Wednesday, December 19, 2007


To update: I nixed the sewing project, it just wasn't happening. Grades are grades, whatever.

I went to MSD to observe yesterday. SO FUN! I'm excited. :-)

Thanks to Noel I took this random personality test and test of multiple intelligences. I wasn't surprised:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

"ISTJs are often called inspectors. They have a keen sense of right and wrong, especially in their area of interest and/or responsibility. They are noted for devotion to duty. Punctuality is a watchword of the ISTJ. The secretary, clerk, or business(wo)man by whom others set their clocks is likely to be an ISTJ."
- ISTJ Profile (TypeLogic)

"ISTJs are very loyal, faithful, and dependable. They place great importance on honesty and integrity. They are "good citizens" who can be depended on to do the right thing for their families and communities. While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor and can be a lot of fun - especially at family or work-related gatherings."
- Portrait of an ISTJ (The Personality Page)

"...characterized by decisiveness in practical affairs, are the guardians of institutions, and if only one adjective could be selected, "super dependable" would best describe them."
"...private, does not appreciate strangeness, not adventurous, not spontaneous, follows the rules..."
- Jung Type Descriptions (ISTJ) (

"At work, ISTJs get things done on a timely basis. They honor deadlines, and they believe in thoroughness. A half-finished joy is not a job well done. They established procedures and schedules, and are uncomfortable with those who do not do the same. ISTJs put duty before pleasure. As long as they can fulfil their responsibilities, they feel useful and thereby satisfied. Their work does not have to be fun, but it has to count toward something productive. ISTJs believe that vacations are something that one takes only when work has been accomplished; thus, at times they do not take vacations even when they could and should."
- ISTJ - The Reliant (Lifexplore)

It also has a list of real ISTJ's...a lot of presidents and (doubting) Thomas. Hmmm... Oh! And Eeyore. ;-)

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I'm making a present for my step-sister, Becky for Christmas. It's going to be really cool, when it is finished. Right now, though, I am major-ly frustrated. This present requires sewing, and working with fabric that is quite delicate. It requires ironing, and applique-ing. Gross. Why did I decide to do this, you may ask? Because it's going to be very cool when it is finished, and I think she will like it a lot. Right now I'm just having problems with the fabric fraying, the bobbin on the sewing machine not working, and my inconsistencies with a zig-zag stitch are driving me nuts!

Another thing that makes me say, "Arg" right now is my grade for one of my MSU classes. I just found out that I have a 3.5. Some might say, "3.5 in a master's class, great job, Jess!" Not me. I'm frustrated because, even though I didn't put as much work into the end of the class as I did in the beginning, and even though my last assignment wasn't as good as it should have been, I have consistently been one of the first to attempt anything in that class, and one of the few that consistently puts in effort. I'm frustrated because I get a graded paper back that has no negative comments on it, and the score is, "95% - A". Especially when according to the grading scale, 95% is just barely a 4.0. On that grading scale, I don't know that anyone in the class got a 4.0. And I think there are at least 3-4 out of the 15 that deserve it. I guess I should have done better on the last project, which was worth 30% of my grade (I got a B - 85% which is just barely a 3.0). Even on the final grade sheet, the comments read something like this, "Jessica, although your work on the last project was not as strong as the others, I have been consistently impressed by your confidence and abilities. You have the potential of becoming an excellent teacher of the deaf. I look forward to when you are truly my 'colleague' and not just my 'student'." And I got a A-/B+. Whatever.

I guess the bigger question is, "why are you so upset about this?"
Do I really deserve anything?
Did I really earn anything?
Should I be thankful for what I have?
Is there anything I can do to change it? If not, then why worry?

Just my thoughts.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


So I was driving home after a hard day yesterday and changed the radio to a station playing this song. Sounded like God singing right to my heart. I want to fall to Him, nowhere else. It's so easy to seek affirmation from other people and expect them to catch me. God's the one who wants to. I should maybe let him.

Hold up there you go again
Puttin on that smile again
Even though I know you've had a bad day
Doin this and doin that
Always puttin' yourself last
A whole lotta give and not enough take

But you can only be strong so long before you break

So fall, go on and fall apart

Fall into these arms of mine
Ill catch you every time you fall
Go on and lose it all
Every doubt every fear every worry every tear
I'm right here
Baby fall

Forget about the world tonight
All that's wrong and all that's right
Lay your head on my shoulder let it fade away

And if you wanna let go baby its okay
Fall go on and fall apart
Fall into these arms of mine
Ill catch you every time you fall
Go on and lose it all
Every doubt, every fear, every worry, every tear
I'm right here
Baby fall

Hold on hold on hold on to me...

