krikketgirl: (School Mean Kitteh)
So I balanced my bank account with our money program today. Chris kept making comments about how I ought to. I like to take my time. I hadn't balanced it since November. Ahem.

The thing that I dislike the most about school and work combined (not to mention all the other craziness) is that I really miss the days where a day off school or off work meant just that: a day off. Now, with staggered breaks (because of course my spring break for school is not the same as my spring break for work) and a lot of work, every "day off" is just an opportunity to work to get ahead to save myself some grief later on. I hate the feeling like if I read a book or goof off with the kids I'm doing something barely permissible.

In other news, I have been accepted to the Ambassador Bible Center for this fall. ABC is located at our church's home office, so I can ride in to work with Chris--bliss!--and even get to have lunch with him maybe. I am super excited. I figure that in a time of major transition, it can't be a bad idea to spend 9 months in the Word. And that gives me some time to settle down and figure out what the next steps are.

Here's the thing: I really, really hope the next steps after that involve a library. I am surprised at the panic feeling I get when I think about not working in a library for the first time in over a decade.
krikketgirl: (Clean Dirt)
I keep thinking that I will have time to stop and read and write and think, and then something pops up and away I dash to pick up another task or forgotten thread. What has been going on? Adventures, both grueling and filled with derring-do and swashing of many buckles (or whatever).

Sunday, I put a book back inside its cover and then made an excruciatingly detailed slideshow about it. It was for school, but let me tell you--it was awesome. Check out the slideshow and feel free to skip the boring parts.

Tuesday I attended a workshop on book repair. My awesome friend Cherie was able to get permission for me to tag along with media assistants from her school district. I enjoyed the chance to see how other people handle common and uncommon repairs. The most exciting part, though, was discovering that while I was sitting in the car in the parking lot, listening to sirens and watching the rain slashing down onto my windshield, all the employees of the library were hiding out in their storm zone because a tornado had touched down somewhere in the county.

Wednesday I wrote to my advisor about a horrible class I have this semester. It has made me cry and has made me think about quitting twice, but I am committed and do not fear, my dumplings, for I shall win.

Thursday was a lousy day...the kids were all just nutty and I felt like I was slipping a little...like I wasn't quite "on," you know. My work is piling up at work and I cannot seem to get ahead. And then I ended up eating by myself in the gym because my friend the gym teacher wasn't there, only I didn't know she was out for the day. And by the time I figured it out, I wasn't going to pack up my lunch and take it somewhere else. So I hung out in the deserted gym office and checked out her memorabilia.

Thursday night, though, I got to support my school by reading books at the spirit night at Chick-fil-A. I love reading stories. It's one of my favorite things ever. Why can't it pay worth beans?

Which brings me to today, in which I had several really good teaching moments. I felt like I was on top of things today--totally helped by Chris leaving later so I could leave a bit earlier this morning and get a jump on the day. He is so awesome. Anyway, my favorite thing today was a student who is sweet, but usually not into our activities. He totally took a writing prompt and ran with it. I was so thrilled! It was just a few sentences, but I felt as though lightning struck and the story stuck and I got to be there watching. I hope he'll get to have lots more moments like that.

Reflecting

May. 18th, 2010 07:58 pm
krikketgirl: (Happy)

The school year has just drawn to a close, and it’s a good time for me to reflect on nine months that have challenged me on every level. Starting a full-time job for the first time is daunting—and when that first job includes hundreds of children, it sometimes seems completely overwhelming. I’ve learned a lot of things over the past several months, including the following:

  •     Singing hath charms to soothe the savage beast, and also kindergarteners.
  •      It’s possible to almost drown oneself with one large gulp from a half-empty coffee cup.
  •      Everyone can see you cry in the library.
  •      There really is nothing like connecting the right book with the right reader. Hearing, “Mrs. Rowland! That book you told me about is awesome!” makes any day suddenly bright.
  •      Every chance encounter with a student that happens somewhere other than in the school is—to the student—extraordinary, and thus accompanied with gasps, whispers, and pointing. This will be followed up the next school day with shouts of, “I saw you!”
  •      Overhead projectors are all exactly alike, except for one or two small anomalies that will make the unwary library clerk feel like she has three thumbs and no coordination.
  •      Every successful copying episode makes me want to do a little victory dance and shout, “I won!” to the copy machine. This is probably immature of me.
  •      Speaking of immature, one should never respond to the question, “What were you doing under there?” with, “Under where?”
  •      And speaking of that, the single most hilarious thing one can say to someone in K-2 is the word ‘underwear.’ Or anything that sounds like the word ‘underwear.’ Or anything that doesn’t sound remotely like the word but makes the hearer—for reasons known only to them—think of the word ‘underwear.’
  •      School libraries run on sticky notes, paperclips, rubber bands, and chocolate.


