Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All the Encouragement I need.

As I was looking through my binder where I put all my ninth grade handouts from last year, I found a bunch of letters by my students. I had asked them to write recommendation letters for me. I found one from Ch that really made me laugh, and to preserve the dignity of this fine letter, I won't edit:

"Mrs. Jackson would make a really good teacher. In the little time she's been here she has talt me a lot. She really makes herself clear when she's teaching. She's always on time and holds it in when she has to use the bathroom. Normally that takes 3 years of practice. Your school needs her."

Granted, I didn't end up using this as a letter of recommendation, but it does make me really happy, even though it is absolutely ridiculous. I had a wonderful time with my students last year and there's no reason why that can't happen again. When I think about each of my sweethearts from last year, I become extremely hopeful for this year's.

I've decided that since I only have three classes, I can't afford to not like one of them, so this year is just going to have to be really good. I can't wait to meet my kids tomorrow.

PS. I signed a lease today. I will be moving into a pink antebellum house on Saturday. I hope that my cat and I will be very happy there.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I was in the middle of packing up my classroom stuff to get it all into the car when the sky broke open, pouring rain. Thus I declare a packing hiatus to write a bit here.

Wednesday I got my very first job offer after hounding princiPALs all summer. I didn't even believe it was real, so I pretty much had no reaction to it. It wasn't until today that it all hit me because I went to the high school to sign paperwork and begin setting up my classroom. I also took a break to look at an apartment. When the lady found out that I had just gotten a job as a high school teacher, she exclaimed that I looked like I should be in high school myself. I thanked her, and told her that I hoped I looked young forever, but really I wanted to punch her because I start teaching on THURSDAY. I don't have time to look young; just mean and old, ornery. No one will walk over me just because I am short and young. I will be a force to be reckoned with! At least, that is my dearest hope.

Anyways, let me tell you about these here precious chillins that I shall be receiving on THURSDAY. I have three classes because I was offered a part time position. I have two classes of 11th graders honors. I have one class of 9th grade CP. (college prep -- standard, don't be fooled by the lingo.) I think that my biggest class will be 22 students which is amazing. When I was student teaching, my biggest class was about 25, so I'm not really worried. What I am worried about is a lot, but I am certain that it will all work itself out. I have a lot of reading to do though, as I have to teaching things really soon that I have never read before. Also, I need somewhere to live. I am looking at two places tomorrow and hoping that one works out so I hopefully can move Saturday.

At any rate, I am incredibly humbled to be given the opportunity to get into the classroom. Today while I was waiting in the office I could hear someone making phone calls to tell other candidates that the English position had been filled. That has been me so many times. Praise God for his mercies in provision and patience.

PS. My new employer is Western Guilford High School. Their mascot is the Hornet and I am the proud owner of a parking pass and a Hornet lanyard. WHAT UP!

currently listening to: The Fray

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Psalm 29:11

The LORD will give strength to His people;
The LORD will bless His people with peace.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all"

To Do List:

Fill out application for interview tomorrow.

Fill out application for ESL teaching.

Begin working on application to become certified to teach ESL.

I am super excited about possibilities currently but I am a little afraid of how excited I am because thus far, things have not come together for me.

I have an interview tomorrow with a community center for a job where I would be an after school counselor for middle schoolers. It would be a part time job, but it would be a start. If I got that job, I could start paying my loans off and maybe even finally buy my own car. I would also be able to continue working with the ESL students on Sunday nights. I would also be able to continue going to small group and to church in general. Annnd, today I called NC State to ask about my grade issues. They told me that all I needed to do was in enroll in a Spanish class and provide proof that I was taking it/going to take it and that I could still apply for the spring semester. The idea of being a student for even a semester more makes me giddy. I want this to work out so badly.

Also, I think I had a pretty good interview today for a part time English teaching position. I really liked the princiPAL and the dept chair and the school. Good job, Western Guilford.

As I walked in I told God to do with me what he will, but I can't help but have hopes for things to go a certain way. I am nervous, but trying to trust that God has a plan.

currently listening to: Joshua Radin, Brand New Day [duh, my lover...]

* bonus points to who ever knows who wrote my title...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Do you ever feel like you blog too much?

This week has been full of emotion. I am still trying to wrap my head around what's going on in my life. Or what's not going on, almost more realistically.

This week I applied to several school positions dealing with ESL, only to learn that I needed to get a special license to teach ESL. I began to research a program to get properly certified, and found one at NC State that would take a semester. I excitedly began to read over the requirements to get into the program for next semester only to find this:

Licensure applicants must have studied the equivalent of at least two semesters of college-level foreign language and must have received a grade of "C" or higher.

That's a problem. Unfortunately I took Spanish my first year of college. My first year of college I had no business being in school, and as it would turn out I have a C and D in Spanish. I don't think that will cut it.

