Monthly Archives: July 2014

Wacky Wednesday: The Day I Left Home (L1T4)

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Wacky

Well, I’ve never moved. I know, it’s a big weird thing. Everyone these days moves. Most at least go to college or move to a different house with their family. But not me. As I’ve said before, my family is pretty old-fashioned. We grew up in a home built by family members, have updated and renovated to fit our needs, and love this little house we own. To tell you the truth, as much as my family drives me crazy, this house is my comfort zone. I’m not looking forward to moving out at all! I know it needs to happen, but it hasn’t yet.

So this post is pretty pointless- I cannot write about the first time I left home, but that’s what the prompt is asking me to do. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about the first time that I truly left home alone. No, I’m not talking about school, a job, or a trip to Walmart or the grocery store. Instead, I mean the first time I went away from home on my own for an extended period of time. 

It happened last week actually. I mean, I’ve gone on trips before to various locations. I’ve driven over an hour away to get to work, to pick people up from the City, etc. But last week I made a trip that took me over 12 hours away from home. I left of my own accord, on a spur-of-the-moment decision. And then I spent the next 12 hours in the car, winding my way through traffic jams, road construction, and towns I’ve never seen or heard of before. 

I had a distinct destination in mind, and when I got there, I would no longer be alone. That was the biggest reason I convinced myself that the trip would be amazing. It would be great. I was excited (and thus nervous) about reaching the town I was headed for, but the trip was rather enjoyable other than that.

Problem was I drove the whole way, almost without stopping. It was late by the time I got to my location, and I didn’t sleep on top of that. The whole situation was fairly messed up because of my anxiety. So, less than 48 hours after I had arrived, I turned around and drove the whole way back home without stopping.

I keep going back and forth- regretting even trying, being proud of myself, and really realizing how much I enjoyed being with the person that I had met up with. Back and forth, back and forth. My feelings on this trip may never settle down or be completely set in stone. But I know that I did do something great that, due to my disorder, I never thought I would do voluntarily. I did get hugs and kisses from the one I love. And while not all things that ensued because of my exhaustion, stress, and anxiety were positive, I find that I need to focus on the positive things in order to keep my sanity and not drive everyone around me crazy.

So maybe I haven’t moved yet. I’m sure I’m not the only one in the world who can say so. And maybe, since I was able to (sort of) make this trip all on my own, I will be able to move out on my own sooner than I think. But, for the time being, I’m going to try to enjoy my life the way it is, savor every moment of every experience, and improve myself surely and slowly so as not to slip up after trying to make the big move. 

The End.

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Tuesday’s Teacher: Things We Are NOT Comfortable With!

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Talking Teachers

I almost didn’t write today because I’ve been struggling to come up with a topic for the teaching post. However, something had been laying in front of my eyes for the past few weeks and I just didn’t see it! 

You see, teachers have to do things that no one else in this world may even realize. Oh, it’s not all bad, especially if you enter into the field for the right reasons. But that doesn’t mean that there is no hardship and that we don’t get pulled through the mud every now and again. 

I myself am finding a lot of things that are not so hot about teaching (as compared to my earlier view when I was just a student or bystander). Below are the top ten things that teachers actually are not comfortable doing; they may not apply to all teachers, but they are surely true for at least one of us (ahem, not necessarily me either)!

