Preschool @ The Springs

Walk with me through a lot of details before I get to the stories of my awesome, challenging, amazing job!

Preschool @ The Springs is where I currently work. They are located in a mega church (Church @ The Springs) have children from ages 1 to 5, and while they say preschool, it’s more of a daycare. We have 7 rooms that have different ages:
Caterpillar and Butterfly – They have 1-2yo, but mostly 1’s.
Busy Bees – 2-3yo, but mostly 2’s.
Grasshopper – 2-3yo and they have a even amount of both.
Snails – 3-5yo, though most are around age 3 or 4 with a handful being 5.
Dragonflies and Fireflies – The actual preschool rooms. Children come in the morning and stay until noonish. (I don’t actually know much about those rooms because I’ve never been placed in them.

The ratio’s for children down here in Florida are different (from what I’ve heard) from the state of New York. I was talking to my sister-in-law recently and I think I scared her from ever moving to Florida.
1yo – 6 children to 1 teacher
2yo – 11 children to 1 teacher
3yo – 15 children to 1 teacher
4yo – 20 children to 1 teacher
5yo – 25 children to 1 teacher
It can be intimidating, having 15 little 3 year old toddlers running around, making messes and going crazy. But thankfully, I have not yet dwelt with that yet. (YET!) And hopefully won’t have to!

Rules and codes are also super important in a preschool. My favorite (not really) is washing hands. When I change a child, I have to wipe down the changing area and wash my hands, even if I wore gloves. Even if I use hand sanitizer after wearing gloves. I have to wash my hands. (It makes me inwardly cringe. I’ve washed away so many of my good germs with the bad.) Change the child, wipe the changing area, wash hands, change child, wipe, wash, change, wipe, wash, over and over and over.
There are school rules about dress (which again is good) and keeping our phones out of the room we are in (so it’s not distracting) They encourage us to write about the preschool, and share what’s going on, but to stay positive and shine things in the right light.
There’s more codes during nap time. The mats have to be at least 18 inches apart. Children need to wear their shoes. They need a sheet, blanket and some like their favorite pillow. After nap time, we have to take their sleep garments and put each one in their own bag that is labeled with their name.  (Oh yeah, everything is labeled with their name. Their lunch bag, backpack, cups, sheets, coats, diaper packages or designated area for things. First and last name too.) Back to the sleeping mats. After the kids wake up and we take their sheets off, we have to wipe down all the mats. All 8 or 9 or 10 mats. Front and back. It’s not much, but in the moment it can feel like a lot. I’m sure if I sat here any longer, I could think of even more to write about. I’ll spare you those details though and continue on with how I’m doing.

My first week I was placed in Grasshopper and I fell in love with the children. They were crazy like all two and three year olds, but they were also sweet, kind, would listen (sometimes) and were a joy to work with.
I didn’t stay long with them though.
The past three weeks I’ve been on ‘provisional hire’. It basically means my background check hadn’t come back yet, so I couldn’t be left alone with the children. Therefore, when we were on the playground and child needed to use the bathroom and there were two teachers, she or I could not take the child in, we would have to radio for another teacher because I can’t be left alone. If the other teacher changed a child and had to wash her hands, I had to stand at the bathroom door so that she could see me and I could see the children. (I usually volunteered to change children, because I could go into the bathroom alone without the other teacher having to watch me). If a child was washing their hands in the bathroom, getting more soap, washing their hands and getting more soap and not listening to me telling them they need to dry their hands, I could not go into the bathroom alone with the child. I had to have a teacher stand at the door so I could grab them and help them turn the water off and dry their hands. It was frustrating sometimes, but mostly an annoyance.

My second and third weeks there I was a floater. Which means that I went wherever they needed me. My hours were regularly 12-6, but I had a few mornings where they needed me at 9.  I would usually start in Grasshopper and eventually I would end up in Busy Bees. Or I would stay in Busy Bees and hop over to Grasshopper to let a teacher wash her hands, or restocked people’s tissues, heated children’s food for lunch, etc.
And mostly I stayed in Busy Bees. These little children (Unlike Grasshopper) were younger, still learning to love their friends well, still learning to use their walking feet, still learning to use inside voices and still learning to listen to their teachers the first time. If I was that age, I would probably have all those ‘still learning’ issues as well.
While Grasshoppers feels easier, I’m grateful that I was placed in Busy Bees (BB) so much. Last week we had the BB and Snail’s swap rooms. Like actual transitioning switch to stay permanently. I don’t know how Snail’s did with the change but BB was having a rough day Monday morning when I got in. I kept telling myself that it was Monday, they were hyper, it was a new room, new change and that’s why they seemed to be more active. Tuesday was a close nightmare. I was with a sweet teacher, Jamie. Both of us were having a workout with our arms from snatching little kids who were trying to run across the floor, to near yelling because children weren’t listening or doing as they were told. It was very rough morning.
The nice thing was I didn’t have to be in the next day until 12 the and noon shift is much, much, much more relaxing and not as chaotic as the morning. I arrived in my favorite shirt, told myself the day was going to be okay, and it wasn’t that bad. (Though I doubt that it had much to do with my shirt) I’ve worked several afternoon’s in the BB with teacher Christina, and she’s really good at keeping the kids on schedule, making sure their daytime paper is filled out, making sure they are listening and doing as they’re told.

