Sunday, June 28, 2009

TExES Exam

Wednesday morning I took the TExES Exam (used to be the ExCET Exam) for my Teaching Certification. Instead of making a short story really long i'll just come out and tell you.

I didn't pass.

A passing score is 240. I scored a 233.

Honestly, i'm okay. My faith is being strengthened throughout this process and if that's the whole point for Him bringing this into my life then i'm all for it.

Instead of boring you with all the details about the test I'm going to share everything that I like to think is the hand of God in this situation.

A year ago I was absolutely terrified as May approached. My major was so broad, I felt like I had zero direction for my life. I decided to lay it down and trust that He would reveal and provide for me when His timing was right; no matter if I made a few wrong turns on the journey.

Originally I was a Vocal Performance major so I have over 2 years worth of music hours. When I decided to change my major to University (General) Studies they let me keep my original advisor who just happened to be the Dean of the School of Music.

As my final semester approached and the time came to register for classes he sent me an e-mail recomending a few classes that he thought i'd enjoy. One of them was a Music for Elementary Education class.

With zero desire, clue, or direction I just hopped on board with his suggestion. As you probably already know, I ended up absolutely loving that class.

Halfway through the semester a friend mentioned the Alternative Teaching Preparation and Certification Program through Region 7 to me. I really didn't think too much of it and never thought I had the courage/ability to teach. My schedule worked out so that I was able to substitute teach while attending my last semester of college.

God used that experience to teach me so much.

During the month of May I was offered a long term sub position for a kindergarten paraprofessional. Basically this means I was in the classroom with the teacher throughout the day doing different things to help out. Most of the time I wasn't fully paying attention to all that she was teaching the students, but even though I wasn't aware, my mind was absorbing all that she was doing.

The TExES Exam is a different kind of test. It gives you different scenarios, asks you steps you would take to teach different age students different concepts, lots of meated questions that involve some deep thinking. It's not a test that you sit down and just work out some formulas to get the answers. Many education students spend months preparing for this Exam. I had about 2 weeks.

When I went to take the practice Exam I completely aced the Music section because it was everything that I had learned in the course that i'd just finished; that my advisor recommended. Is that not neat how God worked that out before it was ever even a thought in my mind?

A ton of the questions I was able to correctly answer because I could hear the teacher that I subbed with for the month of May in the back of my mind. Who knew that i'd been soaking it in subconciously?

A few nights before my Exam a friend who is a principle called to ask me a question and I told her how my Exam was coming up. Five months ago we weren't even aware that the other existed, but because of God's timing and plan He worked it out. She was able to tell me what was most important to study.

And all those hours onf subtituting that I did these past 5 months count towards half of my Field Based Experienced hours.

I just think it's so neat that I had no clue where I was going, yet He worked things out without me ever even having the slightest clue that He was doing so. I was kind of just going through the motions, yet all along He had a plan behind it all.

There is still a part of me as I sit here tonight that wonders if i'm called to be a teacher and I could let it bother me if I wanted to.... but i'm learning that He is faithful and He is soveriegn. He works things out whenever I take the wrong turn. He opens doors. He provides the Way. He strengthens. And He is worthy of my trust.

The fact that I didn't pass the test rules out the possibility of me teaching in August. I can still do the July classes, the online courses, and everything else... I just won't have my year of Internship behind me.

But I am confident that He knows what He is doing and i'm absolutely at peace. In His timing i'll pass the test and i'll find a job somewhere. In the meantime I continue to learn more about who He is through this process. It was never about me finding a job or career in the first place - it's about Him. Who knows what He is doing and what His plans are.

I am just so thankful that He is faithful despite who I am.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Behind The Scenes

This song rings so true for me right now.

The past three years of my life have seemed so chaotic, confusing, depressing, vulnerable, shaky, and so many other things. Friends close to me know more than others, but there have been times when i've shared bits and pieces on this blog. Something has changed within the past two months and eventually, if the Lord allows, I hope to share it with you...

Tonight as I was driving home listening to this song tears started to well up in my eyes and drop down my cheeks. There was (and is) so much more going on Behind The Scenes, and for that I am so thankful and in awe.