I feel like every door is slamming in my face. I guess getting a D in Spanish is my fault, but it's more than that. I called my high school this week because I was trying to sub with them to find out why I hadn't heard anything, only to be receive an email later by my favorite teacher ever telling me that they had lost all my information. How does this happen? Or rather why?

Over and over this summer, I have thought about Queen Ester. She boldly did what she thought she was supposed to do next. She didn't know the outcome, but she moved ahead anyway. It's like that with so many people in the Bible. We forget that as we read from verse to verse, it could be days and years of agony for God's Beloved. And maybe it wasn't agonizing to choose to trust God for them, maybe they were just magic, but I really doubt it.

This is real life, I reckin'.

And so I leave you with a question: Do hair curlers work, because I might invest in some.

currently listening to: Dice, Finley Quaye & William Orbit [Bonus points if you know what episode of the OC this is off of. HINT: It's my favorite of the first season.]

currently reading: On The Road, Jack Kerouac

current favorite facet of the internet: SKYPE

currently craving: (yes, I do photograph my food.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Family Movie Night

Tonight we watched Les Miserables. Or as I was corrected by the lady working behind the counter at the movie store, "Less Miserable". I didn't argue, just smiled and told her it was French.

I've always loved the story since we read it in class for high school, and I've seen the movie before but for some reason, last night as I watched the contrast between Jean Valjean and Javert, I was quite aware of Hugo's commentary on grace.

Hugo tells a story of a Jean Valjean, a man profoundly and radically changed by a simple act of grace. From that moment, Valjean lives as a man haunted by grace -- grace is always present in his mind from that time forward. Valjean's foil (hope you paid attention in English class)is Javert, a police officer who lives his life to execute justice. He is so bent on ensuring that every rule be followed that he cannot understand the effects of mercy, when shown to others or himself.

When Jean Valjean realizes that he has been given a chance to have a new life because of act of mercy, he is able to live out of that and extend mercy to everyone he encounters.In the book the title where Valjean is shows Javert, his enemy for all extensive purposes is called "Jean Valjean takes his revenge". It is the act of mercy that rules cannot understand, and eats alive the mind of those who are bound by those same rules. Valjean tells Javert, "You are free." But Javert is not able to be free of the grace given to him. This reminds me of Judas in some small way. After Judas betrays Jesus, his heart is wrought with guilt because he doesn't know who Jesus is. He can't see that Christ's mercy overcomes all sin.

Javert and Jean Valjean have a conversion before Javert kills himself (SPOILER ALERT:too late?). In the movie, Javert says, "All my life, I've tried to live by the rules." I feel as though when we first grasp the grace that is extended to us through the cross, our souls are able to stop striving for perfection that we can never achieve. We are free, unlike Javert. We cannot live by the rules, no matter how hard we try. Only mercy can run through people's hearts, leading a wild dance of redemption.

Romans 6:14 says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace." We so casually approach the cross, not understanding its magnitude. We have been set free to live under grace. If only we let this truth really penetrate our hearts.

currently listening to: Sufjan Stevens, To Be Alone With You to be followed up with Brooke Waggoner's I am Mine

Due 10/9/2009: Let's get reading!

Here's a list of books check out at the library. I am very excited and hope to read them all. Go, speed reader, go!

The Knight of Maison-Rouge, Alexandre Dumas

The House on the Strand, Daphne Du Maurier

Notes From Underground, Fyodor Dostoevky

House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III (I hit the D section a little hard.)

The Essential Haiku, edited by Robert Hass

Love in the time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

On the Road, Jack Kerouac

Thursday, September 17, 2009

23 Psalm, Jon Foreman style.

God is my shepherd
I won't be wanting
I won't be wanting
He makes me rest
In fields of green
With quite streams
Even though I walk
Through the valley
Of death and dying
I will not fear
'Cause you are with me
You are with me

Your shepherd staff
Comforts me
You are my feast
In the presence of enemy
Surely goodness
Follow me
Follow me
In the house of God, forever

God is my shepherd
I won't be wanting
I won't be wanting
He makes me rest
In fields of green
Like quiet streams
Even while I'm walking
Through the valley
Of death and dying
I will not fear
'Cause you are with me
You're always with me

Your shepherd staff
Comforts me
You are my feast
In the presence of enemy
Surely goodness
Follow me
Follow me
In the house of God, forever

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I have another job interview tomorrow. I began applying to children's homes after a slight revelation. I've always wanted to go to Africa and hold little orphan babies and suddenly it hit me that there are children here in the US who need to be cared for as well. Over and over scripture commands believers to care for orphans and widows. I think that this job would be a very practical way of doing just what God asks. I'm kind of afraid of the position which is working with the preparation for adult living program. I would be working with kids 16 to 21, which is really crazy because I'm 22. But hopefully most of the kids will be 16-18. I would pretty much be a mom for 6 kids, which is a huge responsibility. I am excited about this interview though because I believe that it would be a great opportunity. I know that I would grow through the challenges presented to me.

