that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.


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resolution ’13

It is fascinating, the whole idea of new years, new perspectives, and pressure to ‘change’ or ‘goal set’ or determine something BIG to shape the next 12 months (or however far into the foreseeable future that you allow yourself to ‘plan’ for). I think every January I’ve posted something about what I resolve to do in the upcoming year. However, it was only in a recent conversation with someone that I faced the fact that I think resolutions are ridiculous. Yes, I believe being adaptable and actively seeking growth is important and reflection is crucial to my own understanding of ‘success’. But to actually create a list of all the ways I need to get it together always turns into more of a personal pep talk or worse, talking myself into insecurity over all the ways that I may have messed up the previous year. Not that commiserating over my shortcomings isn’t valuable at times but really… do I really think it’s an important ritual: starting a new year by focusing on all the failures of the last? Hmm. So here’s my thought process –

Commitment – isn’t that what resolutions actually are? Making a commitment, rather than setting a goal, to changing something. Or re-evaluating a part of our existence that might need a little guidance. Sure, it might simply be saying the same thing as I argue against in my previous paragraph. However, I like a good challenge – I am a very committed, loyal, determined person and somehow, ‘committing to’ instead of ‘resolving to’ is going to be a little more realistic for me. And simply: I only have one commitment to this new year, 2013, the year I turn – shame – 28.

I was thinking and praying a lot over the winter holidays about relationship. What does ‘being in relationship’ with people actually mean? What do I bring to the ones I am a part of? How much do I value the relationships in my life and what amount of me is filled by the love and grace that others give to me? Am I worthy…are we worthy…of Jesus’ love and grace, especially in moments when we tend to forget Him? How can I be blessed by but not filled by my earthly relationships? Do those I care for, know how hard it can be? Oh yes –

No answers. It’s really just a thinking/talking point but my heart seems very focused on the meaning of relationship in my life. Because I value the thoughtful and meaningful part of being in relationship with someone, and my love language being quality time, it’s been an interesting question for me to render… relationship, Christ, me, you, value, perseverance, grace, love, patience, pride, change, growth…and how each part woven together is an overwhelming responsibility…but a blessed one. And relationship? Is it okay to admit that sometimes, I just don’t know how?

How to be selfless?
How to be gracious?
Forgive?
Laugh even when it’s hard?
Make room for more new people – when the old are just fine?
How to listen all the time?
Make it through hard moments?
Not miss the ones I miss as much?
How to make time to be grateful for those who’ve given me so much?

Words of a beloved Christmas tune seemed to surround me through this pre-2013 holiday contemplation:

truly He taught us to love one another..

and again:

truly He taught us to love one another..

No questions anymore really, that’s pretty much it.

Going into the new year, that is my simple commitment: to be more intentional in my relationships. To give grace freely, to trust completely, to listen wholly, to remember and be thoughtful, to be present, to recognize each relationship for what large and intimate or small and distant role they have, and to love unconditionally and intentionally all those who have chosen me.

Relationships with intention.

Because that’s the way it was intended to be.

sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise [I]

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new things

It feels like watching a house on fire…or what I imagine that to feel like. Like I see it burning but can’t really do anything about it. Or I am just too afraid to run towards it..

Just kidding, it’s not like that at all but I am probably frustrated, albeit obviously not as much, akin to someone whose home is burning down. I need a job. Preferably as a teacher but a job nonetheless. I need a home. While I like, actually love, living at the Simpsons’, the temporary state of home [and mounds of my junk in their garage] makes finding a home something to desire. I need new tires… Bella just isn’t what she used to be. (Who am I kidding, my car has remained consistent in one area — failure). I need an empty Visa balance. I need to find my favourite long sleeved white shirt. And I need to be able to have an answer when people want to know my ‘plan’. And honestly, I feeling a paralyzing out-of-control reality where I can’t make any of these things happen — particularly getting a job. For the myriad of applications I have sent off in the last month, I am getting beyond discouraged for the lack of response I have had. I don’t know what else I can do… it’s a tedious, thankless, boring, frustrating, annoying, ridiculous, sad period in my life — I really wanted instant gratification on the job hunt so that the rest of what I want can fall into place. Except for my shirt, I think it’s gone forever.