Fall go on and fall apart
Fall into these arms of mine
Ill catch you every time you fall
Go on and lose it all
Every doubt, every fear, every worry, every tear
I'm right here
Baby fall
"Fall" by Clay Walker

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Some of my friends from summer project asked me for an update, and how I was doing. This is what I came up with. After reading it through again, I realized that it is a pretty good update on how this semester has been for me, and what I have learned. I thought I would share it here, too. (does anyone even read this? lol...I guess if nothing else, it'll be for me to look back on down the line.)

Here is a summary of my first semester of student teaching:
"Time sure has flown.

This semester has been really hard. There are so many days that I don't even realize how hard it is because I'm getting used to it. I don't really like that feeling, though.

Being away from college, the atmosphere, the community, the fellowship of believers that have the same foundation as I do, even the ability to only be taking 12 credits of classes...that's been hard.

Student teaching has been hard, too, because I'm in a general education class (and I don't want to teach general education!) Next semester I'll be in a deaf education classroom, which excites me. :-) My students are really tough, a lot of issues. They are pretty typical of the inner city (not to put anyone in a box, but that gives you some idea of what my students face - minimal parent involvement, broken homes, unemployment, no real push for school work, etc).

I miss friends. I miss Crusade and the depth of study and relationship I learned there.

I've learned a lot. I've learned how to let God into my day as a teacher, how to make more decisions than I can count about things I never thought I would need to decide for another human being (i.e. whether or not they can "hold it" or if they need to "use it" right now). I'm learning how to pray. I'm pretty bad at it, but I'm learning that it's CRUCIAL for me to get through the day. I'm learning how to teach (I suppose...), and how to learn. I'm also learning how hard it is to balance work and school and any type of social life. "

Friday, December 7, 2007


1. I'm jealous that University of Illinois is playing in the Rose Bowl, and that I have friends in the band that are going. (At the same time, though, they have to march the 5 1/2 mile parade route in wool uniforms in sunny California...not so nice). MSU's going to Orlando, too. Times like this make me wish i was still in the band: 4 day paid trip to Orlando! Yay! Go State, Beat the Eagles (Boston College).

2. I got paid today! (from substituting the last time.)

3. I'm subbing 2 days in a row....Monday and Tuesday, and this time I'm planning for them (mostly) myself. *crosses her fingers* *prays* I'm going to try some more hands-on activities and centers to allow the students to work at their own pace since I'm pretty terrible at pacing and all of the (boring) worksheets that they normally do. They just get frustrated with me and with the work and I end up sending kids out of the room or making them cry...neither is a good thing.

4. Only 8 more days at my current school until I'm finished. I am so ready for my next placement in a deaf education setting!

5. Today was the last day of my MSU classes for this semester! Next semester will be quite different, hopefully in a good way...

6. We're throwing my cousin a surprise birthday party this weekend...busyness.

7. My room is trashed.

8. I miss my friends. I don't really have any here. The people I work with are the people I work with. I see them at work and don't really "hang out" with them. The people in my program are either student teaching in different places than me so I only see them on Fridays, or they are at the same school as me, but live in different cities and have busy lives and don't really hang out either. I don't know anyone from church yet. I don't know anyone in this town. I miss my friends.

9. I'm pretty terrible at keeping in touch through phone calls. I'm working on sending out Christmas cards. Hopefully they will be done by the end of this weekend, too. I think I'm over 1/2way done! :-)

10. I feel as though there were more things that I wanted to write, but I guess I'm already on 10, so it might be a good time to stop.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's been a long time...

Wow so much has happened since I last posted.

I substituted for my CT twice. Once for a 1/2 day where I had my students in class with me for 3 hours straight. The second time was for the whole day, but I only had my students in class with me for a total of 3 hours during the full day (we had specials, an assembly, and I taught science to the other second grade class).

Let me tell you....
I don't know how my CT does it on Fridays when I'm not there. True, she's been doing it for a lot longer, but so many days we both are doing so much at the same time (one controlling behavior, one teaching the lesson). It's much more difficult when you're the only adult in the room. What's even more frustrating is when the "good" kids act up. Especially the ones that don't act out for my CT, but just for me. Aren't I lucky. My CT thinks it's because he has a crush on me. Weird.

I'm tired of arguing with students that they they can be right and tell me I am wrong. They can't do that! I've started telling them that I'm tired of it...that makes them a little angry. Maybe not the best way to handle it....

I've got to try something new.

