Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of Grad School

Just wanted to report that I enjoyed my first class! I am also thrilled that we got let out an hour early tonight. haha

I am taking two ESOL Endorsement courses this semester. The ESOL Endorsement is the core subject for my Master's of Education degree. I am thankful that I am easing into the routine of school with these courses- I think I will be mainly working on this endorsement during this academic year (will double check that tomorrow; brain is shutting down for the night). In the summer I will start working on classes for the actual MEd.

Anyway... besides all of that not-too-thrilling information, I'm going to reiterate the 'thankful' aspect: I am thankful because it doesn't sound like these endorsement classes will be too rigorous. There will be a 10-15 page research paper in the course I'm taking on Tuesday nights, but that's still manageable in my opinion. I think back on those darn work samples (which were at least 70 pages!) and know that I'm capable of quite a bit. And anyone else that has earned their teaching license through the state of Oregon should understand...

I think the more I get into this routine, the more excited and accepting I will be of the Fall. Now that I have been to one class I'm curious as to what I will learn in the other on Thursday. I'm looking forward to meeting more fellow educators and possibly making some new friends.

This new transition should be a good one. Thank you Elizabeth for reminding me about all of those delightful moments of the Fall-- just the thought of pumpkin pie makes my mouth water. Yum! Know that I will soon be enjoying this other favorite season of mine. Just have to do that transition thing. ;-)

Hope you all are having a great day and a happy August 31st! Tomorrow we start the exciting month of September. Wow!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beginnings of the Seasonal Transition

1. a: passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another: CHANGE
b: a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another

When I went running this morning I couldn't help but notice the seasonal changes that are occurring. Hard as it is for me to accept there is evidence all around saying, "
Fall is coming..." The evidence is the rain that greeted me as I woke this morning, the coolness in the air (almost chilly), the orange-y glow of the sunshine in the beginning and ending of the day, the slight tinge of reds/oranges/yellows on tips of the trees, the sounds of the high school sports teams and marching band practicing... Yes, Autumn is coming. A transition is starting.

For me, the transition from Summer to Fall is always very challenging. Though I thoroughly enjoy Fall, I have a hard time letting Summer go. I love the hot uncomfortable days, the warm summer sun beating on my skin, the refreshing feel of pool water, being able to wear minimal clothing (not sweatshirts, coats etc...), the warm breeze tickling my face, taste of fresh local produce, having the windows open all of the time... Oh, I just love it all. I'm sad that we didn't get many days like this, but I am thankful for what we did receive. Perhaps it's not all over yet, as we do have until September 22nd.

Transitions are just not easy sometimes. When this time of year rolls around, I always feel a little bittersweet (except for the Summer of '08 but that's a story for another time). I think the hardest part of this year's transition is knowing how busy the next few months are going to be. I also dread the dark and dreary days-- those can be very challenging to live through. I don't think I qualify as a S.A.D. candidate but I might be close. ;-)

I hope I'm not sounding like I'm complaining as my purpose is to just process this coming change. I think it's important as an individual to process transitions and express the challenges that come with it all. Everyone is affected by transitions one way or another. The only difference is how we deal with it. While we might want to kick and scream at first; we can't continue that behavior all the way through the change. At some point, we have to do that scary thing called acceptance. I am no role model of that but I know that's what is needed in order to move on.

So, for now in this beginning phase... this beginning to a new season... I know that I need to talk about it, write about it, and pray about it. And praying will be key of course. I know for sure that one of my prayers will be that I enjoy the last moments of Summer and look forward to the joys of Fall.

*Do you struggle with this particular transition like I do?
*What are you looking forward to in the Fall?
Definition from Merriam-Webster's Dictionary Online.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Homeward Bound

"What do you mean 'If I can'?" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes."--Mark 9:23

There are a lot of titles I could use for this blog tonight. I could use, "The Power of Prayer, " "God DOES Work the Night Shift, " "Welcome Home," "Thankful," and many others. I am happy to report that Granny and my Aunt Marolyn are on their way home tonight from Louisiana. I am hoping and praying that their journey will be a good one-- know it's already been a little weary for them. They're expected to arrive here between 11pm-12am; I'm watching Flight Aware as I write this post.

