Lots-o-change

So, I told you yesterday that Brian was bragging on me. Gosh– still makes me blush. Anyways… the bragging was centered in large part around the changes going on at my job.

Next year, I will leave the elementary school and go back to being a middle school teacher. We are restructuring parts of our school, so I will still have my beloved 6th grade, but I will also have 7th and 8th grade. I will teach English Language Arts to all three grades, and then teach Bible to 8th grade. It’s another BIG change in a series of BIG changes.

In the last two years I met the love of my life, got engaged, got married, got involved in a new church and a new missional community, moved from south to north Austin, moved in with a MAN and a dog, started at a new job, switched to elementary school, wrote all new curriculum for that position, began turning the bachelor pad into a home for two, got a hematologist and a blood disorder, started a major development program through church, got a new missional community, and now, got a new job.

THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF CHANGE IN MY LIFE.

You’d think I’d be used to it by now. I am much more so than I used to be– that’s for sure. It just feels like I never get comfortable in anything, or else I do and that’s when the change comes. And what complicates this further is that I’m a natural planner– so I plan for all of these futures that never occur.

Our reading last week for Women’s Development was the book of Malachi. In chapter 3, God tells us that he does not change. I smiled when I read it because I learned that verse last semester when I learned about the character of God, specifically God’s immutability, or unchangeableness. God is unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises (yet God does act and feel emotions, and he acts and feels differently in response to different situations).

This is such a comfort! With all of these changes in position and location and role, my God stays the same. He stays holy and true and perfect– even when I am none of those things and shaking my fist at him that he changed things on me again!

The other part of my life that is unchanging is that I have Brian. I know that some people don’t see marriage as a forever- relationship, but Brian and I take marriage very seriously. We entered into a covenant relationship with God, and that relationship is for life– which I pray will be for many many more years. Our relationship changes, and we as individuals change, but Brian is always there.

After those last two paragraphs, I am reminded that I cannot complain about all of this change. It is my reality– it’s what God has decided for my life. I see the joy in almost all of the changes I listed above, and I can already see joy in this job change to come. No matter what the new school year brings, I have my God and (God willing) my Brian by my side.

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Not afraid

I mentioned last week that there are some changes going on at work. Tomorrow morning, we have another meeting.

Tonight, I’m fretting about it. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but that doesn’t stop me from speculating and reacting to my speculations. So, Brian stepped in.

Brian walked through some situations and asked me some hard questions. He made sure I wasn’t letting my pride interfere and that I was thinking about this from several points of view. He also pressed me to figure out where all of my feelings were coming from.

Honestly, it was annoying. I wanted to stew and pout. But Brian did the right thing and asked me hard questions, pulling me out of my funk.

I’m still not excited about tomorrow. But my mind is clearer and my heart less heavy. I’m grateful for a husband who is not afraid of the tough stuff.

It blew up

So, I’m sitting there on Sunday at church, just zoning out. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with the sermon on the Gospel & Work, it’s just that, well– I didn’t really feel like I needed to hear it.

I work at this unique little Christian school with loving women who are called to teach. It’s so different than public school. Every woman I work with is doing what we do because they have the gift of teaching and they truly love God and children. And then there are my students– oh, my students! What a precious group of personalities! They make it a pleasure to go work every day. They are so dear to me.

So… I wasn’t really listening. I have a sweet situation at work. The sermon wasn’t really for me.

And then on Monday, work blew up.

It was misunderstanding after misunderstanding. The parents I’m supposed to be “partnering with” to educate their children were coming at me. Every time I tried to reach out to one of them, I got my hand slapped. It was nuts! And then we had a meeting where I realized my sweet situation would not look anything like this next year. It blew up.

Now– nothing catastrophic occurred, so I should clarify. I’m not leaving my school or anything– my job will just look different than it does now. And most situations with parents ended up working out in the end (after some drama). But my serene scene was definitely disrupted and this was a stressful, hectic, exhausting week of work.

Know what I’m doing tomorrow? I’m listening to that sermon again. Only this time, I’m going to actually listen.

PS– I just have to say this– it’s 8:24pm on a Friday evening and Brian is already asleep. And snoring. That’s the week we’ve had. Long hours for both of us. But he listened to the sermon the first time. I dare say he was more prepared than I for the week we just had. I’m not far behind him. At least for tonight, there is rest for the weary 🙂

Workin’ for the weekend

ACL 2011– making our own shade 🙂

This weekend is ACL– Austin City Limits Music Festival. Three cram-packed days of music, crowds, great food, and the best people watching you’ve ever seen. I’ve had my three-day wristband since October of last year. Seriously. I don’t miss this.

