Which way is up?

So Danielle has begged, that’s right begged, me to write on this blog for months. For absolutely no reason at all I have been hesitant to do so. I keep convincing myself that in a few years I will come back and read my work, and be incredibly embarrassed. But something changed recently. Actually it seems like everything has changed recently. Danielle and I are new parents and each day is a new adventure. I have started a new position at Trinity Baptist Church, this change has caused me to start new friendships with a new pastor, new students, new adult leaders, a new youth pastor network, seemingly a new everything. I have even turned over a new leaf, and that has me wanting to share today.

Most people are creatures of habit. They like routine and rarely look forward to change. All of the newness that I am experiencing would cause some people to have a stroke! I like to do new things but one of the things I have been in the habit of is keeping a very, ridiculously full inbox. Some of you would cringe to know that for years now I have grown accustomed to keeping thousands of emails in my inbox. Yesterday I had over 7,000 (that’s not a typo) unread emails. On a whim I decided that needed to change. I went through my old emails and deleted them, ALL OF THEM! As I type this, there are 4 emails in my inbox, I never knew there would be this kinda freedom with an empty inbox).

In the middle of deleting email after email, God opened my eyes to something.  Since the summer of 2011 my inbox has been infiltrated with ministry! As I clicked on emails I have stashed away since 2011, I was blown away by the bold request I made to people at the North American Mission Board. I was humbled by the prayer request I had sent to some of my professors at NOBTS, and encouraged by their response. I became excited about plans I was helping to make for several different camps and events. This seems crazy to even type out, but I experienced God’s faithfulness as I did the trivial (and devastatingly time-consuming) task of cleaning out my inbox. As I looked through my very own keystrokes I was overcome with joy (partially because I write much better now) looking back at the way I have grown spiritually, as a man, as a leader!

This caused me to realize that instead of looking back on my early entries on a blog and cringing, I would more likely be encouraged by the way God was working in my life at the time!

All of the “new” things in my life right now have me struggling to recognize which way is up. And while I may not have figured out the answer to that question, what I have realized is that being able to look back will always be a source of encouragement rather than embarrassment. So this is the first of what may be many blog post for me. Thanks for reading, please be gentle in the comment section. Take a moment, in the midst of all of the crazy, and reflect on how God is trying to encourage you.

 

Kyle Ruff

Feeling Like ME

This summer was a great time to relax and rest as a baby has grown inside of me. I don’t know that it would have been good or wise for me to work during my 30-38 week time period. However, I didn’t feel like myself this summer. I didn’t look like me, act like me, respond like me. Maybe it’s the hormones, or laziness from being exhausted, or who knows, but this summer I wasn’t me

I went back to work last week (teachers seem to go back earlier and earlier each year) and still wasn’t who I remember myself to be. I wasn’t keeping the house as clean, cooking as much, enjoying the social aspect of my job. It’s been weird. But in the past two days everything has changed! The kids have come back to school and I feel like ME! I get to be goofy, and accomplish tasks that matter. I get to learn about new little people and show my slightly crazy side. Being a teacher is apart of who I am. God called me to this career and it has been amazing to be back (even if only for a few days)! I have loved it!

Please do not misunderstand me. I am 39 weeks pregnant and exhausted. My feet and ankles are unrecognizable and hurt. I am thrilled to be taking time off with my sweet little girl soon and will love every second of it. But I am so glad to I have a career that I LOVE and know that I was called to!

I Survived My Nightmare

Since finding out I was pregnant, and having the doctors confirm my due date (August 6), I have had a few nightmares, but one has reoccurred too many times to count. My water breaking as I’m meeting parents and students at open house. That may seem silly, but it has been my struggle. I have known since week four that at week 39 I would endure open house and the first week of school. For some reason the idea of the first week of school is less scary of a time for my water to break than open house. 

