Monday, May 02, 2011

It has been awhile (again) since I’ve blogged. I’ve honestly thought about taking the blog down, and wondered whether this is something I still need. My original intentions were to have a place to communicate with friends and family, a place where I could journal and process my thoughts and feelings, but mostly it was to be a way for my sister and her family to stay in touch with me while they were overseas. Said sister has since moved home, and I see them on a regular basis. I know that I have family members and friends who continue to check this as a way to keep in touch with me, and as a way to understand what I am thinking about. Unfortunately, there are some side effects to having a blog that is open to the community at large. Throughout the time, there have been inappropriate comments left on the blog by complete strangers (which I have taken down as they emerge). It is also a way for people that I would rather not have contact with (for various reasons) to keep “track” of me. I realize that I could change the format so that only selected people can view the blog and it’s contents. This seems like a whole lot of work, which is why I’ve been thinking more seriously about discontinuing it all together. The other thought that pops into my head is that I know there are individuals out there who do read this and look for my updates on a regular basis. I know that this is one of the many ways that they show that they care for me. It is these people that I keep coming back to, and that convince me that this is something I “need” to continue. And so, I think I will. There may be stretches where I post many times, and then there may be times (like more recently) when you won’t hear anything from me. Such is life! ☺

My life has changed courses several times over the past months since January. On some subjects I am willing to expound, while others I will remain “mum” over. These months have been some of the hardest of my life as I’ve pondered what my life means to me, as well as to others. I’ve felt incredible sadness, consuming anger, hurt that I didn’t think it was possible to recover from…. On the other hand, I am finding my way back to being me, and putting the pieces back together. I have felt incredible PEACE. I have JOY in my life. I know that I am LOVED. And, I know that God is guiding me through this all and will show me His plans for me.

Eric and I have broken up, gotten back together, and then broken up (for good this time) again. I will not stoop to placing blame or badmouthing. Things did not work out and we are both hoping to move on and be better for the experience.

One of my students struggles with knowing right from wrong. There have been several incidents throughout the school year with various adults and children that have shown how serious of a problem he has. This behavior culminated in an interaction with me, which then turned into him being charged with sexual battery. I have had lots of conflicting thoughts about this, and I’ve been so thankful for the full support of the administration I’m working with this year.

I’ve begun my ESL (English as a Second Language) endorsement. Classes are in 8-week increments, and meet each week for several hours at a time. 8 weeks means lots of work out of class and tons of reading on your own. By spring of 2012 I will have my endorsement completed. I feel a bit crazy for having taken on this responsibility while I’m also trying to complete my Master’s Degree, but the school district offered to pay for the endorsement (or at least most of the costs related to it) and I realize that this offer will not come along again anytime soon.

I’m at the end of my second semester of Master’s degree coursework. I’m finishing up my final project(s) for this semester, and preparing for the summer work. I have 12 credits completed towards my degree. A few weeks ago the organization that has helped pay for most of my Master’s coursework up to this point sent me a letter asking whether I had any interest in continuing to take classes during this summer. This is the first time they’ve had enough money to offer help during the summer months, and I jumped at the chance to “knock out” some additional courses over the summer. By August I’ll have finished 6 more hours towards the degree. Slowly and steadily….

I’ve also been offered a summer position with the school district. One of the principals in the district is developing a new summer program, and I’ve been asked to help create the pilot program. I’ll be teaching Monday through Thursday mornings with 4-7th grade students for a total of 6 weeks. The principal trusts me to develop my own curriculum and activities for the students, and her only request is that it is not worksheet based learning. I’ll be taking data from achievement testing (district, state, etc…) as well as the State Standards that students need to understand and put into practice at the different grade levels and put all of that into activities for the students. I’ve already been doing quite a bit of planning in my free time, and I’m excited with what I’ve come up with so far. I’m hopeful that the kids get as excited about it as I am!

Another of the projects I’ve recently taken on is to be a spokesperson for one of the Gluten Free companies that I love. It’s a bakery called Udi’s and is based in Denver. As an Udi’s ambassador I get to meet with groups and share about the product I love so much. So far I’ve met with a group in Hesston, and will be in Wichita next weekend presenting (and handing out samples) at Green Acres Market. There are two other gluten free groups that I’m talking with about possible opportunities, and I’m excited about how I’m able to help others. Udi’s does not pay me to be a spokesperson for them, I just know how much they are a resource to me, and I want to share that with others.

I’ve been busy baking (gluten filled) treats for my friend’s bookshop. Each weekend I make a delivery of cupcakes, scones, and muffins. I’m thankful for the opportunity to bake treats, but I’ll also be thankful when the bookshop/coffee shop changes ownership hands, and I will no longer be baking on such a regular basis. Since the shop is in Newton, it is sometimes a logistical nightmare to make sure they have baked goods when they are needed.

