You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2012.

This week I started my job.  After miraculously receiving an appointment to get my fingerprint taken and all my paperwork turned in I walked into my new class Monday morning knowing absolutely nothing, not even if I was supposed to be at the school Monday.

Turns out no one was expecting me until the next Tuesday…

But I pretended like I didn’t feel weird at all walking into the unknown, and thankfully I was welcomed by what has to be the most supportive high school staff ever, so my act quickly became reality.

Oh my how the past three days have been crazy while getting to know a new place, new people, and a new way of teaching.  Yesterday I sat down to meet with the lady who will be helping me through my first few lessons and that’s when I felt my worst and longest enemy return again: anxiety.

For those who don’t know, I struggle with anxiety.  I’m not ashamed of it, but I tend not to bring it up in casual conversation (ya’ know, because it could be awkward…).  Without knowing it, for many years anxiety controlled me and kept me from meeting my full potential.  It wasn’t until this past year that I learned that the tight feeling in my chest and what I now know are panic attacks are A. not “normal” and B. not my fault.  I always assumed that as long as I did everything right then I wouldn’t have to face this dark mean monster inside me, that it was only when I messed up that I would have to feel bad.  So I tried to do everything perfectly, always, which probably just made things worse.

This year I learned that there were two causes for my anxiety.  The first was a lack of serotonin reaching my body, because apparently my brain was too busy sucking it all up for the rest of my body to be informed that disaster was indeed not around every corner.  The second cause was the way in which I was processing information (very doom and gloom as you may intuitively be gathering).   With the help of my miracle medicine sertraline and some great counseling I have learned to process through my anxiety and gain control of my own life.  The anxiety and stress will still be there, but now I can process through it where as before I didn’t stand a chance.

Again, I feel no shame in showing how human I am.  My anxiety actually serves as a continual reminder of how glad I am that this life isn’t everything, that one day, if not in this life, this battle will be overcome because the war has already been won, and I’ll go home where I never have to deal with this again, ever.

However, it still sucks now.  Really sucks.

I don’t know a night that goes by that I don’t pray that God would lift what feels like oppression from me, that I could be free to live without fear and to serve Him without reservations.  However, everyday I accept and trust Him if the anxiety rises, even if I’m not happy about it.

The past few days have been very hard on my heart (literally, panic attacks like crazy).  Because of the counseling I received I have a handle on how I think in spite of my anxiety, and so though my mind has remained completely sound, I will at the same time have a heart that is in panic mode.  My mind will honestly be confused because it’s thinking yes there is a lot to learn, yes there is a lot to do, but you’ll get it done, you always do, just one day at a time.

One day at a time.

I have learned to embrace this idea of taking everything one day at a time.  Yet at the same time, my heart can’t stop freaking out! Oh my gosh these students are depending on you, you need to make a lesson, you need to follow standards, where do you start?! WHERE DO YOU START! If this lesson isn’t perfect and you can’t manage the classroom… there will be a coup.  The students will band together and there will be a freaking military coup in my classroom!

Oh what a battle it has been. Mind and heart, on completely different pages.

Tonight Tim helped me to look up more exercises to help when panic starts to rise (One of his favorites involved asking me if I was teaching currently (as in right this second) and when I responded with “no” he exclaimed Then Don’ Worry Bout It!). He let me lie down and rest while he cleaned the kitchen, whistling to the tune of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” the entire time.

It is a blessing to have a partner who is willing to labor alongside me and fight for me, especially on the days when I feel like I’m losing.

Though times like these make it hard for me to communicate with God, He has been faithful in so many ways.  Not only opening up doors to get me in the classroom sooner so that I have more time to prepare, but also giving me a truly incredible support group while I work to figure things out.

This year is going to be far from perfect, but Lord, I will make it through, and in the meantime, I long that the kids see through me, to a Love that changes everything.  It changed me, it saved me, and it continues to heal me while I journey to the place I belong.

This is my fight, I have accepted it, and with a strength that is not my own, I will finish it.

Life has started. I received a job as a temporary possibly soon to be full time geometry teacher here in Katy.  I am both thrilled and nervous.  I spent my afternoon brushing up on all things geometry over an iced caramel macchiato.  By the time Tim got home from work it was time to get back into the car and go to a picnic some people at our church were having (which was so refreshing, truly lovely people).

We got home and though the original plan was to rest, I found a pack of papers I needed to fill out (like yesterday)  in my inbox.  With what little time we had left in the evening we were scrambling to fill out W-4’s, I-9’s, direct deposit forms, additional information packets, and so on, and of course that was the perfect time for both of our puppies to have an accident.  I could see Tim getting tense as he was trying to help clean up and sort through the paper work I would need for the DPS tomorrow (I’ll finally get my new driver’s license!).  We got everything done, like I knew we would, and Tim took the dogs out to potty one last time before bed (a little too late though).

