Thursday, December 4, 2014

Right Here and Now

"Yep, I was right, it's an alien." My roommates from college are cracking up if they are reading this I'm sure. It's a long story and an inside joke from my student teaching days. All of those many moons (4 years) ago. Basically to us it's a funny story but something that also means: I was positive about this. I am seeing it. I know what it is. But yet, I am completely wrong. It has been a while since I have reflected on anything. This occurred to me in an assessment class I'm taking in which my professor stated, "You do not need to do the reflection that is on the syllabus". I blurted out (without even thinking): "Noooooooo! I love reflections!". Later on I clarified and told my professor it was okay about eliminating the extra requirement, I could reflect elsewhere.

That got me thinking about how little I have actually sat down and put to paper (or computer), or processed it in my brain what I have experienced teaching so far. Sure, I talk about my job to my family, friends, and boyfriend, but have I actually reflected upon it? No. I have not. But I think I need to. I have a JOB! I have had a job since August! Hence, why a blog has been at the bottom of my list.

This job has been very exciting. I work at a school for students with a range of disabilities. If I had to go back in time, I would definately NOT take three grad courses on top of my first year of teaching, but it's all been worth it. All of the late nights, tears, vent sessions, caffeine, lack of social life (and showers) has so far made me feel like I'm doing something important. Not just because I am devoting so much of my time to my classroom and learning about everything I possibly can to help my students, but because I just feel it. Sure, there are days when I think, "I am teaching them nothing!" or "I could do so much more!"but all in all I can say I love what I am doing. I also think I'm doing a pretty decent job (ask me again around VAAP season and I will probably cry).

I have experienced so much so far! Things I cannot really share on a public venue such as this, but it was definitely things I never anticipated. I was right, it is hard. I knew it would be (see previous blog posts for my realistic understanding of the world of special education). At the same time, I am discovering in this field, you can know SO much but at the same time, know nothing at all.

Accepting that I cannot control my students' lives at home, trying to understand their struggle day in and day out, and figuring out how to get them to do anything without a Matchbox car has been a challenge. The unexpected events I NEVER thought I would encounter as a teacher were also a wake-up call about the way that world is. And how little I can do about it.

So, my goal and focus thus far has been something I learned in the beginning of this semester of classes. I do not know where I read it as I have gone through countless books, articles, and resources but it is to remember to "See the whole child, not just their behaviors". This little reminder has gotten me through some tough circumstances. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Fred Rogers. It is complied in the book, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember and located on page 53. It reads, "Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now".

This so beautifully explains my day in and day out with the students I work with. That is all.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Here I Go Again.


So many feels! Mixed feels. 

When I began interviews in June, I was more nervous than anything. Now, it's almost time for school to start and I'm getting more and more anxious than nervous. Anxious in a good way. It's been a peaceful month as my summer classes ended on July 17th. 

The entire interview process is very reminiscent of the auditions I use to go on when I was younger. The difference being instead of trying to prove I can sing, act, and dance (or at least move well enough to keep up with everyone else) I am trying to prove I can teach in a special needs classroom. That I am the best candidate for the position. Back in the day if I didn't get the part, I could chalk it up to "I'm just not what they were looking for". I guess I could say the same here. Except this time I cannot say "Maybe I was too tall" or "Maybe they wanted a brunette". At least, I really really hope this would not disqualify me from a position. If so, we've got a whole other problem on our hands. 

It's been an awesome summer full of sunshine and freedom. It's as if I've been re-charging. Gearing up for what's to come. I'm ready. So ready to just jump in head first and get started in this world of teaching. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little scared. But it's a good scared. The kind in which it means I'm reaching for something that is going to challenge me more than I have ever been challenged before. I'm ready. I can do this.

The girl at Starbucks spelled my name right. That's got to be a good sign!

