Last February was slow and cold, but it had some bright spots. I finished my first cross-stitch project, the whale! I went home for a weekend and reunited with friends, and went to a professional conference in Hilton Head, which was lovely because of warm air and the ocean!
What I Learned: February 2017
- Logic doesn’t really work on tears. You can tell yourself why crying doesn’t help right now, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t already crying. It’s a response that’s a mixture of emotional and physical. It’s okay to cry. Refusing to do it just makes you angry.
- When choosing between two perfectly adequate things, having a preference for one does not necessitate a criticism of the other.
- When communicating, assume your thoughts are not implied, and articulate them (it turns out that usually people do not know what you’re thinking).
- There is a difference between someone with whom you are associated experiencing an inconvenience and you doing something hurtful to that person. You don’t need to apologize for another person’s inconvenience unless you caused it – if you do, you are accepting responsibility for something over which you have no control. You can, however, be empathetic, and that does not require your apology, just grace from the Lord and your presence and heart.
- It’s easier to write about your feelings than it is to make eye contact, open your mouth, and talk about them to a person.
6. Having someone coming over to your house is GREAT motivation to clean the gunk off of/refill your soap dispenser. Just saying.
Finished first project!
Together again! (missing one)
Breakfast on the beach in Hilton Head ❤
Last January, life was busy and fun and social – I went to a wedding for some college friends, the Tigers won the National Championship (!!!), I met up with more college friends on MLK Day, and I started a brand new hobby: cross-stitching. Exciting stuff!
What I Learned: January 2017
- You can’t start as an expert. As Miley told us once, “it’s the cliiiiiiiiiiiiiiimb.” It’s okay and expected to not know everything when you’re 22. This is frustrating, but it is normal and okay! And you will learn!
- Jesus is a much better teacher than you. He would not lose patience with students or need to apologize to them.
- A date does not equal a long-term relationship. Remain calm.
MLK Day reunion!
taken by a student
half of my first project!
Last November was full, but not as busy as October. I took lots of pictures of my kids at school (which I can’t post unfortunately!) and read a lot of books and went on a trip to the farm with my family and was with my family again for Thanksgiving.
What I Learned: November 2016
- You can’t always teach yourself the things you need to know. This means that you can’t be 100% self-sufficient.
- Invest in sleep. It’s good.
- Kids are innocent but they’re not sinless. Humans are not born basically good even though they’re born cute.
- It’s good to ask for help, but it’s not the job of the person helping you to do your job for you or make your decisions for you. Don’t ask for help just because you don’t want to make a decision.
- With most positive things: the more you have, the more you want. Use self-discipline.
6. This sounds pessimistic but it’s helpful: It’s better to expect no one to notice that you got your hair cut and be surprised when one person notices than to expect everyone to notice and be frustrated when only person does. It’s a perspective thing.
Last October was busy with weddings and bachelorette weekends and hurrications…and teaching five days a week, too. I had just gone a full year without coffee (an experiment) and was reunited again, yay! Last October was full and exciting and exhausting. Here is what I learned:
What I Learned: October 2016
1. People appreciate you being present and listening to them. Of course, people appreciate more than just being listened to, but it’s a start.
2. Being with old friends is part reminiscing and part making new memories – I thought it might be just reminiscing or that it might feel like we had never been apart, but it was different. It was special because we knew we weren’t often together so that made the time together so sweet.
3. If you don’t write something down, you will not remember it. That’s just how it works.
4. Habits (and not just old habits) die hard…after successfully going a year with no coffee, I decided to see how long I could go without diet coke (so it has now been a year since I had diet coke!), and this was very difficult. Especially the beginning.
5. You can’t pretend you’re not here. Be where you are.
6. Don’t make Wednesday the longest day of your week – it makes the week feel so much longer.
A year ago, I was settling into teaching, I bought a washer and dryer, I I read a lot of books, and I worked a lot. It wasn’t a super exciting time, but it was good. I learned a lot.
What I Learned: September 2016
- When you are an adult and you’re going to someone’s house for dinner, you don’t get to just show up. You’re supposed to offer to bring something – salad, dessert, wine, etc. People invite college students over for free food but you are not in college anymore. You get to at least offer to contribute.
- A leader who is kind of annoying is a better leader than one who isn’t there – because presence (and subsequently, support) has more value than personality – at least in the context of leadership.
- If you don’t want to have clutter, have lots of trash cans. It seems simple but it’s revolutionary when put into place!
- There may (and most likely will) come a time in your life when you have to say goodbye to Camp – this time will of course be sad but you will not die. I learned this when visiting an old Camp friend who teaches in my district now – he spoke affectionately of Camp but he was okay with his life now. That was good for me to observe.
- Parking under a tree on a hot day is very wise – even if said tree isn’t the closest parking space. It’s an investment in later sanity.
6. Things you can’t talk about with a 12-year-old: gas prices
7. If you are more committed to USC football than you are to your marriage, you have a problem. Actually, you have two problems.
Every Friday is Solid Orange Friday
Facetimes with my father
I didn’t even ask this student to write this!
Last August was a mix of old and new. Old friends got married and I got to see them and spend time with their families, but then there was the new – settling into a new town, a new job, a new church. I had an income and a classroom and a job. I had just finished Camp and was mentally processing the summer while preparing my classroom. It was busy and exciting and scary and big. My brain was constantly abuzz with thoughts and learnings and ideas.
What I Learned: August 2016
- Liking kids and being good with kids are not the same thing. Some people are one, some are both. Sometimes you can become the other if you are only one. But they do not necessarily come together. It’s unfortunate and not a lot of people know it.
- Teaching is not Camp in lots of ways, and one of these is that a session is nine months, not one week. So not sleeping for a whole week is not a great way to do things because there are 35 weeks to go after this one.
- People romanticize the past – more than just old people saying, “when I was young…” but young people, too. All people think fondly on things that are over, and tend to think back on things as easier or more fun than they truly were. Things are generally harder in the moment than they will seem when we’re looking back on them, and when we’re looking back, they’ll seem breezier than they feel now.
- Be at an event in enough time that you are sitting and ready when it starts (example: church and professional development), not pulling into the parking lot at the exact time it starts. It really is better to be an early dork than a late dork.
- It takes more time to leave a happy place than it does to get there. The trip home always goes by quickly because I’m so excited, but leaving is a drag and seems like it takes forever.
6. Being grumpy is not an excuse to do whatever you want (one would think that this is something I would have already known by now, but nope, something I learned one year ago this month).
Most of July of last year was spent at Camp. I was (and still am) learning how to lead, which was hard. Then, the day after Camp ended, I moved to a new town and all new things – job, apartment, roommate, church, etc. July was a very overwhelming and very exciting month.
This is what I learned through all of it –
- Sometime patience and persistence are the same thing.
- You don’t have to be good at everything, but you do have to give things a chance. Try new things. Do hard things.
- If you see or are a part of something that’s wrong and don’t speak up, then what you are communicating is: “everything happening here is completely okay with me and approved by me.”
- Sometimes you see another person’s sin and you are appalled at that person’s capacity to hurt people or ruin things or be a sinner. You need to know that you also have that same capacity and are no better. All humans are inherently awful.
- Don’t weave your whining and complaining into conversations. If you’ve got to say it, just say it, and then be done with it.
6. Excuses don’t last long. You can only say, “I moved here yesterday” for one day.