Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jehovah-Jireh

Last week, on this day, I posted a status saying that I was super hungry, but broke and that it sucked that I don't get paid until the 16th of April.  I posted this status as just that, a status, I wasn't fishing for anything; but soon after a good friend (well actually her husband) asked me my address, I gave it to her.  Then, two days later a coworker, whom I really admire, gave me $20.  When she gave it to me, I was shocked and asked why, she said it was just a little donation and knows how hard it can be to live life when the paycheck doesn't come when one needs it to.  I bought $20 worth of groceries on Friday and was a happy camper.  Well the friends (husband and wife) who asked for my address sent me a check for $50, another surprise blessing so I was able to buy shampoo, face wash, and other stuff of the sorts.  Another huge blessing.  Then there's today:  I was looking over music in during my planning when the same teacher that gave me the $20 came in with her arms filled with a paper grocery bag.  She said she had something for me, in this bag was: whole wheat (my fave) noodles, peanut butter, almonds, pasta sauce, crackers, potato soup mix, and a 12 pack box of Nature Valley granola bars (with my favorite flavors).  I just sat there in amazement.  She loves so well.  She said she's been in this position before and someone did the same for her.  I was, once again, stunned.

I'm in a really needy time in my life right now.  I don't like it, it doesn't feel good.  I'm always worried about money now.  Will/do I have enough money/gas/food to make it till I'll have money again?  But you know what?  God is Provider, Jehovah-Jireh, and I am His child.  Just as a good father provides the best he can for his children, so does the Father provide the best He can, and His best is just that: The Best.  Matthew 7:11 reads : " If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"  I've known this verse for a long time, but never before has it hit me so hard and so well.  I am His child and I'm not even asking for anything special, just food to live!  He owns everything, He says "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts" Haggai 2:8, so then why would I ever think that asking of Him is too much for Him?  He owns the cattle on 1000 hills and the beasts of the forest, Psalm 50:10.

I doubt a lot when things aren't lining up the way I had calculated/hoped/anticipated, but I have no need to because my Father hears my prayers and He is the Good Father.

Monday, March 28, 2011

smoke up

You know?  There are some students that I just don't like.  I'm not the kind of person that blows smoke up people's butt so that they'll do what I've asked, especially not students.  There are two students that require this for them to cooperate and not get an attitude with me for me telling them 'no' or anything else they don't want to hear.  I understand that teaching involves handling children with contingency and consistency, but I also have a whole class that needs attention, not just that student that needs their ego stroked.  I'll inflate their ego when they do something worthy of it.

Take, for instance, a 7th grade percussionist who plays TOO LOUD!!!  The whole band knows it and asks her to stop playing so loud, it's hurting everyone's ears.  She's always played too loud and no matter how many times anyone has asked her to play more quietly, she doesn't.  When I tell her she's playing too loud and ask her to play more quietly she either acts like she didn't hear me, retorts with some lame excuse, or doesn't change.  Today, like every other day, I told her to play more softly and she responded by saying that "it says to play forte (loud)"  and I said "it also says to play in balance with the rest of the band, but you're not doing that either!"  The whole class said "ohhh".  So, of course, she didn't play any softer; I then gave her soft mallets to use instead of drumsticks so as to muffle/reduce the sound.  She still played loud, but it was a little better.  Tomorrow will be different, I still will not blow smoke up her butt, but I will resolve this.  If it means she just won't get to play on snare, then that's what it means.  It's not like she really that good of player anyways.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chronicles of an image changer 2

Hello!  So a week ago I updated about this whole changing my outer appearance thing was going; here's how it's going this week:  I wore at least foundation, mascara, and blush all this week.  I'm pretty surprised how little time that has taken in the mornings, which is super because I have the capacity for very little that early in the morning.  As for how I'm dressing, little has changed because I wear teacher clothes all day five days a week; the outfit I'm most proud of this week has been: a plain white crew neck shirt (with a black tank underneath so they can't see my bra), my favorite black skirt that has a cute big black belt, and my blue silk shoes with white dots, a peep toe, and really cushy sole, and I did a little twisty thing in the front of my hair.  This outfit was uber comfortable, but it was not very smart because it was super windy outside so I had to hold onto my skirt while outside for colorguard class.  I still feel pretty good about this whole thing, I haven't become a diva yet so I think I'm in the green.

Here's something that's not at all new, but probably is to anyone reading this blog.  I want a nose and lip piercing.  I started off wanting a tongue ring in high school, but with the whole playing wind instruments thing, it just wouldn't work.  Plus I'm super anal about the inside of my mouth, It needs to be in good shape so I can play instruments.  Then I saw different lip piercings and really like them (just one though, not a bunch at once, then your mouth just looks crowded).  The kind that I want is called a side labret piercing and it looks something like this:

I likely won't wear a ring for most of the time, so it'll just be a stud.  If I do ever get one, I'll have to get it on my left side because of some instruments that I play.

