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!