We'll see what happens.

oh i will trust in you
offer up my life to be with you
oh i will trust in you
i will cast my every care on you

oh i believe in you
i believe your every word is true
oh i believe in you
i will give my life, my love to you - Rue Royale

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The church follows suit.

Last night I went to a meeting about church planting. It was really interesting and by the time I left I felt like my brain was going to explode because I had so much I was thinking about.

Something that JD (my great pastor. Listen to Summit Church, Raleigh podcasts online!)said that really made me think was how redeeming society seems to be popular culture lately. It's true. Recycling and going green, fighting various human rights violations around the world, etc. (I'm not saying those things are bad.)The church follows suit. This should not be the case! The church should be at the forefront of any social action. We should care for the world and its people because we know that God does. We should be rushing into corners of the world to care for the marginalized and the hurting. We should be recycling, and caring for the planet because God commanded us to take care of the world when he gave it to us in Genesis. If the church lived like that, surely people would notice.

Change of direction:

This weekend I get to work at a retreat at camp. I am very excited because the age group is middle school. I haven't worked with kids in so long, much less kids over the age of 6. Also, Sunday night I am getting trained to teach an ESL class at church and I am totally pumped about it. I know Sunday night I will get a stomach ache and be totally nervous about having to go into a room full of people by myself, but right now I am over the moon! Now if I could just get a job so I could pay for life.

currently listening to: the Avett Brothers, Pretty Girl From Ceder Lane. The Avetts are a band that, in my mind, will always be associated with Greensboro. One fine day, I stumbled upon them at a street festival on Elm St.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bummer, dude.

Oh, the roller coaster of life.

You know how in The Incredibles, there's that little boy who sits at the end of the driveway? Mr. Incredible asks him what he's waiting for, and earnestly the little boy replies, "I don't know. Something amazing I guess..."

THAT is how I feel.

Today I woke up and with tears, began to rewrite a cover letter. A cover letter asking for employment, not as a teacher, but as something else.

I do not understand the mind of God. I do not understand why I don't have a job. I do not understand why I would be gifted at teaching and have a deep passion and God why wouldn't follow though. So many people go through life passionless, wasting away. I know what I love and can't do it. Why is this?

This is me walking forward, stepping out onto a thin something. Waiting is such a loaded stage.

I think I'm slightly disillusioned from the adult world where you have dreams and passions and little forum for living them out. I don't like it.

And on a slightly lesser note, the cat got me.

Edit: I'll live.

currently listening to: Gregory Alan Isakov, The Stable Song

Thursday, September 3, 2009

When I "grow up", I am going to live here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday, September 2.

I have this odd way of finding spiritual applications to things that aren't meant to be spiritual. Yesterday I was watching Devil Wears Prada and there's a scene where the designers are showing Miranda Priestly their ideas. She doesn't like what they have for her and so they scrap all their ideas. Andie remarks how silly it is that they designers get rid of everything just because Miranda doesn't like it. Nigel rebukes her saying, "You still don't get it. Her opinion is the only one that counts."

That stuck out to me. But in a different way. So often I get caught up with wondering how people view me, etc. Earlier this week I was reading Henri Nouwen's thoughts on belovedness. It all came together: "You still don't get it. HIS opinion is the only one that counts."

In my Bible I have written: I am redeemed, treasured, beloved and enough.

That is how God views me! I want to believe that with my heart and mind.

On a different note, I had another job interview today. I always get super siked before I go and then afterward I crash into depression. It's such a roller coaster. I (s)napped out of it. Ha! Get it?

I walked into the office and told the receptionist that I was there, then seated myself on a bench. I was reading, absorbed in the story, when all of a sudden I was really aware of someone's presence. I was sitting down and someone standing up was hugging me. Can you say weirded out?! I looked up, hesitantly, into the face of one of my students from my student teaching at Northern. I was so excited to see him because I've really missed my kids. I still think about them and pray for them all the time. They were so precious. Every time I look at pictures, I tear up! Anyways, there K was and there was so much I wanted to ask him. This kid was one of my strugglers, and they always will have a special place in my heart. I barely had time to recover from my surprise. It turns out that he's now living with his Dad and so he was going to a new high school. I know that my seeing K was a total God thing. God continues to remind me that my heart is for the students. I just hope that he will give me a chance to be a little more hands on soon, but if he doesn't, I trust that he has a plan.

Anyways, I think I'm gonna go knit like an old lady.

currently reading: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
currently listening to: Anberlin, Love Song