Monday, November 2, 2009

From Scratch

I'm lost right now, not in the "which way is North?" or "where is my car in this infernal lot?" but more in the "oh crap, my life has not panned out as I planned." Waking up and realizing that there is a part of you, and you don't know exactly how big that part is, that you don't recognize, and even harder to explain, is potentially antithetical to who you thought you were. I don't know what I should be doing- what do you do when everything that you thought you wanted turns out to not even come close to fulfilling all your wildest dreams? Do you stick with it hoping that after a rough start, everything will indeed right itself and life will resume as planned and expected? Or do you begin to look deeper and ask some really sticky questions that you may not like the answers to? 

I'm currently embarking on a journey that will have me doing both of these things- continuing along the path I'm on and along the way, asking all sorts of sticky questions and carefully listening for the answers. I don't know where this is going to take me and I certainly don't know how I'm going to feel about the outcome, but I'm on it none the less. I'm going to need a lot of prayer.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thoughts on Where the Wild Things Are

Let me get this out of the way right now: Where the Wild Things Are is indisputably a well crafted and visually stunning piece of cinema. It has a killer soundtrack, great acting and virtually unparalleled use of special effects so realistic that it's mind boggling. I've already read a ton of reviews and thoughts about this film (check out this and this if you haven't read them already) that have great ideas to share but in what I've read so far, no one has mentioned something that really struck me in the film. 


This is, in my opinion, the most underrated character in the entire film. While Max is our main character and Carol our other big player here, Alexander is almost never the focus of anyone's attention. The question I'd like to ask is: why not? For those of you who are older siblings, you may have a clue as to where I am going with this. Alexander is clearly a needy critter- always doing something to be noticed by someone, anyone, and could easily be seen as a nuisance. As a matter of fact, in introducing the Wild Things to Max says "That's Alexander, he wants attention. Don't give him the satisfaction."  

It's actually amazing to realize how much screen time he really has in the film- let me tell you, it's a lot more than I originally thought it was during my first viewing- but a majority of his screen time demonstrates his inability to garner any amount of respect or importance among the Wild Things. Alexander is the bottom of the totem pole without question. Then to make things worse for himself, whenever he seems to be particularly upset, Alexander lashes out at Max with a sarcastic comment. Take for example his line "Gee, you're the best king ever. You've changed everything" when KW decides that she is going to leave the Wild Things for good after the dirt war that Max insists on. Overall Alexander is whiny, attention seeking and insecure. Not the easiest of characters to love. 

But is Alexander any worse than a younger sibling who's feeling left out? Don't we all just want that reassurance from our families and friends every now and then that we are a valued and loved member? That people pay attention and hear our voice among the madness that is daily life?

When I first saw this movie, I could not get over how heartbroken I felt for Alexander. Of course I related to Max, Carol & KW easily, but Alexander was something else. It felt like I was watching myself on screen when I've been the most insecure and desperately seeking comfort.  I felt like screaming at all the Wild Things and begging them to look at the price of their neglect. Haven't we all known someone, or worse, been someone who was avoided or ignored on the playground? Who are they, (or I), to judge someone else to be inferior and not give them the time of day?

Where the Wild Things Are is undoubtedly used as a vehicle for many different life lessons for us all which I have barely touched on here. I urge you all though to:

1. Go see this movie. Take your friends, spouse, parents, kids, etc.
2. Gush about the high caliber nature of the film. 
3. Think about what you saw, really chew it over for a couple of days, & see what you come away with from the minuscule to the momentous and everything in between.

4. Talk it over with people & apply it to real life scenarios. 

Personally, I know that I was reminded of the power that we as individuals hold over the lives of others and how our interactions shape these lives. Unchecked, we all have the ability to tear someone down and make them feel like the most insignificant of characters or we can do what we all ultimately know we should and choose to treat others like we long to be treated. Like they are valued, important, special, welcome, talented & loved

Thankfully we know that no matter how insignificant or lost or alone we are, God hears you. 

In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. _ 2 Samuel 22:7

Ask yourself- "who is my Alexander & how have I been treating him?" We are all still Wild Things at heart; the trick is to learn how to become a reformed Wild Thing and place others before yourself.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blerg. I hate colds.

Hello again. So here I sit at my desk trying in vain to complete the preparations for tomorrow's lesson fighting off a nasty cold that has taken up residence in my body. My head is pounding and I feel as though I have lost 2 out of my 5 senses. But all will be well.

Today I was seriously entertained and perhaps even slightly derailed by this. I urge you all to go and check it out in the name of fun and mustaches!

Here is what I am thankful for today: I am thankful for steaming hot cups of tea in homemade mugs that are meant to aid the getting better process. I am truly blessed to have such talented hands to craft things just for me and a sweet husband who listens to my incoherent grumblings without complaint.

