Archive for August, 2008

Hallelujah, Your love never fades

August 31, 2008

Ah, I have another amazing God moment for you. It’s amazing how God works. He truly, unconditionally loves me.

Well, I was at church this morning and during the second song of worship, I just told God, “I’m just not feeling it today God. I’m not feeling You and I just feel weird.” This is during the song “Open the Eyes of My Heart”! How could I not “feel” God during a song like that? It’s one of the ultimate worship songs! After that song was finished, Pastor Danny came to the stage and, wow, it was like he knew exactly what was on my heart! (Seriously, I made sure I wasn’t wearing a teleprompter on my chest…) I don’t remember exactly what he said but it was perfect. He also invited people to come up to the front of the church and kneel.

The pressure I started feeling on my chest was crazy. I felt as if God picked up my hand and pulled me to my feet. I needed to kneel before the altar and worship Him. So I went and just bawled while I was kneeling. God was there, before me. It was exactly what I needed. Yet another reminder of how God loves me and cares for me. I didn’t deserve the reminder, but God gave it to me anyway.

He is amazing in His care for His children. He loves us unconditionally, even when we screw up time and time again. I’m amazed by Him every single day.

And Pastor Danny’s message was just as amazing! He spoke on Acts 4 and 5. Acts 4:32-37 tells the story of the church and how there was absolutely no greed (such a difference from today’s time!). He cross-referenced to 1 Timothy 6:17, which is a verse I had to write down because it was so perfect for what I’m dealing with now. It says, “Command those who are rich with things of this world not to be proud. Tell them to hope in God, not their uncertain riches. God richly gives us everything to enjoy.”

While I’m definitely not rich, I am so concerned with riches just the same. This verse can fit perfectly with people who are struggly financially. Don’t be concerned with your uncertain financial future. Yes, you may have to live simply and figure out how to pay your rent and electricity and still eat this month. But guess what? God is going to provide. He is going to give us everything we need. It may not be everything we want, but it will be everything we need.

God is good. All the time.

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Learning a lesson

August 30, 2008

Well, the Lord is leading us through another valley.

I don’t think there’s been a time in my life where I feel completely, 100% secure in our finances. OK, maybe when I was, like five and thought my family was perfect. We’ve never had tons of money to throw around. For one thing, when my parents were together, my dad blew his paycheck on gambling so my mom had to try to pay everything on a day care teacher’s salary (which isn’t much).

Once my mom divorced my dad, when I was in 6th grade, we continued to suffer with our money. Dad barely, if ever, paid child support so it was just my mom. We had to survive on my mom’s school loan checks, which were a BLESSING! Otherwise, we wouldn’t have made it.

So I’m not a stranger to financial struggle. I get it. Totally. It’s something I’ve begun to accept. This is why I can’t wait to actually start teaching. And I think teaching gets a bad rap. Sure, we’re not getting paid six figures but beginning teachers make about $35,000 a year. That’s not bad. You can live on $35,000 a year. So I’m excited to start teaching and help Mom and I get back on our feet.

But that’s four months from now.

For the next 4 months, we have to learn to live a very simple life. I’m not going to help with finances at all. Mom is going to be working 60-70 hours a week to make ends not even meet. And my loan check is going to be delayed because I kept putting off checking my financial aid until a week before classes started. Bleh.

When I called the financial aid offices today and found out that the forms I submitted last Friday are going to take 2-4 weeks to process. So that means I won’t find out until September 11th at the earliest about my loan. Worst case, I’ll get my check the first week of October. Best case, in about 2 1/2 weeks.

God is teaching me patience. He’s teaching me to trust Him. I have to trust He will lead me out of this valley. He has my best interest at heart. I know this. I just now have to believe it.

This is why my mommy is better than your mommy

August 26, 2008

I had to drop my mom off at work at 7 a.m. this morning, which is an hour and a half before she “officially” starts work. I had an orientation to attend at 8:30 a.m. in Tampa. So she had to get up early and wasn’t able to run, as she does most mornings.

