I Passed!

I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed!

I just checked my email and saw "Your TExES unofficial scores." I am so nervous when I see that email because the contents tell me my future. I was sooo happy to see "Status: Passed." I was more worried about this test because it is the PPR, I'm better at the Generalist than PPR. So I am sooo excited to know that my tests to be a certified teacher are over! Now all I have to do is make it through Student Teaching and Graduate in May and then I will be a certified Texas teacher! I bounced all around the house with the news telling my Mom, Dad, Sister and Boyfriend. What a wonderful night! Looks like this will be a good New Years for me!

Fantastic Family Fun! :)

I have really enjoyed the time I have been given to spend with my family. The first week wasn't too much fun with surgery and not being able to talk. I think I was great entertainment for everyone though while they made fun of my mumbling.

The last two nights my family has sat around and played games for a couple hours. I have not played Rook in so long. I'm still craving some more play time. Rook has been our family game for a very long time. I'm not sure how long, I just know that ever since I was in about 2nd grade I was playing Rook. We have also played Skip-bo and Uno Attack. Both very fun games, but not as great as Rook. :)

The cat has been a highlight in this time at home. She has so much energy and can get really wired up one second, then the next she is the perfect kitty to cuddle and hold. It's funny how she is like that. She loved opening presents. We had a box that we put all the wrapping paper in that she played in for a while. I made a ball for her out of the tissue paper we used and wrapped rubberbands around it. That and her yarn ball I made are some of her favorite toys besides any of the boxes we have left out from presents. She is so much fun! We have to watch her around the birds though. My birds are up high out of reach, but my family's bird likes to climb all over her cage, and occasionally get down on the ground and go see what the cat is doing . . . not a great idea.

I went and saw The Chronicles of Narnia again yesterday. Tim took me to see it on the opening night, but my family hadn't seen it yet, so we made a day of it and got some pizza afterwards too while dad talked and talked about it, which I caught on and told Katelin he was working on his sermon trying to figure out all the points he wanted to make. :) I got Katelin the Revolve New Testament Bible, so we have been spending time together reading in Matthew. I love hearing my sister read God's word and spending the time with her doing that.

I'm not sure what all we're doing today, maybe mom and I will go do some student teaching clothes shopping for me and run a couple errands. I want to find some cheap xbox games for Katelin to buy so she has more multiplayer games too. Tim comes over in 2 days! I think we might all go to the Texarkana Fun Park when he gets here to ride go-carts and play putt-putt.

The fear of failure

It's funny how the only times I can remember worrying if I will fail or not is when I feel that God is calling me to something. If God is calling me, then I should have nothing to worry about. If God wants me to do something, he will provide the way.

I start my student teaching next semester, and have been nervous about how well I will do. Then I start thinking about how easily God has made it for me to understand all the classes I have taken to prepare to be a teacher. And God has also used the teacher I will be working with to encourage me. She contacted me first, and emailed me again the other day letting me know how excited she and her teaching team is for me to come and work for them.

For Christmas I got a very cute box/briefcase type thing for me to put my papers in I'll be bringing home to grade. I also got a couple other "teacher" items. It's so exciting to receive things like that. Makes my teaching days more of a reality. I'm nervous, but I think I am starting to get a little more excited than nervous.

How awesome God is to protect me from this fear before I start my teaching.

The fear of loneliness

"I think that I like to be alone, and I do--for about six hours. Then I've had enough."
--Angela Thomas.

I remember one day this past semester that I totally freaked out. At the beginning of the semester I had every weekend planned out so I would not be alone. I love people. I feed off of people. People make me happy. All semester long I had either been around people for class, worked on the weekend or was busy with a church activity on the weekend.

But one Friday (I never had class on Friday) there was no work for me to go to, and there was no church activity for me to busy myself with. It was just me. Me and my dorm room. I didn't have a roommate (my choice) and the people living around me weren't anyone I was interested in hanging out with. All my classmates either lived in another town too far away, or were married or had kids. No one to hang out with. I went nuts.

I tried to keep myself busy in my room, finding something to do. I even got out my guitar for the first time that semester. And when I called a friend, and we talked about how lonely I was, I couldn't control myself. I bawled. I was a mess. I do not like being alone. This is something I pray that God does not have me do again. I know that God knows my heart and needs, and I pray this is something He does not have me experience ever again.

The fear of more heartache, pain, and suffering.

I think Angela Thomas describes this wonderfully by saying, "For every relationship in a woman's life, there is an opportunity for heartache."