At this point in years past, I’ve had my lineup planned for each day. Bands were selected, routes to stages plotted… even potential bathroom breaks were noted. I’d have my day pack sitting out, mostly packed, and sun dresses and good walking shoes would be prepped. For sun, I’d have the sunscreen, umbrella, wet wipes, and water bottles. For rain, I’d have ponchos. I would plan and prepare– ACL is serious fun.

But here I sit two nights before the festival– up late, sleep deprived, and blogging. I’m in the middle of report card week at school, planning for parent teacher conferences, lesson plans, and mountains of grading. I’m behind on my own homework and bible study for the Women’s Development Program. We had a three hour class tonight.

There’s not a planned line-up this year. No day pack prepped, no dresses picked out. No plans. There hasn’t been any time. But I’m SO looking forward to this weekend– in fact, it’s the thing driving me forward right now. If I just power through and keep going, I’ll get there– to a weekend with my husband.

ACL is like a date-weekend. It’s just the two of us, holding hands and wandering through Zilker Park. We do what we want, when we want. It’s amazing.

I’m ready. It’s time to coffee-up, focus, and power through. ACL– here we come!

Verbalicious

“A verb is a word, it’s an action word. If you do it, you can do it. If you do it, it’s a verb.”

It’s stuck in my head. At home. So, I keep rapping it– over and over.

It’s a silly verb rap I play for my kids. I think it’s hilarious– two awkward white kids rapping about verbs all over a city park. In teacher world– it’s great. It gets the kids up and dancing and then for the rest of the year, whenever I ask what a verb is, they rap out their answer. It’s genius 😉

But, as my dear husband has discovered, these catchy tunes get stuck in my head. Then, he is serenaded by them. Lucky husband. So, Brian googles “verb rap,” and my “verbalicious” friends pop up. He watches.

He hates it.

I don’t know why I was surprised, but I was. I’m entertained by it— amused by it. It helps me in class and my kids like it– we all win! But I guess that in the real world, it’s strange… odd.. and maybe a little lame. So, I ‘m glad that I’m in my world.

I live in a world with laughter and giggles and hugs. I live in a world with grammar and writing and reading. I live in a world where I’ll do whatever it takes to keep a child from tuning me out– including embarassing myself for the sake of a grammar concept. But I also live in a world where I have a captive audience that, for some reason, likes it when I rap. I think Brian doesn’t know what he’s missing 😉

Mumbo-jumbo

I’m not a “technical” person. I’m proficient with basic technologies, and in teacher circles I am much more esteemed than I deserve, but I am truly not a “technical” person.

I am, however, an editor. My husband, the writer, knows this. So, when he has a super important paper for work, no matter how much technical-jargon-gobblety-goop is in there, he still trusts that the editor can edit. She tries.

The truth is, I can edit this stuff. It’s not enjoyable like prose or a short story, but it’s doable. So, on nights like tonight when my husband brings me really important gobblety-goop, I get to work.

I make him sit close to me so I can verify if these crazy word combinations are some form of a technical noun, whether or not that strange noun can be made plural or act on other strange sounding nouns, and if they can do so with inappropriate sounding verbs. Usually, they can. But I enjoy mocking the jargon. I have hand motions and strange intonations for certain terms. It makes the event far more interesting, I assure you.

I also do voices– no matter that there are no characters. Doesn’t stop my head from having strange voices… but no matter. Yes, I do voices while reading the technical mumbo-jumbo. Brian laughs or rolls his eyes. He knows how painful this stuff is to trudge through– he does it for a living.

And tonight, while flailing my arms and doing crazy voices, I somehow managed to both edit a paper and make my husband really happy. It’s like I was created this way or something 😉

A better choice

I have very few rules in my classroom. They are as follows:

  • Work hard
  • Do right
  • Be safe
  • Be kind

That’s it. And I have these little cards that I put on a student’s desk that tells them that they have a warning and need to sign the discipline log. Thus far, that has been the extent of a behavior issue– a warning card– and that’s only happened once. It’s been a pretty well behaved few weeks.

That was, until one of my favorite students lied to me.

We are self-preservationists at heart. It’s an instinct. And adolescents are just figuring that out– that lying can save you sometimes, and sometimes you don’t get caught. I wish someone would have informed me of that year one, but I eventually figured it out.

I hate having hard conversations, even with children. But I told her that she is loved and I forgive her. I told her that it took courage to admit to the lie. She did not appear worried about the consequences on my end, but rather, the consequences at home. I remember that. And as a people pleaser, disappointing my mother was one of the worst punishments of all. I think my young student and I have something in common.

The cards that I place on a student’s desk read, “Please stop what you are doing and make a better choice!” There were so many people in my life that said that to me. In thinking about how to love my students today, I realized that God has these cards, too. Sometimes they are people, sometimes a circumstance. But He gently places them before us and encourages us in another direction.