Love this!

Veronika1. Don’t feel bad for turning down the super sweet, but plain-looking guy that asks you out. Wait for the guy who makes you feel fireworks. Wait for the guy who gives you butterflies. Wait for the guy who can turn you on with just a look. It’s not shallow or selfish to wait for what you want. 2. When you get a…

via 20 Ways You Should Be Selfish In Your 20s — Thought Catalog

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New Beginnings

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It’s been a while since my last post because my life has been crazy and chaotic.  I moved to a new city to go to school to begin a new career and just be new.

I’m living simply this time around.  It’s actually quite funny.  I’m living in a studio apartment and the only furniture I have right now are two book shelves and a cat tower.  The cats love it…my back is struggling and anxious to get a bed.

It’s not easy this week but I can recognize that this is temporary.  This is not what it will be like forever.  Things are happening.  Good things.

I’m studying something I’m passionate about.  I get the opportunity to learn from the best and when they’re done with me, I should be a kick butt school counselor.

I’m so excited for the future.  It’s not always easy but it’s always worth it.  For that, I am so beyond grateful.

Change of Direction

As the end of the year approaches in schools (and I say HALLELUJAH!), so does the direction of my life.  Come May 24, I will no longer be a teacher in the public school system.  My life is taking exciting, new curves.

I’m attempting to go back to school.  I’m changing my role in education.

I’m going to be pursuing a degree in school counseling.  I want to change what I do in the education world.

So the direction of this blog will also change.  It’s going to have an emphasis on education because I will be teaching preschool.  But it won’t be from the eyes as a regular ole teacher.

I’m happily anxious about the changes.  I’m ready to do this.  It really is rather exciting.

For all the twenty-somethings!

genebelSo, you’re tired. Directionless. Frustrated. Maybe a little disheartened. Trying so hard to live your life in your own way, but still frequently weighed down by unavoidably comparing yourself to others. Wanting to not care what people think, and sometimes being successful and other times caring so hard. Watching people your age who seemingly have…

via A Shonda Rhimes-esque Monologue For Every Discouraged 20-Something Out There — Thought Catalog

Truth Bombs

This is a really hard post to write because it’s something so deeply personal.  But I know I’m not the only one.

Do you know what it’s like to try and teach when you are depressed?

I don’t know exactly when it started but it has consumed me for at least the past three months at least.

Every day I dreaded going into work and to try and teach anything took everything out of me.  I had to be a disciplinarian without going overboard, smile even though it hurt, listen when I didn’t even want to hear anything.

My brain was a jumbled mess.  I cried when my middle school students were rude (which is kind of ridiculous since they’re middle school….they’re always rude).  I got home and just curled up in bed not because I was tired from work…I was tired from life.

When I looked in the mirror, I was hollow.  There wasn’t fire in my eyes.  There wasn’t hope or love in me.  I was so stressed out and hurt to feel anything else.  There was a hundred pound weight on my chest so it hurt to breathe.

I know that part of it was work that stressed me out, but mostly it was the suffocating I was feeling from my relationship.  My exboyfriend was in short, a tool.  He was rude, mean, angry, a bad person, controlling…mentally and emotionally abusive.  He consumed all that was good in me and I let him. How stupid I was.

When I found out that the guy I so deeply loved and let change me, was cheating on me, I collapsed.  It was a whole new crushing blow to my heart.  And the next day I had to go teach.  That was hands down, the hardest day of my life.  I couldn’t cry openly because that’s so unprofessional.  My voice was hoarse from crying all night.

The process of breaking up was made worse by my ex who wouldn’t let me move on for weeks.  I had to block his number because he wanted to continue to control me.  But, after I stopped crying and I just felt the moment, I realized that I had been suffocating and I was finally free.

It was the most liberating feeling.  One that I had forgotten.  I forgot what it was like to not be under someone’s thumb.  I was me again.

Since that moment, I’ve been rediscovering me.  The me that is happy.  The me that is joyful.  Laughing.  Smiling.  Bright.  Energetic.  Bubbly.  Loving.  Kind.

I have reconnected with friends that he made me get rid of.  I am singing showtunes and Disney songs all the time again.  I’m dancing in the rain.  I’m reading again.  I’m falling back in love with life and myself and my God.  All these things that were snuffed out because I fell in love with an abusive man.

This man never hit me, but he did make me someone I wasn’t.  I am on a journey to forgive myself for allowing myself to get to that point.  He brought all my feelings of insecurities that helped shuttle me into a deep depression.

