Category Archives: Personal

Adventageous: Waiting for Whom

Sometimes I hate church. I hate going there and being challenged by God or some human to think a little deeper about life. I hate leaving the pole-barn looking building after sermons like today’s with this nagging doubt that I am not doing what I have been called to do. I hate this feeling. I struggle with it often, as anyone who has read my writing more than once knows. Sometimes I just want to shovel through all my crap and baggage so that I can see in me what God sees in me.

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There is nothing with studying literature, but I wonder if there isn’t something more meaningful that I should be doing. I know my students appreciate having me in class because I always get comments about helping them to learn to like English. Frequently, they tell me that I helped them learn about themselves and to see how they fit in with the bigger picture that is the world. Occasionally, I believe them.

I often find myself wondering what type of people generally teach English because I don’t feel like I do anything special. I am excited about my students learning how to express themselves in writing. Are most English teachers lethargic?

This semester my students said they appreciated using blogging and technology in the classroom. I was surprised when many of them put their fingers— without my prodding—on my most immediate pedagogical goal. Several of them wrote in their reflective letters that they foudn it both enjoyable and helpful to write consistently. A couple of them even said they have never had a writing class where they got to write every day. They were able to see how writing every day helped them to carry over from writing project to writing project.

I was appreciative of the level of feedback and serious reflection because I needed to hear that what I am doing is valuable. I needed some positive feedback. I am not usually a person who needs so much positive feedback, but a long, hard semester combined with my continual urge to quit and go farm combined with the intermittent feeling that I am going into the wrong profession, vocation, career made me crave some direction. The positive feedback helps remind me why I do what I do, but sometimes I still have doubts.

I guess that doubt has something to do with the actual words profession and vocation. I don’t perceive what I do to be a calling or something where I profess things I really believe in. I should. I don’t. Yet. Maybe I will one day. Until then I will just hang on to knowing that my students are impacted by me and my passion for literature, writing, and most importantly for them.

Of course, my passion for them comes from God’s passion for me. I can’t understand how deep or how wide that passion is, but I can profess how passion has changed me. I remember who I was, and I know who I am now. So, I love times like advent in which God lets us wait for [Their] miracles. I am moved from looking from the wood of the manger to the wood of the cross. I am overtaken by the fact that God sent his son to the earth just so he could die thirty-three years later to give us grace.

What does that mean for me? It means I wait. I wait for my savior to be born. I wait to sing the news of his birth. I wait to mourn his death. I wait to see how he will work in my life and through my life for another year. I wait with a sense of expectation, joyful expectation to experience moment that I can only make it through by God’s grace.

Clue, Lounging, and Grades

I am watching the movie Clue for about the gajillionth time. Yes, gajillionth is a word because I say it is. You could try looking in the OED, but they are a little behind on words like gajillion and fucktard and sextastic. Incidentally, if you click on the spell-checker suggestions for those three words, you find  gazillion, fuckhead, and sarcastic as replacements for them. However, when you run spell check again, the words are again highlighted, but no alternatives are suggested. Weird. Conspiratorial.

I got the urge to watch this movie again when I looked at a friend’s Facebook page. She posted a game in which she had to post quotes from movies, and we, her friends, had to guess where the quotes came from. One was from Clue. Specifically, it was from the ending where Miss Scarlet argues with Wadsworth over the number of bullets in the gun.

I have three or four movies that I watch whenever I can’t sleep because I have seen them so many times, I usually fall asleep after the first fifteen minutes or so. The movies in no particular order are Heathers, Clue, 9 to 5, and Adam’s Family. These are also four of my favorite movies, so don’t make any hateful comments about how they put me to sleep because they are poorly made or low quality films. I will just have to ignore you if you do.

Today was the first day after the end of the worst semester of my life. As I have said before I should have listened to Debbie when she told me to only take three classes. I think I could have done it when I was younger, but I just didn’t have the energy to get things done the way I wanted to get them done.

