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The Best Post-It Note Ever {Bronwyn Lea}

Lindsey Smallwood

So excited to bring you a guest post today from a writer I really admire. I first found Bronwyn's blog when a friend shared her post on the little word that changed her prayer life. It changed mine too and I started making a point to read her writing regularly. Whether she's parceling out advice about in-laws in her Ask Bronwyn series or helping us all win at parenting, her writing is rich and funny and real. Today she's sharing a story about an out of the ordinary note on the mirror.

Photo  via  // Edited by Lindsey Smallwood

Photo via // Edited by Lindsey Smallwood

There comes a time in marriage when you just can’t talk about a thing any more. You need to say your piece, and then leave it in peace.

This is how it was for us on the topic of when to have children. In the newness and chaos of our first year of marriage, we had made a decision to delay: at least until he was finished grad school. But as grad school dragged on, I became more and more persuaded that the reasons underlying our delay were not faith and wisdom, but fear and selfishness: How would we afford it? Would we ever get to travel again? Would we even like children? After all, they come with a strict no-returns policy.

I bundled all my reasons and wrapped them up with a g(u)ilted bow: “If we say that children are a blessing,” I wheedled, “then why do we live as if they wouldn’t be?”

But my husband didn’t agree. It wasn’t wise. It wasn’t time. This wasn’t a fear decision, and we weren’t going to talk about it any more.

We didn’t talk about it. For months. And, over the course of the summer, the nagging sense of urgency I felt abated some. I sensed God calling me, once again, to learn to trust my husband: just because he wasn’t talking about it, didn’t mean he wasn’t thinking about it. I needed to trust that he had heard me, and that he cared.

I bit my tongue a thousand times.

One crisp October morning, I rolled out of bed realizing I was running late for a women’s breakfast I was slated to speak at in less than an hour. I catapulted into the shower, mentally making lists of all the things I needed to do before heading out the door: Apply mascara. Grab something to eat. Pick up notes for the talk. Wear something compatible with a lapel mic. Oh, and it was that Saturday: the one every four weeks when I had to resume taking the little pills which kept us faithfully baby-free. I started brushing my teeth while I rummaged in the drawer for a new pack of my pills.

There was just one pack, and it had a tiny yellow piece of paper stuck on it. I did not have my glasses on yet, so I had to bend low to the drawer to read the tiny writing on the Post-It. My husband’s writing was unmistakable: “You don’t have to take these any more,” it read.

I squealed all the way back to the bedroom, leaping onto the bed with my mouth still dripping toothpaste. “Really? Really?” I giggled. “Really,” he said.

I made it to the breakfast on time, and more than a few people commented on how happy I seemed that morning. I thanked them and smiled mysteriously. It was not for the to know that while I spoke, I kept a tiny yellow post-it of promise tucked into my pocket.

Bronwyn Lea and her husband became parents a few months later, and now live in California with three lively kiddos. They can't imagine life without them. Bronwyn writes about the holy and hilarious in life and parenting at and various other fun places online. Follow her on FacebookPinterest and Twitter

Lindsey again. Don't you love how Bronwyn tells a story? And are you encouraged to practice more trust in this season of whatever you're waiting for? Here's hoping for promises to put in your pockets. Hop on down to the comments and leave Bronwyn some love.

Do you have a story to tell? Check out my guest post guidelines, I'd love to hear from you.

Raise Those Hands

Lindsey Smallwood

So excited to be guest posting today at the blog of a writer I really admire, Bronwyn Lea. This post is a part of her "Words That Changed My World" series. 

It was my first day.

Not my first day teaching, I’d been teaching as an inclusion specialist for 2 years and I’d worked as a pastor for six years before that. But the summer before I’d requested a transfer to a new position as a special day class teacher.

It was my first day in my own classroom.

I was placed in a 4th and 5th grade class for students with significant cognitive disabilities, like autism and down syndrome. This was great news – to me this is The BEST age – independent and still sweet. Not so little that you have to help with things like tying shoes or going to the bathroom but not so big that they have “tween” angst already brewing.

Eager, I spent weeks writing lesson plans, looking up projects online and preparing materials. I felt alive with ideas and excited by the new opportunities classroom teaching would afford. I was nervous too. I wanted so badly to succeed, to make a difference, to be a good classroom teacher.

What if I failed?

That first day I couldn’t help but smile as my students walked off the bus. They were loud and smiling and bubbling with energy. We spent the first hour with usual activities: introductions, reviewing the rules, touring the classroom.

Our first academic session of the morning was math. I began the lesson by asking questions. Students were calling out or staring into space. I reminded them to raise their hands to speak, modeling it with my own hand.

Soon I realized that none of them had ever been in a class where they were expected to raise their hands. They were used to small group work or one-on-one attention.

Raising their hands was a new concept!

On the fly I changed the lesson plan.  We put the math away and spent the next 45 minutes playing “Raise Your Hand”, a game I made up in the moment.  We raised them high and low, we raised them slowly and quickly.  We raised them one at a time and all together. One student helped another who had trouble doing it on his own. There was laughing as they tried and I could see that some of them were starting to get it.

I decided to try our math lesson again. After getting out the materials and making sure I had the student’s attention, I asked my first question.

One moment. Silence. Blank Stares.

Two moments. Someone started playing with their pencil.

Three moments. I start to worry that they don’t understand what I’m asking.

And then? A child in the first row raised his hand.


What a thrill! Knowing that I taught something and he learned it, just like that.

I pointed to him.

“Yes, I see that raised hand, can you tell us how many blocks are in the circle?”

He smiled at me and shook his head.

“I have no idea, but you’re a real good teacher, Mrs. Smallwood. Just wanted to say that.”

My heart melted a little while I tried to regain focus on the lesson.


He said “…you’re a real good teacher, Mrs. Smallwood.”

I heard “I like you and I like being here.”


He said “…you’re a real good teacher, Mrs. Smallwood.”

I heard “I feel safe here and I’m willing to try something new, something that’s hard for me.”


He said “…you’re a real good teacher, Mrs. Smallwood.”

I heard “I believe in you.”


In that moment I wanted to earn those words, to be worthy of his sweetly sincere praise. It gave me confidence to keep teaching the lesson. I realized those precious little faces really did believe in me and I in them and that together we were off to a pretty good start. Even if we’d done nothing but raise our hands all morning.

Not bad for a first day.



This post originally appeared at Bronwyn Lea's blog.
Find it by clicking here