Thursday, July 14, 2011

The news

Hello there, dear ones.
It's me again.
I know.  I know.  You probably thought I wouldn't write again until after the wedding.  You know, the wedding that's taking place in nine days.  9 days, readers!
Haha, actually, I wasn't planning on it, but I love the layout of my blog so much that I just felt compelled to blog again. :D

So.....what to blog about??
I guess I could tell you what I will be teaching in the fall and how all of that came about.

Ok, here goes.

Now, keep in mind, my dream and my goal for me and for this blog is to daily be completely authentic and real. It's been so liberating to be completely honest on here with how I feel and how I struggle.

Life, lately, has thrown some curve balls that I didn't or maybe just refused to see coming.  Occasionally, I like to live in a fairy land where all my dreams come true, Nutella is totally healthy in huge portions, summer-time lasts far longer than three months, and wedding dresses purchased a YEAR in advance never, ever, under any circumstances, feel far tighter just weeks before the wedding--Seriously, what was I thinking?  Why didn't any of you kind, wise, got-it-together people say to me, "Joy, choosing a wedding dress and altering it seven months before the wedding probably isn't the smartest thing you could do"?

Then, oh then, when reality hits, it's difficult.  It's difficult for me.  It's difficult for the fiance.  It's difficult for the poor, unwitting people who ask me how my day is going and, unprepared, witness the deluge of tears.  You people should get a medal.  Or a cherry limeade (with extra cherry juice).  Or both.

I digress.

I love teaching.  I love teaching where I teach.  I love teaching small children who love learning, who give me hugs, who I've been trained to teach.  Did you catch the "small children" part?

I recently (two weeks ago today) was told by our very intelligent, very compassionate new headmaster that the only available position at our school was an upper-grammar position (think middle school age).  Now, I have always firmly believed that middle school teachers should/will receive an extra crown in heaven (before placing it back before Jesus' feet) for teaching those dear, newly-hormonal children.

I began my teaching career (after receiving my B.S in Interdisciplinary Studies and my certification to teach early childhood through fourth grade students) working with second graders in a public school.  For two years.  I, then, taught first grade for two years, kindergarten (helped in pre-kindergarten) for a year, and third grade for a year in the private school I'm in now.  Most people are aware by now why I've taught so many different grades, but if you aren't currently "in the know," here's the simple explanation.  Although I've been at this school for four years, I've been the "last" one in each grade I've moved to.  This means, if a grade doesn't fill out (if enrollment is down), then the last teacher in is the one that's moved.  It's crummy having to move classrooms each year, but every grade I've taught has been wonderful!!

I was really looking forward to having a down year.  A year where I didn't have to learn a completely new curriculum, where I didn't have to move classrooms, where I didn't have to bring the stress of work (and the preparations for work) home with me to my brand new husband.

Life is funny.

I spent all summer believing that God would place me in one of the lower grammar school grades that I had previously taught so that my year wouldn't be completely new.  I was wrong.

I was also deeply disappointed.  I felt unprepared and unable to take on that heavy, scary task of teaching a grade beyond my teaching expertise.  I love the gals I'd be teaching with, but I continued to wish over and over that "this cup would be taken from me."  I would do it, no question, if God would equip me, but I was very worried He wouldn't.  You see, I love this school.  I love the staff.  I love the families.  I can't imagine teaching anywhere else, so....if I was being called to teach that grade, I would do it because I believe I'm where I'm supposed to be.


For a week and a half, I cried every day.  Sobbed.  Mourned.  I was at a loss.  The fiance was at a loss.  Friends tried hard to comfort me.  I just couldn't be comforted.  Even by God.  I confess, I chose to be a little, maybe more than a little, angry with God.  I was incredibly frustrated and, well, depressed.  I was depressed.  I was inconsolable.  (Looking back, this may have been a combination of many things....wedding, planning, and school.)

But.  

I love those "buts" in stories, don't you?  The turning point in a tale that was previously going downhill on a sled that couldn't stop?

But, I, on a day that was my lowest, received the neatest news regarding my assignment there this year, and I realized that even when I, self-centered, eyes-focused-inward I, was not faithful, my God was.

*drumroll*

My creative headmaster has created a position for me that allows me to be with the youngest children there, to work with adults, and to work with several age groups.

Curious?

Here's my schedule....my very-exciting, low-stress-for-a-highly-strung-gal-like-myself school year schedule.

