Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Sky Seems Beautifully Blue Today...

Man, teaching is fun. I mean, I love what I'm going to be doing one day. My teacher today had a "Problem Child" straight out of the movie, and she had her hands full, so I was lucky enough to take over the teaching in my SECOND DAY of being there. Talk about scary scenarios. I did good though. The kids seem to like me and learn from me. I like that about kids. They listen if you act cool enough and SOUND like you know what you're talking about. I try to do that... A LOT. In all seriousness, every day is a day closer to being a tried and true teacher, and everyday I am more excited about it. I'm less doubtful which, of course, is a wonderful thing. In honor of our upcoming 4-H speeches (don't you remember doing yours in 4th grade?!), I helped a little one with hers today, and it was a bit something like this...

Sky Blue
I am the color of the rain. I am the color of the sky in the summertime.
What do you think I am?
My favorite color is sky blue because it reminds me of blue jays chirping outside. I like it because it is the color of my eyes. Some things that remind me most of my favorite color are the sea, Kool-aid, and my doctor's coat.
There are many things that make us think about our favorite colors. Today, I have talked a lot about sky blue, and maybe you'll like it too.

How cute was this?! This girl had been working on her speech for two weeks and had a blank page until today... WOW. I was so proud of what the attention of a student teacher could do. I asked her what her favorite color was and why and this is what we got. I love teaching. I really do.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Teachers Have A Way About Them

YAY for Sarah Tennessee!!! It's always great when the best girl wins on the Bachelor. It's even better when she has some morals and has played the game with dignity and respect. What I'd have to say is my favorite quality (other than I've liked her the best from day one because she's a Nashvillian) is the fact that she's a Kindergarten teacher, just like what I want to be... and am in the process of hopefully becoming. YAY!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Patience, Doubts, and Honesty are Hard to Come By

It's been extremely hard for me to be patient lately. Not for anything in particular. I'm just restless for no reason at all. I know graduation is soon, and I know that the Lord has a job for me. I have no doubts in those big "life-changing" departments. I guess it's the little places in my life where I feel the most doubt, when I'm in the biggest hurry, and that I just can't help but want to move on from.

* I miss my friends. I don't even know who they are anymore. I used to have this huge group of them, yet lately all that consumes me is time away from them. It's hard being away from the ones you care so much about, but it's even harder learning that they don't care for you as much as you once thought.

* Why is it so easy for me to be a jerk to the few people that mean the most to me? I can argue with my sister and yell at her and not think twice about it. Then after she's gone home or we've gotten off the phone, I feel like junk and have to apologize only to know that we'll fight again and she's probably getting tired of hearing it from me.

* Will I ever be less stressed out? Will I ever be confident? Will I ever feel as if I can do anything in my career? Will I ever NOT be intimidated by people? Will I ever just stop worrying so much?

* I miss feeling God like I used to. I miss talking to Him and feeling Him always near me. I know He's there, but I don't accept Him as the friend I know He is. Why is it so easy to push God away when He's the only friend I really have? He's the only one to hold onto me for all of these years. I want to feel Him and live in Him again.

* I want to know where you are... I want to know if you think of me even though we may or may not have met. Are you as impatient as me? Are you anxious about finding each other and making us all I know God has in store for us? Do you ever just want to see my face, and do you ever question why God is taking so long when you know it's because you and I aren't ready yet?! I don't want to feel so alone anymore. I guess I'm just excited to meet you or find out that you're the one.

* I want to be the person I know I am but am so scared and sometimes ashamed to be. I don't want to feel overshadowed. I want to feel special to people. Sometimes I just want to stand out, but other times, more times than most, I want to be alone. I want to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to like who I am. I want to be as sure of myself as everyone thinks I am.

Why Kids Are My Choice Of Career

Sometimes it's easy to forget why you're doing something. After 4 and a half years of school, I've almost but gotten to the breaking point of wondering if I've chosen the right path for my life, if education is where I want to spend the rest of my days. It's amazing when God overshadows your doubts in the form of a special second grade classroom full of twenty-one boys and girls that totally change who you are.

Yesterday was my last day at my first student teaching placement, and as I walked down the hall and slowly opened the door, with the lights turned out and 21 little voices screaming, "SURPRISE!," I knew that I was exactly where I should be. Changing their lives is what I want to do. They left me with a scrapbook of precious pictures and letters from each of them, a gift certificate to the Parent Teacher Store, and a million memories I will never forget...

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Making Mardi Gras Masks Was a Blast...

