Teacher Talk Volume One

Hey, guys!

I’m sorry Truth Tuesday didn’t get written in time this week. Next week’ll just have to be a double dose ūüôā

I am really excited to link up with Nicole over at Bloom today, though, because it’s the first round of Teacher Talk. Nicole and Jamie have paired a bunch of teachers (or future teachers, like me!) to encourage each other, and have come up with monthly topics to discuss. ¬†Today’s topic? Why I teach.

It’s funny, because today was my first day of a two-week classroom management class, and we got asked the same question. All 19 people in my class went around the room and shared¬†why we were entering into this profession and into this mission-field. People shared various reasons… they loved children, they would get summers with their own kids, they wanted to decorate classrooms, they wanted to be a positive influence on our future generations… all valid reasons and all components of my answer.

I stared at my yellow piece of paper for awhile. Teaching wasn’t something I grew up wanting to do. I wanted to be a vet. I wanted to be an Olympic horseback rider. I wanted to be an actress (okay, so that’s still a dream. Whatever.) It wasn’t until the Break Up of 2009 that God changed my plans. After the marriage was called off, I moved to Colorado. I wanted to get away and experience the unfamiliar – so I did. I was employed by a year-round camp where I took care of horses and – you guessed it – taught. I taught horseback riding lessons. I taught Colorado history to public schools that came out for retreats (I feel like an expert on Chief Ouray, the Utes, and trappers and settlers. Ask away if you’re interested.) I taught Bible studies. I worked with kids in huge groups. I worked with kids one-on-one. I did a little bit of everything.

And I loved it.

And I was good at it.

And I started to think and pray and ponder… this could be my calling. I was only planning to take a year off, and then return to Mississippi and finish my degree in English. But I was challenged so much by that year. I was terrified to admit that I wanted to teach after spending 20 years declaring my passion for anything¬†but. But I did. I changed my major, and have spent the last four years pursuing something I didn’t plan on loving.

And what I’ve learned is that every child that I have encountered matters. The know it all? She matters. The kid that’s terrified to speak because they get hit at home if they so much as say a word? They matter. The overweight boy? He matters. The average student? She matters. The kid with 12 siblings that gets overlooked at home?¬†He matters.

They all matter.

And I want to show them that they matter. I want to tell every child I come across that their thoughts and opinions are worth voicing. Their mind is filled with potential. Their souls were meant to soar. They all have goals, no matter how big or small, that they want to achieve. I believe that an education can help students realize that they matter. It can turn children into adventurers. It can unlock hidden potential. And if done in a loving, safe, protective environment, there is no reason a child can’t achieve.

I’m not saying I expect to see every student I come across make A’s. I’m not saying that I’m going to turn every single child that sits in a desk in my room into an artist, a scientist, a president, a writer… but I expect every person that is in my classroom to grow – including me.

My education has done a wonderful job at showing me that this is indeed the plan God has for me. With every placement I have gotten, I have fallen in love with kids and sharing love with them Рmy love of the subject matter and my love for working with them. I originally thought that lower-elementary would be my passion, but my heart has been really attached to upper-elementary reading. I was with fifth grade reading last semester, and this semester I will be with fourth grade.

I love teaching. I love children. I love learning, and I know that I will never stop learning on this journey, and that is so exciting. But above all Рchildren matter. And some just need to know that.

(this is the only image I have of me teaching, thanks to my supervisor last semester. Not my best-looking day, but that was a really good lesson! I’m glad she got something to put in my portfolio ūüôā )

Positivity Sunday

This week has been…. a doozy.

I have been suffering with feelings that I can’t be too specific about on here, but I have felt very bitter, sad, and trapped over certain situations. I am terrible at letting out my feelings and I tend to just keep them caged up inside until they explode somehow. So my #1 positive thing this week means the world to me.

1. A weekend with my friends. At first, I didn’t think I was going to get to see my favorite people this weekend. Even though I have my car, I can’t really drive it until I get a tag and insurance and all that fun stuff, so I didn’t know how I was going to make it out to Pearl to be with them. Through other circumstances, I didn’t have money anyway, so I was about to sign out on another opportunity with my buddies. But in true fashion, they weren’t going to let that happen. They picked me up, paid for my movie ticket, and let me crash at their house for the evening. I’m not a scary movie fan, but for them, it’s worth it. I have hands to hold when things get too bloody on screen (we saw You’re Next, if you are wondering), and don’t have to spend the night by myself afterwards. Win-win. We reconvened last night, cooked dinner, and watched Friends. I know everybody thinks that they have the best friends on the planet, but you’re mistaken. After the rough two years I have had, I would be nowhere if it weren’t for these people. There have been nights where I have felt completely alone and defeated, and all it takes is one word and I know they are there. The number of times I have needed a shoulder to cry on or a hug that doesn’t end probably would turn people away, but if I need it, they are there. I don’t have hoards of people I let into my life, but the few that have gotten close to me? They are quality, quality people and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They mean¬†the world.¬†As someone who keeps all these things bottled up inside, it was nice to know they were listening and to get stuff out somewhere beside a journal was really freeing. I know I have people praying for me and supporting me. That’s fellowship and community, guys.

