Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I just gotta tell somebody!

Can I just express to you how excited I am about what happens in about a month?!?  I move into this amazing house with these even more amazing women!  I literally think about it multiple times a day.  I wake up and think "soon I'll be waking up in a different (better) bed in a different house!"  I eat and think "soon I'll be sharing a table with women I love soooooo much!"  I use the bathroom and think "soon I'll only be sharing a bathroom with one other woman instead of 4 children and the bathroom with be clean ALL the time!"  Ah!!!  I'm so excited I could explode.

Now all I need is a job, I've applied to SEVERAL schools and am waiting to hear back from them, as well as having applied to random other places: gym, coffee shops, etc.  Living in this house is just what I need and something I never knew I wanted.  The women in the house are people from my church and college and young adult group.  They're my peeps.  Right now, we're in pursuit of a 5 lady to live there.  There are 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 2 car garage, recreation room, loft, living room, gorgeous kitchen, informal dinning room, office, front and back yard.  Yep, it'll be glorious.  We're also still trying to get furniture to fill this place.  Everything in the living room is staying, but pretty much everything else is going.  It's coming together nicely though, and as long as we have the necessities, we're not too worried about rushing to furnish the rest of the house.

Okay...I think I'm finished drooling over this place for today!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Precious, my student

Last night, I finally watched the movie Precious, directed by Lee Daniels, based off the novel Push by Sapphire.  I knew the basic plot:  Precious, 16, is abused (verbally, emotionally, physically, and sexually) by her father and mother and has some teachers and other people that help her survive and rise above.  I was pretty prepared to cry throughout the movie, and I did.  How could you not cry?  What I wasn't prepared for was the film pointing my thoughts toward my students, past and future.

I know inevitably that I will teach students who will have parts of Precious' story as theirs.  In fact, I'm certain I already have in my short time as a teacher.  I've had a student whose parents pulled knives on each other in front of 30 people; I've had a student who's dad isn't allowed on campus because he got a DUI on the middle school campus.  Yep, there's more, some less offensive and some more, known and unknown.  That's a scary part about teaching, who you'll come in contact with, adult or child.

(Spoiler Alert, I think)  In the movie, Precious got sent to an alternative school because she was a 16 year old middle school-er and pregnant with her second child from her father.  Her teacher, played by the lovely Paula Patton, pushed Precious to find worth in herself.  Ms. Rain (Patton) helped begin the undoing of all the damage done to Precious her whole life.  She spoke love, truth, and worth into Precious all while helping her learn how to read, write, and do math.  That's a lot.  That's the thing about teaching that they don't teach you in school.  I'm not just teaching children how to be musicians, which is, in and of itself, a privilege, I'm teaching them how to be human.  Parents, good or bad, aren't the only people who have a heavy influence on their child's future; knowing that my classroom will be one of the only safe places a student has is a heavy responsibility.  I had a student tell me he liked the bandroom because it was a nice place, soon after his mom busted in and (almost made me pee myself out of sheer terror) yell at him and embarrass him for no other reason than she's just like that.  To know that my classroom will be the only place where some children feel successful and safe is heavy.  I want them to feel they are good at something, even if society puts no value on the arts.  In Precious, Ms. Rain asked Precious what she was good at, Precious couldn't think of anything and after some prodding Precious figured she was good at cooking.  I've had and will have students like that.  My job, then, isn't to just teach them music, it's to hold a mirror up to them and unveil all the worth and good that's been overgrown by the bad and lies.

To call a teacher a glorified babysitter is like calling a child 'just a tax break', 'just a mistake', 'just a money pit', 'just a burden'; teachers, the good ones, help students see what's worthy in themselves, they help undo the words of "not good enough" society pins on seemingly every child.  As a teacher, a young one at that, I feel the burden and blessing of helping students realize their purpose and potential.  What an honor.

Monday, June 27, 2011

living paycheck to paycheck...a post NOT about money

In April, I wrote a post about abiding.  In it, I shared what I had been learning about abiding in the Lord and how I wanted to shake things up in my regimented quiet time.  Well, I think a follow up post is loooong overdue.  I've been sucking at it.

