Aftershocks

I’ve been making up aftershocks, inadvertently. Ok, maybe not always inadvertently. Sometimes on purpose. Every loud noise or rumble sounds like an earthquake. Now that I’ve experienced two, I feel like an expert. In Oklahoma.

This is ridiculous.

It’s storming tonight, so there are rumbles of thunder. I think there will be a lot of “aftershocks” tonight.

Aftershocks, real or imagined, are funny things. Whether they follow earthquakes or difficult events, they’re still surprising, sometimes terrifying.

Events ripple. Tectonic plates shift. Aftershocks startle.

Neither philosophy nor poetry were ever my strong suit.

EARTHQUAKE

I never thought that I would experience an earthquake in Oklahoma. As of an hour ago, I have now experienced THREE in the last year.
This time last year there was a little one that I felt because I was home sick. It was so small and short. I was sitting on the living room couch and thought my dog was wagging his tail into the couch. Except he hasn’t done that in a long time because he’s been dead since 2009. So, pretty small earthquake. Even so, I went TO THE INTERNET!

Last night I was housesitting and woke up at 2:13. I couldn’t figure out why I was awake. Then I started hearing weird rattling noises and my bed started shaking. The whole house was shaking! The bird downstairs was squawking–he didn’t like an earthquake. I was still half-asleep, but even in that state I still had the urge to go TO THE INTERNET to confirm that what had happened was actually an earthquake. Sure enough, some people had just tweeted about an earthquake. Satisfied, I fell back asleep.

An hour ago, my parents and I started tonight’s episode of SNL. The ghost of Gadhafi started talking, then the room started shaking. We didn’t catch on right away, but soon figured out it was an EARTHQUAKE. When it lasted more than a couple seconds, my dad ran to a door frame! He was not thrilled that my mom and I remained on the couch. I was confident in the belief that Oklahoma earthquakes would not kill me. This earthquake was at least 30 seconds long. And, as with every important event and my previous two earthquakes: TO THE INTERNET.

At least I’m consistent.

Learning

I enjoy learning. It’s part of my nature to attempt to derive meanings and lessons from my life experiences. Everything has to have a reason. I can find a silver lining of a lesson in any hurricane. Things don’t turn out the way I hoped? That’s ok, I learned something about myself. Someone hurt me? That’s ok, now I know how to approach a similar situation in the future.  Finding the bright side is how I cope with most of my sadnesses.

In general, I find it to be a valuable skill to see what I’ve learned out of my experiences.  Sometimes, though, I want to just be unhappy. I don’t want to know the lesson. I want things to turn out the way I wanted with the lesson I had in mind. I don’t want to see the bright side.

So I won’t.

I’ll learn a lesson later.

You know it’s been a crazy day at preschool…

When the clothes you wear home are not the same as what you wore to work.

When the disaster that happened to your clothing is so bad that you have to call your mom to bring you that extra set of clothes.

When you vow to never be without a spare pair of pants again.

When you cleaned the carpet for two hours and will need to do further cleaning tomorrow.

When the classroom next door has to take all your other kids so you can clean the disaster-maker. With the help of the school nurse.

When the only way to describe what happened is with made-up words like “poopsplosion.”

This all sounds super-serious since you can’t write tone, but today, while crazy, was actually highly amusing. That’s really the only way to respond to a bodily function-related disaster: with amusement. It’s not my poor student’s fault that he can’t control his body. And I have a lovely team of people who help me get everything back to crazy normal, instead of the spontaneous CRAY CRAY that happened today.

On the plus side Thanksgiving is in three weeks.

Trippy

If I remember correctly, the weird art installation I wrote about previously was part of this exhibition.

I still have no idea what art was at the end of the black tunnel. The blurb about the exhibition doesn’t describe the part I remember.  However, the entire exhibition was a whole floor and the dark dark dark dark was just a sliver of that floor.

Memory in the 21st Century

That title promises a fancy and intriguing appraisal of memory in this modern age. Alas, all it really means is that I have learned over the last few months that if I don’t email myself something, I might not remember it. I’ll be falling asleep and remember something I need to remember to bring to work the next day. The best way for me to actually remember the thing is to send myself an email. Seriously. I know I’ll glance at email before I go out the door in the morning. However, there is no guarantee that I will glance through my brain to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. Thanks Gmail, for being there for me. You’re saving space on my desktop memory.

