Sunday, January 29, 2006

So They Say That Honesty Is The Best Policy

Well, to be completely honest, I've felt like keeping to myself lately. My life seems to be changing, for the better, as I get one step closer to graduation each day.

Student Teaching has been amazing thus far, and I know that I have made the right decision in following God's will for my major. I love the children I work with, and every day is a new experience... one I had never imagined before. Nerves and impatience don't exactly exist when I'm with these twenty-one precious second graders, and I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to have at least one area in your life where you don't have to feel nervous or be impatient. I really enjoy coming home in the afternoons at 2:15, might I add, and doing nothing. Planning for the next day's lessons, relaxing, and being by myself is what I enjoy, and really, I might have been embarassed by that years ago, but I've come to appreciate the path I've chosen to take in my life. If that means I wear teacher-like clothes and go to bed by 9 o'clock, there's really nothing wrong with that. If it means I don't hang out with my friends as much, it's okay, for if they are truly my friends, they will understand that my priority is my education right now. If it means I don't talk on the phone, I don't go out as often, and I drastically hate going to parties I once would have DIED to go to, they all just mean that I'm ready to MOVE ON, GROW UP, and GET OVER IT. It's really funny what being around second graders all day does to your life. It's become more simplistic, less stressful, and purely full of contentment.

So really, what I'm trying to say is that I'm extremely happy with my life right now. I've come to the realization that I DO NOT NEED a boyfriend or even want one at this point; school is the most important thing in my life; it's okay NOT to be the center of attention; sometimes life is less complicated if you'll listen rather than talk; and God knows best even when I don't agree with Him. I'm sorry I've not been updating, but seriously, I am just really enjoying being with me, and I know how crazy that sounds, but when you've spent all of your life trying to get the attention of others and being someone you're not just to make more friends, it's awesome just to sit down and be completely appreciative of myself. Try it. I'll write as soon as I can, but if I don't, just know that I am here, enjoying this whirlwind I call life.

A small boy knocked on the classroom door as we were reading about Martin Luther King, Jr. Mrs. Moran turns and says, "May I help you?" The little boy smiles, "Mrs. McDaniel (another second grade teacher) wants to know if she can borrow one of your MLK books to read to us." Mrs. Moran hands the boy an extra one of her books, and he then exits the room. Joseph, a boy in my class, thought about the situation with Mrs. McDaniel borrowing Mrs. Moran's things and exclaims, "She NEVER has her materials!"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

To My Friends, and You Know Who You Are...

I just want to say thank you to all of the sweet people who have made calls, left messages, and inevitably proven to me what great friends I have today. It really has been a wonderful birthday, although the rain would not hold off, but it wouldn't have been HALF as precious to me if it had not been for you, my amazing family and friends. I love you all so much, and just know that I am here for you. Today and always. Again, thank you so much. There aren't enough words.

All my love, Jenna

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I Didn't Know You'd Be The Best Birthday Present

Every year I make a list of all the things I want for my birthday, but this year deemed no list. I only want one thing, and that one thing this year is a guitar. I've been saying for years that I need to truly learn how to play. I hate not being able to sit down and vent in the only way I know how... through music. How awesome it would be if I could focus all of my energy in learning to do something I have come to appreciate. Of all the gifts I could have, all I really want is the gift of music... Oh, and I wouldn't mind a cake.

So with this in mind, I've asked for nothing but money this year and the company of my friends, and tonight was to be Girls' Night Out for my 23rd birthday. Somehow I knew that none of us would follow through, myself included. This whole working for real thing is killing me, and I guess what makes the teaching thing even worse is that I'm not getting paid. I have no desire to spend money. I JUST WANT THAT GUITAR. Or so I thought.