2. Long runs. I decided to step up my running game a few days this week and run until I got too tired. I wasn’t worried so much about time, I just wanted to run and explore and not feel obligated to hit a certain minutes/mile. I ran 3.5 miles one time, and 4 miles the next day. It gave me a chance to explore my town, too, and I really enjoyed it. I found some really good hills and ran through the graveyard. Creepy? Maybe. But it was actually serene and peaceful.

3. This video

It’s no secret that I love muiscal theatre. I love Wicked (well, I’ve never seen the show, but I love the recording), and For Good is one of my favorite songs…ever. Kristin Chenoweth picked a random audience member who knew the song to duet with her…and¬†this¬†happened. Magic. Watch it. Cry a little (if you’re like me), and then read Sarah’s story¬†here.

Let’s Talk About Singleness For A Second.

Singleness.

This is a word I have had to learn to love. I never ‘dated around’ in high-school. I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 17. That relationship, though my longest, was extremely unhealthy. I was terrified of losing him, therefore confrontation of any kind wasn’t an option in my book. I did everything I could to make him happy. I was also extremely immature and the relationship was anything but Christ centered.

He was in the army, and we went through long-distance for a very long time. I was depressed my freshman year of college because my entire life centered around him. Would I be getting a letter from boot camp today? Would he call me tonight? I’d never make any plans because I was terrified I’d miss a call from him. I lost friends. I didn’t do well in classes. I didn’t go to church because I was afraid of missing him. I didn’t live my life, at all. And when we got engaged in April of 2009, my life centered around planning a wedding and moving to Alaska to be with him. So when he called me at 5 AM on a Sunday morning in June to call everything – the wedding, our relationship,¬†everything, off, my world crumbled around me. I wasn’t enrolled for the next school year. I had nowhere to live. We’d taken out a huge loan for the wedding.

And I didn’t know how to be single.

Years later, and I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I’m single. A lot of times my mind will wander off. I could be a mother by now. We would have just celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary this month. But you know what? I couldn’t be more happy that he called it off. That statement took me two years to be able to admit.¬†I’m happy that I didn’t marry him.

God had a lot of growing up for me to do. He still does. I’m not saying that the breakup did me good in every area. I’m terribly insecure when it comes to meeting new people. Because he ended things so suddenly, and with no reason, I had a lie pounded into my head that something was wrong with me. I believed that I couldn’t make anyone happy. I believed that no one could love me, because the only man that had ever told me he loved me ended things. I believed I wasn’t beautiful.

I believed I wasn’t worth it.

Four years later, and God has worked miracles in pouring truth into my life and erasing those lies that plagued me and kept me awake night after night. While I still deal with the insecurities of meeting people, and perhaps have become more introverted than I already was, I¬†do believe I’m beautiful. I¬†do believe that I’m worth it. And I¬†do believe that if God calls me to be single, then those truths are still true.

Did you read that last statement? Read it again. If God calls me to give up one of the things I have prayed for endlessly – then I’m okay with that.

Two stories from the Bible popped into my head at random last week. One was the story of Abraham being commanded to sacrifice his son, Isaac. The son that God had promised him, despite all odds. The son that would lead to him being father of the nations. The other story that popped up into my head was that of the Rich Young Ruler.

Abraham was willing to sacrifice that which was most important to him because God asked him to. His devotion for God outweighed his love for his son. That’s a pretty big devotion. The rich young ruler tells the opposite story. He was a good person – he kept the biblical commandments, but when asked to give up his material possessions, that he loved more than anything, he walked away sad. He couldn’t give up what he loved the most in order to follow Christ.

I don’t know what made these stories pop into my head. They just kind of were… there. And I knew that if I were in these stories, the longing for a family would be inserted in the spots of Isaac and material possessions. God confronted me with this question, “Would you be willing to give up what you want the most in this world – a family of your own – to follow me?”

And for a long time, I pretended that question didn’t exist. I thought if I said ‘yes’ to that question, then that was a life sentence.

But that’s not what this was. That’s not what this is. It is an acknowledgement that a life pursuing Christ is better than a life pursuing a family. A life putting God first is better than a life putting temporary desires at the top of my priority list. It’s acknowledging that God’s plan for my life is better than me trying to set my own life up. It’s telling God, “You know best.” It’s telling him that I believe in His promises.