This can happen with a significant other, friend or family. I have suffered this recently and still struggle now with trying to figure out which friends I have that I can truly trust. When trust is broken by pain someone has brought, I am cautious in thinking if I should re-open that trust or move on. And sadly, with something one person did, I question the others in my life, and try to figure out if they would do the same, or if I can continue trust them. I have had to deal with someone every couple years that I feel betrays our friendship. The past times I even re-opened those friendships, but quit after the second time of getting hurt. This time, it will take a long time if this friendship will ever be opened again.

My lesson I have learned from this is to let time be the test. I am usually very fast in trusting another person. I do not like assuming the worst, but when it comes to something that affects not only you, but those you love, caution needs to be taken. I do not like this lesson, one for getting hurt before I learn it, and two having to be cautious now before I trust someone to be a good friend. I need to let time show that they will be a true friend.

I think I will also start praying for God's discernment with people, for the knowledge to know who I can let into my life more than an acquaintance. The knowledge to read people's motives better, and to know the kind of person they are.
I am looking forward to putting this plan into action and seeing the friendships that will bloom. And I pray that God will soften my heart and be open to the people he puts in my life.

I have to praise God for the close friends that I know I can trust. One I talk to every day, and although I had my heart broken by him this time last year, God has worked in both of our lives, and I am grateful for how much closer we are now, and I think part of that has to do with the heartache endured by both of us before. Another I go to to talk about my spiritual life, and life in general. I love learning from her, and she is such a joy to be around. Constantly challenging me and lifting me up. I pray I do the same for her. My favorite times are when we have prayed together. And I've got numerous of good friends in other towns that I adore. People who God has put in my life at the perfect time and who have consistently been here for me, and I them. I love friendships where you know no matter what time of night you can wake each other up in a time of crisis or heartache.

The Fear of Change

Last night I read more about the types of fear that can keep us from God's perfect love. Every one listed in "Do You Think I'm Beautiful" I relate to. I have either experienced it a long time ago, recently, or have the potential of going through it soon. I think I'll save everyone from another super long post and just share one fear a day.

Change is something that we can never get around. Everything is constantly changing; me, people, life experiences. There is nothing in my life that I can think of that will always be constant, except for Jesus Christ. I use to struggle with change a lot. Growing up with my dad a United Methodist Pastor we moved a lot. In fact they just moved this summer, so this is my first Christmas in this town. I have come to enjoy some of these changes, looking forward to the people I will meet. Every once in a while a change will come along that I am not too fond of. But I know if I hold on to Christ then he will carry me through.

Conquering Fear

"Do You Think I'm Beautiful" by Angela Thomas
Ch. 9 His Perfect Love

I am learning that the only way to conquer fear is to make sure you're on the right platform, recheck the security of your straps, and then jump anyway. Fear will still be screaming your name, but you just have to go ahead and jump. Jumping anyway is about trusting. And when we trust, God gets to show up and catch us with His faithfulness. I remember hearing Andy Stanley say that if God has called you to run through a wall, your job is to take off running and trust that a hole will be there just as you get there. The illustration is a little intense, but so is trusting God. Trust is dangerous. Trust requires courage. If trust were easy, we'd never hear another peep from our enemy called Fear.

Holiday Hustle and Bustle

I recently finished cleaning up with my sister after our dad's church staff party. Mom and Dad worked all day up until the party was over a little after 7 before rushing out to make it to another party. Dad asked Katelin and I to finish putting the food up, so we did and decided they'd like it if we did a lot more than that. We washed dishes, took down the extra tables that were previously set up, and put the furniture back in order.

I think things are going to start slowing down before Christmas. Mom and Dad are finished throwing their two Christmas parties, and we will have a small Christmas. I think the four of us are staying here and no one will be coming over that we know of. Jon and Brooke (my brother and sister-in-law) cannot even make it over since Jon will be on call. This will give them more time to spend with Brooke's family though, so that is a blessing for them.

Tomorrow Katelin and I will step out into the shopping world and get mom and dad Christmas presents, so that should be interesting. I have had to venture to Target the last two days. As I watched people in bad, frustrated, stressed moods out driving, and walking through stores, I forced myself to stay calm and not let this holiday bug come over me. While enjoying my time at the store, hearing conversations here and there I started to ponder why in such a time made for love and rejoicing people can get into the worst moods ever.

I guess it is a perfect time for Satan to step in and try to ruin such a wonderful celebration. With all the expectations the world has made to make Christmas time so perfect, the true meaning of Christmas slowly dwindles off. I haven't let myself listen to the news about people wanting to take Christ out of Christmas. I don't even want to get into a discussion on how idiotic people can get. I wonder what Christmas would be like if people would concentrate on Christ and family at Christmas time. Not worrying about buying any presents, not worrying about a big meal, but just enjoying a time to worship our Savior and enjoy the time off of work and school that is given to us to be with family. How wonderful to combine that and see individual families worshiping in their homes together.