Funny what an early brithday phone call will do for you... I don't ever think to ask for things that I really WANT like a certain talk with an old friend. I never guessed that talking to him would make me feel like I do: giddy and excited to relive and renew what we once had. I don't know what it meant, and if it will matter in a few weeks, months, or years, but I hope that he meant what he said just like I knew he always did. I missed him, and as crazy as it sounds, I want it to be the way it was. No, I'm not asking for a boy on my birthday, but I really am hoping for some sort of closure or for a door to be reopened... He brought this certain artist up tonight, and here's a song that says how I'm feeling:

"Because I'm not here to be around,
and be that girl that you forget about.
Because all I want is just to be a song
That you can feel longer than just right now.
So, come on baby, let me be the girl,
That you can count on to rock your world,
And then you'll see there's so much than curves...
And then you'll see that you and me belong."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Not What They Used To Be

Birthdays Are Not What They Used To Be...

Birthdays are never as exciting as when I had parties at McDonalds and at the skating rink, and with my birthday in January, I would say that almost 19 of my 22 birthdays have been mixed with snow. I remember counting down the days until presents and parties and just having attention... This year really isn't any different than the past 22 years; however, I have a strange calm that has come over me, no anxiousness, just a peaceful feeling I've never felt before. It's not about gifts, there will be no party, and I have no desire to make it a big deal.

Life has changed so much since my last birthday. I spent my last birthday getting over someone, missing another someone, and getting used to the idea that my little sister had gotten married the previous month. I didn't care about anyone except myself, and when only a few of my friends remembered my special day, I was so mad that I didn't want to spend the day with them anyway.

This year, I'm not near as close to my friends as I once was, but every chance I have, it seems as if I can't help but want to be with them, whether they've remembered it or not. Our lives have seriously gotten so hectic, we've rarely seen each other once a month and we talk on the phone maybe five minutes a week. How hard this has been getting adjusted to. I know that God has His hand on my life, and as tough as it may seem to me, I've reached a point where I feel sincerely blessed just to be having a 23rd birthday.

I will celebrate with phone calls, seeing my Fearless Threesome, and most importantly, cherishing my loved ones. I sense that God is working in an almighty way in my life, and I can't wait to see where the next year will lead me. What I want to remember most, though, is how loved I am and how much I love for this year. I know I don't say it enough, but I just love those of you who have touched my life, whether you've left a footprint on my heart or you gave me a smile only once... You have shaped me into who I've become and who I am becoming. All of my years would be incomplete without each of you.

OKAY, that was really serious and sentimental, and I really mean it, but it's my birthday in THREE DAYS!!! Time for some excitement!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Daily Life Lessons

I think that at some time in our lives we have all been in a place in which you forget how truly blessed we are. I know I have reached that point and been proven wrong one too many times lately. Though I am not complaining about the being shown those particular blessings, I am just truly ashamed of myself that I have gotten so overwhelmed and busy with life that I have stopped remembering how good God is to me. Here are some of the ways He's proven His love in my life recently:
  • It comes out of my mouth quite often... "I don't have any friends," or "Who would call me?" I don't know why I say these things, but it's natural when life has changed, and you're forced into becoming an adult. Friendships change... A LOT. We don't see each other anymore or near as often as we say we will, and the friends I tried so hard to make are no longer the people that seem to matter as much. Then upon thinking of this, I go out with my friend, Mardi, last night, and God proves to me that He is working even when I've given up on friendship. Sure, I have my group of three that are always there for me, and the Bowling Green and Florida guys and girls I miss so much. Something was different with Mardi. She truly has been there for me lately, even when I am stressed to the max, she knows what I need to hear and what I don't want to... I cannot tell you how great it is for God to show you who is important in your life, and I'd be crazy not to mention Mardi first. She's become the truest friend I've ever needed.
  • I always wondered if teaching was right for me, and now that I've been thrown into this wild thing they call "Student Teaching" I know that this is what God has in store. Each day brings about a new situation, a hilarious comment from a student or two, and blessings I never knew existed. I cannot tell you how great I feel when I stand in front of these kids... I know that nerves sometimes get the best of me, but I see these kids and I'm a better person, one with confidence and grace and the skill to teach anything. Don't get me wrong, teaching is hard stuff, but God lets me know each day that this is what I am supposed to be doing, and I am so grateful to work with these children. I am so thrilled to be their teacher.
  • I complain all the time about my family, how they drive me nuts, how crazy they are, and how I wish I could just get away from them. I did that when I went to Western, and funny how I -can't help but want to see them all of the time now. I spent tonight with my 17-year-old cousin, Zach, my 14-year-old cousin, Anna Laura, and my aunt Cathy and uncle Ricky, at Zach's Midstate Performance at MTSU. My mom and I drove down there to see him perform as FIRST CHAIR in mallets, which in itself is incredible, and spend an awesome time with family. As I was getting ready today, I thought about not going. I know now that God sent me there to see my family and remind me of how thankful I should be. Sure, they're loud and annoying at times (who isn't because I know that I am), but they are the best people in my life. I love them dearly, and I could not be any more blessed than I am to have them in my life. Seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter tonight really made me see "family" in a different light. I was completely in awe of how God has worked in my life.