A husband and a family could very well be in God’s plan for me. It also couldn’t. But after days of struggling, I sat in bed crying one night, and I let go. I released the death-grip I had on this plan and gave it to God. And I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that it’s all good. I’m not saying I’m never going to struggle with this again. It’s hard when your high school friends and college friends get engaged on facebook, and you receive five wedding invitations on the same day. But I no longer feel like I’m in a state of limbo. I’m not in a state of¬†waiting. I’m not waiting for my husband or waiting for the next phase of my life.

Instead, I’m living the life God has for me NOW. I’m living my single days – no matter how long they last – because that is what God has in store for me NOW. And living in a state of now is better than living in a state of waiting.

If you stuck around to read all of this, I’m really glad. Sometimes you just need to pour your heart out.

Truth Tuesday

¬†When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, ‚ÄúI will surely bless you and give you many descendants.‚Ä̬†And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Yesterday I read Hebrews 6. It was a rough morning. I felt bad, I had a killer migraine, but I pulled my Bible out anyway. Focusing wasn’t the easiest thing. I try and go by verse by verse and reflect on what I am reading so that I can make the most of my time, but it was a challenge yesterday. I felt like I read the words over and over, but nothing settled in my mind or heart, until I came to those bolded words.¬†It is impossible for God to lie.

This is something I have known since I was little. God is good. God hates sin. Lying is a sin. I¬†know that. But when I read it yesterday, it was like I read it for the first time. God doesn’t lie. In other words, there is a reason for my hope. My hope that his word is good and his promises will be fulfilled. They¬†will. Why? Because¬†God doesn’t lie.

Maybe some of you are reading this, rolling your eyes, and saying, “Well,¬†duh.” And honestly, I probably would have, too. Like I said above, I know this and always have! But I read it in a whole new light yesterday.

Let’s just look at some of the promises of the Bible, k? In Hebrews 6, the passage above, it discusses God’s promise to Abraham – that he would be the father of many nations. Abraham had every reason to doubt this promise. He and Sarah were both getting on in their years, and on top of that, Sarah was barren.¬†There was no way she could have a baby. But God doesn’t lie. And Abraham believed him (with patience!), and he became the father of multitudes. ¬†

Jeremiah 29:11 is another promise. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”¬†This is another verse I have read over and over and over again. In my younger days, when asked for my favorite verse, I would say with a smile, “Jeremiah 29:11!” And it is a wonderful verse, but I’ll admit that I never really clung to it. But I can. And I will.¬†Because God doesn’t lie. Life seems pretty crappy sometimes. This week, I have .31 cents to my name until Friday and the only thing in the pantry is green beans. I don’t have transportation until my car gets fixed. I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a text-book I’m going to use for a two-week class (thus the bank account…), and honestly, it doesn’t look like much of a future can come out of a week like this.

But it will. Because God promised, and God doesn’t lie.

What are some promises that you cling to from the Bible? I’m yearning to read more of his truths with this assurance in my heart.

God doesn’t lie y’all. He doesn’t, and that is pretty amazing.

Positivity Sunday

This week has been so strange! I only worked yesterday (Saturday), so I have been searching for some meaning to my life! Just kidding. My life has plenty of meaning! I’m just not used to days with¬†nothing to do.

1.¬†People are awesome. I’ve posted about this several times this week, but I’ve seen so much of the Lord’s provision this week through people. New friends, old friends, and people I barely know have been his hands and feet this week, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t cried about it a few times this week.

2.¬†Sleeping in. I woke up between 6 and 8 every single day this summer. I’m not an early-riser by any means, so I’ve enjoyed a few days of being a night-owl and sleeping in in the mornings. I get my best reading and writing done late at night (or in the midnight hours…), so I’ve been grateful to get to stay up and utilize my brain, and then rest in the morning.

3.¬†My INR levels were therapeutic! I was so nervous about going to the doctor Wednesday morning. Two weeks ago my levels were really,¬†really¬†high, and then last week they were low. This week they were 2.2 – perfect! Now let’s just hope they stay that way so I don’t have to take very much time out of student-teaching to go to the doctor…

4.¬†Running! I’ve been really committed to running this summer. This month I have been working on hitting my goal-time for a mile (under 9 minutes), and then start building up distance for an upcoming 5k. Yesterday I hit my goal for the first time – 8 minutes and 33 seconds! High-school Heather would laugh (she ran 7 minute miles…), but post-college post-almost-dying Heather is pretty happy with that time!¬†

This week has been pretty great. My brother moved out yesterday, which is both sad and exciting. He’s just one town over, but I’ll miss that giant boy being in the house, all 6 foot 4 of him! This week is looking pretty good, as well. One book review to write, and I’m stage-managing for The Detectives dinner theatre on Tuesday. I plan on catching lots of sleep and rays the rest of my week, because I start school again after that. Student teaching, I’m¬†ready for you!

