Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Men are from...?

So here's another post I've been thinking about for a while...the differences between men and women. Please take this in the humorous spirit with which it is intended.

In my profession I work with a variety of men: the head of the fine arts department, school principal, school administrator, and co-teachers are men. Also in the music ministry at church I'm surrounded by...well, guys. And I do a lot of work for the school in the sound room, again, with men. But I also have quite a few fellow teachers who are women.

So over the years I've noticed a few differences that have helped me to relate, especially when big events like program days come around.

Men=military. They understand chain of command. You are only required to do something if you are assigned to do it. If it doesn't get done it is not your fault because it wasn't assigned to you. When the big event comes (like program day), you do just what you are assigned to do--nothing more. If something goes wrong we will evaluate the timeline and see what needs to be revamped for the next time around.

Women=nurturing. We want to do our jobs and help everyone else do theirs too. Not only do I want to know where I'm supposed to be and when but also where everyone else needs to be so I can help them get there. I require lots of information. I have a hard time trusting that all the details have been covered unless I can see it for myself.

In coming to understand this, it has helped me to relate to co-workers in a (hopefully) helpful manner. I try to find that fine line between asking helpful questions to see if a task will be taken care of and where I need to butt out and say "this is being taken care of and it's not my responsibility." There's a balance between overstepping my bounds as a teacher and not overruling the authority in place. Hopefully in figuring this out I can be more helpful to those around me and find out what I need to know to make sure things happen...and what I don't.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Vacation Part #2

I renewed my passport this summer so I could take an international trip! At the end of July I took a 9-day trip with 3 friends around Lake Erie to New York then Ontario, Canada.

We drove in my car, and an hour down the rode one of the brand new brakes I had put on the day before fell off (apparently it hadn't been installed correctly, thank you Bob Rohrman Hyundai), but God provided a mechanic in Gas City to fix it, and it only delayed us about 2 hours.

My friend Melissa Eikenberry was in a friend's wedding in NY, so while she attended to wedding duties, Brittany Bowser & Beth Hopper & I stayed with a family from the bride's church: the Fillions, who were very hospitable to us and even made us personalized pancakes for breakfast!

We then made our way to Canada, stopping at Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake on the way.

We spent the first night in Canada in Toronto with one of my best friends in the whole wide world: Jeannie Schafer & her husband Markus. We were also introduced to their 2-week-old baby Ferguson. They gave us the grand tour of the city that night. We even rode all major forms of public transportation: the streetcar, the bus, and the subway. And we experienced the wonder that is Ed's ice cream & gelato.

Then we headed to our main destination: Collingwood, Ontario and our Mountain View Villa Resort. Melissa had a time share that she was willing to share with us, so we had our own little room, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, cable TV, fireplace, and pool/grill access for 6 days.

We spent quite a few hours at Wasaga Beach, the longest freshwater lakeshore in the world on the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. The water was great! (So much warmer than Lake Superior.)

One day we drove up to Parry Sound and took a 3-hour cruise on the water.

We spent one morning exploring and hiking in the woods near Old Baldy.

And our last evening was spent at Village at Blue with a free movie under the stars.

Well, this is just the brief overview. (There are quite a few more pics on Facebook.) I could keep going on and on about how the people in Canada were very friendly, how their milk comes in bags, and how no one drives the speed limit (which is in km). But I will refrain. I had never taken a vacation with friends before, but it was very relaxing, and I really enjoyed getting to know these friends better!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Vacation Part #1

Part of my summer was spent visiting the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I've decided to share the Top Ten reasons why I love the U.P.

10. The nature/woods/wildlife
9. The weather--not too hot
8. Water (lakes/rivers)
7. Relaxing atmosphere/more slow-paced life
6. Red necks (like Da Yoopers Tourist Trap)
5. It feels like home/good memories
4. Hiking trails galore
3. People I get to see at Bible Baptist Church
2. Did I mention the nice, fresh water (& scenery)?
1. My family is there!

I really enjoyed getting to spend time with my nephews being Auntie Beth--and getting to sleep in!

"Playing" with Grant on the playground

Lake Superior at Presque Isle

Chapel Rock, Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks Lakeshore, Munising

Family Together on the 4th of July

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Understanding My Role

(I decided it was finally time to start blogging again, so you're going to start being bombarded with a few journal posts I've been mulling over for quite a while. This is a good place to start.)

Who am I? What is my purpose for existence? I'm sure we've all thought this as we've matured. But those of us who are older (30s) and single sometimes have a harder time finding our places in the world.

Since I was little I've dreamed of being a wife and mom (and teacher, which I am), but when you find those roles in life unfulfilled you start to question everything. It's easy to think you don't matter since there's no one special that would truly miss you if you were gone. You start to think maybe you aren't smart enough or attractive enough or put-together enough or there's something wrong with you. Who am I? What is my identity?

I am a church pianist. I was at my parents' church from age 13-22. But when I moved away they found someone to replace me. I eventually found a niche in Lafayette, but even then there were times when it seemed that if I stepped away from it no one would miss me. What am I wanting? I'm wanting to feel needed. This is not who I am.

I am a sibling. My sister & brother found spouses and are now parenting, and, sure, it's great to be an Aunt, but I'm not necessarily NEEDED in their lives. This is not who I am.

I am a piano teacher. I love my students and I think some of them love me, but if I moved away from the area they could find another teacher. I'm not NEEDED. This is not who I am.

I am a daughter. But I live 10 hours from my parents, so they are able to manage on their own without me (at least for now!) just fine. This is not who I am.

So who am I? Does God have a role for me? I can share this now because I've struggled through it, and have come to the realization that I AM needed. No, God Himself doesn't NEED me, but He wants me. He has created me and put me on this earth for a special reason. I have a role to fulfill; I am an instrument in His hands. Just as a composer orchestrates a piece of music and hands out the different sections, God has assigned me a part to play. If He has assigned me the percussion role, I don't have to know what the trumpets are playing at all times. I don't have to know why the flutes or violins play and I don't. I just have to do what He has assigned me to do.

"My role is not to question why, it's but to do or die." I just need to do whatever it is He has made me for. My role is to love others, be a help to those around me, do my job to the best of my ability, and be a witness to Christ's name so they can see Jesus in me. "For such a time as this." I am a believer and therefore a child of God. That's who I am.