Today I read a friends blog post where she said she's living paycheck to paycheck, it helped me realize that's what I'm doing in my spiritual life.  I'm just barely squeaking by, just barely being sustained, not really feeling secure.

I had stopped my quiet time routine to experience God in a bigger way, to get more of Him; but what has happened instead is I'm floundering.  I'm like a fish who's trying to learn to live without water, I'm dying.  I help with the kids church and yesterday we taught the lesson about how Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches; how we are to stay connected to Jesus so that we can bare fruit for His Kingdom.  I just now got that that lesson is about me!  Perfect.

I need God, I need time with Him.  I haven't taken up drugs or alcohol to substitute Him; my life, instead, has been feeling very empty, very purposeless.  I feel like I've just been wandering around aimlessly, unsure of anything: who am I, why am I here, what am I supposed to be doing, who is everyone else, am I doing this right?  I feel as if I've lost a part of myself, but I know how to get it back.

I'm tired of this, it sucks in a really boring way.  It's gonna take some effort to get back to a relationship where I'm not just acknowledging His existence, but it's so worth it and I'm quite anxious to get there.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

retrospect...i'm good at that

Have you ever thought back to a specific time/situation or (ahem) a blog post, and thought " I am such a terrible person"?  Yea, me neither...just kidding.  Sometimes I can be so mean over the dumbest things.  But the good news is there's grace, mercy, and seemingly infinite chances.  God is so good and am so not.

Friday, June 24, 2011

maybe I'm the jerk

Have you ever known someone that you consider to be a friend, maybe not a close one, and just wondered why you even bother being in a relationship with them?  I don't think like that often, but a few days ago that thought came to mind and I've been entertaining it since then.

Now, I'll admit that my emotions were out of whack that day, so I took everything personally, but still, that person is a jerk.  They were having a self-inflicted crisis and I was trying to help and they said stuff like 'I'm surrounded by people I like, well except you Coléa'.  Excuse my language, but what the hell you ass?!  While people were literally trying to avoid you, I was trying to understand your dumb crisis and be a good friend, and you make a remark like that?  Unacceptable.  Maybe, that was them taking a stab at humor, but I don't appreciate it.

I think I have mentioned before that I hate passive aggressiveness, but I think I'm gonna go for it in this situation.  It's irrational to act in that manner after one offence, but this isn't the first offence, this person is pretty much like this all the time.  I'm just not going to try to be friends with them any longer.  I'm not going to stop talking to them, that's nearly impossible, I'm just not going to share my life with them and if (more like when) they start sharing their life with me, I just won't have anything to say.

Perhaps the person is going through a rough patch in their life, yea well I am too, yet I'm trying hard to not be the natural jerk that I am towards others.  Perhaps I'm being the jerk for acting this way, but honestly, I'm not the kind of person that enjoys putting up with jerk people, there are jerks in my life that I will never get rid of, so if I have the option of avoiding one more, I think I shall.

thought provoking comic


So thought-provoking. It makes me think twice about baring my body just so that I can receive praise. Praise for what? For wearing fewer clothes, so that more people will be attracted to me? Anyone can do that.
Someone who was once close to me told me that I could be a porn star. He meant this as a compliment, but I was sickened by his words. He thought I was so attractive that I should share my body with as many people as possible - because why else do you have a nice body, if everyone can’t appreciate it? It’s disgusting.
Girls, you are more than your measurements. You have a brain, a heart and a soul that truly identifies you. Not what you wear. Not your weight. Not how many people think you’re hot. People will pretend to know your heart…when they simply like the wrapping.

mmmmmmm, yes

Sunday, June 19, 2011


So, I have become a crier.  I think God is doing this, or it could just be something else.  I'll be watching a movie and there'll be a tender moment and my eyes will water heavily.  I used to only cry, in movies, when a dog died or was mistreated (Airbud: the boy tried to leave the dog on an island with pudding, I cried).  I can see the progression of this crying business, I've just finally admitted it to myself...and to y'all.