Last night was open house…and I survived my nightmare, or I guess my nightmare never occurred in real life! I’m so excited/relieved! As I met my 25 fifth graders and several of my teaching partner’s students as well, I was thrilled at how well they handled my very round belly and the fact that my due date is Saturday. Sure, at the end of the night my feet hurt, my back ached, and all I wanted was to lie down and sleep…but I would consider the night a HUGE success! Especially since my water didn’t break.

Tired of being Tired

For the first three months of pregnancy I was exhausted and slept constantly. For the three months that followed that I slept well and wasn’t dead dog tired. But now… For the past two months it has become harder and harder to sleep. I wake up every other hour to go to the restroom. In the middle of the night, Hannah decides it is time for karate class. And here recently, I have to eat a small meal between 4 and 6 am in order to continue sleeping until a reasonable hour. It’s insane!

I’m just tired of being tired. 

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Today was the last day of school. This concluded my fifth year teaching and begins my official transition to fifth grade. It was very bittersweet. 

I love third grade! The age of the students, the content taught, and the lightbulb that comes on right after Christmas break each year. 

I adore the women I work with in third grade! I could not ask for a better group of people to show me how to be an amazing teacher. They have been my friends, work-moms, big sisters, allies, and role models. These are women who lift me up in prayer and surround me with love. I will miss being with them all day everyday. 

But today, I must begin to prepare for new friends in fifth grade. I need to start wrapping my head around the maturity of 10 and 11 year olds. The content will be refreshing and make me work harder at preparing to teach-which I find fun.

So, goodbye third grade. You will be missed. Hello, fifth grade! Let’s do this!

You’re Moving Me Where?

School is coming to a close, and for many teachers that means reflecting on their year and looking forward to teaching a new batch of students in two months. Typically I sit around and think about how I could be a better third grade teacher, but this year I am thinking You’re moving me where? You want me to be a fifth grade teacher? You do remember I am having a baby three days after school starts back??? Yep, that’s right…my five years in third grade are ending and I am beginning a new chapter in fifth grade.

To say that I am overwhelmed would be an understatement. With a move like this comes a HUGE list of things to do before August.

  1. Sort out my stuff from the school’s third grade stuff
  2. Pack up my stuff
  3. Pray
  4. Move to new classroom
  5. Find fifth grade stuff
  6. Pray
  7. Print new standards
  8. Research new standards
  9. Pray

The list could go on forever!!!!

On top of a move to a new grade level, some how my principal thinks I should be a grade level chair person…WHAT?!?

We have spoken. I have voiced my concerns. He says he still thinks that he has made the best decision for his school…so here I go…off to 5th grade…as a grade level chair.

The only positive to this entire transition is that my teaching partner (we have been together 4 years now) is also headed to fifth grade with me. We are moving as a unit and I LOVE that!!!

So my life is becoming more interesting as Hannah’s arrival is approaching…but I am excited to still have a job (doing what I love), be remaining with my teaching partner (whom I love), and be trying new things!!!

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My Current Praise Song

Currently I am stuck on one song as I praise God on the way to school, church, in the shower, cooking dinner, ALL the time! It is called Closer by Amanda Cook. I had no clue who Amanda Cook was until I heard Lauren Daigle perform one of her songs at the Move Conference in December. I immediately bought Amanda’s entire album and am now stuck on Closer. The lyrics are so personal and are the cry of my heart right now, in this season, today!

“Closer”
Your love has ravished my heart
And taken me over, taken me over
And all I want is to be
With You forever, with You forever

Pull me a little closer
Take me a little deeper
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart
`Cause Your love is so much sweeter
Than anything I’ve tasted
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart

Whoa, whoa, how great Your love is for me
Whoa, whoa, how great is Your love

Pull me a little closer
Take me a little deeper
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart
Your love is so much stronger
Than anything I’ve faced and
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart

What song are you listening to over and over again?

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Starting Over

Some of you may “know” me from Shining the Light in Third Grade. It’s still me. But I needed a fresh start. I needed to reinvent my blog. Life has changed a GREAT deal for me in the last few months and this blog is my new outlet.

Welcome!

I hope to be able to explain this all a little more clearly in the coming weeks and months, but for now…this is my life. It is Ruff!

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