May sunbeams find you!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Miracle of My Mistakes

This past year and a half has been a whirlwind for me. I decided to go back to school, quit my job, and pursue a new career. All the while trying my best to overcome some things I could not stop beating myself up over. Two years ago I was living for me. And only me. I was selfish and thought I was invincible. That is never true. About a year ago, I learned otherwise: mistake, after mistake, after mistake. I was exhausted and ready for a wake up call, which came at just the right time. I had lost myself. I had been on the road of "finding myself" and in the process just made wrong turn after wrong turn. 

had to stop living just for me. I have been handed a life of few struggles and trials. I brought negativity upon myself. Self defeating thoughts being a part of my every day life. At the same time, I learned a lot. I actively turned my life into what I want it to be. I began pursuing something that means something to me. And discovered I need to use my life doing something for others who need me. 

 I was not handed this life of little strife to walk around in a field of flowers eating ice cream and chasing butterflies. I was put here to get my hands dirty and do some good. To help others in ways I hope to soon discover. In ways that will challenge me mentally, emotionally, and physically.

If it weren't for my mistakes, I don't know if I would be at the state in my life. This place of accepting my flaws and focusing on the forward. Onward and upward! 

May sunbeams find you!


Friday, July 25, 2014

It's almost August?!?!

Whew! Holy summer! I cannot believe July is almost over. As of June 30th, 2014, I no longer work in the insurance industry. I finally took the plunge to focus all of my efforts on grad school and job searching for a position in a classroom with individuals with disabilities. It's been a bittersweet transition to say the least. On my last day of work, I took every back road home just crying and praying. I have been unbelievably blessed with my job for the past three years and have formed lifelong relationships with my boss and co-workers. The support and love I have felt there was incredible. I will be forever grateful for the experience I got at Service First Insurance. That being said, I thought of five critical things that my experience in a seemingly unrelated field taught me about work and life. 

1) What a full time job is. 

Before starting at Service First Insurance in July 2011, I had never had a full time job. It was not easy accepting that I had to get up every morning Monday-Friday and if I didn't want to- Welp, too bad. It's a job, not a vacation. It's called "work" for a reason. Go figure! 

2) "It is what it is". 

This phrase was spoken at least once a week in our office. I am the type of person who takes things (especially work related things) really seriously. When something went wrong or I messed something up, I would usually get pretty upset. Cue walking in to Rick's office on the verge of tears and him saying, "It is what it is". And he was usually right. Whatever it was, it worked out and everything turned out okay!

3) Don't take it personally. 

Working in any customer service position, there are times the customer, or insured, is not happy. Whether it's a premium going up thanks to a claim, a late fee, or "my neighbor's insurance is much cheaper!", I talked to some unhappy people. I've been called names, screamed at, cried at, it was an interesting position to be in. There were so many times I wanted to say, "Sir, I did not increase your insurance premium". However, I was the first contact. I was the one who answered the phone and was a real live person he/she could talk to. Once I learned to stop taking things so personally I made for a much better customer service representative. 

4) Experience is everything. 

I do have a VA insurance agent license. I had a big book that I studied and studied and studied. I learned nothing from that book. I learned more from Vickie, Rene, and Rick on a daily basis than I could have ever got from studying for the insurance licensing exam. Their experience and knowledge about insurance was what taught me about the field. All of the funny/ tricky things insurance has to offer, between the three if them, there was always an answer. 

5) Not everyone has a "First Grown Up Job" nightmare tale. 

It wasn't always a walk in the park, or a field of flowers, but as a whole, my first "real world" job experience was wonderful. I couldn't have asked for a better boss or coworkers. I feel like we became a sort of work family. Not in a cheesy, "Let's all have a movie night and go out to dinner every month" sort of way, but in a real way. I spent the majority of my time for the past three years with these people and they were there to listen to my heartbreaks, family venting, and when I really screwed up, they were there to let me know how much they cared. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Little Things

(One of my "caught in the rain and captured on camera" moments. I really like the rain. . . Only in the summer- when it's warm)

As much as I LOVE the sunshine, I also really love the rain. This week I was lucky to get caught up in the middle of a downpour. The day was Thursday, I was wearing an exceptionally cute outfit, and it was a very good hair and makeup day. As I left the building I was in and started to make a dash for my car, I stopped. In the middle of the rain. It felt nice. Given where I was at, I couldn't exactly spin around, but I really wanted to! When I got to my car (trying not to look a little kooky walking slowly in the rain) I just stood there for a few minutes. Soaking wet in my cute outfit, I couldn't help but smile. A real, serious smile. The kind that makes your cheeks hurt and your heart happy.