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These Boys Sleeping on the Schoolbus Is An Image I'll Never Forget...

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Even the Wild Ones Get Sleepy After Field Trips...

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Every Class Has A Million or Two Angels...

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My Last Day Will Be Hard to Forget.

Monday, February 20, 2006

What I Really Meant to Say...

I hate when things come out like I DIDN'T mean for them to, and even more so, I can't stand it when someone points it out to me. If there's anything I hate more than keeping my thoughts to myself, it's having those thoughts questioned. Then again, it shows me how much people care about me and how much we've grown as friends... So much so that you are willing to wear me out on a particular subject. That's what true friends do.

I might have come across sounding like a spoiled brat when I discussed my weekend trip to the Tractor Pull, which wasn't my intention at all, although I know how much of a brat I am. I didn't mean to offend anyone in any way by talking about farming, rednecks, or the country. Those things are who I am and where I'm from... My point was to show how much I had changed in seeing how blessed I was to have a father who farms. When I was in middle school, I remember how badly I wanted attention, and at the time, I didn't think it would be cool telling friends what my dad did. I couldn't be more proud of him today.

I love the fact that my dad was ALWAYS there for my family. He never missed an opportunity to watch me cheer, hear my sister and me sing in choir, or simply spend time with us. My dad was ALWAYS there for me. He was my best friend, and though at times I felt like he was living out the Alabama song lyrics, "I'm in a hurry to get things done," I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I could depend on my dad. He was my best friend even though I wasn't exactly thrilled to share that with the friends I was DYING to make back in my school days.

I am proud of who my father is, what he does, and how he's gotten to where he is. My last post was to prove how this weekend helped me to realize just exactly how proud I am. I am so thankful I'm just like him. My eyes, my heart, my love of a good car, the thrill I get from watching sports, my humility, my need for getting things done and quickly, my independence, my hard head, my work ethic, the speed at which I drive, my liking in fishing and sleeping, my bad habits of being not so girly (those of you who know me will understand this), my sense of humor, my determination for perfection and completion in all I do... All of these parts of me I share with and got from my daddy. I did not mean to sound as if I didn't love my dad, because I do with all of my heart. He is my best friend, and I'm not ashamed to say so. What I really meant to say is that I didn't always appreciate what my dad did, and that as I've gotten older and less self-centered, I see how great of a father I have. His job, the farming, has shaped him into the man he is and what inevitably he used to mold me into the person I am becoming today.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Going Against the Grain

I never fully understood what "Going Against the Grain" meant, and I probably will never fully grasp the concept. However, this weekend gave me a new perspective to that saying we've all heard.

I had the fortune of tagging along with my dad and brother-in-law to the Tractor Pull/Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday. I did everything OUTSIDE of my normal way of life, yet everything about the weekend was what made me who I am in a strange sort of way.

My dad is a farmer; he raises tobacco, wheat, and corn, you know, that country kind of stuff. As a young teen, I wasn't always proud to tell my friends that that was what he actually did. Luckily for me, my mom didn't love the farm life either, and as a child, I never lived on a farm or had the daily chores of feeding cows or stripping tobacco. I can remember daddy asking me to help in the fields time and time again, and everytime I'd say no. How I wish I could go back and agree to help out. I couldn't understand as a kid how people could enjoy sitting on tractors and tilling up land. It never made sense to me. My whole family lives out on the farm my grandfather, "Gramps," left them after he died. I didn't really know Gramps, as he died before my 4th birthday, but I knew my daddy wanted to be just like him, and I never understood why.

Farming isn't something anyone can do. It's a hard life, and I've seen the ups and downs of what it brings to a family. The men are on the field at least 12 hours a day, the children are raised to have that same work ethic, and families themselves struggle to make sure that year's crop is just right to bring in the money for the year. It's tough. I cut tobacco one time, and I cannot tell you what a difficult thing it was. The gum in my eyes made the day unbearable, and the blisters on my hands didn't heal for about 6 days. On top of that, it rained the day I was out there, and in most cases, you'd think that would call off the day, but it didn't on the tobacco field. That day made me appreciate my family and most importantly, my dad. I never understood what he did, why he didn't have what my friends and I would have called a "real" job, why he was never at home when I went to bed, how he could choose to sit on a tractor all day and never make much money for it. I guess as kids we are blinded, for what my dad didn't make in money, he made up for in dedication and love to his family through his job.