This all brings me up to yesterday. Monday. My first day of being officially off of the ‘provisional hire’ and finally able to be alone with the children. Which meant that they (the preschool) were going to put me into a room with 10 children.
Without anyone else.
It. Was. Scary.
Okay, so it wasn’t that bad. It was a new adventure, fun, exciting, challenging and hard. Maybe very hard. I was there in the afternoon alone, so most of the children were already on their mats asleep. 7 down, 3 still awake. Two did okay at staying quiet, reading a book or coloring quietly and listening to me when they would get a little louder. The other was a little more excited. Sadly he had a lot of trouble listening and made some poor choices on how to behave.
About an hour and half later, as the other children slowly woke up, I changed them, gave them snack, started cleaning up their sleeping things, gave them some toys to occupy themselves while this one child tried to gain attention by disobeying a lot. During all this I had two other teachers in and out the room helping be a second pair of hands. With the help of these two teachers, I finally had them all up and given a snack, apart from two that somehow had slept through and noise and chaos of the early afternoon.
After feeding them snack, I had them hold hands, I got to carry a walkie-talkie, (for the first time!!!) and we headed out the door, down the hallway to Snail’s room where there is a door for the outdoor playground. And there the children were let free to run, scream, climb, dig, slid, and swing to their hearts content.

Preschool is not nannying! It’s so different and hard sometimes. Children running everywhere, books being thrown, having three kids on the swing asking “Can you push me higher?” or “I want to go higher!” Or “HIGHER!” But like nannying, it can be so rewarding. There’s one little boy who has this slight southern accent. My first week he couldn’t remember my name and mistook me for another, previous teacher.
(Kid in southern accent) “Mis’ S-aa-ra, can ya push me on the swang?”
(Me) “I’m not miss Sara.”
(Kid) “Oh.” (Pause) “What’s ya name?” (I respond) “Oh.” (Pause) “Mis’ Hii-d-aa, can ya push me on the swang?”
It’s so cute. Just today I saw him outside on the playground, and while I thought he knew my name by now, he had to ask me again what my name is, though at least this time he didn’t call me Miss Sarah.
There’s more rewarding things like the kids that love to chase me, or have me chase them. They run away, laughing and giggling, telling me I can’t get them. There’s the child who wants to be held and points towards a field where cows frequent and asks if they are napping in the shade or drinking water. There’s the children who unexpectedly listening during the day. They sit down when we read a book, they stay on their mat quietly. They give hugs for no reason. There’s the children who will say sorry to their friend for hitting, or even hug their friend. There’s the children who say sorry to me, for not listening. There’s the joy in their faces as they see bugs crawling on the ground, or finding rocks or see their snack is teddy grahams, or get to drink their juice box for lunch.
This job is different from nannying because I am surrounded by ladies who love the Lord and strive to love these children as much as I do. No matter how hard the day is going, or whether or not the children are listening, they all want to see these children grow up to Love God and others. And they talk about each other so lovingly. They encourage me through their actions to love these children well.
When I first started working, I didn’t know if I was making a difference or if anything I did would show up later in all theses children’s lives. But then I remembered that even if I made a difference in one child’s life, by holding them and looking at cows, or hugging them through their hurt, they may look back on their days in this preschool and remember that they had an awesome teacher who loved them as unconditionally as her human heart could.

No day is drama free and easy. But having this opportunity to have children hug me at the end of the day, despite the deep breaths and prayers they put me through, makes each and every day worth it.

><>Heidi<><

 

Less Stress More Busy

In the past month I have have about 5 times I considered sitting down and writing about my stress-filled life and share a depressing look on what it was like to have no job, no car, no close family or friends and no meaningful purpose. But I was too stressed, depressed and dark-clouds kind of mood to actually sit down and share all of it. So here, a month later, I’m finally finding time and more sunny look on life to actually share more in depth of what the past month has looked like.