  1. Standards/Common Core — We are drilled and drilled and drilled some more when in college: Every student is unique and different. We spend time distinguishing between students based on their ability levels, learning styles, and even attitudes/personalities. So why in the world does it seem okay to make every teacher teach exactly the same way?! To share your own methods is a wonderful thing; we all learn from one another in many ways. Yet to expect a teacher to do an identical lesson to the one across the hall… you’re just asking for failure! And, truth be told, these new-found common core methods mean we have to re-learn how to do half of this stuff before we can even teach it “correctly”.
  2. Staff Meetings — We don’t like them. Period. It’s not that getting together is a bad idea, we do all need to collaborate. But why are they always 1) way too early in the morning, 2) way too late/after school hours, and 3) painlessly pointless most of the time. So many of the topics discussed in these meetings could be discussed between smaller focus groups before being presented to everyone as a whole. Let’s face it: sometimes we just try not to fall asleep during these meetings. When we have to present something there too, that presents a whole other issue.
  3. Observations — I do the same thing day in and day out. Sure, each lesson is different, but my procedures, rules, attitude, and teaching style is the same. I am a person, not an ever-changing figment of your imagination. I appreciate the constructive criticism, appreciation, etc. that is given when I am observed by a peer or administrator who can help me grow however I need to. But, AWKWARD! I personally have had observations that were amazing (and I wouldn’t trade them for the world). Then, on the other hand, I have had people interrupt my teaching to tell me, in front of my students, what I was doing wrong. They basically took over the entire lesson from that point! Thankfully they aren’t my boss and that will never happen again!
  4. Report Cards — Do you know how much work goes into one of these little pieces of paper? Finalizations, mass grading binges, and further revisions! Plus, picking out comments about each student is not as easy as it seems. Meanwhile, the kids are still showing up, the parents are still asking questions, and everything else in our lives needs to continue on in one smooth motion. Let’s just add a ton of extra work to our already hectic lives and see how happy we are at the end!
  5. Parent-Teacher Conferences — Some parents are amazing to work with. These conferences can be especially great because we can learn more about our students. Yet these often occur around the same time as report cards come out (see #4 above), and many parents are not as nice as they could be. I understand being extremely proud of someone you love, especially the child that you have raised. I, as their teacher, am always extremely proud of my students too. But that doesn’t mean that there are never any issues and that they always try their best. By giving you constructive criticism about their work ethic, I am not trying to say that I hate them or they are the worst person on the planet- I am trying to help. Too bad not everyone understands this. Hello to another awkward conversation…
  6. One-On-One Time — It can be weird, that’s all. It’s not so much bad- in fact, it’s often easier to teach and reach a student’s level of understanding when working with them one-on-one. But it’s really awkward for some teachers when working with students individually. There are young teachers who end up feeling like they are supposed to be having a study session with a friend. There are also those that are simply of opposite sex from their student. Talk about being paranoid about a “sex scandal” or whatever you may want to call these situations. Honestly, twenty years ago this would not even be an item on the list. But now, since these situations end up on the media so often, it seems like teachers have to wear a suit of armor to work around single students while still securing their job, their name, and their reputation.
  7. Field Trips — It’s one thing to try to control your own two kids while shopping in the super market. It’s also one thing to be a trained teacher and be able to control a larger group of students who are not your own kids, but are with you every day in your classroom. It’s another thing entirely to take trips up to two hours away in an giant yellow noise machine (aka the school bus) and still have to babysit them for the rest of the day after that. Oh, and did we mention the extra trip home in the big yellow noise machine? Let’s just say ick. If you’ve ever been a chaperon, you may at least begin to understand this discomfort.
  8. The First Week of School — We aren’t used to being back to school, just like the students. We have spent the last few weeks sleeping in, relaxing, and trying to have a good time for a change. Yet when we go back to school, we have to snap right back into things. No one expects the students to be at their peak performance, but the teachers must always be. We are the ones in charge, the ones setting a good example. We can not fail. Also, we have to teach the kids all of the rules, procedures, etc. and most times we don’t know any of their names! Talk about difficult.
  9. The Last Week of School — By this time kids just don’t care. Hence, #7 occurs, only inside of the classroom. Plus we feel just like the kids; we just want to make it through the next few days so that we can try to enjoy what little bit of summer vacation we do have. Most times we throw “parties” instead of teaching anything because… we just don’t have any steam left after the last 200 or so days.
  10. Extra Time at the End of Class — You run a day care business. You make up activities for the kids to do each day- arts and crafts, story time, lunch, napping, etc. So what happens when you run out of things to do because the kids finish an activity faster than you expected? You probably just let them wander off to their own areas to play with each other or do what kids do. Teachers, we don’t have that option. So what do we do after the kids get done with all of their work early? Who knows… sometimes it’s a mystery even to us.

