Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lesson #1 from Wal-Mart

I was at Wal-Mart last night after LifeGroup and I was just irritated.

It had already been a really long day and I hadn't eaten in the last 6 hours! I was getting really testy. The place was packed! All I had was a bag of dog food and a frozen pizza. There were no express lanes open and the self-check out lane was eight people deep. So, I chose a line behind a family.

The family consisted of four. A father, a mother holding a baby and a young teenage son. They were Hispanic and huddled together and took up so much room! The son unloaded the cart and left the cart behind him so I couldn't place my stuff on the converyor belt. It just bugged me. The place was packed and I was holding dog food, (which was one end of the store, so by now was quite heavy) and frozen pizza that was freezing my arm. They didn't have a lot, so I was just aggravated that they wouldn't pass the cart through so the rest of us could have room. And then I saw what they were buying. Diapers and four jars of baby food. That's it!!! Seriously, we need four people to buy diapers and four jars of baby food. My teeth were grinding and I was about to heave a huge sigh. Then the father looked up.

It just stopped me dead in my tracks. In his eyes you could see tired, confusion, pride, and fear. He didn't talk to the checker, he just watched the prices. When the total came up, he pulled out a small wad of bills and peeled off as much as he could, then opened his hand to show coins. He paused. moved them around with his finger. His wife walked over, switched the baby to the other hip and helped him find the right coins. As she was picking them out, he was watching her and the total, and you could see him trying to put it all together. I felt horrible. Here I was angry at the space they were taking up and how inconsiderate I thought they were being, and it was nothing like that. It took me back to when I lived in Costa Rica and I'm sure I had that same look on my face. I didn't understand the money, I had to count out confusing coins and I also had people there to help me. It didn't matter how little they were buying, but the family had to take the trip to Wal-Mart together. The son helps them with translation, the mom helps with the money, and the father is there as the head of the house.

When they left, I felt so guilty for how I felt before. My heart broke. So, now I want to wish that family success in all their lives. And I promise to take a minute and not get aggravated at situations, but try to see the other side. Thank you God, for giving me patience, and helping know when to use it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Power of Prayer

I was driving to church on Sunday morning and a song came on the radio that made me think of prayers.

Ever since coming back to church, this is one area that I am struggling in. Prayer. I'm in awe of how gracefully people can pray at the drop of a hat. They say it so it flows freely and smooth with no interruptions. I love listening to my friends pray for us, over meals, after LifeGroup, before Switch. I love hearing my girls grow in their praying ability and the maturity of their paryer requests. I just haven't gotten it.

It made me think of how wonderful prayers can be. How putting a request or wish to words can move a soul, have a person devote their life to Christ. It made me think, just how powerful can a prayer be?

We all know that Jason Boland is going to get there with a 6-pack and one, Bon Jovi is still living on one, people ask for them, and my friend are wonderful tellers on one. But what about the prayer makes it so powerful?

I thought of many reasons. Saying a prayer out loud is getting it out there. Where it no longer becomes a single thought, it becomes a reality to strive for. Maybe it's because when you pray, you are asking for help. Like admitting you are stuck. Maybe it's just the meaning of the words. Maybe it's the ritual that means so much.

So, these thoughts are in the back of mind all morning. At the end of service, we saw a preview of what's coming next in our series of Elijah. Would you believe it? It's "The Power of Prayer". I just smiled. God heard me. He already knew I would have questions and He has already planned the answer. I am truly a blessed daughter of Christ.

So, it's not the saying of words, its not if you praying in a group or one-on-one, and it doesn't matter what words you use. It's asking something with all that we are. Letting our hearts talk for us. It's the sincerity and His loving answer that makes a prayer so powerful.

(p.s. If you are still curious about the songs I talked to, Jason Boland and the Stragglers "Somewhere Down in Texas" and Bon Jovi "Livin' on a Prayer". But, you already knew that, you smart cookie)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A few weeks ago at church, Anna told a story about a baker. This baker was a tremendously good baker and his shop was filled with wonderful pastries, bagels, cookies, and treats. He loved his job and his shop and spent every waking hour there. However, as the years passed, the man started to become thin and depressed. This illness soon started upsetting his work. After a few horrible months, the shop was closed. The baker was starving himself. He was around goodness all day long, but he didn't share in any of it. He just made it.

She told us this story as a warning for us not to become starving bakers. We are so lucky to volunteer and lead students to become fully devoted followers of Christ, but sometimes we let our relationship with God suffer. We are so busy teaching and leading that we forget to give ourselves lessons. This story really struck a chord in me. I don't want to be a false leader. I want to be absorbed in God's Word and learn His way of life. So, I have been trying to really reach my students and I wanted to let them know that if they needed anything they could come to me.