When I first got to Florida, I found two places that had Preschool Teacher openings. The first place, BBLC, is a 5-7 minute car drive (literally down the road from where my boyfriend lives). When I went in for my interview, I found a blue building, with verses written on white boards and a happy environment. My interview went great, I loved the place and was looking forward to hearing back about getting a job with them.
The next day I had a job interview at a preschool that is located in a church. To be more specific, it’s the church that Devin and I have been attending on Sunday mornings. Once again, I had a great interview, and I loved them. I was told right then and there that I could have the job if I wanted it and I decided to take the night to think about it.
I wanted somewhere close to bike to. Something that gave me enough to save money and not just have to live to pay bills and try to survive. I wanted something that I would love and enjoy doing. Something that would be fun and that I could be myself. I decided that due to the 20 minute drive to the Preschool in the church plus it being only part time, I would give BBLC a call and let them know I would take their full time, higher paying, closer to me, job. That also included giving the preschool at the church a sad call back and telling them I wouldn’t be taking their opening.
I had the dreams of working close to my home, being auto insurance free, I’d be working full time, saving lots of money and one day I would have enough to move into my own apartment, buy a car, maybe it would even lead to a nanny job where I would make more and save more. And close to two weeks later, I began to lose my rose colored glasses. The job turned out to part time. I set up a time to go in and talk about getting started and found out that day didn’t work. I tried for a week, calling sometimes three times a day to get someone who would know how I could start working there and I never got a call back. By that point I was having some people telling me to keep trying, others were telling me to go back to the preschool at the church, and I just wanted the whole thing to end.
At that point, two of my best friends from New York traveled down to Florida for spring break. I decided that I was going to take that time to relax, let my hair down, and forget my depressing life of being jobless.
It worked for the most part. I got to spend two cold, windy days at the beach, go shopping and watch other people spend money, go to restaurants and order the cheapest things that was offered. It was a great week to sit and think about my life and where I was heading with everything.
After talking to my mom about where things were headed with BBLC, she suggested that I take some money from my parents, buy a car, and  go get the job at the preschool at the springs. I didn’t want to. I wanted to be debt free, a biker and money saver. It took me about a day or two to realize that those dreams were great and wonderful. But I really can’t bike that far every day, especially if it rained or I was running late. I had no other jobs that were popping up and everything seemed to be pointing towards this one, money loaded, option.
So taking a deep breath I took the money from my parents and began to look for vehicles located within 10 miles of where I live. That soon went out to just anywhere in Florida because cars get bought so quickly during the tax season. I spent a week or so looking, spending one day looking at nearly 10 different cars. They were all different, yet never worked. They had dents and scratches or the motor clanked or they didn’t even run, or they smelled so bad I didn’t even want to get into them, or they looked trashy or they were wayyyy over my budget. The list could go on and on. It was stressful, awful, wonderful, crazy and I’m so glad I am done going through that because….
Hold on, let me back up. After a couple days of my car hunt, I was greatly

Life was feeling like a slow turtles

encouraged by many people to give the preschool at that church a call and see if they were still hiring. I didn’t want to commit to anything until I had a car, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to give them a call and at least ask if the position was still open. To my surprise, they still had a open position, looked forward to having me join their team, and asked if I could head in the next day to start paperwork. I felt all kinds of thankful. I couldn’t believe how fast everything was happening.
To make a long story a little shorter, I got all paperwork done, finger printed, background checked, and continued looking at vehicles. I got a text message a couple days later that a certain paperwork had come back faster then expected and I was able to start working that next Monday. I still had no vehicle and while I was excited, I was still feeling stressed out about it. It was a happy, depressing time.
Anyways, I started working Monday a week ago! It was glorious and amazing to be surrounded by loving children again. Preschool @ The Springs encourages their teachers to make Jesus the center of everything, to sing songs, read books, invite the children to participate in exploring God’s creation and loving their friends well. It’s so different from being a nanny. I am much better at spending time with two or three kids rather then having nine little children running around screaming. There’s a lot of rules and codes that have to be followed. But the past ten days have been so worth it and I’m super thankful that I went back for this job.
Back to vehicles. I was looking but not really finding anything. Through my hunt of a vehicle my taste went from cars, to accepting trucks, bugs and PT cruisers. I needed something so I would take nearly anything. Then my boyfriend’s dad found this 2002 PT cruiser. I’m not a fan of white and the wood grain stickers. I don’t like the look of cruisers and had it been a month ago I may have passed by it all together. Thankfully I didn’t do that though because I am now the proud owner of this ugly white, wood grain sticker, cruiser.
There’s sooooooooo much more I wish I had time to write about. Devin has been amazing during the past couple weeks, encouraging me to take my time, and keep breathing through the stress. I could go into so much more detail over how thankful I am for him in my life. He’s done a lot while I’ve been down here. A lot.
It’s been a crazy couple months. But through it, God has been faithful. He’s always reminding me of ways that I can trust him. I worry and doubt more then I should. Yet he’s always bringing me back to the quiet place that I thrive best when I rest in his peaceful arms.