That’s why I liken it to a house afire. It’s something I can’t control and it’s something nobody can fix for me.

The more I think about it, the more I realize this period has more to do with pride and this sense of entitlement I feel and less about the place I am in. After many years of education, two degrees, years working in a variety of office and customer service positions, a rockstar cast of references, and a 100% availability, I feel this weird sense that I am qualified to do anything, I will work anywhere, and yet nothing is working out. Is this a test to my pride and my ego? That’s alright; I value these types of character building ‘adventures’. Problem is, my life can’t go on much longer like this. Both via my responsibilities and my sanity. I know it’s wrong and I know it’s not very humble, but it is difficult when I’ve worked so hard for something for so long only to struggle through this phase of the process. I fear that I am becoming a nuisance or confusing to those around me, especially those who haven’t seen me this withdrawn or lost or stressed. Actually, if I am being perfectly honest, I don’t recognize myself right now either so really, this whole ‘new’ stage isn’t breathing the excitement and adventure and opportunity that it should. Or at least, that I thought it would. I guess I am entitled to an experience such as this? Yes, ok.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t posted on my site recently. Amongst all of the thousand things I am thinking about in my brain and heart and soul that are keeping me up at night, I really don’t have much to say.

C’mon 2011. I am still pulling for you to be great.


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remembering.

It seems to matter more and more the years that go by. At least, the more I learn, the more I am humbled by what little I’ve had to do for the great amounts that I have.

If you don’t know what you’re remembering, go figure it out. We’ve got much to be thankful for and much to keep in mind. WWI, Afghanistan, or wherever in between… it’s great grandparents then, it’s students’ parents and a friend’s brother now. Seems much more personal now. I guess it really is.

I don’t know if it’s remembering as much as it is acknowledging. And finding a way to honour those who understood, and continue to understand, what honour, pride, and commitment really means. I know I don’t get it, I am even trying to teach WWII right now… we’re figuring it out together. But this week? It’s simply about remembering for those whose battles are done and reminding of those whose battles have just begun.

 

 


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strange days

When you drift off to wake up
Do you always hit the brakes?

Can you stay awhile? The last few weeks have been me struggling with an uncomfortable new normal. I am feeling a little anxious, if not entirely anxious, about what comes next after my degree is done. Accentuated by unemployment and the discomfort in that, my anxiety over the next thing is suffocating.

Wha?

In other words, I have no idea what I am doing once this goal is achieved… which is only a few short months away. I am so excited to finish university and be a teacher but for the last six.5 years, that’s driven my existence. Not completely, but the biggest focus for sure. I am an all consuming person. When I make a point of committing to something it’s wholeheartedly and overwhelmingly. So to say I am scared of the fact that I have no next goal in place is a little daunting. Yes, I am hoping for a teaching job or clarity on where to move to, etc, but those concerns are based on the same same teaching dream. What’s next? Something entirely and wholly different… but what.

I want my life to be extraordinary. I feel like to have an extraordinary life I need to do extraordinary things. I’ve met someone new recently who seems to have done a lot of travelling and adventuring. Teaching English and experiencing cultures. I enjoy his stories because they are so entirely different from mine and the things I’ve done. The things he’s done… big and important things.  Really though? Not only do I feel pressured to figure out what comes next, as I want it to be extraordinary. I’m labouring on the issue that it’s not even what that next thing is but is it big enough (don’t ask which scale I am measuring that on). As it is heightened with people simply asking what I am going to do when school ends, the pressure I’m feeling isn’t external at all. There is a small measure of wanting to succeed in being something great, individual, and inspired, especially in the eyes of the people who matter to me… but mostly, it’s about being present in my own life and making sure it’s exactly as it’s meant to be. I just don’t know exactly what that means.