I could be a Google Chrome commercial.

Space

Sometimes I wish we had intergalactic space travel, as found in any science fiction book or television show. Just imagine seeing the entire universe.

Then I remember that unknown dark spaces freak me out. At the Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art in DC this summer, they had displays that were completely in the dark. I couldn’t handle them. Even the cool ones that had to do with time. Modern art is weird, beyond belief.
Space basically equals dark spaces. There’s almost no way you could convince me to travel in space, even if it were possible. But for some reason, I still wish it were real.

Everything just seems more exciting in space. Or maybe, just more dramatic.

The things I think when watching Firefly while filling out attendance forms.

Spiders

Ever since I was eaten (bitten really, but the way the aftermath took over my life, I might as well have been eaten) by a brown recluse spider last May, every time I feel a little unknown tickle or a scratch, I panic. Just a tiny, tiny bit. Since tickles, scratches, or weird feelings happen often, I inwardly panic much more often than previously typical.

And I really don’t like spiders anymore.

Update

I hadn’t updated my About page in a year. My life isn’t super different, but some things have definitely changed. So I updated it.

I am not a graduate student anymore. I have no idea when or if I’ll return to that.

I don’t really play ultimate anymore.

My life is different in other ways, but ways that aren’t quantifiable enough for an online list describing me. My life is constantly changing, while also somewhat staying the same. Life is weird.

On Occasion

Waiting can sometimes pay off.
In fact, it almost always does, it’s just ridiculously difficult to remember that.
God is always faithful. People sometimes are faithful.
Sometimes I have to wait for things I want, need.

Today I’m thankful for waiting.
I’m thankful for a day off.
I’m thankful that our biggest event of the year went amazingly well.
I’m thankful that that event, MiniLaps, raised $350,000, more money than has ever been raised before for ML.
I’m thankful that the money means the whole staff at my delightful ministry will continue to be paid.
I’m thankful that even if we did have money troubles, I wouldn’t need to worry because of my faithful God and my amazing parents.
I’m thankful that people who have said no to giving to the LLH have started to say yes, in big ways.
I’m thankful God changes the minds of kings.
I’m thankful that my best friend lives a mile from me.
I’m thankful that I’m happy. I don’t think that’s God’s main goal for my life…but it’s delightful when it happens.

Me with my Apple Doll friend

I mean, really, look at that face. How can I not be happy spending my days with children like him?

Waiting Is Hard

I know waiting is hard.

My students’ attention spans can be the size of gnats, so I repeat that statement many, many times over the course of the school day.  Waiting for a turn to spell a name, waiting for snack, waiting for a spot in the bathroom, waiting for another classroom to leave the gym, waiting for an activity to start, waiting for other friends to behave, waiting for lunch, waiting for parents to arrive, and on and on it goes.  They react to waiting in so many different ways: screaming, crying, kicking, talking incessantly, and even running away.  I talk to them over and over again about the difficulty of waiting and that I understand. But they forget, so I keep reminding.

One would think that this perpetual lesson in waiting would help me remember that waiting is a struggle common to all. It’s an inevitable part of life. Sometimes I can handle waiting with no problem, content in the moment.

Other times I just want some things to HAPPEN already. There are so many things on the periphery of my life that I want moved to the center, but they remain stubbornly on the outside. I want to know how to prepare for my next steps since I will not be an assistant forever, but the steps remain hidden.

Patience has never been my strong suit.

Blurs

Today two of my kids did something ridiculous during Morning Circle. I could’t stop laughing so I had to cover my face and pretend I was crying so the kids wouldn’t notice I was laughing at them. Because whatever it was, they weren’t supposed to be doing it. But I have no memory of what the ridiculousness was.

My days are sometimes such a blur.  My students do hilarious and random things that I can’t always remember, even if I want to remember.  It’s like being a parent, but with fake children.  But still with  bodily functions. And tantrums. And screaming. And crying. And timeouts. And, as I like to call them, costume changes (meaning me having to change into scrubs because some kind of bodily fluid makes its way onto my clothes).  Never a dull moment, my job. Those moments are sometimes disgusting, but never dull.

Laps! Fundraising! My Life!

I wrote the following for the website I made for fundraising for Laps for Little Ones at my work. I’m trying to write more, and it’s writing, so here it is. If you’re interested in donating, here’s the website:
Check out my Laps website!