One Of Those Days

I woke up with red, crusty eyes. I’m pretty sure it’s pink eye, because they are nasty and crusty and pussy and they really,¬†really hurt. Luckily, I have some drops left over from when I had it in the hospital, because I just spent my entire paycheck on my blood thinners and ulcerative colitis medication. Staying alive is expensive.

Image

 

If you follow me on instagram, you’ve seen what I’m challenging myself with for a year. To improve and become more comfortable with my writing, I’m going to churn out one piece a day. No pressure for it to be the¬†best work of writing ever, just honest writing. Journaling/blogging doesn’t count, but I have turned some of my journal entires into third-person narratives, and I like it a lot. I hope to share some of those pieces, maybe even on this blog. Encouragement is more than welcome, considering I’m scared to let anyone read what I have written. This is kind of a nudge in that direction. I have a new spiral notebook and pens, so a’writin’ I will be!

I’m also working on a few pieces for our college newspaper this semester, and I’m really excited. Today I’m hoping to finish a review of¬†The Fault In Our Stars by John Green for the first edition. Back to work I go!¬†

Happy Friday!

Five Things

Hi, all!

I was tagged to do a ‘5 Things’ post by my Bloggers Helping Bloggers partner, Alexandra. She blogs over at A Gregarious Mess, and y’all should check her out. She lives in Colorado (my favorite state other than Mississippi) and always has pretty entertaining posts.

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Five Things I Have A Passion For

1. Education. I didn’t think I wanted to teach when I was growing up. It was something I was called to after spending the beginning of college as an English writing major. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love learning, especially reading, and want to pass that on to our future generations.
2. Acting. I’ve written a post about it before, but I have learned so much about myself and others through acting. I also think others can benefit from it, specifically kids who have trouble expressing themselves. It’s a wonderful way to be honest and vulnerable, even if¬†you¬†can’t speak about what’s happening to¬†you.¬†
3. Jesus. Really, this should be number one, but I’m not weighting these, so whatever. I wouldn’t be here, alive, able to teach or act or read or write, if it weren’t for my Savior. I’m forever grateful and hope that I can share this with others.
4. Animals. I’ve been an animal lover my whole life. I believe they were put on this earth to comfort us and to be companions, and my pets – every pet I’ve ever had – has been just that to me. I’m also a really big advocate of adopting from shelters. There are so many pets that need homes just as much as pure-bred animals that you buy from breeders. All my pets were strays or were adopted from shelters.
5. Health. I am by no means the most ‘in shape’ person out there, but I do believe in living a healthy lifestyle. I try and exercise 4-5 times a week and eat as healthily as possible (although yes, I do give into my cravings occasionally… and by occasionally I mean far more often than I’d like!)

5 Things I’d Like To Do Before I Die

1. Like Alexandra said, I’d also like to run a half-marathon. That’s probably way into the future as run five miles¬†once this summer and it was the hardest thing ever. But one day!
2. Have a book published. This is a really big dream, I know. But I love to write. I think I have good ideas. I actually really like my writing style. But. I get really uncomfortable letting people read my stuff. It’s like I’m handing them a little piece of my soul… because I am. So this one is REALLY big.
3. Do voice-over work. Preferably for Disney. I mean, who doesn’t want to be the voice of an animated princess or some spunky animated animal? Again, big dream.
4. Get paid to act.
5. Get married. I’m a girl. I’m a hopeless romantic. I want my own family. There’s really not much more to say there.

Five Reads I Love
1. The Bible.
2. My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers
3. The whole Harry Potter series… I mean. I’ve read it from start to finish 13 times. I have a Harry Potter tattoo on my foot. I’m kind of a super-fan nerd geek.
4. Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. I read this my junior year of high school with my Apologetics class (best class I have ever taken), and it changed the way I look and explain a lot of things.
5. Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. It’s my favorite play ever.
6. Because I can add another one because this is my blog and I do what I want! Anything by John Green. Mostly The Fault in Our Stars and Looking For Alaska, but really anything the man has ever written. So good.

Five Favorite Movies

1. Little Women
2. The Lion King
3. The Dark Knight
4. Midnight in Paris
5. The Holiday

Five Places I Want To Travel

1. Disney World
2. Paris
3. Scotland
4. New York City
5. Seattle

Five Bloggers I Tag

I hate when people do this, but I tag ALL of you! If you participate, leave me a comment so I can look at your answers and get to know you better!