That’s when it hit me: real life has started.

Tim and I have been paying bills, making grocery lists, going to the vet, following budgets, learning to communicate, merging our ever changing schedules, basically becoming “one” (or starting to).

These things have been good most of the time, really, no complaints.  However as I flipped through pictures from our wedding while Tim was outside I found myself thinking along the lines of the good ol’ times and back when…

back when we were so excited, before we knew of anything that the future would hold.  The good old times when we made quick study breaks to run to Quick Trip, which always turned into hour long conversations, both reminiscing and dreaming.  Back when I left him cute little post it notes with his favorite candy on his desk.  Back when we somehow could pull all nighters just talking to each other. Back when I was stressed and Tim pulled me away from homework to dance with me out in the parking lot.  Back when he made me throw my head back laughing while we shared our first dance as a married couple.

And then back when… uh… wait that was like 2 months ago.  This is  just silly.

So I plugged my iPod in, pushed play as Tim walked in the door and asked if he would dance with me to our wedding song once again.

No wedding dress, no tux, just pajamas and boxers.  No wedding party, no camera, just the pups looking very confused.

And I cried.  Tears of gratitude and joy, remembering once again just how much I love this man (and I’m pretty sure he got a little misty eyed as well).

He told the same joke that made me laugh at the wedding, and once again I threw my head back laughing.

I felt so loved, and I loved so.

I just wanted to share this moment I had, because it was beautiful.  It has only been 2 months, the true obstacles of life have not come yet, however amid the craziness life already is, I’m so glad Tim and I took a second to just remember our love, to embrace one another, and to dance.

My hope for all people is that they can find someone they too can dance through this crazy life with.

Today was quite eventful as Tim helped me celebrate bringing on another year of life!  It consisted of 2 interviews, a trip to the doctor’s office, and 5 fluffy buttermilk pancakes at IHOP.

This fun day began about a week ago at the dog park when I began to see shiny lights flashing in the sky, and then the grass, and then the water, and soon everywhere.  Tiny little lights going off everywhere, even when I closed my eyes.  Nausea set in and my headache increased to a dizzying pain.  Tim drove me home and we had a long night and 6 consecutive days of irritating migraines that kept Tim home from work taking care of me, and me mostly in bed complaining.  Loading up on ibuprofen the pain became manageable and though it was not fun, I was able to go about my week as usual.

Yesterday I received a call from not 1, but TWO schools about an application I sent in wanting me to interview for long-term substitute positions.  Tim and I were both thrilled and we went shopping for an interview outfit (my wardrobe is full of college grunge wear, not a lot of professional attire to say the least).

It was really fun to get dressed up and go talk about what I love, and why I love it with new people who were able to do the same with me.   I don’t know if I will get either position, but I am at peace either way and am just grateful for the opportunity to interview.  However, midday today my migraine began and the shining lights bounced everywhere.  After sleeping several hours of my birthday away I called Tim who suggested looking up a doctor (something  I should have done a while ago).

At 5:15 we were at a family practice where we met with a doctor who gave us not only a good portion of migraine medication but also the advice to stop taking birth control.  Because I’ve been having trouble with this medicine ever since I started taking it I was relieved when the doctor told me that birth control is not for every woman (turns out my body’s rejection is not totally weird!).  So, though Tim and I plan to continue controlling birth, we will no longer be doing it in pill fashion.

After coming home I took one of the pills the doctor gave us and within the hour the lights went away and the pain in my head nearly disappeared.  Tim and I took off to IHOP and enjoyed ourselves some buttermilk pancakes (my choice!) and later took the dogs on a long walk.  All in all, it was an eventful and fun day.  Tim and I ran into unfamiliar territory with the birth control, territory we’re still sorting through together.  I went to my first big kid interviews and had lovely cakes of pan to celebrate 23!  All in all I would say it was a great birthday.

Last Thursday one of our friends was kind enough to get us tickets to the Astros game here in Houston.   It was  nice to get out of the apartment and Tim and I always love going downtown.  The stadium was super nice, indoors and air-conditioned, we were able to bring in a gallon sized bag full of candy (we both felt very sick later)and it was ultimately very relaxing to just sit and hang out with Tim in a new space.