When I was young, two of my cousins (who are sisters) got nose rings.  Since I was young I didn't understand what they were because I had never seen that before, but now that I'm an adult, I see it all the time and think it's pretty beautiful IF IT'S TAKEN CARE OF.  I've seen some people who have little keloids(sp?) on their noses from them, I'd like to avoid that.

Now I know what you're thinking, well acutally I don't, but I'm gonna speculate:  "Will you be able to get a teaching job with face piercing jobs?"  I don't know, but I do know there are clear plugs that I can wear if it's a real problem.

Something that worries me is the fact that I am quite allergic to nickel.  If worn on my neck, it breaks out in these layers of tiny bumps, it's quite gross, but even more uncomfortable.  My ears treat it like an infection, they: swell up, turn red, puss, itch, burn, hurt.  It's pretty uncomfortable.  I looked up the material make up of the piercing jewelry and they pretty much all have nickel in them.  Super.  But I read that they can be polished so that the nickel will not bother (it was explained much better).  Also, when I got the second hole in my ears, they used regular piercing studs and my ears didn't react, perhaps because it was that polished metal.

But you know what,  maybe I'm not (as) allergic anymore?  When my neck was breaking out I was wearing at least 11 necklaces at one time everyday.  When my ears were reacting, I was wearing earing everyday and not taking proper care of them, cleaning them (the earrings) and what not.  I think I will try to practice better earring maintenance with regular earrings (ones that have trace amounts of nickel, they're called nickel free).  I'll let you know what I discover.

Engagement

It has recently occurred to me that I'm kinda cranky when I'm finished with a day at work.  I've been engaging all day with kids and adults, most of the time they need or want something from me.  I wake up at 6am and am in bed by 11pm.  I have kids yelling at me and playing  instruments that are really loud all day, five days a week.  And those florescent lights make my brain tired.  I love what I do, but it's exhausting.  After a day at work I'm mentally exhausted (all day I'm thinking 'what can I do to make them better musicians?'), I'm physically spent (on my feet walking around all day), and I'm hungry.  When I get in the car to go home, I'm in a daze for more than half the ride home because my brain is still buzzing.  Monday when I had just gotten home, a coworker called me to ask if I need any help with anything and if I wanted to carpool and I sounded so mean.  I talked to her about it the next day and she said I sounded super annoyed/unpleasant.

The truth is, when I get home from work, good day or bad, I don't want to engage with anyone for a little bit; I've been engaging all day and I'd like time to have thoughts to myself and for myself.  I have to collect my thoughts.  I also cut off Ms. Henderson (teacher) mode and back onto Coléa mode in my head; but this isn't done with just a switch, it's a process.  I literally have to resist the urge to tell some kid (or adult) in the store to pull his pants up, or to tell some people to stop noodling (public displays of affection), or to spit out their gum, or any number of thing that I have to be on patrol for during the day.  I feel like a crazy teacher on the loose.  I'm not really able to have an adult conversation on weeknights because I've been using my teacher voice all day.

That was one reason I had such a tough last semester; I got home from a long day student teaching and then I had to spend the evening calling people, engaging even more.  It was exhausting, I hated it.

Although I'm quite an extrovert, I am valuing more and more time by myself.  This could mean watching TV, reading, blogging, staring at the wall, devouring food, and other stuff.  People are great, but it's important for anyone to simply be by themselves some amount of time.

So if you catch me after work somewhere and I'm not my usual self, know it's nothing personal, I just need some time to collect myself and get my brain in the proper place.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Child of Love

There's a new girl in two of my classes, she wasn't here last semester so I really know very little of her.  She lives in a group home; when I first heard this I prejudged her.  I figured that she would be self-conscious about this and would want to keep it on the DL (Down Low) so I prepared for that.  At the end of each of her classes she has to get this sheet signed by her teachers.  The sheet asks if she: participated in class, was tardy, and something else; I have to circle yes or no and then sign.  She's really good about reminding me to sign it.

Like I said, I had prejudged that she would be secretive, or ashamed, of the fact that she lives in a group home, but she's uber chill about it.  I don't know her story, so I don't know how long she's been in this establishment, but however long she has she's very open about it.  When I'm signing the sheet, other kids usually gather round to see what's going and when they ask her she just tells them the truth!  She'll often talk about something annoying her roommate did or some other story from her home.  It's still baffles me how open she is about where she lives, when people ask questions she simply answers them, no shame.  She's someone's child, even if she doesn't live with them.