I'm less than thrilled about this; I mean, now that I'm wearing eye make-up on the regular, it could really mess things up.  I guess the lesson I can learn from this is that many of life's moments deserve that kind of respect.  When someone cries, typically it's a moment or a time that warrants some strong emotion: elation, sorrow, frustration, anger, bliss.  I used to only cry when there was extreme sadness or anger to express, but now I feel like anything goes.  I'm still getting used to this business, and I guess it's unavoidable, so I might as well accept it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Musicians use it properly, why can't you?

Recently, I've seen commercials and other forms of media talking about how we should stop using the word "retard(ed)".  Now, while I understand the heart behind it, I think that's dumb.  Music is mostly written in Italian, so when there are words above or below the notes, they're typically in Italian.  When a passage needs to slow down, ritardando (rit.) is written under the staff.  We call it a "ritard" (not rEtard).  I have to admit, that when I teach this word to young musicians, they snicker initially, but after I explain that it's a word that musicians use to slow things down, and any improper use is unacceptable things are good and I never have a problem with it again.

Here's the thing: some people really are mentally, emotionally, and physically retarded.  This can be due to Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, any number of behavioral disorders, and an assortment of other things.  I think that by calling it a 'nicer', less politically correct name it does a disservice to those what are retarded in whatever capacity.  I am a woman, if we decide that the word 'woman/women' are too whatever and begin to be used as a derogatory word and so we eventually start using the term 'female homo sapien(s)' to spare feelings, suddenly I deduce that I am something 'other', something flawed, something unwholesome. This is what's being done when we say you can't use the word 'retard'.

Historically, this isn't the first time words' denotations have been overshadowed by and thus evolved into their connotations.  Ass(donkey)= person who is a jerk; bastard(person born out of wedlock)= person who is a jerk; gay(happy)=homosexual (usually male); butch(male name)=masculine lesbian; pot/weed(pot/weed)=marijuana; awful(some thing that is full of awe or wonderment)=terrible; faggot(French for bassoon)=derogatory term for homosexual; bitch(female dog)= derogatory word used to describe a male or female.

I think education is the answer (to most things) when it comes to proper use of the word 'retard(ed)'.  Last semester, I heard a student call a music stand (it holds the music up) retarded; the student was told that 1) stands can't be retarded, 2)there are really people who are retarded so it's insensitive and wrong to use it in a way that is expressing anything other than what it is because it hurts peoples feelings, and 3) the only type of use of 'retard' that'll be appropriate in the band room is 'ritard'.  The student apologized and we had no other problem with it.

So my question is why can't we just educate people on proper use of retard?  It really wouldn't be that hard and it would save the trouble of having to think of another word for retard.  Just saying.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Boy crazy

I've pretty much always liked males.  I actually remember the exact day I started liking boys:  my first full day of Kindergarten, I started after-school as well.  A big, cool 1st grader, named Sharie, approached me and pointed to another big, cool 1st grader named Garrett and said "Isn't Garrett cute?!"  From then on, I liked boys.  So when prepubescence descended upon us, I had already 'discovered' that boys were cute and that girls should like them.  That was old news for me.

I know some women who like a certain type of man, certain style, certain height, certain race, certain occupation, all that stuff.  I'm not like that at all and never have been.  I've liked every race: black, white, asian, hispanic, native American, you name it.  I've liked many variations of looks: goth, prep, slob, ginger (I only put that here because I know not where else to put it and remember a 'fling' I had with a ginger in 8th grade as well as other ginger crushes), surfer, hippie, etc.  I can't even say that I've only been attracted to men of a certain faith.  There's really no pattern of who I have liked or found to be attractive.