I have to say, it is truly amazing that Granny is able to fly back home already. Today marks her 15th day of recovery-- she's made a lot of progress. Her journey to getting better started out with some rough spots, but God has sustained her body and given her strength to improve. HE has been with her through every moment, every trial, every struggle, and every heartache. Through all of this, God has shown me that He never leaves those who trust in Him. He has also shown that He is an amazing Healer.

God has also shown me that He listens to every prayer and answers them in His way. I feel so blessed to know people who have been praying for Granny and my family members (those that have gone to LA to help Granny and the ones that live there). There is a lot to be said for the power of prayer. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for a good outcome on this situation.

Speaking of which, I wanted to share a neat story in regards to prayers for Granny... When I was searching for the image (on Google) for my "Faith on the Fringe" post I saw one that really captured that Bible story. Before using the image on my blog I wanted to find out who created such a beautiful picture so that I could give them credit. Unfortunately, the picture did not have the author's name on it. Interestingly enough, it was linked to a pastor's blog because he had used it for one of his devotional posts. I liked what I saw on the pastor's blog and checked out his church website. So, I emailed him about the picture, my thoughts for the post I was mulling over, and a little about Granny's situation. He wrote back the kindest response and I'll share part of it with you, "Please express to your grandmother that we will also say a prayer for her healing."

Isn't that wonderful? This church is located in Ferrum, Virginia... I don't even know these people and yet they are willing to pray for Granny. Such a blessing. There have been many, many, many people praying for her recovery. All of those prayers have made an impact.

Though the recovery road is uncertain and long, I know that Granny will continue to improve because of her large support system. I hope Granny realizes that her support system is so great because of who she is! She is always giving to others, an excellent example of stewardship. I'm so glad that she is being blessed in return.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mid-Week Update & Other Thoughts

"Then followed that beautiful season...Summer... Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape...Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."
--Harry Wadsworth Longfellow

This has been a pretty good week so far. I'm working Monday through Thursday (I took up an extra shift because one employee is sick). With the extra hours I have been getting, I will have worked 40 hours at the end of these two weeks- the 15th to the end of the month. That's going to be one nice pay check! I feel so blessed to have income this month.

Anyway, I guess I'm sort of in a "listing mood" these days... I feel like making another one today since it's kind of a combo-post (updating on different events of the week etc...). So here I go again, hope you enjoy:

--Forgot to post this picture of the crepe from Farmer's Market on Saturday. I just have to share it with you! This crepe is called Sweet Italy. Yum yum and yum...

--On Saturday Mom and I helped Uncle Tom in the rose garden (since my aunt has been down in Louisiana helping my Granny get back to health).

--Sunday; had the opportunity to take over the sick employee's shift but felt was more important to help in my aunt and uncle's garden instead (did get to take her Tuesday shift). I'm so glad I did too. Mom and I finished the rose garden, weeded and cut back the day lilies. Felt good to be productive and out in the sunshine! That's where I needed to be.

--Originally on Sunday I was going to spend some time with my friend Joy but her plans changed at last minute but it worked out for the best anyway. I am excited to hang out with her at some point!

--Bible Reading Plan Update: Will finish the chapter of Mark tonight and start Luke tomorrow. I have completed 43 days in the plan so far. There have been at least two days because I missed a night- so sometimes I double up. I'm really enjoying learning and reading more about God. :)

--The above reminds me... Sometimes I like to process my feelings and thoughts about what I read in the Bible on here. Yes, I do hope that I am being a witness to others too. However, my concern is that I don't want people to feel like I'm shoving God's Word down their throats- that is not an effective way to touch people's lives. My hope is that people see my reflections on God's word as being humble, encouraging and thought provoking. I am not ashamed of believing in Jesus.

--Couch to 5k Running Plan: Just completed two weeks of running today! Yay!

--My blog got a new follower yesterday- totally made my day! Thanks Nikki from Simple Living in a Big City for your comment. :) She found me through this other neat blog Down to Earth, which my cousin Simply Authentic introduced me to (confused yet? haha).

--Totally loving the summer weather we've been having. It was 90 + degrees yesterday (loved that the a/c never got turned on) and today it's pretty warm again. Yay! These are the days I'll think about when I'm freezing in the winter.