So when my dad asked me to head up to the Tractor Pull, I hesistated but knew he wanted me to go. I agreed, and although it definitely wasn't something I see myself doing everyday, it was well worth seeing the light in my father's eyes. How excited he was to tell me of each tractor, the way he explained each crop management plan, and the point to which combines are different than regular tractors... I will never forget how happy he was. This was his element... where he feels most at home, and what better way to experience it than with your family.

No, I wasn't comfortable. I had no idea what half of the exhibits were. I didn't know the names of tractors. How much more I could have understood had I been in a school or in an Old Navy. I just knew to look for the John Deere section for I had wore green like I knew my dad would have wanted me to. As I sit listening to my brother-in-law explain the reasoning behind tractor pulls, I couldn't help but realize why I was, for once, proud to be in a stadium full of farm boys who were just like me and my family. Because my daddy is a farmer, I've had all the luxuries I could have ever wanted. Sure, I didn't have a lot of money and I didn't always get what I wanted, but he made sure I got what I needed. This weekend, I became proud to be a Farmer's Daughter, and going against the grain of my daily life in the city sure felt good when I was surrounded in a sea of John Deere Green, and I couldn't help but feel blessed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Truth Behind Valentine's...

Happy Valentine's Day to all. Hope you've had a wonderful day, and even if you're single and have complained ALL day about this holiday, just know that over 2,000 years ago, a man named Jesus hung on a cross to show you His love. Be thankful, and give Him the love He deserves and has shown you. As I told a friend today, it's totally okay and cool to be loving on Jesus. He's the main Man in my life, and I'm so grateful for His ways of continually showing me love. Sorry, this is a little sappy and may seem a bit "holy-roller"-ish, but I'm just realizing the most important things in my life.

To my friends and family, thank you for being you. Thank you for giving me smiles, phone calls, and cards on this special day. I'm so glad I had you to share my holiday with. It's been a sheer joy.

All my love, today and always, Jenna Renee

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Good Night and Good Luck May Have Sounded Better

I would be totally lying if I said I had the best luck ever, but the funny part in saying that is that I actually don't believe in luck. I just know that God is in control of all situations, and when yucky things happen, it's not because I'm having particularly bad luck; it just means that God is giving me a situation in which He wants to see how well I can handle it. So with that in mind, I begin telling you of the situations that arose that caused this sudden realization.

I don't know how many times Mardi and I said the phrase "Bad Luck" tonight. It got old each time it came out of my mouth. My good friend, Mardi, and I headed out for our second date (it's a joke between us, we don't have boys in our life, significant ones anyway, so every time we hang out is another addition to our dates...) and the original plan was to eat dinner and see a movie. DO NOT go to the movies right now because I promise there is NOTHING showing that is even worth the drive. Our intentions were to see "When a Stranger Calls" at Opry Mills so we could eat inside the mall before the movie. Less driving and better idea... so it seemed. So we didn't buy tickets beforehand which is a good thing now panning out the whole evening, and we headed to Tony Romas, Macaroni Grill, TGIFridays, AND Chilis only to find that all of the restaurants had over 45 minute waits, not that this was a problem until we remembered the movie would be playing at 9:25. It was 8:10 at this point. Point #1 in which the phrase "Bad Luck" was used.

We ate at Johnny Rockets, no wait, but definitely no service. We waited over 10 for someone to get our drinks. Another 10 for her to bring them. Another 10 for the "real" waitress to come take our orders. We then waited 15 minutes for the food, and when it came, it was only HALF of what we ordered. Special. Mardi orders a milkshake that was pretty much just milk. I mean, seriously, where WAS the ice cream?! The last straw came when she was supposed to be getting us refills. 10 minutes later and my mouth dry as a cotton ball, still no drink or even ice to suck on. Point #2 in which the phrase "Bad Luck" was used.

It's 9:45 at this point, and we realize we MAY be able to still catch the movie, well, that was until we realized the Revolution for the ... Well, let's just say there were about 10 million cops watching in the Cinema area trying to maintain the crowds. No fighting, just a scary situation when you're surrounded by unfamiliarity and no way of getting to the ticket line. Needless to say, there was no way we would be seeing a movie at Opry Mills. Point #3 in which the phrase "Bad Luck" was used.

So we headed back to good old Goodlettsville, and I nonchantly mentioned we should stop by Rivergate 8 movie theatre to see if anything was playing late. WOW, some good luck may come in at this point because "Good Night and Good Luck" was playing. Mardi had mentioned wanting to see it. I'm not sure she would admit to wanting to see it now. WOW. It was awful. I've never once left a movie before it ended. Mardi was asleep, I was irritated, $8.25 later I still had no popcorn and the worse case of "Bad Movie Syndrome" I had ever seen. We left about 20 minutes into the movie. Point #4 in which the phrase "Bad Luck" was used.