Tomorrow, dear ones.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Recently, I've found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with the situations that I find myself in. Take for example, Tuesday night. I am a tutor for a first generation college bound high school student in the area. We meet weekly to go over how classes are going, any homework that he or she may have questions on, discuss what's going to be necessary to get in to college, and basic life skills. But for some reason, my person does not want to have anything to do with me despite the fact that we worked together last year. Really. I can't even get basic eye contact or more then a "yes," "no," "maybe," or "I don't know" response from any question that I ask. The kid doesn't show me the assignments that need to be done or bring her materials so my hands are tied. Tuesday the same old routine started; I came in, said hi and was ignored. The student was working on homework but wouldn't show it to me or explain what it was. I tried unsuccessfully to get the kid to talk for a half an hour with no results. Then I saw the progress reports. I saw red. The kid's failing 2 classes, has a D and a C in another and still has the nerve to not bring the necessary materials and say that there is nothing to do and I'm stuck sitting here being ignored.

So things are bad. I say that I'm tired of watching the work that the student is doing go unnoticed and that there is no way the grades can reflect it because the homework's not getting turned in. Then I point out that the assignments that are turned in have generally received good marks. Then I said these words "I honestly don't know how to help you. You're keeping me out and I can't help you if this is how you want it to be."

I've never felt more utterly useless or unnecessary as I did in that moment, potentially more so because this is what I'm trained to do and what I studied in school. I'm mad at the kid, mad at the supervisor who insists that my student is doing fine and that there's not a problem and mad at myself for being so caught up in this mess. But how could I not loose it?

It's not just Tuesday night either. I find myself getting angry on behalf of others, my husband in particular. I hate seeing him getting pushed around between work and school and I hate seeing other people who should be able to identify what is taking place before their eyes not recognize the stress that they are placing on his already massively overburdened shoulders.

It's human nature to want to shirk out of your own responsibilities but why do we always forget that in doing so, we effectively throw someone else under the bus? Is that fleeting feeling of relief truly worth it when we are able to understand that all we have done is to burden another?

I am working on my temper- I've nowhere near perfected it- but I am consciously trying to not let it interfere with my interactions with others. That being said, I wonder if there is a difference between frustration and true anger. What if I'm justified in getting angry? What if it's on behalf of someone else? What if it's not for personal gain? What am I supposed to do then?

I once heard that anger is God's way of getting his people to react against injustice and actually do something about it. If that's the case, what should I be doing? I want so badly to go into these situations, both guns blazing, acting first and asking questions later but I can't and that feeling leaves me feeling even more frustrated and helpless than before. I just have to take on my own responsibilities and trust that God will take care of the rest. Unfortunately that is not the easiest option for me, (let's just say I have a few trust issues).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seriously? Until I saw it, I didn't believe it...

Happy Tuesday everyone!

This one is truly incredible. I actually have no words. Ok, maybe I can scrounge up one. Pathetic. This is just plain pathetic. I weep at the knowledge that this actually has taken place in society.

I would like to write more, but I am currently fuming about some of the occurrences that took place this evening at tutoring. Tomorrow I should be calm enough to explain, but not now, oh not now. I'll focus instead on what I am thankful for and think happy thoughts.

I am thankful that our apartment, which is currently undergoing a renovation in the balcony region, is not suffering any ill effects from the procedure. While it is true that we have had to deal with a lot more noise than usual, our apartment has remained relatively unscathed, unlike a majority of other apartments in the building whose walls are beginning to fall down around them. In fact, this problem is so far removed from me that I didn't even realize that this was happening. Talk about being blessed. So thanks once again to The Man running the show for keeping the walls, floor, and roof over my head from crumbling, literally.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Greetings friends.

Today's find is nothing short of genius! I have searched, oh how I've searched, to bring you this glorious portrayal of desperation, hair, and quite a line up of characters. With no further ado, here it is (don't be alarmed by the title, its safe to watch!):

I urge you all to immediately go and watch this compilation. It will seriously be 4 of the best minutes you've ever had!

As promised, what I am thankful for today are friends who spur of the moment decide to whip up a fantastic dinner to share. My dear friend, (you know who you are), you are a delight! Being able to come over to your place and enjoy a great meal and fellowship was exactly what I needed. Thanks again!

And now dear readers, I send you off to commence in all of the various weekend activities that you have planned. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

True to my word, here are the 2 things that I said I'd daily post:

First of all, for entertainment's sake, you must go visit this site. It has a fantastic collection of pictures that truly are hard to comprehend without seeing them for yourself. Enjoy!

Next, I would like to say that I am thankful for being able to reach out and connect with a friend that is multiple states away. The stars aligned perfectly and allowed us to reconnect and talk about life. It was fabulous. So thanks to you Verizon Wireless!

That's all for now!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I'm trying.