--I'll end with this picture of a delicious snack I had yesterday... organic strawberries from Farmer's Market and some sliced bananas. I love summer!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Needs VS Wants

This weekend was full of materialistic temptations because we went to the Farmer's Market on Saturday and then out to Fred Meyer that night. I had the strength to say no to one item that I really wanted and then couldn't resist with another. Go figure.

I was very tempted to buy peacock feathers at Farmer's Market and then a skirt at Fred Meyer. I ended up buying the skirt (which was on sale for $14.99 - used some graduation money for that at least).

Ironically, one item was cruelty-free (the peacock feather at the Farmer's Market) and the skirt... well, being the tag says "Made in China" more than likely it was made in not the greatest of conditions. Strange paradox huh?

I guess we can't be great all of the time... Honestly, I don't feel as bad as I sound on here but when you think about the big picture of an item it does make you cringe a little (well maybe not you). The only good part is once I'm done with the skirt someday I can give it away-- and it can be used for quite awhile. And yes, I will enjoy it... The skirt will also give me something more to wear with my leggings. Know I can't totally justify this purchase for what it represents but yeah... sometimes that darn 'want' takes over. Constant battle!
My thought process..

No: "I LOVE peacock feathers! They're from my favorite birds. But really, I don't need six feathers for five bucks...What would I do with them...?"

Yes: "I LOVE this skirt!! It is just the kind of skirt to go with my leggings AND its on SALE!"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just Some Thoughts

Not sure what form this entry will take but I felt like I needed to write today. I feel like I have a few random things to write about so a list sounds appropriate for all of that.

So... here is what is bumbling in my mind and the update on life as of recently:

--Got my first paycheck from Hallmark on Monday (yippie!)

--Am trying to be smart about budgeting my money. The money I'm budgeting for the next two months (September and October) is the paycheck amount plus money I had in my account prior to getting paid. My goal is to pay four bills with just using this money, which means I would be paying a total of two student loan bills and two 'other' bills. From what I budgeted, I will have a little less than a hundred dollars after paying these four bills. That gives me a little cushion for other expenses that I cannot plan at this point. When I get paid in two weeks, my goal is to put ALL of that money into my savings. Maybe I will use every other bill for two months of bill payments... we'll see though. I will also be able to substitute by the end of September- more so starting in October. I know that being reasonable with my money means that I will need to assess my goals and write everything down. Hope this will be a successful next few months financially. If you have any advice, let me know!

--Had the opportunity to thank a man in the Army yesterday at Hallmark. When I was finishing the transaction, I asked him if he had been overseas- he said he had a few times and now he was stationed here. I know this will sound silly but I was very nervous to talk to him. Something about uniforms! ;-) I also have a huge respect for those willing to put their lives on the line. That is a big decision, I just can't imagine what that's like.

--Since my work shifts are at funny times of the day I have had to keep myself busy up until it is my time to go to the store. My favorite productive activity is to de-clutter my room. I've been so tired having stuff that I don't need. I've gone through all of my clothes, confidential files, mail I received during my years of college, and other items. I currently have four paper bags full of stuff that I want to give away. There's also a large stack of papers that I need to shred. The other day I focused on the top shelf of my closet and it looks so much better-- it's also dusted and the cobwebs are gone! I reduced the amount of boxes of stuff and organized things I decided to keep. I'll really notice my improved room when I get rid of my giveaway bags. :)

-- Today I was sort of in a mood (a funk). I think it resulted in thinking and worrying too much, which wasn't necessary. I also just kind of felt spiritually frustrated and "blah." Kind of one of those days. The marine layer in the morning made the day feel weird too. Anyway... On a positive note, I'm thankful that I got to spend time with two of my good girl friends. I took a nice walk with Jennifer in the morning and then chatted with Janelle this afternoon on the deck. I feel very blessed to have been with those two- they brightened my mood and allowed me to process my thoughts. Thank you friends!

--Still praying for Granny... she's in the rehab center now. I hope she will continue to improve and that God will remove the hurdles out of the way.

-- Ah... now time to go to bed. I'm starting a new book tonight called In Her Shoes (Elizabeth sent it to me a few months ago). I saw the movie awhile back and enjoyed it; don't remember it very clearly however. I'm sure the book will be good too.

