Tuesday, 26 July 2011

An Answered Prayer!

You know, I should never plan what I'm going to write on my blog, because it never happens like I think it will.  Ever.  But I've never been more excited about a change of plans than this!

Because you know what?


As in, a good, steady job!!!  I am so excited!  Like, WAY more excited than Rebecca Black on Fridays.

Not even four hours ago, I was offered the position of 7th and 8th grade Science teacher at the school I subbed at all spring.  And not even two hours ago, I accepted!

I keep alternating between wanting to dance around and make strange hooting, yipping noises and wanting to cry because I am just so happy.

I never saw it coming.  Really.  I had thought that door was completely closed.  The position I had originally interviewed for there didn't work out and I figured that was the end of it.  But last night on our way to church I got a call from the assistant principal, telling me that a position for a science teacher had opened up and would I be interested?!!  I said absolutely (!) and spoke to the principal this evening.  And we lived happily ever after.  Ha!

**For those of you who like short versions of stories, stop here.  For those of you who love details, carry on**

A couple weeks ago a position opened up at my church, and the ladies that told me so also said, "You would be so perfect for that position!"  And really, it did seem to be an excellent match.  That was the position that I was going to interview for last Tuesday.  Which got moved to last Thursday.  Which got moved to this morning.  I was so anxious about it at first, and as time went on, my anxiety disappeared.  I don't know how or why, but it just...was.

I had my interview this morning.  I was greatly looking forward to it, though I can't say I was anxious like I was before.  I'm usually pretty chill going into interviews, so I didn't think too much about it.  The interview went wonderfully.  It was more like a conversation than an interview, and there was a lot of laughing involved from all three of us.  I left and was hopeful, but I knew they wouldn't have an answer for me for at least a week, maybe two even.  I drove away feeling that if I were offered that position, I would be quite happy and really would enjoy it greatly.

But as I spoke to the principal of the school this evening, I was practically bursting at the seams - I was so excited!  I knew, just knew, that this is what God wanted me to do.  Everything makes sense.  It all fell together perfectly, like only God can make happen.

And while I'm super pumped, I'm also really nervous.  Because school starts in less than a month, which gives me less than a month to set up a classroom, write lesson plans, and figure everything out!  Ahhh!  That really is not very much time...at all.

SO.  For those of you who are teachers, or who know teachers, I would absolutely love any advice you have for me in this crunch time!  Science teachers, feel free to share any and all ideas for lesson plans, labs, and activities.  7th and 8th grade.  And when I say feel free, I really mean pretty, pretty, PRETTY PLEASE!!!!

All praise and glory to God who provided!  He was working together the details, weaving them in and out and all around.  He could see the front of the tapestry - the beautiful design.  And I?  I could see the back, where knots about and images are distorted.  But He has answered prayer and I am so thankful!

Monday, 25 July 2011

I Can't Blog Because the Sun is Up

You know, last night as I lay in bed unable to fall asleep I had several different ideas about blogs I wanted to write.  And now that it's daytime and I'm at a computer?


I'll try for something tomorrow.  Deal?

Also.  Does this happen to anyone else?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Say What? Sseko!

It's been a while since I posted about human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  I promise I haven't forgotten!  Far from it, really.  I've since read two more books that have really challenged my thinking, and I'll be posting some more on that soon.

And you know, I don't want to always be talking about everything we shouldn't be doing and making everyone feel awful.  That's not my goal.  So today I thought I would do something a little different.  I'm going to talk about one amazing company that you can feel good about supporting.

I'm talking about Sseko Designs (pronounced \ say-ko \).  It all started when a young woman named Liz decided she was going to make a difference.  From the Sseko website:

"The Ugandan school system is designed with a nine month gap between secondary school and university. These nine months are intended to allow time for students to earn money for tuition before continuing on to university. However, in an impoverished and male dominated society, many of these young women struggle to find fair work during this time.

Sseko Designs hires recent secondary school graduates for this nine month period to live and work together, while earning money that will go directly towards their university education. These women will not make sandals forever. They will go on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers and teachers that will bring change and unification to a country divided and ravished by a 22 year-long war.

 Sseko Designs is a not-just-for-profit enterprise that recognizes the power of business and responsible consumerism to support sustainable economic development, which in turn affects a country's educational, justice, and health care systems. The goal of Sseko Designs is two-fold: provide university tuition for these promising young women through a sustainable monthly income, while also contributing to the overall economic development of Uganda."

You see what I mean?  You can feel good about buying shoes from here.  Because you don't have to wonder if the women making the shoes are treated well.  Or if they get paid fairly.  You can feel confident that by purchasing these shoes, you, too are making a difference in the lives of these women!