It is a blessing to be able to have others to buy gifts for, and food to cook, but when worry comes into play Christmas is not as enjoyable. If we keep our focus on Christ, on what this season is all about, then I think we might see a lot more smiling faces as we are stuck in shopping traffic and waiting in long check out lines. Instead of hearing grumbles from the people all around, and maybe from our own mouths, we might start to hear, just maybe, a couple new friendships blooming as cheer and love, Christ's love, spreads through people's hearts.

This reminds me of Mary and Martha when Jesus visits their home. Martha was so worried about making everything perfect for her guest. And Mary knew the One thing to concentrate on.
Luke 10:41-42 "But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. May has discovered it-and I wont take it away from her.'"(NLT)

Have you discovered it?

Sorry if my thoughts seem pretty random and jumbled, I tried to write this with lots of pauses while people come in and out of the room.

The Man

"In the effort to make things perfect, a woman can beg her man to be like the one over there. She's hoping that if he could change, she'd finally be whole. When the man feels that he is asked to be something he wasn't ever made to be, when he senses the pressure to meet expectations that seem unattainable, when he wants to fill but doesn't really understand how to pour, after years of talking and trying and talking some more, the man can step back in frustration. The woman tries to counter the distance by leaning in and desperately asking him for more. And he might try from miles away, but he can't. So he looks across the backyard and wonders if his neighbor's woman has these needs. Maybe she doesn't. Maybe a woman like her could appreciate a man like him. And his heart wanders away. And he gives up on romance with the one he has loved and the passion dies. And the heart of the woman who has expected the man to be enough dies with it.

The woman is a mystery that the man can't unlock. Her desires seem to him like a moving target. He can't ever seem to get it right. He can't figure out how to be enough to please her . . . to make her happy . . . to keep her heart swooning. It's not that he shouldn't try. It's just that you and I must understand: the man will never be all that you need.

Here is one thing I can say with great confidence: the man that you love is just a man. He may be your soul mate. He is possibly your best friend. He may be hunky and funny and surprising and strong, but he will never-not in a million years, not if he goes to relationship therapy twice a week and keeps every promise ever written-be enough to fill your soul . . . he will never make you whole.

He wasn't made to be enough. He could not be even if he tried. He is just a man, and he can give only as a man and interact as a man and love as a man. He wasn't designed to fill the depth of a woman's longings, anticipate every need, and jump through every hoop.

He can't. Those deep places inside you were made for God.

The man is simply a vessel. God uses him to give you a part of the filling of His holy love. But he is not the only vessel, nor is he able to fill you from his own strength, nor is he the only thing you will ever need. Are you hearing this? There will never be a man on the face of the earth who can make you whole. Being filled in the depths of your soul is only about the love of God . . . knowing Him . . . hearing His voice . . . believing that He's wild about you . . . dancing in His arms.

The man's responsiblilty is to be the vessel and to be a good one. He is called to listen to God. To obey as the Holy Spirit leads. To love you in the ways God prompts his heart. If he loves you as a man who walks with God and if you realize that the vessel is just a man, there can be an amazing exchange of healthy love. Through the man you can taste a part of the love that God has for you.

Your responsibility with the man is to let him be just that. He is not your girlfriend. He is not perfect, and he never will be. He is not your Savior. He is not your filling, nor is he the answer to all your longings. You must let him be fallen and forgiven and in process. You must learn the difference between men who are healthy and those who are not. You must not mistake his opinions for the opinions of God. He may have never called you beautiful or smart or witty. No matter what the man says or doesn't say, God is still wild about you.

We must realize that there will never be healthy love between a woman and a man until she comes to rest and find her being in the great love of God. God's love gives wisdom in discerning the man. God's love gives direction and patience and hope. God's love lets us smile at the man's quirks just as God smiles at ours."

--Angela Thomas

Praising God with a smile

While sitting in church today I reflected on my wonderful weekend. I have had a couple frustrations with not being able to talk well, but I felt as if God kept on reminding me of all the blessings he has given me the past couple days.