The single most important thing I’ve learned this year, though, is that I could not have dreamed up a better place to work. I was very uncertain about beginning this job last fall, having worked in the same place for so very long. Whether you are 13 or 32, it’s hard to start fresh in an unfamiliar place.

 From the beginning, though, every person at the school has made me feel welcome and appreciated. Whether it was the timely loan of whiteboards and markers, instruction on how to use a laminating machine, patience when class ran five minutes late, or a kind word, it seems as though there is no one who hasn’t played a part in making this the best first year ever. More, they each inspire me to do better, to try harder, and to do my part in making our school amazing.

I am so thankful for my job and for the incredible people I have met this year. I am looking forward to this fall!


krikketgirl: (Bring It)
I need to tell you about my workplace.

Sometimes, my job is a pain. Sometimes, it's stressful. Sometimes, I'm tired and cranky. But there is one thing that I have learned this year: I work with some of the most amazing people I know.

Now, what's making me think about this tonight is that this afternoon I got to attend two different school-related events. I look at the teachers who are involved, and I feel better because of knowing them. I see them going out and making a difference in the lives of kids every day. And being around that makes me want to go out and do the same. Being able to think, "Oh, I work with that teacher," makes me stand straighter, like when you play sixth chair in the orchestra but the applause is for the whole group, you included.

I work with people who care deeply about kids, about each other, about education. I work with people who donate money and donate time. I work with people who run marathons, who hug kindergarteners, who raise money for good causes, who support one another with hugs and words and money and baked goods.

I sit amidst blessings I can't even count--but the greatest blessing that God has given me is to place me among people who are doing good things, great things. From my husband to my children to my church to my school to my friends, I know the most amazing people--people whose beauty flows in the lives they are changing with the work of their hands and hearts.
krikketgirl: (Dork Mirror)
So far, my "Picture a Day" is turning into a "Picture Every Other Day." Seriously, I keep missing them. Fail.

This is my spring break from college. I meant to catch up on the Sociology Paper of Doom and Wrath, but between a very busy school week and not feeling all that hot--not to mention having a slightly-under-the-weather Youngest Boy--I really have done nothing with it. Fortunately, this morning I am feeling a bit better. Stupid sinuses--I think it has to do with the change in weather.

On a sinus side note, I really hate taking medicine every day, though I know it's perfectly socially acceptable. I keep trying to convince myself that I don't need my allergy medication, despite the fact that every time I stop taking it, I start to have serious allergy issues. Katherine, get over thyself and just take the silly medicine, won't you?

I've made muffins twice this week--the Feast of Unleavened Bread fast approacheth, and what better way to use up leavening than to make delicious breakfast foods? So far I've made pumpkin muffins and blueberry. I found a "new" recipe in one of my old cookbooks, and I have made the most beautiful muffins ever the last two days. They're golden, the top is round instead of flat, and they have a wonderful texture. On the down side, certain people (i.e., everyone in my family) complain that they're not very sweet.

On the work front, Book Fair is blessedly over, and things are returning to what passes for normal in a school library, by which I mean we can't find anything because we moved stuff around for book fair and yesterday a child told me I have hair like her mom. I am doing a little reorganizing, which feels good--hopefully, it will inspire me to do some organizing here at home, too. I need a robot butler. This is a recurring theme in my life.

Also, I continue to duel with the laminator and the copier. I don't think I've ever discussed in this public forum the fact that every time I successfully make a copy or laminate something, I secretly do a little victory dance and feel like shouting, "I WIN! In your FACE, Copier-lad!" or, you know, "Laminator Girl!" Because my secret fear is that I will somehow accidentally brand myself in a bizarre office-equipment-related incident. Or that I'll make a face and it will be laminated that way FOREVER.

Planting

Mar. 8th, 2010 07:19 am
krikketgirl: (Amélie)
I think we've reviewed--many times--the fact that I am not a gardener by nature. I'm too impatient, and fickle and--let's face it--find nothing exciting about getting my hands dirty. And though I rather wish I did enjoy it, as it seems such a responsible thing to do, I've made peace with the fact that one person can't do everything and stick to my passionate pursuit of all things involving sitting down and books.

But that doesn't mean that the imminent approach of spring leaves my heart unturned. Spring, while not my favorite season, is one of the top four. Much like fall, it's a turning season, a time of transition and anticipation. Anything could happen, surely, with the scent of spring on the breeze!

