Friday, April 30, 2010

Hello, Cupcake

So, it's just dessert for the work day at Grandma's tomorrow. But I wanted to try something new. And fun. (Please don't laugh.)

I was trying for this:



So I made this:



And ended up with this:


I have some work to do before my cupcake techniques are perfected, and for some reason I chose one of the hardest ones in the book - but yes, you can hire me anytime.

In case anyone's interested, the plans are in Hello, Cupcake. I want to use it more often, but Brad and I can't (read: shouldn't) eat two dozen cupcakes ourselves. And I just discovered that there is a sequel. I might be coveting it right now...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Brother...

 

This is my brother. His name is Daniel. (I'm not allowed to tell you my nickname for him. But it's good... you'd use it if you knew it.)
 

Anyway, these are pictures of my brother high jumping. Not very good ones, but he wanted to see them. (my camera was on aperture priority instead of shutter speed priority for most of them. oops.)

He's a cool guy. A smart guy A nice guy. A strong guy. He laughs at my jokes. I'm very proud of my brother. And if you're interested in one reason why, you should pop on over to The Life of Daniel and read his post from yesterday. It's a pretty darn good one.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Garden Grows

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells and little men all in a row.


There may not be any bells or shells, and there are definitely no little men, but our garden is growing very nicely. We took a gamble planting early (I'm not known for my patience) and it's paid off so far! Except for the failed strawberries, everything has come up and looks good. I think next year we might need a fifth garden bed...

potatoes

zucchini is my favorite - can't wait for bread and cake!

Friday, April 23, 2010

*sigh*

Do you really want to hear it today? I'm sure the honest answer is "absolutely not, Megan, we're sick of your whining. You could be a lot worse off..."

And I know I could. I think of that reality every single day. And I am grateful to be healthy and have a job/paycheck/insurance for the next few months and a supportive family and a fantastic husband.... and so on and so forth.

But this is your fair warning. You don't have to read it; I just need to get it out. After all, I'm not going to drive to your house and hogtie you to the computer chair (aside from the fact that I don't actually know what hogtying entails, I am not sure I have the funds to travel to everyone's spot in the world, though I would like to see each of you). I'll even throw a random picture of our "new" wind chimes from the farm in there to let you consider your options for a moment...



I have never liked roller coasters. They actually rank right underneath "caves" on the list of not-cool-vacation-ideas-that-my-family-seems-to-love. There's the whole motion sickness part of my world, evident right now in the fact that, every time I step off a track bus, I feel queasy. Plus, I have (along with my sisters, apparently) a fear of heights. But really, I don't like roller coasters because they are scary. Unpredictable. Uncontrollable.

My life has felt like that lately - unpredictable, uncontrollable. It's a well-known fact that I'm a bit "type A" when it comes to... everything? So this is really hard. At least, today it is. Maybe a list will help?!

Things I don't have control over and therefore shouldn't worry about:
1. Grad school admission. Because apparently they have lost my GRE scores (which were sent in December) and the application deadline is in about a week and I don't know if I can get scores there in time but I have proof that they were sent and I'm not getting a reply quickly enough to do anything about anything until Monday.
1a. Grad school tuition and scholarship money and loans. Enough said.  (Although it might help that I waited to fill out my fafsa until I knew I was a "displaced worker.")
2. Job openings. Right now there are about four that are realistic for me to apply for. I'm not counting the ones that say "Master's degree preferred" because I don't have one. I probably should not count the Wichita ones because they've announced new levels of budget cuts practically every day this week. So that leaves me about two.
3. Getting back the days I banked at the end of last year.

Things I do have control over:
1. The massive run-on sentences in my last list. Yes, they were purposeful.
2. The worry that I have when I realize that we didn't really save money this month (even though it's just because we paid for summer tuition for Brad) or last month (even though we bought plane tickets to Seattle and two trees)... actually, the worry I have when I think about money in general.
3. Applying for the jobs that are available, including the online school, and being incredibly impressive to those employers - well, at least I hope I'm impressive.
4. Being a great teacher and coach for the next five weeks.
5. Going to bed soon because sleep always helps. Right?
6. Lots of other things that I am too tired to list right now.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Good day...

It's a lot easier to teach all day long when you start the day with this from one of last year's parents:


Hello Megan -

My family and I have heard news today that your contract will not be renewed for the next school year.  We are deeply disappointed to lose a talented, dedicated teacher like yourself.  My son has enjoyed your class and I regret that my daughters will not be able to experience language arts with you in the future.  He was crushed to hear that you wouldn't be back next year, when he knows many tenured teachers are not as capable as you are.

I pray that you will land safely in a new position quickly and you'll be better off in the long run.  My husband has experienced a few layoffs and we know the pain and anxiety that go along with changes like these.  We have always landed on our feet and I'm sure you will too.

Please know that you are appreciated, valued and that you will be missed at ACMS.  All my best to you!


Makes me feel like I really have a lot to offer to potential employers - and makes it easier to work on those job applications.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hoping.


"Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again." -Sarah Ban Breathnach

I just had a revelation. I may have said in the past that waiting is the hardest part. But I don't think it is anymore. I think hoping is the hardest part. I was hoping, but I still lost my job... things still fell apart at the seams. Pessimism is an easy choice - if you start out with a dreary view, things won't get worse. Each day is awful, from start to finish, but it's easier to doubt, because in the end it may all turn out the way you expect.