I know I haven't updated as usual as I usually do, but bear with me; I'll get in the swing of being a teacher and waking up at the crack of dawn and going to bed by 9:00. Hopefully, my life will become more routine in the upcoming days and weeks, and you all will still be around to listen to my revelations and serious talks of randomness. Tonight, though, I am just feeling totally blessed.

OH, and as I was telling a good friend about some of my funny encounters with the kids at school, she mentioned I should write them all down... SO that's what I plan to do now. Each time I hear a funny comment or am put in a hilarious situation with my students, I'll write them down. I'd hate for you all to miss out on all I am experiencing.

So this little boy, Joseph, had invented a new game that involves making up Ninja powers and using them on each other. One day at recess this week, I noticed all of the boys talking about their powers. The classroom teacher instructed the boys to either play nicely or find something else to play. Turns out the boys decided "Chase and Tag" was better than the newfound game. On the way in from the playground, I overheard Joseph discussing his take on his game to the other boys... "Man, I have more super powers than all of yall together. I have all the powers yall don't have. I can do whatever I want, and I can tell you that I'm the best ninja ever."

More to come later...

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Loving Sometimes Means Losing

December 22, 2005 was somewhat of a long time ago. Probably not to most people, but to me, it's been a whole two weeks. Two weeks is a tremendously long time not to hear from a special someone who has been gone to Iraq for over a year and had gotten home on the 22nd. The soldier (Ryan) called that day, and of course I was ecstatic, for I had waited for him to come home. I don't know exactly what for: maybe in the hopes of us getting back together once he returned or just seeing his face after him being away for a year or it possibly could have been because I was an idiot who wanted a fairy tale that could never come true.

So he texted me this Friday night at about 1 in the morning, after two weeks of not hearing from him, saying that he had been thinking of me and that he wanted to get together soon. We met up last night. What I had been waiting for, for over a year, was nothing short of nothing I ever want to experience again. We had dinner, and he did pay for me. Afterwards, just as we had started by driving home from Florida together back in August of 2004, we drove around playing 20 questions and talking about the way things were and our favorites memories of us. Turns out that that is all they are... Memories. He dropped me off at my car, and I knew by this point that things weren't what I had hoped for all that time, but the hopes of what could be still weighed heavy on my mind. He explained that he did miss me, and that he does care for me, but at this point in his life, he knows that he is not ready for the kind of relationship we have, one that is strong and serious. I believe that I understand, but then again, I have no idea what the point of last night was in his mind. I drove away feeling empty and angry at the fact that he had done this to me but more so that I had allowed him to.

After driving around completely broken inside for a while, I called the one consistent friend in my life, Chris. I know he wasn't the person to call, for we had tried to make something out of our 20-year friendship just weeks before Ryan returned from Iraq, but I realized that Chris had been there for me throughout all of the years of my life and he would know how to make things better. And he did. I hadn't forgiven Ryan by the time I left seeing Chris, but I had totally forgotten the reasons why I had called Chris in the first place. Seems like God knows better than I do who's worth waiting on.

