First Day Back

Oh the first day back to school. When I was younger I dreaded this day, but now it’s filled with different emotions.

Today I started year 5! Gosh I can hardly believe it. It seems so unreal that five years ago I transitioned into this special profession. So far being a teacher has been such a blur. Maybe it’s because I never imagined I’d be here, but teaching has fueled so many passions it’s only natural I can’t seem to find the correct words to explain what I’m feeling.

It all begins with that nervous and anxious feeling of getting back into a solid routine. I’m also excited to see my students both filled with worry and enthusiasm. Then I feel a huge disconnect from my summer love–my bed. Lastly I feel inspired. Returning to school always makes me feel as if I have to set new goals for myself.

Of course I want to be a good role model, I want to teach passionately, I want to create opportunities, make students wonder, share innovative ideas, etc.

As of late, I just want to relate. I want students to look at me and think, “she’s just like us.” I want them to see my mistakes and learn from them. I want them to see what life altering changes I’m making and hope they be moved by them. I want to show and tell. I want students to use my fears and turn them into their fighting courage. Most importantly I want them to challenge themselves farther than ever simply because they can. Simply because I’ve got their backs.

And just as year 5 began I realized, that this is where I need to be.

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What I wore: Skit was a Mexican store find, I’m going to update you all on soon. Top and necklace from Maurice, and my shoes (I was on my feet all day so I needed band aids by the end) are from JCPenney.

I’ll share more details about these items later. For now, I’m just adjusting to being back. It feels good.

PS: I also love school so much because this is where I met the love of my life. Mr. Womacks. I 143 him!

On a sad note, our family and consumer science teacher, Mrs. Voran passed away on Saturday after her long fight with cancer. School today seemed so off. It was different to start on a sad note. She was a great work-friend. And I enjoyed watching her interact with her club, FCCLA. She will be missed, but her devotion for teaching will live on. I dedicate this blog to her.

As always,

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Mission Trip: VBS

My most favorite aspect of this mission trip was being able to interact with the children of Tizimin during Vacation Bible School.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0283.JPGThis wonderful lady, who has literally been sent by God, for these children heads up the school/church responsible for their formation. Her name is Magdalena Saldana. She has the spirit of a lion. The will of an eagle. The grace of a peacock. The love of a mother. During her time with DCI, she has lead more than 100 children into her facility to present the gospel of the Lord. The children who attended VBS instantly gave her the respect and love that she deserved. She touched my heart. As an educator, I praise people who devote their lives to the children. For her, what better way than through the teachings of Jesus Christ.

DSC_0394DSC_0451For four days we interacted with more than 90 children from all walks of life. Micah and I were in charge of registering these kids before they entered camp. We were the first people they saw. Some of them were confident, shook our hands, told us their names, and walked on in ready for the day to begin. Others seemed lost, confused, and scared. Some children where homeless. Some children didn’t have parents.

It was a tug at my heart, when Magdalena ask a little boy why he had been absent for so long. He responded, “our house has been ceased and right now we are kind of living where ever we can.” (Deep sigh) It was difficult to hear these types of things. It was difficult to see some of them walking barefoot. To see some skinny. To see runny noses.

But then my heart would rejoice when I would hear a giggle. When I would see a smile.

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:2-6
Many times I have heard it said that one must be childlike to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I didn’t quite understood what that meant, but seeing the children of Tizimin worshiping Jesus, singing, dancing, being carefree in His name made me think that it really didn’t matter what I wore, where I lived, what my life circumstances were. If I worshiped Jesus without a care in the world, like these children, I literally had nothing to fear. And that’s what these kids where, fearless. Interested. Eager. Willing. They wanted to learn. They wanted to know more about the man who died to save them.
After registration, the kids danced and singed. Then came studying. Our group taught lessons on Esther, the king’s armor, love, and understanding. Micah and I would sit in the back and observe them. It’s like they were hungry for love.
1On the second to last day, one of the group leaders ask Micah and I to lead the last lesson. I instantly agreed without even consulting Micah. Fear suddenly paralyzed me. And my good friend insecurity had a lot to say. But Micah, my love, instantly reminded me of how capable I was and with his help we presented the 10 Commandments to the children. Micah presented the ice breaker with a game of “Micah dice” (Simon says, or Micah says). Then I transitioned with “how do we know what God says?” “How do we know what to do?”
There I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me, helping me, giving me the confidence and the will that I needed to the point where 100% of the children were engaged. High five Ms. Rojas and thanks for the help Mr. Womacks.
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The rest of the time with the kids was spent on various activities, like arts and crafts, painting, coloring, praying, playing with sports equipment. Micah’s interaction with the children touched my heart as well. Many of the boys loved him. He was so good with the children. Maybe they saw what I see everyday in him–his good and noble heart. This boy, Brian, was our favorite. He often times wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye, hugging me and high- fiving Micah.
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The boys would literally gravitate towards Micah, I felt so proud of him.
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I felt a deep connection to this little girl, because Micah pointed out she looked like me. I agree. Ever since then, we gravitated towards each other.
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Micah and this little guy kept secrets and it was adorable.
VBS was inspiring to say the least. I felt like I went in thinking I was going to set an example, be uplifting, to teach, and to give, but in reality these children taught me to strive to be better. To self grow. To self love. To love without measure beyond the circumstances. Now my goal in life is to have a heart like these little ones.
Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you all about the eye exams we participated in.
Until then and as always.

