Monday, July 16, 2012

Overwhelming thankfulness

In the past week or so I have been lucky enough to have great opportunities for interviews. I really hope that one of them pans out. This morning I received a call asking if I would interview at Christian Co. High School tomorrow at 3:30PM. Naturally I was thrilled to have the opportunity to stay in the area I taught my first year. Then this afternoon, I received a call from Christian Co. Middle School asking me to come in to interview for a 6th Grade position.

Now I am not directly qualified for a middle school position. I am certified in Social Studies 8-12. I am uncertain what it would take for me to teach middle school. However, when I told them this, they decided they wanted to talk to me I went in, and I can honestly say I am intrigued with the idea of teaching middle school. I had not really made a decision on what I wanted to get my Master's in, so that might be a decision made for me soon. I know you have to take the Praxis exam before you can get enrolled in a Master's program in Middle School. The teacher and principal I met were really great, and I was very impressed in the lengths they were going through to see if they could have me. I admit, it's hard not to get a big head when people do that kind of work for you.

I am ridiculously torn at this point. I could still get a call from Central Hopkins. I could get offers from either of the two schools in Christian County, and I have no idea what to say. All I can say is that God must be smiling down on me these past couple of weeks, because he has provided me with so many opportunities. He has blessed me with wonderful former co-workers to support me with recommendations and moral support. If I don't receive any job offers from all of this, I will know it is not from lack of trying. I cannot wait to be able to send out thank you cards with hopefully good news to all of my references.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Birthdays...celebrate them.

At almost 23, there is absolutely no reason to lie about my age. I'm old enough to do most age restricted things, and I still look young. Therefore celebrating my birthday is a still a time I enjoy. The later in life people get, the less big of a deal people make about their age. That is until you get to be fairly darn old. If you make it to say 80 or so, you can start bragging about your age again instead of hiding it.

Some women really dread reaching thirty. Nowadays being thirty is not a signal of you getting old in my opinion, but some women really hate the idea. Perhaps it's because I'm still over seven years away from being the big 3-0, but seriously get a grip, people are living longer every day. Of course, your metabolism starts slowing down, and you can get the middle-age spread going on in your abdomen. For the most part though, you're probably as healthy as you were at 29. Perhaps it's because I've pretty much been a little chunky since puberty, but I don't really fear that.

Men seem to be good until they are around forty. That's when mid-life crisis begins. Hair starts to gray, the beer gut forms, and they begin to feel less virile. That's what society would have us believe anyway. Society teaches us to fear growing older nowadays.

What is growing older? Once upon a time, the oldest member of a tribe would be revered for his/her ability to survive through the years. They would be respected, and he/she would be used as a source of knowledge. Now going through the second or third generation of, "Never trust anyone over thirty," people have forgotten the value of aging.

Remember playing the game of Life? You get life tiles when you experience life changing events and gain new knowledge such as having a baby and learning a new trade. If you had a ton of life tiles and not a lot of money, you could still win the game of life at the end of the game. With all that age comes more experience, more life tiles. Sure you get the bad experience with the good experience, but out of every experience you gain wisdom and sometimes maturity. If properly respected, this wisdom can be valuable to young whipper snappers such as myself.

So much can be learn by so called "old (Believe me when I say I do not believe that 30 somethings, 40 somethings, and even 50 somethings are anywhere near old.)" people. Every year (meaning the last two I've taught), I try to make some sort of activity where my students have to talk to an older person for some reason. Lots of times, I'll do it when we're studying the Industrial Revolution. Now none of my kids knows someone who was alive during the Industrial Revolution, but enough things have been invented in the past seventy or so years that it is pretty easy to give them this assignment. Does your grandmother remember when they got their first color tv, or does mom remember when she first heard about cellphones?

I hope my kids see some value in this assignment. I always love reading their interview results. It's really important to listen to these individuals, because much is to be gained from them. Of course the individuals usually picked for these assignments are 60+, but sometimes I'll have a kid insist that the oldest person they know is their 35 year old mom. I always have to chuckle a little when this happens, but at 15 and even 23 there's always something to learn from a 35 year old too.

So many of my friends are older than I am. That does not mean they act older than me by any means. I really enjoy talking with them about their college days and high school days. It's really cool to hear about history from a personal point of view. Which is kind of silly, because anything that happens during the period you're alive sounds like it shouldn't be history, but it really is. I was in seventh grade when 9-11 happened, but that doesn't keep me from counting it as history. Friends in their thirties and forties help you see that you can get through the confusing years of young adulthood.

I look forward to being older, so that I can share my wisdom with future generations. I try to teach my kids to trust the over thirty crowd every once in awhile, because they were once under thirty too. One day they will be the over thirty crowd, and they'll want to be listened to as well.

