2015:  My Year in Review

My cup runneth over. 

The older I get, the more I recognize change in my life.  Maybe it’s because I’d like to think I’m maturing more, so I’ve developed an awareness for it.  Change is difficult whether it’s interpreted as good or “bad”. 

Ultimately I think all change ends up being for the good. 

Regardless, change is difficult. 
I feel as if I say this every year but this was a year of change. It was a hard year looking back. But because I’m saved and a child of God, I view trials and obstacles differently and I know the One who guides me through them. So change is easier for me to handle. Difficult, but easier. 

Some of the ways my life changed this year:

1. The passing of my step-dad back in May. It was hard. He’d been battling a three year war with cancer. And just like my real dad, was taken from the earth a bit too soon. 

2. Stepping down from soccer. I resigned from coaching high school girls soccer after the season was over.  It wasn’t because of anything bad. I just felt that chapter in my life was done. 

3. My friendships. This summer I was kind of angry with God. I felt like He was removing people from my life left and right.  Some of my closest and dearest friends. In hindsight,  I know God just wanted to make room for me to grow in some certain areas and to depend on Him more than them

4. My mindset on teaching. I went to a PLC Summer Institue in St. Louis, Missouri and it just changed my whole perspective on students.  I now want ALL students at South Middle School to be successful. Not just “my” students. And I want them to achieve in all of their subjects, not just in mine.  

5. Graduate school. I started working on my Master’s degree in Educational Administration to be a building principal. However, after this semester I’ve decided to put it on pause. I’m not sure if it’s really for me to be honest.  

6. Numbness. For a few months I felt completely numb to the preaching of the Word.  Which bothered me because my walk with the Lord is diligent. I’m in the Word every day. Praying every day. There wasn’t any “big” sin in my life. I’m not sure why I felt numb to the preaching.  I think it’s because of the circumstances in my life from #1 and #3.  I still feel numb sometimes and I think it’s because God doesn’t just want me going through the motions. 

7. My gratitude. I’ve been a lot more grateful for things in my life and I’ve come to recognize that the Lord gives and takes away. So I need to be humble and maintain a spirit of thankfulness.  I’ve definitely become more thankful. 

Change is difficult. Things aren’t always what they seem. 

Nonetheless… My cup runneth over and I am truly blessed. 

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Setting the Bar… And Living by It

The school year is off and running. It’s busier than ever, especially now that I’m taking online grad courses.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t tell people I was pursuing a degree in admin because now everyone assumes that I want to be a principal, but in reality I don’t; at least not now. I might in the future. But I still know my place and heart is currently in the classroom with the students. I’m just working on my masters because I’m trying to be obedient to God’s whisper at Youth Camp this past summer. 

Anyways, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to talk about living up to expectations. What I’m about to say was derived from a conviction I just had about… Fifteen minutes ago in my prayer time. 

I was praying to God and I found myself asking Him to help me to set the bar high in my life and to live by it. And then the Holy Spirit quickly convicted me:  I don’t need to set the bar high. Jesus already set the bar. I just need to live by it. His actions and speech and the way He lived his life around others was and is the prime example of how I should be living my life.  

I’m thankful this morning for convictions like this one. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I just need to start driving with the one right in front of me.  

So my question to you is this:  Jesus has set the bar and expectations. How are you measuring up?  How are you measuring up when it comes to…

  • Giving?
  • The words that come out of your mouth?
  • The thoughts you possess?
  • The actions you do?
  • The places you go?
  • The love you have for others?
  • The authorities above you?
  • Your time wth the Father?

Jesus has set the bar… Let’s rise!  

Priorities

Wow, it’s been forever since I’ve last blogged.  And by forever I mean like a month or so.  You know how it is, life just tends to take over sometimes in the busyness of today’s world.  Which is the perfect Segway into this entry:  Priorities.

This past week was the first full week of school, teaching the somewhat-still-innocent seventh graders.  To start the school year, we’re beginning in a unit titled “Friendship and Loyalty”.  The first piece of text I had them read was a nonfiction piece titled “11 Signs of a Genuine Friendship”.  Prior to reading the piece (which took way too long than expected), I pre-taught some vocabulary words; words I felt were important for them to understand.  One of the words, was priority.  (I think one of the “signs” was that genuine friends make you a priority; something like that.)  We defined priority as what you think is most important.  It’s safe to say that we all have different priorities.

