Saturday, July 25, 2015

For Rent-Part Two

A few weeks ago I blogged about my awful search for a new apartment. Holy smokes. If you did not get to read that post here it is below!

For Rent Part One

Yes I would still much rather poke myself in the eyeballs with flaming hot chopsticks than look for an apartment.The past fews days have been full of tears and questions. However through these tears and questions, I found trust and favor. I learned one very tough and very hard lesson. As much as I disliked going through the process of finding a new apartment, the very important truths that I learned is what I will take away from this search and hold close to my heart for the rest of my life.

I Had An Attitude Problem. 

Let me start off by saying that at one point in time I loved living in my current apartment, but as time moved forward and circumstances changed my attitude changed. Sensing that I needed a change anyway I begin that process of searching for a new apartment, but things got hard. I hit some brick walls. A lot of brick walls actually. Budget constrictions, wait lists a mile long, and nothing seemed to be coming together. I became angry and hateful. I was frustrated with myself and my inability to find a suitable place that it started to bleed over into other aspects of my life. You see here is the thing, I lost sight on the fact that God was working. I had become ungrateful for the place that I had been blessed with, and I forgot about what lead me to my current home. Two years ago, I was days away from my lease ending with no where to go, I searched and prayed God blessed me with what I needed at that time. I was blessed again to stay here for another year after that. I forgot. I forgot that I am the daughter of the one true and living God, and that He will always provide. And just like that, a ton of bricks-lessons were taught and I was reminded of the goodness and grace of God.  

 Perspective Change

I heard the story of a woman and her child as they jumped from house to house trying to escape from horrible circumstances in their lives. Here I am complaining about my apartment and then I realized, I have a home, I have a roof over my head, and I have safety and protection. So I stopped looking and I started to be thankful. I started to trust that God was going to provide. Everything would happen in His timing. I asked for the prayers and council of good friends, who covered me in prayer and gave me helpful insight. Then the next crazy thing happened, knowing that be faith filled means taking risks. So I prayed it over and knew that God was going to provide for me, and I gave my move out notice to my complex without having another a place to go lined up. In my very calculated and well planned life, this was not an easy thing for me.

For the Love! 

You guys, God is good and He provides and fulfills His promises every single time. With the help of my parents my apartment hunt ended today and I found a new apartment to call home!! I'm so excited about this next chapter in my life as I get to move back into a community that is so dear to my heart, and I get to make new connections, build new friendships, and have more people in my life to love on. Because you know I'm all about loving people! I'm so very excited about loving my new neighbors! 

So I'm moving for the third time in four years and I'm moving on Saturday!!! So this week is going to be filled with thankfulness and packing. For the love, so much packing....

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

To Tulsa with Love

It is incredibly hard to believe that just four years ago I packed up everything that I owned and I moved to city where I only knew a few people. It was a huge risk. A huge leap of faith. Moving to Tulsa meant leaving behind everything that I have ever known. This has been and still is the greatest journey I have ever been on, and I fall more in love with this city and the people in it with each passing day. In these short four years, I have moved three times(and I'm about to do it again), been a member of two amazing churches, taught a bunch of kids how to sing, made some of the most amazing friends, and learned some of the most invaluable lessons.

Over the past four years, I have learned so much about myself. This might be shocking truth but I have always been an incredibly independent person. The about of pressure I put on myself to be successful can be a bit daunting and overwhelming. I always want to do everything with excellence, and it has been a driving force throughout my adult life. But many times, it can be crippling and sometimes way more than I can handle. One of the most important lessons that I have had to learn, is that it is okay to admit that I need help. Admitting that I need help isn't a form of weakness, but in many ways it is a source of strength. I'm a work in progress, and will always be.

But perhaps the greatness lesson, has been my relationship with Christ. I was the girl that went to private Baptist college, I thought I had the whole faith thing figured out. Boy was I wrong! Over the past four years I have experienced some of the deepest highs and lows in my faith. Throughout each time, I have walked away knowing that God has provided. My trust level, my belief, and learning how to do the irrational has greatly improved. God is a provider and He will always fulfill His promises. Trusting in God's timing has been the hardest. Going back to that whole independent thing, but really the "I think I know everything part of my personality": my plan is always the best. Or at least so I thought, but this plan God has for me, oh man it is just so good! Learning and watching it unfold has been both a joy and so scary at the same time.

My relationships are different too four years later. I love my family and moving away was really hard. To say that has been easy is an understatement. But they will still drop everything and show up when I need them. And we eat cheesecake when they come.

The greatest joy has been my friendships. Some of the most precious and dearest people have become a part of my life over the past four years. They have loved me, challenged me, shared their hearts with me, created environments where I have been comfortable to share my heart with them, encouraged growth in my teaching, and growth in my faith. Many of these friendships have taken me by surprised and they have given me such joy. They have allowed me to me and celebrated the funny ha ha hot mess that I can be, and they are just awesome. They are my people, my army of prayer warriors, and my weridos. I can't even begin to list you all by name because I am just so worried that I would forget someone, but you are greatest people on the planet. Thank you for listening to me, praying with me and for me, laughing with me, crying with me, and all of the in between.