I think I've said that phrase at least a billion times in the past month alone. I really have used it in pretty much every situation I can think of from the mundane to the unimaginable and today was no exception. "I'm trying," was tossed into a conversation with my mom, (like the loose change in your pocket that you unthinkingly just add to the tip because its there), and I didn't realize what I had said until it had passed through my lips. Then the realization hit.

The phrase, "I'm trying" has actually come to mean, "yeah, well, whatever. Back off."

When did I become so guarded? When did I learn to speak easy words that mask what I'm really saying instead of the words that sting, but resound with the truth that they contain? Why have I not paused to think about the subtle lies that fly out of my mouth? Honestly, I'm not sure. I do know that I am tired of this process.

So here are some words that sting a little:
I'm not doing fine. I don't have everything figured out the way I said I would, the way I convinced myself I would. I feel confused- like I'm in a haze all the time. But I'm not down and out, I refuse to be.

I'm going to try to be honest with myself and others. And I've decided that I'm going to take the initiative to look positively at my life. Each day I will try to post something funny or weird or whatever that I want to and also to post something that I am thankful for. Let's see how this goes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Disjointed Thoughts on "Real Life"

It's the end of an era- I've finally graduated from college. It's a weird feeling. Weirder still is that I have no clue of which direction my life is heading in. My bets on substitute teaching for the next year. Not the most appealing option, but a necessary one.

I've also got to find a new apartment- any ideas? (It has to be dog friendly. Also, I'd be thrilled with a washer/dryer in unit. If you know of anything, let me know.)

My pet mouse died the night after commencement. He was super old and I knew this was coming but still, it made me sad. My grandma said he was there to see me through school and since I was done, so was he. The apartment is unnaturally quiet at night without him running on the wheel.

I got a pretty sweet new slr camera as a graduation gift from my family. I'm going to get hard core about digital photography over the summer. Then I'll combine these photos with my amazing technique on photoshop and you'll all be blown away by the results. At least I hope so.

Now I'm wondering if I have anything planned for dinner- will there even be time for dinner?- and the answer is no. Should've thought about this sooner. It's going to be a long night.

Like I said, it's going to be a long night. There's a concert today and tomorrow and it's going to be all consuming. Good I think, but all consuming.

What do I do with myself? I can't seem to be able to nail a job. It's fairly stressful. I'm trying not to think that I'm wasting my time sitting around job hunting or that if I do find a job, I'm wasting my talent since I went to college and trained for something that it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to do right now.

When did I become a grown up? And how did this sneak up on me? Why does it feel so weird sometimes and so natural at others?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Unflinching Truth


This one little word can stir up so much trouble and so much joy. I hardly know what to do with it, let alone define it. But should it be difficult to define truth? The readings for class today say that truth is not hard to define.

Aletheia (noun): "truth, dependability, freedom from error, integrity."

"It is not always directly verifiable, but truth is always that matching up of an idea to reality."

"[Truth] is unyielding in the face of beliefs."

"Truth is a part of what God has put in creation to help us deal with reality... if our beliefs are true we are enabled to deal with reality effectively."

"Truth is also the only basis of tolerance." (Dr. Dallas Willard, Truth: Can We Do Without It?)

(It took me at least 2 times to read these quotes and grasp their meaning well enough to talk about them. As far as this topic is concerned, I am walking in the shadows of giants.) If truth truly is as easy to define as this, why is it that our society is perpetually seeking to "understand" or "discover" it?

Ultimately, I think it is because of the very nature of truth. Truth is unflinching. It is light without the trace of a shadow and it is spoken without a single ounce of trepidation. And this is what terrifies us as human beings- try as you might, you cannot twist truth to do your bidding. You may manipulate it, make tons of truth claims (that you know are actually fiction claims), and scream at the top of your lungs that you know the "real" truth, but deep down we all know that the truth doesn't need us to shape it; instead, the truth shapes you.

That's a terrifying thing to imagine. Truth is unchanging and unflinching and no matter how I try to tame it or selectively trim it as I see fit, there is nothing that can be done to stop its life changing power. Nothing. Christians should know this all too well- Jesus Christ was born, he lived and died for us and didn't stop there. He tore down all the bars that we had placed between us and God (or Truth) and defied death itself. Yet we as Christians still try to impede truth's progress in our lives, ultimately because I believe it's painful.

Today people are in desperate need of the truth. What it is, where to find it, how to recognize it, how to use it, how to understand it...these questions shake people to their very core. If the truth is known to you, don't keep it tucked away only to be used for special occasions. Let truth dictate your actions and thoughts and maybe the truth will not be as difficult to find as it may seem. Who knows, maybe someone will even ask to talk to you about the very nature of truth?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Way of Molly Hatchet: Flirting with Disaster

So here I am, nearly at the end of student teaching when it hits me- I still have about 60 billion things that need to get accomplished in order for me to graduate. This is where my heart starts racing, my stomach tries to take a play from the Boy Scouts book and attempts to try to tie itself into as many knots as possible, and I want to throw in the towel.

