Monday, November 30, 2009

All in a day.

I had quite a bit of trouble falling asleep and I was so groggy this morning. Even though I had laid my clothes out the day before, I was really slow in getting out the door. I had hoped to have time to get a cup of coffee, but I as too slow. As I reached into my pen-stained, Spartan colors "teacher" bag to get my keys and unlock the door to my classroom, I was surprised at the giddiness I felt. I was glad to be excited to walk back into my very own classroom, and teach my own kids again. Today I taught scanning, which can be difficult, but the kids really caught on, and I feel that the day was a success. Students generally like scanning because it's not anything they've learned before and it's a little more hands on, which is always good.

It has quickly become my pet peeve that students walk into first period late and start talking, or eating, or anything else distracting, after I've already begun class. irritatingly enough, it's the same students and no matter the consequence, they are just slow in getting to school. Today one of my students walked in half way through class with a McDonald's bag. Of course this was a distraction as J commented, "I want McDonalds." I grouchily replied, "I want coffee." to which my tardy student responded, "Why don't I give you my number so you can text me to bring you some." I laughed. If only. First period we also had a fire drill. My entire first period would have died because there wasn't a fire plan by the door and when we tried to get out, we ended up in a dead end and had to go back through the building to get out. I felt really stupid, but I really didn't know where to go! Good thing we have drills. Next time, we will survive.

Now I need to go plan to teach Self-Reliance by Emerson. I've gotta think of a way to make it interactive and as enjoyable as I think it to be.

currently listening to: sarah jaffe, even born again
currently reading: self-reliance [Emerson], a circle of quiet [L'Engle]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Psalm 90:12-13

Sometimes I feel this Jane Austen quote acutely, "Life seems nothing more than a quick succession of busy nothings."

But then this pops into my head and I am reminded.

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Relent, O LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

currently listening to: the killers, hot fuss

Sometimes You've Just Gotta Get the Bitter Out.

I do not understand why boys make a plan with you, pick you up wearing khakis, buy your drink and insist on it not being a date. How, for the love Buddha, is a lady supposed to tell if it's a date or not? Please don't pay for my stuff if you don't want to date me. While I appreciate the sentiment, only my Dad can pay for my stuff without me being confused.

I also do not understand what boys are looking for in a girlfriend. A girl could have all the character in the world, but apparently this would not be enough. She must also not be your friend, not have any strange tendencies, or show you kindness in any form, or else she is not dating material. This doesn't even make sense, and I can't begin to pretend to dissect this.

Lastly, I would like to hear by declare to the world, that I personally will never declare my feelings for a boy until he man up, grows some cajones, and tells me his thoughts. Boys seem to be not capable of communicating and taking steps of leadership. This does not include your telling me that you never want to date me, and don't think you should be dating anyone but you'd like to know what I think about dating you (seriously?). I would also like to say that I will not be opening up to boys with deep personal thoughts about them or otherwise if the before mentioned "gentleman" has not previously declared his hope for my well-being and his desire to date me and to therefore know me better. It is neither wise nor profitable for me to do so.

I apologize for these words of frustration, but I am so tired of the lack of true concern for my well-being and the well-being of my "sisters".

I am certain that there are plenty of boys out there who could name similar frustrations against girls but I had to release this. I would also like to say that this post was not stemmed from frustration at one boy, but rather a collection of those that have contributed to my jaded guardedness over the years.

And now, sleep for me and the cat, who has put herself to bed.

currently listening to: a fine frenzy

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Post 253

On this lovely Thanksgiving Day, I am taking a break from watching TV with the family. I get bored of TV pretty easily.

I wrote this in my journal after a chat with one of my best friends:

So easily are people hardened by life. They become who they must be.

In one of my favorite books, a wife goes to a hardened outlaw to ask for her husband's life. At first, the outlaw is surly and unmovable, but then the wife reminds him of their youth, when at her request and because he loved her then, in all kindness and gentleness, he bandages and saves a baby deer instead of killing it. She reminds him of what his true heart was and what it could be again.