Life happens, stress and busyness comes. And while I don’t like the depression and dark look on life, there’s always a hope at the end, a light that I’m going to be okay, no matter what.

Until next time,

><>Heidi<><

One Month…But Whose Counting?!?!

Wowwwww!!! One month! It’s super duper crazy awesome, yet so…weird still in ways. Like weird in a good way. It all comes down to the fact that Devin and I have never, in the two years we’ve known each other, spent such a extended time together in person. The longest we’ve ever spent was nearly two and a half weeks when we first started dating.
Living in Florida is so different from anywhere else. It is near impossible for me to try and compare it to living in New York (for obvious, snow white reasons) but not only that, it’s just very different. I can’t try and compare this transition to the time I went to Belize because they are so different. I’ve never been in this new situation before and trying to express how it effects me is hard.
But one thing that has not changed (much) is Devin! Through this past month, I found that it’s a whole lot easier to communicate when I can see his expressions when he’s talking or silent. Talking about life issues face to face is a huge blessing. I don’t feel like I have to click the end button on my phone, throw it half way across the room and stomp away with a childlike pout. (Though I was tempted on multiple times to do so when we would talk on the phone and I would get frustrated) It’s been easier (most of the time) to tell Devin how I’m feeling in that moment (though I’m

Flowers he got me!

learning I still need to speak up a little more) But through it, Devin has been so, so, so, so, patient with me! He’s never given up on trying to get me to share what’s roaming my head. As much as I don’t like to admit it, he’s pretty good at calming me down

Natural Springs we went to swim at

when I’m stressing out, crying, tired or having a bad day. He great at reminding me of who is in control of the situation and encourages me to give that control to our Lord and Savior.
My first month here has been hard. There has been a lot, like a LOT that I haven’t written about because it’s been very personal, hard and the struggles of life overwhelm me often. I was talking to my mom awhile back (I don’t remember when) but I was telling her about some of my struggles of the transition and frustration I was going through and she told me to be content in where I’m at. And that’s where I’ve been meeting God at, thanking him for the place

SEW HAPPY!

where I am and how he has blessed me in the here and now. And there’s been a bit of a perspective change through that (which I needed) I can either roll over, face the wall and cry because I have nothing to do with my life, or I can get up, enjoy the sunshine by walking or riding my bike. Or I can read, listen to music or sew. And over the past couple weeks I’ve found that getting up in the morning, excited for the blessings that I have now and thankful for all that I can accomplish has helped me look at the future with a brighter smile.
(PRAYER REQUEST) While I hope to write more about it, I would like to add that I’ve been praying, interviewing, calling people and really hoping that I can get a job soon. But through this time of lack of a income, through the struggle of not having a job related to children who I can spend all hours of the day with,  and having so much extra

A mama horse and her foal. I found them while I was going on a walk. I would have gotten closer, but she snorted at me as I passed so I decided to stay back.

time on my hands, I’ve found a peace through all of it. God has been working on me in his mysterious ways the past few weeks, answering prayers I didn’t realize I had, showing me his hand through my struggle and really giving me this peace that I haven’t felt in a long time. I’m not saying it’s easy to just up and trust that I’ll be able to make bills and payments another few months. But waking up one day a time, being content and putting my trust in Christ is what makes me make it through another day. And having Devin to help me is it’s own special blessing.
So all in all, Florida is beautiful in it’s own way, not comparable to New York or anywhere else. It’s lovely living here, I have an awesome family I’m staying with and boyfriend who has helped me in more ways then I think he realizes or knows. Through all our time together, I never thought that living so close to him would happen. But in all our time apart living 800+ miles apart, it’s shown us that every minute we get to spend together is precious and special and shouldn’t be taken for granted. I’m thankful to be down here, learning life in new, fun ways and having a adventure that I hope never to forget!