THEN…she had to stay at work until 5:45 p.m., since I was stuck in Tampa until 4:45 p.m. She gets off work at 5 p.m. So that is a total of 2 hours, 15 minutes that she had to be at work for no reason.

I’m not done.

I picked Mom up at 5:45 p.m. Not to take her home. Oh, no. I picked her up to take her to her second job, where she will work until 9 p.m.

And when she gets home, she’ll make dinner for me.

This is why I, in some ways, dread becoming a mother. I could never come close to being like her. She is so self-sacrificing and completely devoted to my brother and I. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have a mother (and best friend) like her.

She is definitely sacrificing a lot for my education. She wants me to focus on school and not have anything else affecting my schooling, which is why she’s working 2 jobs (about 60 hours a week) so I can focus solely on school. This semester, I can’t work at all because my final internship is going to take up all my time. And she’s sacrificing once again for me.

If I could even become HALF the mother she is, I would be content.

Baby Shower!

August 26, 2008

Saturday was Jenny’s baby shower and it was a blast! She is so beautiful and BIG. I love it. The shower was a lot of fun, although there were only 4 people for Mark and a billion for Jenny. I’m not very happy with my family right now. Only two people had excuses: My grandma (who is currently going through chemo which just zaps all of her energy) and my grandpa (he has to take care of her)! Everyone else had no excuse. Ugh.

Anyway, we played fun baby shower games, like “How Big is Her Belly?” which I placed 2nd in.

We also played a trivia game which I placed 1st in. I swear, I’m way too good at baby stuff! 🙂

Jenny opened her presents. She now has enough onesies to last her for the first 3 months of little Jovanny’s life. She got some really cute items. Of course, I spoiled my soon-to-be nephew with tons of presents, as you saw in my previous post.

All in all, a great day. It was fun, and I didn’t think it would be. I thought I’d be uncomfortable but I wasn’t. Jenny makes pregnancy look beautiful. I know I won’t look half as good as she looks at 8 months pregnant!

That was a test, wasn’t it?

August 22, 2008

My emotions have been on a super-twisting rollercoaster since last night.

I went online to check out my financial aid for this school year. (What, doesn’t everybody wait for the Friday before school starts to do this, too?) I found out I have unsatisfied requirements and I’m $9,000 short of paying my tuition and fees.

Um…WHAT?!

I look and realize that papers I had mailed months ago weren’t complete. Did they ever think of contacting me to tell me this? Noooo. Luckily, I was already planning a trip up to Tampa to get my Final Internship Packet so I found the forms I needed easily. Then I realized that my Stafford loans weren’t showing up.

Wait a second!

Those loans are needed SO BADLY this semester, since I’m not working. I can’t help my mom out with gas, rent, or other bills. Not to mention, I have credit cards that need to be paid and $40 a month for WW. So I was freaking out. And I went a little crazy. I started crying, throwing things, and then I did what I always do: I shut down. I went to my room and I just didn’t want to deal with anything. My mom hates this, I hate this. I have the absolute worst communication when it comes to things being wrong with me. I have to work on this for my FH.

My mom was able to calm me down and said I’d just have to talk to the people in the Financial Aid office and get it all straightened out. Whew.

I’ve been seriously debating where teaching is God’s plan for me. Lately, it seems like it isn’t. I asked Him to close some doors if it’s not and I thought, maybe this is God’s way of saying no. I strongly believe God has other plans for me but I don’t know what they are yet. Well, I was on my way to USF and the song “I Am” by Ginny Owens came on the radio. This song was sent directly from God to me. The chorus goes like this:

’Cause there’s a bigger picture you can’t see
You don’t have to change the world, just trust in Me
‘Cause I am your Creator, I am working out my plan
And through you I will show them, I Am

I just started CRYING when the song came on. It was raining and I’m trying to merge onto I-275 at this point so it’s not a good situation. I’m trying to sing along and my voice keeps breaking. I felt so strongly that God was sitting in the car with me, holding my hand, and singing these words straight to me. It was AMAZING! I’ve never felt God so strongly before but He was sitting in the car with me. This was His way of showing me that I needed to trust Him. He knows what He’s doing.