On the car ride home something strange happened while we were talking about our efforts to find a new community; I started crying, and I kept crying, and crying, and crying, and I cried the whole. way. home. and then some.  I was feeling something that I had never felt (which is weird because I’m like an emotions connoisseur) and it was making me cry.  The crying eventually ceased (thank goodness) but the feeling persisted, and has persisted all week.  It wasn’t until yesterday that I finally figured out what is was: homesickness.

Never in my life have I ever felt homesickness.

Homesickness has to be the weirdest thing ever.  My friend Bridget put it best last night saying “Home sickness is strange.  You can be happy where you are yet still have it.”  And that is the part that is so weird.  In my heart of hearts I know Houston is where I’m supposed to be, and I truly accept this and am glad.  Like I’ve said before, right now things are so exciting in life, everything here is brand new.

I am happy where I am at.  Yet I am still sad and missing home.  They are both existing fully and at the same time, a peace and grieving mutually existing in my heart, everyday, at the same time. It is so strange.

Every morning I wake up and all I can think about is a pumpkin spice latte from signs of life

Every morning I can’t wait to get my puppies to the dog park to watch them run and play

I go to church Sundays, these mega churches that cost millions of dollars to run, and I long for my broke college community

Everyday I long to know what the Lord has in store for Tim and I here, the whos and the whats

I long for Lawrence

I love Houston

I have known for 2 years that Lawrence was not my forever home, without explanation I have known this.  When I packed my bags and made the 12 hour drive with my dad down to this city, I didn’t look back, I didn’t think twice.   Now part of me worries if I have somehow made a mistake: was I ungrateful? Did I not take advantage of my time there?

In all honesty, the answer might be yes.  In all honesty, I don’t think that’s important.  I think what is important is not letting homesickness be in control.  I can appreciate Kansas, but I can’t put it on a pedestal.  I can enjoy my new place, but I can also give myself grace while I go through this transition, grace to feel homesick and not blame myself for it.

Last night Tim and I literally laughed ourselves to sleep, today we got Chinese to celebrate 2 months of being married, almost everyday we bring our two perspectives on life to discuss everything life contains (faith, politics, family, etc.)  and it’s fun.  All the while I feel that sad aching in my heart.  I am happy, and I am sad at the exact same time.   It is so strange, but it is ok.

I don’t know how long this will last, or when I’ll finally wake up and the pumpkin spice latte will no longer cross my mind (or my taste buds), but I will patiently wait (hopefully with few tears).

I miss a lot of things about Lawrence: Signs, Mass Street, Vintage, Young Life, Jayhawk Blvd, more than anything I miss the people. However as the fall semester approaches there is one thing I don’t miss at all: school.  And that makes the homesickness all the more bearable.

The thing I’ve been fearing most since the big “I do” finally happened: our first fight.  I’m not going to get into the details of it, but I will tell you what initiated it: soccer.

Surprise surprise.  Anyone who has known Tim for at least 20 minutes will learn that Tim loves soccer.  Anyone who has known me for… a while, will know that I don’t get soccer.  I can understand why you would want to play soccer, but I don’t get watching soccer, as hard as I try, I just can’t get into it.   But I try, I try to love it for Tim, who as I write this, is watching Sporting Kansas City.  But more often than not, I fail at loving it, and in a moment of frustration over soccer our first fight began.

I hate being angry.  I hate the feeling of being angry, it can be so strong that it makes me feel sick.

I hate being alone and angry even more.  I learned this yesterday.  I was so mad I didn’t want to talk to Tim, so I drove to the library, and Tim was so angry he drove to the Park.  We needed space and time to clear our heads so he went outside where he could find space, and I went to books where I could wait for my feelings to “simmer down” (I found some semi-interesting information on fire ants and how campaign ads play a role in presidential elections).

When we finally came back together we argued imperfectly.  At one point I declared that we were no longer a couple but roommates and that the guestroom was my new bedroom (when he came in to talk to me I told him he had to knock because it was my room, and he laughed… which made me more mad).  Finally after lots of frustration and tears (on my end) we both were able to lay aside our own feelings to hear what the other person was saying, and we reached an understanding.

We understood that the other person was right. We were both right and we were both wrong.  WE were being selfish.  When we finally listened we both found things that we do well AND things that we need to work on (and then I cried some more).

I don’t think that arguing or anger are bad things, but I think the way you handle the two have the potential to be bad.  Tim and I did NOT argue perfectly, we have a lot to learn when it comes to communication and settling disputes, but we made it through, and now we have a better understanding of the other person’s needs and how we can help fulfill them, we also know of the other person’s limitations and how we can respect them.