><>Heidi<><

Rebel

This idea of rebelling honestly started while I was riding my bike. Every single person I’ve seen down here, who are riding a bike, has no helmet. So I rebelled and got myself a helmet. I chuckled at the thought, me being a rebel. It popped up again while I was driving my boyfriend’s truck. Apparently more then half of the population of Florida drive 25 mph above the speed limit (that may be a slight exaggeration.) But they drive so fast. So I rebelled and drove the speed limit (or maybe 5 above) Rebelling against little things that I saw was just going to be a silly blog post with a “hello, I’m a rebel, the end”.
But through the past week or so, this word has marching through my brain, making me take a deeper look at the world around me. I feel that much of what I do is rebelling against this generation and age. Drugs, porn, homosexuality, drunkenness, living with a boyfriend/girlfriend, sleeping around, disregarding The Word, gossiping and probably so much more.
When did these things become as common as something like not wearing a helmet? Why do people give me and my boyfriend a look of shock when they find out we wouldn’t live together until we’re married? Why do people disregard the road sign suggestion and choose their own speed? When did it become common to go to church on Sunday but live your own life the rest of the week? It’s all become so normal.
And I don’t want to be a part of that normal group. So I rebel. My heart yearns to be different from the world around me. Maybe I still want to be a “normal” in the sense of goals and dreams and eating chocolate after supper. (’cause that’s normal….right?) But I don’t want the life the world has to offer. I want to be a rebel.
In a world that is imperfect, I want to be a incomplete masterpiece through Christ. In the world that reigns in darkness, I want to shine in the light God’s glory. In a world of biking, helmetless people, I want to ride along side them, sharing why I wear a helmet of salvation. I want to share life with people, and show them, they can rebel against the normal of this day and age.
American Christian hip-hop recording artist, Lecrae, wrote a song about being a rebel. He writes about not being conformed to the ways of this world. We are called to be different, to be the ones who rebel against the sin and life the world has turned into. We are to be like Christ in every way possible, holy and righteous. Here’s the end lyrics of his song Rebel:

“Rebel, I’m in rebellion
You’re just a conformist, if you’re drunk and naked and driving around on a loud motorcycle smoking cigarettes and breaking commandments
And getting pregnant out of wedlock.
Everyone’s done that, it’s so tiring.
If you really want to be a rebel, read your Bible, because no one is doing that
That’s rebellion.
That’s the only rebellion left”

And so, I repeat what I’ve been saying. I’m a bicycle rider with a helmet. A church goer with a bible. In a world of speeding Floridan’s, I’m just a rebel cow lover who slows down to moo out her window at the bulls and heifers that are feeding in the pastures. (Heehee) I’m rebeling against the culture I’ve been blessed to be born in, showing that there’s more to rebel against then the world says.

><>Heidi<><

Of Bikes and Books

I have been in Florida for nearly a week and a lot has happened. And a lot has not happened. First, I’ve gotten my things unpacked, put some stuff on shelves or away and put some stuff on the ground. I sorted through items in the garage, and stored away my empty boxes. I went to the dollar store and bought some nifty (and cute) storage containers to put things in. AND I bought a bike!!!
I have been dreaming about this day since….hmm, I can’t remember when….But since I knew I wanted to come to Florida and wouldn’t have a vehicle. This is my brand new, azure, opaque, pair annulus, 7 alacrity,  Bayside. (In other words, blue, black, two wheeled, 7 speed, Bayside bike.) I was also blessed with a helmet, lock and basket. It’s super exciting that I now can begin exercising and learning my way around the crazy, Florida roads.

Along with new things, yet old, I have many of my favorite books out of their boxes and displayed on shelves. While I don’t read as much as I use to, I still enjoy reading, and finding time to sit with my feet up, drink some tea (or chocolate) and have a good book is my hands is a great way to relax. It’s been very nice being able to grab a book off the shelf, instead of dig it out of the box in the farthest corner of the closet where I had decided would be the best place for it at my parents house.
I also have gotten out my sewing machine and look forward to seeing what I can create. I have some pillow ideas, blanket ideas, clothing ideas, but it will all take time as I have no table space to cut anything.
But having things to do while Devin is working is nice.

Devin’s family is super welcoming and I love his siblings. The family I’m staying with has two children and they’ve started to say hi to me, and I got lots of drawn pictures from the older one. They have guard dogs, who are super cute and friendly, plus a cat. He likes to attack my feet when I’m walking. I get to wake up and open my curtains and see a horse right across the road. While there aren’t hills here there is a country feel, which makes me feel more at home, though I get a little discontent because I don’t have a job. Speaking of which….

A prayer request for me is that I work at finding a job, and that something comes up which I enjoy doing and is close enough to bike to. I have a possible job interview but no one has called me yet. I would also still love a nanny job, but nothing has come up yet. Also pray that I find a good church to join!  Pray that I have patience during this time, and find things that will motivate me and encourage me. It’s hard going from a large family to having no one around.

This feels like a hard transition, because there are so many more unknowns, I’m far away from family and close friends, and while it’s Florida, I just haven’t found much to do yet. And somehow there is still a lot to look forward to and the future holds so many exciting, new, crazy awesome things!

