When A+B= a different C than you expected

I learned an important lesson on my mission: exact obedience brings blessings. This mantra is echoed throughout every book of Scripture, and is an integral component of God’s plan. If we are obedient to the commandments, we will be blessed. On my mission, as my companions and I were exactly obedient, we were blessed. In our case, that meant baptisms. In other words, when we were obedient, we had lots of baptisms. It was almost like magic.

After the mission, I continued to be exactly obedient. I followed the command of my stake president to attend the temple every day for 30 days. I followed the counsel of my mission president to continue to study the Book of Mormon every day and to worship all day on the Sabbath. I tried to have 10 meaningful Gospel conversations every day. I did my Visiting Teaching every month. I looked for service and missionary opportunities. I studied my mission language. I did family history. I did my very best to be as righteous and obedient as I could possibly be, and yet I graduated from college without getting married.

Let me be clear: I know I was blessed immensely throughout college and every day after. I even kept a gratitude journal and recorded the hand of the Lord in my life every day. I’m not suggesting that the Lord left me high and dry, nor am I saying that I was being obedient for the single purpose of getting blessed. I’m saying that I kind of thought if I did the right stuff, I’d be married by now.

So I’m still single. (Side note: It’s cool. I am quite content.) I sang “I Hope They Call Me On a Mission” and “I Love to See the Temple” all growing up. They called me on a mission, and that was awesome. I went to the temple, which was also awesome. But there are no Primary songs about being a single adult. I never had a Young Women lesson about preparing for the life I’m living now; it was all about strengthening home and family. I know I can strengthen home and family by being a positive role model for my students, but it’s just not what I envisioned.

So my life isn’t what I expected. Lol life is rarely what we expect. That’s life.

When A+B= a different C than we planned, then it’s time to walk by faith, knowing that Father definitely has a better plan. If I’d gotten married right after the mission, I would’ve missed out on a lot of important lessons and experiences. So it’s all good.

I know this to be true from personal experience:

Thoughts on Hard Times

I’m pretty sure no one reads my blog anymore, so I’m just going to be super honest today: I am currently going through the hardest time of my life. I thought my mission was kind of hard, but teaching 6th grade at Escalante Elementary under the current administration (something like Umbridge, to give you an idea) makes the mission feel like a Disney cruise.

I love my kiddos, and I won’t abandon them in the middle of the year. But no amount of money could entice me to stay at this school another year.

This morning I was writing Lauren, and Elder Holland’s Mormon Message about good things to come came into my mind. Heavenly Father gives us hard times because He loves us, and He wants to help us grow. I know that this will give me experience and be for my good, and I’m trying to keep that perspective. As long as I stay faithful to my covenants, which I will, everything will be okay.

An Open Letter to My Students

Dear future students,

You are currently still enjoying Summer vacation. Technically so am I. Starting tomorrow, the kids in my neighborhood here in the Provo School District will no longer be enjoying Summer vacation, because for some odd reason they start a week before us. Tomorrow is also an important day for me, because I’ll be given a key to my classroom. That will give me the power to go to our room whenever I want, as long as the school is open. In other words, I pretty much have the same access you will. But I’ll be spending next week thinking about you like crazy, and getting our room ready for some serious magic. I hope you’re into that.

I went to Elementary school before the days of No Child Left Behind. That means my Elementary experience was vastly different than yours has been. You face countless standardized assessments, and the curriculum is carefully mandated by people that get paid a lot more than me. You also won’t have a swimming party at my house or get homemade brownies every time someone in our class has a birthday. The rules are different now.

When I was in 6th grade, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the newest Harry Potter book. It was way longer than any book I’d ever read, but I still read it in two days. You won’t have the excitement of waiting for a new HP book to be released, or even a new film (besides Fantastic Beasts!) but I’ve provided you with approximately five copies of each book in the series, so I’ll be really sad if you don’t read every single one this year. I did give you a Hogwarts acceptance letter, after all. Please like Harry Potter as much as I do.

Let me be really honest with you (something you can ALWAYS count on from me): this is my first year teaching full-time, and I’m kind of terrified. All my experience is in 3rd grade, and I just don’t know what to expect from you. I can guarantee I will never give you less than my best, because you absolutely deserve it. But I can also guarantee that I will not be perfect. You can count on me to make lots and lots of mistakes, but they will never be on purpose. Please be patient with me as we learn together. I promise to be patient with you.