In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Aslan is able to conquer the witch because he has a deeper knowledge of magic than she. The magic that he knows is that when one willingly gives their life for a traitor, death itself works backwards. We are all bearers of a different "deeper magic". We know that inside these bodies bound by sin, worn down by the workings of sin in this world, is a sold that was made to commune daily and intimately with God, one deeply loved as a child- if only they could accept the fact. Before our race chose ourselves to be God, we had been made in his image. To be sure, that image has been distorted, but if we could only remember who we are...deeper still than the sin nature that we must grapple with. If while I interacted with the homeless man on the corner, the neighbor who plays the Beetles too loudly every night, or my student who is too high to care, I remembered that on their soul is the very fingerprint of God, might I love them better?

In The Secret Garden, the main character, Mary finds a secret garden and decides to make it her own. She tells another character, "I've stolen a garden! Nobody wants it. Perhaps everything is dead already. I don't care! Nobody has any right to take it from me when I care about it and they don't." Mary stubbornly decides that even though it is possible that the forgotten garden is completely dead, that she will love it and care for it, working to make it come alive. With her whole heart she works for her garden. The beautiful thing about the story is that while Mary works to make the garden come alive, she herself is awakened. She is able to leave her ugly, orphan-like, lonely ways behind. What if we loved people fiercely as Mary loved her garden? I truly believe that as we worked, we would find that something in our own souls would come alive. That is part of God's image in us.

Whenever I'm in a run-down part of town and I see and house and yard, well taken care of, I think to myself, "that person is living incarnately." Wherever we are bringing life and light, whenever we bring order from chaos, color and creativity to the dark and mundane, we are living in God's image. We are remembering our true selves, as the wife in the beginning of this ramble was able to remind the outlaw of who he once was.

Let us live in remembrance of God's image in ourselves and in others.

(and for all the literary references, I apologize. I believe with all my heart that literature shows God's heart in ways that allow us to see so clearly. and also, I hope that these ramblings make a lick of sense. )

currently listening to: Chase Coy, To Make This Alright
currently reading: Today I finished Sense and Sensibility and re-began reading Three Cups of Tea

Monday, November 23, 2009

I only have questions:

People have left promise of family, marriage, wealth, all with the hope of allowing that more might know son-ship, perfect love and that the true wealth of God's family might be found.

How do I achieve the mindset that "all this is temporary" so that I might be used?

What does it mean for me to live this out, practically, radically?

God is dreaming dreams for me in so much more brilliance then I even dare hope. How do I come to believe that his dreams are better than mine? How do I even realize what they are?

currently listening to: Gregory Alan Isakov; That Sea, The Gambler

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My list of must attend Christmas Events:

December 4th: Greensboro community sing-a-long and tree lighting

December 5th: Greensboro Christmas parade

December 7th: UNCG lights luminaries

December 8th/9th: It's a Wonderful Life at the Carolina Theater

December 10th: National Holiday, see also: my birthday.

And hopefully at some point in here, Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity at Triad Stage.

December 23-January 1: Christmas Vacation!

At any rate, I am excited about these things, since they are all my favorites about Christmas time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The hard side of love

Today I could tell that one of my students was upset and after I asked him if he was okay, he told me that he was angry. My student was ready to fight the kid because the other kid kept touching his girlfriend inappropriately on the bus. Fortunately he was willing to talk to me about it, which I consider a huge privilege. This allowed me to bring the information to the princiPAL who remedied the issue. Big fun.

Today I also called and emailed parents today because their students didn't turn work in and their students are failing my class. I always feel so heartbroken after talking to parents. Usually they are concerned and are dealing with such bigger problems than I am. Being a parent is hard and I'm sure the last thing to brighten their day is a phone call or an email from me.

Things like these are part of my job. Though they are not fun, I realize that they are a part of loving my students well. If I did what was easy for me, I would ignore their uncomfortable problems and their failing grades.

I see over and over that I have such little power to love well. In my favorite bathroom stall at school the words are written "hail Satan". It might sound funny to you, but to me it serves as a reminder that every day I am a part of something so much bigger than myself. We forget that there is a spiritual realm to this world that we live in (The Bible tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood), but this serves as a call to prayer, a call to invite God into my classroom. It reminds me that I have no power to protect my students, and that I must give them into the hands of my Heavenly Father minutely.

currently listening to: jars of clay, this road

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The past 5 days have been really frustrating for me in the classroom. I have had a student drop out because she got pregnant, I have had a three day battle over writing an essay-- which many of my students didn't even bother to turn in and so now they're failing my class, I have found a condom wrapper on my classroom floor, I have kicked kids out, I have stopped teaching and made them read a ten page essay on Romanticism, etc, etc. But even still, in the midst of all this, I have had students make me spit up my water because they are hilarious.