I know it’s extremely exaggerated to say, but right now I’m feeling SO anxious that I’m afraid I am going to miss it all simply while I am trying to figure it out. I often feel as though I do have an extraordinary life but that’s largely because I have been blessed by extraordinary people, not necessarily that I myself have experienced anything all that different from average.

I’m not trying to sound like I am discouraged by my life, quite the opposite really… I am thrilled by what I’ve been blessed with and the things I’ve achieved. The only downer is that when you’ve dreamed for something for a lifetime, such as becoming a teacher (in my case), the high that comes with achieving it is something like an unrealistic addiction: something I don’t want to end so I need something else to achieve now.

Finally, I am paralyzed by the fact that I have the best people in the world in my life. Yes, the absolute best people. And the people who keep walking into it are just making it better… but witnessing their goals and/or focuses not only makes me wonder what my next one(s) is but if I can just join them on the ride of their own for awhile. Or at least, play witness to their own grand adventures so I can add to my own.

It’s like wanting to impress people or impress myself with my next ambition… but before I commit to it, that goal has to truly impress me … and thus, the pressure is mounting.

Seriously, what should I do? I can’t hold all of my desires in two hands, let alone find a tangible way of getting them. Maybe my problem isn’t wondering what next but rather, knowing where to start? ‘Cause really, it’s freeing not being tied to this one for much longer.

…let’s see colours that have never been seen; lets go to places no one else has been. (U2) among other things.

Cheers.


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comfort(ing) zones

In an e-mail from Megan a number of months back she wrote something that has continually resonated deep within me:

“Life for me is very busy and humbling, I am always learning new things and never excelling at much.”

That is summation of my week thus far. It’s not so much being out of my comfort zone but it’s finding something oddly comforting about feeling entirely out of place. Does that make sense? I am so excited for this challenge although the prep feels insurmountable. I have a pretty good set up — my official start day is Monday and I don’t teach until the last block. I only have 19 kids. The majority are guys so I am a little interested to see how Shakespeare goes over with them. Did I mention how glad I am to teach Shakespeare? There is so much creative liberty I can take with the play, my resources are piling up. All of a sudden I feel like the next five weeks are going to pass in a breath. What’s more, my sponsor teacher has given me no stipulation what-so-ever so I, literally, get to decide this entire thing. So it’s a debate now… unit test or final project? Journals or quizzes? Seriously, I think after the training I have gone through, I feel compelled to go to every single teacher I’ve ever had and give them a high five for all they did.

As for my Social Studies class, I haven’t met them yet but the unit should be pretty decent as well — I am teaching the settlers arrival in Canada. It’s grade 9. Anyway.

Back to Megan’s quote — I am terrified of not excelling. I know that it is a reality but remember awhile back when I posted about being, by nature, a winner and not risking things unless I know I will be 100% successful? Consider this my first conscious step forward in the direction of not having a clue if I will excel or not. But hey, I guess that’s part of the learning right? Either way, it’s comforting and sobering and I am excited for Monday.

Cheers!


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a little bite

Here’s a foreshadow of an update to come:

You are a terrible teacher, Ms. Stam.

Hmm. I wasn’t even teaching?

Two things to consider in this moment:

A. Saying Well I think that’s a terrible shirt you’re wearing but that’s the thing about filters, they stop us from saying the things we shouldn’t.

B. Walking away and crying in the library discipline room.

Needless to say, I have one overriding realization from my first three days: grade ten is a whole, alternative species to the human race.


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more on that

Main Entry: authentic
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: real, genuine

Synonyms:

accurate, actual, authoritative, bona fide, certain, convincing, credible, creditable, dependable, factual, faithful, for real, legit, legitimate, official, original, pure, reliable, sure, true, trustworthy, trusty, twenty-four carat, valid, veritable
Notes: genuine means not fake or counterfeit – or sincerely felt or expressed, while authentic means conforming to fact and therefore worthy of belief and trust

Who wouldn’t want to be that? I’m trying.