Even if what you're going through is because of sin or disobedience - Christ loves you and is so much bigger than anything you could ever do. The God we serve is a pursuing God who wants to have a relationship with you. It amazes me the things He will do to simply get my attention and draw me to Him, even when I run or turn my back on Him. He is so faithful! Even when it doesn't seem like it - There is so much more going on Behind The Scences - and one day you'll understand the reason for every situation the Lord allowed in your life!

I hope, if anything, these lyrics will be an encouragement to you like they are to me. (The bold line is my favorite)

Francesca Battistelli

You may think
I’m just fine
How could anything
Ever be out of line?

I take my time
To set the stage
To make sure everything
Is all in place

Even though I’ve got the lines rehearsed
A picture only paints a thousand words

Things aren’t always what they seem
You’re only seeing part of me
There’s more than you could ever know
Behind the scenes
I’m incomplete and I’m undone
But I suppose like everyone
There’s so much more that’s going on
Behind the scenes

Sometimes I can’t see
Through the dark
Surrounding me

And at times I’m unsure
About the ground
Beneath my feet
If it’s safe and sound

When it’s hard to find hope in the unseen
I have peace in knowing it will find me

Things aren't always what they seem
You're only seeing part of me
There's more than you will ever know
Behind the scenes
I'm incomplete and i'm undone
But I suppose like everyone
There's so much more that's going on
Behind the Scenes

You may think I’m just fine
How could anything ever be out of line?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Peace in the Process

It's been a while since i've written about my alternative certification process. The last time I mentioned it on my blog I had sent everything in and received a phone call informing me of the date of my interview.

Monday, June 8th, I went in for my very first interview ever. I hadn't realized that i'd never actually had an interview until about 5 minutes before I was getting ready to go in. With everything that I have going on this summer I hadn't had time to stop and get nervous about this interview. Plus, i'm learning to let go and not worry. I'd like to think it's more of the latter and less of the busy-ness of my schedule.

As we were walking back (through what seemed like 5 million hallways and turns) the lady asked me if i was nervous about the interview. Well, no, actually... not until you mentioned it. I really and truly had not even thought about it. That's so unlike me. My personality is the kind that has to think through (or some call it - overanalyze) every little step and outcome. What am I going to say if they ask this? What happens if this happens? You know. It has to be a total God thing that I wasn't even able to go there because that's just how I tend to roll.

All that to say, I survived my interview, and before I was even able to get home I had received an email saying I was accepted into the program... Officially. Even though I said umm atleast 100 times.

On Friday of that same week I took the practice TExES exam. As horrible as it sounds I did nothing to prepare. I hung out with friends each night that week (which is another big step for me) and stayed up way too late. I didn't study. I had zero clue what the test was going to be like. Somehow I managed to make a 66 which i'm hoping is atleast a little good considering i've never had an education class and had zero preparation.

I can start applying for a teaching position, but cannot be officially hired until I pass this Exam. The test is scheduled for this Wednesday, June 24th. I really really really need to study. But ultimately I lay it all down and trust that His plan for my life will work out in His timing.

Today was Orientation. Honestly, I thought I was going to come home with my brain on overload because of all the information they were going to give us... but, once again, somehow I was able to understand and retain most of it. (This has been the most peaceful process that i've ever gone through... it brings tears to my eyes.)

So basically my summer lasts for the next 3 weeks then classes begin.

July 13th through the 31st i'll be traveling back n forth 5 days a week to attend class from 8:30 - 4:00. Along with those classes, we start online classes on July 6th and one Saturday out of each month we'll have to attend class at the Region 7 building. Are you keeping up with all of this? haha!

If I pass my test and find a job somewhere i'll have a mentor that I must observe for 6 hours, and also have to complete 30 hours of field based experience. But get this... all that substituting that i've been doing for the past semester counts for 15 of those hours. Can I get a Hallelujah?

A family friend is the summer camp director at the Boys N Girls Club this summer. A few months back I mentioned getting hired for the 7-8 year old teaching position. She told me after she gave me the job that they only hired people who would not be taking more than two weeks of vacation. Do you remember what I just told you two paragraphs up? Summer classes begin in July and last for three weeks. After I got accepted into the alternative certification program (the 2nd day of my B n G job) I had to go back and tell her the news. I felt terrible and was so afraid that she was going to be mad at me. I had prepared myself for the words, "we're just going to let you go and hire someone else since it's only the first week of the program." Thankfully, she didn't care at all (which is awesome because i'm going to need that extra cash to pay for my certification process).

