The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Anything But the Box

We are verging on two months.  My other blog is going strong…but that is irrelevant here.  What is relevant here is that I am beyond the breaking point.

Just over a year ago, I admitted to myself and to those around me that I did not want to be a teacher.  I didn’t really know what I wanted to do…but I knew that I didn’t want to settle into a classroom and get stuck there for 30 years.  So, for the past 365+ days, I have been seeking an alternative.  The first thought was social work.  I pursued graduate schools with appropriate programs (I’ve been rejected by one, accepted to another, and told that I will probably get rejected from a third).  In the midst of applications though, I thought that I might want to be a counselor…so, I started looking at psych programs…short-lived ambition.  I set my heart on teaching in France and applied to a program.  One and a half weeks ago (April 4), I received an e-mail rejecting me from that program.

I had just known in my head and my heart that it was so right for me!  I wasn’t ready for graduate school or a “grown-up” job.  I just needed someplace to go for a year while I cleared my head.  It was the perfect scenario–go teach in France for a year and come back with a fresh outlook on my life.  But God broke my heart.

And thus, over the past eleven days, I have gone back to square one, via the five stages of grief…well, I do not think that I have quite made it to the final stage just yet.  At this point, I don’t even know what to think.  I spent some time feeling that the whole world was full of opportunities; but nothing is clicking.  I just want to see one job somewhere…and fall in love with it…the way I did with France.  Nothing is happening, though.

I feel like I need to remind God that I am here and that I am willing to GO.  I want to beg him to let me GO because right now, one of the options is moving back to Arkansas.  Supposedly I could find a job teaching French somewhere down there.  I don’t want to go back to Arkansas.

God, I am willing to move to Africa…Asia…an inner city where my life-expectancy is lessened due to drive-by shootings.  You don’t need me in Arkansas.  DON’T MAKE ME GO BACK IN THE BOX.

That is how I see Arkansas.  I spent the first 18 years of my life there.  The last four have been spent in Missouri…not that much better.  I am itching to get away to a place where people’s minds and hearts are open.  I am tired of people who judge and people who hold tight to tradition.  Anywhere but there…but here…please God.

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Timing

It is not my path to choose.

Timing is everything (well, everything that location isn’t).  In the past, I have been a very punctual person.  I like being on time, on top of things, and on point (I felt a strong need to maintain parallel structure).  Risking my reputation with tardiness is not in my playbook…well, it wasn’t.  But then I started college.

Most people become more organized and punctual when they start college.  I went the opposite direction.  I have become less structured, less organized, and less punctual.  I used to be a straight-up type A personality with OCD-ic tendencies.  I still have those tendencies, but to a much lesser degree and with much quirkier things (I went through a phase where I took three carrots, three slices of cucumber, and three sugar snap peas to lunch every day).  And I still like knowing what’s going on, so my planner is bananas!  But, when it comes to getting to those things, I’m not always there on time.

I say all of that to say that “Timing isn’t everything.”  I have come to discover that there are little moments in your life where being on time and being on top of things isn’t necessary.  Those are often the moments when whatever you are focusing on is more important than where ever you “need” to be.  Stopping to talk to my roommate.  Calling my grandmother.  Making sure that I pull the cookies out of the oven at just the right moment.

These are the little things that I am having to stop and appreciate right now.  I am student teaching; therefore, I am in school for a minimum of eight hours a day!  My time is more precious than ever, especially since I have to go to bed by 11 pm every night!  I am having to exercise a level of time management that has not been required of me since I was in high school (well, there have been weeks when things get overwhelming…but not quite to this degree of constancy).  And, I’m having to prioritize.  There are things that are having to go.  There are also things that I used to think were unimportant…they have become important.

Argh.  Timing is EVERYTHING.  Talk about a circular post.  When we bring up making sacrifices due to the limited nature of time, we are talking about time being the most precious commodity.  Everything takes time.  Nothing is free when time is our currency.  Good grief, that sucks.  I want time.  I want all the time in the world…and not just right now.  Not just to get all of my lesson plans made and dinners made.

I want time to slow down so that I can decide where I am going in my life and how the hell I am going to get there.  Yeah, that’s right.  I don’t know what I am going to be when I grow up.  And, yes, I am in my last semester of undergrad.  I’m majoring in elementary education, but I don’t want to be a teacher.  I don’t know what I want to be.  Up until recently, I’ve been okay with that.  But as the time draws closer and closer, I see other people settling into their futures.  They have jobs, graduate schools, husbands/wives.  And I have…nothing.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…

…a time to plant and a time to uproot…

…a time to weep and a time to laugh…

…a time to be silent and a time to speak…

…He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (select verses)

Then again, with God on my side, maybe I have everything that I need.  All I need is to trust.  I must be humble in my thoughts and, more importantly, in my plans.  He has the plans…they are not mine to have or mine to make.