Every time I see her, I can't help but think about how scared I would be without parents, how I would be questioning my identity.  But the good news is when we place our lives in the hand of God Almighty, he don't have to worry about who we belong to.  We become His child, and He's the perfect Father who will never leave or forsake anyone, that means you!  So whether you have earthly parents or not, rest easy knowing that God is the perfect Father who wants you to be His child.  It's good knowing no matter my circumstances, my identity is wrapped up in the Father of Perfect Love.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

That time I remembered I am single

Yesterday my two best 8th grade trumpets were messing around and one caused the other to drop his (school owned) trumpet right on the mouthpiece.  Now for those of you who don't know, the first thing we teach brass players is NOT to 'pop' their mouthpiece when it's on the instrument, just put it in with a little twist.  It's makes a pitched fart-like sound that people of all ages find to be entertaining; but when that's done, the mouthpiece (which is metal) gets jammed in the lead pipe of the instrument (which is also metal) and it takes some work getting it out.  There's a contraption that looks like a miniature torture device, that is used to unjam the mouthpiece from the leadpipe.  I call it the "mouthpiece unsticker", but upon looking it up a minute ago, it's apparently called a brass mouthpiece puller.  Here's a picture:
Humes & Berg 179 Mel-o-Wah Trombone Mute
Because it's metal on metal, it can take some coaxing to get the mouthpiece out, but this tool is invaluable to that process.  Silly trumpet player brought his trumpet to me, yesterday after class and asked me to un-stick the mouthpiece.  I pulled out the mouthpiece unsticker and went to work, but I couldn't turn it anymore and that poor mouthpiece wouldn't budge.  I was sweating and grunting, it was not pretty.  I figured "these boys are going through puberty, perhaps they will have greater upper-body strength than I" so I had them give it a try.  Still nothing.  I told them to go to class and I would work on it later.  When he came back for it after school, we tried again and still nothing, so he went home trumpet-less.  Today, during planning, a male teacher had come to talk to the chorus teacher.  Her and I's rooms are connected by an office so I heard when he came in.  As they were chatting, I remembered the trumpet and asked if he could help get it off. I figured this guy ain't little so he'll have more strength than me. I had intended to ask a male teacher, but I only know him and got nervous about asking any man at this school for help because I was (and still am) scared that they'll think I'm making some pass at them (ewww, except one teacher, but he's engaged so nevermind); also this man is married to another teacher, one of which I eat lunch with and I didn't want her to get the wrong idea.  (I overthink sometimes in the interest of trying to be appropriate.)  I held the trumpet, and he twisted the screws and struggled, then I got him pliers and he was able to do it!  YAY!  After thanking him and explaining to both him and the chorus teacher that he had not broken it I went along my way and finished the other stuff I was doing.

This got me thinking of all these times when I don't just have some man handy to do things that I can't do or don't know how to do or that are challenging to do or just plain don't wanna do.  Last week I moved back to Greensboro from Charlotte and I had to lift these heavy bags up and down stairs and in and out of my car; no matter how much I used my legs, this stuff was frickin heavy!  Or when something is shady on my car and I'm looking under the hood trying to figure out if some UFO is out of place/broken.  Or when there's something that I just don't understand about technology.  Or whatever.

I'm not complaining about being single and I don't know whether or not I'll ever get married, but sometimes it would be nice to have some man do stuff that I'm ill-equipped  to do.  That's all.  There are some things that I've learned to do because I don't have some useful man to do them for me, and I often feel empowered (with a tinge of annoyance) when I do them myself.  I'll think to myself, I sure wish there was some studdly man to watch do this for me.  The way I see it is: men like to show off their manliness (fixin' stuff, liftin' stuff, unstuckin' stuff, knowin' stuff) and I enjoy watching them do said stuff.  It's a win-win.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Be kind to your ears

Yesterday was my first day back in front of the bands since the end of last semester.  I was not mentally prepared for the magnitude of the sound.  SO LOUD!  It stunned me, so last night I bought ear plugs to wear during the day.  Now I've always known that band was loud, but I felt quite immune to it because I have been in band since I was in 5th grade.  The volume was (is) just an everyday part of life.  But just like jackhammer operators use those special ear-protectors while operating the equipment, I should do the same.  I put the ear plugs in today during all music classes (so not my colorguard class) and once my students stop freaking out about it, things went back to normal.  It felt really strange, partially because my mom always told me not to stick anything in my ears, nose, eyes, etc when I was young, but I forced myself to wear them.  They asked why I was wearing earplugs and I simply said "I want to be able to hear when I get old."

Ears are not like muscles, they don't get physically stronger when you work them out.  So by me being constantly exposed to so many decibels all day, everyday, my physical ears are not improving.  If you've ever been to a loud concert and heard ringing in your ear afterward, that was your hearing dying.  There are these little hairlike things that process the intake of sound, but when there is too much sound they die, that's the ringing you ear.  Hearing is something we take for granted and because we don't (typically) lose it all at once, it often doesn't occur to us to take the precautions so that we can keep our ears operating well.

So be kind to your ears.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My first day as interim band director

Hi!  So I'm home from my first day as the sub band director at the school I student taught at last semester, and boy was that interesting.  It all started last night:  I watched House, a show about a team of diagnostic doctors,  and the end of the episode freaked me out (subconsiously, conciously I just thought "oh what a twist!").  Even though I went to bed on time (a little before 11pm) and even fell asleep shortly after 11pm, I awoke feeling groggy because I had nightmares ALL night that were loosely about the patient in House AND I woke up around 2:30am in a confused panic and with stomach pain.  I took some meds and went back to bed, but not without the creeps.