It made me think of all of the times that has happened recently. I'm happy to say it's been quite a few. I thought about it and it's these little moments where your heart is so happy your face can't help but smile that make life look like a really wonderful thing. One of those "I LOVE MY LIFE" moments. June is almost over but I feel like it should still be February. The truth is, a June like this is something I would be happy to go back and do all over again. Not because it was perfect or because it was a walk in the park, but because I've started to stop and take a second to look at all of those little moments that mean so much. 

Specifically: getting caught in the rain, jumping off of a very large tree into the river, "floating" on that river in silence with some of the greatest friends I have ever met just taking it all in (the trees, the sounds, the sky, that place of total peace), seeing Tim McGraw and Luke Bryan with two of my favorite people in the whole world (both if them laughing hysterically at my "concert moves"), hearing a song on the radio that just makes my heart smile and scan through all of the stations to try to hear it again, catching up with the person I use to spend every day with and her "Ahhhhh" when I walked in the door to her grown up apartment, group texts with my sister and cousins, and lastly realizing that all of these things are so important. They should not be taken for granted, but celebrated. It's the little things. 

May sunbeams find you.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Dad

When I was fourteen years old, my dad came to me and said if I ever had any questions about ANYTHING to come to him. At the time, I had no idea what he meant. These past few years, I slowly (mistake after mistake after mistake) began to understand. Throughout all of my slip ups and shortcomings, my dad has been there. To talk to, to cry to, to laugh about, and to just "be" there. I don't think there is anyone who quite understands me like my dad does. So, yesterday being Father's Day and all, I narrowed it down to 10 Great Dad moments: 

1) That time when I was about six and listened to the Eric Clapton song "Tears in Heaven" on repeat for an entire day. It made me so sad and I would not stop crying- all I wanted was my dad home with me. My mom called him and he left work and came home just to make me feel better. (And for later for taking me to see Eric Clapton, himself live. I was ten. My Dad was awesome.) 

2) Playing Candy Land with me for HOURS. 

3) SO many Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, O-Town, and Aaron Carter concerts. And putting me on his shoulders to get a better view.

4) Not telling mom when he caught me watching Friends in my room when I was little and I wasn't old enough to watch it.

5) The many hours of overtime and side jobs he worked to provide for our family. And letting me come with him Barbies and all.

6) Always being there for every soccer game, softball game, dance recital, play, and every other extracurricular I decided to embark upon. 

7) The very first time my heart was broken, my dad came upstairs, didn't say anything, but held me so hard as I was sobbing my heart out. He didn't leave until I fell asleep. 

8) My dad is never one to not share his thoughts on politics, or religion. I am so thankful for his faith in The Lord and love for this country. 

9) My Hallmark Movie buddy. We can watch Hallmark movies over and over again and they never get old. And there's that moment in every single one where one of us will say, "He wants to kiss her, he wants to hug her, he wants to love her" (a la Sandra Bullock in Miss. Congeniality). 

10) For putting up with three women for 20 years. A house full of estrogen and hormones. It's not easy- but he does it. 

And lastly: For letting me know how proud of me he is on a daily basis. It means the world to me.

I wouldn't be the person I am today without the love and support of my father.

Seeing all of the post on Facebook and Instagram yesterday about all of the "best dads" out there was really wonderful! There are some great ones out there! At the same time, my heart is breaking for those who don't have the "best dads". Or for those who do not have their dads here anymore to spend that special day with. My heart goes out to you. In my life recently I have come to notice how incredibly important it is to spend time with those you love. No one is promised tomorrow. As annoying as my Dad's snores are (think. . . Chainsaw),and the phrase "Are all of the curling irons off?!" EVERYTIME we leave the house, and the angry stomps to the garage about something breaking in the house- I love it all. I wouldn't change a thing. 

I love you Dad! Thank you. 

May sunbeams find you!