The funny part about all of it is that I can sit here and complain about how awful it was but never once stop to thank God for the opportunities He placed in front of us tonight. Mardi didn't have to call and want to go out. We didn't have to enjoy each others' company. So many things could have been worse, but as I look back on it now, tonight will be a memory of Mardi and myself I will never forget. It's only true friends that can have the most horrific night out ever and walk away from it feeling like it was the best time they have ever had. Thank you, Mardi, for your company and your smile even in the worst of times. And thank you, Lord, for the opportunities to live my life everyday. I'm so blessed to even say "Bad Luck" because it's amazing to me that God gives me a choice to make that bad situation a good one...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Screaming Like a Little Girl and A Big "High Five" to That

So, the moment I have been waiting for for over a month now finally happened today.

I took two of the four parts of my Praxis II tests (pretty much, I have to pass all of these to become a teacher... like even if I graduate, I have to pass these before they'll let me in a classroom. State Requirements blah.). I was extremely worried leaving Lipscomb that day, 1) because I had no idea where I was, and 2) I didn't feel all that grand about the tests. We're talking TESTS here. Everything I've learned the past 4 and a half years in school.

The Curriculum and Instruction part wasn't all that bad. Only 120 multiple choice questions with a minimum passing score of 159 in TN. After two hours of my allotted time to sit and take this thing, I wanted to shoot myself. The second of the day was the Reading Across the Curriculum test. It was horrible. Absolute horrible. Dude beside me must have had too much crack before he came in because he sniffed the whole time, after every question. If that wasn't bad enough, he cracked his knuckles... And his arms, and his neck. Dude had a BAD case of I don't know what. But the test itself was 60 multiple choice and 3 horrendous essays. Later I found out there was no minimum passing score... You just had to pay $100 to take it and you pass. RIDICULOUS.

SO that was in January. Here it is, forever since then, and the scores come in the mail today... YIKES. Mind you the passing score was 159, and it looks like I won't have to take it again because a 180 sure as HECK looks good to me. Oh, yes, I screamed like a little girl. I was high-fiving myself. NO JOKE. This is huge for me.

2 down... 2 more to go...

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Here's My Resume, You Losers

So I'm stuck with the realization that my college career is almost over...

Seriously, this is so much more difficult than I ever imagined. Four years ago, I thought I'd NEVER finish, and here I am, what only feels like days passed, three and a half months from graduation. This is one scary thought. This summer, I more than likely won't have a job. I have to look for one so that in August I can be teaching. Otherwise, you know what I'll have to do?! Nothing. Broke, poor, and lonely makes for a great combination. I know God chose me for this education field, and He has sent me on a path I would never trade for anything but the uncertainty of it all has thrown me for a loop and along with that comes emotions and fears I never once had.

Today, I focused on my resume. I'm supposed to have one, but every job I've had up until now, I've been able to walk in and get the job. No resume, just a smiling face. I guess this is why I'm so fond of the people I know and the small town I'm from. Getting a job in the education field won't be as easy, as I don't KNOW as many people as I wish I did. I'm really frustrated that I can't remember what I did four years ago, what my GPA was, what clubs I was a part of, what honors I've won because really none of that matters so much to me anymore. I did it, it got me where I am today, but I couldn't remember it for the life of me. Isn't it who I am now that matters? Or not?

So in conclusion, I've decided to work on the REAL resume of me. Not the one I've tossed and turned fifty times in my chair over. The one that you need to know. The one that truly matters.

Jenna R. Warren
Birthdate: January 22, 1983 (you should remember this forever)
Hometown: Greenbrier, TN (important fact)
Current Residence: Chances are you won’t need to know this.
Phone: If you knew me, you’d know this.

Objective: (I have more than one; why isn’t that an option?!)
*To live my life in a way that uplifts my Heavenly Father.
*To educate children in a positive manner, ensure their safety and security, and be a role model so that they will find enjoyment in not only my classroom, but in education.
*To be a great wife and an even better mother.
*To be a friend that listens, encourages, and gives freely of myself.
*To be a positive person that finds the truth and grace in every situation.