Hope that you all are having a blessed day... and if you're in a funk try writing about it, talking with your friends, listening to music, go for a walk or run, de-clutter or have some ice cream.... and breathe. ;-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Faith on the Fringe

Yesterday I was reading the Bible and came across an extremely powerful story about a sick woman who had great faith in Jesus. When I read the story, it really hit home for me. I've heard this story many times but yesterday God used it to speak to me deeply. I've been praying every day for God's phyical healing for three people-- one of which I will never know if they've been healed or not (see my post God is Love).

It has been an interesting season focusing on this marvelous aspect of God; that He is our Healer. He heals all parts of an individual: the body, mind, and spirit. He is in all things and is above all things. And while I pray all of the time for His healing of these areas for people I care about I know that His will is going to be done; He is in control.

I will admit that just by knowing Him it still doesn't mean I struggle with my faith. It's frustrating to read His truths and have felt His love... yet still struggle.

Therefore, I do not feel like it was a coincidence that I read this story when I did. God needed to reassure me of His great power and to never doubt Him...

If you aren't familiar with this story or are, I think it is important to give the context: Jesus was asked by a leader of the local synagogue to come and heal his twelve year old daughter who was dying. Jesus went with the man to the home where the deathly ill daughter was resting-- as a result, a huge crowd followed Him. As Jesus and the huge crowd (that "thronged" behind Him) were walking to the home a wonderful miracle occurred.

Mark 5:25-29: And there was a woman in the crowd who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors through the years and has spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she was worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind Him through the crowd and touched the fringe of His robe. For she thought to herself, "If I can just touch His clothing, I will be healed." Immediately, the bleeding stopped, and she could feel that she had been healed!

Isn't that amazing? This woman was so desperate for healing and believed that Jesus was the true Healer. She didn't ask for anything or wait until she could feel His hands... all she wanted was the fringe of His robe. That is faith without a doubt. That is the kind of faith I want to have.

I also love how in this story it says, "Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from Him..." (Mark 5:30). All because that woman touched the fringe of His robe. The word fringe is synonymous with edge, border, skirt and rim. All she did was BARELY touch a piece of Jesus and received all of that healing power.

That same power healed the little girl, in the story, who had passed away before Jesus got to the home. Interestingly, she was twelve years old. For every year of that little girl's life that woman bled. Can you imagine? And Jesus healed them both. And I should note, they were immediately healed. Pain was gone in an instant.

This whole story makes me view God's healing powers in a whole new light. It also shows me the power of faith in Him. My prayer is that I will cling on to the fringe too...

*I do not know who painted that beautiful scene of the woman touching Jesus' clothes. If I did I would properly give them credit. I found this picture on a Google search.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Distance is No Barrier

"Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all." --Emily Dickinson

Out of respect for my cousin, I didn't feel like it was appropriate to write on here, before her, about what is going on with my family. Since she wrote about the situation today I feel like it is okay for me to do so.
On Tuesday the 10th my Granny flew down to Louisiana with my aunt to visit my cousin and her husband. This trip was special for three reasons: (1) Granny and my aunt haven't seen my cousin and her husband for over a year, (2) It was my cousin's birthday on the 11th, (3) Granny was going to finally get to set her feet on the streets of New Orleans, a lifetime goal. Unfortunately and unexpectedly, Granny fell on the evening of the 11th when getting ready for bed. This resulted in her breaking her femur bone, which required major surgery. I am happy and relieved to say that Granny made it through surgery beautifully- the doctors are very impressed with her health. Of course they would be-- after all, this woman line dances, plays beanbag baseball, socializes with everyone, actively participates in her church, reads/listens to the Bible and is always positive no matter what.

With that said, it's been quite a mix of emotions as you can probably imagine. Disappointing in so many ways and very sad. I don't want to dwell on that too much but it has been a huge shock for everyone... It's strange to be so distant (in mileage) from Granny too- we're all so used to being pretty close to each other. However, this whole situation is showing that distance is no barrier for this family. It's been such a blessing to communicate with my cousins and aunts- I feel like there is such a strong connection with everyone (interesting I note this because of what I said about the tea party on the 7th). As my cousin Elizabeth said, it's not always been this way. This all goes to show the growth we've made in our relationships over the years.

Because Granny is in a hospital in Louisiana the entire extended family cannot all be there helping out. Thankfully though, my mom's sisters were able to fly down and are staying for awhile to help out. I know that this has been a major relief for the others and has lightened the mood.