Over the past year one thing I’ve been praying about is for God to help me get my priorities straight.  I know they’ve been out-of-order.  I’ll be the first to admit that.  I had made a list of my priorities, in order of importance a year ago, and this was it:

  1. God
  2. My job
  3. Friends
  4. Me
  5. Family

Honestly, that was my list.  In order of importance.  I was embarrassed by it.  So like I said, I’ve been praying that God would help me get my priorities straight.

I revised my list, and this is what I came up with:

  1. God
  2. Me
  3. Family
  4. My job
  5. Friends

Now let me talk about all of these so it doesn’t look like I’m selfish haha.

God:  I know that God needs to be my number one.  If God isn’t number one in my life than my other priorities don’t even matter.  If my relationship isn’t right with God, my relationship won’t be right with others.  I wouldn’t even be able to keep my priorities straight without him.  I completely recognize that.

Me:  Now this might seem selfish, but let me explain!  When I say “me” I mean my own well being.  One thing I’ve realized is sometimes I do need to put myself first.  Like working out.  Feeling good about myself.  Some relaxation time.  Doing some things for myself.  To keep my sanity!  Sometimes we all just need some “me” time.  If I can’t take care of my physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health, than that will trickle into the other areas of my life;  especially teaching I’ve noticed.  yes I love my students and players.  But sometimes I do need to put myself first.  Otherwise I’ll be cranky and blah and it will affect how I teach and coach!

Family:  Yes it was previously lower on the list and if you ask them they’ll probably say it’s still lower on the list.  BUT it’s something I’m working on.  It’s hard.  I’m trying.  It’s probably the most challenging one on the list for me if I’m being honest and open.  My family and I, we’re just not that close.  Never really have been.  We’re all so different.  We’re all grown up and scattered about now.  That’s life.  I don’t know if we’ll ever be “close” but I am trying to make more of an effort to communicate with them more.  It’s not that we don’t like each other or anything haha, we’re just all doing life at our own pace in our own way.  It’s not where it should be; but like I said… I’ve been praying about it and trying to make it more important.

My Job:  I hate even calling it “my job” because it’s not a job to me. There is no doubt in my mind that teaching is where my heart is.  It used to be higher on the list but it started consuming my life.  Some might say it still does, but I think they’re confused with my passion for it.  I’m not at my best in my classroom unless I’m at my best in the higher areas of my life.  A realization I’ve had over the past year. One thing I’ve learned through many tears and being overwhelmed and conviction is at the end of the day, I’m more than a teacher, I’m a child of the One True King.

Friends:  Ah.  Friends.  Friends.  Friends.  This is probably the biggest change on the list.  This past summer alone has seen a huge shift in this area of my life.  God has taken and rearranged some friendships in my life.  It’s been really hard.  My least favorite thing this past summer.  But through it all, God has grown me.  I love my friends dearly, I really hope they know that.  Whether we talk every day or not.  I would do anything for them.  But I also know that other things need to come first.  Not to be selfish.  Not to be mean.  Not even just for me, but for them too.  If they truly needed me, or someone to talk to, or a hug; I would be there.  No doubt.  But it got to a point where they were starting to creep up on my list of priorities, and it was effecting me terribly.  But I think I’ve figured it out; still working on it though!

So there’s been a lot of shifting in my priorities over the past year; the past couple months especially.  I’m still praying and trusting God to fully take control over these different areas of my life; and I just need to be sensitive to what He wants in my life.  Ultimately, that’s what’s important.

So to anyone who is reading this right now, I suggest sitting down and being honest with yourself.  Make a list of how your priorities look right now.  An honest list.  And then make a list of how they should  look.  It’ll rock your world!

Social Pressures Christians Face

As I’ve been preparing for the upcoming school year, one of the units I will be teaching is titled “Social Pressures.”  In this unit we will be reading and researching different pressures that teenagers face today. For example,  the pressure parents put on their children to excel in sports, the pressure to look a certain way, the pressure to fit in, etc.  Planning this unit has caused me to think about the pressures I face from being a Christian. 

