Thursday, August 18, 2011

To a New Year...

I'm almost done with my first real week of teaching and I haven't really even mentioned it yet. So, here goes.
  • I like my schedule. 
  • I'm happy about the re-vamping of my Model United Nations program.
  • The teachers' lounge is as awesome as it's always been. Maybe even awesomer. Yes, awesomer.
  • Technology has been the bane of my existence for the last two weeks. Arg.
  • I'm coaching volleyball again. Yay!
  • My classroom has new tables (desks).
  • I'm drinking coffee like it's going out of style.
School is good.
In all seriousness, I'm happy about the next nine months. They feel full of possibility.I've decided to be more purposeful in my teaching this year. I plan to sit down and write a list of professional goals to accomplish by May. Over the last two years, I've learned so much and really been forced to be a better teacher just because of circumstances. But now that I'm past "survival mode", I feel like I can choose how and where I want to improve. It's exciting really. 

Hm, I feel like there's an epiphany coming soon about how I might really enjoy teaching if I'd ever stay in one place long enough...bleh...that's for another post.

As the days pass, the more excited I become to be back in school, teaching, planning for trips and conferences, coaching volleyball, preparing for Vida and fall camps, training new student leaders. 

Ya, I foresee a great year in front of me. One of growth and fun and new relationships with both students and staff.

Let's get 'er done.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Embracing the Suck

I heard a phrase in the teacher's lounge today (one of my favorite places on earth) and decided to use it. The guy who was explaining it to me was saying that when he was a soldier in the army, he learned to do this when he was marching. Hot and sweaty and had the potential to be miserable. So instead, he would try to get as hot and sweaty and muddy as possible. He called it, "Embracing the suck".

I literally haven't seen the sun full-on since leaving Colorado. It's seems all I've ever know is the foggy, misty, cloudy, all-consuming gray. It's hot and muggy, sweat pours at all times, day or night.

I'm going to try and embrace the suck. See? I even took a picture to prove that I'm appreciating the beauty of all the shades of haze. And then played around with the coloring...also involves appreciating...

Haze- There's a whole city out there somewhere.



I'm trying to come up with other ways (besides picture taking) to enjoy the really stinky weather we're having (and predicted to have for the next week...or the rest of my life). 

Puddle jumping? Fancy new umbrella? Sweat bandana that can double as a neck scarf?

Yep, That's all I can come up with.

New motto: Embrace the Suck.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Real Deal

I wrote this post several days ago but didn't post it. Too much honesty. Too much accountability. But after talking with several friends, I've found I'm not the only one having these thoughts. It seems to be a community-wide conviction. Maybe being confronted with death has helped to bring us back to our first Love, helped to remind us why we've chosen to live a life set apart. 


"Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony.

Frauds! You're like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you're saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds."

You have wearied the LORD with your words.

“How have we wearied him?” you ask.

By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them”...

For months, God has been working on my insides.
The end of school last year, my last two weeks in America this summer, coming back here, this all seems to be pointing me in the same direction.
Am I really going to live the life Christ has called me to live, or am I going to continue to be a fraud? A fraud with the best intentions, but a fraud none-the-less.
As I prepared to lead worship this weekend, feeling more nervous than I have in a long time, I was constantly reminded that it is SO not about me. It's not about my abilities or talents or words or the band or the songs. It's about the heart, what's on the inside. It's about meaning the words I'm singing.
But it's more than that. And I crave that "more". The "more" of living a life holy and acceptable, a life constantly dying to self, being holy because He is holy. 
This is what I've been thinking about for months, knowing God is calling me to do it. I mean, He's commanded us all to this kind of life but specifically working  on banging, clanging, pounding on the inside of me...
The question is, am I really willing? Am I willing to make radical changes in my life? Or am I going to continue to actively ignore the Holy Spirit? As if talking about change is enough, acknowledging the need, even making small changes, but not really doing what I am being called to do.
I don't even know if I know what that kind of life looks like, how to really be in the world and not of it. And I'm not just talking about not watching Glee or not listening to Lil Wayne or not drinking beer. I'm talking about loving people so much it hurts. About following Him where ever He leads, even if it means staying right where I am for a decade. About making hard choices that go against the popular Christian social norms. About looking at every aspect of my life and making sure that it's glorifying to God, living a life that's radically different and yet so appealing that it draws others to Him. And doing it all with the sole purpose of loving God, totally and completely surrendered to Him. 