Well, after that song was on the radio, the Rosary came on and since I’m not Catholic, I put my CD on, which was on ANOTHER perfect song! It was “Blue Sky” by Francesca Battistelli (her CD is AMAZING, by the way). It was on the chorus:

When the rain is falling
And there’s no silver lining
And you just can’t seem to find the light
When you need a reason
To help you keep believing
Let My love be your blue sky

It was so perfect because it was literally raining and I was searching desperately for the light at the end of this tunnel.

It was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I just can’t describe it enough. I felt so loved by my Savior. He was going to get me through this. He had a plan.

Unfortunately, my happiness didn’t last very long as I went to Pro-Copy to get my Final Internship Packet and found out it was FORTY-ONE DOLLARS! What?! And there’s no financial aid there. I had $20 to my name and I had to tell the poor guy I’d have to wait. Right now, my mom and I are in SUCH financial straits. She’s working 2 jobs and it’s still not enough. We’re always short on something.

So I had another breakdown. I called my mom, crying my eyes out. I freaked out, figured “no final internship for me!” and if it wasn’t for my mom, I don’t know what I would have done. She calmed me down and found a solution to our problems (hello, Ms. Cash Advance).

I felt like I kept getting hit over and over again with a bowling ball. It was just one thing after another. Everything in my life seems like it’s a battle: A battle for purity, a battle for healthy eating, a battle to keep clothes on my back and food on the table, etc. Nothing ever comes easy for me.

And I knew it was another test that I failed yet again. I had my hand wrapped securely in my faithful Prince’s. He was smiling lovingly down at me and I was gazing up at Him with adoration. But then a speed bump presented itself for me. Jesus waited to see what I would do. Instead of letting Him walk me over it, I tried to do it myself. I ended up falling and scraping my knee. My hand is pulled from His by my own volition (not His) and I turn away from Him. He stands there, on the other side of the speed bump, with His hand out. I’m so ashamed. I TOOK MY HAND FROM HIS! Why would He even suggest taking my scrapped up, ugly hand in His beautiful one? I stand up, brush my hands on my jeans, and I slowly, tentatively, put my hand in His. He grasps it firmly and leads me over the bump in the road. I don’t want to look up at Him. I’ve done Him wrong again. Gently, He takes my chin in His hand and I look into His eyes. I see nothing but love in His eyes. “My beautiful princess,” He says. “I am not going anywhere. I am here to stay. I am here to love you, guide you, and encourage you. I need you to believe that. My hand will never leave yours. Ever.” And we continue walking.

I love you, I love you not

August 18, 2008

There are only 2 people in my life that I know love me unconditionally, no strings attached. No matter what I do, they will stand by me and cheer me on. If I disappoint them, I don’t have to worry that they will stop loving me. Those 2 people are my mom and my grandma.

EVERYONE else in my life comes with conditions. I feel that if I don’t do everything to meet up to some specific standard (a standard I decide on, apparentely), they won’t love me anymore. It’s not hard to see why: I was never good enough for my dad. And now, I’m not good enough for even a phone call.

I haven’t spoken to my dad in almost 9 months and it really, really hurts. It hurts that he has no use for me at all. I know it’s because he knows I won’t let him off the hook. I will let him know when he’s done something wrong…and he’s not used to that. He’s called my brother but my brother refuses to speak to him. The last 2 times he did, my dad asked him for money (after not calling my brother in 5 months) and the next was to tell Mark that he was going to kill himself. And, yeah, that’s horrible and my dad is the biggest loserface on the planet. But, sometimes, I wish I could be granted a call for him. It’s hard to feel loved, wanted, and special when the ONE man on the planet who should care for you and love you doesn’t. Where did I go wrong? Am I not pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, funny enough? Where are my flaws, Dad? Just show me and I’ll fix them. I promise!