One pressure I face as a Christian being a teacher is the pressure to hide my faith. I don’t get to talk about God as much as I’d like to. God is so good though. He gives many opportunities to talk to students about the Lord.  A lot of times it’s because a student will bring it up. Or there’ll be a Biblical allusion in a piece of text we’re reading.  I keep a King James Version of the Bible on my desk. Along with a Spanish translation. (You never know!). Sometimes when I get a walk-through I wonder if they will ever tell me to put it away. And I think about what my reaction would be. Would I defend the Bible sitting on my desk?

Another pressure I face being a Christian is the pressure to “get with the times.”  It has to do with music.  The music I play in my classroom is by Christian artists.  However I make sure they don’t say God or Jesus I’m the, because I don’t want to get in trouble. But I do make sure they have a good positive message.  A lot of the students don’t know the songs. I’ve had students ask, “Can we listen to so-and-so?”  And I say no. Because the kids don’t understand the underlying meaning to a lot of lyrics nowadays:  drugs, alcohol, fornication. I’m a firm believer that music has a huge impact on the mind. I remember one instance while I was coaching soccer a few years ago. We were practicing and I had music going, and one of my own assistants laughed at me and said, “What kind of music is this?”  I refuse to be the reason why a teenager goes out and parties due to the persuasion of a song they hear in my classroom. 

A pressure I face as a Christian coach is parental pressure.  During basketball we pray before and after games, win or lose. We also pray at the end of practices.  We take a moment to honor and glorify God. I always ask for a volunteer to pray, and if no one does then I do. I get how nerve wrecking it can be to pray in front of others. In my mind we do this because I believe it opens the door to those personal conversations on bus rides or before school starts of being able to share the Gospel with a student in need. But I’m often nervous that a kid will go home and their parent will ask them about practice, and the child will mention that we prayed. And the parent get mad. Or my boss or another teacher will walk in during the middle of prayer and report me. (Yes, I have been talked to about this before.). I always make it a point before we pray though that they don’t have to, they can excuse themselves and no one will think any less of them. 

I guess the ultimate pressure I face as a follower of Christ is the pressure to conform to society.  You could say that everything kind of falls under this umbrella. Non-believers, the unsaved, or even the lukewarm, put pressure on us to take our belief of what God says and water it down. I cannot. I cannot be a cafeteria-Christian and pick and choose what I will believe from the Bible to fit my own personal lifestyle or the age we live in. God does not change. And neither does His Word. 

Everybody faces pressures from society. I get that.  Christians are hated, too. Only it’s not a shock to us because Jesus told us we would be. When a Christian uses the Bible to back up a belief, they’re considered to be a close-minded, Bible-thumping, conservative.  All of which I have been called.  For what I believe. But I won’t let the pressure of human words cause me to forsake the True Word.  

Speed Limits and Sin

There I was:  driving to Oklahoma City. As I was leaving Liberal, a truck sped past me down the highway. The speed limit was 65. As he went by I decided to put pedal to the metal and keep up with him. My justification?  Well, if I can keep up with this guy, I can get to OKC quicker!  And if a police officer clocks us, he’ll get the guy in the truck first, because he’s in front of me. Those were my honest thoughts as I found myself going 90 in a 65. After a few minutes I finally decided to slow down and that’s when it hit me:

Isn’t that situation a lot like how we treat sin sometimes?  We’re cruising along, following others, testing the limits… Justifying our actions and comparing our behavior to the behavior of mere mortals. When in reality, we’re not supposed to be comparing ourselves to other humans, were supposed to be comparing ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

We tell ourselves that what we’re doing is okay because:

  • others are worse
  • someone else will get caught first
  • so-and-so does it, and they’re a Christian

We’ve decided to go the limit that the world has set for us rather than the standards God has clearly defined in His Word. 
Whoever said, “Rules are meant to be broken,” is frankly… Dumb. To put it nicely. Rules are not meant to be broken. Standards and limits help to keep us out of trouble. 

Instead of justifying our actions by comparing ourselves to others, we should compare our actions and behaviors (and speech) to the scriptures, and to the One who showed us the correct way:  Jesus. 

If our actions aren’t aligned with the limits God has given us in His Word; it’s time to take a look at the spedometer and make an adjustment before it’s too late. 

Don’t let sin propel you where you’re trying to go. Don’t use others as a way of tracking your progress:  use Jesus. 

