My name is Kelly. I have lots of roles in life: mother, wife, daughter, friend, sister, aunt, and cousin. But, if you were to ask me who I am, my identity, if you will. I would say: one who follows the give way.
My husband and I are on a daily quest to live this way. Think of it as a way of life that constantly asks us to think of others before ourselves. Fortunately we both have parents who are wonderful examples of this way of life, and who taught us to see the benefits in thinking of others, always.
It’s a challenging way of life for any person. The last few years as parents have presented a unique challenge to figure out how best to show our children how to live this way as well. In doing so, it has also helped clarify our own thoughts on this way of life. We quickly learned that one of the great benefits of parenting is the drive to become a better person. Parenting is the epitome of the give way. It requires a significant amount of giving of oneself and thinking about another person’s wants and needs before your own. We’ve both been surprised how much we are able to sacrifice to improve the life of our children. Equally surprising is how much we’re happy to do so. Do we do it perfectly? Of course not. But hopefully we’re on a consistent upward trend. Parenting is a very good example of this way of life: challenging and rewarding. So, as I find books and information regarding parenting the give way, I’ll share them here with the hope that others will find the information beneficial in their own pursuit of becoming a more giving parent.
My homeschooling philosophy may change, but I’m currently leaning toward a more interest-led, delight-driven approach (some call it “unschooling,” but I don’t really like that term). This is a very easy and natural way to do things with younger kids. We’ll see what happens as she gets older. I’ve posted about here about my journey as a homeschooling parent in the hopes that the work I put into planning, will relieve some of the work of planning for someone else. You can find all the important links on my Portfolio page. If you’d like to work with me or support the site, please check out the ways you can do that here.
The Genesis of The Give Way
When I first started this blog, it was a 365-day project. My husband had started his own year-long sketching project, an loved doing it so much, he convinced me to start one as well.
I was hesitant at first. After all, they’re supposed to be creative projects, and I don’t think of myslef as all that creative. I don’t have any artistic talents. I don’t have information that anyone doesn’t know already. And, I don’t actually like writing all that much. (I’ve learned the writing and the art is mainly because I never developed or practiced either skill, so I never became very good at them. And, funny thing, I don’t like doing things I’m not good at. Anyone else like that?)
Then I came across Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman website. When I saw her very casual and conversational writing, I was convinced that I could try it too.
My goal is to live as my parents taught me: the give way. So way back in 2010, I began my journey documenting a daily task of giving to someone. It was a great daily reminder for myself, helping keep me on track. I gave food to homeless people, wrote notes to sick people, picked up trash, and numerous other daily little things.
Three months into it, I’d really found a groove. I was not only posting the things I did on a daily basis (not to brag, but to keep me on track), but I was also posting healthy recipes, teaching tips, and book reviews. Things I thought others would find helpful. Then I found out I was pregnant. Then I got sick. And of course the last thing I wanted to do was help people, let alone blog about it! I just wanted to get home from work — fortunately it was part-time — and lay in bed. I wasn’t nauseous. I wasn’t throwing up. I was just feeling yucky…all day long. It really never abated that first trimester. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and stare out the window. I didn’t even want to read romance novels! (If you know me, you know that’s saying something!) It was a crazy experience. But, in a way, I did manage to live the give way when I left the house: if only by not shouting at or throwing up on anyone. 🙂
Nine months later, our “ray of sunshine” showed up. That’s when I realized that the feeling of yuck that pregnancy was for me, was gone. It was great. My energy was back and the persistent heartburn was gone. Hallelujah! Then day two started. 🙂 The reality of taking care of a newborn set in. It’s hard work. No one ever prepared me for it. I was lost in a fog of sleeplessness and information, since I didn’t know anything about newborns. No one told me that all those babies I babysat for years are very different from new babies. Considering the fact that I didn’t do much all day but sit and hold her, there was never anytime for blogging.
Skip head two years later. My daughter started sleeping more, which meant I was sleeping more (or at least had the opportunity to do so, sometimes the pull of being an adult and staying up late was too much for me to resist). My daughter began playing by herself a bit more and napping for two hours. So finally, I was ready to get back to my blog.
You may be wondering what happened to all those awesome sounding posts pre-pregnancy. When I logged in after being off for so long, they were all gone! Turns out that at some point, a WordPress update had inadvertently wiped out everything. All of my precious blog entries: gone. The only thing left were the comments and a few that I’d saved somewhere else along the way. It was a huge bummer. It took me nine months to figure out what to do.
I decided to look at it as an opportunity for a new start. With a toddler running around, I already knew I wouldn’t be able to do a daily entry. And when the project’s goal is no longer about remembering to be giving on a daily basis, it seems a little egocentric to just talk about the few times a year I was nice to someone. So, I decided to make the blog itself the way in which I give. My hope is to give of what I know and what I do.
Whatever way it’s manifested itself, this blog has been a great blessing. It has helped me embrace the never-before-seen inner writer in me and given me the opportunity to put to use the many skills and lessons I’ve learned through the years (and that I’m still learning). Since becoming a parent, I’ve found it very easy to focus on our little family and forget about the rest of the world as we try to figure out this “raising human beings” thing. So it’s also been a wonderful way to push me outside my little, self-focused world and back into a more giving way of life. It’s challenging, but I can’t imagine living any other way!
So, welcome! This is my journey of figuring out how to live the give way — as a parent, a teacher and person…a challenging and rewarding way of life. Hopefully along the way you’ll find some info here that will be helpful in your own life.
I wanted to teach for as long as I can remember. Elementary school interested me, then high school, but I somehow ended up teaching at the middle grade level — the age range I hated most growing up. But, as it turned out, I loved teaching middle schoolers. They are still young, so they don’t sass you as much, but not so young their teeth are falling out in class (although, I did have one very physically immature 7th grader lose a tooth one year!) They are also old enough to have relatively intelligent conversations. The best of both worlds.
I taught at a private school for four years: 3rd grade, 5th and 6th grade humanities, 7th – 8th grade girl’s P.E., yearbook, speech, and life skills class. Private schools like to get the most out of their teachers. 🙂
After that, I took one year off — which I highly recommend to any teacher after their 4th year. During that time I substituted for a while at the high school level (10-12th grade history and bioethics). I then taught 8th grade U.S. history for the next five years in the public school system, with one year of 7th grade world history. When I had my daughter, I decided to stay home and continue teaching — just with one student instead of 30. 🙂 But, 10 years of teaching leaves me with a lot of lessons and resources that I am not currently using. So, one of my goals is to get a lot of that knowledge and research on here for others to take advantage of.
I have two children: the first is now five years old. She is funny, caring, and pretty close to perfect. I’m only slightly biased. 😉 (It’ll be interesting to see how this line changes as she grows older. Hopefully, it’ll just be the age part that changes…so far so good. 🙂 ) My second is a one-year-old — and as far as I’m concerned is also pretty perfect. He laughed at 7 weeks! So he’s funny. And he sleeps better than his sister did, so I know he loves his mama. 🙂 He even plays independently! She has been the greatest big sister. So thankful for my (nearly) perfect kids. 🙂
Then there’s my husband — a year younger than me (gasp!). He is funny, caring and pretty close to perfect too. Again, I’m only slightly biased — but seriously, I have to refrain from talking about him too much so I don’t make others jealous of his awesomeness.