I figured out many things about relationships, dating, and love last night after seeing both Ryan and Chris. Here's just some of the thoughts I have:
  • Just because someone says they miss you, it doesn't mean that their missing you is in a way that you miss them.
  • There is a fine line between waiting for someone you love and waiting for someone who doesn't love you.
  • Memories cannot be relived; they can only be retold.
  • Each emotion you have for someone isn't always reciprocated. They may feel towards you some of the same feelings you have for them, but more than likely, those emotions aren't always what you hope them to be.
  • Never choose a guy over a friendship you've had for years even if that friendship has turned into something more. That friendship will last longer than any relationship with some guy ever will.
  • You can't make him love you by doing things you think will. You can't make his heart feel something it doesn't. You can't change his ways. He is what he is, and if he isn't willing to include you the way you should be, then it is time to move on.
  • No one can make YOU a better person. You are who you are on your own. Sure, being in the company of someone may make you feel like a better person, but you should always remember you are your best person when you're all alone... That's when those special people find you, and that is what makes them care for you.
  • Live without regret. I can sit and say I wish that I had never waited over a year for someone, but all in all, I have become the patient spirit I always wanted to be by waiting on him. No, we didn't end up together like I had hoped for all of those nights and days, but I ended up alright and brilliant on my own without any regrets.

Lastly, I would like to remind everyone that reads this that your life is not in your hands. God is in control, and He will never put you in a situation that He knows you cannot handle. Look at each day, every relationship and friendship, even every moment as a gift from above, and choose to live it according to the plan you hope the Lord has for you. It seems that it always turns out that way anyway...

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Forgetting to Breathe...

Being sick isn't exactly how I planned on spending my last college break. I've waited 4 and a half years to be at this point while at Western Kentucky University, and now that I'm actually here, I've spent most of the time trying to remember to continually breathe through my mouth. I can handle sore throat and cough; don't get me wrong as both are extremely difficult when you LOVE music the way I do. I haven't sang a song in about 4 days; this is traumatizing at its greatest. Anyways, as I was saying, I don't mind the throat and cough tearing me to shreds, but now that the stopped-up nose has taken its place, I'm way past frustrated and tired of being sick and tired. Wow, that was a lot of complaining in one paragraph. I'll move on.

The New Year was great; I honestly think this is the first one I've thoroughly enjoyed. My mom and I sat in the living room; I didn't much feel like going to hang with the same people I did last year though I would have loved to had the fever not been as persistant as it was. Last year's New Year's was probably one of the best days of my life. Chubby Bunnies, rope swings, and prayer was how we spent the night, which of course is a huge difference from what I used to be doing on the holiday. I just thank God I have changed and have no desire to be the person I was.

Resolutions are always the talk around this time of year, and honestly, I've never once made one. Seems to me that if you want to make changes in your life that you can easily start those on March, June, or November first. However, as pessimistic as I am about this "resolution" thing, I've decided that there are some things I'd like to change in my life. Here's the list:

  • Read the Bible at least two days a week, and Sundays DO NOT count.
  • Workout more frequently, not to become buff, but to become HEALTHY. There's a concept!
  • Open my mind to the friends I have and the ones I have not made yet.
  • Become more aware of the world, as well as local events. This means reading, watching the news, checking online. See how changes in economics and politics may effect me.
  • Expand my musical horizons. Experience new types of music, learn to play guitar, and go to as many concerts as possible.
  • Graduate this year. Get a teaching job. Pass the PRAXIS. Be a better teacher... Always. Dare to learn more.
  • Spend more time with those I love... Stop taking forgranted of the things and people I think will always be there.
  • Pray continually. Find a church home... Begin enjoying church again.
  • Let those I love know so. Make phone calls, send cards, or write emails often.
  • Find God's purpose in my life in the areas I doubt so often... Work on patience, discontinue my habitual ways of complaining constantly, my language, my heart... all of the areas that will make me a better, more Christ-like, me.

May the Lord bless you in this New Year of 2006.