I’ve been blessed with a new niece, as well as plenty of time to enjoy her (as well as my nephew, sister and brother-in-law). As I write this, Gustav and I are enjoying the sunshine as I wait for Mormor to show up and finish out the afternoon babysitting needs. I’ll head to the doctor and then home.

I’m praying for the final weeks of school to pass quickly. As I look at the calendar I feel overwhelmed, knowing what all needs to be packed into these days and evenings. I know it is possible, and that I will get it all accomplished, but at this point I feel stress.

Blessings to you as you enter the weeks of May. Enjoy the moments as they come and go,


Friday, January 21, 2011

A New Year

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write for some time now. Unfortunately, life seems to get in the way, and I don’t sit down to jot things down often enough.

Since the last time I wrote, there has been so much. Christmas has come and gone again. My Christmas tree is outside my duplex, waiting for me to take it to the back yard and take it off the base. I still have a few gifts waiting to be given, piled in the front room, but for the most part, Christmas decorations are packed away (or at least down in the basement ready to by packed away). This Christmas was a bit different in the fact that I got sick with a cold/virus the first day out, and it’s hung on until now. There were several days during break that I didn’t do much besides laying on the couch and sleeping. I had a list full of projects that I wanted to accomplish, but my body decided otherwise.

Even though I didn’t feel very good, I’m still thankful for the time spent with others during the Christmas season.

*I was able to meet Eric’s mom, and spend time with all of his family on the 26th. We had a great day full of good food and gift giving. I love this family, and I am thankful for their willingness to include me and make me feel welcome.

*I was able to meet with a friend who was recently diagnosed with celiac. We did a crash course on how to be gluten free. This is not the first time I’ve done something like this, and the more times I do it, the more I really feel that this is an area that I need to make a permanent part of my life. Maybe I can expand it into a business opportunity, or it could be that it remains as my “mission” for now. Anyway, I loved our time spent together, answering questions, and just chatting. It is my hope that she came away feeling better about her new life, and that it isn’t quite as overwhelming to her. I am thankful that she is already seeing the difference in her health!

*Eric, Heidi, Tim, Gustav and I traveled to Nebraska in Eric’s Prius over New Years. It reminded some of us of another trip we took all packed into a car with little space left for us. Even though we were tightly packed in the car, it was a great experience. The entire time I was thinking about how special a relationship I have with my sister, my brother-in-law and their family. I love them dearly, and I was near tears many times when I looked around and saw how much love there is between us all. I could also have been a TAD sad, because since Heidi is pregnant, this will be the first and last trip with us squooshed into the Prius. I guess we’ll have to figure out another mode of transport for us to squeeze into. Our time on the farm was filled with more love and laughter. I am blessed to have so many places I am able to come “home” to. The moment we round the corner and the farm is in sight, a part of me is completely at peace. I love the people, I love the food, and I love the smells and sights… Thank you farm family for the wonderful visit, and the love you show to us.

Since Christmas, my life hasn’t slowed down. It seems to get busier and busier. This last week I started classes for the second semester coursework towards my Master’s degree. This semester I will be taking an Assessment course, and a Behavior Management course. Both “should” be easy courses for me, but the sheer amount of coursework required is mind-boggling. I’ve had to color-code my planner so that nothing gets missed.

To add to the madness I’ve also decided to get my ELL/ESL (English Language Learners or English as a Second Language) endorsement. Hutchinson School district is offering to pay for the majority of my expenses for classes, and I know that these offers don’t come very often. I full realize how busy this will make me, but I also realize that if I buckle down and concentrate I can accomplish it. These classes start in March, and I need to make sure I get everything organized before then.

In addition to all of the coursework, I’ve also agreed to do bakery items for a friend’s shop in Newton. Her baker/caterer fell through, and she thought of me. I’m excited for this opportunity, although there are a few things we still need to figure out. I will be making a weekly delivery to Pages Bookshop of cinnamon rolls, scones, muffins, cupcakes, and cookies. Holly is also open to me expanding and making some gluten free selections available, so I’m eager for that as well.

Items for prayer:

*I’ve still got some chest congestion hanging on from my Christmas cold. I feel much better than I did, but I would be happy to be completely rid of the stuff!

*In general, I’m feeling much more run-down than I normally do. My migraines have been more frequent as well, so I’m not sure whether I am getting gluten inadvertently somehow. There have been many more potluck scenarios during the holidays, and I need to be smarter about how I go about those. One of my resolutions is to be much more vigilant.

*That I’m able to juggle everything. I already use all of my plan times during school time for working on course work and items for school, but I need to figure out a way that I can accomplish more during those times. I’ve got a lot on my plate, and to be honest it’s freaking me out a bit right now. I want to do well in all of the things that I’m responsible for, but I realize that it is a bit crazy of me to think I can do this all.