And let's be honest - these are some super cute shoes!  I have a pair of these shoes - I got them 2 Christmases ago, and I love them.  I even wore them in my own wedding!

See? Here's me with my Sseko shoes on my wedding day.

I had my bridesmaids wear them, too!  It was actually their gift for being in the wedding - shoes, the straps for the wedding, and then special individual straps for each lovely lady.

One really neat thing about these shoes is that it's like buying several different pairs of shoes in one.  They're super versatile.  There are tons of different strap designs and colors to choose from, and they are all really fun.  But probably the neatest thing about these shoes is not the variety of straps; it's the many different ways you can tie them!  Just go here and you can choose a style and watch the easy-to-follow video.

Here's what my sandals look like right now:

I had to search hard to find grass that was still alive and green for this photo.

Pay no mind to my short little fat feet or my badly painted toenails.  Instead, ooh and ahh at my classy shoes!

See what I mean?  And once you have the leather soles, you can keep buying more straps!  You know, if you want to.  (Which you probably will because they're CUTE!)

The only issue I have with these shoes is actually probably a user-related issue (aka: my fault).  I still haven't quite figured out how to tie them so they don't feel like they are slipping off.  Well, I take that back.  I did a really good job 2 weekends ago.  So if you tie them right, they feel great and secure!  Be more awesome than me and tie them right all the time when you get them, okay?

I was not paid or endorsed for this post in any way.  In fact, they have no clue I wrote it.  I wrote it because I wanted to.  Fancy that!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Social Paralysis

So outwardly, I'm a very outgoing, energetic, confident person.  And most of the time I'm that way on the inside, too.  But every once in a while, insecurity takes up residence in my mind.  I don't usually show it outwardly, but when it's there, to me it's quite palpable.

I'm not insecure about many things, and I've worked really hard on overcoming the insecurities I do have.  But recently a new insecurity has wriggled its way into my life.  Or maybe it's not as much a new insecurity as it is an old one with a makeover.

I'm sure most of us, if not all, were insecure about meeting new people at some point.  Some of you may still be insecure about it now, and that's okay.  But this insecurity has morphed itself into something entirely new to me.  I'm usually pretty good at making friends.  I'm friendly and outgoing, and like my dad, I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone.  So chances are in a new group of people, SOMEONE will want to be my friend.  But when we lost our jobs in December, things changed a bit.  I'm still friendly and outgoing, but I lack the inner confidence I once had, I think.  Because when we lost our jobs, we also lost a lot of friends.  They'll protest and say that's not true, that they are still our friends...but when people make no effort to talk to or see us in eight months, I'm going to listen more to their actions and not their words.  And honestly, there's no bitterness in that statement - I'm just being 100% completely honest.

Making new friends has been incredibly more difficult than Matt and I imagined.  We met some people in April and it was the most promising hint at a friendship yet.  When we found out they attend the same church as we do, we got even more excited.  "Oh boy!  Finally, some friends!  We need friends!"  A couple months went by, and then one day we saw them in the church parking lot.  Seizing the opportunity, we walked up behind them, got their attention, and started up a conversation.  And it was probably the.most.awkward social encounter I've ever had.  And really discouraging.

On our drive home, I was lost in thought, wondering why people just didn't seem to want to be our friends.  I mean, we're likable people.  At least, I think we are.  So why the no friends?  Then I also realized that we also just haven't met very many people our age, and even less people our age that are married.  So it's not like there are multitudes of people who have decided we are not friend-worthy, we just haven't had much luck with the people we've met.

But the problem doesn't just stop there.  Despite the overwhelming majority of people that no longer keep in contact with us, we do have some very wonderful friends that we keep up with.  But even with them, I've begun to second-guess myself.  Are they just hanging out with us because they feel bad for us?  Out of guilt or obligation or pity?  In fact, just the other week I had Matt ask some friends of ours if they would want to hang out because I was too scared to do it myself.  I felt so stupid.  I mean, these people had been some of our best friends.  They're still good friends, but...?

As you can see, the repercussions of losing our jobs in December didn't just stop with finances and our living situation; they trickled all the way down to our social lives and relationships.  Trust was broken and has yet to be fully restored, whether by the ones who broke it or by new people coming in and healing old wounds.

I am hopeful that the Lord will use our few remaining friendships to teach us and refine us.  And maybe we aren't ready for super new friendships yet, because we still need to heal from old ones.  I don't know. But it's interesting, isn't it?

