24 October 2010 @ 02:36 pm
It's been a while...

I'm trying something else.
24 May 2010 @ 08:39 pm

Hugs from children are the reason I really got out of bed this morning.  What am I going to do when these dear sweet, lovable children are replaced with stoic, apathetic, gangly teenagers?!  But this has been a year of good good things. 

I sat today in the sunshine with some of my favorite children clustered around me (who were supposed to be writing, but I'm no teacher yet!)... They all three were pleading and planning on how to get me back to be their teacher for fifth and sixth grade.  Why can't I come teach there next year?  Well, I'm going to teach English, I say.  It's my favorite.  Well...well..we always can have another language arts teacher here, Heather!  Please please puhleease??? How can I pass them up, since in not enough years they will morph into awkward, aloof teenagers who may have forgotten what it means to hug.  But these are my treasure children.  I pray they won't forget.

I have my two zombie-huggers (third grade lovely girls) who, whenever they see me, come running to me, arms outstretched, and wrap themselves around my middle.  And my smile girl, who formed our entire relationship and still keeps it orbiting around her beautiful toothy grin.  This one hugged me three times today, and the third time, a sixth grade girl who was walking behind her stopped by for a hug too. 

I knew I could make it through today on Wyatt's smile alone. I have been dubbed his "school-mom" because I share his mom's name.  As soon as I cross the street onto the school sidewalk, there's Wyatt leaning out of his car window to greet with me--"HEATHERRR!" 

These children!  I have given and received so much love this year.  I don't know what I'll do without them.  Until they show up in my English class someday soon.  And that will be a happy reunion!
15 April 2010 @ 09:49 pm

I believe in imagination. 

I'm a reader because I believe in imagination.  Books can never be ruined for me by people saying, "This isn't real."  I smile, because I know.  Narnia is real.  It exists so vividly in my imagination.  I know my favorite hideaways, the coolness of the leafy forests, the thrill of an animal standing on his hind legs and talking to you, the majesty and the kindness of Aslan's eyes!  Narnia is real.  Every place I've ever been in every story I've ever read, seen, or heard is real.

I'm a writer because I believe in imagination.  My words may be self-conscious when pen meets page, but in my mind, stories roam free, characters lurk in the shadows!  And when I write stories and read them aloud to people I love, I watch them out of the corner of my eye, as they bound down their own rabbit trails.  My story doesn't matter: the spark of imagination it creates in others--that is what matters... to me.

I'm a teacher/going to be a teacher because I believe in imagination.  The silliness of imagination is lost on the concreteness of this world.  And the children!  They NEED imagination.  There is too much of everything else, too much "real" things, heavy concerns pushing down on us for imagination to be forgotten.  And I mean good imagination: fairy tales and far away places that don't even exist but in your mind.  Pleasant strangers, kindred spirits, fairies, fireflies!  

So today, I packed a picnic basket with clementines and chocolate, a jar of flowers, a blanket, and a book, and took my middle schoolers on a picnic.  We bounced on springy meadow grass, crossed over thorny thickets, walked past an ancient sea, hopped on stones across a merry brook.  And finally we spread our elegant blue bedsheet under a mural of trees on the roof playground of the school.  They laughed, rolled their eyes, and played along.  I read them Tacky the Penguin, they giggled, and they asked for some of my own silly stories.

I had a perfectly elegant time, but I'm suspicious their favorite part was the chocolate.  ;)
(photo by Missy Prince)
12 February 2010 @ 08:55 pm

It's so funny when I get into those relationship "down times."  I take a break from studying and learning and being with God, and at the same time I find it much less enjoyable to enjoy and love the people around me.  And I usually have to get to that bottom place where I realize that I can't even LOVE without the grace of God loving through me, and I always have to pray the same prayer: "God, help me love you.  I can't even do that on my own." 

But I always hold onto all my stuff as long as I possibly can before I get to that point. 

So silly, but the night after I read the story of Jacob wrestling with God I did not sleep at all.  And I wasn't dealing with anything big (passing valentine necklaces out to my kids the next day proved the cause of most of the worrying), but I realized/remembered that God let's us wrestle with him. 

 "So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, 'Let me go, for it is daybreak.'

"But Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.'

"Then the man said, 'Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.'"

God could have laid Jacob flat on his back and shouted "I AM GOD" in a deep voice and put Jacob right in his place, but he didn't.  He let Jacob have it out with him.  And then he touched Jacob with a powerful touch to remind him who Jacob was, and who God is. 

I'm just learning that the God of the Old Testament is still the same God of grace and love as the New Testament.  He is full of mercy and grace for Abraham every time he lies about Sarah being his wife, and when Jacob keeps trying to get his Blessing on his own power.  God doesn't come in with lightning and say "THAT IS WRONG.  YOU WILL DIE."  He sees the silly and the bad things we do, and Abraham and Jacob did, but he also sees the good actions, our attempts and successes of loving others and seeking Him.  And he loves those. 

And any good we do is not actually from ourselves.  I mean, I know any good I do is from God seeing me trying to do good and lifting me up to the goodness so I can do it.  Like when he sees me wrestling with my love for my kids that are sometimes to very hard to love.  He lifts me up to that love and just lets me enjoy them and love them!  I got a mini rose bush from that trouble 5th grade boy who I feel like I yell at as much as help him with math.  And all of the heart necklaces I made for them weren't even worn today but by a few kids, but all those kids know how much I love them, and that's the reason why I love.  I don't love to get love in return, I just love.  And a few of them return it.  But all of them know it, or at least have some inkling of how much I love them.  I'm not going to stop loving them just because they irritate me or don't listen or don't give me valentines after I gave all them beautiful hand-crafted ones.  ;)

I think that's how God loves.  He doesn't love us to get our love in return.  He doesn't need our love in order to exist.  He just loves, and he loves how we scramble to return his love.  He even loves just our knowing that he loves us.  He sees the love behind our store-bought valentine cards, even when he put more work and time into his.  It doesn't matter that we express our love perfectly to God or to each other.  God sees the heart behind it.  I can guess at the hearts behind the kids who did return my valentines.  They are attempting to show their love for me, but the love is the most important part.
02 January 2010 @ 01:59 pm

I always feel so pressured by "new years"!  But time is a human construct, part of the human condition.  God does not dwell in time the way we do.  So I have been learning...

"We poor human creatures are constantly being frustrated by limitations imposed on us from without and within.  The days of the years of our lives are few, and swifter than a weaver's shuttle.  Life is a short and fevered rehearsal for a concert we cannot stay to give.  Just when we appear to have attained some proficency we are forced to lay our instruments down.  There is simply not enough time to think, to become, to perform what the constitution of our natures indicates we are capable of.

"How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.  Eternal years lie in His heart.  For Him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years.  God never hurries.  There are no deadlines against which He must work.  Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves."

- A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy
I know how caught up I get in busyness and running around--and even in laying around, tinkering and not thinking, becoming, or performing.  My thinking has been infected with the "running out of time" mentality as I think about the number of people in the world who need to know the sweetness of the love of God.  Or as I think about the "goals" I have for my life--career, marriage, kids, accomplishments.

But I am learning to live in the limitlessness of God.  I am finite, but his infinitude has reached down and touched me!  I don't know where I'll be in ten years, but I am learning to trust that God has brought me safely thus far, and His grace will lead me home.  Instead of worrying and planning and wondering, I can live now, knowing that I possess "God's own life and share His infinitude with Him."

So my "goals" for life now are to live imaginatively, to not be hindered by my pride, to lean completely on God, and to and love with his strength. :)

(photo by brian ferry)
23 December 2009 @ 06:57 pm

Is it bad?  But I am ready for Christmas to be done.  And the big day hasn't even happened yet!  I'm definitely one who gets excited about the season and enjoys the anticipation building up to Christmas, but once it's happened, I'm ready to put all the decorations away and get on with it!   This season is a little too loud, sometimes, for my quiet ears.  I want to go disappear on a mountain and be still.

Soon soon soon!

(photo by harry bloom)
15 December 2009 @ 10:19 pm

Every town has its ups and downs.
Sometimes ups outnumber the downs... But not in Nottingham.