I did an lesson on the differences between the age of reason and romanticism using a Starburst (I take no credit for this creative idea). They had to say the logical thing to do with a Starburst and then say creative things that they could do, thus illustrating the differences between viewing the world through a logical lens or the creative one of the Romantics. So there are these:

If they don't make you laugh, they at least make you say..."What?!"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dear cat haters,

At least I can guarantee that my cat won't bark for hours...

Friday, November 13, 2009

What are we trusting in?

This week, I asked a former professor, mentor, and fellow Spring Gardener how she dealt with the worry that comes with caring about students as you get to know them. She answered as candidly as possible, "You worry about your students because you don't trust that God holds in the in the palm of his hand."

Over and over I hear not to worry, but this just struck such a chord in me. The reason that I worry anything at all is because I don't trust that God is in control in an intimate, absolute way.

"Oh, for grace to trust You more."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today I did something "they" say not to do. "They" say never to talk about something with your class if you couldn't when an administrator was in the room. I broke that rule but mainly because a former professor said to me this week to "trust your instincts. That's not normally something I say to people, but I trust your instincts." And so today, when I told my students I was going to collect the pre-work for the essay they are writing so I could grade it tonight, and my students said, "Why Ms. Jackson, are you going to party this weekend?" I enlightened them on the party life of Emily S. Jackson. I informed them that I never partied, not even in college. Then they asked what I did instead and if I had ever been to a party. I told them that I had been to parties, but I had never gotten drunk while there. Chaos ensued, naturally. For a brief instant, I wondered if I had pin pointed myself as the biggest looser in the world, or if I had made myself seem like a goody two shoes, or if I had ever even lived. And then it hit me. I have lived, and experienced heart break and fullness of joy and never numbed out due to not being able to handle it, or in celebration. I have lived more deeply than the biggest partier in the world. Life is not found in parties, or in alcohol, or revelry. Life is found in community, reading wonderful literature and learning new things and laughter. Maybe those things sound dumb to 16 year olds but maybe there was a kid in there that needed to hear that they aren't the only one who doesn't live in insanity. And maybe when they're a little older, they will remember that they had a crazy English teacher who knew how to really party.

Or maybe not.

currently listening: hero, regina spektor

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Spiritual Giftings, or "Take The Party With You"

Today Greg began a sermon series on spiritual gifts. I am rather excited to hear what he has to say, and wish I could just skip from Sunday to Sunday so I can go ahead and soak it all in. But then I guess I would miss some valuable time with my sweet, and not so sweet students.

Prior to this week, Greg had talked about the prodigal son, how we are welcomed into the Father's house, how we are welcomed into the party that takes place at the end of the story. This week he talked about the answer to the question of now that we have been to the party, and the Father has lavished his love upon us, what are we to do next?

In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus prays that his Father's kingdom will come. We are to be a part of that coming. We can do this by using the spiritual gifts that God has given us.

So often we view our giftings as nothing special, but in reality, they are specifically given to us in all the wisdom and foresight that our Heavenly Father possesses. We are part of the body, each part equally vital to what God is doing here.

A verse that Greg mentioned in his sermon was 2 Corinthians 3:18, which speaks to the people God has made us to be, saying,"But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." I had been meditating on this verse earlier this week and here are a list of questions I came up based on it.

- What does my unveiled face look like?
- Do we see, as in a mirror, God's glory reflected in our unveiled faces?
- What does it mean to go from glory to glory? Do we do that here on earth?
- Why do we have to wait until heaven to be ourselves as we truly should be?

Some of these, I believe are answerable.

I pray that God will free you and me up to live with unveiled faces, to be mighty men and women of valor, using the gifts He has given us to serve all we encounter.

currently listening to: Further Seems Forever, New Year's Project, Just Until Sundown

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Psalm 94:18-19

When I said, "My foot is slipping,"
your love, O LORD, supported me.

When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.

currently listening to: Rue Royale, Even in the Darkness