“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Who have I in heaven but you? and there is nothing on hearth that I desire besides you.” Psalm 73:23-25

><>Heidi<><

Short Nights, Long Days

Cherry Blossoms in North Carolina

Traveling 70 mph down the highway, cruising with my window down, listening to my dad whistle to music and feeling the hot sun burn my arm. Dark clouds pouring down rain, traffic slowing down to 30 mph and all I see is bright, red break lights that make me inwardly groan. Hazard lights blinking in and out through the ghostly, white fog slowing everyone down more. Tall rock walls on both sides, like a canyon of stone. Beautiful sunrises behind us, lighting the skies up in pink, orange and yellows. The rolling Appalachian mountains that followed us, swooping up and down like a wave on the ocean. A journey may never be perfect, but there is beauty if one looks hard enough for it.

It is quite dark at 3 in the morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father and I left Saturday morning at 3:04. I buckled up, pulled a blanket over my head and tried to settle into the tightly packed vehicle. I had a backpack at my feet, a dresser behind my seat and not a lot of room to wiggle around. And somehow I slept through most of Pennsylvania. Maryland and West Virginia weren’t long at all. By that time it was close to 8:30.
I suggested that I drive so my dad could take a break. We stopped for gas and I

My silly selfie as my dad drove

began to drive. Virginia is a large state to drive down. It went on and on. I played the Alphabet game (Where one looks for the letters A to Z in order) I got through it once, went backwards (got a little mixed up with GHI because I couldn’t keep straight which ones went first when going backwards) and began from A again before stopping around at the letter J when I decided I had had enough driving.
We stopped, stretched our legs and continued on around 11:30.

Trying to take a picture of the building behind me and accidentally catching the guy running down the stairs….awkward!

 

Thick fog. Good thing my dad is a great driver!

Dad drove through North Carolina where we had slow traffic and rain. And then fog on top of that. We were soon out of it and arrived in Colombia, South Carolina close to 4:00. We stopped at my brother and sister-in-law’s apartment. They took us around the University where my brother goes to school. SC is beginning to have their spring because there were some beautiful blossoms that we don’t see until April or May. The four of us had dinner, played a game, and finally around 7:30 or so dad and I went to bed.
At 3:30 it all started again. I woke up, found my dad was already up and after a quick bowl of cereal, we gathered our things and headed out the door. Dad drove and once again I tried to find a comfortable sleeping position. I must have somehow fell asleep for awhile because I awoke to my dad pulling into a rest area in Georgia. I was going to go back to sleep but after doing some jumping jacks outside, I didn’t find myself as tired. Dad drove for another hour or so until I asked if he wanted me to drive the rest of the way. So we swapped.
Where we drove in Georgia, it was quite flat. And swampy/marshy land. We went

Another cherry blossom

from there to Florida and I swung around on the beltway to miss Jacksonville’s traffic. We continued south and about 15 minutes from our destination dad and I swapped again so I could give him directions from the map on my phone. That was interesting because directions here seem to go everywhere and nowhere.
At roughly 11:00 AM we arrived at the home where I will be staying in Summerfield, FL. My boyfriend was here to welcome us, as the family was gone at church. Dad, Devin and I unloaded the van, putting boxes in the house and garage. Afterwards, dad got to meet Devin’s parents, we showed him some chicken coops outside and then he left to return to my brother’s place in SC before it got to late.
Seeing dad leave was a bit emotional for me. I finally figured that lack of sleep, hunger, and a LOT of thoughts on my mind were what was causing buckets of tears. (That may be a slight exaggeration) But Devin let me rest for a bit, then blabber on about everything that was roaming in my head, assured me through my apologies of crying that he was expecting me to be somewhat upset, and after getting everything off my chest, I got myself some food. I felt much better after all that.
I brought some things from the garage over, put books on the shelves, organized my room and began dreaming about decoration ideas. We watched a movie and said goodnight. I woke up today (Monday) with excitement that I was actually living in Florida. It’s still hard to believe sometimes, that I’m no longer states away from my boyfriend but minutes!!

Discovering new places
Trail to new places

Some thoughts regarding the future. Devin and I are looking forward to what these next days, weeks and months hold. I’m thankful for this time to finally get to know him better in person. While we’ve spent quite of bit of time together in the past, we’ve never spent more then 2ish weeks together at one time. We both want to find a church that leads us spiritually and I dream of a place where I can help in the children’s area. We are excited to explore Florida, there are caves down here, forest land, reptiles of all kinds (including alligators and snakes) and Devin has told me we can go fishing, something I have not done often but want to do with him. And of course we want to relax, watch stars, movies and take walks. There’s a lot we are excited for.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for my dad and I. From what I heard, he was nearly home and will soon be with my family. I am missing family and friends, but with time that should ease. The journey is sometimes messy and hard, but if one looks hard enough, they can see the beauty that is intertwined in it.

