Posted in Life, Remembering

This Year Will Be Different

I asked my students to complete this prompt, so I thought I would as well.

This year will be different. That’s an intimidating statement to make because who am I to say what this year will hold? Only God knows that. As I look back on the last year, though, I realize I was discontent with many of the relationships in my life. I wanted people to be different, and I sought acceptance from people around me. I was unhappy and insecure when I felt left out, whether I was truly left out or just imagining it. The root of my discontentment was that I was looking in the wrong place for my security. People, myself included, always disappoint, and I will never feel satisfied with a human relationship. Only God can satisfy and define me. This year will be different if I’ll keep that focus and perspective. 

Secondly, this year will be different if I am thankful for the deep friendships I’ve already formed rather than attempting to force those in a new place. There’s no need to strive to be accepted by all. Instead I’ll strive to be a better friend to those around simply because that’s what God put me here to do. I’ll focus on demonstrating God’s love and being vulnerable as God leads rather than being concerned about how someone responds to my friendly gestures.

Ultimately this year will only be different if I’ll keep my focus on God and how he defines me rather than how people define me.

What will make your 2018 different?

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Posted in Remembering

A Loss

“He’s touching me!” That was an often-heard phrase as we drove across Kentucky and into North Carolina to visit my dad’s mother. I didn’t know her very well due to distance, but since we share two names, there’s some kind of connection. This post is dedicated to my paternal grandmother, Catherine Hughes (who I knew better as Katy) who passed away this morning.

Besides the long drives, I remember being fascinated by her house. There were so many interesting things in there. Now of course, the memories are hazy, but let me see what I can remember. The National Geographic collection, the craft supplies for sewing and other projects, the honey and honey pot, the dogs, the porch where we had breakfast, the tall trees that lined the drive and front of the house, the toys, and so much more. 

From what I remember she was a lady who enjoyed smiling, made good food, and possessed a knack for making things beautiful. I look forward to heaven where I’ll be able to get to know her. I just wish I had appreciated her more while I had the chance.

Posted in Life, Remembering

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

A year and a half ago, I was starting a position in the office where I worked as a college student. Part of me was excited for the work I would be doing, but there was also a small part of me that wondered why I was starting a year-long non-teaching commitment in July instead of seeking teaching jobs.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

Fast forward a little less than one year when I started seeking teaching jobs since I knew the end of my time at CELTS was coming. I applied to several public schools because I thought that’s where God wanted me. I had noble plans of being this strong light in the public school system.

Maybe I could have been that light, but once again I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

I was devastated when I learned that the one English position open at that time in Madison County was filled internally. After leaving the career fair (which took enormous courage for me to even enter), I sat in my car and cried. Even though it was only early spring, I felt as if all of my options were drying up.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

I kept putting my application out to public schools, and in the meantime I started looking around at other types of schools. My student teaching mentor had just come from OBI, and he had told me all about the school and it’s mission. I had briefly looked at it immediately following graduation, but nothing had come at that moment. On a whim, I sent my application to the school even though no jobs were posted at the time.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

I continued worrying and working on applications, so I was pleasantly surprised when the president of OBI called to say they had an English position that might open up. He offered to host me for a couple of days, so they could get to know me and I could see the school.

Long story short, I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan. In my plan, I would have found a teaching job directly out of college, and it probably would have been in a public school. I had completely written VISTA positions out of my plan a summer before I accepted one in CELTS, but God had a plan in place to get me to the place where I am right now. Even though it has had it’s rough moments, I rest in the confidence that God orchestrated my presence here.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan, but that didn’t make his plan any less real or perfect.

Posted in Blog, Life, Remembering

You want me to pray???

Recently I saw a Facebook post reminiscing about the times in youth group when the youth leader asked for a volunteer to pray and there was dead silence. I can certainly remember those moments, and often I was one of the silent ones. On the off chance that the youth leader called on me or I volunteered, there was a brief moment of panic. If I’m honest, there’s still that moment of panic when I’m asked to pray aloud today. My question is “why?”. Why are we afraid to pray aloud? It’s just talking to God after all. I do that frequently, so what am I afraid of?

