things that our marriage has already out-lasted. I will add the link below. Here is a sneak peek at the list: 5 glass cups, the 18 sticks of butter our parents donated to our fridge, Addie doing the dishes each chore rotation, the hopes of Tyler gaining weight, an apartment, a budget, and our marriage has already outlasted the biggest of tears and the loudest of laughs. That is what marriages are for. To out last. Out last it all.

The best is yet to come,

Addie Williams (and Ty too)

 

P.S. The only time Tyler has slept on the couch was when he fell asleep there studying past my teacher approved bedtime. 

 

 

 

 

 

7-ish Steps on Planning an Event Like Buddy Ball

Our community is where we live. It’s where we grow. It’s who we see in line at Chick-fil-a each morning and it who we run into at the park. It’s who we laugh with, cry with, compete with, live with, thrive with, drive with, and jive with. Let’s do something about our communities bond. Let’s actually host events that will be an encouragement to all. Let’s support causes we are passionate about.

Step 1: Form A Committee: Formulate a list of those you believe could help you in hosting an event (in this case a Basketball Camp for Children with Special Needs)

Step 2: Meet a Few Months Ahead of When You Want to Host the Event: At the first meeting, lay out your idea before the group, let them know as to why you have invited them to help, and lay out any all ideas that you have concerning the camp. (This way you can have a little while to advertise and rule out any ideas that wouldn’t help make the camp better or be possible this time.)

Step 3: Write down Ideas and Get Contacts: During the time of the first meeting and the second it is an incredible time to keep a notebook of ideas that you have expounded upon–T-Shirt Designs, Food Ideas, Date of Event, etc. Then make contacts with the schools, organizations, etc. in your area who will have students or adults with Special Needs that you would want to invite to the camp. Many communities will have a Special Olympics program or SNA or some sort of sports league already in place. Being able to have a basketball camp right before the season or in the off season helps! I have been in the schools as a practicum student, and was able to make contacts with different Special Education teachers and principals. This helped me get flyers sent home and support from the school administration as well.

Step 4: Meet Back Up and Divide Up Jobs: Set a date, time, and location. We stuck to Saturday mornings until 2:00. This gave us time to work, play, eat, and perform (play the games). If you have a tech savvy person in your group that would be good at making an esthetically pleasing poster/brochure get them the information and ideas and let them get to work.  Who is the creative one in the group? Have them design t-shirts. Is there a money manager around? Get them formulating a budget of costs and funds needed to be raised in order to meet the cost. What about food? Who is going to plan what we are eating and pick it up? (We did a 1 hour lunch break and had pizza picked up. It was cheap. It was Yummy. It wasn’t a big deal that it was a little heavy for an athletic camp because none of us did serious running. (I am not a sandwich girl.)

Side Note: Things That We Considered in Cost:

T-shirts, food, drink mix, posters, print cost, plus additional fundraiser items. We made and sold hair ties for pretty cheap and were able to cover the cost of some of t-shirts and food. Then we sold t-shirts to the fans in order to help cover the rest of the cost. (We made sure all the campers would have a t-shirt for free as well as any family member.) 

Step 5: Get the Ball Rolling: Who ever the advertising dude was, check in on his progress towards a poster/brochure. Make sure all the information is correct and the pictures are catchy. Who volunteered to get the food? Make sure they are formulating a list and saving a date to be able to go buy it. Are they doing the best with the money they are given? (We are supposed to be good stewards right?) Reserve tables, get table clothes, napkins, paper plates, etc.

And you are going to want volunteers for the day of. The first time I hosted this event we offered free shirts to all the volunteers and ended up with 60 volunteers and 8 campers. It was hilarious to see me try to divide up jobs, I’m sure. But, you really will need the help. (Registration table workers, t-shirt table, people to pick up the food and distribute, coaches, buddies, a DJ, poster makers, etc.) A whole tribe, right?

Another Side note: Something we did the last time, that was a big hit was I bought water bottles with the money left over for each of the campers to have at camp. We wrote their names on them to be able to keep up with them and it also helped limit the waste of cups(!!) Go green! 

Step 6: Just Do it! Read over all your flyers. Then just go meet with teachers, organizations, families you may know and let them know about the event. Formulate a game plan for the day (a schedule) and print it off. Get your volunteers information about the day and a schedule. Make sure they know their job (and that their main job is to have fun). Get the t-shirts ordered, the Facebook Event made, the flyers sent out, the schools and churches invited, and the food in line to be picked up.