Which brings me to my grades. I already know I have one B+ and that will likely be two. I think I got As in my creative writing classes, but Bs in both of my literature classes. Is there something wrong with this picture?

If I remember correctly, I am a literature major! I just couldn’t focus the way I needed to in order to write two twenty-page seminar papers, one ten-page academic paper, and one ten-to-twelve-page memoir essay. It happens, and I know that the paper I gave Debbie was horrible. I agree with her—there were some salvageable ideas in the paper—but I just couldn’t work on it any longer. It’s over now.

It’s over and I get to take some time for myself. I am reading two books right now: One Hundred Years of Solitude and Echoing Silence. I spent the entire day re-recreating my on-line existence in this blog, going grocery shopping, and hanging out with David and Tim while they played Mario Kart at high volume.

Revamping the blog took a few hours because I had to go back through my old blogs and figure out how to categorize them. I think the only thing I don’t like about Word Press is that I can’t not put a category for my posts because it says “Uncategorized” under it, which is incredibly tacky. I went through the first seven or so and categorized them because they show on my home page, but the rest I left.

Going grocery shopping was an exercise in insanity. Today, the Saturday before Christmas, is not when you want to be at Walmart. I can safely say that no day is a good day to be at Walmart, but the Saturday before Christmas if the worst I have seen in a while. We parked by the garage in the back and went in through that door. It was the closest parking space and the inside proved that the shoppers were carpooling. Each aisle was jammed full of angry little elves. Chris Kringle’s joy was nowhere to be found.

Hanging out with Tim and David is always fun, and watching them play video games is an interesting pastime. Today, though, history was altered. The time space continuum was skewed: David beat Tim at Mario Kart. Once. The problem with the video gaming—really, it isn’t simply the video gaming, it’s anything on television—is that David thinks every game, movie, TV show, or CD needs to be listened to at maximum volume. He thinks it enhances the listening experience, never paying attention to the plaster cracking off the walls or the paint peeling in the dining room. What do I care? I am simply trying to enjoy my break.

I am hoping to get in some good time with my pajamas and good books. Maybe I will lounge so much someone will notice my excellent form and offer to pay me to lounge. I could lounge like it’s my job. Is ice cream involved in my salary package? Because I would need to know before accepting the job and signing the contract.

Also, this is perfect:

A Little More Professional

I moved my writing over here to word press because I needed a little more professional venue. Blogger is okay, but I think wordpress has some advantages that I couldn’t get on blogger, or at least I couldn’t figure out how to use them. I also think Word Press looks a little cleaner, a bit more visually pleasing. I made it through the semester, and to reward myself I am reconfiguring my writing life.

Drag Shows, Winter Break, Hard Times

My papers have all been written, and all I have left to do is grade things for my students. My grades are due Monday morning by 10:00, but I hope to have them finished by Friday at 5 so I can help Drew with last minute details for the Drag Show on Monday. My goal is to be as helpful as possible without getting in the way. I have never been behind the scenes at a show, so I think it will be pretty cool. Becs and I are going to go out for dinner with some of my old friends before the show, and then I am going to go out to celebrate the end of the semester afterwards! This semester has been a real challenge, but I am happy to say that with the exception of the past three weeks, I have enjoyed it. I think I even learned something!

One of my goals over break is to read. Incessantly. I already have my sights on some Anton Chekov and a few liberation theology texts. I also need to start collecting Toni Morrison texts and some of the other books I will need for next semester. I figure I can get them for less over break when the undergrads, who were required to buy them, sell them back to get money for the holidays. Maybe I can profit from someone’s lack of interest in good literature. I know my list for my independent study will be pretty expensive by itself. I still owe my little brother some cash, too.

Another goal is to write. Every day. I would love to have enough material generated by the time I graduate to begin revising and editing in order to publish a memoir. I don’t know whether it will happen, or if my stories are interesting for anyone to purchase if it does happen, but I can try. I want my break to be a celebration of reading and writing and out of school goodness. I hope to do some experimental poetry stuff, too.