After some soul searching, I have come to the conclusion that I think for me it’s a fear of the people listening more than a fear of talking to God. I panic that others will think my prayer isn’t “holy” enough or long enough. Maybe I won’t use the right words, or maybe I won’t have any words at all.

This morning I was reading the passage in Matthew 6 where Jesus teaches the crowds how to pray. If pointing out that pagans pray so that others can hear them wasn’t enough explanation, Jesus follows up with an example prayer of his own. Guess what? Jesus’ prayer isn’t long and drawn out. It uses fairly simple words and has a pretty straightforward message.

This example gives me courage that when I feel like talking to God, I should do so freely whether out loud or in my head. After all, when I’m praying aloud, it’s God’s ear that matters, not the ears of others.

Posted in Remembering

Perfect Memories

A little over a year ago, I made a post about Perfect Moments. In this post, I listed out a small handful of moments that I treasure in my memory. This past year, while tumultuous at times, could add a few more bullets to that list, but that’s not going to be my purpose today. Recently I began reading C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy (according my camp director “only nerds have read the space trilogy”). It’s slow going with the other reading I have to do for classes and such but since I’m almost finished with the first one I think it’s time to make a post about it.

A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking, Hman, as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing.

I listed some minor events, such as watching a train go past, as my perfect moments, but really it was not those events that were perfect. There was really nothing special about those moments and some of them have been repeated with less fond memories. It was the fact that I remembered doing them with special people. The re-living of these moments made them perfect.

There’s a often quoted statement about the journey being more important than the destination. Maybe that’s true, but it might also be true that the memory of the journey is even more important than either of these.

A few more perfect memory moments:

14. It was a semi-emotional weekend, so hiking/climbing the 90 degree angled hill with my BCM friends was perfect for that moment. The perfection of this moment lies in the fact that I didn’t haven’t to think about my emotions while doing this because all of my effort was put into the climb.

15. The 9-hour drive to Washington DC. Stopping in random towns because they had cool names. Walking to the Lincoln Memorial in the dark.

16. Trying on crazy outfits in the Goodwill dressing room.

17. Making a cake to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Surprising her with a house full of balloons and later quietly popping all of these balloons.

18. Debating the importance of education, learning, and school with the middle school child I tutor.

19. Reading through the Psalms from beginning to end. Finding perfect psalms that fit my situation. God’s Word is awesome like that.

20. Being called Ms. Teacher by my sophomores. Oh that kid. “Did you miss me?”

Posted in Remembering

Torn Memories

Today I felt like part of my childhood was torn away. I was very excited to show the old post office in D.C. to my friends. I remembered visiting it in eighth grade. It was full of life and energy. Then we didn’t get to ride the elevator to the top because the line was so long.
Today there was no line.

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The place closed down earlier this year and will soon close for two years while it is renovated into a hotel.
The view from the top was cool but the inside felt like a ghost town. It’s strange to think that I now have this clear memory of this place that won’t exist much longer. Does this mean I’m getting old?

Posted in Remembering

Passing notes

In middle school my friends and I passed notes during class. (It was one of my few digressions from good student.) Our method was to use a fairly small sheet of paper and stealthily write and pass. In seventh grade we even invented our own alphabet so if we got caught the teacher couldn’t read our oh so important notes.

Things have changed since then. The students at school did an exercise about non-fiction in social media where they were supposed to silently pass notes. It made me recollect my middle school escapades.

I wonder if children in school even pass notes on paper anymore. Or do they just text?

It’s crazy to think how much has changed since I was in school. I used a floppy disk to write my fourth grade portfolio. The internet was fairly new. I didn’t have a phone until 8th grade and that was only because I went on a trip without my mom. (That phone was basic too but I thought I was on top of the cool ladder.) Kindle and e-book was not even a thought. I walked to the public library to use the internet. I remember when smart boards were new. It was a big deal when my high school got wide screen tvs for every classroom.

I’m not wishing to go back to those days. For the most part the progress society has taken has been positive. It just makes me start to feel old. Alas, the world is always changing.