When I got to school I set up my 'teaching station' and prepared my self to teach my first period class, Jazz Band.  I really like jazz and I felt quite prepared, but my kids (all but 3 are boys) were just too much to handle for me first thing in the morning.  I had to explain to them that 1) I'm not a morning person and was feeling a little ill, 2) I'm not used to waking up this early yet and 3) I find it quite rude when they erupt in chatter EVERY time I cut them off.  For the most part, that class was fine.  Then came my 6th grade brass (and percussion) class, which is mostly boys; no matter what, they are a handful.  I had forgotten how loud they are, imagine 30+ beginner trumpets and trombones blasting at your face at 8:40 in the morning for 40 minutes.  Fun times.  Next came my sweet, mostly girl, 6th grade woodwind class; they were super nice and are easier on the ears because their flutes, clarinets, and saxes aren't blasting at my face...except the clarinets sounded like angry bees because they were blowing too hard, I nipped that in the bud.

One thing that I love about this job is that I get a 2 hour planning, from 10-12!  I got to look through the filing cabinets and pick out music for some of my classes to play.  I also ate lunch with fellow teachers, they're a fun, eclectic bunch.

Back to educating!  The rest of my day starts with 7th grade brass and percussion (mostly boys); now they have slightly more self control than my 6th grade boys, but don't push it.  I told one of my percussionist that she was playing too loud (which she ALWAYS does, my ear literally popped yesterday when I was playing snare drum next to her yesterday), and she threw a little fit, but that's nothing out of the ordinary and she knows I'll make her play pianisimo (really quiet) all day every day and not consider her feelings, so she can deal.  My 7th grade woodwind class (mostly girls) comes next and they're just a breath of fresh air.  So pleasant and they're, for the most part, good, careful players.  Also, their instruments aren't as harsh (flute, clarinet, sax) and they're a smallish class.  And then there are my 'super cool' 8th graders...they really are kinda cool, if I were in 8th grade, I'd wanna hang with them.  This is a combined class, meaning woodwinds, brass, and percussion are in the same class.  There are a little over 30 students (which is pretty small for band) all with such different personalities!  This class can be a little overwhelming at times because I've been talking and singing all day and by that time my voice is a little tired.  The boys voices are starting to change, as well, so it's harder for me to speak over deeper voices (they're quite proud of their changing voices).  Here's probably the most bizarre part of the day: a flute player, one that's super chill and causes no problems, just walked out of class with the hall pass without saying anything to me at the beginning of the class ( that's not allowed)!  I called the front office and told them, and they sent someone down.  She reappeared several minutes later, and when I asked her where she went she responded something about her locker and her bookbag; I told her that it was not acceptable to just leave class without my permission and to go sit down and get her stuff out.  She rolled her eyes and did what she was told.  That's so uncharacteristic of her.  I was so stunned.  A few minutes later, an assistant principle came and asked me what the deal was, I told him, he talked to her and put her in ISS (In School Suspension, aka detention).  But I must say that I'm pretty proud of myself for not letting on to the class that something shaddy was going down.  Finally, my last class: colorguard.  I am completely unqualified to teach this class!  I've tried my hand at it on some occasions and I'm just no good.  I don't feel comfortable spinning that giant flag (at least 5'6") around and especially don't feel comfortable tossing it and then catching it.  So so hard!  Praise God, I don't actually teach much in the class; the high school colorguard and winterguard instructor comes and pretty much does everything, AND SHE'S AMAZING!  While she's teaching, I'm either standing there looking useless and dumb or trying to learn the stuff looking useless and dumb.  I'm so grateful that she does this for free out the goodness of her heart, most of the girls (who are all in 8th grade) are really into it and the rest are just happy to be with their friends and are compliant.  The best part of that class for me is getting be outside for 35ish minutes!  That's a decent compensation for looking like a fool in front of all these teeny-boppers.

My day is pretty packed and intense, but I really enjoy it and feel that I'm good at it (except guard).  I am so proud of my students because most of them try hard and really want to be good.  I love my job!





Oh yea, and I dropped the sharp part of a music stand on my feet during 7th grade woodwind, it made me wanna cuss and cry at the same time.  That junk hurt and it still hurts when I walk.  Super.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Attachment Disorder

At my Greensboro church this morning, pastor talked about what it means to take up the cross and follow Him.  His two main points were 1)The art of surrendering means attaching (abiding, remaining) ourselves to Jesus and 2)The art of surrender means finding a new identity in Jesus.  I was excited when he talked about abiding because that was what the message was about last Sunday at my Charlotte church.  I don't believe this is a coincidence, perhaps the Lord is trying to teach me something; I just need to listen.

