The best part of this journey, from CHS to Mercer and Baylor to Cola SC, is knowing that I could go anywhere from here and being able to choose to go home.
Let’s take a look back to 18-year-old me (ahem, almost 7 years ago now) and ask her where she wanted to go. 3 hours–that’s how far the farthest college she applied to was from home. 1.5 hours–that’s how far she moved from home. Then HALFWAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY. It’s time. It’s time to go home. to watch softball games. to share Sunday lunches with families. to finally balance family, fun, and work.
How much stress do you think 20 years of school is for an A-type personality, perfectionist?! I’ve spent years pursuing my dreams, and now it’s time to LIVE them. Enjoy the moment. Treasure my marriage. Spend more time with my family. Do good work in my job. Stress less, love more.
We have been so SO blessed, even in the toughest of tough times. This year has been by far one of the hardest of my life, and I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be here now without the love and support of my families and friends. There has been a lot of heartache this year. Family illness. Students passing away. Shootings. Social injustice. International warfare. I don’t know if it’s that I become more aware as I grow older or if things are growing worse and worse. Regardless, it has taken a toll on my heart. At the same time, there is so much joy in watching nieces, nephews, and cousins grow; friends building houses; new jobs; celebrating new marriages. Balance. Seeking balance. & thanking the Lord for providing that at home.
Thank you for sharing in this journey with us. Continue to pray for our marriage and health. We are overjoyed to share this news with you and thankful for you joining in our celebration!
While several Baylor updates have probably popped up in your newsfeed over the months, this one is perhaps the best. I hope that once you read it, you will agree with me.
Gosh I thought I had posted my Baylor happenings more often, but since I haven’t there will be lots to include in this post.
I HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE IN WACO, TX. Praise! I will be living with two second-year students and another first-year student (like myself) in a house that we are renting together. Oh, and it’s fabulous! I absolutely hate carpet (allergies, asthma, and whatnot), and this house has ZERO square feet of carpet. Hallelujah! Yes, I get overly excited about floors. It has stained concrete floors, which are tons nicer than they sound. I have my own bedroom with a cute little nook by the window for my desk. Hooray for natural lighting in my workspace. It’s the little things that we have to get excited about, people. I’ll be sharing a bathroom with my fellow first-year, and perhaps next year when the second-years move out then we can move into the rooms with their own bathrooms. The kitchen is HUGE. Like I could probably put my pet elephant in there and he would have room to do a dance…if I had a pet elephant, that is.
2nd. Graduate Assistantship (GA):
First of all, the abbreviation GA for graduate assistantship confuses the mess out of me, seeing as my home state is also GA, for Georgia. I’ll use the abbreviation, however, and just pray you don’t get as confused as I do. Now to the good stuff! On May 9th (I remember the date because that was also the day my best friend got engaged and I took secret photos. See engagement photos.), I had a phone interview with the sweetest lady from Baylor’s Office of Academic Support Programs. Well, I’ll say that I anticipated an interview. What I received was a 20 minute phone call highlighting the details of the program and welcoming me on board. Needless to say, I got the GA position, which is, according to Dr. Robinson, a “coveted GA position.”
As an academic mentor I will work with at-risk students to monitor their academic progress and offer support and encouragement as they adjust to college life. I will work 20 hours a week, meeting with about 35-40 students weekly. I have my own office and a huge support team. I cannot even begin to say how encouraging my interview was. It got me even more excited for everything that is in store at Baylor.
Well if that paragraph about my GA wasn’t enough of a blessing, the following week I received this email:
Tuition remission means I don’t have to pay for 24 hours of tuition this year. Considering I am only taking 24 hours of class per week this year, I’d say that’s the best financial offer I could have received.
I know that I’ve accomplished nothing on my own. I am truly in awe of how greatly God has blessed me. I could not have done this by myself, and I have not presumed to believe that I could. I know that I would have failed miserably without the Lord directing my paths and blessing me with wonderful family, friends, and instructors to also help me along the way. That’s why all of this goes back to Him. He is the true reason for every educational, financial, and emotional provision in my life. I know that He has given me these things in order that I use them to shine His light on this world.
I will say also that I am honestly amazed. I have spent too much of the past 2 years underestimating the things I can do with the help of God, my family, my professors, and my friends. I have been attacked by the enemy and been led to believe that I was once alone in all of this. I don’t mean to get super spiritual on you, but that’s the truth. I’m coming to realize that life is too short to waste time worrying about it, especially when you know that the Lord has a plan. I’m thankful for that.
Do you know someone with certain personality traits that never cease to leave you shocked and amazed? I am continuously amazed by the way my sweet boyfriend, Cason, uses his social skills to bless and give to others. Let me share a story with you.