Currently, Granny is doing well. Today was a good day for her-- she even rated it as a 10! So that gives us hope. I also feel hope because we got to talk with Granny on the phone today. It was so good to hear here voice. Since this is all happening far away, I've felt somewhat removed from everything. However, when I heard her voice I felt on the verge of tears-- it was so touching. I feel very grateful for having the opportunity to have contact with her.

We are continually praying that God will heal her body and remove the pain. I'm also praying that God will heal the pain in the hearts of those down there. I pray that God will wrap His great big arms around each person...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Finding My Balance

Ahh... I just completed my first workout since March. Yes, it has been that long, I am embarrassed to say. I'm frustrated that I was so determined to get back into running-- and then once I hit a wall (was sick for a good month and half) I stopped completely. Once I got healthy again, I allowed the excuse of life getting busy, which prevented me in achieving my physical goals of getting back into shape and discovering the joy of running again.

I hope that when the school year sets in this time, my priorities will be in the right place so that I can have some balance in my life. I don't want to get swept up by all the stress and chaos again-- I don't like feeling like a reed in the wind, swaying around aimlessly. I think in those un-balanced moments I start to lose my voice (in addition to other issues that are out of my hands)...

So, in order to get more balance in my life I've been working on the spiritual aspect first: devoting time before bed to reading the Bible and spending time in prayer. I'm using this Bible reading plan that's in a journal from a church I went to years ago. I read one chapter in the Gospel per day (just finished up the book of Matthew) and I also have chosen to read one Psalm per day along with that too. To remember what I've read I first read through God's Word and then after I'm done, I write down the verses that stand out to me. I feel grateful that I've started this reading plan- while I don't feel like I'm where I need to be with God... I'm getting somewhere and it has helped me through this situation that my extended family is going through.

The other part of a whole lifestyle is being physically healthy and fit. I felt like today was finally the day where I needed to start getting that piece back into the puzzle. Part of it is my desire to be healthy and also because it helps to fix some of my mental issues (I will be honest, I am very prone to anxiety). Plus, I do love being outside: I love being interactive with nature and greeting other individuals who are exercising too. It's very grounding to be connected to the present... the warm sticky summer air, the feeling of the hot sun beating down, the sounds of the birds (and yes, construction), seeing the trees blow in the breeze... very wonderful and humbling.

I feel confident that I will be able to have more staying power with this new outlook on my goals. Knowing myself, I am successful at following plans. For running, I'm doing a plan called "Couch to 5k" where it focuses on the amount of time versus mileage. The plan starts out gradually alternating between running and walking the first week; this plan builds on itself so that you're running a total of 30 minutes by the end of 9 weeks (3 days per week). Little side note: I did enjoy marking my completion of Day 1 on the plan! I love checking things off. :)

I'm happy that I'm making progress on myself again... I know that there are more areas to add on but for now I am just doing one piece at a time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Perspective of a Child

Jesus called a small child over to Him and put the child among them. Then He said, "I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little as children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven..." (Matt. 18:2-4)

There is so much we can learn from children. I just love the way that they see the world-- it's so new to them and full of wonder. I love how little children have such big imaginations; grass isn't just grass... trees are like towers... everything can be changed in the mind of a child. Life is such an adventure for them in the early years. It's truly humbling to see the world through their eyes even if just for a while.

* * *
I had the opportunity to spend some time yesterday with my cousin's children, Brooke (5~ almost 6) and Luke (3). When we arrived at my aunt's house the kids were checking out her yard, running through all the paths. Due to our swimming activity a few days ago-- Brooke buddied up with Sarah and Luke hung out with me. It was so cute, when we got there Luke was slightly hesitant towards me and then when I got down on his level he ran full force to give me a huge hug. Such a precious memory. Both kids were so excited to have buddies to play with! And within moments of our greeting, we were literally off and running! Luke ran wildly through the garden- I eventually learned that we were cars zooming about. I must say it is amazing how someone less than half my size can run like a cheetah. Wow!

I learned later that Sarah and Brooke were spies. At one point, Luke and I tried to catch Sarah and Brooke. That was quite entertaining!