My big goals for you this year are to help you learn to love to read, to be confident, and to plan for college. You are special, my friends. If you leave my class feeling anything other than special, then we need to talk. You can always talk to me.

We’re going to have our best year so far. I won’t spend it all preparing you for Middle School, because you deserve one last year of Elementary School. Can’t wait to see you soon!

Love, Miss Blair

I Want to be McGonagall When I Grow Up

In honor of Harry’s today, I wore my new Gryffindor skirt. In honor of Neville’s birthday yesterday, we watched the first six HP films and ate delicious HP food. In honor of growing up with these amazing stories, I am passing on the magic to my students by striving every day to be as much like Minerva Mcgonagall as muggley possible.

Let me explain why she is my hero.

1. She’s patient.
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2. She’s super invested in the success of her house/ students.
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3. She has high expectations.
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4. She’s straight up and honest all the time.
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5. She has a huge heart, and it’s in the right place.
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6. She cares about the students individually.
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7. She’s an expert classroom manager.
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8. She takes pride in her students.
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9. She’s tastefully sarcastic.
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10. She’s pretty much the definition of BA.
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I am so grateful for a role model like Minerva McGonagall to inspire me. I will do my best to follow her example every day!

Careers I will NEVER pursue

1. Politician
2. Administrator
3. Referee
4. High School math teacher
5. Professional dancer
6. Truck driver
7. Actress
8. EMT
9. Professional athlete
10. Prostitute

I was just trying to think of all the most miserable things I could possibly do, in no particular order. No offense to people in those careers; they just aren’t for me.

‘Tis a Gift to Be Single

So I was gardening the other day, and it occurred to me that the lyrics to “Simple Gifts” could easily changed to fit my life circumstance.

Tis the gift to be single, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to be right where we want to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

Okay, so I don’t know what the whole valley of love and delight stuff is about. But I wanted to write about the gift to be single.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a gift, because everyone’s always talking about how wonderful marriage is, and how it’s the best thing ever and God’s plan and stuff. I get it. And I’m not going anti-marriage or anything, I’m just trying to be positive about my situation.

I’ve come to the realization that if I weren’t single right now, I wouldn’t be able to pursue the new dreams I’ve come upon, like moving to a big city to teach refugees. I’m really excited about where my life is going, and I think Heavenly Father has given me this time as a gift. I do want to be married someday, but for now I’m anxiously engaged in doing good things on my own.

New Life Plan

Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve had a post of any substance whatsoever. This was initially a courtesy to Lucy, who came out of the closet over the summer about her tendencies to not read my blog due to the high levels of difficulty presented by words on a computer screen. But I’m afraid that’s over, at least for a little while. Sorry Lug.

I was going to post on Thanksgiving, because I have made the most wonderful slideshow of things I’m grateful for, but I can’t figure out how to export it onto my blog. Still in progress, because I think it will be a pretty big hit.

Today’s topic is my new life plan, and this is it:

1. Mission January 2013-July 2014
2. Graduate with BFA and Elementary teaching certificate (I’m feeling pretty good about being a music major) December 2014
3. [Insert marriage where applicable. Time subject to change.]
4. Teach elementary school in Provo, preferably 4th or 5th grade.
5. [Insert family where applicable. Include at least 5 children.]
6. Get into Sped Masters program at BYU; take night classes while teaching during the day.
7. Conduct research concerning the effects of music on children with special needs, specifically and especially neurotrauma.
8. Take my findings to a third-world country to help and teach children with those same problems, who are without the incredible technology and assets we have here in the United States. [Hopefully bring my family with me. Do other work to help these people.]
9. Write a book about my research and experiences. Maybe several books.
10. Continue to do work for Exceptional children and their families; hopefully assist in better communication from the children, possibly due to musical expression as replacement for potential lack of verbal expression. [I know what it feels like to not be able to communicate or make people understand what I’m trying to say, because that’s how it is when I first come out of a seizure. It is extremely frustrating, and if someone were to be in a state of comprehension, without the ability to convey it, an alternate form of expression would be literally life-changing.]
11. Serve at least 3 missions with my husband.
12. Have lots of grandkids. [Yes, I know I have lots of control over that.]
13.Continue to travel and help children and others for the rest of my life.

So that’s the plan. I’m open to changes, but this is the rough outline of what I hope will happen.