Friday, June 6, 2014

I Don't Know How You Feel

I think many times when attempting to comfort another person, a phrase I have heard (and spoken) very often is, "I know how you feel". I admit I have been guilty with using this phrase, especially if I considered something I experienced along the same lines of the other individual. However, I want to be clear that with the field I am going in to, that is not a phrase I will be throwing around.

With readings for class, volunteering with individuals with disabilities, talking to other professionals, and parents, one thing is clear: I do not know how they feel. I have never struggled with a disability that makes ordinary activities challenging. I do not know how it feels to have a child with any sort of disability (or any child for that matter). I do not know what it feels like to see one of the students I love struggle with health or other issues out of their control (and that I cannot help with at all). I just don't. As much as I want to put myself in their shoes, the reality is, I am just not there.

I have been given a different path in life. One that has been full of opportunities and void of many struggles. I have never quite understood why I have so much and others do not. Why have I not had a life in which trials were a part of my every day walk of life? It's not fair. I do not understand and have not found an answer to this. But I am not wasting any more time trying to figure out why. I have been given skills, opportunities, and want to help others and share what I can. I have wasted a lot of time "YOLO-ing" and living for me and I have come to the conclusion that bad things happen when I'm all up in my own head. It's time to step outside of "me" and use my blessings for good. I want to do "good".

That being said, to all of the parents, students, and individuals I hope to work with one day I would like to say:

I have no idea how you feel. I will not even begin to compare my challenges to your daily life experience. But I want you to know I am here to help. I am here to take the abilities and heart I have been given and try to make your world a better place. I will not always succeed at this, but I want you to know I will do everything in my ability to try. I want to make your daily routine a little more manageable, spread awareness to the community, and become an advocate for you and your families. I do not know how you feel, but I am on your side.

May sunbeams find you!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Crying on a Backpack

I had a bit of a "moment" this evening. After reviewing assignments for the upcoming week, I realized I missed three from the previous week. Participation points, yes, but still I find it unacceptable. I have held myself to a much higher standard in this Masters program than I ever had before. Looking at my June calendar I am feeling a bit on the "busy" side. Work is a mandatory, then add some 20 hours for grad school, some doctors appointments, mom's surgery, and then some really fun things planned on the weekends. I really do enjoy being busy, but I am also someone who enjoys Criminal Minds marathons and naps. 

This evening when I got on to see I had missed some assignments, I had my "moment" and emailed my professor about dropping the course. I also texted my friends I wouldn't be able to go kayaking this weekend (a trip that's been planned for over a month). After a quick response that my grade is not tarnished and that I should be able to catch up (but withdrawing is still an option), I had to take a step back. I have some busy things going on right now, but what is it going to be a year from now? When I am teaching or involved in other things? How would I fit it all in then? And how in the heck does anyone do this college (grad/undergrad/associates/ANY OF IT) with a spouse and kids?! There's a reason God thumped on my heart that this is the time for me to be pursuing this. 

One of those little quote-y things that makes its way around Facebook, Instagram, and Pintrest is, "Do something today your future self will thank you for". Welp- today this is it. I'm not withdrawing, I'm not canceling on my friends. I'm going to suck it up, work twice as hard as I have been, and put my daily calendar to good use. 

Maybe I will miss out on a nap, and maybe I won't watch TV this week, but I've got to get to it. Who knows where I will be in a year, but I know I want this particular class completed. If I'm busy now, chances are I will always be busy. Sounds like life. I think I'd like to go back in time and have a serious talk to my younger self when I whined the words, "I'm booooooored". 

It's going to be a full summer, but I've also got to make time for the fun stuff too. Like baseball games, concerts, kayaking, baby showers, and trips to a village safari. I've just got to learn to focus and plan, plan and focus. And maybe utilize my dry shampoo more often. 

My future self will thank me. 

May sunbeams find you!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

One Hand in My Pocket.

"Hand in my pocket" by Alanis Morrisette was one of my favorite songs when I was 6, and then again when I was in college. I thought I knew the meaning of this song at 19, but the lyrics settle with me now more than ever. At 19, I thought by 24 I would absolutely have it all figured out. But here I am, almost 25 and I'm more clueless than ever about this thing called life. 