Regretably, this is simply not an option.

I've reached the point where I am truly teatering on the edge...there are simply too many things that must get completed and I am being pulled every which way by trying to complete them. I know that I am anxious, (that's an understatement), but I just want to fall back into treacherous old habits that only manage to cut my legs out from under me.

I think the scariest thing for me is that I am so close and that the end is actually near. I may actually graduate, and that means that I have a new set of things to tackle. I may actually succeed and go on to do what I've worked towards for so long. But then again, if I try, I could actually get let down and have to try all over again.

I'm haunted by the things that are just looming in the air, precariously dangling just in front of me, but also, just out of focus. I need to learn how to trust. Lord, help me do that. Not to trust in my own abilities, but yours, because I know that if it were up to me right now, I would let my warped idea of relief consume me and I would give in. Please remove this temptation or show me the way through it- because stagnancy is like the Siren's call.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Collecting the golden apples...a labor

Oh friends. I am continually overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work that student teaching involves. I am burnt-out. Thanks be to God, break is next week. But I am exhausted.

Also, there are not very many teaching jobs available. I think I've counted 6 full time positions, 1 maternity leave sub job, and 1 part time job for the county that would be applicable for me. That's not a lot of positions when you think of the entirety of DuPage County.

And as of last night, I learned that the U.S. has more teachers than the population of Latvia (around 3.1 million), so I'm a little nervous about my chances of landing a job. Today alone I have searched for over 4 hours online for job postings. Finding and applying for a job makes me feel like I'm currently being asked to take on one of Hercules' 12 labors. This is especially true when I'm already feeling overburdened.

There is a very real possibility that I will be piece mealing a job together for myself through sub requests. I have to say that this doesn't sound too appealing.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Solo flight

Solo flight. That's what today is for me- my coop is not here today so I am managing the classes and teaching on my own. How do I feel about it? Ok. That's all.

It's really challenging to find a balance between me the professional and me the person. Let me explain; I'm obviously a person who is also a professional, my question is though, can I be both things at once without diluting who I am or without neglecting one side or the other?

As a professional, (or teacher), I see myself in regards to the responsibilities I have. I am responsible for teaching the students music, not just the basics, such as technique, rhythm, pitch, etc. but also how to understand, think about, appreciate, and essentially create music. Beyond that I have all the "housekeeping" responsibilities such as keeping order in the class, following national, state, and district outlines of how/what to teach, keeping the room clean, continually enriching my own education, staying organized, planning ahead for the next week (and by week, I really mean at least the semester or year) and much more.

As a person however, my set of responsibilities change and I think in terms of the responsibilities I have to others. I must make sure that I am treating everyone fairly, creating a "safe environment" for the students to learn in, investing in the people, yes people, I am teaching, no serving, quietly modeling appropriate adult behavior and most importantly, living a life that is both serving and pleasing to the Lord.

Looking back on this it's easy to see why I feel so unsteady or unsure on my feet. There is way too much here for anyone to juggle weekly, let alone every 50 minutes of the day.

I can't do all this. Yet this is exactly what I am called to do. Is it any wonder I'm so overwhelmed?

Despite what I've said above, today has gone on just fine. No blood was spilt, no outbursts or tantrums, not even a single complaint about what they were being asked to do (so far, at least).

But somehow I feel like I'm just scrapping by.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thoughts from the other side (aka what teacher's actually think)

Well here we are friends. I'm trying my hand at this thing again and am not sure as to how this will go- if you're reading this, good for you.

Today I taught a subject that I hated (and more importantly did not comprehend): music theory. The most loathed, baffling, tedious subject that I have ever studied. In fact, it's safe to say that the only thing that I can possibly hate more than music theory is math. And that's saying something. Anyways, I reviewed part writing in root position and the various appropriate ways to lead voices and the students seemed to understand it. They all looked like the living dead, (granted it was 7:00am), but they understood it. I was even complimented by my coop teacher that I did a good job on today's lesson- the catch was that I felt like this was a chore. I hated teaching this.

Here's my question- am I suppossed to hate what I teach? What if I just hate a small part of it? That doesn't mean that I'm on the wrong track does it?

My gut tells me no. Maybe I am just supposed to fake it and do what I need to in order to eventually love what I do for a living. This whole process of student teaching has been filled with highs and lows, I'm not surprised by that, I'm getting a little nervous that all my highs have past me by though.

All I can say is that student teaching is hell. At least right now it is.
A smattering of life experiences, insight, random internet finds and anything else that comes to mind as I'm posting. Sometimes funny, sometimes true, sometimes just ridiculous, it's a little bit of everything- from my perspective.