He closed the message with a beautiful, interesting, true story about a child with something called Attachment Disorder.  I had never heard of this, but pastor, being a counselor, explained it very eloquently.  In the first 6-12 months of a child's life, it's extra important to intentionally engage with the child as their parent and other loved one.  This means making eye contact, smiling, talking to, playing with, etc, all the things that you normally see people doing with children.  When pastor was in counseling school he had a friend with a young child that suffered from attachment disorder, because his mom was depressed when he was first born so she wouldn't look at him and his parents were having marital problems; when anyone would try to hug him, make eye contact with him, show affection toward the child, he would reject it.  He wouldn't meet your eyes and squirm out of embraces.  (As he was telling us this, my heart was breaking.)  I'm sure children who grow up with attachment disorder have quite some difficulty engaging in everyday culture.  In order to help this child overcome the disorder, his parents would literally have to wrestle with the child to hold him, hold is head and make him look into their (his parents') eyes.  First for five seconds, and progressively longer.  Eventually, they didn't have to fight for his affection or to show theirs; he learned that he is their child and that's the way things should be.  Pastor said he would come visit them and the boy would just sit in his embrace for long stretches of time.  Praise God!

The point he was making was we are like that child with Attachment Disorder; we go against what is natural: the Father's love for us, abiding in Him, identifying ourselves as His child.  When we're being broken of this, we squirm and cry and maybe even bite, but He just asks for five seconds this time...then 20 seconds, then 60 seconds, until we finally don't fight.  It takes us time to learn how to engage with the Father as our Father, but He's determined because He knows what we need and we need His love.  When we stop fighting, and learn to enjoy the Love of the Father we become more than willing to simply sit in His lap and listen to His heartbeat and breath, and that's how it should be.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

am I heartless?

There's an intersection in Greensboro with a tattoo shop, Wendy's, 2 gas stations, a laundromat, and a few other things.  It's a pretty busy and popular intersection.  On my way home yesterday, I was stopped at the light of said intersection, there was a homeless man/begger there with a sign.  I eventually rolled my window up, as I always do, as if he would actually come and cause me harm while I waited for the light to change.  Homeless people standing at this intersection, as well as others, is not uncommon in Greensboro (even on great sides of town), so I'm not unaccustomed to this and have always been quite aware of people who are in destitute situations.  My momma used to run a ministry that provided meals, clothes, and Gospel for those in need in rough parts of Charlotte.  Helping those in need was a passion of hers, and me being raised up with that, adopted a lot of that same compassion for the destitute.

But looking at my life now, I wonder what I am doing to express that compassion in my life.  I see people on the side of the street, like the man yesterday, and I hear of grave, small and large scale injustices happening all over the world that make my heart hurt and my stomach turn and my eyes water...but what do I do about it?  I know that I cannot fix everything, because I am one person limited by so much and am not aware of everything.  I'm not God, limitless and all-knowing.

Just like I am legally bound to speak up if I suspect/know of abuse or the like happening to my students, I believe anyone who is remotely aware of social injustice is responsible for doing something to change circumstances, it is our duty.  This could mean: giving money to an organization that helps people (Red Cross, soup kitchen, sponsoring a Compassion child, or just straight to someone you know is in need), giving your time/energies (my Charlotte church teaches English to a refugee community, helping a disabled friend/neighbor do laundry), or giving your other resources (my Greensboro church fills bookbags full of food and gives them to children to take home to their families that are in need, giving your clothes to someone you know needs them instead of just giving them to Goodwill for the tax right off).  The list is endless on how one can serve others and people are getting more creative on how to bring justice to others.

Not doing anything makes me feel restless and heartless.  I want to do something; I like giving in whatever capacities I can, most of my life I have enjoyed giving in a ways that really change the quality of a person's life.  How heartless do I have to be to not be doing anything, when there's so much I can be doing.  The US has made it easy to give of yourself without ever being uncomfortable: buy a cute pair of shoes and a child in need gets a pair, give to a nonprofit and get a tax deduction, buy colorful jewelry and hand bags and help women who have been rescued from the sex trade.  It's called consumerism, always chasing after goods.

I want to give of myself, not because I get something cute/tangible in return, but because there's a need that I can meet.  So if I know that there's a great need that I can help quench, why am I not?  I feel called to action. Consider yourself warned.

Chronicles of an image changer 1

In a previous post, I talked about my plans to change my outward appearance.  I want to do this because I felt that the way I presented myself spoke little truth of my personality.  Well today is the forth day of this process and I'm pretty satisfied with my progress; On both Wednesday and Friday I wore make-up (not just mascara) and abstained from wearing a t-shirt.  On Wednesday, I didn't really do much, but I wore foundation, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, and lip gloss.  It didn't take me that long to put it on and I was pretty satisfied with that.  On Thursday I moved from Charlotte to Greensboro, so I just threw some clothes on and pulled my hair back, nothing special.  But Friday was my first day back at the school that I'll be teaching at so I wore foundation, eyeliner, mascara, and blush (I can't wear lip gloss because I use my mouth to play instruments and that would get messy).  It took me surprisingly little time to apply all that so I was surprised when I still had time remaining before I needed to head out.  This is something I could definitely do and intend to be intentional about; I don't, however, want to be that person that will not leave my house without makeup on, I'm not ashamed of my skin/face and I don't want to act like it.  Today?  Well, it's almost 5pm and I'm still in my pajamas, so I don't think much will transpire today, but who knows?