I do not like to go to church when my throat is sore because I love to worship in song, and it saddens me more than my soreness when I cannot sing. So today in church while everyone sang I stood there smiling at the choir and choir director, and enjoyed all the voices in the sanctuary. I wanted to tear up a couple of times, but felt God's peace telling me that it was okay I could not sing, that it is okay to be quiet and listen. I should use that lesson more often in my life. I was very happy that today was the Sunday for Williams Memorial's Cantata. So I only had to not sing for one song, and got to sit and enjoy the beautiful music the rest of the service. The 24 instrument orchestra and 46 person choir was an honor to sit and listen to (my Mom one of the choir members).

When I was walking into the sanctuary I felt rude because the man who handed me my bulletin was so kind and said good morning, and out of my embarrassment of not being able to talk well, I nodded, put my head down, and forced out a smile. I decided to sit near the front so no one would recognize me and want to talk. Not too many Methodists sit towards the front so I figured I would be safe. Now Dad being the pastor, he has the opportunity to say what he wants, especially while doing the morning announcements. So since I so strategically decided to sit near the front, dad announced to his church that his daughter was in the congregation and had me stand for all to see. Luckily this was the early service, and it was not as full as the other 2 Sunday services. He then proceeded to tell everyone that I got my tonsils out Tuesday, and therefore would not be able to speak to anyone. Although I am usually shy when dad does this to me, I was grateful that he let the congregation know the reason why I was not talking.

I know I am going through my weekend backwards, so I apologize to those who like to go in order, but I felt like it works out better this way. =)

Yesterday was my family's open house. Each time my family moves to a new church Mom and Dad like to do an open house and invite the church over for food and fellowship. This way people can come and see what the parsonage looks like now that there is a new pastor living in it, and it is a great way for the church to visit with the Pastor and his family, and get to know us a little better. Again, because of my tonsillectomy, I was nervous about people thinking I was rude because I could not talk much. Luckily Tim was a great friend to stay by my side and be my voice. It looked like he was enjoying himself because he got a good laugh out of watching me try to eat, since I cannot open my mouth all the way I got chocolate all over me quite often. And one time when I got up to get some more food, I came back to find Tim in the middle of a few little old ladies talking up a storm. It was a very cute site to see. I wish I got a picture of it. =) I was impressed with how gentleman like Tim was, with speaking for me, and also pampering me by getting me my food and water I wanted and making sure I was okay. I was impressed by the fact that he does know how to pamper.

Before the party Tim, Katelin and I played Uno. It was great to have the three of us hang out. I can tell that both my sister and I are growing up when we can do that and have great laughs and hang out as friends. Then we went to BlockBuster right before the open house started and rented Kronk's New Groove. I had tried to rent the movie the day before, but both video stores were out of it. I wanted to surprise Tim with the movie 'cause I know how much he likes Emperor's New Groove, but was upset because they were out. I figured we could try while he was here, one more time to chance if someone had brought it back, but no one had. The man working at Block Buster was so kind. He took one of the dvds on sale and made it into a rental movie for us. What a great deed he did! So we ended up getting to watch Kronk's New Groove after the open house.

Although I have been pretty bored with sitting around the house trying to heal, and frustrated that I cannot talk as much as I would like, God has really blessed me with a wonderful weekend. I could not have asked for a better Saturday and Sunday. Now I think I will help today get even better by taking advantage of the time given to me to spend with my family, and see if there are any games we can all play together. I really enjoy my family, and have come to cherish every moment I can get with them. I believe my family is the most wonderful gift God has given to me. Again I am blessed, and I will praise God with my smile.

Tonsillectomies are no fun!

I am putting myself through a lot of pain in order to prepare for Student Teaching in January. I got my flu shot a couple weeks ago (no side-effects luckily) and I just got my tonsils out on Tuesday. The only thing I asked for Christmas was a tonsillectomy, and I got it! I'll be thankful for it once my recovery is over, but right now, it hurts. Twenty-two is pretty old to be getting tonsils out, but with me getting sick often, and my tonsils are usually the first thing that start hurting, and when they hurt all of me hurts, it is mandatory that I get them out before I devote myself to be around 20+ kids five days a week.

I believe I have the best doctor ever for my tonsillectomy. She is young and sweet. When I went in to let her see if I really did need my tonsils out or not she warned me of all the not-so-fun recovery I'd be going through. But when it came time for her to look at my tonsils, with a tongue depressor in one hand and the light/scope in the other she told me to open wide and didn't use any tools and said, "When do you want them out?!" Then Tuesday night after the surgery she called to check up on me. I was very surprised that a doctor would do that. I would recommend her to anyone.