Our fight was a scary thing for me, but we made it through, we lived and we learned.  We are still very imperfect so there will be more fights in the future, I don’t look forward to them, but I no longer fear  them (too much…).

That night when all was said and done, after I gave up on living in the guestroom Tim and I prayed, asking that through everything we would keep no record of wrongs, but take what we learned so that we may better love each other.

Today we were back to our normal selves, laughing, being awkward, getting library cards, playing with the pups, watching soccer (still don’t love it), and getting a little closer to figuring out life together.

So yesterday my news feed was blowing up with opinions on the chick-fil-a controversy with people on both sides voicing strong opinions.  I saw comments about religious people who practice hate and ignorant people who did not do their research.   I received calls and texts from friends asking about my opinion (totally flattered by that by the way) and asking if I had gone to chick-fil-a for dinner (our laundry room smelled like Chinese yesterday so we got Chinese…it was delicious).  Naturally Tim and I discussed our thoughts on the matter and things got confusing fast.  Part of us wanted to think in terms of humanness , but being people of God we ultimately could not ignore completely that were are sojourners, aliens, temporary nomads living and loving in this world but not living or loving of this world, because we are going to a perfect place soon enough, our true home where there is no more chick-fil-a controversies.

The conversation ultimately led me to shake my head in frustration and declare that none of this was actually important.  That the only important thing was to do what Jesus said, love Him, and love others, it all comes down to that (just like He said… crazy).  But part of me wondered if I was cheating, taking the easy road, ignoring my duty as christian (or maybe as a “merican”).

And then today happened, praise the Lamb (stolen words of Missy Patterson).

“Put not your trust in princes
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.”
Psalm 146: 3-4

And I quote people much smarter than myself “it is vain to put one’s trust in princes, who are mere mortals.  Governments and armies have their proper place, but their merely human power is not ultimately decisive in the world that God rules.”  So first, no I am not denouncing government, or democracy, or voting, or patriotism, or any of those things that have their proper place, but once again I am so thankful that I have come to know a God that I can place my trust in while I live in this crazy confusing world.

Because that is what this world is: confusing, broken, fallen, far from perfect.  While Tim and I were talking we concluded that if we were going to believe God’s story, then we were going to have to believe it fully for what it is, and that means the very first chapters of it; God created everything and it was good, God created man and it was good, God created woman and then it was very good (I’m snickering a little right now).  But then man and woman, humans, we fell from God and things got confusing fast.  Within the same book a murder occurs, daughters sleep with the fathers, thievery, rape, poverty, illness, death everything begins unraveling so fast!

Now thousands of years later we don’t have hundreds, or even hundreds of thousands of people, we have billions of people living on this earth.  The more people, the more nations, the more confusion.  The world has seen great empires rise and fall, it has experienced great tragedies, depressions, and divisions.  This world is so confusing.  So once again, praise the Lamb that we have a God who is NOT confused, who sees the whole picture, who, unlike me, has a perfect perspective and has paid the ultimate price to return us where we were meant to be.

A perfect place: where there is no brokenness, where we (or maybe just me) are not longer confused, where we are made new, where it is once again perfect.

So what happens in the meantime?

“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.”
Psalm 146: 5-7

The person who is able to find the perfect God in this crazy world, the God who can see everything when we only see a small part, is blessed.  And for me, it is easy to see why.  I spend so much of my time frustrated by elections (ugh the season is upon us), poverty (how can some have so much when many have so little), gay marriage rights (I can’t imagine being told it wasn’t right to love Tim whom I care so much about) taxing (economics… yeah not happening), and so much more (world hunger, lack of clean water, child mortality rates… the list goes on forever).  It all makes my head want to explode in frustration, until I can remember that I trust in a perfect God, who has a perfect plan that is in the works.

So no matter what comes of chick-fil-a, the dog abusing candidates in this election(seriously is this what our politics have come to?), gay marriage rights, taxes, wars, or whatever this world throws my way I am blessed, because I find my help in the God of Jacob, in Jesus of Nazareth, in my beloved Holy Spirit.

I have my opinions and I will stand for them. Opinions I believe that both honor God and respect people, and they have their proper place. But no matter what this world chooses, I choose God. And therefore I am content and free to love.

“The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.”
Psalm 146: 8-9

Jesus said to love Him, and love others.  He gave the Holy Spirit to help make disciples of all nations, and to help us be his hands and feet.  So no matter what our future leader, or any corporation chooses to support, we as people of God feed the hungry, help free the oppressed, give water to the thirsty, and love.  We love in all ways tangible, and we bring our perfect God to this confused world in ways both big and small.  Into the darkness He shines.

“Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”
Psalm 146:1-2

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