Monday, November 27, 2006

Now it's time...

To say Good-Bye...I am officially signing off of Blogland. With a new job starting, the craziness of the coming months, and my desire to invest time elsewhere, I will no longer be posting.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Book Review

Our book club chose the book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, as its latest read. The Boston Globe heralds the book as "Gloriously eccentric and wonderfully intelligent." And I have to agree. This short (and easy) read was written from the perspective of a young boy named Christopher who has autism. His quirks make him endearing. For instance, if he sees 5 red cars on the way to school it will surely be a Super Good Day. But, if he sees 3 yellow cars in a row then it will surely be a Black Day. All this for no reason other than Red is his favorite and he can't stand Yellow.

After Christopher overcomes serious obstacles to take his advanced Math exam, he reflects on his journeys and realizes he is able to look to his future with hope: "And I know I can do this [become a scientist] because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of WHO KILLED WELLINGTON? and I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything." (For those of you who teach special ed, can't you just HEAR a child with autism talking like this? A mark of a good writer-taking on the perspective of a very different character than his own)

All of you non-special educators will enjoy peering into the life of someone with a disability; learning to fight for his cause; and cheering him on through his daily struggles and triumphs in a world viewed through severely different lenses...all of you teachers/special educators...well, laugh at the accuracy of the stories and plights of Christopher [insert names of your students here].

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Letter of Resignation

First, let me say that today's message at church was incredibly timely. I was reminded that I am called and commanded to honor my boss until the very end of my journey at Kennedy. When and if she decides to strike low blows and fight an unfair fight, I am called to respond in love, honor, and obedience. I am NOT called to slander her or discuss my private issues with all of my co-workers.

With that said, on to the story of my resignation....

My letter was short and to the point. "After four years of service, it is time to resign from my position, yada yada..." When I walked into my boss' office, I was not quite prepared to initiate the conversation. Instead of telling her why I was there, I put my letter on her desk and then teared up. Her exact words were, "OH MY GOD! WHAT IS THIS??!" I calmly and rationally began to explain that I was giving my two weeks' notice and would not be finishing the school year at Lois T. Murray.

She was speechless and then began to calmly, yet decisively, make statements which were intended to inflict guilt, hurt, and remorse for my decision. Funny, because each accusation she made was true. I had thought through every single angle she threw at me. My decision was not made lightly, and I knew what her words and thoughts would be. I had a co-worker, also a member at my church, quit last year. When he quit, hurtful and untrue comments were made about him. I walked into her office, knowing that my character and ethics would be under attack.

God graciously armed me--through scripture and the prayers of dear friends and co-workers--to walk in faith and not in fear. Sure, I was scared to death, but my biggest comfort came in the knowledge of the fact that God had and will continue to, give me a spirit of power, love, and a sound-mind.

Last Thursday, I did one of the hardest things I have ever done, and pray will ever do (not likely!). I resigned from a job that I love immensely and will dearly miss. I resigned from a job in which I am terrified of my boss in situations like this. I resigned from a job in which fear was the main factor holding me there. I resigned from a job that God has used to build my faith and to reveal His goodness and greatness to me. And as I continue to look forward, I realize that God is giving me the opportunity to honor, respect, and obey a new boss--who may question my character, or even make statements about me or to me that are untrue and hurtful. Yet I know that God is my vindicator. He is going before me and will protect my reputation as one of His dear children.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Confusion and the practical grace of God

The past seven weeks have been confusing, to say the least. I went on a job interview roughly seven weeks ago at Southern Middle School, which is only five minutes from my house. Initially, I was excited about the possibilities of changing jobs, meeting new kids, having a five minute commute every day, getting home early, etc. Then, as time wore on, I began to lose hope that I would ever find a job close to home. I had contact with the principal here and there, but nothing concrete. One moment, I would think the job was mine, then the next, I was sure they had found someone else. The game was getting old.

Last week, God imparted an amazing grace to truly enjoy being at my current job, and gave me an unnatural ability to not worry and truly let go the possibility of a new job. Thursday night at ladies' meeting, I was asked what the latest was on my interview. I replied simply, "I have no eggs in that basket." And that was the honest truth.

This past Monday, however, all of my peace and self-confidence left. I received a call and was offered the job. After seven weeks?! Didn't they realize that I was now happy at my job, despite the commute??? What were the pros and cons of leaving and staying? Honestly, as I began to pray and practically evaluate things, there was no "right" answer. God was calling me to make a decision of faith.

For those of you who don't know me well, I am a woman who lacks great faith. I like decisions to be black and white; right or wrong; good or bad. And the decision to accept a new position was none of those! In a moment of sheer panic, I called my mentor at Johns Hopkins. She is also a Godly woman, whom I have come to love and respect. She asked me two simple questions and read me two Scriptures.

1. Which job will allow you to best serve your family now and in the future? (PA, duh)
2. Will this job be available next fall? (Not a chance)
3. Has God called you to fear? (NO)

Ok, so she asked me three questions. Then she recited two scriptures to me:

Phil. 3:13-14 "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

2 Tim. 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

She strongly encouraged me to make my decision and not look back once I had. She also reminded me that God has given me power--power to take a step of faith, and power to combat the fear that filled my heart.

Then she left me with this, "Call me once you get your feet wet!" Isn't God good to encourage us exactly how we need it and at just the perfect time?

God filled my heart with immediate peace about my decision. I called the principal at Southern Wednesday evening and accepted the job. Then I marched myself into my boss' office Thursday morning, resignation letter in hand. (That will be the topic of my next blog, to be sure).

As I was driving in York today, I realized that my world is about to shrink. I now have only one reason to regularly leave PA--to attend church. But I am excited to be planting more roots near my home, and can't wait to see what lies ahead!