Thanksgiving was great. I went to my dad's with the fam and spent 4 days without thinking about school. :-D I didn't go to my mom's, which means I didn't get to see any of "my boys" (aka my friends from high school). That was sad. It's been too long.

I think I'm actually going to send out Christmas cards this year. I must be getting old. I feel like the only way I can keep in touch with some people is a once- or twice-per-year letter. Is that bad? Am I too young to be feeling this way? I'll try it this year and see how it goes. I miss my friends.

I'm in East Lansing right now because I'm headed to Real Life where one of my girls is sharing her testimony of how God has been working in her life. I'm really excited. She's got a great story.

Only 2 weeks of MSU classes left!
Only 3 weeks left at my general education internship site!

Man! This semester has flown by!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Two things...

I am a city girl. :-)

How do I know this? Yesterday when I was so sick that I didn't want to do anything, but I went to my brother's graduation anyway, I was downtown Chicago. As soon as we stepped outside to walk from the hotel hosting the graduation to the restaurant, I learned how much of a city girl I am. Even when I'm sick, I was energized by the brisk fall air and I just started walking (kinda fast). I knew where I was going, too! :-) As soon as the light changes, I'm walking. One thing I need to learn in the middle of that bustle is to find peace and patience, and to take time to rest. I have a hard time slowing down sometimes, too...

Here's the second thing....kinda kicked my butt today. From the iGoogle application: "Reminders from God" or something like that....
You must not expect to live in a world where all is harmony. It is your task to maintain your own heart-peace in adverse circumstances by relying on Me.

talk about peace...

Friday, November 9, 2007


A few things that are crazy right now:

... teaching
Science (weather)
      • My own unit plan
      • Culmination (hopefully) to happen next week
      • Videotaping my lesson for viewing by my MSU classmates
      • Pretty structured
      • Not as many fun activities as I would like
Phonics/reading vocabulary groups
      • I get very little preparation for this
      • Kids don't like to work well together
Behavior management
      • My students are very challenging, and oppositional
      • I am going to substitute on my own for the first time on Thursday morning...I'm nervous because the kids are so different every day, and have already chased at least 1 substitute away by being so awful.
      • I started "making deals" with students, encouraging positive behaviors by providing an incentive if they succeed in the behavior for a slotted amount of time. (i.e. If one student calls out a lot in class, his deal is to get something if he can go a whole day without shouting out.
Personal goals (as assessed by my msu teacher...)
      • Behavior management - finding creative ways to include all students and have them focused
      • Deliberately using assessments (formal and informal) to modify my teaching
      • Incorporating and including diverse learners (especially when the extremes are present in the class)
... MSU coursework
Inclusion project re: a child with visual impairments in a mainstream classroom.
      • Interviews
      • Observations
      • HUGE paper at the end exposing my findings
Project re: child with a language problem (writing expression)
      • Observations
      • Interviews
      • Research (for my problem and those of 2 of my classmates)
IEP observation
      • 6 page report re: what happened
Group Inservice (Professional Development) presentation
      • 1-2 hour presentation to "general education teachers" re: having a deaf/hard of hearing student in their classroom
      • 5 members need to collaborate in order to present this
Paper re: my learning breakdowns and development of my learning during the course of the semester

and I think I'm getting sick again....

Positive craziness:
At MSU last week they had an outreach called The Price of Life where they talked about the international slave trade and attempted to raise money for the International Justice Mission. As far as I have heard (this was as of Wednesday night) there have been 55 people who accepted Christ as their personal savior this week! This is very exciting! The angels are rejoicing. :-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


"Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other


I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me
You're holding on to me"
-Casting Crowns "East to West"

I was driving into work today with the radio on, but not really listening because I was too busy praying. You see, yesterday was probably the worst day we have had all year as far as student behavior is concerned. Seven, yes, seven of the boys in our class got in so much trouble during music and gym class that they were standing along the gym wall and had to talk to the principal before they came back to class. I was driving to school, praying for those seven boys, but also for the other students in my class. There are so many that don't have peace in their lives. So many that have little to no self-confidence or self-esteem, and so many that have no stability or structure. I was sitting and praying (and driving) when this song came on and I couldn't continue because I was so engrossed in the song. It fit so well with what I was praying about, also confessing some of my sin...and praying about how I can be more just and fair but loving about all in the classroom discipline. Here comes this song and I tear up.

Jesus, will you show me just how far the east is from the west? That's where your word (psalms, I believe) tells me you separated me from my sin.