After running through the yard, Brooke got out the "soccer" balls (thankfully they weren't the real thing). She wanted to practice some of her skills she had learned on the team. It was neat to see her teaching how to play the game. For a little bit, Luke and I passed the ball back and forth. Brooke really wanted to get a little game going with the four of us but Luke had another agenda as he was in his own imaginary land. So, Sarah and Brooke continued to play soccer while Luke and I went on with his great mind of ideas.

Luke and I crawled all around the vegetable garden on our hands and knees... and yes, I was wearing jeans and got some very green spots on them but hey, I was being a kid. haha I'm not sure what we were playing at that point but it required a lot of crawling. Then without much notice we changed plans and were back in the imaginary swimming pool (actually, I think in between both games we had 'lunch'). Like at the tea party, we put gloves on (this time they were invisible) and combed through all the treasures in the water. Luke had a great time finding clams and eating them... apparently, they were quite tasty. Later in our exploration Luke came across a gummy bear-- he really liked that. I couldn't believe all of the things we were finding in our grassy pool.

The evening ended with everyone playing a game of crochet. Great evening! I am so grateful for our time with the kids as they left to go back home to CA today. I can't wait until they can visit again.

* * *
From those moments of playing with the kids, being at their level... it truly made me think about this Bible verse. Children are such an example of how we're supposed to live our faith. Also, they are excellent examples of living a life full of joy. The world is so big in their eyes with so many possibilities. They simply believe. I want to have a faith like that; not questioning God's authority nor doubting that He can do all that seems impossible. So many times I limit myself or let the darkness of this life steal my joy. I pray that He will open my the eyes of my heart so that I can see Him like a child.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Family Love

"The family is one of nature's masterpieces" --George Santayana

I don't know how to describe how I feel at the moment! I actually feel kind of hyper and just very very happy. I thoroughly enjoyed myself today- actually, I feel like this was probably the most enjoyable family tea party ever (though I wish everyone could have been there, of course). I feel like there was an amazing connection with everyone today.

I always enjoy family gatherings and our annual tea parties, but today just felt different. A very good different. Maybe it's because of the changes in myself that made it better... or it was just one of those wonderful days in this gift of life. Whatever it was, I feel blessed and I thank God for being surrounded by the women in my family today.

Today I had the honor of being with my 99 year old Granny, three aunts, my mom, five cousins and two lil second cousins. My Uncle Tom was there as well-- he was the photographer and my lil cousin Luke was his assistant. So there were some guys too! haha Great times!

Our annual tea parties consist of eating and talking and today was the same. Today was neat though because we were able to ask Granny some questions about her life and we captured her answering them on video. It's so fascinating to learn about how events in history affected her personal life (such as Pearl Harbor Day). She's an amazing woman! And so funny too!

The rest of the afternoon we continued to talk with each other and enjoy each other's company. My lil cousin Brooke played dress up with Mandy-- and before long, I was told to join in on the activity. After our dress-up parade ended, I played with her brother, we had an imaginary pool in the living room (they came over to swim at our house the other day so Luke has strong memories of that!). Luke called me "Swimmer." haha We had a grand time playing together in our pretend pool; we collected seashells and lots of clams.

Sighhh... what a great day!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Better Day

"Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes." --Oscar Wilde

I'm happy to say that today was a MUCH better day. Lots of learning but that means I'm getting somewhere. I also got more of my financial aid loans figured out, which makes me feel a little better. And thank goodness, my hormones are slowly starting to calm down... I hope the next few days continue to go back to "normal." It's exhausting and frustrating being so moody. I don't like it when I'm that way and I know others don't appreciate it either.

So for the positive of the day: I got lots of cashiering practice! I did have issues getting it all organized (ex. you have to get a bag for the merchandise, give the customer the receipt, check for their Hallmark card etc...) but I was still able to complete every transaction no matter how rough it was. Eventually I will get into a rhythm. Oh, and I was left alone on the registers briefly while my manager was in the stock room with the store manager. Nothing happened in that time but it was nice knowing that my manager had the confidence in me to leave me there for a short time.

Really and truly, if I can manage a classroom of kids I don't know in a school I don't know... I can handle this new job (I don't want to sound like a wuss). Definitely not as nerve-wracking as substituting but it's still a learning process with its own set of challenges. Everybody has to start somewhere when they're in unfamiliar territory...

