Sunday, August 29, 2010

My First Week

The week started out pretty rough.  Last Sunday evening my throat started hurting.  Then during the night, I became very achy and had fever and chills.  I woke up that morning feeling awful.  And it was bad timing... the first day of school.  I called my principal and asked what I should do.  He told me that it is ultimately my choice, but that if I could possibly go in, it would be good because it's the first day.  It's VERY important to be there the first day... especially in that type of school.  So, I decided that even if I went for a little bit, it would be better than nothing.  And if I had to miss the next day it wouldn't be as big of a deal.  So, I went in.  I worked the whole day, feeling bad.  But, I was able to ignore it for the most part.  That afternoon, I came home, and crashed.  I couldn't move.  My body ached badly.  My throat hurt.  All I did that night was eat dinner, then I went to bed early.

The next morning, I woke up feeling much better... though still not 100%.  I definitely enjoyed the day more.  Through the week my throat continued to hurt some, and I started getting a cough.  My voice began to go.  The last several days of the week, it was tough to teach because my voice was barely there.  But, I made it, and I enjoyed it anyway.

I know that this is where God has called me, though, it is met with many challenges.  I am behind on lesson planning (which they are very particular about) and preparing things, as well as not being near as organized as I would like.  I don't have any time to do laundry, clean up the house, etc.  I know that once I get into a routine, all of that will come.  I miss my kids and I feel like right now, I don't get to see them much.  Again, after I get into a routine, all of that will improve.  My goal is to get to where I lesson plan on Sunday afternoons, then I don't have to worry about it the rest of the week.  Lesson plans are due every Friday (although this week they are due tomorrow instead of last Friday).  So, if I get the plans done on Sundays, I will be way ahead.  But today, I am still working on the ones that are due tomorrow... so it'll take me a few weeks to get ahead.

I love all of the curriculum that the schools use.  It is really good... and it seems to be working.  Most of the kids know what to expect from year to year because a lot of it builds upon itself.  They have so many routines/strategies from what they have been taught and are able to put them into place.  The schools use something called "Whole Brain Teaching," and I wasn't sure about it at first, but it works.  I don't think I'll have a whole lot of classroom management issues, because again, the kids know exactly what to expect.  I have a few students that I have been "warned" about, and so far, I haven't had any issues because I've learned that they just need consistency, firmness, AND positive reinforcement... lots of it.  I love my students already, so much.  I know that all of the students that I have in my class are supposed to be in my class.  I pray for them, I show them that I love them, I give them respect, and I am firm and consistent.  That's what they need.  That's what they crave.

What an amazing mission... what an amazing calling.  It took me a while to find where I fit, and God worked out all the pieces of the puzzle.  I have seen how God has been orchestrating this... for a long time.  I think back to the hard times that I have gone through in the past year (between my brother's death, having my third child in 4 years, going through postpartum depression, moving, etc), and I see how much He taught me through it.  I'm not scared of struggle like I used to be... because now I know that He will use it for His glory.  I am much stronger, and I have more faith now than ever before.  I'm thankful for all that He has taught me.  I have also learned so much about myself, who He has created me to be, and my heart is slowly becoming more like His.
Though, I still have a long way to go.

"And the water is rising quick, and for years I was scared of it.  We can't be sure when it will subside, so I won't leave Your side, no I can't leave Your side."
Something Beautiful, Needtobreathe

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Peacefully Exhausted

I'm not sure if my title makes sense, but that is exactly how I feel right now.  I'm exhausted because I have been working hard the past two weeks to get things ready, and I've been learning so much in trainings.
I'm peaceful because never in my life have I felt so at peace with where we are and what we're doing.  We spent so much time seeking the Lord's will for everything that we're doing right now, and it is all right.  It's not easy or perfect, but it's right.  

My Wonderful School
I think I have learned more about affective teaching these past two weeks than I have learned in a long time... Probably all of the important things that I learned in college all in two weeks... plus more.  It has been four years since I graduated and things change in education so quickly.  Plus, this school does everything in a particular way, and I'm glad because I know that it works.  I have heard many, many times about where this school was a few years ago and where it is now.  So, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to be part of the growth of these kids.

We got a t-shirt the other day that said "Save the World Teacher."  This is our motto.  We aren't there to just have a job to make money... we are there to change lives.  If we can be a part of changing these kids' lives, then they can in turn be a part of changing others' lives and we can be part of breaking the cycle that many of these kids are in.  I know 100% that God has me at this school to be a part of that.  As I look back at the past few months/years, I see how God has been orchestrating all of this.  My prayer now is that I'll be this excited in December as I am now :).  I know that it will be really hard.  I know that I will have days in which I doubt what I'm doing.  I know I will have days in which I want to quit... but through God's power and strength, I will get through those days.

I met some of my students and their parents on Thursday night, and it really "pumped me up" even more.  I've never really felt that before.  I have a mission with these kids.

