This morning I wore the new slippers Mack gave me.  Yesterday, after church, I wore the new flip-flops Hoob gave me.  Before I leave the house today I will put on the new necklace and earrings Huh gave me.  And this afternoon I will “pick a flower” that has a popsicle stick stem and see what chore Yawlin is willing to do for me.

Something that I’ve noticed is that my kids notice when I use and appreciate the gifts they give me.  I will always treasure the memory I have of Huh getting a big grin on her face last Christmas break when I put my hand near her nose and said, “Smell how good the lotion you gave me smells.” 

A little while ago I purposely wore a “pearler bead” necklace that Yawlin made me last year.  It was fun to be running errands with him and have him suddenly say with pride, “You’re wearing the necklace I made you!”  

My fingernail polish is housed in a salt dough bowl that Hoob made me a few years ago.  A portrait that Mack drew hangs on our magnetic door that leads to the garage.  I have three different sets of slippers that I can wear when my feet get cold and lots and lots of homemade jewelry.

One of the best ways to boost a kid’s self-esteem, and an easy way to show your love in return, is to use and appreciate the gifts they give you.  So wear that stretched out bracelet.  Drink from that lopsided mug.  Hang up that colorful picture that makes you look like you are an alien.  Eat those runny eggs and the burnt toast with gusto.  Gifts were meant to be used, and the love our kids show us needs to be appreciated.

They will notice.

Mom,

Random thoughts to say thanks…

Thank you for teaching me to pray.  Your advice to “just say a little prayer” whenever I was seeking answers, going through a difficult time, or simply taking a tough test taught me faith and trust in the Lord.

Thank you for teaching the importance of family.  Our monthly dinners, holiday gatherings, and other family traditions have helped our family remain close.  Silly videos, halloween parties, goofy games, “dollar” gifts and all the rest have added to my kids’ childhood memories.  They value the relationships they have with their extended family members and have learned many things from their aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. 

Thank you for showing support.  Whether it is encouraging me or my kids in our interests, sending cards of congratulations or showing up for sports events and dance recitals, your support has always been there.   

Thank you for listening and understanding when I call you with a problem.  Thank you for calmly giving advice.  Thanks for encouraging me when I cry and saying things that build my self-esteem.

Thank you for giving me life.  After experiencing morning sickness and labor four times I am amazed and in awe that you did it eight times.  And, even though I really wanted a pony ;-), thank you for giving me siblings instead.  The friendships developed with my sisters and brothers are some I value the most.

Thank you for being there when I went through my divorce.  Calling up and checking on me meant alot.  Finding help when I was having car problems, sending food our way, talking to others who had been through a divorce and passing along their advice all helped and was appreciated.

Thank you for exhibiting patience.  Thank you for not condemning me whenever I was acting less than lovable.  Thank you for exemplifying what the words “unconditional love” really mean.  Thank you for always forgiving.

Thank you for trying to teach me how to cook and how to sew.  Thank you for not pushing me when I showed no interest in such domestic activities.  Thank you for willingly sharing recipes now that I am finally interested in spending some time in the kitchen. 

Thank you for putting up with all the teasing sent your way as you try to learn the mystery of computers and how to navigate the family website.  It teaches my kids a willingness to learn new things and the ability to laugh at themselves.  Thank you for not taking yourself too seriously–something I need to work on.

Thank you for all the handmade gifts sent our way.  The afghans, especially, will become treasured family heirlooms in the homes of my children.  Thank you for all the random “just because” gifts.

Thank you for the past “cousin days” that allowed the kids to get together with their cousins and us moms to have a break.  Thank you for all the times you babysat when the kids were younger.

Thank you for all your prayers in our behalf. 

Thank you for showing me that the job of “Mom” doesnt end.  Ever.

Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for being my mom.

I love you.

Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day.  Many choose to show their appreciation to the teachers in their lives by giving gifts.  Although the usual mugs and signs that say “#1 Teacher!” are nice, they can start to take up alot of space on a teacher’s desk.  Maybe some of these ideas will work for a teacher you wish to thank:

*Find out the teacher’s favorite charity and make a donation.

*Often teachers pay for certain supplies out of their own pockets.  Make things a little easier on a teacher by providing a supply of items for the classroom.  Some suggestions:  glue sticks, tape, construction paper, poster board, tissues, hand sanitizer, etc.

*Volunteer your time in the classroom.  Sort papers.  Take down or put up a bulletin board.  Read to the kids.  Correct papers.  Tell the teacher you are at his/her disposal.

*Let the teacher be pampered.  Give bath soaps, bubble bath, lotion, a manicure set, body spray, etc.

*Give a gift card to a book store.

*Buy a supply of books to add to the classroom library.

*Give a subscription to a favorite magazine.

*Movie passes and/or gift cards to local restaurants are always appreciated.

*A gift card to a boutique.

*Give the teacher’s favorite candy bar or soda.

*Have your child make a card.

*Sudoku puzzles.  Crosswords.

*Educational games for the classroom.

*Have your child personalize a pencil/pen holder.

*Have the class secretly make a scrapbook of the year’s activities.

*Post a big thank you sign that the class members can each sign.

*Give a plant.  Give flowers.

*Food prices are soaring.  Give a gift card to a local grocery store.

*Write a letter of appreciation for all the teacher has done for your child.

The ideas are limitless.  Teaching can sometimes feel like a thankless job.  Why not take the time this week to thank the teachers in your kids’ lives.  Even if your kids are out of school, or you homeschool your kids, isn’t there a teacher that touched your life for good?  Maybe now would be a good time to look that teacher up and let them know they made an impact on your life.  They made a difference.