Until next time…

Youth Camp 2015: Takeaways

This past week at Silver State Baptist Youth Camp was amazing as always!  It never gets old seeing God work in the lives of young people. And even adults, too. The preaching was amazing. Here are some things that really stood out to me:

Brother David Hetzer, Keynote Speaker of Chapel Services:

  • Don’t be a sluggard to responsibility.
  • Don’t be slow to the place God is trying to get you in your heart.
  • You don’t get to determine what day God shows up at your life.
  • There should be a spiritual desire to know what God has for you. Don’t wait on your friends or youth pastor or others.
  • When the Word is open approach it as a harvest. 
  • Being around the Bible doesn’t make you closer to God. You must be about the Bible.  
  • Being around the gospel doesn’t make you saved.  
  • Being around the Bible doesn’t make you understand God, responding to the Bible helps you understand God. 
  • Are you just a passenger with the Bible? May God help us to be in the driver’s seat.
  • All people have an accent concerning the truths of God. Our life reveals our accent of what we believe. Your life speak about what God says. We all have an accent. Accents come from the people you’re around. What’s your accent?  Is the accent you have right now the accent you want to have in two years?  To change your accent you have to want to. As long as you choose the wrong accent you’re going to be speaking the same way.
  • Your friends are more than people you hang out with. They set the course for who you will become. 
  • Are the people you’re close to taking you the right way?
  • All of us have a country, places we are known to be a certain person.
  • All of us are born spiritually blind. 
  • Jesus wants to change you bigger than your country, beyond what you and other people think you can be.
  • Jesus wants to challenge us out of our country and do more with us than we ever imagined.
  • We wrestle and struggle when Jesus challenges us to go beyond ourselves.
  • When we get familiar seeing things a certain way, it’s hard to see that God can do more and we limit his power. 
  • Don’t box yourself in.
  • If you don’t trust God to do more with you than you think is possible, you’ll never know what he has for you.
  • God will make you more than you ever thought you would be.
  • Jesus is bigger than your country; he will use people to turn the world around. 
  • What is God calling you to tonight that you’re afraid of?
  • Love is not wrong. But Samson loved the wrong kind of woman. He chose to love the wrong kind of person. 
  • When you love someone who doesn’t really love God and doesn’t want to go where God wants them to go or where God wants you to go, you just put a cap on your life.  
  • The type of people not to marry: unspiritual people,  selfish people, users/seductive people, insensitive people.  
  • Be the right kind of person and love the right kind of person.
  • Life is like a road trip. You need to pay attention to what kind of car you’re getting in because that will affect the rest of your life.
  • People generally seek friendship for selfish reasons. 
  • Don’t operate like general society who’s always wanting a handout from people. Live above and beyond that. 
  • A Christian lives their life looking for how they can give and help others… not for themselves. 
  • Defy the normal way of society by being a giver not a taker. 
  • Are you more of a giver or a taker when it comes to God?
  • Why do people stay unmoved? Because they don’t realize how big a sinner they are. Some people get used to their sinfulness and don’t think it’s that bad.
  • When you stop getting convicted, you think way too highly of yourself and too low of what Jesus has done in your life.
  • You in your own strength are unable to do what God is calling you to do by yourself. 
  • If you want to go from desire to fulfillment, you’re going to have to seek Jesus.
  • Keep going until you see God break through in your life. True faith is persistent. Do not allow failure to discourage you to quit. Keep pleading and praying, be persistent!

Brother Rex Harmon,  Hillside #2 Speaker, missionary to Jamaica:

  • As you develop friends and acquaintances, they will affect your life.
  • Be careful of the friends you pick.
  • Who’s looking at you? Are you pointing them in the right direction?
  • As a believer you’re never on your own.
  • The lost need a Savior, they don’t know where He is. They need someone to tell them.
  • The Word of the Lord is the biggest weapon.  Hold on to the Scriptures, don’t let them loose. Put them in your heart. 
  • Serving God pays big dividends. 
  • God is your biggest weapon, learn how to use Him. 
  • God knows our needs before we do.
  • When we get close to God, he shows us what love is.
  • As we walk along in our life, God pays attention to every step we take. 

