Recently I was entrusted with a Milk Weed Caterpillar.  For those of you that know your caterpillars, this becomes a Monarch Butterfly.  This caterpillar was tiny.  No bigger than the size a the end of a pencil lead.  I was not so sure I was going to be able to successfully bring this little guy to complete it’s life cycle.  Well, I can report that I was able to with the help of my little ladies and lots of dedication to feed this sweat beast (the girls named it Pilly) he made his way out of his chrysalis and I am reminded of God’s miracles.  How in the world does this happen.  There is really no explanation that can make sense in my head that takes this Pilly

and after transformation can make this

without understanding God’s grace, creative beauty, and the concept of resurrection!  God is truly amazing and there is no other explanation but knowing that God is in control and that He makes all things good…It may take time, it may be a process and we may even have to be “melted down and chemically changed” in order to live fully as we are meant to. Thank you Pilly for reminding me of God’s mercy and grace on this tough season in our life!


Kids and Coping

Isn’t it true that even adults have a hard time finding what works in terms of coping with difficult situations in life.  It is a challenge because what works one time might not work the next.  We are in constant search of healthy ways to make ourselves feel better when we are stressed.  Our society generally goes to things like having a drink, eating something unhealthy, watching TV, and the list could go on and on.  All of these things in moderation are certainly just fine ways to get through something difficult.  However, longer term, I found myself asking, “what could I do and what could I teach both my own children and the children I teach ways to help deal with difficult situations that might actually help with positive forward movement with the situation?”  What a huge question!  I still do not have the answer!  However, there are things we can do that can certainly get us closer…

  1. Take deep breathes.
    • This is helping my 4 year old in ways I never imagined.  When she falls and injures herself, when her feelings are hurt, when she is worried, when she is sensitive, etc….  She looks at my with giant eyes and she begins to deeply breathe.  This has helped her regain regulation 100% of the time she has tried it.
  1. Count to 10.
    • Counting helps us go from our emotions to our rational thinking. In order to think about counting, you have to leave the emotional for a minute, gaining regulation.
  2. Take a walk.
    • Walking can help release positive feelings in our bodies. It can also help us gain perspective that this place we are in is a small part of the whole.
  3. Pray.
    • For me this can be hard. I can find myself in a cycle of telling myself reasons why praying won’t work.  I don’t deserve it.  I make so many mistakes. My problem is ridiculous. God doesn’t listen to me anyway.  I am here to tell you that every single time I have pushed through this, I have been shown how this is the devil keeping me from what God desires for me and God has come through!  Not always how I want or in my time but He knows what is best.
  4. Talk to someone with the focus of possible solutions.
    • It is so easy to talk to someone else and stay stuck in the “ickyness” of how we feel. Sometimes this can even take a turn for the worst and making it feel bigger or harder.  When you focus on solutions, it gives hope to a difficult situation.  Maybe none of the solutions work or maybe they are even far fetched, but the reality is they give you hope to try something to change the current situation.

We can teach this to our children.  They need us to teach them this.

A Note to Parents (of children with special needs)

Dear Parent:

You are enough.

Your child is amazing.

You don’t need me to tell you this.  But sometimes, you need to hear it.  With the crazy obsession for perfection in our society, I am feeling compelled to tell you that what is most important is that your child knows they are significant and they are loved and that you know that you are showing them this each and every day.  We all have moments.  We all have days, or months, or even years, where we feel like we are blowing it.  Look at the smiles or the sunshine in their eyes.  You were entrusted with this child because you can do it.

I do not know everything.  I am not a parent of a child who has special needs (as society sees special needs).  I am a teacher that cares about children who have special needs.  I am a person that sees the worth in every human and wants each to know their value, however that might happen.  We all have special needs.  We all have a purpose. The most important difference we can make as people is to smile at each other, to show kindness in everything we do,  to build positive relationships with those we spend time and through that we all can become our best.

children around the world



Playing in the Puddles

Sometimes all you need is a good puddle.  It has been raining for a few days both literally and figuratively!  When life is hard, puddles reminded me today that the rain stops and you are left to make a decision.  Are you going to continue to feel the heaviness or are you going to do what you can to find a way to see something positive.  Today… we decided that we were going to find a puddle and jump with everything we’ve got.  We looked for small puddles and big puddles.  We looked for muddy puddles and clean puddles.  The joy was in the exploration as well as making the biggest splash!  We got dirty and we got wet.  Nothing feels better than coming home and getting those wet clothes and rain boots off and into a nice warm bath!  Sometimes…

… all you need is a really good puddle to help put perspective back into life.


Back to School

How can it be?

We are getting ready for back to school time in our house!

The girls are both excited and hesitant to return to school.  The last two summers have been different than ever before.  I changed my career and became a teacher!  With this change, that means that I get to be with my girls everyday all summer long!  We all cherish this time like I never imagined!  I knew it would be great, but I also knew that it would come with it’s own struggles….However, I am happy to report the struggles are nil.  We rest, we explore, we play, we cook, we dance, we imagine, we swim, we bike, we live, we enjoy…. the list could go on and on!  Having said all that, going back to school is a little hard on all of us!

The countdown begins…

…because of my desire to wish it wasn’t time I have successfully procrastinated all there is to be done:

  • Supply shopping
  • clothes shopping
  • back to school nights and meet the teachers
  • getting routines back in order
  • reviewing important skills
  • Getting important things scheduled on the calendar
  • Readying my own classroom
  • and the list could go on and on….



With all the recent violence in our society I am left with deep feelings of uncertainty and need to say something…

I can’t have this happen.

We are a mixed family. Being a mixed family, I find we are in difficult situation. I can’t let it become me versus you or us versus them. If I do that, I am the white privileged person that doesn’t understand and therefore can’t care the right way. My husband becomes the unimportant suspect that can’t do things right without being targeted. Where do my mixed girls fall into this? I have to challenge this narrative every single day. I have to show and teach kindness every single day. While doing this, I have to teach practicing this kindness without being hurt or taken advantage of. I have to build strong daughters that care about people and themselves enough to spread their beautiful kindness that is so inherent in who they are. The messages they hear both at home and in the world are so critical to their world view.

They are important.
They are smart.
They are kind.
They are beautiful.
They are enough.

They matter.

At the end of the day, at the beginning of the day it’s kindness that matters.

Kindness Matters

Blink of an Eye

Life does actually have the ability to change in the blink of an eye.  It is not just a cliche thing to say.  It is real.

Our lives changed in the blink of an eye.  In June, my mom was diagnoses with Stage 3 Breast Cancer.  It has taken me until now, to be able to even write that.  We have been consumed with concern, the unknown, the treatment plan, appointments, and processing this.  I have a choice to make.  Lean on God and know that He has this or fall further away from His goodness.  As I see it, I only have one option.  As I have continued to struggle and grapple with this and all it means for us I was led to this…

1 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken.  We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit.  We are hunted down, but God never abandons us.  We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.

This is what we must do. We must show my kids the value of faith.  We must show them the value of trust.  We must show them the fighting spirit.

To stay current on the day to day of my mom’s journey feel free to follow her Caring Bridge site: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/marykraus