Trust

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The Source of My Power

I started student teaching this week.  Some people call this an internship or a practicum or something else that may or may not make sense.  At my college, we just call it “student teaching”.  There are a lot of people who were excited about student teaching.  It is the last step to receiving the degree.  The last step in this four-year journey to doing what they all want to do.  Have wanted to do.

I’m not like those people.  I was, at one point in time though.  When I started college, student teaching was my goal.  I wanted to go into that classroom and just immerse myself in the process, soaking up every possible bit of knowledge in order to eventually lead my own group of students to discover all that the world has to offer.  Here I am, though, three and a half years later!  I don’t want to teach in a classroom.  Teaching in a classroom is the most terrifying thing.  I don’t wanna! (imagine a little kid throwing a tantrum…now you’ve got the picture!)

And so, I went into the whole experience with this mindset: “I know I can do this.  I have been through three and a half years of school.  Add to that all of my experience with kids and in classrooms.  All I have to do is use my knowledge and it will all be over in less than five months.  I’ve got this!”  That’s the pep-talk I used on my first day…after crying myself to sleep the night before.

What kind of crack was I smoking?  Did I really think that I could get through the next five months based on the fact that I had been to school and liked kids?  Last Sunday morning, I wrote down one thing from the service: “If I can do it on my own strength, it’s not worth doing.”

In that case, I sure as hell hope that I can’t student teach.

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2. Saturday: Stargazing

Okay, so here’s what went down.  That website lied.  Saturday night was CRAZY cloudy!  And, here’s the lowdown on what exactly happened.

I got off of work at 10 pm.  I bummed around my house–making coffee, cleaning the kitchen, etc–until 11.  At that point in time, I hopped in my car with a bag of gummy bears and two cups of coffee.  I started driving.  I had looked up a lake with some picnic areas and headed to one of those.  I had planned on putting a blanket down on a picnic table and just staring up.  Five minutes into the drive, I pulled open the sunroof and glanced up…nothing.  I saw a big, bright moon…but no stars.  Then I realized that I was low on gas.  So, I turned around.  I stopped at Wal-Mart for some sort of snack besides gummy bears, got some gas, then went home.  I laid down and took a nap.  When my alarm went off an hour and a half later, I got up and headed for the lake again.

I turned off of the highway and hung a right at a stop sign…then I got nervous.  What if I couldn’t find my way back?  What if I got lost in these backroads?  What if I disappeared forever and ever and ever?  Those thoughts were consuming me as I saw a church.  Since there was a car behind me, there were lots of unknown curves, and I didn’t know where the road was going…I pulled in.

And this is what happened.  The moon was so insanely bright that I couldn’t resist trying to make something beautiful with its light.  yeah, I realize that it’s no Ansel Adams…but, I did what I could with I had (Nikon D60).  I have to admit that, as I sat in that church parking lot…alone…in the dark…I got a little bit freaked out.  What if some crazed maniac with blood spread all over his shirt leaped out of the woods and tackled me?  What if the crazed maniac had blood covering his mouth?  What if the crazed maniac was wielding a weapon?  Ahhh!  So, I hopped in my car and was pretty much ready to go home and call it a night.  But, I didn’t.  Instead, I drove a little ways and then pulled into a little gravel parking area.  There were several other cars there…people fishing on the dark and quiet lake, I’m assuming.  I planned on sitting there for a bit–eating my cheddar and sour cream potato chips and junior mints.  I was going to wait for more stars to emerge from the cloudy sky.  I started in on the junior mints (they’re great for a coffee-free jolt of wakefulness!).  Then, I looked out the window…and there was the great, bold moon.  Once again, she spoke to me.  She became my muse of discovery…the discovery of long exposure:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah!  I know, I know: amateur hour.  Don’t judge…because if you judge, you will not be judging my photography, but instead, my use of God’s beauty.  Yeah!

As I was driving out to this lake, I could feel my spirits slowly fall.  The clouds were covering the sky and the moon was so bright it would undoubtedly hide any stars that made it through the smoggy clouds.  So, I prayed…I don’t even remember what I prayed.  I just wanted to see beauty…to have the opportunity to revel in the glory and power that is God.  And, I got to do that.  Sure, I was assisted by a bit of technology.  But that’s completely irrelevant.  God is in everything that we do.  Even when our plans (such as stargazing) don’t happen due to interferences beyond our control (like clouds)…He is there.  He knows what will put smiles on our silly little faces.

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