Because of my dad, I put a “love price tag” on everyone. With my brother, I have to keep up with my movie quotes and football stats. With my friends, I have to be hilarious all the time and smart enough to keep up with them. With my cousins, I have to appear as if I’m “cool enough” and “funny enough.” Because if I fall short, they will stop loving me.

Just as my dad has.

It’s a very sad way to live. I’m always on edge and I never feel as if I measure up. I’m always thinking, why do they want to be my friend? When a friend asked me to be her bridesmaid, I gave her an enthusiastic “YES” with confidence. Inside, I’m asking myself why she chose me. She has closer friends, prettier friends, more “spiritual” friends. But she still chose me as a bridesmaid. And I can’t let her down.

My brother and I are playing Fantasy Football this year, just the two of us. When he compliments me on how well I did in our “Game Picks” last year, my chest puffs out and my face glows. He paid me a compliment! He thinks I’m good at something!

And don’t even get my started on Jesus Christ. I can’t even fathom Him and His love for me. Unconditional. He feels that I am so worthy and so beautiful. It’s hard to imagine since my earthly father is such an opposite. Where my father scolds, my Father comforts. Where my father scoffs, my Father encourages. Where my father forgets, my Father remembers. His love is unwavering and He will always be there for me. I’ll never run out of second chances with Him and He will never forget me. I’m always His precious princess and He wants to lavish me with love, attention, and affection.

Overspending

August 18, 2008

In October, I’ll become an aunt for the first time. I always told my brother that if he ever had a child, I would go bankrupt because of everything I’d spend on him or her.

Famous last words, right?

The baby shower for my nephew is on Saturday and I think I might have gone overboard on gifts for him. I can’t help it! I see baby clothes or toys and I buy without even thinking. I don’t even want to think of what Christmas will look like for him. 😉

So, here is a rundown of his gifts:

Major Cutie Outfit2 by you.

Caterpiller by you.
This adorable caterpillar has different fabrics on each of his “bodies” and a cute little teething thing at the end of it. It’s actually an “Eric Carle” caterpillar, the man who wrote The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

onies by you.
My mom made me buy this. How cute is it?


This cute 5-pack of onesies had a onesie that said “I love mommy” and another one that said “I love daddy.”

pooh cap by you.

Classic Pooh™ Pacifier with Clip
The baby has a “Winnie the Pooh” themed room so we got a lot of Pooh Bear stuff. This is a cute Pooh Bear pacifier with a clip, which I know is a lifesaver!!!


This is a play gym that turns into a tunnel as baby grows up:

 

Bib by you.

Yeah, this baby is going to be spoiled.

A prayer answered

August 16, 2008

Yesterday, I visited the elementary school where I will be doing my student teaching internship. I wanted to meet my cooperating teacher since I would be with him for these next 17 weeks, Monday-Friday. I was anxious, excited, and very nervous.

What if I hated the school, hated him?

I had to deal with that above answer in my previous internship. I hated the school (the staff and teachers were very unfriendly and the classrooms were disgusting). And I also hated my teacher (her word of advice: “If I had to do this over again, I would never have become a teacher.”). It was an awful internship. I felt sad and discouraged after every day, being in her classroom. I began to question if teaching was really the right career path for me.

This school is so different. The teachers joke around with each other and have fun. They aren’t disillusioned about teaching. They enjoy their jobs, even if it’s not the easiest.

It’ll be a different situation for me. In the morning, until lunch, I’ll be with a female teacher, teaching reading and writing. In the afternoon, after lunch, I’ll be with a male teacher, teaching math, science, and social studies. I think it’ll be fun!

I was very happy the entire time I was there. The school seemed to fit me. I really, really want to get a job there when I graduate in December. It seems like a great school.

The best part was my male teacher’s statement during the time I was there. He said, “You know, I can’t change the world, but I can change the lives of the 50 kids I have this year.”

I’m stealing that.