God has proven faithful throughout this process and my soul has been at total peace. It still brings me to tears because He chose one of the most random situations to teach me who He is. Soveriegn and in control.

So I continue to not even let my mind venture and worry... He will open doors and everything will work out in His timing.

For fear of putting your brain on overload, i'll stop there and inform you when new things start to happen. I'm so glad you're apart of this process with me.

Thank you, Lord, for all that You are doing. You do work in the most mysterious of ways... please don't stop. May what you're doing in my life take root. I so desperately need it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For today - Saturday June 13th, 2009

Outside my window... the sun is shining so brightly and it feels so warm out. It is definitely a layout day - which is where i'm headed in a few minutes.

I am thinking... that i've never been this busy in my life. This week has been exhausting. It's amazing that i'm still even functioning. I began my job as the 7 and 8 year old teacher at the Boys n Girls Club Summer Camp on Monday. There are 36 students in my class, but i've yet to have that many in one day. My shift is from 8 - 1:30 and this past week only in the afternoons I had to babysit also until 5. You think i'd be tired of children by now - haha!

I am thankful for... new friends. Katy and I just recently started hanging out and i'm pretty sure this will grow into something great. She corrected me last night when I told my brother she was my new friend - No, best friend! haha! We have so much more in common than I ever thought and we just seemed to click instantly. I love when you find a friend like that! I'd been praying for about 2 years for a best friend and i'm thinking this just may turn into that. We've hung out almost everyday this past week and we're teaching music together in VBS this week - hopefully we won't get too tired of each other. haha! JK!

From the learning rooms... well, I had my interview Monday and then immediately got an email that said I was officially accepted into the alternative certification program. Classes begin July 13th and last 5 days a week for 3 weeks. Friday morning I took the practice test for Pre-k through 4th grade and did alright considering i've never had an education class, had zero preparation, did not study at all, and got less than 4 hours of sleep the night before. I'll take the real thing on the 23rd and if I pass I can apply for a teaching position and begin in August. Exciting yet nerve-racking!

From the kitchen... the table is covered with supplies for Casie's VBS room. She is putting together decorations for the "Studio Go" theme.

I am wearing... my new swimsuit that I got at Target a few weeks ago. It's a one piece and is a totally different style than anything i've ever worn. I think it's adorable and feel so comfortable in it. When I tried it on I called my mom in to get her opinion - I was expecting her to love it, but instead she just started at me and then popped out no with a slight giggle. I was hurt a little bit... seriously! I sat trying to figure out what was wrong with it. haha! Come to find out she liked the swimsuit, but was disgusted with my skin color. Appearently I need a tan - have you gathered that yet?

I am creating... motions for the VBS songs. Three songs down, three more to go. There were about 10 songs to choose from - I narrowed it down to 6 (theme song plus one song a day to match the bible lesson) and then picked the 3 songs that we'll do for the program on Thursday evening. Hopefully i'll be ready in time!!!

I am going... to lay out as soon as I finish this post.

I am reading... umm, not really reading anything right now.

I am hoping... to realize that people are not perfect and it's okay to mess up. Everyone is not always who they seem and in a weird way that provides relief. We need relationships - and i'm hoping to really work on that.

I am hearing... China running around in circles on the kitchen tile and whimpering with excitement because she recognizes Casie's swimsuit. She's ready for some sun!

Around the house... things are still pretty messy and crazy from the garage sale. Now that most of the storage closets have been cleaned out, so many of the other random things that we need but don't use everyday can now go into those closets. Organization is so satisfying - i'll be glad when we finally get there!

One of my favorite things... laughing! This week has been so much fun - hanging out with friends, watching movies, cracking jokes, just being okay with who I am. I had been putting so much pressure on myself, but this week felt so freeing. Is that a word?

A few plans for the rest of the week... laying out this afternoon, working on VBS motions tonight, Church tomorrow, VBS in the mornings and Boys n Girls Club in the afternoon. Things will hopefully slow down after this next week is over!

Here is a picture thought... summer is here and the pool and sun are screaming my name (as if I haven't mentioned that 40 times). Here's a little flashback foto for you!