Well, last night I was starting to see what kind of progress I was making with them. I had one girl, who hasn't really been communicating alot, come up to me with one of her new friends that she brought to church just so she could be in our group. When I told them that we weren't doing small groups, you could see the disappointment on her face. I was quick to tell them that we would next week, but that this week, it's just BIG SWITCH. She perked up and said good, because she's been telling her friend all about it. Her friend smiled really big at me and said she was already planning on coming back.

That night, during the experience, the friend raised her hand and committed her life to Christ. I was so proud of those girls. They are getting the Word of God out to their friends. And they are responding. I gave the friend a hug and walked her up to the front to talk about her decision. It was amazing and I'm so grateful God let me a part of this girl's decision!

So, as scared as I am about being a starving baker, I think my girls are going to continually show me God's love. And I'm not scared to make more and more delicious pastries, just as long as I can share the experience. And God gave me a great group of girls to share it with.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

End of the Year Blues

It must be towards the end of the year. I see so many students and teachers that are giving up on things. I'm very tired of one of my classes and they get under my skin so quickly. The weather is nice, everyone is tired of school, but I think students are responding to the teachers. I get stopped everyday my teachers who are tired of testing, tired of the students, tired of putting up with things. I walked into a honors class today and they were watching a movie. A HONORS class!! How am I going to teach my kids still important things, if other teachers are letting them watch movies!?! Its so frustrating. I'm having a hard time in my profession as it is right now, I don't need to listen to other teachers tell me how horrible of a time they are having. It just gets me thinking, "Oh, only one more year of teaching hopefully, and I'll be done" I'm just so tired of hearing people complain. I'm fixing my job situation, and I'm sorry if you aren't and/or have no desire to, but STOP bitching at me about it. I have no sympathy for you. If you are trying to change jobs and are being proactive about it, I'm all ears. But don't gripe to me, just to gripe. Next time. I'll slap you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kudos for me

So, I had a major weekend with my God last weekend. In fact, He is still amazing me today with all that He is showing me in my life. The weekend didn't start out well. I was facing a mini-spiritual battle. I was about to leave on a retreat to learn how to be a small group leader for students when I was doubting my ability to do my job, as a teacher! I was just down and didn't know how I would make it through.

Well, when we got to the camp, I was already in a better mood because of the people. They are always ready to talk and are smiling and just so happy to be there that its contagious! I love being a part of Switch. When we walked into the center for all our meetings, there was butcher paper placed up with sins written at the top then tons of empty space. My heart dropped. I just knew we were going to have write our names under the sins that we had/currently suffered from. Those words just jumped out at me. I was literally going to have to face my sins. Admit them in front of people that I wanted to keep as my friends. People that I don't want to lose because of my past mistakes. I was terrified that my name would jump out of that sheet, point a finger at me, and laugh. I couldn't do it. I wouldn't.

We all gathered around the stage and had amazing worship. I felt completely connected with the group. I wasn't afraid to lift my hand and move my hips with the music. It felt natural. It felt amazing! After a couple of songs, sure enough, we were given the instructions to write our names and names of students or friends that we know that had suffered or currently battling right now. My sins, the actual spelling of them, were looming in front of my face. I thought about them. Thought about how much I have hidden in the past. I realized I had to confess. This would be my first step in changing. Admitting my mistakes to the world so I can be healed and live my life like God wants.

The group broke apart and many were so comfortable in their journeys they could freely write their names under their past. My past wasn't that long ago. One person was able to write her name under addictions and give date of her last cigarette and drink. It was over three years ago. My sin happened two months ago! I tapped the tip of my sharpie against my palm as I slowly walked to my sin. I kept watching these wonderful people write their names, their stories, their students under these words: Eating Disorders, Addictions, Drugs, Low Self-Esteem, Absent Father, Alcohol, Pride....Divorce/Broken Home. They gave me courage and hope to complete this task.

My word was at the farthest end. Other people had already written things under it. This word has defined me for so much of my life, I hated it. What in the world was I going to write under.... Promiscuity? How can I put into the words the shame I feel when I think about how many people I had been with? How do I write the heartbreak that I felt after every time? How do I describe the depression of thinking this is how to get him to love me and then watch him change his mind so fast? How do I write the guilt of this act, and doing it again to get over the last time? I finally was right in front of my spot on the paper. Placing my marker on the paper, I wrote the only thing that was running through my mind, "I kept losing pieces of myself every time I thought I was finding the piece that would make me whole. Mary." Placing the cap back on my marker and taking a step back, I finally let go of what was holding me back from growing in my relationship with God.