It is difficult to hope, to trust that our prayers will not only be answered, but will be answered in wondrous ways. Hope is hard, because it requires belief and trust and faith which are all challenges on their own. Hope is difficult because there is no certainty in it. But hope is worth it all, because sometimes the expectation that your hope will be rekindled is all that will get you through to tomorrow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Even in Australia

Do you ever have one of those days when you just feel like giving up? Like crawling into a hole and sobbing until you're so exhausted you can't sob anymore? Like going to bed and not coming out until, um, May?

Good. I'm glad I'm not the only one. 

It's been a long week. A hard week. An exhausting week. A..... well, you get the point.

In the interest of "keeping it real," my last post may have been overly optimistic. Going to work is hard - not necessarily because I don't want to work or I'm upset/angry that I don't have a job there. It's more the whole (long-story) fiasco with my "leave bank" days that I completely lose because I'm getting RIF'd, which was my issue today. It's mostly the way that coworkers seem to be in denial that I'm leaving (there is a chance that another teacher will resign, in which case my job would be restored to .75, but at this point, if I find something else, I'm taking it. I'd be an idiot not to.). No one will acknowledge that I also have a choice in this, finally, and it upsets me. A lot. I can't handle being taken for granted, especially right now.

But you know, some days are like that. Even in Australia. Enough venting.

Really, my life is pretty darn good. On the upside,

The Royals don't totally stink... yet.
I saw Mrs. H. in Dillon's tonight - in Atown! Random?
We're going to the MCC Sale tomorrow. I hope to remember my camera.
My kiddos are reading 20 minutes a day right now. And I get to read with them! Best teacher decision I've made to date...
I finally got around to reading Inkheart. Loved it. (Taking a little break before diving into the next book.)
I'm healthy. Brad's healthy.
I've bonded with one daughter of our new pastor over books, including my newest favorite series, which I'm loaning her.
There are some good shows on TV these days. Parenthood, Glee, Modern Family, The Office... our dvr is pretty busy. (And they're a good distraction after a rough day.)
....

I'll keep working on that list.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jars of Clay


"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." -2 Corinthians 4:7-9

This morning, I laid awake in bed (I had the day off, thankfully), pondering my new knowledge; as of yesterday, I know that my position has been cut at the end of this year. I will not be teaching in Andover next year, unless someone leaves. These verses were at the forefront of my mind. I am clinging to them. 

If you know me well, you know that I don't typically walk around quoting Bible verses or post them on the walls or this blog or my facebook status. It's just not me - I'm more of a quotations type of girl. But to a reader, all words resonate, and these feel more relevant to this moment in life than most I can find.   

Surprisingly, all things considered, I am doing well. Really. I'm not sure Hannah believed me when I told her. But I am. I could choose to be bitter and angry right now. I could ask over and over "why me?" because I really don't quite understand. I could choose to focus on the injustice of it all. But I'm not going to. I'm going to choose to remember that I will not be crushed or abandoned. I will not despair. I can't. 

We will be okay. Even if we aren't at this particular moment in time, we will be. And I will admit, I wasn't okay for a long while yesterday. Or for a few moments today. But it is getting better. We have amazing and supportive families, friends, a strong church community, and wonderful coworkers (who will still love and care and support even when I am no longer their coworker).



This is the time of year when hope springs forth, in the form of buds and blooms and green grass. Yet, all winter long, the bare trees stand. I used to think that they were simply ugly reminders that summer does not last forever.

Now I know. I don't see many jars of clay around (other than those holding potted plants), although I could probably throw a few with the soil from my backyard. But the treasure in jars of clay is also shown in these trees, blown by Kansas tornadoes and ice storms, shuddering in the strong winds, but standing firm and confident in spite of it all. Each is a symbol of strength and constancy and a reminder, not that summer does not last forever, but that spring will come again. They are still alive in the cold of winter, but our point of view often lacks this insight. Though the leaves tremble in the winds and eventually fall away, the heart of the tree stands firm through snow and ice and bitterly cold winds, hopeful that the warm spring rains will come again.

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed for God's compassions never fail." -Lamentations 3:21-22

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where She Belongs


Meggie now claims a special spot in one of our flower beds. Someday, when the bushes and the peonies fill in, her place may have to be adjusted. But for now, here she is - where it seems she belongs. And just for old times sake, though I don't think I will ever be able to pass by her without laying a flower in her basket, even at 24...


Now if only this could be a magical premonition of what news is to come for me in the next few days...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

...


I've been struggling with what to write lately. Not sure if there's anything worthwhile running through my brain these days. Plus, I've been having a rough time keeping a negative attitude in check and would rather not spew that all over the page. So if you have any suggestions for blog topics or burning questions that you want answered, feel free to leave a comment...

Settling in for what looks to be a rough week. Might need a reminder of what's right with the world. And one that some days are like that, even in Australia.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fill Me

sunset self-portrait *mk

God, fill me now; fill me with your loving kindness.
Those who stay close will with joy their burdens carry.

Here before you now; see, my hands are empty.
God, fill me now with you.

-Sing the Story