From one scarred hand to the other... I got a mental image when I listened to this and thinking about it now conjures the same image. Now I don't know much about the actual geography/topography of the Bible, but I want to learn. I don't know if anyone knows this. The picture in my head, though, is Jesus hanging on the cross, facing North (or south). Therefore, his hands are pointing east and west, respectively. Those wounds are the payment for my sin. That is where it is placed, on Him. Not on me. Jesus knows how far apart those wounds are, but he also knows that they are finished, and they are on Him.

I also really liked the line about His peace getting me through this night....I feel so often that this year is a very long night. I'm having some dark spiritual times because I'm struggling with finding a "home" community here. I'm also in the middle of so many other transitions that it is simply nuts. I need the peace. Fill me.

p.s. Today (even though it was Halloween) was the best day we have ever had, especially with behaviors. :-D Praise God for answered prayers!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It was bound to happen...

I'm sick.

My whole family has been sick for the past 2 1/2 weeks with an awful cough and sinus problems. Christian was sick last week with a terrible stomach bug. Friday I woke up feeling kinda snuffly with a scratchy throat. It was okay for most of the day until I went to a sign social (where I didn't talk hardly at all)...after the social I tried to say (speak) goodbye to my friend and I had no voice! Since then it's been really scratchy and barely there. I hope it comes back before tomorrow because (luckily) I'm not going to teach, but I am going to a Learning Disabilities Association Conference where I am expected to be a "hostess" for one of the sessions, meaning I introduce the speaker and answer procedural questions. If this were a Deaf Educators Conference, I would be okay because I could sign, but most of these teachers don't know sign. :-(

I called my mom back last night because she left me a message. She answered the phone and I said, "Hi, how are you?" Her reply? "Better than you, apparently." My mom is so funny. :-) If it's not better by tomorrow, hopefully it is before Wednesday, otherwise my students are going to learn a lot of sign language.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The World Today

What is happening?

  • My school has been broken into 3 times since September 4th.
  • Windows have been broken (inside and out)
  • computers have been stolen
  • Today, while everyone was still in the building, a computer was stolen from the assistant principal's office
  • Out of my twenty 2nd graders, 5 have anger management problems.
My eyes are really being opened to the sin in this world. There are so many things that these students have been exposed to at such a young age. Things that never even crossed my mind until I was much older. They are being forced to care for their younger siblings because their parents need to work long hours in order to put food on the table. These kids are forced to grow up early. I hope to be able to give them a little of their childhood back at least while they're in my class. My philosophy is eyes are heart aches for these kids.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Students Today (College focus)

Found this on Noel's students today. Very interesting. Made me think about what the world will be like in the future, by the time my 2nd graders get into college age...

Friday, October 12, 2007


I think this Sunday I'm going to go to a church that some of my students go to. I'm excited.

That's all. :-)

Real Life

Last night, for the first time since April (i.e. graduation), I went to a large group gathering of Campus Crusade for Christ at MSU. My Bible study leader/discipler that is also our Assistant Campus Director was giving the talk, and I didn't want to miss it. So, after school I headed to East Lansing. I got here at about 5:30 or so and I went straight to the Business College Complex because I knew the band would be setting up soon, and I wanted to see them.

While I was at state, every Thursday night was spent in the same routine, helping the band setup and practice from 5:30-7:30, Real Life (the large group meeting) then hanging out somewhere afterward. I didn't realize how blessed I was to have that routine, nor how much I miss even the little, seemingly insignificant portions of Thursday nights from college.

I walked in as the band was warming up/practicing. I helped troubleshoot the sound board, ;-) visited for a couple seconds, and then just sat back and took it all in. It was great to see people that were new last year taking leadership roles. The guy that I 'trained' in sound was training someone new. :-) I miss it. I miss the 3 1/2 hours that I gave on Thursday nights to the Lord, for praise, worship, singing, learning, and fellowishipping. I miss the people. I was really blessed to have been involved for as long as I was. I hope to continue to be connected to that community, while at the same time I'm seeking my own community in Flint (at least for this year).

The talk was great, too. ;-) The thing that struck me the most, though, was the community. Praying together, singing together, living. This is Real Life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Celebrating Small Successes

Today went pretty well. :-)
That's a big thing.

So far the main thing that I've been teaching has been phonics and math. I'm starting to learn how to get the kids excited about the (boring) phonics readers. I just need to keep finding ways to connect it to their lives and make it real for them. The kids are at such different levels that it's hard to do the same or even similar things with all of them. This week I planned 3 different lessons for the 3 different ability groups using the same book. I went through 2 of them today (low and middle) and I need to do 2 tomorrow (high and another middle). They went alright. Some of the kids are just not interested in being a part of the group. I don't yet know how to help them engage when they are having a rough day.