And while others pore over seed catalogs that arrive in the mail, or plan their flowerbeds and vegetable rows, I'm thinking about the sermon that my husband gave on Sabbath. In a by-the-way fashion, he mentioned that we are all responsible for building and for planting seeds, and that those things require stepping out on faith. If I put a seed in the ground, I want to run out there every day and see whether it's growing, much the same way that Chris hovers over his beloved sassafrass tree all spring long, nurturing it, tending it, and threatening the neighborhood rabbits.

But seeds take their own time. Some germinate in a week, some take much longer. And although it's not obvious to my eye, once that seed is in the ground, there is change happening. There is action and growth. But it will not be revealed to me until it is the right time.

I am a creature that likes definition and control. I like to know what's happening, why, who's involved, and what my responsibility is. When I put forth effort, I want results--now! I want immediate feedback! And yet, that is not what I am called to do.

Whether it is at home--with my own sons--or at work with others' children, I am only planting seeds. I don't know which will blossom and grow and which will remain dormant for perhaps a lifetime. I don't know which seeds will be a lasting legacy--what will my children, for example, rememenr? Will it be my special recipe for swiss steak? Will it be the family trips? Will it be talking while grocery shopping? Will it be hugs? Reminders? Monologues? The pattern of the fabric on the sofa? The hundreds of books? The weekly trips to church and then to grandma's house?

Will the students at school remember that I smiled a lot? That my voice was high and breathy? That I wore billowing skirts and big earrings? That I found them a book that they fell in love with? That I knew where to find information on frogs? That I was a foe (or a friend) on the "underground railroad" that ran through our school? Will the seeds of care and concern and love of literature that I am planting come to fruition someday?

I don't know, any more than I could have foreseen, last March, that I would be working at the school this year. The seeds I planted over the years brought forth a harvest I could not have expected. And I am trying to remember that, right now, in the thick of my worries about school and work, that I am still responsible for planting, and that a harvest will someday happen. I can't see the growth fully now. I may not see it for years and years. But there is planting, every day that I am alive and move throughout the actions of life. I can't choose what I will harvest--but I step out in faith that God is a faithful gardener, so much more conscientous than I.
krikketgirl: (Default)
There are several passages in the New Testament regarding the relationship between slaves and masters. I think it's easy to read across these sparely, since we are no longer a people who practice indentured servitude or slavery. I think this skipping over is a mistake, though, as there are several lessons to be learned.

Let's Do a Little Reading First )

There's a lot right there, a lot to read and understand without my humble words in addition. Still, I think that there is more that we can take from this text.

The first thing that pops into my mind is that the slave/master relationship is not so dead as we might tend to think. Many of us have paying jobs; granted, being an employee has many characteristics that are not share with slavery. Still, we sign away a certain amount of our freedom and self-will when we agree to be employed by another person. If we look at these verses with this in mind, how are we "wage slaves" doing? Are we grumbling? Chafing? Eager to speak out against "The Man"? Are we serving our employers as though we were serving God? Or are we serving resentfully, angrily, moodily?

The second thing I think of is that it is very easy to put ourselves into the "slave" role here--but many of us are also "masters," aren't we? Even if we don't have employees, many of us have people in our lives that we boss around: children, volunteers, spouses, coworkers. Are we harsh? Are we making it hard for these "slaves" of ours to serve willingly?

A third thing is that God gives us no easy "out" here. There's no qualifier of "if the master is a nice guy" or "if your slave is obedient and cheerful." Instead, we are explicitly told that we are to serve well or manage well regardless of what the other person in the relationship is doing. That is, we are to be obedient and capable servants whether the master is Godly or not, because we are not serving only that human. We are serving, with our work, our Lord.

Likewise, we cannot say, "Well, I was harsh because he's a lousy servant," because we are serving under God's authority as well.

I think a nice summation of this comes in Hebrews 13:17, where we read, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Even the face value of this is hard to do. Make someone else's job a joy? Even when they make our life havoc? Well, yes. But let's look at this in the opposite direction. If we are a leader, if we are in authority, wouldn't it be to our advantage to make it easy for that servant to obey? Easy for that follower to do as he is asked or told? Yes.

How is your work life? Whether you work at home, with children shifting between servants and masters? With your husband? With your wife? With your employer? With your employee? Could an investigative report be run on your work habits and turn up no black marks or black looks?

Let's use today to start putting our hearts right and to start speaking God's name through the excellence of our work habits and relationships.

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