I guess I could say I thought I would be somewhere else by now. I would have a career, maybe a husband, live in a big city or on the beach, be able to afford that convertible I have always wanted, and really be a "grown up" out there on my own. 

Little did I know, things don't always turn out how you think they will. One of my favorite phrases is, "If you want to hear God laugh tell him your plans". I don't think I would have ever foreseen I would be just starting my career, going back to school, living at home with my parents, driving the same car I did when I was 17, realized that not everyone marries their high school sweetheart, and still residing in little ole Sumerduck. 

Although I think my 19 year old self might have been a little disappointed by this reality that is my life, I wouldn't change a single thing. Sure I complain quite frequently about wanting to live in my own place in a big city or near a beach somewhere, but that's not in my near future. And that's okay! 

How blessed I am to have two parents that let me still live in their house and actually like having me at home? I have to stop sometimes and take a step back because I find myself seriously complaining about having parents who love me too much and want to help and support me in any and every way they can. How amazing is it that my little Saturn has had little to no problems since I got it in 2007? Holla atcha Saturn. I'm so glad I found out at 20 (and again at 22 & 23) that some people are just not meant to be together. Though I think I'm a little behind (I had a plan remember?) I am so amazed I found my calling and it's something I love studying and working towards. 

I look around at all my friends who are getting married, having kids, moving out on their own, starting new jobs, and it's all so exciting!

If someone would have asked me 6 months ago, I would have been honest and said, "I'm jealous. Yes. Jealous. I want to do those things!". That bitter evil green monster would always get the better of me. 

But now, I have a sort of new perspective on things. Maybe it's the beautiful weather getting to me, or the pretty blue/green calming tones all around, but I'm happy about life right now. I have found a place of peace within my heart. We're all a part of some journey. We all have our own story to tell. We all battle demons of some kind. We all reach these milestones at some point in our lives. Some sooner, some later, some never at all, but we're all in this crazy thing called life together. 

I don't know exactly what my future looks like at all. I don't know exactly where I'll be, what I'll be doing, who's going to be around, or where my journey is going to take me. And I find that the most exciting part of all.

 I know what my calling is. I know that I need to be in a field where I am helping others. The rest? I'm looking forward to seeing what happens. 

"What it all boils down to, Is that no one's really got it figured out just yet
'cause I've got one hand in my pocket and the other one is giving a high five".

May sunbeams find you!


Friday, May 16, 2014

"Sounds of Summer"

Looking over the music in my I-Tunes library and the pre-set channels on the radio in my car, it would not be hard to guess what my favorite genre of music is. I really love country music. It makes me smile. So, in honor of seeing Dierks Bentley today at WMZQ Fest I will share the "poem" I created for my sister for her birthday to let her know I got her the 2014 Country Megaticket (tickets for Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Rascal Flats, Miranda Lambert, and Brad Paisley). If you enjoy popular country music, I think you will appreciate it. Note: If it is in italics it is a song title or lyric (of the artists in the mega ticket). 

On March 2, 1994, God sent me my best friend. We've come so far since that day, and I thought I loved you then. 

I know there have been a few times we could have called 5-1-5-0, but I know you understand a heart like mine. 

You're a country girl with a southern voice and I thank God for the house that built us. Brought to you courtesy of the red, white, and blue and our last name.

And, my wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to: Your dreams stay big and your worries stay small. And sister, you can crash my party anytime.  

So, I bet you got a dead cell phone in your shotgun seat. But you better charge that thing, shake it for me girl, and get a little high on summertime. Because I got you the WMZQ Country Mega Ticket. 

May sunbeams find you! 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Money and the Glamour

"I swear they are going to ask me what I ate for lunch last Tuesday"- this is one of many phrases I have uttered while completing teaching applications. But while these applications are a bit daunting, I keep reminding myself: This is the easy part.

When I first decided I was going to pursue special education, I already had a Virginia Teaching Licence (Pre-K through 6). I had already taken all of the necessary tests and completed my full semester of student teaching. I had also said out loud many of times, "I will never be a teacher!" It was hard! Really hard! Just ask my roommates in college, they can vouch I came home almost every Friday in tears. Teaching on any level is not a walk in the park. When I tell people I am pursuing special education I usually get a mix of different responses. It's to the point now I feel like I should add a disclaimer: "I am pursuing special education and YES I know it is going to be very challenging." 