People have so many different reasons why girls can be promiscuous. I have been told that its because I came from a broken home and I was searching for love that my dad didn't give me. Umm, no. Yes, my parents are divorced, but me and my sisters were always loved. Some say it's because of peer pressure. I can see this, but sadly, I would say that I was pressured more by girls than by guys. Girls talk just as much as guys do and my best friends from high school had tons of stories. I don't what the reason for it is, I just know that I did it. A lot. And I don't have a reason for it, but I do have a cure and I have stopped this behavior. It may only be two months, but I haven't never felt better about myself.

This is just one snippet of my weekend. But this is the major event that changed not only my life, but how I am now viewing my relationship with God also. He knew that I wasn't ready for a relationship because I wasn't letting go of my past. He knew I would appreciate a good relationship because I wasn't strong enough for one. I am so amazed at the plans He has for my life, so now I am learning how to see him and hear Him in everything I do.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mad and Heartbroken

My grandpa has been talking about dying for the past four years. He's out-lived siblings, wives, friends, careers, and he keeps saying he's done.
We used to joke about it within the family. "Hey, I talked to Grandpa today." "Oh yeah, how was it?" "Not too bad. He didn't talk about dying for the first ten minutes." *sigh with the optional eye roll*
We all understood where he was coming from. He was tired. He's 89. He's seen segregation, color tv, internet, cell phones, wars, indoor plumbing. He fell in love with a wonderful woman and had to watch her being taken away from him. He raised 9 children and has met multiple great-grandchildren. But, he was in great shape. He's healthy. We couldn't get him to see that.
He moved out to Albequerque with my uncle. He hates it there. My mom has only heard one nice thing he's said about the place. He doesn't want to be here. He told my uncle that God told him he was going to die on Easter. When he didn't, we joked and said he just has to die next Easter. We love him so much. I can't understand why he wants to leave. I see it, but I don't understand it.
Grandpa went to the doctor Monday. He's dying. Quickly. He has prostate cancer that metastasized to his spine, kidneys, and liver. My mom is flying out to be with him. He finally got his wish.

Now, I'm mad. When he goes, I will have only my mom. All the other adults have passed. Both my grandmothers, my dad's dad, my dad. I'm not ready to say good-bye. I'm mad at him for wanting to die so much that it came true. And I'm mad that I didn't take him serious. That it became the family joke. That it is happening at the same time that Dad died. Can God not give me a break? I'm not ready to admit that he is dying. I know he is. I know it's going to be quick. But, I'm mad about it before I can be sad about it.

And then I realized, I'm not through grieving.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My big plans!

I have so many plans for this summer, I can't wait!
I'm so lucky to be able to coach this summer at the country club, and I will also be learning the ropes at the Chesapeake Swim Club. I love it. I'm looking forward to staying in the sun, working with kids and teaching a sport I love. I'm so excited to be working in the northern part of the city. I spend so much time up there already, I should move! But, I love my apartment and I will aslo be coaching on the southside. All that's missing is a convertible for me to throw the top down and buzz around town in. Oooh. That's a pretty sight!
Also, I'm finally getting my act together on this whole should I go back to school or not thing. I was looking over all of my past grades. I had to shake my head. I screwed around so much in college that now I have to practically retake all the courses again in hopes of a better grade. So, I'll be paying for some courses twice. And I'm just aggravated at myself for that. But, I'm not going to let it get me down. I'm moving on.
And, I'm also moving on in my relationship with God. I am having so much trouble putting him first. I get distracted so easily by other things. Wanting to make friends, and starting to become attracted to other boys. It's horrible. So, Saturday I prayed for God to help me. To help me focus on just my relationship with him and to let all others disappear for awhile until we were comfortable with each other to trust me in another relationship. Well, I think He heard me, but I don't know if He believed me. Because the next day, He had two past relationships come back into my life. Phone call and text messages. I ignored both. It was hard and very tempting to call them back, but I didn't. I just let it ring and deleted the messages. Hopefully, it was just a simple test to show God that I am serious. I will put Him first so together we can make me a better person for my #2.

Okay, that's all for now.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I lost my karma.

I bought a necklace two weeks after my dad died last April. It's a Dogeared necklace. It has a silver small circle on a silver ball chain. It's the Karma Power bead. I bought it at The Wooden Nickel in Stillwater the weekend of the Calf-Fry 2008. I love it. It was a symbol of everything I needed to understand at the time. Karma - "What goes around, comes around."

I wear it all the time. It's in all my pictures from the first summer without my dad to the first time I went back to church. It was there when my best friend was baptized and when I dedicated my life to Christ. It has been admired by many friends, students, and babies. It is my nervous tick. When I am thinking heavily about something, nervous, trying to look coy, I reach for my "karma".

