Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CRACKlin' for a Reason: An Ode to Breakfast Cereal

While it may look like dried cat food, this particular breakfast cereal, I'm quite certain, possesses crack-like qualities. (And apparently, based on my google image search, it can be purchased in a 4-pack from amazon.com...who knew?).

And I might be placing myself in the 80 year old with a colon problem category, but there's something about Grape Nuts that draws me in. Unlike most, I just don't equate this cereal with rocks.

That's all.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

General Relief Society Broadcast

Last night I had the opportunity to attend General Relief Society Meeting Broadcast at my local stake center. I am sure many of you reading this did the same. I enjoyed the Relief Society presidency's addresses, Sister Allred's really spoke to me simply because of how recently I attended the temple for the first time.

But beyond that, I wanted to mention here how much I appreciated the words of Elder Uchtdorf. The concepts and ideas he taught were inspiring. His words about our innate desire to create and be creative simply because we are children of a Heavenly Father who is, by His nature, a creator--our creator--touched me deeply. This isn't something we generally hear about from our leaders in this exact way, to hear that we are to beautify the world around us, to take disorder and chaos and form it into something that did not exist before, is, while not an entirely new concept, certainly put into a new perspective. We are to create (and that doesn't simply mean in artistic endeavors) because our Father is creative.

He then spoke about the need for greater service. We've heard this time and time again, I know, but I love that he mentioned that offering more service in order to relieve the tension and trials of life may seem counterintuitive. Indeed, it is just oppposite of what the rest of the world says. How often have we heard, "Your children cannot be happy if their mother is not happy." And, "If it makes YOU happy, then by all means, do it." This self-centered line of thought is, ultimately, destructive. However, by offering more service, by sacrificing more of ourselves, we come to fill more at peace. This is true. I've seen it in my own life, in my line of work. On days when I am exhausted and my students annoy me and I just want a moment of quiet and everything seems to be going wrong, it always seems that an opportunity to be of help to one student presents itself. Usually this student will come to me at the exact moment that I feel I can finally sit and relax and take a breath. And when they come in, I'll be honest, I cringe a little. But when I throw myself into helping them with whatever is going on, giving them that one-on-one attention that they need, I feel re-energized. I feel good. I feel like I was of value.

If you missed the opportunity to watch it, go here. It was edifying. It was good. Amen.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Economy and My New Collection

So, apparently my bank (Washington Mutual) was forced to close its doors and sell itself to J.P. Morgan/Chase/some other mega-merging-conglomerate-company-thing yesterday. On the bright side, all 27 of the dollars in my savings account are FDIC insured. Thank heavens for that--because that totally would have been a disaster! At least a half a tank of gas.

So as I drive to and from work, listening to my NPR and its incessant coverage of this economic nightmare over the past few months, I can't help but think about my half-siblings' grandmother, a child of the depression era. When she passed away, among other odd items in bulk, they found a large collection of used cheap plastic laundry detergent scoops. Stacks and stacks of the things. And sometimes when I hear all this business about the economy I feel like maybe that is the only thing I can do to save myself and my sanity.

What about you?

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Don't Really Like Listening to Whining, Either

Every school year when I get to my unit on Overcoming Indifference, I assign a service project to my students. And every year this happens I think about Jessica, a student I had my first year of teaching.

Jessica was, I am quite certain, the most angry adolescent I have ever taught. Perhaps it was just me she hated. Afterall, my first memory of her involves a tennis ball bruising my ribs as it spiraled through the air during an innocent icebreaker followed by her wickedly delighted smile at my reaction (the only smile I ever saw on her face). She was one of those kids I wasn't quite certain what to do with all year long. She was quite bright, but didn't want that information to be let out. And, like I said, anger was her middle name.

Well, Jessica, to my surprise, opted to visit the elderly at a nearby nursing home for her service project. As part of the assignment, she was required to keep a running log of her visits and write a final reflection paper.

Her reflection paper was good enough, but her visit log. Oh, her visit log. Never have I read such an honest account. Never have I heard such a sardonic voice. Never have I laughed harder. Picture me in a mind-numbing mad-dash to finish grades at the end of a term, coming across the following:

11/18/05: Visited Earl today. He likes chess but I don't know how to play so we talked for about 43 minutes about how many new businesses there are now. It was ok, I guess.

11/23/05: Visited Clea today. She can't hear very well so I had to talk really loud and then she heard me wrong I think. Talked to her for like 33 minutes.

11/30/05: Talked with Vern today. He was nice, I guess. He grew up in New York City and told me all about that. I thought that was kind of cool. I was there for an hour and 12 minutes.

12/5/05: Met with a guy named Frank. All he did was talk about how his wife died and that is sad but annoying. Left after 26 minutes.

12/12/05: Today I met with a lady named Marcene. She whined all about how teenagers are all hoodlums and up to no good and we don't have respect and complained some more about all sorts of things. I wasn't very nice to her. I left after about 17 minutes because I was sick of listening to her bitch.

Thanks, Jessica. I needed the comic relief.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Love to See the Temple...

Last week I had the opportunity to go to the LDS temple for the very first time. It was a wonderful experience for me. I felt so blessed and filled with gratitude for the covenants I was able to make there. I felt such a powerful sense of peace and wholeness in this sacred building.

(Yes, these mediocre at best pictures are a result of very bad lighting)

I am so lucky to have such supportive family and friends. I especially want to say thanks (again) to my sister, Amber, who left her kids and husband (except the baby) at home in Virginia in the midst of a possibly approaching Hurricane Ike and came all the way across the country to be my escort for my first time through. I felt so loved by all the people who came to support me on this big day.

I always feel a little uncertain when it comes to things like these as far as how much of my belief to bear in such a public forum. Afterall, one's spirituality is a very personal thing. That being said, this is not only a blog, but a journal of sorts and I can't help but share what I feel and know and how that impacted my decision to go to the temple. I know the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I know who I am and who it is my Father in Heaven wants me to be. I feel His influence in my life and in my progress. I feel a true sense of peaceful, contented joy knowing that I am living my life in the manner He would approve of, that I am moving in the right direction. I feel that this was a natural and timely step for me. Having the opportunity to attend the temple as yet another means by which I might grow closer to my Father in Heaven and progress as a person is one of the best blessings I've ever received.

That's all. Amen. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear confessionsofarookie.blogspot.com,

You know how when you were a little kid and you'd go through "toy stints"? Sometimes you'd go for a few weeks where you'd only play house with your Cabbage Patch Doll, then it was a Barbie phase, and then maybe you thought playing in the sandbox with cars was the coolest thing ever.

Well, apparently, I've been on some sort of stint lately which doesn't involve you, dear bloggy o' mine. I'm sure you are feeling a little left out, kind of like Woody in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear comes to the toybox. Except I can't really say a single Buzz Lightyear took your place in my agenda. Instead, it was probably several Buzz Lightyear-type characters.

So I'm writing to apologize. Clearly, I stink at making you the priority you deserve to be. But I'm a new woman. I've turned a new leaf. I've recommitted myself. I've gotten back on the horse. I'm back and better than ever. I've sewn my wild oats. I'm homem again. And, at present, I've run dry in the cliche department.

The point is I am sorry. I was out living my life and you sat waiting patiently for me like the perfect blog that you are. Please forgive me and my neglectful tendencies.

The Rookie
aka that "busy" schlub who owes the world a blog post (or two...or three...or...)