 

 

52 Lists: Dreaming and Goal Setting

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My Current and Future Goals and Dreams

  1. To marry the man I love
  2. To have children (at least one)
  3. To survive my first year of teaching
  4. To enjoy teaching for the rest of my life
  5. To receive a Masters Degree
  6. To change someone else’s life in a positive way (maybe more than one)
  7. To save up enough money for a new car
  8. To read all of the books in my library
  9. To be comfortable traveling anywhere, alone or with someone else
  10. To educate others about anxiety disorders
  11. To volunteer more (lots more) for good causes (animal rights, needy children)
  12. If unable to have kids of my own, to host students from another country or foster a child
  13. To learn to understand myself more than I do now (to an extent that I am comfortable with)
  14. To never lose sight of myself, my beliefs, and my heart
  15. A world of peace- or at least one with less worry, anxiety, pressure, and judgement
  16. To die happy
  17. To never lose another member of my family
  18. To publish… something
  19. To make memories that can never be forgotten
  20. To make my mark in the world and to be remembered years after the event (whatever that event may be)

52 Lists: Things to Be Proud Of

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The Things I Should be Proud of

  1. I have a big heart
  2. I am smart
  3. I have graduated from college
  4. I am financially dependent on myself
  5. I love completing random acts of kindness
  6. I am mature
  7. I am pretty
  8. I can teach just about anything to someone who wants to learn (even if I don’t understand it, I can learn it and then teach it)
  9. I am more in-tune with my emotions than most other people in the world
  10. I have great sympathy and empathy for others
  11. I have persevered through numerous difficulties
  12. I know how to surround myself with people who love me
  13. I have material possessions (a car, computer, etc.) that work, look amazing, and help me get done what needs to be done.
  14. I have changed other people’s lives (no, I’m not bragging– I have been told…)
  15. My large possession of books (I want to start a personal library)
  16. My organizational skills
  17. My strength (which I never see but everyone else does)
  18. My respect for others: people, animals, and objects
  19. My ability to love unconditionally
  20. Myself

52 Lists: The Greatest of Comforts

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My Greatest Comforts

  1. My home
  2. My loved ones
  3. Photos (especially of loved ones and nature)
  4. Pillows
  5. Blankets
  6. Listening to music
  7. Writing
  8. Books
  9. Learning
  10. Taking hikes on beautiful, quiet trails
  11. Looking at the stars
  12. Farmland
  13. Animals
  14. Wide open spaces (not the Dixie Chicks kind…)
  15. Libraries
  16. Smiles
  17. Random acts of kindness (seen or done)
  18. Mementos from the past
  19. The sound of rain
  20. Soaking up some sun (rarely, and not to tan, but because it brightens my mood)

52 Lists: Introduction/List 1: Words That Touch the Soul

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I have been feeling like writing a new list post on the blog lately, but cannot seem to come up with a good idea. So, until someone suggests something more genius, I have found a fifty-two topic list challenge. Thanks to Moorea Seal for posting the 52 list challenge at her blog. I guess I am slightly behind because the 52 lists were supposed to be for one per week in 2013, but better late than never! 

For the record, I have also decided to get away from my silly Wordles, and to include some beautiful nature photos in my posts instead. I hope you enjoy them!

Words that Touch My Soul

1. Love

2. Peace

3. Hope

4. Family

5. Friends

6. Chocolate

7. Sense

8. Learn

9. Strive

10. Grow

11. Faith

12. Glee

13. Comfy

14. Reflection

15. Words

16. Math

17. Passion

18. Cozy

19. Relaxation

20. Giving

…. and many more, but I think 20 items for this list gets the point across. I may come back and add more later, but these are the top ones.

Sunday’s Sermon: The Seed That Kept on Giving

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Sunday Sermon

I went to church this morning, partially because I haven’t been in a while, partially because my entire family finally had the opportunity to go today. It may too have had something to do with the fact that I was searching for some kind of answer as far as how to deal with everything that has been going on lately. Needless to say, I didn’t find it…

The Parish that my church is a part of has a single pastor, three churches. We take in students from the local Seminary to give them real-world experiences for a year at a time. Our most recent student, a girl, just finished her time with us. I didn’t realize that today we would be welcoming a new member into our arms. Well, let me rephrase- I knew we were getting someone new since we were having an ice cream social for him after the late service. What I didn’t understand was that he would be giving the sermon today.

Though no big deal right? Everyone preaches differently, everyone “deciphers” the Bible differently, but I am quite used to new pastors, reverends, etc. Today was different though. Today I was really searching for something, some sign of comfort and guidance from the service. I didn’t get it. Maybe that’s why I was so disappointed by the sermon itself, though maybe it was just the fact that the sermon was given by someone who’s name I didn’t even know. 