I left it twice. Once, at a guy's apartment. Along with many other things. It was the only thing I fought to get back. I called him, asked him about it. Bugged my friend to go get it. And 24 hours later, it was back on my naked neck. The other time, was during the holidays. I left it at my step-mom's house and my sister brought it back to me two days later. Besides those three days, I have always had that necklace.

It rests on my neck, while the significance rests in my heart. It lays on my nightstand while I dream at night. It shines on my vanity while I shower. It is the reason of this blog's title. I joked to my friend the other day about retiring it.

Well, it decided to retire itself. I set it aside at a friend's house over Spring Break and it has disappeared. Trust me, I have looked frantically in every crook and cranny of all of my three bags.

I have lost my "karma".

Monday, March 23, 2009

Is it rude?

Okay, so I e-mailed a lady from OSU about talking to her about pharmacy school two weeks ago. I haven't heard anything back. Would it be terribly rude to call her? Should I be discouraged? I'm trying not to let it get me down, but I can't help it. I had such high hopes and now I feel like her silence is telling me that I'm not going to be good enough for pharmacy school. But that's just silly talk. Right?

Friday, March 6, 2009

What I have to confess

I know the reason behind my fog. I'm almost embarrassed to admit it. It's all my fault.

The reason my fog got so bad was because I thought I was better. Meaning, I was having so many great days in a row, in fact so many great days in just a few months, I thought I could forgo the medications. Turns out, I can't. I think everyone was right. I'm going to be battling with depression for a long time.

When I was first put on the medicine, I felt completely numb to things. Like my emotions were corralled into a part of my soul I wasn't able to reach. But, after a few months I was able to express the correct emotion when it needed. I was laughing more, smiling more, and getting way much better sleep. I confused these things for getting better. No, the medicine is helping me live my life.

I have gotten so much flack for being on antidepressents. And I think it is unfair. I am a complete basket case on my own. My body is out of whack. It's like if you have a kidney disease do you take medicine for it? Yes. If you have a headache, do you take medicine? Yes. Does anyone ever look down their nose and look at you like you failed for taking it? No. But when you are mentally sick and you take medicine for it, people do those things. I would like to switch them places. So they can see the difference one little pill makes me. I'm not sick, you won't catch it, but I can, again, control it. Luckily some doctor out there understood and gave us this amazing drug therapy. I don't think any less of myself for taking help offered for anything. I have been back on the medicine for three days, and WOW! I see differences in everything I do. My attitude in the classroom, my plans for things, my sleeping patterns. Again, I'm living a life instead of it living itself for me.

So, I confess. I'm on antidepressants and they allow me to be the person you know.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Plan of Attack on Sadness

For the past two days I have been stuck into this huge deep sadness/fog. I don't know what brought it on, but I have a feeling I've been running from it and it finally caught up with me.

These past two months are extremely emotional for me. Just thinking back on what all has happened in the past year. I knew this time was going to be rough so I was really good at keeping busy. Busy enought to not let February 13th bother me. In fact, I was lucky enough to share that horrible day with my besties at the ballet and hanging out. I thought on the 22nd I would be too busy driving to and from Tulsa to keep my mind off what was so important for the day. Well, it didn't work. Being in the car that I had made so many trips to Houston, I was just barely strong enough to not cry so hard that my car was all over the road. But all this running didn't help.

At first the sadness started to seep in when I saw how others in my family dealt with. My step-mom ran away to Michigan, my sister acknowledged the day and said Happy Birthday anyway, my step-sister wrote that she was sad. I just ignored it. At first it felt like I was numb to everything. Then my heart grew heavy, broken in many pieces that just clumped together and added guilt to my soul. I still thought that I could fight it though. I kept perservering to the next task. But, then everything ran out. Exhaustion hit. I felt it grab me by my ankles and start dragging me down. It was so hard to get up in the morning, harder making it through the day, even harder to do anything once I entered my apartment. I just gave into it. I caved. I don't understand how the hollowness I feel inside is so heavy to carry on the outside.

I'm trying to suffer through it. Yesterday I slept for almost twelve hours. I didn't feel any better when I woke up though. I can't sleep through it. So my next tactic is to clean it out. Clean out all the sadness and clutter that is in my life. I'm going to start with my car, move on to my downstairs, my closet, my classroom, and then I'm going to start on the hard clutter. The clutter in my heart and in my life around me. If I'm not getting better by ignoring it, I'm going to try cleaning it. This heartache and sadness might follow me for the rest of my life. Its my responsibilty to confront it and control it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

All the random thoughts......