The math lessons that I've been leading are more review than lessons, but it counts nonetheless. ;-) Monday I led them in a game, too, which went fine. The behaviors were pretty good on Monday, too. Today was a different story as far as behaviors were concerned (we had a talk about how to behave in the hallway, there were a couple of almost fights...), but the math calendar lesson went well. :-) It started as a mistake. We didn't have enough copies made of the sheet...I trusted that my CT had made them (which she did)...we just didn't have them all in the right place. So, I improvised. She made the copies and I explained to the class what happened and said that I was going to pick a "super helper" for the day to sit in the teacher chair and use their paper with the document reader. I even let him call on some students to help him with certain problems. (I picked one of the kids that isn't always completely forced him to pay attention, and he did a great job!) The other kids liked it, too, I think...and we are going to do it again tomorrow. I also started this, 'if you're doing the right thing you can put a smiley face on the top of your paper'. So tomorrow I need to reward the ones that had smileys on the top of their papers (all of them) to start the positive reinforcement for being on task and getting their work done well. Overall, it was a good day. :-). I thought I would talk about the positive for once.

Alright, time for dinner and then a lot of homework tonight. <3

Thursday, September 27, 2007


So far I've been told by 2 different people to watch this video. I did today. Turn the sound up and watch it. It's good.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

God Winks

Cool story: "God Wink" :-)
I went to Beaner's yesterday after class, because I thought Mandy might be working, and I wanted to have a "date night with Jesus" where I just read my Bible a little and journaled about what was going on in my life/prayed. I showed up there at about 6:15 and didn't end up leaving until 9:30! Funny thing is: I didn't read or journal hardly at all! When I first got there, before I even walked in, I saw the front page of yesterday's Tribune: "Lending Ears to Learners" with a photo of a deaf child with a cochlear implant above the fold! I was shocked and so I obviously had to buy it (even though my grandma probably saved it for me anyway) to see what it said.

I wasn't impressed, but that's another story for another time. Basically I just think that parents and deaf individuals need to make their own decisions. They can't rely on research that is skewed one way or another, and they need to hear both sides of the story, not just one biased view toward oral education and speech training or sign language instruction.

Anyway, off the soap box....
So I was sitting reading, and Mandy comes up to me and asks if I can help her sign. I met a deaf man that was at the coffee shop waiting for a friend, but can't get back into his car, because the door is broken. I make some phone calls, but most of the places that'll be able to help were closed because it was almost 7:00 on a Friday night. He then left to go get some food, but I stayed...I learned during this time that there was going to be a Deaf Social gathering at 7:30 or so, and I met some interpreters in training from LCC and a Deaf man from NC. :-)

I decided to join them (of course) instead of keeping to myself, and I had a great time chatting with everyone there. There were so many MSU deaf ed'ers there, too! That made me proud. :-) Turns out that the friend the man with the broken car was waiting for was my friend that I tutored last year! We all chatted after awhile and thought it was funny how everything all connected. :-) We got the situation resolved, finally, by calling a tow company that couldn't get the door open (which would have cost $45), but ended up breaking the window (for free!). Another funny thing about this whole situation is that the guy that came to try to fix the car/open the door is in the same criminal justice program at LCC as a friend of mine, and he's starting to learn ASL soon...maybe in January. :-) It's a small world. :-)

I loved it. I really did. It's good to have some reassurance that my passions are still where I'm headed. Help me, Lord, find out where my passions specifically lie and how they can be used for your kingdom.

Settling Down

I'm already finished with 3 weeks of school! It's hard to believe that so much time has passed already, but at the same time I can't believe that so much has happened in the past 3 weeks.

Things are settling down, which is a good thing. It's becoming a lot more comfortable being in the classroom, I'm learning my role a bit more, and I think my CT and I are learning to communicate a bit better. Oberall, i think my big stress week was really a lot of emotions coming togetehr and making it seem worse than it really was because it was so new. Now that I'm starting to have more of a routine, life is much more consistent.

Let's see. The elementary school is good. :-) It is still challenging, especially managing behavior in the classroom. I just don't have the experience yet, and there are 21 kids, so it's hard. I'm learning as I go. We have some difficult students, but I think their main problems are that they are frustrated. Of our 21 students, 15 are below grade-level in reading. 10 of them are 2 grade levels behind. This makes for difficulty when we want them to work on something independently. If they can't read the directions, the numbers, anything, they get frustrated and don't want to do it. Other problems are stubbornness and anger management, but they are also in process.