A few weeks ago Cason decided to sell his TV on Craigslist. Not a new phenomenon. People sell stuff on Craigslist all the time. Well after a series of texts and calls from random people, Cason finally has someone who wants to meet up to see the TV and potentially make a purchase. He asks me if I want to tag along, which of course I do, so we set off for the local Starbucks and grab some drinks while we wait. Soon enough a newly-married military couple approaches, and Cason starts up a conversation with them. Me, I would immediately start talking about the TV and get down to business; that’s just the way my brain works. Cason, no, he starts by asking them about their background: Are you military? Where are you from? Are you new to the area? (Duh, seriously why can’t I ever think of the right questions to ask in social situations?)
Anyway, they head off to Cason’s car to check out the TV while I sit sipping my still-hot latte. Cason returns quite some time later with a huge grin on his face, which I immediately interpret to mean that he sold the TV. However, the first thing out of his mouth was something like, “They are a really cool couple.” (By now I shouldn’t be surprised that Cason always puts relationships with people above business. It’s something I truly admire about him.) Then he goes on to tell me about how the couple was looking for a good church in the area and had visited one. Cason, being the social networker that he is, knew people at the church and recommended people they could get plugged in with. Finally he tells me basically that he loves to sell things on Craigslist because it gives him opportunities to meet people like that. Gee, isn’t that an awesome perspective to have on what many, including myself, would typically view as nothing more than a means to a quick & profitable business transaction.
You would think the story ends here, but there’s more. We saw this sweet, young couple last weekend at church and made plans to grab some dinner this past week. We ended up going to a Mexican restaurant in town, which worked out because apparently they had been looking for a good Mexican place since they moved. We found out that they are about the same age as us, about a year younger than both of us. We had genuinely good conversations and I enjoyed getting to know them. Let me just say that meeting and getting to know new people is not my strong suit, so I was very thankful to have Cason by my side to ask the right questions and keep the conversation rolling when I was certain that an awkward silence was about to strike. Come to find out, the husband is here for training this year, but he will be stationed in Texas only 30 minutes from Baylor next year. I know that there’s no way to tell what direction this newfound friendship will take, but I think it’s amazing that God would have us meet through Craigslist and be sending us to similar places at similar times.
Not only did Cason’s social skills and love of people bless another couple as well as myself this week, but it also got me to thinking about the way we view business transactions and business as a whole in this country. I was thinking that perhaps if business was less focused on the almighty dollar and more focused on the people behind the cash, then maybe we would find ourselves living in a place filled with more blessings. Perhaps this is idealistic, but I just can’t help but think that our businesses should be more about providing quality services and goods with excellent customer service as opposed as simply a way to make more and more money. Certainly this attitude of service partnered with business gave birth to social entrepreneurship, which is something I could definitely get on board with. Just food for thought.
In closing, I just wanted to say again how thankful and blessed I am to have a wonderful boyfriend who truly sees the value of meaningful relationships. I am thankful that God has blessed Cason with this uncanny ability to have a genuine conversation with everyone he meets.
Last Friday I completed my third full week as a Pre-K paraprofessional, and I’m amazed at how quickly I have become attached to these 4-year-olds. There are still three weeks of school left, but I moved to another room this week. I have mixed emotions about that because I feel like I have just started bonding with the 20 kids in my first class.
Over the past three weeks, one child, who rarely talked at school started talking to me regularly. He has started asking for the things he needs and telling me the things he wants. He still speaks softly, and sometimes I have a hard time understanding him. However, it is no small accomplishment that he has gone from not talking at all, not even with his peers, to talking intermittently throughout the day. It absolutely melts my heart when he asks me to come sit by him or asks me if he can pass out the spoons at lunch.
Honestly, that’s what I want to see happen in students. If God uses me to touch one life out of 20 young ones, then I will feel blessed and greatful beyond measure. I can’t even begin to express how excited I am to be going back to school in the fall to learn how to help at-risk students. There have certainly been ups and downs with this new job. I’m not a super fan of the level of ‘babysitting’ I have to do with Pre-K students, but it has taught me invaluable lessons about these children. I think people would really be amazed at how much 4-year-olds analyze and feel and manipulate. Human beings are capable of tremendous achievements, and children at this age are very impressionable. They are sponges that soak up everything you give them. I think the greatest fault we could have as educators is to expect too little out of these young minds. They want structure. They want to learn and be pushed. They are capable of more than even they realize. I’ve been amazed, truly.
This wasn’t quite the lengthy post I had anticipated, but I just wanted to write a little about my new job. I’m sure the subject will continue to come up as there are two and a half weeks left. Hopefully I will be back to write more sooner rather than later.