Regardless, I learned a lot about mustard seeds. In fact, the entire sermon focused on it. A parable in one of the Scriptures we read involved the seed. Unfortunately, by the end of the sermon, I couldn’t remember what the parable had said. 

So now I’m wondering- is this bad of me? Maybe I was too distracted by the newness of the situation, maybe the sermon was just too long for my attention span… Regardless, I feel really bad about the fact that I got nothing from the sermon and spent more time focused on the little baby in front of me. I’m sure that doesn’t make me a bad person, but I always feel like I should walk into church and walk out with at least one new thought, feeling, etc. Today, I didn’t.

I guess I did walk away with one thing, though not what I was searching for, hoping for, or used to. It got so hot in there that we all started sweating and having a hard time staying cool. (Yay for no A/C in the church!) Someone that I hold very dear got so overheated that they had to leave early. In lieu of going into more details on that matter, I’d just like to say that they are okay now, but I need everyone out there to send a big prayer for them just in case. This isn’t the first time that a dizzy spell has been a part of their day lately, and it worries me that it won’t be the last.

So maybe in the end, God wants me to focus more on my loved ones than on myself. I feel like the wires here are getting crossed; last week I felt like I was focusing too much on making everyone else happy and it was hurting me and making my anxiety worse. Now though, I feel like if I don’t focus more on everyone else than myself different things will happen. First, I’ll lose time with the ones I love that I cannot get back whenever I feel like it. Second, I will stay so stressed about my own life that I’ll never get out of this hole. 

So now, along with focusing on nature, being thankful for the simple things (as I talked about yesterday), I need to focus on other people, especially those that I love. Let’s see how this goes…

In ending, this scripture from John 15:13 sums up the focus that I am going to try to maintain:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

 

 

The Garden of Inspiration

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So I had meant to follow up yesterday’s post with the rest of the story once I had charged my laptop. Unfortunately, life gets in your way sometimes and the follow-up post had to be put on hold. Here I am again, trying to finally get some new content on my page! Sorry to those of you who follow me on a regular basis and are missing out on all of the daily posts. I didn’t have a Saturday Reader’s Choice topic, so I’m just going to finish up yesterday’s story instead…

As I was saying, I find inspiration in a  lot of different forms and places. My dad is the one who truly inspired me this time, to find some motivation (or at least try to fake it). While I don’t have any kids or pets to look after, who rely on me for love and nourishment, Dad has a garden. Over the past few days he has been calling me throughout the day and asking me to do small chores for the good of the garden. It started with picking the peas, then thinning out the green beans. We also had a plot that had not been sown yet, so one night he came home from work and asked for my help in that task.

It seems silly, and even I myself thought that it wouldn’t be enough of a distraction for me. But it has turned out to be a great help over the past few days. The thing is, taking care of that garden is almost like taking care of a pet or child. Not nearly as needy maybe, but just as alive and important if you think about it the right way. 

I’m a farmer’s daughter, and though we no longer live on a farm, it makes me happy to see that I am able to grow something so well without killing it, harming it, or ruining anything. Seeing the growth of the garden is exactly what I need right now to realize that I am better than I am feeling. I can get out of this slump- maybe not today or even tomorrow, but I can if I just hang in there. Because not everything in life is bad, not everything is negative. 

Just as the garden goes through its seasons, so too do I go through phases in my life. While humans might make life more complicated, hectic, and jam packed than I believe it ever need be, the garden is less crazy. But it still grows and moves on. 

As I was weeding yesterday, I realized, maybe God gave us nature for this reason: for us to be able to relate to it, for us to be able to enjoy it, for peace and some small form of understanding. It makes sense, at least for me. I feel more peaceful when I’m by the ocean, around animals, or out in the garden. Sure, the extreme heat or freezing cold puts a damper on things, but when the weather is decent, nature comes out in its best forms. And I, for the most part, am at peace. 

So thank you Dad- for the inspiration to get outside and do something with myself, and for your support in all things. Thanks to the rest of you who have given me support, even if it is just a comment on a single post of mine at some point. And lastly, thank you to God. For I know you lead me in the direction I need to go whether it be easy or hard. Yet at the end of the day, you give me the piece of the puzzle that I need to find in order to be able to regain that peace of mind that I normally carry with me. 