><>Heidi<><

New Site, New Adventures

This weekend I will be heading down south to sunny, Florida. As I have been preparing for this time to come, I’ve been debating whether to change my blog around or not. I originally made it for family and supporters as I went to Belize to be a Missionary Nanny. As I am no longer with a specific ministry, I wasn’t sure whether to disband the whole thing, change it or leave it and continue writing. After much thought, I decided to change it and continue writing.

Much like when I was nannying in Belize, I plan on writing about my adventures through the sunshine and rain. I can’t say whether it will be consistent writing, once a month or less, but I hope to share my thoughts, experiences and adventures that come my way.

I’m excited to see where this goes and what I can come up to write with. I give you my new blog: A Cow Girl On A Beach!

><>Heidi<><

The End and Beginning

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” – Proverbs 16:3

Over a year ago, I remember finding this verse, praying over it, writing it down and taping it to my bedroom wall to be as a reminder of what I was committing to the Lord.
I wanted to be a Missionary Nanny. I wanted to be the hands and feet of Christ, to serve in ways that would be of a help to the Kingdom of God. And three months later, I found out that I was actually going to do that. I was going to be a nanny for a family overseas.
And the Lord was faithful. He brought me through so much. Sickness, homesickness, lack of sleep, hurricanes, stolen items, months and months away from family and friends. He showed me his faithfulness, his grace, he taught me to be patient, to take a deep breath and keep going even when I wanted to cry, he taught me to speak up and to shut up. He reminded me of former times, that I’d been through it once and I could get through it again.
Through the time as being a nanny I learned to love water again, I watched the pure joy of a three year old girl whether she was dancing over a crab or the white snow outside. I learned to be patient when a little one year old boy could only communicate his anger by throwing things. (Thankfully that didn’t happen often!) But with time he slowly learned to sign with his hands and soon after begin to say simple things, such as “hi-ee, haaaal-p! Haaaal-p!” ( Honestly, it was the cutest, but more relieving thing to hear, because before he learned to say that, he would yell at me to get my attention, so my ears are thankful)
I learned so much, grew in knowledge of children and cultures and habits and so many other little things. I could never have imagined half of anything that I got to go through and experience in my time as a nanny for a missionary family.

Before I get to anything else, I want to take a moment and go back to a little over a week ago. I got to watch the dad and his two children learn to skate for the first time. (Here I am with the kids, watching people skate, and me and Faith out on the ice) Apart from jumping into the Caribbean Sea with the kids in Belize, this was probably my favorite thing of everything I’ve done with them. We didn’t spend a lot of time on the ice, and both children had trouble staying up and skating, but the whole thing was just so fun and I’m super thankful that we got to do it.

And through all of it, I knew my time would one day come, where I would have to pack my bags and end my time with this beautiful family. I would be starting a new beginning of memories, experiences and adventures.
It’s hard to move on and figure out where life is going next when I don’t really want to do what’s next. This past week was hard, trying to move back into my family’s house, talk to people about what’s next, find quiet corners to cry in, and take a moment to breath and move on.  I have plans and hopes and dreams, but at the same time, it would hurt so much to talk about when I had just left the best job I could have ever asked for.
But like everything else from life, I have survived. I still miss people, that’s normal. I still have moments (like now) where I’m overwhelmed by the sadness of having to leave. But I know that there comes a point where I have to get up, carry the memories in my heart, and move on.
Thankfully, every day it gets a little easier. I have lots of things that I hope for the future and I look forward to what God can do with me and through me over this next coming up year. I look forward to seeing what new adventures I can go on, how many crazy awesome memories I can make, and see what new ways God can shine through me as we go through life together.

So, the one question that I hear most, the one thing everyone wants to know.

“What’s next Heidi?”

Honestly, I’m done for now with being a Missionary Nanny. I have plans to maybe stay in the states, maybe begin working, maybe save up some money, maybe get married, maybe have my own family….but it’s a lot of maybe’s. Right now I’m just taking it a day at a time. I’m looking towards the future and hoping, planning and dreaming of what may come.

One other new beginning that I’m going to do, is (for now) I’m going to set aside writing in this blog. It’s a bittersweet feeling. I’m so thankful for the time I’ve had to share my experiences and adventures. I’m so thankful for the people, the prayers and encouragement I’ve received during this time. Maybe one day I’ll bring it back, but for now, it was a season in my life of keeping up with family and friends.
Either way, I have a phone number and email (as well as a Facebook account), if anyone needs to catch up on life and hear more on where I’m headed or how I’m doing. Feel free to call, email or message me at anytime! I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

><>Heidi<><

When There’s a Curve in the Road…

When there’s a curve, a fork in the road, or a dark tunnel  where one can’t see five feet in front of them, a driver must continue on. They have trust that around the sharp curve, which they can’t see past because of the mile high stone wall, has more road and not rocks in the way. When they come to a fork they have to trust that their GPS, map, or instinct is right in which way they are going. With a dark tunnel they have to trust they will come out into light again.