Blast! A rock and a hard place, that's what I'm in. I want to do right, but I want it to be easy. And I want to not have to do it all the time. Only when it's convenient for me or when I feel Super -convicted (different than just normal-convicted).
Ha! And there's the heart of the issue.
Me. I get in the way. I'm always in the way.

But what James 4:17 says has been ringing in my head for weeks. If I  know the good I ought to do and don't do it, it is sin.
And that, folks, is where I'm at. And you?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Same Old Same Old

I have the same classes. The same classroom. The same school. The same job. The same house. The same non-roommate. The same fellowship. The same city. The same routines. A lot of the same.

And I love it. Since graduating from college, this is the first year ever that I'm not dealing with some major change in my life, i.e. new house, new job, new roommate, new city, new country.

It makes me happy to be surrounded by the comfortable and known in my immediate circle of life. That in and of itself is new. And I plan to cherish it. 

But I also plan to push myself to do new. Start new ministry and build new friendships.I find when I stay in my comfort zone for too long, life begins to stagnate. I retreat inside of myself and become more self-centered and less aware of those around me. And that's not why I moved here, to live a life completely about me. I moved here to be used in my community. I'm asking that I would be made aware of just what that means and that I would be willing to do it, whatever that "it" is. 

I love the old but bring on the new!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Follow Up Pics...

First Day of School Outfits...Carolyn, Beth, Karen, Me, Jane

Half of Team Awesome

2nd Day of School- Matchy Matchy Pinks.

On the way home from dinner...RAWR!!

We love a man in uniform.
So, I ended up wearing part of my "second day of school" outfit on the first day which then messed up the second day outfit. I had to regroup and start over. And the rest of the pics are from dinner after our second day. Good times.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jean Jumpers and Apple Sweaters Are NOT An Option

Tomorrow (which will be today in about 18 minutes) is the first day of school. I have bulletin boards unfinished, syllabi to still type up, lesson plans to write, students to meet with, checklists to create, attendance records to fill in...needless to say, I am SO not ready.

Ready or not, it's here.

The REAL problem is...

I have NO IDEA WHAT I'M WEARING yet. How is that possible??? All week I've been thinking about what's in my closet and I just can't come up with an outfit that's perfect for the first day of school. This is a very important decision, you see. Or maybe you don't see.

What a teacher wears on the first day really does affect not only how the teacher feels about herself within the classroom, but also how the students view her. Is she serious? Fun? Stylish? Lazy? Immature? Not relevant? Kids pick up on these things...and clothes, whether we like to admit it or not, say a lot about a person. Wrinkles, heels, cardigans, panty-hose, stains, dress pants, t-shirts, short skirts, khakis, sandals, turtlenecks, high-water pants, fishnets, skirts, suits...all convey a message. Some good, some neutral, and some that are never okay regardless of age, sex, place of employment, race, or religion.

So much pressure.

I have something for the second day all picked out and ready to wear. Don't even ask how that works, how I have something for Thursday but not tomorrow. It's just that the shoes I want to wear will be too uncomfortable and not really practical for all the stuff going on tomorrow. AND I'm afraid it'll look like I'm trying too hard. You want to look like you care but not like you care too much. It's a tricky balance. Better to save it for the second or maybe even third day.


I'm off to the closet to take another look. I have 5 hours to get it sorted out. I'll keep you posted on what I choose. Maybe. Unless I hate it. If I end up hating it, we will not be discussing this again.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I Can't See Clearly Now, The Rain is Not Gone

I'm feeling different shades of haze these days. There are things and sub-things rolling around like marbles in my head not ready to be complete thoughts yet.

A new school year
   not ready?
Downshifting from an exhausting and emotional summer
   missing people
   processing thoughts and feelings
   learning from circumstances, some made, some given to me
Slap-me-in-the-face change
   friends that moved away
   a little boy who's gone forever but so NOT forgotten
   a new boss
Mixing up of groups
   new people
   old people in new places
   new friends?
   what's important to learn?
   what am I missing?
   we are all experiencing it, am I showing grace?
   what does it look like this year?
   wanting to do everything and nothing at the same time
   leading worship tomorrow, feeling very nervous for some reason
Next year
   where and why?

I am so very happy to be home. I'm just feeling all jumbled up inside. And not in a depressed, moody way. More in a life-is-awesome-but-I-can't-see-anything-clearly sort of way. I'm quite sure it has to do with jet lag and adjustments and Jesus, all rolled into one. I plan to take some time today to rest and pray and spend extra time in the Word. Oh and shop for the typhoon party.

Seriously? A typhoon?