I may not be feeling better yet, but I’m feeling more hopeful, and maybe that’s all that matters. 

Friday Mash-Up: Maybe the Inspiration I Needed

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There are about five million thoughts running through my head today. That’s how it’s been lately; that’s why I haven’t been writing much. I continue to strive to pull my mind together and get focused on any one topic for a certain period of time, but those topics that jump out at me and stick are all negative and stress-inducing. After the past few days, these are the last things that I need to be thinking of. So, instead of forcing myself to suffer through for the sake of my blog and my strength of character, I have copped out and avoided writing for the past few days. I think I may finally be coming back to it. Slowly, one second at a time, I think my life might start feeling like mine again.

All of this may seem sort of confusing to you all, especially since nothing tragic or drastic has happened to me in the past week. But anxiety has a funny way of sneaking up on those of us who think we have control and are purely happy with our lives. In an instant you can feel like a stranger in your own world, uncomfortable around your comfort zone. This is what has happened to me recently; and it isn’t the first time it’s happened either. I’m growing, unhappily used to the procession that my life decides to take. Sometimes I have control over it, and sometimes I don’t. Maybe in truth, sometimes I don’t want to. God makes everything happen for a reason, that I truly believe. But believing that makes taking a stand against things that occur in life even harder to deal with or justify. 

Anyway, the inspiration that I needed may have come in a very familiar form, one of my personal favorites. People may think I am the clingiest, most childish person of my age group. Because the thing is, my rock, my inspiration: it is my family. There are three other members of my little clan, plus a bird, two dogs, a kitty, and a fish. Some of them live what seems to be worlds apart, but they all hold a place in my heart and help me even when they do not realize it.

So while I’ve been waking up late, sitting around on the couch all day, and falling to sleep extra early, these people that I love have been encouraging me to get off my butt and do something with my life. It’s true and I know it; I need to find my balance again and get back to being my happy self. The only way to really do that is to DO something! I know, but I’m reluctant. I’ll keep being reluctant until I can put all of these scrambled feelings behind me. 

I’ve been talking a lot to my boyfriend about difference of opinion lately, and being openly, brutally honest with those that I love so much. Especially those that I love so much. He has helped me grow in more ways than one, even in the last few days.

My sister is my hugger. She gives the most physical affection of anyone that I’ve ever met. She has inspired me to believe that hugs are good things, that physical touch doesn’t make you weak, and that you don’t have to be five to tell someone you love them. So lately, she has been my hugger. Every time she sees me, I get a hug. She tells me she loves me, and doesn’t pressure me for more. That, to me, is help enough.

My mom is the hard one, the one who keeps saying “You’re stronger than you think,” while I sit here trying to cop out of everything. She’s got this tough, brutal love about her, but deep love that means the most at the same time. She is the one you go to when you don’t want to do something but know that you need to do it. She tells you the truth regardless of situation, at least as it stands from her eyes. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not, but regardless, she is there.

Finally, my dad- the worrier of the group. If anyone has ever had such unconditional, ridiculous, incomprehensible love for someone else it is my dad for his family. Sometimes I cannot get along with him (probably because we are so similar), but most of the times knowing he has my back is all it takes to snap me out of my funks. This week he encouraged me to get off the couch and move. To do something, just like everyone else has been saying. But instead of giving me emotional reasons why I need to (like my head needs to get focused on important things again), he gives me physical work to do to help me get motivated. And so, thanks to Dad, my new motivation has become the garden. 

I’m a farm girl at heart, one who can easily be at peace with nature. As long as it’s not some scary, dark forest with weird noises or anything horrific like that… So the garden, at least at this time in my life, has become the perfect distraction. I have made it my goal to clear all of the weeds, appropriately thin out the beans, discover all of the new pickles, and create some bigger, better, straighter rows of plants than our garden has seen in years.

Anyway, my laptop battery is about to die, and while I have a lot more to write, I guess it will have to wait until I get inside to plug this baby in. (Don’t expect to hear back from me for a few hours- I’m unwilling to give up the peace and quiet of the nature outside just yet.) But when I do, I’ll tell you some of the small things that I realized when working in the garden today that many of you may never have even thought of. And, E, if you are reading this, I am going to write that little piece about my childhood that you and I had been discussing. But like you said, it takes time for genius- there’s no rushing about it! 

Talk to you all soon!