25

Today, I am 25. 

I got to spend my birthday in my favorite place, the Little Light House.  Some days, I can’t believe how blessed I am to work at such an amazing place, where miracles happen every day, where I am loved, where I am doing a job God made for me.  I mean, kids like Colton bring me birthday signs–how much better does it get? 

Colton brought a Happy Birthday sign for me for the day!
Colton brought a Happy Birthday sign for me for the day!

 

My life is incredibly different than it was a year ago. Last year, I was working in the classroom, doing a job I loved. I was an Associate, the assistant teacher in a classroom with 8 children with special needs and one staff kid. I was exhausted, and I loved it. But God opened the door for me to work in a new department, where I’m in charge of getting the word out about the Little Light House. And now I have even more responsibility: part of my duties now include grantwriting, helping to make sure we have enough money to keep providing services to these amazing students. It’s a little terrifying and overwhelming–but I think this is going to be a great year.

Four months ago, my computer crashed and I lost 2.5 years of my life, in a way. All the pictures of my two years of teaching are gone. I’ve found a few here and there, and I have at least one of every student. I worked on no major creative projects in my life post-college, so I didn’t lose anything creative. But that’s not that great, because that’s just sad. I didn’t write much about my students, my life, because I was exhausted and because I couldn’t figure out how to navigate that line of telling my story and their stories without telling too much. And when I say I couldn’t figure it out, I really mean that the thought just overwhelmed me so I didn’t really try.

So, I don’t know what I’m doing creatively this year, but may God bring back the stories I’ve lost. I always thought I’d have pictures of my students and my time in the classroom to jog my memories, but since they’re gone, I’ll just have to remember. I don’t have any master plan–I’m just going to see what happens and what stories God brings back. Here’s to remembering, and to investing in multiple backups so this never happens to me again. 

Enough about my computer and lost things. This is going to be a good year. I have stories I’m telling, work projects I’m launching, grants I’m writing, and life I’m living. 

And even though I don’t teach any more, I still get to spend time with kids like Calex.  Life is good.

Calex and me on my birthday.
Calex and me on my birthday.

 

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.

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]

December, It Always Happens in December

The last month of 2010 is about to arrive.

Whirl. Wind. A whirl of wind. [30 rock is in my brain]  That’s the only way to describe this year. As I think about the year, I almost don’t recognize myself from who I was last December. But it’s not the end of the year yet, who knows what else could change in the next 31 days.

So November.  The last 30 days have been like each month before it, full of busyness. I’ve been trying to figure out my life, what I want, where to find friends. I have had mixed success.

I love my job. I can’t wait to quit grad school. I’m excited to find another program that fits me better. In my heart, I think I know where I’ll head. But I haven’t done enough research or found a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow to do it.

This last day of November was long. I’m exhausted. Life is good.

 

Coldplay releases a new song tomorrow. I want it badly.

I love Christmas music. Coldplay’s new song is entitled “Christmas Lights.” I hope this combination is good.

December, be splendid.

Whoa

November, really?

I look at a calendar and talk about the day with small children every day.  Still, November is a surprise. My life seems to always move at breakneck speed, never slowing down.

I made an important decision in October. Sharing this decision with others has led to entertaining conversations.  One example:

Friend: “So, how’s school treating you?” [expecting the answer of, fine, busy, etc]

Me: “I hate it, I’m quitting.”

Friend’s Face: Disbelief

It’s getting past my bedtime so I don’t particularly feel like writing much about my decision to go a different direction in my graduate education.  I’m pretty excited about it, though.  Mostly, though, I’m excited about having a few months to find a life, make friends with people my own age, and look for a different [and most certainly more expensive] graduate program.

Every month of this year, my life has completely changed in some way or another.  I decided in October to completely change the direction of my life. That’s kind of a big deal. But, it somehow seems like just a natural progression.  Like I had to start a program I won’t finish in order to learn that it wasn’t what I wanted. It’s going to be weird not finishing something I’ve started.  And liberating.

So November, what craziness will you bring?  If it could involve a group of friends where I live, a man, or really, just a social life, that would be fabulous. Most likely, November will be like every other month this year: unexpected.

Unexpected November is unexpected!

Oh, and I think I’m going to attempt something resembling NaNoWriMo. With no plan except a vague story idea. We’ll see how this goes. It will probably never see the light of day.

[why am I giving myself a new project in the midst of the insane busyness that is my life? probably because I don’t want to do the homework for the classes I have to finish for the degree I won’t be continuing….]

Hello There October

I spent the first two days of October in class for grad school.  I’m never doing a weekend class again–I hate sitting for that long. I also hate having no weekend.

So, where did September go? It passed in a blur of preschool, grad school, and trying to figure out my new life. Preschool is going fabulously.  I love my job. The childrens, all nine of my students, they exhaust me. But oh, they are hilarious.

Grad school is not my favorite thing in the world. It takes up time I’d rather be spending working on stuff for my students or trying to develop a social life or sleeping.  However, grad school is the means to becoming a special education teacher someday.  Right now, being an assistant is fabulous.  But I don’t want to be an assistant forever.

I have had limited success in finding a social life.  Where are all the people my age and at my stage of life?  Surely there are people in my area who are recently graduated from college and working full-time.  I haven’t met them, though.

I did find ultimate pick-up in September.  Fear didn’t want me to go–but I went anyway and I had great fun. I still suck at Ultimate. I can never get in the right place at the right time.  I rarely touch the frisbee. But, it’s good for me. I forgot, though, that I was really blessed this summer to play on a summer league team with guys who would throw to me. In this pick-up, guys don’t seem to throw much to girls and the few girls view me as competition. HA.  Life is funny.

So the blur of September charged on to the present experience of October.  September was BUSY. October will also be BUSY. Every day is filled with things to do. I love it. I just wish I had extra time to sleep…

Bring it October.