Brother Ron Jones, Hillside #1 Speaker

  • We never really change unless we want to.
  • Action is always associated with your will.
  • If you disobey you have to pay.
  • Our problem is we don’t fear God anymore.
  • You can’t say no until you’re willing to say yes.
  • Living in standards is a good thing.
  • Don’t set wickedness in front of your eyes.
  • Nobody knows what you do, or think in private, that’s where your character is revealed. God sees it. 
  • You control your own eyes.
  • There are people around us who say they’re saved but they’re really not.
  • Darkness must be driven out by light. 
  • Walk in light, be light, so they can see light.
  • God doesn’t need our opinion, he needs our obedience. 
  • The people that are around you do make a difference of who you are and who you will be in the future.
  • Most people have one or two friends that are wicked and they might even be saved in the youth group. Don’t be identified by their ways. 
  • How are you supposed to win the lost? Be different than them. 
  • Don’t use man’s psychology to talk to people, use the Word of God. It’s quick and powerful. 
  • If you hang around froward people, you too will be froward.  Frowardness is a poison. It turns into gossip.  Cut off the froward person and walk away. 

Such a great week!  Excited to see how God works in people now that we are off the mountain!  

Until next time…

Why I Left What I Love

A lot has gone down since my last post. I’ve been extremely busy with every day life. But school is officially out and I am officially inspired to write! Today I’m going to write about something that I keep getting questions about and strange looks whenever it’s brought up.

I grew up playing soccer. I started playing on a team in 2nd grade for The Kicks. (original, huh?). Then I played for The Storm, which I still have my very first trophy ever from back in the early 90s! (Wow that makes me feel old). I went on to play for The Vipers, The All-Stars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When I was in 5th grade I gave up soccer to focus on AAU basketball. Everyone always thinks soccer is my favorite sport, but it’s actually basketball! Anyways, I picked soccer back up when I got to high school, playing all four years for my alma mater. I ended up receiving a soccer scholarship, which determined my choice of college to attend. I played at William Penn University all four years, even being captain of the team my senior year. Then I graduated and moved to Liberal, Kansas. Where I began my teaching career and was also offered an assistant coaching position at the high school in town. I gladly accepted and was the assistant from 2010-2012. I was then offered the head coaching position, which again, I gladly accepted.

This past spring, I resigned from coaching soccer when the season was done. I love soccer, I do. But I love God more. My intended plan of resignation was to wait until next spring, 2016. I had it all planned out from the time I started coaching there back in 2010. I was going to step down as coach when my first group of students as seventh graders, would be graduating, in 2016.  Because a lot of them played for me.  I was so gung-ho on bowing out gracefully with that group of seniors. But things change. I changed. My walk with the Lord changed. So I decided to step back a season earlier.

Prior to this 2015 season, I knew, in my heart of hearts, that this would be my last year coaching girls soccer at the high school. If I’m being completely honest, I knew last year, in 2014, that this would be my last year.

But why? Why end a season earlier than your original plan? And this is where I get the funny looks… God. That’s why. 

Through lots of prayer over the past months I can honestly feel at peace about my decision to step down as head coach. I just know God has something for me at this time next year. Maybe it’s focusing more on my teaching? Or going back to school? Maybe coaching at the middle school instead? Or maybe just nothing… Relaxing and enjoying a break! I have NO idea what God has for me at this time next year but I completely trust Him.

Another thing I had to think about was the pay cut I would be taking. Quite a big monthly chunk. But I just trusted God with my decision and He followed through and provided for me already!  The last day of school I received an email saying I was eligible to move over horizontally on the pay scale. Plus our district is doing a longevity stipend which will start in November. And I changed my health insurance. I worked out all the math, and I’m breaking even this next year by making the same, only without coaching soccer. Crazy!

But God is good and always faithful. Just gotta trust Him.  I just want to be obedient and sensitive to the Holy Spirit. I love coaching soccer, but I love God more. I have no idea what the Lord will have for me next spring but I’m excited!

A Constant Reminder

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week I’m going to write about the teachers and coaches in my life who inspired me in the classroom and on the field and court. 

First and foremost, Don Lamb. He was one of my AAU basketball coaches from 5th-8th grade for Club Jayhawk. This man was intense. He coached basically for fun. He didn’t have a daughter on the team. Wasn’t a teacher. Pretty sure he worked construction if I can recall. But this man taught me the importance of fundamentals and giving your best. And I remember specifically one practice we were doing some ball handling and he walked by each of us and asked us, “Was that your best?”  And he started with the newest player each time. And this practice… it was ME. And I made the stupid mistake and said, “Yes.”  He looked me in the eye and said, “No. You can ALWAYS do better.”  I’ll never forget that. A lot of my coaching tendencies when it comes to basketball (and even soccer) are attributed to him!  A great man. 