I had to be at the Surgery Center at 8:45, they took me back to prepare me for surgery at about 9, and Dr. Lower came back with the biggest warmest smile when I was on my bed. I really don't think I could have asked for a better doctor. She made me very comfortable, she didn't joke about it, but was sympathetic about my nervousness. The biggest part I hated was getting the IV stuck in my arm. That thing hurt. All that I remember of the rest of it was getting the anesthesia put in my IV, then rolled back to the surgery room, moved over to the surgery table, and then waking up in the first recovery room.

I was told that the procedure only took twenty minutes, so I must of have been knocked out for a while with that anesthesia. And now I'm in the recovery stage. The first night was the worst, I was doing pretty good with what I was drinking until I ate a popsicle, and everything I had that day came up with it. So Wednesday I was very careful with what I ate, but over the whole day I was able to drink almost a whole Slimfast shake, half a cup of icecream, and half a cup of cream of chicken, and then my regular ice chips for me to eat.

My pain medicine is disgusting. I hate taking it, I don't know if it actually helps, or just makes me drowsy so I'll sleep for a while because of all the nasty alcohol that is in it. It's gross! I have some other medicine I take once a day that tastes like bubblegum, that is pretty good. Then they gave me some numbing suckers to numb the pain away. Those are pretty good, I just have to be careful to not touch it to my tongue 'cause the first day I had a numb tongue for a good while.

I can't cough or clear my throat. It hurts more than anything to laugh. It hurts to smile, talk and swallow. I still talk and swallow, sometimes smile. I usually get laughed at when I talk. My family is getting pretty good at understanding what I say. If someone doesn't catch what I said then usually someone else does, or I depend on the white-erase board my sister gave me. I think every time I have talked to Tim he has laughed at the way I talk too. I'm getting use to it, I think it is pretty funny as well, I just can't laugh about it.

So far I am feeling the best today, just super tired. The doctor said that even though I will feel like staying in bed and sleeping all day I need to make myself at least sit on the couch and do something for the majority of the day. I'll probably make myself stay up 'til 2 or 4, then take a nap before Tim comes and visits for the weekend. I warned him that I am not much fun right now. I can barely talk, and laughing is out of the question because it hurts way too much. He is a great friend for not minding. I guess we'll just be watching movies and playing video games, anything that doesn't require much talking. Wow sounds like fun! I love to talk, so this is pretty hard.

The Wallflower Who Is Asked to Dance

Last month I went to Youth Specialties' National Youth Workers Convention. I intentionally went to an even number of sessions for myself as I did for my Jr. High girls that I work with. I understand the importance of self-health and spiritual well-being. If I do not give myself time with God, and spend time letting God build me up and grow me, then I would not be a good teacher.
One session blew me off my feet. I had the chance to listen to Angela Thomas, whose link is on my site. Never had I once had someone tell me how much God loves me, so many times and so deep heartedly as Angela. I went away wanting to tell each of my girls this love God has for them, and tell them over and over again. I am reading her book, "Do You Think I'm Beautiful?" that she gave to everyone who went to her session. I am loving it, and have a few pages picked out already that I want to share every so often.

Chapter 2 "The Wallflower Who is Asked to Dance"
You have heard that God loves you, but maybe you have been like me and misunderstood. His love for you is not just a "whole world in His hands" kind of love. This love is individual. God and you. One-on-one. Intimate. Personal. Romantic.
God's love for you is passionate and pure and without reservation. He never holds back or plays games with your heart. There are no riddles with God. This kind of love does not stand you up. He always shows up, always remembers, and always keeps His promises. God's love is unrelenting. He does not turn away even if you do. His excitement over you does not wane. God's love is not some namby-pamby kindergarten crush. He is not fickle. God has seen you across the room, and He cannot take His eyes off you.
Do you get this? Do you hear me describing the love that you long for on this earth? Does this sound like the love you have been looking for all of your life? Maybe you have tasted this love in relationships or in marriage, yet you recognize that there is still a deeper longing. Is your heart pounding, "Yes, that's the love I have imagined"? Our desires reflect our design. The love that God has for us is the love your soul was made for. It is an intimate, vulnerable, completing kind of love.

- Angela Thomas

Starting Out

I had a little extra time inbetween class and homework to start this up. My idea is to use this for when I start Student Teaching then continue to log my experience with finding a teaching position and then when I start my career in teaching.

I just got my first flu shot ever since Student Teaching starts January 10th. Wasn't too bad to get the actual shot, but my arm is pretty sore right now. I convinced my friend Melanie to go with me since she had some time to spare and will start Student Teaching January 10th also.

Well thats it for now. I'm getting my tonsils out December 13th...to prepare for my well being even more when I start getting around 20 something little elementary kids. I'll have more time to mess with this after finals and surgery.