Things I'm learning about myself in all of this school process are vast. I'm learning how I naturally react to problems in the classroom, and whether or not that is effective. I'm getting to see how my personality fits into the routines we have established, and how I might start things in my own classroom. By observing other teachers, I'm also seeing the wide array of options available...we really don't need to "recreate the wheel"...there are SO MANY good ideas that we can share with each other! It's not going to be about what new and creative idea I use. It's going to be more about how I use what I've seen to be effective in a way that fits my personality and teaching style. I've also seen my sinfulness, and that of the world as a whole... I just get angry or frustrated/irritated sometimes. I react in ways that I know I do not want to react, but they are what come out first. I know there will be some sanctification in process, and I'm starting to learn what Jason meant when he said God was teaching him a lot about patience his first year teaching...

College is also going well. The two classes are so different, but the concepts that we are discussing really are connecting. For example, yesterday in class 1 (our "collaboration" class) we talked about problem solving. Certain problems (especially when it comes to educational placement of a child) are "ill-defined," meaning they have no clear-cut solution. Those are the hardest to solve collaboratively, because there are so many other options/ideas to weigh and discuss. We practiced this in role-playing. Then, in class 2 (our "language development" class), we are collaboratively problem-solving. We are working on case-studies involving real teachers, students, and parents, creating a wiki where we can share our research and proposed solutions as well as discuss the outcomes of whatever interventions occur. It's really cool, but completely different than any other class we have been in. I like it when things connect, though. :-) Our other "class" is a seminar, and this week we had a speaker about behavior management. It was good! I learned a lot, and got some more ideas about how to start things when I have my own classroom.

Outside of elementary school and college, life is good. I don't do a whole lot, but I'm hoping to get involved in a church pretty quick. There are 2 options so far that seem realistic and potentially where God wants me, but I don't know which one yet. I'm actually just going to one for the first time tomorrow. :-) The first (that I went to last weekend: The River) is a church that seems very similar to Riverview, which would be good. I even met a couple that are about my age.... The second (that I will go to tomorrow: Lighthouse Chapel) seems really cool because the services are in ASL, and the pastor is Deaf. I'm excited, even though the pastor won't be there tomorrow, I'll at least get to experience it a little bit. :-) I'll keep you posted on what I learn.

I think that might be all....
I have a lot that I need to do this weekend, but I know it'll all get done. God bless, and have a great night!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Emotional Overload

I've finished week one of my internship. And what a week it was.

I don't know if it's hormones or what, but I've been exceptionally emotional this week. Wednesday was the first full day for students, and it was a stressful day for them. Almost at the same time, 3 boys were in tears. The first was because he is a perfectionist (yes, he's an 8-year-old perfectionist) and was not finished with the first worksheet when the second was handed to him. The second child that cried was because he was either feeling very sick or pretending to feel very sick so as to not do his work (yes, we have an actor on our hands). The third was a boy that all of the teachers have been telling us is problematic. He does have anger management issues, but I've noticed that it starts with him being frustrated that he cannot keep up with the pace of the class. This was the case on the first full day of school. I went to talk to him, to see what was wrong, but he had completely shut down. My CT (cooperating teacher, the "real" teacher in the classroom) was able to talk to him and let him know it's okay to catch up later. Another girl came up to me matter of factly and said, "We had a house fire yesterday," then proceeded to explain it as though it's no big deal

Needless to say, when I got home, I was beat. There are so many emotions that fly in the
classroom during the day. It mentally drained me, and I am not even in charge of anything yet! The kids are starting to wonder what my role is in the classroom, and I am too. ;-)

I came home Wednesday and made the mistake of reading through the Intern Handbook with all the expectations listed. I just really feel as though I'm not there and never will be there. I know that this year is a process and I'm not supposed to be there yet, but it still stressed me out to read all that is expected of me this year. I cooled down by walking on a treadmill while I read for my classes. :-)

Thursday I learned that my CT expects me to start teaching math on Monday. Wow. Her other interns have taught math from the beginning, so I suppose I will, too. In that regard, I feel prepared and unprepared at the same time. My CT has given me so many ideas that her other interns have used. All are good ideas. On one hand I want to use the ideas, because they are good ones. On the other hand I don't want to use them, because then I'm copying off former interns. I don't know what she expects of me, so my mind is conflicted.