So here is to many years with you Tulsa. Here is to new adventures in teaching, new adventures with new friends and old, new adventures to better myself and lifestyle outside of my classroom, new adventures in serving Christ and His church, and of course Josh's Snow Cones and Not Your Grandma's Cupcakes.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Kodaly Level One

Twelve days ago I started on one of the most challenging things of my professional career. I started my Kodaly Levels training. Kodaly is an approach to teaching music. There are three different levels and over the past few days I started working my first level. One of the best decisions I have ever made.

Over the past few days I have devoted hours to learning more about becoming a better musician and an better teacher. I practiced lots of solfege (do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti think Sound of Music for my non-music friends), learned about Kindergarten and First Grade(mad props and respect to elementary music teachers), and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I cried a lot. I made a lot of great friends. I became better.

I'm so excited to get ready to plan out and take what I learned and apply it to middle school choir! These past two weeks have given me a renewed focus on what I am teaching and how I am teaching it. There are just so many things swimming around in my brain! Being able to apply everything I have learned will have to go in phases. The first phases is for me to continue my own practicing of my own musicianship. The next step is starting with my sixth grade classes. Before school starts it is my goal to develop a plan for sixth grade, the year after that seventh grade, and finally then eighth grade. So my upcoming sixth graders are my guinea pigs but I know starting and building my Kodaly inspired curriculum is going to make them better musicians and people. This will be a long process but I'm excited to be going on this journey.

During this course I learned more about the man behind this approach Hungarian composer and educator Zoltan Kodaly. Kodaly was so deeply considered about the music education of his fellow Hungarian people. Each day in our methodology class our instructor Bev shared a quote from Kodaly, this one she shared today has just spoken to me and brought on one crazy ugly cry.

"It is our firm conviction that mankind will live happier when it has learned to live with music more worthily. Whoever works to promise this end, in one way or another has not lived in vain."

Oh music teacher friends, we are making the biggest difference. I know that there are rough days. I get it, I have them too. But how amazing it is this beautiful thing that we do? We get to teach music AND more importantly we get to teach kids. In a world that is so messy and so painful we get to share music with the world. So don't stop. Keep going. Keep chasing. Keep doing what you do. We got this!

A huge thank you goes out to my fabulous instructors Sandy and Bev, thank you for pouring your knowledge and expertise into us. I'm so glad to be going on this journey with you. Thank you for making me a better musician and teacher. Another huge thank you goes out to Dr. Gerber, thanks man. I'll try not to suck. Thank you to all of my friends that have encouraged and prayed for me and over me for the past two weeks, I really felt your prayers! Finally I'm so thankful that God has given me this gift of music and of teaching, and that He allows me to serve Him by teaching middle school kids. So excited for this next chapter in my teaching journey. For the Love, it is going to be best one yet.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What Are You So Afraid Of?


I can't even sugar coat this one. Sorry. Everyone has something or even someone that they are afraid of, including children. As a little girl I was scared of thunderstorms, which is a problem if you grew up in Arkansas like myself. I hated storms, when it would storm I would throw the covers over my head and squeeze my Teddy Bear tightly till it passed over. As an adult my fear of thunderstorms has gone away but I still hold on to a few childhood fears like spiders those aren't going away time soon. But there is one fear that has developed as an adult. It has held me back and has had a pretty big grip on my life. I have a fear of failure. Fear that I will work hard towards a goal and falling flat on my face at the end. Fear that I will let others down when I'm not successful. Fear that I will fail my students. It has such a tight hold on my life. Because of this fear I put an insane about of pressure on myself in order to be successful. I found that I was letting my fear control my life. Then I stumbled across this Bible Verse, "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8 

In this verse Moses is talking to Joshua. Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt, and was taking them to the Promise Land. But through a series of other events, Moses was no longer going to lead God's chosen people into the Promise Land, instead Joshua was going to be leading Israel. I don't know about you but I feel like Moses would be a tough act to follow. The guy did part the Red Sea. Moses spoke these words to Joshua. That phrase, the Lord who goes before you, friends how amazing is that?!? God is before us, next to us, and behind us, we are covered. I need to replace my fear with trust. Trust that God goes before me. Rachael Myers, a writer and blogger with She Reads Truth, says it like this, "If I do trust God, then I have nothing to fear and I have every reason for joy." I have every reason for joy. 

So this brings me to what I'm currently doing to face my fear of failure...Kodaly Music Training. I will blog about the specifics of Kodaly at a later time, but I can tell you this, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It is stretching me and growing me. This is taking me out of my comfort zones and causing me to face this fear of failure head on. I'm so excited about how this training will effect my teaching. I'm already learning so much. Is it hard? Yes. Do I want to put my head through a wall? Yes. But I'm trusting in God. Leaving fear behind and knowing I have every reason for joy.
By the way ladies if you need great Bible Reading Plans, She Reads Truth is amazing!