Western Kentucky University (4 and a half years and running)
Volunteer State University (the biggest waste of time)
Greenbrier High School (it was a learning experience)

Teaching Experience:
*Student Teacher, Second Grade
*Block Two, Sixth Grade
*Block One, Kindergarten/First Grades Split
*Vacation Bible School, A LOT
*Jamaica Mission Trip, taught music to kids ages 1-18
***Everyday (I’m pretty bossy, I wear teacher clothes, I am very organized, I don’t mind throw-up and boogers, I like to write and color, I like to smile and laugh, and I love acting like a kid. See, I’m perfect for teaching.)

Other Experience:
*Teller/Service Center Representative (4 years), Old Hickory Credit Union (I listened to people complain about money, claim I had stolen their money, and deal with money everyday but made the most I ever will for the rest of my life.)
*Hostess/Trainer/Server (2 years), Cracker Barrel (I broke glasses, wrote the daily feature on the chalkboards, wore a red apron with 4 stars, ate good food, built up some arm muscles, taught people the job, and made some great friends. Perfect training for a teacher.)

Additional Training:
I’m 23 years old. Of course, I have additional training.
Life. Loss. Love. Music. Computers. College. Friendships. Uncertainty. Confusion. Peer Pressure. Sign Language. Lactose Intolerance. Head Injuries. Relationships. Cheerleading. Driving. Alcohol. Family. Weddings. Self Doubt. Movies. Hyperactivity. ADD. Insomnia. The list goes on and on…

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Lessons from a Beautifully Broken Soul

As much as I hate to admit this, I have to go on and admit that I've learned a truly valuable lesson tonight. Well, let me just say I've learned a FEW lessons tonight, and learning things isn't always as easy as we imagine.

1. People don't change as much as you always hope they will. Some people will stay the same forever. Now, sometimes this a good thing, but most of the time, it's the people who haven't changed that hurt you the most.

2. When your instinct tells you to go home, go home. When your gut tells you to get out of a situation, then get out of it. When your stomach tells you NOT to eat at Waffle House, do it anyway. Some of the better things in life happen when you follow your heart, but some of the best things happen when you go against the grain.

3. Being a pool shark around a bunch of guys is one of the best traits a girl can have. AND if you happen to play a decent game around those boys, call your Daddy and thank him for that passed-on trait.

4. Watch In Her Shoes any time you get mad, miss, or just need reminding of how much you love your sister. Even better, watch this movie WITH your sister. You'll feel UNBELIEVABLY blessed to have her in your life.

5. People you didn't think were your true friends can become the greatest company on a boring night.

6. Laugh at every situation especially the sad, lonely, and disgusting times. Those will be the memories that last forever... Not the not-so-good times, but the way you HANDLE those not-so-great situations.

7. Do not sit near anyone at Waffle House that, 1) is insanely drunk, 2) that has on a Dale Jr. camoflauge hat, and 3) orders their hashbrowns with EVERY option, including the mushrooms, jalapenos, tomatoes, cheese, AND chili and then covers it all with Tabasco Sauce. It will make for a very icky dining experience.

8. Always have hand sanitizer with you. ESPECIALLY at Waffle House. It can make for a unique yet genius way to clean the nasty tables.

9. Love your family even the part of them that embarasses you. No one will ever love you or mean as much to you as they will.

And last but not least, 10. Ashlee Simpson can heal all wounds. She has a song for every situation, and riding around after a RANDOM night listening to her will make you feel like your life is completely normal. Plus, she'll remind you that it's okay to be Beautifully Broken.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Getting Good at Getting Honest

I've gotten good at getting honest. I've always been really. It's just that now I say the things I actually mean, and I don't watch out in fear of hurting someone's feelings. Because why? Well, let's just say I've gotten good at hearing honesty. I could never handle criticism as a teenager; I would break down in tears on a daily basis. But scrutiny will only go as far as you let it. That's why I've learned to get over being scared of being hurt and hurting others. It's a fact of life - you can't avoid getting hurt and sometimes you can't avoid hurting others. That's my revelation of the day.

All in all, it's been a great week. I learn more and more from my second graders, and I'm getting upset more and more each day knowing I'll be leaving them in less than 3 weeks. I'm not at all excited about fifth graders. I know I should be optimistic, but I'm going with the idea that honesty is the best policy, and honestly, I am not a big fan of kids who are taller than me, know more than me, and have a more negative attitude than me. All of this into one equation doesn't turn out well. But nevertheless, I'm taking it all day by day. Taking in these wonderful kids is so precious to me. I love them so much. It's time for a weekend break though. Hallelujah.