Add up those two different areas of expectations vs. reality and add my graduate classes that each have their own expectations. That equation equals Jess having a minor breakdown on Friday while talking to my Field Instructor (professor that comes to observe me teach). I just needed to cry! Friday was a rough day, but I was able to sit down and have a date with Jesus at Beaner's later that night, and get a lot of what I had been repressing out. I had a good cry, a good pray, and some reassurance from the words of Jeremiah. It was good. I need to do that more often, be more real with my emotions and get them out in spoken words to God and to people! So often I have a loop of unasked questions in my head playing over and over again because they are questions that I am eager to have answered from someone, but I am afraid to ask for some reason or another. Most often they seem silly, or they are to be addressed to someone that I am unsure of my standing with. (does that make sense?). I guess the first step is getting more comfortable with myself and just asking the questions without regard to how it will make me seem/sound. Lay down the pride and self-deprication.

Today was another tumultuous day. I tried to go to church at His River in Holly. I got off the wrong Holly Rd. exit, and then proceeded to follow the road, thinking I would eventually find where I needed to be. By the time I gave up, turned around and continued on the right way, I made it to church a half hour late. Arg. This prompted another semi-break, where I realized that I do need people. I need to first rely on God, but I do need community, too. We were not created to live this life alone. Again, I don't know if it's hormones or something that's been repressed and coming out all of a sudden, but I've been feeling very alone recently, even if I'm with people. I think it's because I've been in deep authentic community with people that share my values and worldview, and that is not what I have now. I know that I can begin to create it and seek it out, but I still miss it.

Goals for this week:
No guilt for study/planning breaks
seek community (actually make it to His River next week, email about Bible studies?)
create authentic community by asking real and intentional questions
time to breathe, to be alone with God, and to PRAY

Saturday, September 1, 2007


I'm in the midst of this huge transition in my life and it's hard to get a grasp on pretty much anything right now. Here are some of the ways I'm transitioning:

From Student to Teacher:
I've spent the past 17 years learning how to be a good student. I've learned what needs to be done and what doesn't, how to get along with pretty much any teacher, and how to manage my time/balance a whole courseload and a life. Now, I'm in graduate classes where I'm still a student trying to learn and get a good grade. At the same time, though, I'm a "Teacher Intern" which means I'm being apprenticed in how to teach. I'm spending time observing, teaching, learning. I don't really know what my role is.

From Independent to Dependent:
Not dependent in a negative context, by any means. I'm moving from being in college and living with college students (or for the past year, by myself), to living with my grandma, aunt, uncle, and cousin. Life is considerably different in this house, and many times I'm just trying to be considerate and I step on someone's toes, or I don't do my own work. I'm learning a balance between family time and "me" time, and learning to really rely on God. I need to be dependent on him. In a very real sense. I think a lot of times, and especially as I have gone through college, I have learned to rely a lot on people as opposed to God. Even in my independence last year, I still maintained my friendship support skeleton. This year, that social construct is not as freely accessible, because I'm not in town. My reliance needs to be on God.

From College Ministry to Lifelong Ministry:
In the past 4 years I have gotten very comfortable with campus ministry. I've been a regular attendee at a church in the area, gone to and led weekly Bible studies, attended weekly meetings, met new people wherever I went, and conducted surveys in the dorms. If I could be comfortable doing anything right now, I think that would be it. But that's not where God has me right now. He has me in Flint Community School District, teaching 29 second graders how to read, write, and compute. He has me in a place of influence over their love of learning, and their future. It's a heavy responsibility. I'll be surrounded by students or teachers all day, unsure of whether or not God's name is acceptable inside the school walls. I'm learning how to be bold, and how to just live life with people that are not my age and are not just like me. I want to understand the kids. I want to listen to them, learn from them, encourage them. I'm learning.

I think that's all for now. I'm also looking for a church and will be learning what it means to be a member of a church instead of just a regular attendee. It's going to be a challenging year. :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


So this is something that I've been learning about, and have wanted to post about for almost 2 weeks now... here goes nothing. :-)

"Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane" -Red, Shawshank Redemption
"Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies" -Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption

Last week my friends quoted the second of the Shawshank quotes, a familiar movie although I have never seen it the whole way through, and an even more familiar quote.

On the last night of my summer project to Chicago (meaning, 3 1/2 weeks ago...), we were sitting by the Shedd Aquarium, overlooking the city. Our project director asked us what we had learned while we were in Chicago that we would take home with us. For the first time of actually processing it and putting it into words, this is what I came up with:
I love the city. I really do. I've learned that. I've also learned that there are a lot of broken people that think they have no hope in this world. It breaks my heart, but it's true. God has so much hope for them! He knows that it is possible for them to change, for him to work in their lives and save them from hopelessness and despair. He loves them so much! I also learned that I lose hope for people. There are many people that I meet or interact with that I think, "they will never change. They don't and never will see their need for God, so why should I even go there." Problem is, God has hope for them, too. He has changed my life. He has changed my heart. I once had no hope for myself and God didn't give up on me! He doesn't give up on others, either. He will keep pursuing them. There is still hope. "no good thing ever dies..."