The third goal: running. Ever since I got sick with what I believe was mono—and since the doctor at the health center let me diagnose myself, I guess I am right—I haven’t been able to run. I have lacked the energy to do much of anything. Over break, I can nap if I need to, so I plan to start on Monday morning with a little jog and take it from there. I am hoping to run the Indy-Mini in May. If I don’t run it, I will walk again!

Finally, I have all sorts of household chores I need to accomplish, like cleaning out the fish tank, writing to my sponsored children, and playing with dogs. I am sure Bec would love it, too, if I folded my laundry and cleaned up my library. Things get a little chaotic near the end of the semester. I forget what I am doing. I lose my head a little bit.

Times are hard. I just finished my last paper; it was about gleaning or foraging. Basically, what I learned is that we throw away a shit ton of products that can be still be safely used or consumed; commodities with little or no defect find their way to dumpsters to be piled in landfills. I was going to buy myself a new jacket with my Christmas and I still might, but I think before that I want to buy a little wagon to load full of scavenged items from the dumpsters I can walk to. I am thinking that I live within walking distance of Dollar Stores, a Hostess outlet, the Mall, and KMart. Maybe I could even scavenge a new coat from Rural King? Maybe they throw them away for minor blemishes. I also live near Panera, and I hear they throw out their day-old bread. I wonder if Concannon’s throws out their day-old donuts. We’ll see if I have the fortitude to try it.

When I was in high school, Jaymes and I used to dive for potato chips at Seyfert’s distribution center. Usually the bags were still sealed and they were marked out on the date we went, so the chips were still fresh. The books I read suggested that things like yogurt and cheese were good months after their dates indicated otherwise. I am not willing to try it out. I have a weird palate when it comes to dairy: only the most pristine will suffice. It’s the mold factor and the soured factor. I just can’t do it. If I had to, I could. But, I don’t have to—yet.

Every time I turn on the television, look at Internet news services, or pick up a newspaper the economic news is worse than it was the time before. I wonder how low our country will go before it rights itself again. I wonder when I will have to start standing in line for bread or for the Second Harvest Food Bank truck. I wonder how we will pull through. I know the sentiment is that our country has come through worse, but I am not sure if we even know the worst of this yet. I am not trying to be pessimistic, but I want to go into the next few economic years with my eyes wide open. After all, I will be on the job market and Ball State has even put a freeze on hiring. I am trying not to get too scared or worried or concerned, but it doesn’t look good for a person in higher education right now.

I guess this is where faith comes in. Not my strong suit.

*edit* I am going to try to ween myself away from the computer over break. I recognize that I have become addicted, or at least obsessive-compulsive, about Facebook, email, and this blog. I plan to write in my blog every day, but I will not be checking my email regularly. I am going to try to limit it to Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you need to get in contact with me in a timely manner, please call me. If you don’t have my cell phone number, then you’ll just have to wait until I check my email. Similarly, next semester I will have class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I will nto be checking my email except for on those days and Saturday.

Funny Comic

I really don’t have the energy right now to deal with much, so I am simply posting a cartoon that I thought was funny. I found it on a friend’s Facebook page.


Actually, I do have some thoughts:

What does it mean to give grace? I am always trying to answer this question—and I am sure some of you who read this blog are tired of riding the same old horse with me— and I swear that just when I think I have it figured out, I am shown a bit more about what real grace means. I mean, grace is frickin’ hard. It’s hard to let people be who they are when it rubs against who you are. It’s hard to love people when they wear you down. But isn’t that what grace is about. I hear people all the time say that it’s not about being a door mat, but I think it can be for a minute. It can be about bending over backward for people, and not giving them what deserve, but giving them mercy, which is precisely what they don’t deserve. Because I try to live my life this way, I frequently find myself disappointed that other people don’t give each other grace, but everyone doesn’t have the same code of ethics. I dig that. Sometimes though, it is that very acknowledgment of other people’s mind frames that can be maddening that can make me want to give up on grace and just open the gates of judgment. But I don’t want to live that way. I want to give grace. And I usually do. But sometimes it is so hard.