Hello friends and family!

For anyone who might not know (surely I’ve told everyone I know!), I am in the midst of my second year as a Classroom Associate (Assistant Teacher) at the Little Light House. My love for the LLH goes back to being a volunteer in high school, than a college intern in the summer of 2008. Ever since that fateful summer, I knew the LLH was where I belonged.  The love for Jesus and these delightful special children shines at the LLH every day.

In case I haven’t told you about every detail about the Little Light House, here are a few highlights about my favorite place:

  1. We are a Christian ministry that provides tuition-free educational and therapeutic services to children with disabilities from birth to age six in the Tulsa area.
  2. In addition to being tuition-free, we also operate independently of government and United Way funding.  That’s why we have these great fundraisers!
  3. I am the Classroom Associate in a classroom with eight lovely students.  The picture above [Wordpress edit: You’ll have to go to the website to see it! and trust me, it’s adorable. It’s in the brochures]  is me with one of my students from last year–my relationships with my students are so special!
  4. Our mission statement is: “To glorify God by improving the quality of life for children with special needs, their families, and their communities.”

This year we are having our 32nd annual Laps for Little Ones. This year, we have been challenged as a staff to help in the fundraising for this great event and amazing school. I hope you will consider donating to this fabulous cause.  Every little bit helps–even just $5!

If you have any questions please contact me!
Thank you for your time!

Passing Time

Much has happened since that terrible week back in May. I was having an allergic reaction and infection from a brown recluse spider bite. Which went undiagnosed for four days and three different doctors. I dislike my primary doctor.

From about my birthday in April until early June, I was kind of in a fog of unhealthiness, from a stomach bug to allergies to being eaten by a spider. Then the summer session at work was CRAZY. Good, but crazy.

This summer was the summer of travel. And I thought I traveled a lot last year! I think I just liked these destinations a lot more than say, Kansas City. I went to Colorado for a wedding, to Lakeside for recharging, then to DC for an adventure with one of my college roommates. I love travel. It’s exhausting, but it never gets old. I don’t have any travel plans in the near future (some significant hopes, but no plane tickets or driving maps at the ready), which is starting to bother me. I feel like I learn so much when I’m in a new place having an adventure.

I have a new class of children. They’re incredibly different than last year’s children. One of my children from last year still loves me, calling my name across the room when she sees me in Large Group time: SAWAH. She also likes to beckon me with her finger saying, “C’mere Sawah,” and patting the spot beside her. It breaks my heart a little that she isn’t with me anymore and that I can’t just sit with her when we want, but she’s a big girl now in a big girl class. She still calls me “My Sawah.” Right now there are few things in my life that warm my heart more than that.

I’m slacking off in my writing skills. I obviously haven’t written here in months and haven’t written much of anything anywhere else either. It’s one of my favorite skills and I don’t want to lose it. I don’t know if I’ll ever go to grad school again or if I’ll need it when I get there. But I’m looking at making grant-writing one of my skills, so regular writing is a definite necessity.

I make no promises.

Well

Things happened in April. And March. Apparently I’ve fallen out of the habit of reviewing my months.  They’re all seeming to run together.

Things are happening and I like my life, but everything is just such a different speed and tone than the last few years of my life that I don’t really know what to do with it yet. How to process it myself, how to write about it for others to understand. My life is now so intertwined with the personal lives of children, co-workers, volunteers….that I can’t and won’t openly share all my stories on the interwebs. The stories are complicated, personal, detailed, crazy, and most of the time: Business, None of Yours.

And I don’t do much else but work, especially this month. I mean, I got older, but I was sick most of the day. Yay preschool stomach bug. And really, who wants to read about that?

Basically, the last two weeks, I have worked, then gone home and watched shows or slept. Or both. I’ve been exhausted, allergied, and trying to stay healthy enough to keep going to work. Ironically, last week during our devotional time at work, we talked about time management and using our time wisely.  Alas, I can’t always be super-productive.

May will be busier. Graduations, changes, crazy.

Also I watch Doctor Who now. Despite the persecution, I love being a nerd. I love time travel, existential questions, and beautiful music. AND Britishness. Can I be Amelia Pond?

Skipping

I skipped a comprehensive review of February and a preview of March for a number of reasons. One, at first I just forgot.