My Family
It's been an adjustment for all of us because everyone has been used to me being home... even when I worked the past 2 years, it was part time, so they still saw me a lot.  But, they are adjusting pretty well.  And I know that once the school year starts, we'll all get into a routine, and it will be even better.  The kids love the home daycare that they stay in.  They have made friends with the other kids, they get to learn and play, and she has even started potty training Ethan :).  He has been going in the potty for her.  So, I would say that we chose the right place :).  They are excited about going in the morning!  It makes things much easier for me :).  I have struggled off and on with feeling bad about working full time, but since they love it there so much, I am actually thinking that this is good for them.  Others might not agree, but I feel at peace with the decisions that we have made.
I'm so thankful for such a supportive husband.  He really wanted me to teach full time (especially at the type of school that I'm at) because he knew me and he knew my heart.  So, he will do anything he needs to in order to support me.  He takes the kids to daycare and picks them up.  He helps with meals.  He helps with cleaning and laundry.  He does whatever is necessary.  I'm so thankful for him!

Our family has so many new opportunities here.  I feel like our world has opened up tremendously.  I can't wait to see what God does through our family!

Things that I'm Struggling With
I miss my kids.  I'm not used to being away from them.  The benefit of that is that I enjoy them so much when I'm with them, but it's still difficult.  Again, once we get into more of a routine, things will get better in this area.
I've also been missing my brother a lot the past few days.  Some days I honestly forget about his death and all that took place, but it hits me when I get exhausted.  There's nothing that can be done about it now, and I know that he's in a better place, but it still gets to me (for obvious reasons).  I also feel bad that I live so far away from my parents now.  That is an adjustment in and of itself.  Not only is that tough for the kids, it's tough for me as well (and them).
My parents know that we are supposed to be here, and they are happy and supportive, but it's still not easy.  We're going there to visit labor day weekend, so that'll be good.

Ending on a Positive Note :)
I know that God has some amazing plans to use us for His glory.  I am confident that He has us in the right place, at the right time.  I know that He has used the past year, as hard as it was, to grow me to be more like Him and to have His heart.  I am excited about what is to come.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My New Job

This week has been a whirlwind, but it has been amazing.  God provided me a job that is a perfect fit.  It's SUCH a long story, so here's the short version:
Monday morning I got a call from the school with a job offer for a first grade position.  She asked me when I could be there and emailed me the in-service schedule.  I didn't really have much time to process... I just went to work lining out childcare.  I visited the place that we thought we would go with, and I felt comfortable with it after watching her interact with the kids.  She's licensed and has a good record with the state.  She is very interactive with the kids, including having circle time, reading to them, singing/dancing, doing a craft, and does "Your baby can read."  The kids also get to play outside which is great.  And she has NO trouble getting them to take a nap :).  It is a great, structured environment for them. 

When I got home that day, I went to work baking/cooking for the week.  I made lunches for everyone.  I laid out the kids' clothes for the next day.  I got as organized as I could with a short notice :).

I went to training the next day (which was the second day for new teachers), and during our tour of the school was asked if I wanted to move to 2nd grade (long story as to why, and I'm not sure that I even know all the details).  I was SO excited.  Not only did I get to teach a grade that I feel more comfortable teaching, I got to be on a team that I was similar to in personality.  It has been great.  Also, because I moved to 2nd grade, I got a bigger room :). 

I have learned so much this week during training.  The school/organization (it's a charter school so they are called an organization instead of a "district") is SO organized and methodical about everything.  With-in the past 3 or so years, they have gone from an academically unacceptable standing to a recognized standing with the state.  That's an AMAZING improvement.  Everyone there is very passionate about what they do.  I haven't met one teacher yet that just treats it like any old job.  Another amazing thing is that everything that I've heard about the principal is GREAT.  Most people say that after working for him, they couldn't work for any other principal.  The campus that I work at is a big family.  They all love it.  There's very little drama and/or gossip (from what I can tell so far).  Everyone works together. 
I could go on and on...

I feel that I have found where I fit.  I feel that I could stay there for a long time. 

Robert is very supportive of me.  I'm so thankful for that because especially these first several weeks as I get everything together, I will be very busy.  Then I will be busy all year, but I think once I get into a rhythym it won't be too bad.

I love that when I get home and the kids get home, I enjoy every moment that I spend with them.  I hold them, kiss them, play with them, and just treasure my time with them.  They also come home from playing and learning all day, so they are usually in great moods :). 

It's all a huge adjustment, but everything is right. I've never really felt that things were just right until now.  Robert is in the right job, I'm in the right job, and we live in the right place.  I'm so thankful that after such a rough year, God has lined everything up so perfectly.  I couldn't have asked for anything better.  He knows what's best... and I DON'T :). 

Now, once we get caught up financially (I don't get paid til the end of September and we're paying childcare!), we can begin saving up to move out one day :).  We will probably look in the town that some of our friends live in, and it is close to the church and not too long of a drive to my school.  We'll cross that bridge when we get there.  It'll be a while because we don't want to jump into anything, and we want to have some money saved up.  It's just nice that we have that option now :). 
Robert will most likely not start classes til next semester.  Since we have been so busy since we got here, and we were trying to get everything figured out for me, he hasn't even had a chance to begin the process.  We'll get there.  One thing at a time!  I think it's good for him to have a little break from stress for a little while :).