I'm excited about the changes that are taking place and I'm proud of myself for actually making them; I'm not a go-getter like others, so sometimes it takes a lot for me to work for something that I don't have to.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hoarders

There's a show called Hoarders: Buried Alive that I catch sometimes; the people who are on it live in houses that are filled to the brim with stuff.  Most of the stuff is crap, there was even a person who had a flattened dead cat in between some stuff in their house!  SCARY!  I hate to say it, but the grotesqueness of this sickness (hoarding) fascinates me and invokes a deep sense of pity, it's sobering.  The people who hoard, more times than not, started because of some hurt in their past; something like a divorce or the death a loved one triggered this unhealthy coping mechanism.  While I admit to being a former pack-rat, I cringe at the thought of my home being incredibly cluttered to the point of endangerment of my person, house, and those that come in contact with my hoarding; my pride, alone, would prevent me from getting that far.

I think about how ridiculous/silly it is to accumulate such an overwhelming amount of stuff and I say that me and others are not like that and that people who are 'hoarders' are not the norm of society...but let's look deeper.  Sure, we may not accumulate clutter, useful or not, but our hearts do.  We accumulate these hurts and bad things we've done and bury them deep in our hearts where 'no one' can find them.  But no matter how deep and secretive, God sees all things.  On the show, they bring in a psychologist and professional organizer along with a close relative or friend all to help the healing processes.  They survey the house (and sometimes houses) and decide where and how to start and then take action.  On a recent episode (like most) the lady (hoarder) cleared her kitchen outside first.  When she first did this and started the de-cluttering process she had a good number of breakdowns, she was ashamed, panicky, and scared that she would lose control of this whole process.  She was ashamed because her lifestyle was being exposed, not just to her daughters, psychologist, and organizer, but to her neighbors and the nation; I think most of us can understand why she feels that way, I know I would feel humiliated.  She's panicky because this is something new and challenging, it's going to somewhat force her to make changes to her inner and outer life, this is the unknown for her.  As she was sorting through her stuff to decide what she was going to keep, trash, and donate to something like Goodwill, she felt like she was losing control because she was having to let go of these things that have inadvertently become part of her life.  As she sorted, she learned more about herself by talking about the memories/emotions/dreams that she had attached to each item.  It became a cathartic process for her, not just a deep spring cleaning.  Just like any healing process, there was some encountered pain, but that's to be expected and is not a bad thing.

When we allow God to be the Psychologist-Organizer-Family in our lives, we go through the same process  as people who hoard.  We often feel ashamed, because we've been convinced that we're freaks, like we're the only one who is like this with these problems.  We feel panicky because it feels like our equilibrium has been compromised, we are now trying to be different, to live differently.  And we feel like we're losing control because all those familiar feelings of pain and negativity are being brought out and are being sorted through.  Which feelings are we gonna keep, which will we move on from, and which will we resolve?  Just like the show, we have to allow our hearts to be gutted out, bring things out into the light.  It'll be a slew of overwhelming, confusing emotions, but in the end our hearts will be usable again.  People who hoard are not able to use the rooms in the house to their full capacity because there's all this junk in the way, as such with our hearts when we hold onto the hurts that others have caused us, and that we have caused ourselves and others.

This is hard, scary, and uncomfortable...but it's worth it.  I'd say my heart is territory that I'd like to have back.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Charlotte vs. Greensboro

Tomorrow I make the move, once again (hopefully for the last time), to Greensboro from Charlotte.  I will be the substitute for the band program I student taught for last semester; the band director will be going on maternity leave and so I'll be taking over for the end of the school year.  I'm really excited about this job, it's such a great opportunity!

But I have some mixed feelings about making the move.  I like Greensboro, and it's been my home for the past 4.5 years, but I really like Charlotte.  Charlotte is where I grew up, but I grew up in a different way in Greensboro.  The truth is, there are things about either city that I really like.

Greensboro has lots of beautiful parks including UNCG (my Alma Mater), which was built on a park.  There's always "cultural-hip" things going on with music, art, dance, festivals at some park, downtown, college/university, or Greensboro Coliseum.  The collection of people is never ending, college students, families, refugees, anyone and everyone is just mixed together nicely!  There are more things I like about Greensboro, but most of all I have a life there.  After 4.5 years I know my way around pretty well (it's 1/3 the size of Charlotte) and most of all I have a community there.  I still have friends there and a church there.  I have community there.  I have friends that I miss in Greensboro and the rest of the Triad (Winston Salem and High Point) so I'll be happy to return for that reason.

