Wednesday, May 25, 2011

9 Years

The last 9 years of my life have built me, prepared me, and have shaped me for today: May 25, 2011.

Over the last 9 years, I have:

-read thousands of pages in textbooks

-taken out over $60,000 in student loans

-spent endless hours studying

-written paper after paper after paper

-learned a lot about myself as a teacher by working with students with emotional problems

-found a greater appreciation for diversity in a classroom by working with ELL students

-mastered the art of multi-tasking (writing a paper while eating dinner, doing laundry, and talking on the phone)

-quit my teaching job to do an unpaid student teaching experience (which ended up being one of the best decisions of my life)

-ate Cup O' Noodles for lunch for weeks during said student teaching because I was broke from quitting the aforementioned job

-went through a major job interview

-went through another major job interview

-went throught yet another major job interview

...and today, May 25, 2011, I accepted a job offer from Washington County Public Schools as a second grade teacher at Pangborn Elementary School.

I feel like all of my experiences, training, and recent life events have led me to this very moment, at this very school, with this very special group of students that I'm about to share my life with over the next school year.

God is really amazing, isn't He?

I had an interview yesterday at 4pm at Pangborn Elementary. I walked into the interview not even knowing what I was interviewing for... and when they asked what I wanted to teach, I told them:
"I want to teach children."
I do not care what grade level, or whether it's special education or English Language Learners (ELL). I just know that my passion and calling right now in my life is to teach, and I will do it with all of my heart no matter what grade level I'm placed in. Before I walked into the school for the interview, I prayed to God... "Lord, I pray that if this is where I am supposed to be used for Your glory, then let it be so. If there is something else that would be a better fit for me, please open that door of opportunity." I felt like the interview went really well... and in less than 24 hours later, I received a call from Human Resources offering me this teaching opportunity, and through the tears of sheer joy, I gladly accepted the offer.

Pangborn Elementary School in Hagerstown, MD

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No Matter What

This is my favorite song right now.

No Matter What by Kerrie Roberts

I’m running back to Your promises one more time
Lord that’s all I can hold on to
I gotta say this has taken me by surprise, but nothing surprises You

Before a heartache can ever touch my life
It has to go through Your hands
And even though I keep asking why, I keep asking why

No matter what, I’m gonna love You
No matter what I’m gonna need You
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, if not, I’ll trust You no matter what, no matter what

When I’m stuck in this nothingness by myself
I’m just sitting in silence
There’s no way I can make it without Your help, I won’t even try it
I know You have Your reasons for everything so I will keep believing
Whatever I might be feeling, God You are my hope
And You will be my strength

Anything I don’t have You can give it to me, but it’s OK if You don’t
I’m not here for those things
The touch of Your love is enough on its own
No matter what I still love You and I’m gonna need You

No matter what I’m gonna love You, no matter what I’m gonna need You
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, if not, I’ll trust You
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, but if not, I’ll trust You

No matter what
No matter no matter what
No matter no matter what
No matter no matter what

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

"They were the best of times and the worst of times." ...Yep, that pretty much sums up life right now! Some really high highs and some really low lows. It's been a little over two months since my pregnancy ended. There are some days that I plow through the hours effortlessly with only brief moments of sadness... and then there are days that I randomly break down in crying spells every 15 minutes. These truly are the best and worst times of my life. Graduation came and went, job opportunities are beginning to present themselves, one of my best friends is getting married, friends are having babies... And peppered within these beautiful and celebratory events in life, I battle with random bouts of depression. I had a really hard time getting excited about graduation... even to the point where I debated on whether or not to even go up until a few days before. I cried almost the whole way to the rehearsal the day before the ceremony. In the end, I was glad that I went and allowed myself to feel proud of my accomplishments. A special thanks to my Hubby, Mom, and Dad for supporting me that day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day Thoughts

I went into town this morning and couldn't help but feel the buzz of excitement in the little shops along main street as Daddies and kiddos wove in and out of the boutiques with their arms full of flowers and presents for "Mom." Subconsciously, I knew that this day was coming. I've deeply involved myself with making Mother's Day preparations for my own Momma and Mom-In-Law to the point that I had almost forgotten about the elephant in the room. This time two months ago, I was looking forward to this special time of year because this was going to be my first unofficial mother's day. I loved the fact that I would be bonding with my Momma in a new, deeper way as I would be preparing for my own days as a Mommy. ...But, evidently now is not the time for me to be a Mom.