The next person who impacted my life and inspired me in my career would be my seventh grade science teacher, Ms. Moe (now Mrs. Fowler). It was in her class that I was first inspired to choose teaching as a career. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow she makes teaching look so fun!  I wanna be a TEACHER!”  And I never changed my mind after that day as a 13 year old. 

The next year when I was in 8th grade I had the coolest PE teacher EVER!  Ms. Harman (now Mrs. Bachtel). It was her first year of teaching. She was just awesome and outgoing. And she connected with me so well. 

Besides the above mentioned, I’ve had sooo many amazing teachers and coaches in my life who have impacted the way that I teach and coach nowadays:  Mrs. Parish (kindergarten), Mrs. Redding (1st grade), Mrs. Parker (2nd grade), Ms. Pyron (5th grade), Mrs. Theiss (6th grade), Mr. Fowler (7th grade Language Arts), Ms. Hamilton (sophomore English), Mrs. Drinkwater (Spanish 1 & 2 and tennis coach), Mrs. Diedidue (Spanish 3 & 4), Ms. Negaard (AP Lit & Comp), Coach Crowell (8th grade basketball and high school soccer), Coach Harrison (high school basketball), Coach Straub (high school soccer), Dr. Stahle (English professor), Dr. Pierce (English professor), Professor DeVore (Education professor and advisor), Professor Smith (Educatoon professor)… 

I was blessed all through elementary, middle, and high school and even college in having soooo many AMAZING teachers and coaches.

I still keep in contact with a few of them, which is really cool!   (#ThankYouFacebook)
These teachers and coaches made lasting impressions on me.  Not necessarily for how they were in the classroom or practice area, but how they cared about me more than just as a student or player. It’s a constant reminder every day I step into the classroom for why I teach. I want to be THAT person that they were to ME. 

My Story:  Why I’m Still Here in Liberal, KS

I come from Independence, Missouri. 

Population:  117, 240. 

I moved there when I was 3 from Boston.  I’ve lived out here in Liberal, KS (population 20, 956) for about five years now. 
Often times when people ask me, “Do you like here?”  My response is always, “I love it here.”  And then I get a shocked face.  HAHA. 

I’m a pretty simple person who doesn’t need a lot. A few good friends, a decent job, and The Good Lord by my side!

But God has given me sooo much more than that!  I wake up every morning to go to teach at a school where not only do I love the students, but I absolutely have the greatest coworkers ever. I really enjoy the people I work with!  

I also have some of the greatest friends a woman could ask for from all walks of life. Friends that are long-term!  

I attend a church that preaches and teaches the Bible at its rawest form that doesn’t sugar coat it just to make me feel good.  I’m able to grow in my faith on a consistent basis. 

Sometimes it gets tough being single out here, especially finding a guy who believes what I believe.  Sure, it’s crossed my mind once or twice that maybe if I relocate I would find the right man…

But I would never risk it. I would never ever leave Liberal, KS just because I might have a better chance of meeting someone. No way, Jose!

I’m truly content and happy out here on my own.  Yes, I have moments of loneliness but even those who have people out here or who are married have those moments, too!   I wouldn’t sacrifice all God has blessed me with!  That’s just crazy!  That’s why I’m still in Liberal, KS:  Population 20, 956. 

Like I said before, I’m just a simple girl who doesn’t need a lot, but God continues to give me sooo much more.  Population 20, 957!

My Story:  What Brought Me to Liberal, KS

A lot of people ask me what brought me to Liberal, KS.   And a lot of people ask me what keeps me here in Liberal, KS. The answer to both those questions is God. So I’m going to make this a two-part blog:  what brought me here and why I’ve stayed here.  Let’s start with the prior. 

It was May of 2010 and I had just graduated college with a Bachelors in Secondary Education.  I applied at so many different schools and had nine interviews within about a two month window. All of the places I applied at were high schools. I was determined to teach the “older” kids.  I was also determined to stay in Iowa and teach. That’s where I went to college. And I loved it up there. Another reason I was determined to stay there was because the person I thought I was “in love” with, was there.  (Even though we had broken up.). I was so fixated on staying in Iowa so that’s where the majority of my applications went and 7 of my nine interviews!   