Two, February was really nothing to write home about. Snowpocalypse. I literally didn’t leave the house for most of the first two weeks of February. Seriously. It started snowing on Monday night January 31…and I didn’t go anywhere until Saturday February 5. Even after that the roads were so bad that I still didn’t go many places.  I watched a lot of Netflix. And rearranged my room a thousand times. And pretended to study for the GRE.  Among other things. Really, the first two weeks of February 2011 will not go down as the most productive period of my life.

I didn’t really go back to work until Valentine’s Day. Whereupon we had VALENTINE’S WEEK at work. Yayyy, the single life. But really, it was Valentine’s week, it was like we celebrated every day, parties, candy, etc. This is what happens at preschool.  We celebrate everything. EVERYTHING.  Even Singles Awareness Day.

The latter part of February got more exciting, with Christmas in February, also known as the Book Fair at a local private school.  I can’t even really count how many people were in my house, because my sister’s friends just kept coming and coming.  15 maybe?  And we woke up super early on a Saturday to buy books. And I must say, it was an excellent book shopping year. Highlight? Our Mississippi, a Mississippi state history textbook from the sixties.  Also, lots of pretty travel books.

[background noise for writing this post is one of my favorite episodes of Bones, Two Bodies in the Lab. and my favorite song from the show is about to play. Hurrah for my love of appropriately used electronica. Who knew I liked Depeche Mode? I didn’t.]

The rest of February was tough.  Children can be difficult after long periods of being cooped up.  Hey, I’m difficult after long periods of being copped up thanks to Snowpocalypse.  I just have slightly more self-control.  My job is great, but it’s draining, it’s exhausting, it’s demanding.  Let’s just say my three week spring break/rest was desperately needed, despite the bonus two weeks of Snowpocalypse.

Also, I was just beginning to build a social life before Snowpocalypse snowed all over it, so I felt like I was starting all over socially in late February. Finding friends without having them right next to me is difficult.

Three (I’ve rambled for so long anyone reading may have forgotten I was listing reasons I hadn’t written what I’m writing yet), I was afraid that somehow March of 2011 would turn out like March of 2010. With bitter disappointment.  With expectation turned to nothing. With growth that was really good but really really hard. I just didn’t want to think about that possibility, no matter how remote. Nor did I really want to think about last March. Or this past February for that matter.

Sometimes I need to write in the heat of the moment, so I will remember how I really felt. And sometimes I need to step away and wait so the heat of the moment doesn’t carry me away to extremes that are just exaggerations of my actual feelings. Last year, I needed to remember how I really felt. Now? A little distance is good for me.

This time last year I was in Jackson. Oh how I miss that time. THAT part of March 2010 was fabulous, but I pretended that was April anyway. And that the hateful part of April was just nowhere. Nevertheless, Jackson and the work the Lord did left an impression on my heart, my soul, my mind that will remain forever.  Like a tattoo, but I detest the word tattoo.  Every word I think of to describe it just isn’t right. It’s not a stamp, not a weight, not a burden, not a tattoo, not a calling, but more than just a simple impression.  Inscription. [I really have a thing for precise language]  The Lord left an inscription on my heart for/with/by Jackson. This inscription has so much to say, but that’s for another time.

March 2011, you’re almost over. Sorry I tried to ignore you, you’ve actually been rather super. Keep going strong.

So much changes

This time last year I was getting ready to do something completely crazy. It did not turn out as hoped.

Do I love my life anyway? Absolutely. Am I glad I did that crazy thing? Yes. Would I like my life if it had turned out as I had I hoped? I’m not sure. Most likely, probably not.

My current tomorrow will be filled with crazy, just of a different sort.  Children, hugs, discipline, grace, cleaning, running, remembering, being.

The best part? The Lord was with me then and the Lord is with me now.  And He’ll be there tomorrow and the day after that. Even when I think He’s nuts. Even when I’m nuts. Even when He prompts me to do crazy things. I like this adventure.

More on February thoughts and March expectations later.

Let’s just say that February 2011 will not go down as the most productive month of my life. Also, March 2011 holds much more promise and much less inner turmoil than March 2010.

Bye January

January went out some snow and February entered with full-on Blizzard Snowpocalypse. I’m at the end of Day 2 of Snowpocalypse Days and, as much as I love my job, I also love snow days. But more about those later.