Some days it's worse than others, and some days I don't notice it at all.  It's not an all-encompassing, can't get out of bed or can't-move-because-the-Bogeyman-will-get-me feeling - not at all!  But I'm a social person and sometimes I just...am more affected.  And today seemed to be a good day to write about it.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Our First Vacation

This past weekend Matt and I went on our first non-honeymoon vacation.  Wahoo!  As much as we would love to go on another cruise (please, Carnival, give us a free cruise??), we just can't afford one.  Not now anyway.  And we want to go, like, yesterday now.  So we had to make do with what we've got, which isn't much.  (We are firm believers in not spending money you don't have.  Shocking.  I know.)

Some friends of ours got married on Saturday, so that was our opportunity to get out of town and do something fun!  Friday afternoon we packed up the car and headed to Houston to stay with my aunt and uncle.  We were looking forward to this weekend for the whole getting away aspect, but we were also eagerly anticipating the antics of my relatives (they're legendary).

I'm sure everyone has a crazy aunt and uncle in their family, but in my family?  They're all nuts.  Mostly because crazy runs in our family.  It's part of what makes us so awesome.  I am not immune.

We were not disappointed in the least - not by them, not by the getting away...it was all good.  The wedding was lovely, the bride was beautiful, the reception was fun.  We even got to go to the beach on Saturday!  I've become quite the Sunscreen Nazi, so we were applying fresh sunscreen every 90 minutes or so.  That is, until we discovered the hermit crabs.  Then we totally forgot and, alas, our backs are fried.  But the hermit crabs!  They were just so fun!

The whole vacation weekend cost us only what we spent on gas, and I will deem it a success!  So now we are back to our normal lives and our normal routines.  I'm hopeful those things will improve soon, but no luck yet.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

I Don't Want To Be A Celebrity, But...

You know, the life of a celebrity does not appeal to me in the least.  If I think things aren't private living in a house with three other adults, I would never be able to handle the paparazzi and the press all up in my bidness.  Also, I feel like they've got to be unhappy.  No time to relax.  No normalcy.  Divorces and scandals galore...

But, there is one thing I wouldn't mind.  Okay, maybe two.  Or three.


Having a hairstylist who is really, REALLY good.  I've always had trouble with my hair.  It's fine. (Fine as in thin and slippery, not fine as in good.  Duh.)  And flat.  And rebellious.  When I get my hair cut, I always walk away with what is most likely a variation of what I had before.  And no matter how I try, when I style it myself, it just looks dumb.  Having a hairstylist who knows and understands my hair is definitely appealing.

I did not have a hairstylist who knows and understands my hair today.  In fact, she really didn't listen much when I told her what I wanted, what I like, and what I don't like.  I was really hoping today was going to be an awesome, magical experience in which I would be transformed into the girl with hair to envy.  Today was a very average experience in which I walked out of the salon with a haircut that hardly looks any different than the last 100 I've had.

Don't get me wrong...I like my haircut.  It's just not as happy as it could be because it wants to be known and understood.

Here's me and my new hair. See? It's not bad, but it's not awesome and inspiring and worthy of envious stares. Also? I hate pictures like this. I feel like it wouldn't be out of place on a myspace or dating site. Don't expect too many more of these from me.

Oh, and if you're wondering what the other two things are...

Having a personal trainer would be cool.  I could definitely use someone who can whip my body into shape.  And having a lot of money would be cool, because then I would be able to actually donate money to worthy causes instead of just wanting to.  Oh yeah.  One more thing.  People would really listen to what I have to say.  It's not like no one listens to me at all...I just don't have the influence that celebrities do (and boy would I love to).  It would be amazing to say "care for poor people!!!" and "do something about human trafficking and slave labor!!!" and "buy me an ice cream!!!" and have TONS of people actually do it.  Also, I didn't meant that last one.  I just really want ice cream right now.

Maybe I should look into becoming a celebrity after all.

Kidding! (kind of)

Monday, 4 July 2011



This Independence Day, I am more thankful than ever for our freedom and our rights.  This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I am more aware than ever of how precious those things are.  After reading Half the Sky and Not For Sale (still working on that one), hearing Jim Martin of IJM speak, and watching CNN's Freedom Project and Demi Moore's documentary on Nepal's Stolen Children...I realize just how fortunate we are as Americans.

We have a voice.  We matter to our country.  We have rights.  Freedoms.  Choices.  We decide what God we serve.  We elect our country's leaders.  We have health care.  We have education.  We have opportunities to elevate our life and financial situations.  We can achieve great things!

I realize America has flaws.  I'm not saying we've got it all figured out and that there is no corruption period.  That would be untrue.  But when compared to many other governments around the world?  We really don't realize how well-off we have it.

So today, I'm not just proud to be an American.  I am so very incredibly thankful to be an American.
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