I’m that driver. There’s a curve coming up to the end of my journey with this beautiful family I have been blessed to serve. While I want to put on the brakes, stop time, and continue this life for longer, I know that it’s coming to an end.

It’s about 12 days until I return home for Christmas. 12 days to love on three precious children, to make memories, laugh, fix boo-boo’s, wipe tears and noses, sing silly songs, dance crazy dances, hand out snacks, change diapers, read books, run around making too much noise, playing house and school, letting little ones drag me around, cuddle and snuggle with baby Ben, hand out snacks again. 12 days left.

I don’t like goodbyes. Living in Belize on a YWAM base where every 2-3 months one has to say goodbye to friends, it was tough. One would think that it would get easier in time but it doesn’t. And so I push back the thoughts of leaving and saying goodbye to this family.

To be completely honest, there is a little bit of excitement. I look forward to where the Lord is leading me next. I know that he’s got amazing things in store for me. But that doesn’t exactly mean I’m excited to leave the life I have here. That curve. That road that splits. The tunnel that I’m coming to and is clearly marked “UNKNOWN”. Those are the things I begin to slow at. I wonder why I can’t know where I’m going. Or what I’m doing next. Or why everything seems so dark.

And through all of it, God says to trust. Trust that even if there are rocks in the road around the curve he’ll help me around them, trust that he’ll show me and make it clear as to which road at the fork is good, trust that the tunnel may be dark, but he’s right beside me holding my hand and leading me through it.

None of it is easy. But there have been rocks I’ve already had to dodge. There’s been forks I’ve had to choose at and dark tunnels I’ve been through. But God has never once left me, and I know these next couple months of unknowns will be the same, as long as I continue to trust Him.

I’m going to live these next two weeks to the fullest and enjoy life. And after that, I’ll see where the curve around the corner takes me. It’s not easy, but sometimes there can be even more beauty on the other side.

><>Heidi<><

Autumn Days

Let it be known now. I love autumn with all the glorious colors, freshly fallen leaves crunching beneath my shoes and getting to bundle up in cute sweaters and colorful clothes. BUT! I do not like the cold that comes with it. My hands and feet get cold, and if the weather drops too much, I must wear more layers which just makes things a little more annoying. But I guess if I can learn to embrace sweating in Belize, I can learn to embrace the freezing in Virginia.

Things have been busy around here. A couple weeks ago my best friend came down to visit and we celebrated our birthday’s together. It was so nice having someone I knew from home down here with me. I have missed family and friends a lot! When looking at my age, I’m now 23, yet still feel like a little 16 year old at heart. It was a lovely day playing with the kids, taking pictures, eating cake and ice cream, talking to friends and family on the phone and opening gifts. It’s safe to say that year 22 was a good one, and I’m looking forward to this next year that God has blessed me with.

The kids are doing wonderful! Faith is learning the days of the week, Josiah is learning new words and Benaiah keeps his eyes open more often. Faith was digging in the grass awhile back and discovered a worm. She got super excited and began to show me, her brother, and parents. She then went on to dissect him. I guess that’s one way to introduce kids into science, right?

Oh! And speaking of leaves earlier, we made a pile of leaves for the kids! In Belize there were huge almond trees that had big, oval leaves. I remember one time close to April or May where they turned a dark red and brown and fell down. There weren’t enough that we could make a pile to jump in, but there was enough to have a leaf fight. Behind the house here in Virginia, there are several oak and maple trees. Faith and Josiah had so, so, so much fun helping rake the leaves, jumping into the pile and throwing the leaves at each other. The smiles and giggles were worth every leaf I later had to vacuum up from my room that I had brought in with me from rolling and jumping into the pile.

Lastly, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I want to take a moment to thank God for all that he has provide for me. First my super, awesome church family who has provided financially and prayed over me daily. I’m very thankful for friends and family who have supported me during this past year. I’m thankful for this amazing family, the way they love me and have allowed me to love on their children. I’m grateful for the friends, culture and adventures that I have been immersed in while nannying in Belize and the States. And lastly, I’m thankful for the journey that God has brought me on, the way that his love has been shown more clearly to me, the way beauty can come from ashes, the way His strength comes in my weakness and the way my obedience brings forth his Glory.

And thankfully, I’m still nannying a little longer then a month, before returning home for Christmas. (in other words) This shouldn’t be my last blog post!

I love you all!

><>Heidi<><