I am so thankful for the people that have loved me through this.  I’m luckier than most in my situation.  I did lose friends who weren’t patient with me and I am so deeply sorry that I pushed them away.  However, my family and friends that have supported me and loved me in every way possible, they’re even more amazing than before.  Our bond is stronger.  I am surviving this.  I am waking up smiling.  And I’m teaching with joy once again.

This really is the most personal thing I have ever written.  I know I am not alone…I am one of many.  I am here to listen to anyone that needs it.

Deeanne Gist

I want to take a minute and change the direction for just a smidge.  I want to talk about an author who has filled my week.

Deeanne Gist.

If you haven’t read her, march your behind to the nearest library and check out a book of hers, or click here.

Going through a break-up and reclaiming myself as a strong, independent woman, I’ve turned back to my love of reading.  I’d read Mrs. Gist before, but this time her characters and writing have taken on a whole new level.

I’ve read four books of hers this week.

Beguiled

A Bride in the Bargain

It Happened at the Fair

Deep in the Heart of Trouble

If you’ve ever read this blog you know I have a thing for history…(duh, I taught it and have a degree in it).  Three of the books I read are historical fiction with some serious romance.

But here’s the beauty of it…they’re all clean.  They are Christian works.  And these women are people to admired.  They are beautiful on the inside.

Beguiled is the one modern book of the four I’ve read so far.  It has more mystery in it than the others and it reads a little differently.  Rylee is a dog walker in Charleston whose tragic past is riddled with mystery.  Logan is a reporter who’s been following a string of break ins in the elite part of town when he meets Rylee.

One of the things that I loved about this story was the relationship between Logan and his dad.  It was a drama free relationship that really just showed the simplicity of a dad supporting his son and his son being open with his dad.  It was refreshing.  There didn’t need to be drama between parent and child.

A Bride in the Bargain is hands down my favorite one of these books.  Anna is a Civil War orphan who flees to Seattle to become a “cook” for a crew of lumberjacks.  Joe was desperate to save his land and bought himself a wife in Anna.  Anna and Joe were both given misinformation but agree to continue a professional relationship until they realize that they love each other but secrets threaten to tear the two apart.

This book reads like a trashy romance novel would but it’s just so pure.  The feelings and emotions are raw; they’re real.  There’s some twists and turns that keep you engaged and I couldn’t help cheering on the couple.

It Happened at the Fair

Cullen is a North Carolina farm boy who’s allergic to the thing that keeps his family going.  After witnessing a tragedy in his youth, he comes up with the idea of an automatic sprinkler system that his dad pushes him to show at the Chicago World Fair in 1893.  He leaves behind his southern roots and a fiance to try his luck.  Della is a teacher of deaf children, teaching them how to read lips.  When Cullen asks her for private lessons to learn how to read lips, she agrees, not realizing she would fall for him in those hours touring the Fair together.

This one took me a little time to get into only because I was coming out of a funk from the previous book, but once you get into it, you’re captured by the fashions and descriptions of the Fair.  Gist includes pictures and sketches to describe what things looked like, and it made it very real as a reader.

Deep in the Heart of Trouble is about Tony and Essie.  Both children from wealthy oil owners, they are as different as can be.  Tony is recently disinherited from his father’s will and strikes into another town in Texas after changing his name to learn how to do the oil industry in the field instead of the office.  Essie is part owner of the company and very forward thinking as she also owns a bicycle club for the town that specializes in women members.  When Tony starts working for Essie and her father, he must rethink how he views the role of women in society and in his life while she hides behind her spinsterhood.

This book is just fun.  Essie is a free spirit but also incredibly guarded and I definitely identified with her.  She’s a little eccentric, but aren’t we all?

I really cannot speak enough about this author and how I feel about her writing.  So please, go check her out.  You won’t regret it.  At all.

Liberation and Purpose

There’s this song I used to listen to in high school.

The chorus goes, “Everybody scream your heart out.”

Essentially, it is the anthem to just let go.  (Listen to full song here)

There’s a beauty in letting go, isn’t there?

Letting go of the doubt, insecurities, sadness, bitterness, anger, frustration, feelings.

It’s like a weight is lifted off your shoulders.  I remember hearing this and singing it as loud as possible because even then, I wanted to let go.

I wanted to let go of the expectations and standards that had confined me for so long.

Now, I stand on the precipice of the same song because it’s time to let go.  It’s time to scream my heart out.  It’s time to find me again.

Me.

Simple word.  BIG issues.

Finding yourself even at the best times in life is difficult.  Finding yourself after a breakup is refreshing but also an obstacle course.

I am in the process of redefining me.  It’s different.  Hard.  Special.  Weird.