I almost feel silly for even feeling sad for myself that I don't get to have my first Mother's Day tomorrow. There's a little voice that says, "Come on, Kristin. You only carried that baby for 12 weeks. You would only be 20 weeks pregnant right now anyways. Big deal. Suck it up, Buttercup. You have no right to feel sad right now." ...But then a friend on Facebook sent me a message letting me know that she's thinking of me and praying for me, especially tomorrow, knowing how difficult it's going to be. And it hit me that it's okay for me to feel the way I'm feeling. These feelings of being sad for not being able to feel my baby's kicks right now... and not able to experience all of those fun and exciting milestones in pregnancy and in my baby's life are totally and completely valid.

I'm going to try really hard not to focus on my sadness tomorrow. Instead, I want to focus on and celebrate my Momma. Since the beginning of the year, she and I have suffered through many losses together. She lost both of her parents in a matter of two months, and only a week later we were handed even more unbearable news about my baby. My mom was with me when I went to the doctors that morning on March 17th. She was holding my hand as I was staring at the ultrasound screen trying to make sense of what I was seeing. She held me and let me literally cry on her shoulder as I had done so many times as a little girl. I'm so thankful that she was with me when I received the news, because only a mother's embrace can instantly help to ease the pain of losing a baby. I know that if anyone else had been with me in that moment, I would've been wishing my Mom was there... because from Day #1, she has always been there to hug and kiss away my tears. When I found out that I was pregnant, I began worrying. I worried about my baby's health... worried about him/her going to school one day... worried about whether I was going to be a good Mom. And while I only carried my baby for 12 weeks, I had a tiny taste of the amount of worrying my Mom has had for my brother and I over the years. I thank God that my Momma is a strong Christian woman who has prayed for me every day of my life. She has become one of my closest friends and I love her more than she'll ever know.

Here is a slideshow that I made for my Mom last year on Mother's Day:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Passionate Patience

Well, I'm definitely feeling like some of the guilt associated with my miscarriage is beginning to lift off my shoulders... and while I am feeling better these days, I still feel like I have a big sign on my back that says "Damaged Goods." I don't know if I'll ever feel "whole" again. There's such a huge piece of my heart that died right along with my baby, but the wound is healing. I'm so thankful that God still loves me though. He loves me and is there for me even when I'm having a hard time loving myself. I know that I've said this before, but I really do not know where I would be right now without the grace of my savior. I cannot even fathom going through a miscarriage without the comfort and healing that comes from a relationship with God. And through my faith in God, I have the promise and hope of one day meeting my baby. Seriously can't imagine not having that security and peace of mind. I'm really looking forward to meeting my baby! Jesus, You can come any day now!

The last few months have been challenging, to say the least. I feel like my patience is being tested on a daily basis in more ways than one. But through it all, I'm trying to trust God. I'm believing that everything is happening according to His will. Clinging to this:
There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! - Romans 5: 3-5 The Message Bible

I know many of you have been praying for me everyday, and I appreciate your prayers more than you know. Since my last post, I've had several developments in terms of potential employment opportunities for this summer and next school year. I don't want to go into any details about these prospects quite yet... but I'm relying on God to present the right opportunities to me. He knows my heart's desires, and I'm confident that He'll take care of it all.

In terms of my coping mechanisms, I'm still exercising on a daily basis. I've been walking every day, and I've recently begun jogging for a stretch of my workout. I attend a Zumba class twice a week at one of my schools where I work and it's a lot of fun. I've lost about 18 pounds all together... and while the number of pounds aren't dropping as quickly as I would like them to, I'm feeling better and my clothes are fitting much more nicely. I have a pair of dress pants that I bought in January before I found out I was pregnant that I love, and I put them on the other day in the bedroom (at the rear of the house), and walked out to the living room (at the other end of the house) carrying a basket of laundry... and I kid you not, my pants were at my ankles by the time I got to the kitchen! They're too big for me now! I can't believe how much better I feel when I'm exercising. I put on my sneakers, clip my headphones on, blast some praise and worship music, and take off down the road.... and it's instant therapy.

Here are some pictures from recent photo shoots! Been busy taking pictures lately, as well.

One of my best friends, Melody and her fiance, Alex. They are getting married on June 18th!

I did some pregnancy pictures for my friend Megan a week before she welcomed her baby boy into the world: