My Job for the Summer

Typically you'll find me doing a mixture of things during the summertime months, since school's officially out.  I will take some time to spend with people-do coffee, lunch, that sort of thing.  I'll take some extra time to read, to catch up with folks on Facebook, relax…the usuals.  But to be honest, although I would definitely not consider myself a workaholic (I'm too lazy for that!), I really do enjoy reading and learning about education/teaching, or working on a project for the school.  It's something that I begrudgingly do at times, but deep down it's something that makes my heart beat fast.

This summer is a litte bit different. I am so excited to begin teaching 4th grade at Randle Highlands Elementary School, in Southeast D.C., (school starts in 2 months from tomorrow!).  Because I'm excited (and because I'm such a "teacher nerd") I will delve into the DC Public Schools websites and sort through all the online calendars and materials laid out for teachers to follow.  This is something that I can't wait to really dig into, but I'm forcing myself to wait.  

Come July 6, I will be packing up my little blue Civic (and I mean packing it!) and I'll be heading East for good. I'm still trying to wrap my mind and my heart around leaving this home of mine.   I don't even have a physical home right now, although the Braue family has done an amazing job at making their home my own this past month.  But it's truly about the people you surround yourself with that make a place a home. 

So when someone asked me what I was doing with my time, now that school was out, I responded that I still have a job-it's just to hang out with people!  Isn't that a great job?  It's surely not boring.  Something new everyday…new people to spend time with…new people to love and to have a mutually blessed relationship with.  I am so completely overwhelmed at the number of people God has so blatantly put into my life for this season of my 20's.  

I think it's kind of ironic that I'm transitioning into an entirely new life, just before I turn decades here in a few months.   At moments I am a little anxious, but I'm so excited to develop a whole new level of dependence on Jesus.  As I sit and type, Jeremy Camp bellows out, "Empty me…I want more of you, Jesus!"  Yes.  Awesome.  
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Finding Our Way

My friend, Dana, and I drove up to our yearly staff retreat the other day.  Crystal Mountain is a beautiful resort to visit, and that’s where we get to enjoy some professional development, time to hang out with the staff, and competition with the other TRG schools.

A little bit of background knowledge on Dana is that she has many, many strengths in the different roles that she plays in life.  She was my unofficial mentor when I first started teaching.  She’s a great teacher, and the GLCE Queen.  But one of the first things I learned about Dana when we began teaching together, four years ago, was that her sense of direction was almost at a negative factor.  This is especially evident when she’s driving in downtown Detroit…I’ve experienced this several times.  It seems as if she’s gotten better at her survival skills when lost, although we have definitely had some close calls in the busy city. 🙂  It’s kind of adventurous when we have her drive us places…we never know if we’ll actually get to our destination in a reasonable fashion, or timeframe.

So, back to the other day…we were driving up to Crystal Mountain, and we were on US 10W, anticipating 115/Cadillac.  Let’s just say I turned my head for a few seconds, returning my head to it’s forward position, to see the back of an exit sign along with its exit. 
I said, "Wait, was that 115?" 
Dana replied, "No, it said, Cadillac." 
"But did it also say 115?  We’re supposed to get off on 115/Cadillac!" 
"No, it just said Cadillac." 
"Are you sure?" 
"Yes." 
"Okay."

Many minutes later I noticed a US 10W sign and immediately scrunched my eyebrows.

"Dana, I think we’re on US 10.  If we’re on 115, we’re not supposed to also be on US 10.  I think we missed our exit."
"Are you sure?  That exit said, Cadillac."
"We need to stop and ask."

So she drove until we saw a gas station/mini mart and we went in.  Entering the store we were greeted by Darla, to whom I smiled brightly and said, "Darla, are we by chance on 115?"

"Oh no, dear, you’re not.  That’s 30 miles back that way!"
"That’s what I was afraid of…Would you be able to help us find our way?"
"Absolutely!  Where are you going?"
…and she proceeded to give us directions.Crystal_mountain015

Somewhere in there, my friend asked, "So, Darla, where the heck are we?"
With great pride, she replied, "Evart, Michigan!"

We got a picture together and then Dana and I were on our way.

It made sense that we would get lost and no one from Hanley was surprised that it happened!  But thanks to Darla, we found our way.

Bowling the Interns Goodbye:(

Can you believe that I’ve lived in the Detroit area for over 5 years now, and until today, had never been to Canada?  It’s 20 minutes away!  Well today I ventured over the border with a few friends, to spend one last moment in time with two spectacular interns.  D.J., also known as

David, leaves tomorrow, and Sarah leaves the next day.  Sad!  😦

Here we are with Anne Marie and Carrie, 5 pin bowling at Playdium in Canada…where David was friends with the owner before we even got there!  He won twice (although we think Carrie let him win that second time).  Sarah almost kicked butt during the first game, but her rocky start didn’t help her much.

Cute_bowlers2

As for me, I came in last both times, but I didn’t seem to care much (as I danced up to the line to toss my ball:)  Here you can see that for one moment in the second game I was in second place, and had more points than DJ, aka Rocky.  Sarahdj014

Carrie is definitely a superstar sportin’ her sexxy, almost up-the-calf-high socks, with capris…

Sarahdj012

5 Pin bowling is harder than 10 pin bowling is, and apparently you can only do it in Canada.  As you can tell by my stats of losing twice, my skill was definitely lacking.  Looks like I’ll have to check into visiting Windsor a little bit more often to perfect my form!

40 Years Part 2

I had to add this as a "part 2"…

I just picked up this journal that I’m required to write in, for my project at school and read my first entry.  It was in response to my friend’ blog entry here. (Katie’s always inspiring me:)  And while this is something that I actually wrote, back on June 7, I really didn’t remember it as I was at the prayer meeting last night.  Here’s a snippet:

"Perhaps some healing will take place on this 40th anniversary.  Perhaps a family that is living in continual hatred of another race will choose to forgive…perhaps another family will ask forgiveness.  Perhaps a group of 20(and 30)-somethings will realize that even though we were never a part of the bigotry and hatred of the 60’s (or any other time period, for that matter), we’re almost no better by ignoring the oppressed of our city, in this new day."

That’s what I actually wrote, and maybe if I blogged it I would’ve changed the way I said a few things, but I’m glad I got those thoughts down when I did.

And what’s even cooler, is that we’re going to be sharing tomorrow, in our meetings, some of the things we wrote about!  And wouldn’t you know…tomorrow is the actual anniversary of the riots.  Perhaps God will stir something in our hearts, or at the very least, plant a seed;)  Please pray for transformation.

40 Years

I won’t try to claim to know all there is about the history of Detroit, but I did finally Detroit_riotlearn a little something about it a couple months ago. 

40 years ago "the Detroit riots" took place.  They started on a Saturday night-July 23, 1967. 

When I first started working at a school in Detroit 4 years ago, I’d heard about how there were riots that forever changed Detroit.  I’d heard that the city had never been the same again, and that some were still bitter about them…that healing was desperately needed.

Last night I had the opportunity to pray and worship with a group of people at Solid Rock church in Detroit.  It was an awesome time spent, confessing, repenting and praying over the great city of Detroit.  In addition to the pastor the church, there were other pastors leading us in prayer, including mine

Some thoughts I gathered from the Holy Spirit (through a word from a speaker, or from my own heart):

  • it’s been 40 years since this horrific event occurred…and it was also 40 that the Israelites wandered in the desert; the 40 years is up!
  • we are a city of champions (y’all better eat your Wheaties!)
  • God has given me to His city (PB says this often, but it was definitely reinforced last night)
  • with all the talk of racism, my heart breaks for Hamtramck…and God showed me the faces of all my amazing work friends that are tight with Him…we’ve got to begin praying together!
  • as we prayed for families, I realized the privilege of having well over a hundred kids’ faces (and families) to choose from and cry out to the Lord on their behalf-just because I don’t teach ’em anymore, doesn’t mean that God’s not still broken over them
  • God is full of mercy and Jesus’ blood covers the sins of our city-even the sins that are currently blatant
  • "If You can use anything (city) Lord, You can use me(Detroit)."…remember the song?  Wouldn’t it make so much sense for God to use a city that’s known for racism, crime, fatherless homes and crappy education to rise up in our country?  I definitely don’t think that God favors Detroit over other cities, but I do think that God loves to make His glory known through impossible circumstances.  And from that perspective, doesn’t D-town seem like a perfect candidate?

I really love this city and I pray that I don’t stop at the level of love that I currently have.  God, please let this (com)passion explode!  For someone that’s only been here for 5 years, I’m kind of surprised at how big this is in my heart right now and how it makes me cry out…But, God, is so holy and He wants this city to be holy.  I think He’s up for the challenge! 🙂

Boyz II Men-singing to Mama

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Joi, Sabrina and I went to see one of my all-time favorite groups-Boyz II Men-on Friday night.

This is one little video that I took of them singing to Mama.  (Mom, this is for you:)

We had a blast, hangin’, and singing old favorites.  It was hard not to bust out in "Motown Philly"…after all, I am Motown and Philly, all wrapped up in one!  🙂
               

My Accent

I admit that I can be easily entertained at times:)  Being from Philly, I say some things a little differently…like "coffee" as "cawfee" or every now and then "water" comes out as "wooder".  This can happen especially after a full weekend with my parents and my brother Todd.  Todd’s a Philly accent maniac!  Don’t even get me started on my aunts who live on the other side of the river in Jersey:) 

Then there’s my Detroit accent (not to be confused with the slight Michigan accent) that comes out, especially when I’m talking about my students, or telling stories from school.  My roommate really likes to make fun of me when I start talkin’ like I actually have some "soul" in me:)  She says that the "black’s comin’ out!" 

But let’s not forget that I spent 5 years in Minnesota, where my favorite line was, "What are you talkin’ (pronounced ‘taakin’) about (pronounced ‘a boat’)?"  or Minnesoooota.

All those jumbled up together give me these results on my accent test

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: The Midland
 

"You
have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don’t have an
accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern
Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for
all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big
southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV
and radio.

Philadelphia
 
The Inland North
 
The South
 
The Northeast
 
The West
 
Boston
 
North Central