Last August/September someone called my friend and I 'boy crazy' because of some comment we had made.  We made the comment in a joking manner, but I guess he didn't realize that.  I very much value his opinion on things, so his words had some weight to them.  Ever since then, I've thought often about my thoughts on men.  What I've come to realize is that I'm not boy crazy; I like men, but my thoughts aren't consumed with them.  I'm not often distracted by random men, I don't think every man is looking at me and I'm not looking at every man.  But what will happen is I will have a crush on a man and find my thoughts drifting in his direction.  It's funny to me how men and women feel about each other.  I wonder how it works.

Since I teach prepubescent to pubescent children, I see worlds consumed by the opposite sex.  Girls who want nothing more than to talk and daydream about boys.  Boys who are trying to impress girls by showing off how loud they can burp (needless to say they have not yet figured out what impresses the ladies).  Once I get past the naseating factor, it's kinda cute.  One day these children will be adults, married, with children...but for now, they only have the emotional and mental capacity to giggle when a cute boy waves in passing or when a girl acts impressed by their goofing off.

Currently I am single, but this is good for me.  I am not just saying that because I have settled on the fact that this is in God's will for me right now, I am saying this because I can see areas where I am growing in my life, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.  I know that if I weren't single these places of growth wouldn't be growing.  I do hope to be married one day, but right now I am not and choose to live my life with fullness instead of sitting around waiting for my life to start (aka waiting for marriage).  I have a beautiful life, one that's full; I have no excuse to feel lonely because I've got a God who never leaves and He provided a community that loves well.  My life is full and I don't feel that I am lacking in any area because I have no husband.  I am grateful for my gratefulness of my current singlehood.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I was born this way

I grew up in a pretty strict home, this included clothes.  Part of the reason was because my Momma grew up in a Holiness (super conservative Christian denomenation) home.  More extreme Holiness churches don't allow women to: wear shorts (even long ones), cut their hair, wear make up, or have a voice in church; my mother didn't go to quite that conservative of a church, but still very legalistic.

Growing up, I had to go through hell to get clothes.  There was a whole process of purchasing clothes that included: bending over to see if you could see my 'butt' (it really was just my back, but my mom called it 'butt'), making sure the clothes didn't show my figure, pulling my pants up to my bellybutton (which made me look like a freak because my legs are a majority of my body), not wearing anything that would suggest I was homosexual (whatever that means), not wearing anything that made me look pagan (yea, I'm being serious), not wearing anything that would suggest I was a 'hootchie mama' or cheap (certain color combinations, no skin showing, etc), and the list goes on.  Instead of simply instilling modesty values in me, it inadvertantly told me that my body was something to hide because it wasn't beautiful.  Because I am fat, because I am disproportionate, because I am curvier than the average woman, because whatever.  I was never told that the body, my body, was a thing of beauty and that, while I shouldn't just expose it, I shouldn't be ashamed of any inch of it.  Every cellulite, every freckle, every curve was purposefully placed there by God and is, therefore, beautiful.  I didn't get that message, and it's taken 23 years for me to face that reality.

I have long been aware that I do not fit the mold of beauty in the US, but that left me feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.  This is my skin, my body, I no longer choose to feel trapped, stuck, in it.  Yesterday I purchased my first bathing suites all by myself, no parents supervising, no youth camp dress code.  It was oddly vindicating.  Trying on the suites was a cathartic process that I didn't even know I needed.  In the fitting room, I had to look at myself from every angle to make sure I was all tucked in; but, beyond that, I had to decided that I was gonna be proud of by body, every ounce, even the parts I'd like to change.  I spent quite a lot of time in there trying on, inspecting, and I finally decided I liked what I saw.  That's never happened to me with so little clothing on.

The thing with bathing suites, especially bikinis, is that there's no hiding.  You can say that it's just chunky fabric or that the hem is wrong...nope that is simply your stomach, that's really your legs.

I'd be lying if I said I reached this level of comfort all by myself.  A couple of weekends ago, one of my best friends came to visit me for the day.  We were shopping a little and she suggested I try on a pair of shorts that I would never have considered myself.  When I showed them to her I expressed how uncomfortable I felt with my legs (I mean, I've got a lot of leg), she said that I shouldn't feel uncomfortable because my legs looked good in the shorts.  What she doesn't know is that I went back and bought a pair of those shorts and another the same length the week after.  The shorts just barely meet the "fingertip rule" and she's right, I do look good in them.  I can't tell you the last time I had and wore shorts that didn't come all the way down to my knees!