Monday--I'll be working with the staff in the office. Super sweet gals!
Tuesday--I get to teach pre-kindergarten with my girl, Lesa.
Wednesday--I get my chance to work in the library (THE LIBRARY!!!  Did you know I've always loved the library and have wanted to be an elementary school librarian...for like... forever?!!)
Thursday--I'll be teaching pre-k.
Friday--I get to work more in the office.

I love it, & I couldn't be more grateful!  I'm off to shower (which I told my mother-in-law-to-be I was doing thirty minutes ago!) and sing and pray some prayers of thanks.  Our God is good!

Friday, July 8, 2011

15

We're fifteen days out.
In fifteen days time, I'll be waking up to begin preparations for the wedding that will be taking place that evening. I'm sure the fiance will still be asleep that morning. I don't think it will take him quite as long to get ready for our big day. ;)

Getting ready for a wedding (and to be perfectly honest, I haven't had to do a whole lot--thanks so much, Mom and Fiance's Mom!) has been challenging. I've been stressed out and frustrated a lot of the time. I've been a worrier and a nagger and an altogether unpleasant person at times.

The fiance and I have had arguments that seemed completely reasonable (to at least one of us), which turned out completely ridiculous. We've fought, and hoped, and dreamed, and planned, and counted down the days to when we won't just be planning a wedding anymore. We'll be taking part in one. But much of that anxiety has left me as of late.

Can I just say how at ease I am? I'm so relaxed (maybe the fact that it's summer and school's out has something to do with it!). I'm enjoying this time now. Enjoying spending time with the fiance when he's not working. Enjoying seeing friends. Enjoying reading books, watching movies, going to the gym. I'm even enjoying cooking, dusting, vacuuming, doing laundry. I'm enjoying life. I wish it could always be this way.

But I know this is just a season. It's just the season between school years. The season before marriage.

I've been preparing for marriage my whole life it seems. I was the little girl that pretended my room was my apartment. I'd pretend to unlock my door (with my imaginary key), walk into my "home," and greet my husband and children (the five or so baby dolls scattered around the room...I love babies...). Sometimes in my pretend play (I was forced to use my imagination...I didn't have access to video games or cable for that matter), I'd pretend to be a secretary or a pediatrician, but almost always, I'd find myself going back to "playing house." This went on well into my middle school years; though I'd never admit it at the time. I loved the idea of love, marriage, and a baby carriage.

Into high school, I spent my time away from school (haha, and during school) dreaming up the perfect husband. He didn't materialize during those years, not did he appear during my college years when it seemed like everyone I knew was meeting their perfect someone and tying the knot. I began to feel a little depressed. "What was wrong with me?" I wondered over and over again. God was asking me to be patient, and I was not doing well following His words.

I finished college with my education degree, enjoyed the summer off, and began teaching the next fall at my old elementary school. I LOVED my first year there. The kids were great, the parents were supportive, and my team was phenomenal. I thought to myself, "I never want to teach anywhere else. I'll never leave *insert small town name*!" I prayed and prayed that I would meet the "right guy" there. But God, as He usually does, had very different plans for me.

My second year of teaching was a nightmare. The kids were great, my team was still phenomenal, but there was one parent who managed to make my life miserable. I spent the majority of that school year in tears. I wondered at the time what would possess someone to be so hateful, so cruel, and I began to wonder if it was me. Was I the problem? Was I suppose to choose something different as my career? Was I to blame for her actions? It wasn't until the following year that I realized the answer. No. I was one teacher in a long line of (excellent) teachers that she would torture and ridicule throughout her child's school years. And that's very sad. It wasn't until years later that I could hear this woman's name without my heart racing.

So, because God is God, and His plans are often quite different than my own, I found myself moving to *insert large city name* to teach at a private Christian school. And it's made all the difference.

Because two years after moving here, I met the fiance. And God's plan for us became quite clear just months into the relationship.

It hasn't been easy, but every moment with him has been a blessing. I cannot wait to be Mrs. Fiance's Last Name.


My love,
You have been a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, a hand to hold, arms to embrace, a voice to calm, eyes to see the real me (without all the makeup and straightened hair...not pretty in the mirror...but in your eyes, I am).

I can't imagine making this journey without you. Thank you for being such a hard worker; I know you will be an awesome provider for our family. Thank you for having dreams of helping those who are hurting; you have such a kind heart. Thank you for letting me dream of our future family with you; I can't wait to see you with our children...I can already see that you will be a funny, loving, protective father...you will be wonderful.

I wish the day was already here, but that would rush the season we're in, and I want to enjoy this time of preparation and relaxation as much as I can before the next season of life begins.

I love you, my dear. Let the journey begin :D