Life itself

It seems so selfish to go about my life as if I’m the only one who worries, is stressed out, is busy, or is conflicted. I feel as if every time I blog I have to boast about how busy I am or how complicated my life has been because of this or that.

Today upon opening my e-mails, our administrator informed the school about a recent death. He was a student. He was a son. He was a brother. He was a friend.

Suddenly everything that I’ve been dealing with lately seemed so small.

We were asked to talk to the students about anxiety, stress, and depression.

So here’s my chance to be uplifting, inspirational, caring, kind. And…. I blew it. I read talking points. The students just stared at me like deer caught in taillights.

The truth is, it’s hard to talk about suicide. It’s hard to know what the right thing to say is during a time of confusion. Pain like this is tough. I feel for my students because they are young and life is giving them difficult challenges. Some of them are having to grow up too fast. Some of them are oblivious to hardships. Some of them are independent. Some of them don’t feel they have a voice. What’s harder is that as a teacher, an adult, a mentor, I can’t always relate to them. This is where I’m conflicted because I’m at a loss as to what to say, how far can I invade their personal bubble, how long do I stay present?

It seems that during a death like this there are a million and one questions everyone asks, like why, just for starters. And me? I don’t have all the answers to the way the universe moves.

I sat back down after my award-winning speech on “I’ll be there for you,” and contemplated my struggles, my fears, my moment of depression. For one second, I realized that when depression kept turning off the lights in my life, I wanted to drown myself in sorrow. I wanted so desperately to feel. When that intoxicating desire to feel something took over I was a goner. Next thing I knew I was in the shower shaving my legs and the razor “accidentally” cut my ankle. I didn’t flinch. Instead, I watched as a tiny river of red ran down my leg and into the drain. After that I was addicted to that feeling. Why? Because I could feel something. I wasn’t numb anymore.

So it was back to the shower, time and time again. I never cut too deep, just enough to feel. I was playing with my life. It wasn’t until one evening my mom came home from work and hugged me. She said, let’s go get ice cream. Beyond my endless eye rolls, we went. We had a conversation about nothing. She talked while she savored her chocolate ice cream cone about how growing up she always wanted to explore the African jungle. I asked her why? And she said just because it’s something I know I’ll never get to see. I was puzzled. Why on Earth did my mother have a dream that wasn’t worth achieving. Intrigued, I asked her to explain?

She went on to say that sometimes we have a dream so big and unreachable that it gives us hope. It makes us get up every morning and work hard. It makes us cling to ourselves and to make peace with knowing that God’s will is what we should want.

God’s will. God? Oh yea? (smirk) Then the light switch got turned back on.

I suppose the point of all of this is that sometimes we feel like nothing will matter, like nothing makes sense, like nothing we do can help save a life. Who knew a hug, ice cream, and a unreachable dream would save my life. Give it meaning.

Maybe I should have talked to my students about my struggles to find hope. On the other hand maybe the talking points were enough. Everyone is different. Everyone loves, thinks, acts, feels, and moves differently. That makes us who we are. For me during a time of struggle, like this one, it’s not to necessarily try to understand, but to be there. To help by lending a listening ear. To be present. To be a smile. To be in this life.

On Sunday during church sermon it was said that we always hear the famous words of Mother Teresa, “God wouldn’t give you anything you can’t handle,” and it’s true in a sense. But in reality we should consider God not giving us anything He can’t handle. So we should give Him our troubles. He’s ready. He’s able. He’s for us. Give it to him. Or give it to me and I’ll pass it on to Him.

As always,

Dot it

Just because I’ve been gone for 10 months doesn’t mean I haven’t been out shopping. I feel that the older I get; the harder it is for me to find pieces that are worth while. So shopping has become more of a sport. It’s taken hard work and a lot of dedication. It’s even harder because I constantly think that the pieces I buy have to fit both of my “worlds” –teacher life and everyday life–

(Sometimes both lives connect and often times I keep them separate.)

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Behold the brief case turned bag-pack and the long tailored dress. Both of these pieces have served me well for both lives. Items like these have become so important to me, for example, the bag-pack is made especially for the “go.” It frees up my hands from having to carry my phone, the homework I have to grade, and my lunch.

The dress has helped me look stylish during church, wedding events, for dinners out with the boyfriend, and also for keeping me classy at school.

I’ll be sharing pieces like these more often.

Help a girl out by commenting and liking this post. It’s appreciated.

Outfit: Dress from Dillards and Bag pack from H&M.

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