Actually, when I write about this my mind goes to the kids I'll encounter in this coming school year and in the future. I want them to know it's okay to make mistakes; it's how we learn and grow. In order to model that life lesson I need to be accepting of that in all of my experiences too. I don't want to sound "high and mighty" when I write that but it's true: I need to be better at laughing at my mistakes and moving on from them. I've made quite a bit of progress in that area, thanks to student teaching, but like all personal struggles- it takes time!

On that note, I'm going to conclude my entry for tonight... I hope that you all are enjoying the process of learning and growing no matter how challenging it can be. :) Thank you for being a part of my experiences-- I appreciate your insight. I feel so humbled and blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ups and Downs

Don't ya just love days that start out fine and then turn sour?

Warning: It's a little "rambly"...

Today was my first official day working as an employee for Hallmark. I worked for a total of four hours (11am-3pm), though I wouldn't say I did much working. The first part of the day consisted of doing all the necessary paperwork (tax information, setting up the direct deposit etc...) and then reading the employee manual. Thankfully though, I am not the only new employee at the store. When I called my manager this morning to ask a few questions I received the wonderful news that another girl was hired too. So there was someone to chat with while doing the paperwork. Also, my nerves were quite a bit lessened knowing someone else was going through the process too.

Once we finished all of the "office-y" tasks we spent the rest of the time on the sales floor. The manager told us to roam the store for awhile in order to get familiar with the merchandise. For a good hour we roamed the store and tinkered with the cards, toys, books, jewelery, and other goodies. Later in the day, we did learn a good lesson about how to sort and process cards when the store gets a shipment. The other employee working showed us how to do all of that. It felt good to help get a task accomplished (though I'm sure we newbies slowed the girl down a little- glad she was patient!). The rest of the day was spent observing my manager at the cash register. Oh, I did have to answer the phone once though!

I think tomorrow will be more of a learning experience because the store manager will be around. I'm excited to get going on learning the cashier system. I want to learn it all now!

Ahhh.... Well, it was a good start to my new job. I am praising God for having it! I kept asking Him to give me a positive attitude about it regardless of what I would experience today. Thankfully, I was given patience for that part of the day.

Unfortunately, later this afternoon and evening my irritability set in rather strongly. I blame it all on the hormones that are raging through my body at this point in time. Not that it's an excuse, but I'm not usually this cranky or irritable on a non-hormonal day. With that said, I had to take care of loan entrance counseling this afternoon, which set me off in a bad direction. The thought of going into more debt (Pacific is $600 per grad credit) makes me flustered on any given day but today it just ticked me off even more. After completing the ever-so boring entrance counseling, I had to look over my financial aid "award" letter (ha- why do they call it that?) to see how much loan money I actually need. The good news is that I may be able to get by with the amount of the Subsidized Direct Loan. And there is a possibility of getting a P.E.O. loan at some point, which would have a much better interest rate.... Sooo there is some silver lining in that big black cloud.

The irritation only dragged on when my mom and I had to call about this medical bill we recently received. Turns out there was some miscommunication with my vehicle insurance and Providence-- this was from when I got in the accident almost a year ago. Providence failed to tell us about the whole situation and sent us a decent size bill instead. So now we have to bother the vehicle issuance and get that sorted out... blah blah blah. And we only have a month to get it sorted out because after a year, Providence doesn't allow changes or something. I don't remember what they said now. But it made me irritated, I'll tell you that.

So, here I am now with all these thoughts buzzing through my brain... Truthfully, I am thinking that God has been challenging me. I prayed the words of this Psalm about two nights ago, "May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14). I need to keep repeating this over and over and over and over...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Happy 99th Birthday Granny!

"But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord's own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green." (Psalm 92:12-14)

I am proud and happy to say "Happy Birthday" to my wonderful Granny. Today is her special day! Can you believe it 99 years ago she was born today? So much has changed in our country since 1911-- she has experienced so much in her lifetime. Truly amazing. One aspect of Granny that I love is that she always has a positive attitude even when it would be so easy to give up. I am so thankful that God has blessed her with such a great attitude. It is a privilege and an honor to call her my Granny!

When I saw Granny about two weeks ago we had a nice discussion (as usual!) during a meal time. I remember her saying how thankful she was to have been here to see all of us 'kids' grow up. I know I can speak for everyone when I say: Granny, we are too. We have been so blessed to have had this woman in our lives for so long. Thank you God!