But then there's Charlotte, my more permanent home.  While I don't see the "culture-hip" side of Charlotte as easily, I know that it's there and certainly developing.  Charlotte has great parks, but I think I like Greensboro's better.  Really Charlotte is such a super city, and I absolutely love my community here, but there are things I like better about Greensboro.

It'd be excellent to combine everything that I love about both cities!

What not to wear

So right now I'm watching What Not to Wear, which is a TLC series that gives people a fashion makeover; they get $5000 to spend on a new wardrobe to replace their bad/inappropriate/mal-sized/outdated/wrong one as well as new hair (cut, color, whatever), and make-up.  I like this show because I learn about fashion, the host's are funny, and it's neat to see the inner transformation that the people go through simply because they've changed(improved) their outer appearance.

I want to have a style, but I do not feel that I have a concrete look other than 'bland-teachery'.  I feel like I look pretty good when it comes to my teacher wardrobe, I look put together and practical.  But when it comes to my outside-the-classroom style, that's where I think I need help.  (NOTE:  THIS IS NOT ME ASKING TO BE NOMINATED FOR THE SHOW.)  I see so many people that have great style, a style they own that works for them (their lifestyle and body type).  I want that!

I think part of my problem is that I'm not detail-oriented for really anything but teaching.  I don't accesorize   or wear make-up except for the occasional mascara and occasional-occasional 'full face treatment'.  When I was young, I used to watch in amazement as my momma would apply make-up; I mean she would do the full gamut: concealer, foundation, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, and perfume! WHEW!  I, of course, wanted to be like my mom, so I used to beg her and my daddy to let me wear make-up all the way through middle school.  But now that I'm an adult, I don't know that I could ever do all that each day, it just takes so much time, students don't really pay that much attention, and my future husband will be seeing a lot of me without make-up.

Aside from my lack of attention to detail, I'm also scared about what others would say if I just started dressing differently.  I don't want them to think 'I'm trying', like I'm trying to look cool or like someone else.  The truth is, I wear the clothes I have because they are there, convenient.  Not necessarily because I like them.  I wear mostly t-shirts and jeans.

I have decided that starting now I will change my outward appearance.  I won't do it all at once, but I'll do it nonetheless.  I think I'll start with my face, hair, and shirt choices; I'll be more diligent with my make-up 'regimen' (or simply develop one), try different hair styles and even , and try really hard not to wear t-shirts (I think this'll be the hardest right now because I don't have that many regular shirts).  I already see and know what I like and have somewhat of a vision of what I wanna do and wear.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not going to go all crazy and become unrecognizable, or become a diva; I'm simply going to make amends to the way I take care of myself.  I do believe that the way a person presents their self greatly effects the way they feel about themselves on the inside.  I feel bland and undefined, but expressing who I am not just in personality, but in physical appearance will help me feel like a holistic person.  I think it'll help me feel more like an adult.

I'm a little nervous, but I figure I'm 23 (YIKES!) and I should look like I know who I am.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

birthday song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bim02txy-A
I like both these artists.

because it's my birthday

Here are 23 things about me that you may or may not know about me, they are not in any particular order, enjoy!

1)I really enjoy reading, there's so much stuff out there to know and learn and so I LOVE to learn about the world through reading
2)I hope to some day permanently live in San Jose, Costa Rica; as far as I'm concerned it's the 'promised land'.
3)Chapstick (not just the brand) is excellent, I probably put it on once an hour.
4)I really don't like cats, I think they're rude and I don't like that they poop and pee inside the house.
5)My grey hair is natural, it just started growing when I was in 3rd grade.
6)My absolute favorite doughnut is Krispy Kreme's Lemon filled doughnut.  It's made of magic.
7)I like my feet, I think they're pretty cute.
8)I originally became a vegetarian because I was so freaked/weired out about mad cow disease (that was around the time of all the scandal surrounding it); but now I'm a vegetarian for other reasons.
9)Growing up my mom used to be really strict about the media that I in-took; she would make me read the lyrics to her, let me only watch few tv shows, and stood over my shoulder when I was on the internet.
10)I have (I think) unusually long legs, my legs make up 65% of my body height and apparently they are supposed to be in equal length with my torso.
11)My first kiss wasn't until college, which is apparently is 'late', but what's the rush?
12)Soda isn't that good to me, the bubbles kinda hurt my mouth and insides.
13)Burger King is my favorite fast food restaurant because they have a delicious fish sandwich (and not just during Lent) and Gardenburgers AND I really like their french fries.
14)When I was really young, I had penis-envy (in a different sense of the phrase); I found out that boys get to stand up and pee and I really thought (think) that it was/is much more efficient and clean.
15)I hate applications and paperwork, they are a waste of time and repetitive.
16)I cry when dogs die in movies, not people, dogs.
17)I love reading children's' books to children, I make different voices and make it very exciting.
18)I much prefer crackers to (regular potato) chips, the grease in chips makes me feel icky.
19)I am a child of God.
20)I'm currently watching Three's Company, I love this show.
21)Smoking (cigarettes, cigars, blunts, whatever) makes anyone look unattractive to me.  It's no secret that it's bad for people and those around them, so I don't like it.
21)I really love musicals; I don't have many movies, but over half are musicals.
22)I went to a Pentecostal Baptist Church, and didn't find out for years that that's not normal.
23)I was born March 15, 1988 AT 6:12PM