This seems like an in-between time for me. In between college and career; in between learning to teach and teaching... I'm just at two part time jobs right now, both of which I love, but it's not permanent, and I'm not sure what is going to be permanent, you know? I don't know what "my destiny" is, or "my purpose in life"--if I have just one. I think it's teaching, sort of, but not only teaching, and not teaching forever.

I wonder why we have put such an emphasis on dream jobs and life-callings in this country/world. God gave us gifts, things that we're good at, ways to serve him. Happiness in our work is important, and passion for what you do, to me, is basically essential. But have we tricked ourselves into thinking that in order to be content in our work we must always enjoy it?

Because I work with kids all day, and I love them, and I love working with them and talking to them and watching them learn, but some days are just bad and I can't sit still and talk down to kids and teach things as such basic levels. And sometimes kids are brats and are mean to me and each other. I don't know if I can handle teaching all day all my life. But does that mean that I should find something else to do, keep looking until I find whatever keeps me happy 100% of the time? Because I have already found that nothing in this life can...

So, in this in-between time, I want to serve God and be thankful for where he has placed me. I'm so thankful for every job I've had in life so far. God has placed me with wonderful bosses and given me skills to develop in each job I've worked. And I love teaching. I don't know what God is going to have me do with it next, but I'll be ready! I have few plans, because I know that God's are going to be great! He hasn't let me down too far yet!

(photo by marie emily)
14 October 2009 @ 11:03 pm

Why why why why why are humans so weird.  So you get tired of the 'same old thing'? Because I do.  Like this old journal.  Same. old. thing.  I have had this piece of work for a lot of years now.  Years go by..

I do not feel the lack of college because I do not feel a lack of busyness.  Two part time jobs at schools with kids that keep me going from nine o'clock am to six o'clock pm--decidely not a lack of busyness.  I oddly miss papers, writing them, and discussing literature with people who care deeply about it.  But that will come again, and it's not a very big lack.  I have read the book Frindle twice in the past four months.  You know, it's a good book.  And fourth graders love it.  I am learning the virtues of patience, perkiness, and keeping my mouth shut.  And loving kids and laughing instead of getting irritated.  I love my kids.  And finally being at that place that they recognize you from across the street and shout, individually, "HI HEATHER" and wave their short lovely arms.  God gives me smiles.  I laughed for five minutes after that happened.

I am afraid of sounding pretentious or bossy because I know that's how I often come across.  And judgmental and mean sometimes.  I don't want to be that.  I am very hard on myself too.  I hope I am learning something about grace, though, God's and how he won't ever hold it back from me.  Even when I snap or gossip or complain or ...  He loves to love me.

So why can't I rest in that and go to sleep!?
12 September 2009 @ 10:08 pm

I have seen four movies this summer: Up, Star Trek, The Brothers Bloom, and Adam.  Two mainstream, two limited release (I guess).  The latter two made me think the most, the former of the latter in a more despondent way, the latter of the latter in contemplative love. 

This one was my favorite:

In October I'm going to a taping of The Big Bang Theory with two of my friends!  As long as I can get off work.  Sheldon!

I have been out of fandom-speak for some time and am just now rather awkwardly fumbling around.  Livejournal is now weird.

19 August 2009 @ 12:21 pm
i remember

I sometimes get fearful of journaling. Because I've journaled my whole life, practically, and somehow I say the same things over and over. And sometimes it's hard to go back and read painful words, pretentious thoughts, silly, silly things. But it's all a part of me, who I am. I am all my ages at the same time: two, fourteen, eleven and a half, five, four, ten, eight and three quarters, thirteen, six, seventeen, nine, twenty-one, eighteen, seven. I am an accumulation of moments growing into eternity. You are too! Sometimes that weighs on me, the length of "eternity," and sometimes, like now, that excites me! Because God is growing me into something good and light, despite my heavy feet.

I am thankful for sunny moments and for moments that are new and seem unattached with previous moments and yet are tied together by love. Sometimes it's odd to look out through my own eyes. I wish I could stand apart and watch.

My Scottish grandparents are here to visit, and I love them so much. We had such lovely fellowship with all of the people that I love yesterday and it was so natural and full of laughter, swollen with grace. I am so grateful!