First, off my chocolate milk from the cafeteria tasted like Kaluha this morning. I kinda dug it.

Okay onto the important things:

Religion - We have been in this True(ish) series for the last three weeks. And it has really spoke to me in many ways. But two things have stuck out more than the others. Such as "If it makes me happy then it must be right" What was said about this statement concerning jobs has stopped me and made me re-examine things. Craig said it bothered him when people said they wanted a new job or to go back to school because they were unhappy in their jobs. I got the impression he doesn't condone this action because when they don't have a plan it will cause more pain in the end. Well, I want to change my job. I do not see myself teaching for the rest of my life. I would like to go back to school and become a pharmacist, what I wanted to do before I changed to teaching. Now, I am putting more and more doubts in my head. Should I stick to teaching because I already have job and I'm making money? What if I become unahppy in pharmacy? What if I fail and can't hack pharmacy school? What if I moved schools, would that change my mind? What if? What if? What if? See, I'm stuck. In a huge teach/pharmacy rut.
The second statement that has stuck with me, is "There is only one path to God." That doesn't sit well with me. I understand that with all the different religions out there, that one has to be correct and they all can't be the right path to God. But what about my individual journey to God? Yes, I acknowledge that it was taken me quite a while to find my way. Also, I know my path is littered on both sides with sin and mistakes that I have made in my past, and some mistakes that I'm still making. But does that mean my path is less important than an individual that found God earlier with far less sin. Also, I am a very reserved person when it comes to praise. Just look at me during the worship. I am standing there, tapping my foot and only mouthing the words to the songs (Trust me, I won't be trying out for American Idol anytime soon). I am in awe of the individuals who can raise their hands, jump up and down, and dance. I just can't bring myself to do those things. Does that mean I don't love God as much as these others? Is my path to God the wrong path because it's taken me so long to get there? I love going to church. I love listening to the discussion about God in my day to day life. I am ready to make God and his teachings the way I live my life. I guess I am just to tainted that I'm not allowed to. And what if I fall off the bandwagon again? Will He lose faith in me? Will He look down at me and just sigh? Will He send my case file to St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes? These thoughts consume me when I leave church. I love going, but I still feel dirty when I'm there. Will I ever become pure in my faith or will my past constantly haunt me? See, so many questions!

Onto things in society that has started to bug me:

This situation bothers me for several reasons. And I'll comment on the insanity of this situation later.

Matt Lauer's Interview with Obama.
It was on the Today show this morning and I only got to see a little bit of it. I want to know everything about Obama's first 100 days in office. I'm obsessed with it. To me this is history and I'm a huge part of it and my knowledge about his actions and what he thinks about things are extremely interesting to me. I can't help it.

The SuperBowl
I'm a huge sports fan. Huge! But I missed the big game, and I'm not even torn up about it. That's saying something.

OSU Football season tickets.
We aren't renewing my dad's season tickets for the fall. Saying another little good-bye. And this one hurts. Alot. I can't imagine someone else sitting in those seats. My dad has had those since before I started college. I'm getting choked up just thinking about it. Losing those seats is losing another part of his life. At least I can still have a shot at Stonewall's for him. That tradition will never die. "You are my daughter, and you will drink." -Dad. I miss you.

Okay, I think I'm done for now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Where my life is heading....

So, I enjoy teaching. I really do. I have great days and great kids. But most of the days, they exasperate me. I start to think about how I didn't really like high school the first time around, so when did I think it was wise to teach in high school for the rest of my life. I love teaching, but I'm pretty sure I don't like the students. I love the material I teach, but I don't know how to break it down to the even the tiniest bits of information. So, now more than ever, I am convinced that teaching is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. I'm going to seriously persue pharmacy. I started looking into going back to school at the end of last year, but now I'm going to follow in a friend's footsteps and start being more serious about it. I've even started to set goals for myself in applying to schools and taking the PCAT. High school is not where I want to be for the rest of my life. I would rather be working in an area where I feel I am feeling people get better, and some place that be a little bit more appreciative of the work that I put it into the job. Wow, I sound whiny.

I love learning. I know, I'm a huge nerd, but I can't help it. I read science books for fun. I want to constantly be challenged. I want to learn new things that can change the way we live our lives. I don't want to be in a classroom with students who feel superior to me because they started a family SUPER early. I can't deal with the constant disrespect from students and from parents, and even sometimes from administrations. I don't think I'm strong enough to teach. It's a great lay-over job, but just like any other airport traveler, I'm ready to start my next journey and make it home finally.

Okay, I feel better. Off to coach. Now that, I will miss!