Step 7: Show Time: It’s game day! Rise, shine, eat that breakfast bar and get to the gym. Make sure you have the tables set up, the registration forms ready, and the smiles on. You are about to have the best day of your life. You may have 15 campers show up!! Or there may be one camper and 28 volunteers. Either way you can make a huge difference in someones life and in your community.

Giving free lunch and shirts to the families let them know you care about them. Dancing along with their children to the music, allowing them to make the post move on you, and laughing to all their jokes lets them know that you care about their family. Not taking any credit for the day and just thanking the family for letting you enjoy the presence of their children and their abilities will let them know you care about the communities growth. And thats how you make a difference. Its in the details and effort you put into making a special day for extraordinary people. Its in the cheesy grin that you will wear until you fall asleep that night (or afternoon right after dinner if you did it right.)

Please message me with any ideas, concerns, or questions about hosting an event like Buddy Ball.

I didn’t mention safety in the steps, but that is always a concern. We had wrist bands with the parents numbers and any allergies on the children. We fortunately never had to use this, but it is a safety feature we chose.

That is my husband in the picture on the left. I swoon.

He’s A Sweeper

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He sweeps. All day. Every day.

It’s that “Good Morning Adds” text that I get each morning. It’s the “Have you prayed today?”. It’s the “It’s going to be okay.”

He’s a sweeper. Someone has taught him. It’s not like riding a bike. You learn. You work it.

He sweeps me up. He gets these little wrinkles in the corner of his eyes when he smiles that “holla” at me. He makes me weak. He makes me giddy. Sweeps me right off my feet.

He dusts up all of the messes I make of my hectic life. If it can be taken on, I sign myself up. He sweeps all day long. Cleans up every detail I leave undone.

He sweeps me up when I’m a wreck. There are those phone calls where I answer “hello” in a blubbery mess. The words he uses are like a swaddling blanket to a newborn. He can literally hold me long distance with his tender heart.

He sweeps up all my body image issues with one glance and sigh. He swept up every fear I have about being a teacher with one “Addie, you know you’re incredible.”

I’ve found myself a sweeper. He gets it from somewhere.

This one is for my fiancé. But for his dad, Bob, too. I’ve seen Bob answer phone calls from his children and just wrap them up in love. That “Hello” he gives can calm any anxiety we call him about. Those “I miss you” texts can put to death any nerves I have ever had about being apart of another family. He has this great gift of sweeping. Not with a broom, but with his actions and words. They they can gather you back together. It’s a gift.

I’ve been raised in this terrific family with the name “Harrison”, and I’m marrying into an incredible family with the name “Williams”. Both bear the name “Christ”.  So, with this,
I am blessed.

(Written Fall 2016)


The Here and Now

Wowzers. I wrote that in the fall and just never posted it. Yesterday marked 4 months of having the name Williams and being married to Tyler. I found that first part in my drafts box, and thought it should be shared. Life is a better place because since he came along. He still sweeps me up after a hard day of student teaching or a frustrating day of job searching.

I gave a shout out to my father-in-law for teaching my husband tenderness and love. But, someone else who deserves recognition is God, himself. I am a believer in the timing of God. I believe that he has a plan that far exceeds any of my ideas. I believe that he is faithful, because he has proven it to me time and time again. I firmly believe that God put a desire in my heart to make my way up to Freed-Hardeman University in order to meet some incredible friends, mentors, and to have and to create great opportunities for service.  I also am sure that God had a plan for me to meet my future spouse just days before I started college in order to have the confidence I would need to talk to him again on the first day of classes. (Have I ever mentioned that we had an 8:30 together the first day of school, when the role was called I heard his name, turned around from the front row, waved a huge embarrassing wave, and he never came back to that class? Yep, he changed his schedule.) I’ll never forget the feeling I had sitting next to him at that first Clayton Chapel. We’ve been inseparable since.

I know God was working then, and He is working still today. When I roll out of bed at 6:20 to make his sandwich, go to work/class, call each other on the way home, start dinner, discuss the budget, and search for jobs–He is here in our midst working.

Just like when David went to fight Goliath. Or when Joseph was sold as a slave by his brothers. Just like He was there when Jesus was in the garden praying. Wow. The same God who listens to the prayers of Jesus Christ listens to this 21 year-old wife trying to find a job in a new city.

How incredible is this?

Thankful for my man and his love for me. Thankful for my God and his faithfulness and peace upon me.

It’s an incredible life.

 

Jud Davis Photography

Wedding 12/10/16