This mix of responses threw me off guard at first. Most of them positive. Especially from individuals who know me the best. But every now and then there is a comment that makes me want to cringe.  Such as:

"I hope you like data and writing." 
         Response: Yes, actually I do.

"If you couldn't handle regular kids, what makes you think you could handle those kids."
         Honest response: I prefer those kids. 

"That county doesn't pay very well. Not for what you will be doing."
         My best response to date: WAIT. WHAT? I thought teaching was about the money and the glamour?"  I'm usually not quick enough for sarcasm but I've got a few zingers.

Yes, those are actual responses from real, live people. And talking to some of my classmates and professors, there have been worse. 

I know what I am getting myself in to. I went through the majority of my life thinking I was going to be a Kindergarten teacher. Once I was fully licensed to become one, I decided that was one thing I would not do. I went in to that experience with Rose colored glasses. Life lesson: teaching kindergarten is not singing, dancing, and have a bunch of little friends that will automatically respect you. Four years of college and countless dollar amounts later- I wanted to be positive this time around. After volunteering with adults with disabilities, subbing in classrooms for individuals with special needs, and talking with others in the field, I know what I am meant to do. 

Looking back, some of the faults I had in a general education setting are actually great qualities for a special education teacher. For example, "Too patient" (Yes- this was on one of my evaluations). I think that is a wonderful trait that is only going to help me in this field. That's just my opinion. 

I also believe it is a "heart thing". This field is a calling. I feel like I have been led to working with this population and it's something that I cannot explain. I've started the summer semester this week and on our class forum some of my classmates have expressed the same feeling. It's good to know I am not alone.

I know this is going to be hard. I know this is going to challenge me physically, mentally, and emotionally. But when you feel that swell in your heart of happiness that you're doing the right thing, you should run towards that thing with all you have. No salary could ever replace that for me. Applications are the easy part. Teaching will be hard. 

Suprisingly enough, it's not about the money and the glamour. Because nothing accessorizes a pair of J Crew pants like someone's lunch. And there is no better embellishment to my hair than a cherry from someone's fruit cup. 

May sunbeams find you!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Poppaw's Birthday!

All week my mom has been saying that she doesn't like Mother's Day. In October 2010, my Mommaw (my mom's mother) passed away. Although it gets a little easier every day, my mom still misses her so very much. Especially on days devoted specifically to mothers and grandmothers. I am beyond blessed to have had such an amazing and supportive Mom and Mommaw. I could go on and on. But, since I didn't want to make my Mom sad on this special day, it was decided it would be "Happy Poppaw's Birthday" (Ironically enough it is his birthday! Go Figure). 

My handsome Poppaw turned 79 years old today. This man is truly incredible. My entire family says he is the toughest man we know, and it's true. Listening to him tell stories of when he was younger validates these thoughts. He was a rascal and he'd pick a fight just to fight. That changed a bit when he met my Mommaw, but my mom said he still had a bit of a fighting side that she can remember. He's also very outspoken about his thoughts and beliefs. And LOUD. That must be where we get it from. 

But while this man was a tough Marine, he is also one to not hold back the tears. He has one of the softest hearts I have ever known. When my Mommaw was sick, I was completely amazed at how beautifully he took care of her. It was indescribable the love you could see and feel between them. I hope to one day have and feel that kind of love. The picture below is back when they were dating. I asked him once why his legs on top of hers and he said, "Well, I knew what I had and wanted everyone else to know it too". Presh. Just presh.

And oh so handsome! 

My Poppaw is also one not to "put things lightly". He kind of just tells it like it is. One conversation recently was about my looking for jobs this upcoming school year. I explained my professor advised I start looking for full time teaching positions in a self contained classroom. I said I wasn't sure if I was going to do that and that maybe I would like to begin by looking for assistant teacher positions. "Well what would you do that for?!" said Poppaw, with his Southwest Virginia twang. I told him because I just wasn't sure if I was ready for the responsibilities of a full time teacher. His reply, "That's your problem Lin, you never take a chance". He was right. It's not that I am not confident in my skills and abilities, I am. But I had been baby stepping my way up to what I want to do so badly. I have been holding myself back. 