Well I wasn’t having any luck. None of the schools extended an offer to me so I went back to Independence, MO with my family and started working at a financial company in downtown Kansas City.  While in Missouri, I had one interview in the area for teaching, but low-and-behold, was not given an offer. 

One day I came home after my training from the company and I was so miserable.  I did not just spend four years and thousands of dollars in tuition to sit in a cubicle doing something that didn’t even require my degree.  And on top of that, having a desk job just wasn’t in my personality.  So I went to my room and did what anyone would’ve done… Searched Google!

I typed in “secondary English jobs in Kansas”.  I realized I hadn’t applied anywhere in Kansas. It brought me to CareerBuilder.com where it showed a posting for a 7th grade Langauge Arts position at South Middle School in this town called Liberal, Kansas. I’d never heard of it before. So I found the school website and was browsing around, there honestly wasn’t much on it, I actually thought it was a fake website!  Well, I went back to CareerBuilder and submitted my resume.  That was the only middle school I applied at, because remember… I was determined to teach high school. 

The next day I got a phone call from the principal, Mr. Rito. I was surprised and thought Oh it really IS a school. Haha. He wanted to schedule a phone interview and I agreed to it. He said he would call the next day at 9:45.  The next morning rolled around and it was about 9:30.  This was a Thursday. It was the last week of July so I knew schools were trying to find teachers. But I sat there in my room and debated on whether or not I should even answer the phone for the interview.  I told myself I would just ignore the call because they probably wouldn’t want me anyways, none of the other schools did.  As the phone rang I decided to answer it, to work on my interview skills honestly lol.  It was about a 30 minute interview and at the end Mr. Rito wanted to continue the process with an in person interview.  I agreed and he said OK let’s schedule it for Friday. We set a time and then I hung up.  After awhile I started thinking and I wondered Wait, did he mean THIS Friday, as in tomorrow, or NEXT Friday?  So I called him back (haha) and he did mean the very next day.  Well I couldn’t make it because one, it was only a day’s notice and two, I still had to do training for my job. So we schedule it for Sunday.  (Random!)

My mom and I made the drive down to Liberal, KS; we ended up staying at a hotel in Guymon, OK on Saturday. Sunday we found South Middle School and I proceeded inside for my interview. He kept talking all this gibberish about how the school was under restructuring and all of this work they were having to do because of that and test scores and all of the work it would require and all this data and blah blah blah.  Honestly, it was intimidating and I didn’t want to be a part of it. I didn’t think I could handle it. But then he asked me if I could see myself there and I just said yes… Because I wanted to teach, even though secretly I was hoping I wouldn’t get the job and I would just start applying at schools again the next year, take a year off and work in a cubicle. 

About three days later he calledme and extended the offer to me.  He just needed one of my professors, a reference, to talk to.  Well she was out of the country on a missions trip I believe.  She got back in time.  Received his call, recommended me.  I got the call back from Gib (Mr. Rito) and was told I needed to be down there in two weeks for new teacher training stuff. So that weekend, drove back down to Liberal, found a last minute apartment, went back to KC, packed up a UHaul and moved out.  I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, agreeing to teach seventh graders.  I didn’t think I would ever have anything in common with this age group. 

Now… this is my fifth year here and I don’t ever want to teach high school.  I absolutely love my job.  And let me tell you just how good God is:

  • God got me away from that relationship and fixation from Iowa and helped me grow more independent. 
  • Out of all the places I applied at it was the only middle school, only place in Kansas, last place I applied, last interview I had, and best salary for starting pay. 
  • I’ve never considered teaching somewhere else or a different grade, I love this age so much. 
  • I get to teach 7th grade, coach 8th grade basketball, and then coach high school soccer. Every year.  So I’ve known a lot of these kids since they were 12 now!  I get the best of both worlds. 
  • My coworkers are AMAZING, I enjoy the people I work with!
  • If I weren’t in Liberal, KS I would’ve never went through a particular trial which skyrocketed my faith and walk with the Lord.  I haven’t been the same since. 
  • I go to an amazing church where my faith has had a chance to grow and I’ve made lifelong friends. 

God knew what He was doing. And still knows.  Coming to Liberal, Kansas has been one of the best things to ever happen to me.  I know that sounds crazy, because most people here are trying to get out, but it’s true. God is good, all the time.  All the time God is good.