so I've decided

I've decided that I like blogging.  I'm an external processor, which means I better understand and sort out life through putting it out there.  This could be through the means of writing and/or speaking.  This doesn't mean that I can't understand my world and feelings if I don't do one of the following, but things get jumbled up in my head and it helps to see them or talk through them.

I don't really know whether people really read my blog, but it doesn't really bother me either way.  I want to be a better blogger; I have friends that have/maintain blogs and I really admire their writing.  Some of them have such a beautiful way with words so it's like reading poetry, others have really interesting things to write about, and yet others just make everything seem interesting.  Of course part of the appeal of reading their blogs is my interest in them; but what can I say, love my friends.

A couple of years ago, I had to take English 101 and my teacher taught us to have a more authentic writing process.  She would say stuff like 'the writing process is messy, just like any other art form', this really struck me because I had been taught (all my life) a very pristine, precise process.  So there'll be some messes on the way, but I intend to be a better writer and since it's my blog, I'll practice on it!

Friday, March 4, 2011

community

I just love my community here in Charlotte.  I heard from somewhere, and I am quite sure this is biblical, that when living in a biblical community no one should be in need.  As you may have gathered from my previous post I'm in need.  My car needs a new radiator and I don't start work for another 2.5 weeks, but I need money now.  Well some wonderful people from my college-young adult community are chipping in to get me a new radiator put in by a professional.  Originally, someone said they could get me one from a pull-apart yard and another friend said they could put it in for me.  This alone made me sooo happy; but I felt even more love when they worked it out for me to have a new one.

I love these people and each time I spend time with them, I love them more.  We push each other to be better and speak truth and love into our lives (Ephesians 4:29).  We live with each other, eat with each other, play with each other...we do everything with each other.  When new people come to our community we welcome them with open arms.  I feel so blessed to be a part of a people who live life so well and who are in constant pursuit to love Him more and better.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

duck

Lately, I've felt somewhat panicky.  Really nothing is going right for me at this time except my having a dream job lined up that starts at he end of March.  I often don't let people see/know my worried/panicky side.  This, I believe, is unhealthy, but is a disposition I adopted when I had to be the 'strong one' in the family.  I felt the pressure to hold it together so that others I love(d) could lean on me for strength and support.  I need to do some leaning, but I'm having a hard time knowing how and when to lean and on whom.

My car is, as usual, acting up:  I need a new radiator ($500ish) which means it won't pass inspection ($23) and can't get registered ($30ish) (which was due by yesterday)...and that's if I could just get enough money to do this stuff.  Since I don't start work until the end of this month, I actually (praise God) had enough money to make it to that point through a complete God story, but that money quickly went away when I had to 'lend' (I don't know if I'll get it back) a lot to someone who needed it to keep their car so, and then unexpected expenses with my car that didn't even fix the problem but simply told me what the problem is (which I already knew).  Now I need money to get my fingerprints done ($10) and a criminal background check($25) so that I can get babysitting jobs, but as I was trying to go there (using borrowed money that should be for gas) today my car started overheating so I had to just go home.  This is madness!  I'm over it all, I'm done!

I've been so good at hiding my anxiety, putting on my teacher face, but I just can't/won't anymore.  When will things be better?  When will I feel safe driving my car?  Why now?  James 4 says that 'I have not because I ask not, and when I ask I'm asking for selfish desires'.  Well I've asked and I have not, and it's not selfish for me to want my car to work properly so that I can work and help my family with bills and not be a financial burden to them.  UGH!  I feel like all the crap I've gone through recently with not going to Argentina and being angry with Him and all the hurt that's come with that would be enough suckage for a while.  What is the deal?

Once again my theology isn't lining up with what I see, if God is the Provider then why isn't He?   I know God's timing is perfect, but right now it seem off, sluggish.  I'm trying to stay my optimistic-self, but when I keep getting shoved down in the dirt, it's hard.  Quite simply, this sucks.

People see me and think I'm pretty chill, but when they see under that surface they see me being/feeling all panicky.  I'm like a duck on water, looking at it calmly gliding on the water, but underneath it's legs are going crazy propelling it around.  Well this duck is tired of trying to remain calm.  I'm over this facade of optimism; I don't feel like being optimistic because I've been shot down enough as of late.  I just need things to get better, I've been broken so much over the past few months, and now I wanna fight back.