Since I was thinking about that more over the past few weeks, I decided to do a Bible study on what hope we have, and what hope we don't have. Another thing that brought this up was the suicide attempt of someone close to me, and hearing about one of a friend of a friend (does that make sense?). I thought about what it would be like to not want to live. That feeling must stem from a lack of hope. I mean, if this is all there is; if this life is it, who would want to stick around? Let's be real, this life sucks sometimes. If this is as good as it gets, that is not something that we can cling to. So what is there? What keeps people going? What makes my life different?


From my study, there are 6 things we can definitely put our hope in (that is, if a person claims to be a follower of Christ). The first is the Word. The second, God's unfailing love. The third, the Lord. The fourth, the glory of God. The fifth, salvation. The sixth, eternal life. The Bible also talks about what not to put our hope in: wealth, our possessions, this life. Let me share with you some of the scripture that I found, and let it speak for itself.

"A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our sheild. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:17-22

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken." Psalm 62:5-6

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning." Psalm 130:5-6

"[God's] pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love." Psalm 147:10-11

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will sour on wings like eagles; the will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31
Colossians 1: 24-27

"But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet." 1 Thessalonians 5:8

"Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love..." 1 Corinthians 13:13

"This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:9-10
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Timothy 6:17

Titus 1:1-3

Hebrews 6 talks about hope being an "anchor for the soul, firm and secure."
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
There are more references to hope, and there are many more words that I could put along with these verses to explain what I'm thinking about them. What I wanted to do, though, is to get this out there and urge those reading (if there are any!) to dig through the contexts of these verses, too. What should we hope in? What should we hope for? What's the difference? What shouldn't we hope in? Why is this important to understand and cling to?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Believing God

Something I learned last year from a Beth Moore Bible study series is that there is a difference between believing in God and believing God. The first is no small feat to begin with. For some it is quite a stretch for them to even begin to believe in God, the creator of the universe, and further to accept that His Son Jesus Christ came to earth, lived and chose to die and become the perfect sacrificial lamb to pay for all of the sins of the world. All the imperfect things that I have done in the past and that I will do in the future deserve death. Yours, too. Someone has to pay that price. Jesus chose to pay it for us, and because he rose from the dead, it is finished. We can have a relationship with God. Believing in God, believing those truths...not a small feat.

Even more is believing god. This believing is present-active participle. This means continually believing. It means making a choice every minute to believe. This is a powerful kind of belief. To trust what God says in his Word. To believe that he is the same God that rose Jesus from the dead, that separated the Red Sea, that created the universe. The same God of the Old Testament. The same God of the miraculous healings in the New Testament. To believe that God for what he says. That's a feat.

I want to have that kind of faith. I want to do more than believe in God. I want to believe God. I want to trust him. I want to live my life knowing that he has a perfect plan for me. I know it's not always going to be easy. I know there will be hard times, hard decisions, even times when I doubt and feel as though I am completely alone. I want to have a foundational faith, though, that is able to hold me up during those times like nothing else can. I've learned that everything else will fail me. God will endure. He doesn't change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

As I embark on a new phase of my life I feel like I'm leaving everything that I know. I have been a student for the past 16 years. (or so). I have been involved in campus ministry for the past 3 1/2 years. In 15 days or so I will begin the transition from being a student to being a teacher. I don't know how to be a teacher. I don't know what I'm supposed to bring to the first day of meetings, I don't know what I'm supposed to do in the classroom, I don't even know what the curriculum is! I'll be taking graduate level courses. Wow. I can't even believe that. I won't be involved in campus ministry. I'm looking for a church, and hoping to be involved to a certain degree, whatever my schedule will allow. One thing I do know is that my ministry is going to look very different. My ministry is my life. It's not my job. It's not my nights and weekends hobby or activity. It's not something I do. Who I am is derived greatly from who Jesus is. I want to be like Jesus to the kids that I teach, to my co-workers, to my classmates. I want to love them like God does, to serve them the way Jesus would, and to explain where my hope comes from. May I always have an answer for the hope that I have. May I see people the way God sees them. May I love because I was first loved by Him. My cup overflows, and out of that overflow, may I speak and serve. These are my prayer requests for the beginning of this new journey.

Since I'm starting a new journey, and since I'm "growing up," I thought I would put Xanga aside and move into Blogger (again and anew). So, here we go!