So enter your new age with pride, whether you be 23, 53, or, 83. Celebrate that God saw fit to give you another year to love, to learn, and to share with those around you. At 22, my students still trust that I was once their age. I try to offer up any wisdom I can, but often I refer to those who are much wiser than I for help. I often don't have enough perspective to help with the tough questions. So thanks to all my friends 23 and up for helping me learn about life. Your history is as valuable to me, as any history I study in class and books.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Leaving Home

About twelve months ago, I could have also written a post called "Leaving Home." I was moving to a new city about five hours away from the city I had called home for about 21 years. Now I feel like I can say the same thing. Even though I have no idea where I'll be by this time next month, I do know this: By the end of August I will not be in this apartment.

Now obviously if I move across town I will not be at a loss for friends. I will not be lonely for old co-workers or the other people I have gotten to know in the past eleven months. I will however be saying good-bye to my very first apartment. It was only my second "big girl" purchase with my first being my car.

My apartment and I have shared many good memories. We've been through small dinner parties with friends, epic battles with a mouse, and annoying leaks in the ceiling. We've been through endless amounts of paper grading, invitation stuffing, and application prepping. I've cooked so many wonderful meals in my very first kitchen. I've made a couple of duds too.

Even if I had kept my job at Hopkinsville High, I would be moving to a different apartment. I cannot have a pet here, so I have to leave if I'm ever to be the crazy cat lady. This apartment has been an every faithful friend in a not so certain time of my life. It's the first time I've ever felt really alone, but in that solitude I believe I have learned so much about myself and how strong I can be if I put my mind to it. I have been extremely blessed to be in it, and I am supremely thankful for my sister helping me find it.

My sister helped me decorate my apartment. Decorating my apartment may have been the last time I get to spend that much time with my sister alone. I almost hate to take down the pictures and spackle the holes that we put in the walls, but I must. I must pack up the memories I have created within these walls and take them with me to my next "home." Wherever that may be, I have to trust that God will help me find another place to call my own.

Last year around this time I typed a blog that used a quote from Virginia Woolf's, "A Room of One's Own." I did not think that this past year would include "A Room of One's Own" for me. I believed that I would be moving in with friends, and substituting for a year. Well now my friends are to be married, and I'm faced with the possibility of maybe not having a apartment of my own again. I may have to move back in with my parents.

As much as I love them, I don't want that. Knoxville was my home for 21 really wonderful years. I will always think of it as my first home. It is where my parents are, and where some very old and dear friends are. However, I don't belong there anymore. I belong somewhere in Kentucky. Even if I have to work two jobs to be able to afford a place to live, I will find a way to make it on my own. I don't want to have to live off of my parents' or any other person's good graces.

On Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, people need food, shelter, safety, love, and esteem before they can even think of self-actualization. I know I will never need for food and shelter or love. My parents would give me all that in a heartbeat if I needed it. However, I know that esteem is not something that is going to come easily for me if I take their food and shelter and even their love. If I wind up back in my childhood bedroom of 21 years, I am afraid my esteem will be spent. I can't imagine going back after being gone for a year. I know it's selfish and wicked to be this way, but I really just want to prove I can be on my own and keep it that way.

For all I know, the world and God will prove me wrong once again, like it did eleven months ago. I could get called for a job tomorrow. I could get called for a job in three weeks. I could never get called to another teaching job. It's just not for me to know. The uncertainty kills me, but I do know one thing. The uncertainty of last summer led to the happiness and fulfillment of the past year, so I know wonderful things come from uncertainty. I thank God for blessing me with the wonderful people I have been introduced to this year, and I pray he keeps me in close contact with them always wherever I am. So perhaps this time next year, I'll have found a new "home" and "A Room of One's Own."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Update on Interview #2

Ok, so before I keep people waiting forever, no I don't have a job yet. They said they'd know by Monday, and I can't sign any paperwork before the 11th or the 18th, because they have to leave job postings up for 30 days. (Now I have some idea as to why many of my applications are ignored.)

Yesterday's interview was much more respectable in my opinion. I also really think that this interview was the first one, where teaching at Hoptown was really a good sign to them. I really don't understand why they think if you can teach there you can teach anywhere, but by all means they have a right to think that. I think I may have said "um" once, and it was after they asked me if I had anymore questions, after I had already asked three or four questions. I did not say "um" after any of the questions they asked me.

They need both an Arts & Humanities and History teacher. I'm not going to lie. I would love the AH job just for the change of pace. I would have to teach World History too, but I'm not going to complain, because I like World History better than U.S. History (teaching wise/I'm a big fan of our country's history to be sure.) I love Art History and Music History, and I would love the opportunity to study Dance and Theater more. I wrote a research paper on Modern Dance in Sophomore English in High School comparing Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham. That's the only experience I have with dance. I've watched ton's of musicals, but my experience with regular theater is also limited. I've read Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams, but I'm not exactly an expert. So it would be a challenge to prep for with less than a month until school starts.