I'm not knocking modesty, but I am knocking it to hide your insecurities.  I want to be modest because I want to honor my body and those around me (especially the fellas), not because I think I am not made beautifully.

God made us each beautiful, lets act like it.

so I'm moving

I'm not the type of person that really misses people or things or places.  I'll be moving back to Charlotte in a few days and I am more excited than I think I have ever been.  I really love my community there.

As everything is wrapping up at work and I'm avoiding packing at home, I'm met with these strange emotions.  I think, because I don't have a job lined up in Chartlotte, I feel like something big is gonna happen when I return to Charlotte.  I'll get a job, I'll have to.  I'll be moving into this amazing house with these phenomenal women (I'm beside myself with excitement for that) and I'll be back at my Charlotte church with my community of friends whom I love so dearly and pretty much wanna spend every waken moment with.  But I have a life here, in Greensboro, as well.  This time when I leave Greensboro, I won't come back for another school year or for another job.  I am for real leaving Gboro!

I think I feel the anticipation of my life finally starting, my adult life, that is.  I'll be paying (more) bills, going to work, living in a place of MY choice with people I choose.  It's all so exhilarating for me.  It's also a little scary because I don't know what to expect, I've never been in this position before.

I hope I find a job soon, I'd like to get started ASAP, that kind of stability would make me feel more at ease.  My thoughts are so jumbled because there is so much that I need to take care of for work, at Greensboro home (well, mostly just packing), at Charlotte home (more packing and sorting), and at Concord home.  I feel very optimistic about this next season in my life and I look forward to seeing what the Lord does to me and through me.


So today I had a brief impromptu lesson on why I am a Miss and not a Missus, and when it's appropriate to call woman Miss or Missus.  The kids 1)didn't know what to call me (Miss or Missus) and 2)were puzzled as to why I do not have a Mister (they were actually quite concerned).  This reminded me of something that happened Friday; yearbook distribution party was this past Friday and the chorus teacher and I were in charge of the music (of course).

So there I was, sitting there being bored and signing the occasional  yearbook when one of my students (6th grade boy) walked up to me and addressed me as Mr. Henderson.  I corrected him and politely explained that I am a woman therefore I am a Miss.  He said 'oh' and finished whatever he was talking about.  He then returned shortly (I couldn't get rid of him) and called me Mr. Henderson again.  I corrected him and repeated myself about why I am a Miss and not a Mister.  I decided to make sure he really got it; I pointed to the chorus teacher (another Miss) and asked what she was, a Miss or a Mister, he hesitantly responded with mister.  I said that if I am a woman and a Miss and the chorus teacher is a woman, what would that make her?  "A Mister?"  Seriously kid?  I figured maybe he didn't know that these titles coincided with genders, so I said women are Misses and men are Misters. (I didn't want to confuse him with Missuses, that would have blown his mind.)  He left and came back again, this time he still called me Mr. Henderson.  I corrected him and reviewed.  At this point there is a male teacher within arms reach of me, so I ask the student what this teacher is.  "A Miss?"  "If I am a woman and a Miss and he is a man, what does that make him?"  "A Mister, NO a Miss!"  I reminded him of the gender-title rule, and had him try again.

This ridiculousness went on for too long, and I don't actually remember if he ever was successful.  I worry about that kid.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

well look what I've become

Have you ever met one of those vegetarians who are super finicky.  You know the kind who: ask/read what's in everything they eat, won't even use the same sponge or utensils that have made contact with meat, won't let you drink from their cup/straw or put your mouth on their food because they don't want your meaty mouth to touch their stuff, gets queasy when they smell cooking meat or hear of animals being killed, or who have you try their food because they can't remember how meat tastes and they suspect their food to be contaminated with it.  You know who I'm talking about?...If you know me, then you know someone like that.