The simple woman site

Sunday, June 7, 2009

No Soap Ladies

Friday afternoon Casie and I were running all across town putting signs up for the Garage Sale. We decided to take some of the comforters and get them washed at a laundrymat since they wouldn't fit in our washer/dryer. They'd been tucked away in storage boxes for so long that they just smelled old, you know? While our laundry was washing we went throughout town and hung up signs.

It's not everyday that we take our laundry to a washateria. In America many of us are blessed to have our own washer and dryer in our homes. From the moment we walked into this place it was clear that we were outcasts and had zero clue what we were doing. I walked right up to the washer, started reading the instructions and was ready to take charge n' get started. Then I realized...

I forgot the detergent.

Oh, but no problem because they have a little dispenser on the wall where you can buy some if you need to. I called mom, read her the options, and asked her which kind she wanted me to use; cheer, downy, or bounce.


We followed the directions exactly as they were written on the washing machine and were totally minding our own business. Up walks Mr. Worker Guy talking all loud on his cell phone. Then he started talking to us with a very loud, loud, loud, not so nice voice...

Mr. Worker Guy : What's the problem?

Me : Nothing.

Mr. Worker Guy : Where's the

Me : It's in there.

Mr. Worker Guy (along with every other eye in the washateria) stares at us like we're complete idiots and walks away laughing.

What happened to good service and manners? Does he want his customers to come back? I'm thinkin' there was probably a nicer way to approach us. Like - I see that you're new here, do you need help? Instead it felt like - Attention Washateria customers, I'd like to direct your attention to these two idiots who have no idea where they're doing. bwah ha ha ha!

Appearently Downy is not soap, it's fabric softener. Mom didn't share this little piece of information with me; it was a big misunderstanding. I kind of figured it out as I was going, but there was nothing I could do because their soap dispenser was out of order. We just kept telling ourselves we were going for a good smell and that's all. Haha!

I guess I needed my pride stepped on that day. And it worked. Mom did all the laundry while we were growing up. When I moved off to college I had no idea what I was doing. Once I moved back home I started doing my own laundry and helping out with household chores because I realized how easy I had it and how I wasn't learning anything. I guess I got a little defensive because I wanted Mr. Worker Guy (and everyone else who heard his loud announcement in the Washateria) to know that I had learned and knew how to do my own laundry. I wasn't a spoiled little preppy girl.

When we went back to pick up our laundry he greeted us as....

"The No Soap Ladies"

All that was missing was his bright neon flashing sign pointing at us, then we could have called it a day! And i'll also have you know that every single one of those comforters sold at the sale - without soap.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Dollar Fifteen

The garage sale turned out great! Everyone pretty much had the same reaction when they walked into the shop where we had everything set up. For not having a sale in over 20 years it was a little overwhelming, but we had a variety of things to offer. The first 4 hours flew by so quickly that I didn't even realize it was already lunch time. The constant steady flow kept me occupied.

When 3 o' clock rolled around, we grabbed our earnings and headed inside to see what we made. Mom had a goal in mind and we ended up making $5.36 over that by the end of the day! Hooray!

Since we already have everything set up we thought we might as well keep it in place and just plan to have another one in 2 weeks. We went through the 3 upstairs hallway storage closets, the media room storage closet, my bedroom and closet, a little of Casie's closet, and mom's craft room. We still have plenty of things (downstairs) we could get rid of so we might give it one more go! Do you think that's a crazy idea? We definitely aren't in the know when it comes to Yard Sales!

Mom deemed me in charge of money today, which totally made me nervous. The thought of someone standing there watching me add up their purchase, count out the right change, etc... that's an anxiety attack waiting to happen.

One of my first customers did not like the price that we gave her on one of her selections. It was a great price considering it had never been opened and was bought within the past year. Her total was going to come out around 2 or 3 dollars - she said No Deal. I was already pretty stressed being behind the register, but her tone of voice and attitude only made it worse. I finally had to get mom's attention to ask her what I needed to do because it was actually one of her belongings that was being sold. Long story longer - as she handed me her money and I began to count out her change she said, "We're in a recession, sweetie".
Go visit some starving children in Africa and then come back and talk with me about a recession.

Granted, i'm sure I could have reacted better and even been sweeter to this lady, but my goodness. We are so blessed, yet so greedy and ungrateful. I'm not saying that we aren't in a recession - there is proof that we are. All i'm saying is we don't have a clue what it truly means to barely be making it. We think we have it so hard, but we really don't.