This year I have begun to push myself. To stop talking about things and actually doing them. Even if it's really hard and kind of scares me. No one is going to teach for me. This is going to be very hard, and very scary. But so unbelievably rewarding. I can't wait to get in to my own classroom. Where before my fear held me back, now I'm ready to get in there. To jump in and take a chance! 

I will end with my favorite picture of my Poppaw. The man who is not one to mince words, but also one of the first to say how proud he is and how much he loves me.


May sunbeams find you!


Friday, May 9, 2014

I do not run.

Well I guess I can now say, "I did not run". The truth is, ever since I was very young, I knew exercise and athletics were not my thing. I struggled with sports because I didn't care about winning and I just never liked the feeling of wearing running shoes (I will admit I was a little unreasonable about some things- I was an odd kid). I very vividly remember the first "One Mile Run" I had to complete in the 6th grade. It ended with me losing my lunch in the girls locker room and having my mom come and pick me up. 

I think my hatred for running got even worse in high school gym class, when we were old enough for the majority of us to run well. I mastered the art of "pretend jogging", in which you walk really fast and move your arms rather swiftly. The key is to also bob your head a bit to make it look like your ponytail is swaying as you "jog". 

In college, to take advantage of the "free" workout facilities (I put that in parenthesis because looking at my student loan debt, I earned that stinkin' gym). I had a year long but toxic friendship with the elliptical. I ended up being that girl that lost the freshman fifteen- that elliptical was fantastic company! I still hated running. I don't count the elliptical as running. But, alas, since graduating from Bridgewater in 2011, I have not really felt the urge to begin any sort of physical fitness routine. Until now that is. 

My wonderful, beautiful, athletic cousin has signed me up for a 5K to benefit a charity in Washington, DC. I had briefly expressed my interest in the cause and before you know it, I got a confirmation email thanking me for signing up. Yay! (NOT!) So, in preparation for hopefully not getting lost in the middle of DC (I know my cousin- she will not think twice about leaving me in the dust) I have started training. 

To the end of my road and back is 1.5 miles, so I'll need to be able to do that twice. . . The race is next Saturday so I have about a week left to finish training. I am especially proud of myself as today I jogged the entire 1.5 miles! Without stopping! I didn't stop once to "check my shoelace" or "tighten my ponytail" or "switch up my tunes" (the usual excuses). This may not seem like very far or very accomplishment worthy at all, but for me- IT'S HUGE! See photo below for proof my family knows I cannot and do not run very often :
Burned. Big time. But all with love. I will admit, the new fancy bright shoes have increased my motivation a bit! And some tunes of course. The highlights of my workout playlist are:

1) "Eyes Open" by Taylor Swift (Because I like to pretend I am training for the Hungar Games) 
2) "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry (It's just so darn catchy)
3) "Cruise Remix" by Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly (Duh.) 
Annnnd 4) "Leavin'" by Jesse McCartney

Chances are very slim I will be the first one to cross the finish line. I don't really even mind coming in last. I just want to finish. I want to go up there, and run/jog/walk/skip my way through a 5K. Because I'm tired of missing out because I am scared of failure. With the population I am going to work with, it's not always about meeting a goal- it's about working towards one. Making little bits of progress day by day and celebrating what may seem to the rest of the community like very small accomplishments. That being said, I am glad my cousin signed me up for this 5K. The 1.5 miles I jogged today may not seem like much but to me they are further than I've ever gone. It's a small accomplishment that makes a difference to me

From a non-runner to the rest of the world: I am going to do this. And it's going to be AWESOME! (And I am hoping my cousin will meet me at the finish line- if not, I may be having myself a solo DC adventure). 

May sunbeams find you!


Monday, May 5, 2014

I "Got" to Go To Work Today. . .

This Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing Matilda the Musical on Broadway. I have a love for New York City and musical theatre. It was absolutely phenomenal! The entire cast was fantastic and the show was just flawless. I want to see it again already! As a small town girl, I love taking trips to the city a couple times a year. I find the hustle and bustle such a welcome escape from my everyday routine. I just love it!