So January, How were you? I mean, you were really a blur. At first I was still on break,then regular life started back up again. OH WAIT I DON’T GO TO SCHOOL ANYMORE. I don’t really forget that very often, because it’s really just so delightful. I don’t have homework, I don’t have class, I don’t have to wait around for class to start, I don’t have to get out of class at 10 PM and not get home until 10:30 only to wake up at 6:00 the next morning.

I can have a life now. I can throw myself even more into work. I can schedule dinner dates with friends. I can pursue other dreams. I’m letting God run the show, which is delightful. I guess that’s my theme of January: God’s running my show. I’m super excited about where he’s taking the show.  Most of the performances will be at home, but I’ll be going on the road a number of times this year. I’ve been to my dear Arkansas already and may be making journeys to other parts of the country over the next few months.

I had two snow days in January, a nice harbinger of things to come in February, I suppose. I was not super productive those days. I pretty much just sorted things in my room and watched Bones. And tried to organize my life.

Even in those times of unproductivity, God was still teaching, still beating things into my head. Things may be happening. I’m not sure what. I have hopes. We’ll see if it’s time yet. He’s speaking and I’m just going, doing what I think I’m supposed to do until He turns me down another path.

This season of my life may seem easy, comfortable to others looking in on my life. I don’t really care. Because I am happy, fulfilled. But even in that happiness and fulfillment, God is stretching me, having me do crazy things that are difficult and often stress me out.  My job is fulfilling and awesome but hard. The ministries outside my job that he’s calling me to are time-consuming and sometimes a stretch for my skills. The people he puts in my life are beloved to me, but sometimes drive me nuts. Never a dull moment, but my life is often completely overwhleming. I love it and what God’s doing.

In other news, I have a new favorite band, The Civil Wars. I’d had some of their music but it hadn’t really grabbed me yet. They had a new album out yesterday, and since EVERYONE in the world was on Facebook thanks to Snowpocalypse, a lot of friends were recommending it. And I love it. Especially “I’ve Got This Friend.”  Try it, you might love it, too.

February, you’ve already been a little crazy. Don’t disappoint. Bring the crazy. God does his best work when life is crazy.

uncertainty

I’ve had the year 2010 in the back of my mind for years. I’ve known since elementary school that I would be graduating from college in 2010.

I graduated seven months ago and now 2010 is nearly over. It’s time for 2011.

I don’t know what to do with 2011. Life has been planned only up until this point.  I don’t know what to do next or when things will happen.  This is not bad.  It’s actually fabulous, it’s just taking some getting used to.

In January of 2010, I wrote a list of things I wanted to have accomplished over the next year, prompted by questions I found on Boundless Line. Not quite resolutions, but really some thoughts and dreams and ideas for this last crazy year.

The first question was “What would you like to see different about your life one year from now?” My first item on the list? Not even anywhere near accomplished. However, it was “I would like to have gone on a date” so that’s not exactly something I can take care of on my own. I was much more successful with my other plans, such as “I would like to have a steady job, preferably at LLH” and “I would like to be saving money.” Hurrah for an amazing job that pays!

As to what I wanted to have accomplished by now? Playing ultimate well was one of my goals. I don’t know if I play it well, but I’m infinitely better than I was last January. I play a sport now. I have frisbees. It’s weird and awesome. I can’t even begin to describe how my decision to play Ultimate changed my life. I’m healthier, more athletic, less fearful, more confident, and more. The Lord did those things. It’s kind of amazing. Also, I’m pretty sure that all that happened with me and Ultimate and other choices I made in 2010 have given me the confidence to quit grad school and change directions a bit. I’m seriously considering getting an MBA or MNFP [master’s in not-for-profit management], something I wouldn’t have dreamed of a year or two ago. Honestly, probably because a year or two ago I didn’t think I could do that. Accounting? Math? Administrating a non-profit? Those are potentially terrifying prospects. Well, they used to be terrifying.  I’m not afraid.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” [2 Timothy 1:7]

I, of course, had other goals and dreams for the year, but this isn’t the space for them. Some were accomplished. Others are dreams still left unfulfilled.  As I look back on what I wrote about every month, I know the year has been good. There’s always another year for dreams to come to fruition.  To be made beautiful.

So what will the year of 2011 bring? Unknowns. Exciting unknowns. I don’t really know what to do with you, 2011. Fortunately, I’m not the one who has to know.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” [Ecclesiastes 3:11]