Trying to look professional

August 14, 2008

I will begin my final student teaching internship on September 2nd. I have done 2 previous internship (1 day a week and then 2 days a week). This one will be five, full days a week. This gives future teachers an insight into the world of teaching and makes it so our first year of teaching isn’t so shocking. We aren’t thrown out there to the wolves, so to speak.

As I prepare for this internship, I also have to prepare my new “business professional” look. As every college student knows, we have 3 items of clothes: jeans, t-shirts, and sweatpants. Nothing else, really. We may have a few slacks and blouses left over from our church days (when you actually wore nice outfits to church…) but we soon realize that we need a wardrobe overhaul.

I do have a few nice slacks and outfits to wear that I’ve picked up through my previous internships. I have:

  • Black slacks – that smell that popcorn since I wore them when I worked at a movie theatre during the summer of 2006.
  • Gray slacks – that need to be hemmed so badly. I actually had one of the workers at an elementary school roll them up for me one day. Can I help it if I’m the size of a ten-year-old?
  • Black-and-white striped capris – my nicest pair of slacks that make me feel professional, yet stylish. Thank you, New York and Co.!
  • An Indian red skirt – adorable on me! It’s oh-so-cute but I haven’t found any color but white to wear as a top.
  • Red flowery skirt – very cute but again, I can only wear it with one shirt.
  • Black flowery skirt – same deal.
  • Khakis – tons of shirts to wear with them but only have one pair.

So this is my dilemma. It’s not that I have NOTHING to wear – it’s that I only have a few things. And I am so into the “business professional” look. When my friend Kim and I were preparing for our first internship, we were so excited that we could wear skirts and slacks to teaching and look like real-live teachers! After spending so many years in jeans and sweatpants, it’s exciting. (This may just be the two of us, though…)

So I debated, for about 5 minutes, and then applied for a Target credit card. Not a very smart move, seeing as I’ve maxed out my Achieva credit card and my Old Navy credit card already (I know I can pay them back once I’m a full-time teacher) but this was a necessity, in my opinion. I needed some clothes to show the world that I am serious about being a teacher!

So I spent my first $100 of the $300 allotted.

Pinstripe Pants - Gray/ Blue

Merona® Pleated Skirt - Feather Print

I also got a black collared blouse to go with the pants (super cute) and a lime green shirt to go with my skirt (also super cute). And I bought the cutest brown flats with faux-fur lining on the inside! They were soooo comfy and sooooo cute that I had to buy them!

‘ello, there!

August 11, 2008

Ah, my first post! Feels like a brand-new beginning in the life of ME!

A little introduction on my life:

My name is Stephany. I’m 20 years old and I begin my final student teaching internship on September 2nd. I will be interning in a 4th-grade class where I teach math/social studies/science/health only. I really hope this goes well because I’m in a lot of doubt following my last internship. I had the worst cooperative teacher who had absolute ZERO creativity.

I live in central Florida with my mama. It’s just the two of us in our quaint apartment. I have an older brother, Mark, who is 21 years old. He lives with his girlfriend of almost 6 years, Jenny. And…Jenny is 8 months pregnant with my little nephew, Jovanny! I am so, so, so excited about being an aunt and have already spoiled him rotten with little gifts!

Little tidbits about me:

  • I have an awesome sense of humor and my middle name is sarcasm.
  • I struggle a lot with my faith and I question everything.
  • I love football! It’s my favorite sport and I basically become a zombie during the season. I watch all the games on Sunday and start my Mondays off at 6 p.m. with Monday Night Countdown, and then the game. I also play fantasy football with my brother, which is a blast.
  • I haven’t spoken to my father in over 8 months. He’s really done a number on me and has never made me feel special or loved.
  • My grandma has Stage III colon cancer right now and is undergoing chemotherapy. She goes every other week and is given the chemo for 3 days. It’s makes her super naseous and super tired. But she has a strong spirit and still remains the grandma I know and love.
  • I don’t handle criticism well.
  • I’m a Grammar-Nazi!

Hopefully, I can update this blog more than I’ve updated my other blogs! Toodles!