I would have given the lady the stuff for free because there is such a reward in simply giving someone something without getting anything in return. It's love. Her motives, attitude, and tone of voice is what bothered me.

The truck in the picture above is my Papa's 1981 GMC. He came to check out the garage sale yesterday as we were setting up and I snuck out there and took a picture! After we finished up the sale today I printed it, bought a frame, and took it to his house and surprised him.

As I was walking into the store to get the frame I started thinking, I really should count my money in my wallet and think about how much the average frame cost... then I remembered my sweet friend from earlier.

It's not about the cost, it's not about how much money i'll have tomorrow... it's about loving others and giving. He will provide and meet all my needs. Sometimes we just need to step out and trust that when we are truly loving others He will still be there to provide for us. My heart was overwhelmed and excited! It truly is better to give than receive!

If you have time I encourage you to read Angie's post from earlier today! It's a good one!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For today Monday - June 1st, 2009...

Outside my window... well, it's dark right now, but the past two days have been absolutely beautiful! I can't wait to spend my summer afternoons relaxing in the pool, getting some sun, and enjoying the weather from the porch swing. We've had supper out on the back deck the past week or so. I had forgotten how much I love being able to do that during this season.

I am thinking... that it's completely unfair that we are still in school in the month of JUNE. It just doesn't seem right to be locked inside with the beautiful weather begging you to come out.

I am thankful for... valleys. I don't enjoy them most of them time (or even fully get through them), but i'm currently learning to embrace the one i'm in. You can't have victory if you don't truly go through a battle. I don't want to be the same.... I really want to know Him. Sometimes it takes a little longer to dig deep, and be real and honest with yourself - but the truth will eventually set you free when you find it. So not an easy place to be, but i'm learning to take it one step at a time. It's almost as if I can feel healing taking place - I don't know that i've ever really felt it before. (If you are praying for me I want to say thank you - I can't get through this alone, and I don't want to. I want Him. So thank you for your prayers!)

From the learning rooms... Instead of my normal kindergarten paraprofessional duty that i've been doing for the past month, I actually get the chance to sub for a second grade math class on Wednesday and Thursday. It's been a while (a month to be exact) since i've been a teacher-sub. The teacher was dying to ask me to sub for her, she had so much faith in me, and excitement was literally bubbling out of her as she asked me... I don't really understand why. My thoughts were pretty sour when she first asked me - I've enjoyed sitting on the sidelines and just helping out, I didn't know if I was ready to be in charge again. It took a few minutes, but I eventually got my heart in the right place. I have faith that it will all go like He wants it to.

From the kitchen... mom didn't cook supper tonight because we were busy preparing for the big sale. We bought dinner and enjoyed it on the back porch, then it was back to work.

I am wearing... grey work-out t-shirt, trash bag shorts (do I always have these on when I post daybooks?), socks, hair in a pony tail. We took a 20 minute break around 8 to do the Shred (workout) with one of mom's friends. This video is working - I can tell a difference.

I am creating... nothing interesting. Once this weekend passes I'll be creating motions for the VBS songs. O my goodness - that means I'll have one week to do 6 songs! Better get to work on that! Time is flying by; I thought we still had a few weeks, but o my goodness, no we don't.

I am going... to try and post a few pictures of some of the things we will be saling in our Garage Sale. That way if you want you can decide whether or not you want to come. Some people from church were asking yesterday - yes, we have baby clothes! And they're actually still cute and in style - I went through some of them tonight. I'll try to post some of those pictures!

I am reading... the Holy Bible. And a bible study book that I'm considering for my Junior High Sunday School class.

I am hoping... to be well-rested so that I can accomplish everything that I need to during this week. I am capable of far more than I give myself credit.

I am hearing... my playlist as I type. I need to redo it.

Around the house... everyone has gone to bed - and i'm headed there! Poor China is sprawled out on the middle of the floor. I think she is enjoying the breeze from the fan!

One of my favorite things... JOY!

A few plans for the rest of the week... cleaning, organizing, preparing, working... I have Friday off - I hope to be able to lay out a little bit during the day!

Here is a picture thought... be sweet with your comments about my clothes. They are stylin' but not quite as much as Brandon over there rockin' his denim washed jeans. He is cheesin' isn't he? And Casie, she looks adorable of course.

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