So me as a teacher.  Who is that?  What purpose do I serve by being a teacher?

I think that everywhere you teach, it’s a different atmosphere.  A different purpose.  When I was at my first school, my purpose was clear.  I was a constant figure for them.  I never wavered.  I made history fun for them.

Now, I find it harder because the public school system doesn’t seem to allow for that type of bond with your students.  Do I love my students?  For the most part.  Do they drive me crazy?  Almost always.

I think that with all the craziness that is public education, I think the most important thing for us as teachers to realize is that consistency and discipline are necessary.  And later on, these students will realize why we were hard on them.  Why we pushed them further than they thought they could.

You have a purpose as a teacher.  God did not call you to be something you weren’t meant to be.  I know that, even as I prepare to leave public school for a little while.  I know my time was well spent.  I don’t regret it.

Find your purpose.  Find yourself.  There’s only one you.  Be it.

Love Can Make You Do Crazy Things

I came across this video while I was watching a favorite video of mine by the same person about women being empowered.  You can watch it here.

Let me just say…wow.

It talks about four different stories in the Bible that love is at the center.

Jacob who works for 7 years to get to marry Rachel, only to be given Leah instead.  So he worked another 7 years so he could have the woman he loves.  That is pursuing at its finest.

I mean, in my short dating experience, most guys give up at the first sign of work.  It’s all fine and dandy the first few dates, then they stop opening the door for you and think that paying half of the dinner is fine.  I mean….really?

But God gives us an image of working hard for what you want.  Jacob wanted Rachel.  He loved her desperately.  So he worked his tail off so he could have the honor of being called her husband.

Hosea and Gomer.  The most unlikely pair in my opinion, but I can definitely relate to Gomer.  Hosea was a prophet and God gave him the calling to marry the prostitute Gomer.  (Side note: I don’t relate to Gomer for that reason)  Hosea married Gomer and loved her fiercely, but she kept running away.  She kept giving pieces of herself away, but Hosea kept loving her.

That is love.  I can totally relate to running away from something great.  Fear makes us do that.  We fear good things because we start to believe that good things don’t happen to us.

It’s not a comfortable way of thinking, but I know I’m not the only one.  I am one of millions who think that way.

Hosea’s love for Gomer is a love that is comparable to God’s love for us.  We run away when things get hard.  We give up so easily for something that is so wonderful.

And the truth is, that’s where I am right now.

I have struggled immensely with seeing myself the way God sees me.  Which causes me to act like Gomer and run away to hide in my sin and shame.

Not okay…

The video next talks about Solomon and his beloved.  When you read it as an adult and break down what Solomon says in the Bible….it can be embarrassing.  But it’s beautiful.

He loved his beloved so much that he had to write about it.  He had to shout it to everyone that his love surpassed everything.

His reaction is what ours as believers should be.  His love is powerful, just as God’s love for us is.  We should want to declare it until we are blue in the face.

What a beautiful image of love.

Finally, the video talks about the church being the Bride of Christ.  We are.  We are the Bride of Christ.  And we should live that way.  Be proud of our status.  Declare the Word of the Lord wherever we go.

But we don’t.

We struggle.  We fight.  We run.  We hide.

We are not proud in our love and faith, but scared to be seen as different.  To not be liked.

This video spoke volumes to me.  It made me remember how loved I am, and the kind of love that I deserve by the one who God has created for me.  What a beautiful sight.

And love….love can make you do crazy things.

Little Do You Know

“Little do you know I’m trying to pick myself up, piece by piece.”

True story.

I remember sitting listening to my friends talk about their breakups and their heartbreaks and I thought, man I could never survive that.

Well, I definitely have a flair for the dramatics.  Even though it is hard, I am surviving.

Throwing myself into teaching helps.  Some nights the ache is so powerful that I forget to breathe.  To keep moving forward.

One step at a time.

That’s all it is, after all.

So back to the subject of this blog, teaching.

There is a lot to be said about teaching, especially a class for the low performing readers.  They lose an elective people.  They come in my classroom door already on guard.

So to keep them from hating us even more, we decided to give them something they desperately need.

Open gym.

Those two words to middle schoolers are like Nirvana.  Their eyes got wide, their smiles spread, and the adrenaline in their body physically manifested itself.

We are now not the ones writing referrals, the ones fighting them to learn, the ones that are exposing their weaknesses.  We are the coolest teachers in the world.

And though being “cool” is not the goal, isn’t that relationship important?  Isn’t that what we are striving for everyday?  Let me tell you, this is working.

I’m hearing them say thank you.  Middle school boys don’t say that very often.

Teaching is so much more than the classroom….so much more.