Like many of my visits to New York City, I come home just all wound up about my trip. Then, like most Sunday evenings, the thought, "Ugh, I have to go to work tomorrow," crossed my mind. Then I remembered something I often lose sight of. I did not "have" to go to work today, I "got" to go to work today. I've seen articles, photos, and phrases regarding this very sentiment many times but for me it got a little more personal a couple of months ago.

This past semester was a little overwhelming. I decided to enroll in three (graduate) courses instead of the recommended two. All the while I was (still am) working full time at an insurance agency. In addition, I was required to have 35 volunteer hours working with individuals with disabilities. Do not get me wrong, I love being busy. I like having things to do because when I get bored I begin to go up in my head and worry about things that do not need to be worried about. Needless to say, I was thinking for a time that I had bitten off a tad more than I could chew. One Tuesday, while volunteering, an individual said something to me that really changed my attitude regarding my semester. At the place where I volunteer in this particular Tuesday, one of the gentleman came up to me and said, "Lindsay! I am so glad to see you. Guess what? I get to go to work today!". He was elated that this day in particular was one in which he got to go to work!

Here I was, beginning the morning thinking, "Oh my goodness, there is just so much I have to do. I have no idea how I am going to get it all done", and this gentleman was so very excited about the one day a week he "got" to go to work. Perspective is such an amazing thing. I am so grateful I have countless opportunities and things I "get" to do.

Even though going to work was not as exciting as New York City and work at the office was not quite a musical, I got to go to work today! I got to wake up, drive to work, help a couple people understand their insurance policies, jam out to my new tunes in the car, come home, and eat dinner with my family. So many times I get all caught up in everything I "have" to do, I forget to remember just how blessed I am, and how many opportunities I have.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Let's get this blog started!

Hello world! My name is Lindsay Rose and this is my first ever true attempt at having my own blog. I guess a good place to start would be my intent on beginning a blog. First, how about a little history? 

Ever since I was a little a girl, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. My younger sister can attest to this as  I would come home from school almost every day and teach her everything I had learned that day. I attempted teaching her everything from multiplication at four to algebra at eight. Needless to say, she is not a prodigy, but no one can say I didn't try.

It was not a hard decision then when I had to choose a major in the Fall of 2007: Elementary Education. I went to Bridgewater College located in (go on, it's not a tough one) Bridgewater, VA. Throughout my college career I got A's in all my major courses and "in the classroom" practicums. However, student teaching was a different story. I did not do poorly, but something just wasn't right. I was in a Kindergarten classroom (what I always wanted) with an amazing cooperating teacher. However, I struggled. So much so that a month away from graduation (in May 2011) I stated, "I just have to finish, and I will NEVER be a teacher- it's just not for me. I cannot do it." That was three years ago. 

Right out of college I got a great job at an insurance company. I started as an administrative assistant and studied my way up to an insurance agent (personal lines). I love my job and the environment I work in, but a year and a half after graduation (about November of 2012), I started getting the pull on my heart that I had to be in a classroom. I spoke with my mom's friend, who has been in the field for quite some time, and she suggested I start substituting. Maybe my destiny was not to be a Kindergarten teacher but there are so many other places to go within the education world!

So, I began substituting in January 2013. My first placement was in an intellectual disabilities classroom. It was like a light bulb went off! My heart felt happy and everything just felt so "right". After a couple more visits to this classroom, I decided I was going to go back to school to get my Masters in Special Education and Autism. I began my graduate program at the University of Mary Washington in the Fall of 2013 and HERE I AM! 

I have found so many wonderful blogs and resources out there from teachers who work with individuals with special needs but as I am not yet in the classroom, this will be the beginning of my journey. I know this will not be an easy road and I hope to share my fears, hopes, anxieties, accomplishments, success, failures, and sunshine through this. I am well aware this is going to be a roller coaster of a journey, but I am at a point in my life where I am willing to put on my safety strap and hold on! 

Oh, I also have a slightly toxic love affair with Sephora and all things "pretty and shiny" at the moment, but I will save that for another time.

May sunbeams find you!