PRAISE JESUS for His provision!  He constantly amazes me!

Friday, August 6, 2010

God of this City

You're the God of this City 
You're the King of these people 
You're the Lord of this nation 
You are 

You're the Light in this darkness 
You're the Hope to the hopeless 
You're the Peace to the restless 
You are 

There is no one like our God 
There is no one like our God 

For greater things have yet to come 
And greater things are still to be done in this City 
Greater thing have yet to come 
And greater things are still to be done in this City 

There is no one like our God 
There is no one like our God 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Letting Go... Again...

My immediate reaction last night was to begin the job search again.  Then, I felt God telling me to let go. Stop searching. 

This is tough for me... I want to be in control... I want to make something happen.  And, obviously, I can't make something happen.

I think it would be so much easier to not work if we had our own place... but knowing that I have to work if we ever want to move out has made this all tough.  And I don't know why, really.  We have it pretty good here.  We have everything we need.  We have our own space.  We love the area.  So, maybe it's mostly a pride issue?  I'm not sure.

I'm not sure if God is closing door after door because He's trying to tell me that He doesn't want me to work, or what, but it's hard when I'm trying to follow my husband's lead, and he wants me to work.  I feel so torn.  I think he wants me to work because he feels that I'll be more content... so maybe I just need to learn to be content with where we are in life... and then Robert will see that staying home is a good option.

I have been nervous about how I will be able to handle teaching full time... with three little ones...

Maybe my timing is off.  It wouldn't be the first time :).

My parents are picking the kids up for the weekend, so starting at sundown tonight, I'm going to begin a fast.  I'm going to fast and pray through the day tomorrow... and wait and see what happens with this school... then go from there.  At this point, I am pretty sure that if another door is closed with this school that it is time for me to just decide to stay home.  So, I'm going to just let go, again... I want to do what God wants even if it's not what I want (or what I think I want).  :)

Sorry if this is a bit scattered... I'm a bit scattered right now :).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

To Know Jesus and Make Him Known

As I sit here spending some time alone, God is reminding me that this life isn't about me... it isn't about whether or not I get a job that I want, it isn't about having money, it isn't about whether or not we will be able to move out of my inlaws, it isn't about how comfortable we are (in fact, we really aren't called to comfort!), it isn't about things lining out perfectly or not lining out perfectly... it's about knowing Him and making Him known, period.  So, no matter what I end up doing, my ultimate goal needs to be to have an intimate relationship with Him and sharing Him with others.  So, instead of focusing on jobs, I'm going to focus on Him and trust that whatever happens is His will... for His glory.

Disappointed but Still Trusting

I had an interview on Monday at The School of Liberal Arts and Science and LOVED it.  I was there for three hours, talked to many people (all of which I think are fabulous), and was told to go ahead and line up childcare but don't make any final plans yet.  The administration there is amazing, and the school has gone from being academically acceptable to recognized!  They are hard working and truly care about the kids that they teach/work with.  They all have a passion for what they do.  I desperately wanted to be a part of it.  I felt like I fit in 100%.  I left that interview thinking that was MY position.

This morning I called the lady that I have been developing a relationship with (we'll call her "E") to see if they were going to be making a decision soon (the lady that I wanted to watch the boys was filling up fast).  She said that they should be making a decision today and to call at 4:00 if I haven't heard anything.  Then, while I was at the pediatrician's office getting well checks for my kids, I got a phone call from someone in administration asking me some questions.  When I was on the phone with her we were getting called back, so I was a bit flustered and had to tell her I would call back later.  She told me that she got what she needed from me.  At that point she said that it was between me and one other candidate and that she wanted us both.

Well, 4:00 comes around and I still hadn't heard anything... so I called "E."  She says something to the extent of it's weird that they hadn't called you back yet, let me go see what's going on, and someone should be calling you soon.  If I don't hear anything in an hour, call her back.  She said all of this excitedly.  So, I thought it was in the bag.

About 5:05, I got a call from their admin telling me that they decided to go with someone else that has a little more experience (surprise, surprise).  She said that they wanted us both... and obviously it was one position, so they chose by going with the person that had more experience.  But she did follow that up with saying that they are most likely going to have a few more openings and if so, then they WILL be offering me a job.  They will call me by this Friday.

So, I'm disappointed because I wanted THAT position... But, all I can do is trust.  God has the right position for me.  And if not, then I guess I'm not meant to work right now.

I called the lady that will be watching the boys this evening, and she told me about a wonderful charter school that is just down the street from her (in Carrollton, where we would like to live!), and she knows someone that works there.  They are supposedly hiring a lot of teachers right now because it's growing so fast.  So, I'm going to go ahead and apply there... but honestly, I really want to work with "poor" kids... and I really doubt that these kids are poor kids...

So, again, all I can do is leave all of this is God's hands... He is ultimately in control and He knows what's best.  I have to make the choice to trust Him and give it to Him.

Here I am again, laying MY plans down.  I really have no control even though I would like to think I do at times :).