Even if I don't get the job, I think it was a solid interview. God somehow gave me the confidence to talk naturally and honestly. I was ridiculously nervous before the interview. I was sick to my stomach. It all went away when I shook hands with the principal. It's good to know I can do it. Even if I don't get a job at Hopkins Central.

Thank you to all my friends who have continuously prayed for me throughout the summer. Even if I don't get a job this year, I know that it is not from lack of support and steadfastness of my friends and family. Love you all.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

His will, not mine.

I'll admit to being a control freak when it comes to running my life. As soon as I found out I didn't get the job that I interviewed today I went about printing off sample question for me to practice, and sample questions for me to ask my interviewers. I want the job I'm interviewing for tomorrow, and I am doing what I can to get it.

It is just as hard to accept that maybe I'm not supposed to get it. That perhaps I am fighting what God wants, but regardless, I believe that God will get what he wants in spite of what I try to do. Maybe I got tongue tied in today's interview to make me realize what I needed to work on for tomorrow's interview. Maybe not. It is not in my nature to let things happen as they occur.

This past Sunday I attended Shiner Church of Christ. The minister mentioned how we often follow sayings that aren't really from the Bible. For example, "God helps those who help themselves." That is not in the Bible anywhere. You can check me on that, but It's not there. I believe it does say something about helping others, but I don't think it says anything about helping yourself. Perhaps I'm not helping myself though. Without God, I am nothing. When you are baptized you become dead in Christ and are reborn in Christ.

I guess it is not my place to know what's to become of me. I'm going to have to trust and know that God is in control of my life, whether I like it or not right now. It's scary knowing I could wind up five hours away, not knowing a soul like I did when I moved to Hopkinsville almost a year ago. Those were not easy months for me. One thing I do know is that I somehow survived it, and came out if not better, completely changed.

Another one of those "sayings" that is so called from the Bible is, "God will never give you anything you can't handle." The fact is I am incapable of handling anything without God. That other phrase is not in the Bible anywhere. Instead it is said that, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." I know there were several times this year when I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. I struggled greatly with my faith, my career, and my convictions. It took me a long me a long time to feel at home here in Hopkinsville. I wouldn't have made it through without a lot of prayer.

So even though I haven't finished analyzing every question on that list, and even though I am apprehensive about the results of my interview tomorrow. I am going to bed. I refuse to let myself worry about it, because that's not going to help me. All I can ask is for the continued prayers from my lovely friends, and the continued comfort of my God to guide me where he wants me.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Over-thinking it" is sometimes a good thing.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks about situations constantly. I over-think what I've said. I work myself up over details that don't even matter. In some ways, this characteristic is a curse, but it sure beats not thinking about what I say at all.

The only reason I came up with this topic is because earlier today, I called one of my non-believing friends a "heathen." It was in jest, but immediately after I sent it, I felt a need to qualify it by saying, "I meant that in the kindest, most loving way possible." Well my friend didn't respond for awhile, which made me worry that I had, indeed, offended him. Of course I saw later that he hadn't taken it personally, and as usual I had blown something out of proportion. As usual though, it got me thinking:

"Who am I to call anyone a heathen?"

I'm obviously not qualified to call anyone that, and even though I said it in jest in that instance, I cannot pretend that I am innocent of ever judging my fellow man. So in this instance, I think it's good that I over-think things, because it's made me come to the realization, that I need to work on not judging people. People who don't believe in Jesus do not need my judgement. My judgement means jack diddly squat. The Greatest Command isn't "Love those who believe in Jesus." It's not that specific. It says, "Love one another." Maybe that's a face palm moment for some people, but it is a struggle I think for many Christians. It's so easy to see a woman who gets ridiculously drunk all the time, and look down on her for her decisions. It's easy to look at a guy who likes to sleep around, and just think of him as a heartless cad. It's not easy always to love people like that, but that is what I and every other Christian is called to do.

Guess what? No Christian is ever any better than any non-Christian. God loves all of his children. I've done so many things, that make me unfit for God's Kingdom. Somehow God accepts me anyway. I am not here on this Earth to admonish and condemn people. I am here to show Christ's love for us, to do my best (however inadequate I feel sometimes)  to be a disciple, and to be there for people. I am not perfect. I have A LOT to learn.

The Greatest Command is "Love one another as I have loved you." How do you do that? I know it's one of the most cliche and over quoted verses of the Bible, but I still think it holds true regardless:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.-1Corinthians 14: 4-7

I randomly found this commentary while I was looking for the Bible Verse, and I thought it was pretty accurate. 

Love suffers long, or puts up with people that it is easy to give up on. Love is kind, namely, treats well people who have treated us poorly. Love doesn't envy (Gk. zeloo) nor parade itself and is not puffed up. Love endures any hardship or rejection, revealing its superior strength. In the face of confrontation, love simply continues. To love is the great commandment (compare John 13:34, 35) and no other force promotes righteousness more.