I started my official 'journey to vegetarianism' (sounds super lame) in eighth grade, shortly after I had become a Christian.  Initially, I still ate chicken and fish and would still crave burgers and stuff.  But throughout the years I have become more informed and more committed, and 10 years later, I am a full vegetarian (pescatarian=someone who eats fish, eggs, dairy, and veggies).

Really, I'm quite used to this lifestyle and I think it suites me, but it's always funny when people make a big deal out of it.  Sometimes it's kinda sweet, like when a bunch of us are trying to figure out where to eat and they make it a point to ask me where I'll be able to eat.  But it's not sweet when people act offended that I won't eat something that has meat/non-dairy animal product (i.e. lard or gelatin) in it.

I think I was born to be a vegetarian.   When I was a child, I would take forever to eat meat.  It would just sit in my mouth for what seemed like hours.  I always felt like it was a great inconvenience to have to eat meat.  It takes so long to digest and it doesn't really give you that much energy.  No thank you!

Becoming vegetarian has made me more conscious about what I'm putting in my body.  I want to be a good steward of this body I've been give and this is how I'm doing it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

squirrel heart

This Sunday, Greensboro church had a guest speaker who spoke from Acts when Paul visited James, made some amends, and made a sacrifice with some Christian Jews.  He told us that a squirrel's heart is the size of a baby's fist and that a big blue whale's heart is the size of a VW Beetle!  He, the speaker, was talking about how Jesus can change the 'size', attitude, and focus of our hearts.

A person with a squirrel sized heart isn't happy when others succeed or have good fortune.  But a person with a whale's heart is happy when others are blessed even when they, themselves, are not.  Both James' and Paul's hearts were that of a whale because James didn't get offended when Paul made some corrections and Paul made sacrifices in Jewish tradition when he knew he didn't have to.  They both did this for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of Love.

I have to admit that my heart is feeling a bit squirrelly lately.  I've been feeling sad about not being an overseas missionary.  When I see my friends going places that I want to go, and doing things that I've always wanted to do, I feel like pounting and asking "why not me?!"  I've not necessarily been feeling upset with the people I know overseas, but I have been comparing myself to them.  I guess I figure what have they got that I don't have? what's wrong with me that I'm stuck here?  should I even bother pursuing this dream of being an overseas missionary?  if the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few, why haven't I been sent yet? will it always hurt a little when I see friends' adventures in other places? And on and on and on...

I know I should be glad that the Gospel is being advanced through people that I know and love, but that is often overshadowed by hurt from not being used.  There are people who never even wanted to do missions, in or out of the country, who are overseas.  And people who were called to missions a month before they left and the money just fabricated in their hands.  Time and time again, I see people being called and sent with great ease who never had the passion for missions; then I look at me.  I have wanted to be a missionary since I came out the womb; as a child, I'd read books about missionaries being martyred for the Gospel and think 'such love and devotion, yes Lord I'll do it'; I used to try to learn as many languages as possible because I wanted to speak the language of the people I would work with; I'd daydream about living among the people and us sharing our cultures.  When most girls were daydreaming about marrying Prince Charming and having a family, I was daydreaming about living in a hut with no electricity teaching people about the Good News in their heart language.  It just doesn't make sense and I can feel it turning into bitterness.  I don't want to be bitter I just want to be a missionary.

I need my heart to change.  I want my heart to change.  I don't want missions to be a place of bitterness for me, it's been a source of great joy and hope for me my whole life.  But up until now I held the hope that I would be a missionary; now, I don't know what's to become of me.  I've never really pictured my life as "normal": husband, 2.3 kids, dog, white picket fence; I pictured, my husband (if I was to be married) and I traveling around the world, or living somewhere in Latin America, doing the Lord's work, maybe with our dog.  I need my heart to be open to whatever my lot in life is.  I want my heart to be grown from a squirrel heart to a whale heart so that I may live in accordance with God's will with sincere happiness.