Saturday, January 21, 2017

Exploring that inner Self

Read. Bake. Run. Write. Draw.

These are the ways I reset, unfold stiff places, work out knots and just generally process through the things life throws my way.  So why on earth do I spend so little time doing them, or even worse, avoid them?

The past two years have been a process of deconstructing this outer self I had created over the first six years of my time here in Nicaragua. The idealistic, hopeful, silk skinned advocate that came bouncing off the plane  in 2008 has seen and heard worlds of hurt and suffering that threatened to swallow her whole. Experienced the sharp cut of betrayal and bewildering sense of being lost when your character is smeared and on display for all to critique. Endured splits and divisions and loss within all her community circles: friends, family, work, church. Became whatever it took to be whatever the person in front of her needed, only to find she no longer felt known or understood as herself. Slowly, day by day, without even fully understanding what she was doing, the scaffolding teetered up and around her inner self as she constructed shields around those vulnerable places and locked up anything not able to handle a good knock or two; like a mother collecting all her glass figurines, precious memories and delicate porcelain decorations before her newborn ever becomes mobile. And she shuts them away for years, because honestly, what business do those tiny, superfluous creations have in a house with a small one? That, of course, is common sense when speaking of something material, but that logic does not transfer to the intangible, the inner soft spots that often shine the very best of us but are also the most vulnerable. When you shut those up, away so that they may not be broken or damaged, you also shut out your best connection to the people you love the most. And suddenly you find yourself hard, barren, sterile - disconnected.

That´s where I found myself at the beginning of 2015, hidden away behind sinewy layers of protection, emotions truncated and feelings stuffed, connections completely severed or hanging on by a thread.

Through a lot of walking, talking, praying, reading, listening and talking some more, through music and laughter and intentional tiny steps, I broke that structure down, one defense mechanism at a time. I felt the Architect guide me through each step, gently persisting when I wanted to leave a panel up (it´s really not that bad, see? It´s actually kind of nice??) and now I´m here, uncovered and mostly unafraid, but it feels a bit like when you get a cast off. You don´t recognize this limp, pale limb protruding from your body; you don´t quite have control of it´s motor function and it feels a bit disconcerting how different it is. It may recover completely, maybe even  become stronger than before...but the scar that runs along the ridge will never go away. A daily reminder of what was broken and what it took to become whole again.

And just like when I spiral snapped my left hand bone all those years ago, how gingerly I used it for months after it was fully healed, how I still, even now, am careful to not grab or sustain anything with just my middle finger...I find myself doing the same thing with my newly restored self. To read, to run, to bake, to write, or to draw...they mean connecting this self with something new, to let emotions be experienced and to create something out of nothing. Reading and baking are fairly low risk, running can be as long as I don´t think about it too much...but writing and drawing? Those feel...too open, too vulnerable.

While I was home this Christmas, I saw echoes of my art all around me...my old portfolios, a portrait I had done for a friend calling to me from her child´s dresser, essays and articles I had written so passionately years before...when an old friend asked me if I still did as much art as I did back then, I wanted to cry...because I had forgotten how integral that was to who I had been. I wondered if she was still in here somewhere, or if she´d been lost in the process of the last several years.

This growing, becoming that we do as humans...it´s an incredibly raw and alive experience. Somewhere along the way I believed I had “arrived”, become who “Sarah” is and that this was who I would be forever and ever. How shortsighted that is! The Word tells me that He who began a good work will bring it to completion...how would that ever indicate that I would stay the same? I realize now that so much of my shutting up and shutting down was for fear of losing myself or getting hurt/damaged. But now I realize that these experiences are universal, and we become more beautiful/stronger for it. We were promised trouble and suffering in this world, but we were also promised that He would be with us; the Author and perfecter of my faith, my Maker, is with me...and able to turn whatever comes my way into a tool in the hands of a master Artist, shaping me into a fuller, truer self.

So instead of ignoring those things that beckon, the blooming of an idea, the whisper of a design, I´ll take a step out into this shaky place, trusting that just as my hand grew stronger and got restored through deliberate use, so my soul will round out those withered places by creating.

“Be brave, and do not pray for the hard thing to go away, but pray for a bravery that is bigger than the hard thing.” - The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

she ate and ate until she got sick on the floor.

- 8 * 8 = 64...she 8 and 8 until she got 6 on the 4. That´s how I learned that multiplication fact. first thing that came to mind when i thought of 8 things.
- two monumental elections have passed and while in both situations there are disgruntled people, feel grateful those of you stateside that the most violent you will see those who are unhappy with the results is a snarky fb post or underbreath coffee break comment. here people in the northern and western parts of the country had to deal with fighting, riots, violence and even a few deaths. it makes me grateful to be from a nation where, even though our politics vary, we try to stand together. and even more so, as Christians we can say, my kingdom is not this kingdom...it´s a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
- so close and yet so far away from vacations...i am so ready.
- did i mention i hate thursdays? i feel like an old worn out rag on thursdays...blech.
- have to start interviewing for new teachers this week...it´s overwhelming. how do i know how to ask all the things that are important to doing this job well? how can i tell if they will really fit here and make it their place, or if they´ll buckle under this completely other thing that we do? may God give me wisdom and discernment.
- HACIA practice has been excellent so far...i´m so pleased with how prepared and enthusiastic the kids are...i have a feeling this year will be so much better than last.
- have started talking to my husband only in english in the evenings...we´ll see how this immersion course goes :)
- because in december, we´re going to colorado! for 2 and a half weeks! not sure about all our plans yet, but we will spend the majority of our time with patty´s family, the main lady for our sewing project. will keep you posted on kansas travel plans. :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

two cool for school

- yesterday was a spectacular day. all around amazing. capped off with italian dinner for two and a movie...love my hubby.
- today, in honor of all who have passed, we have no school. and monday, in honor of the craziness that will ensue when sandinistas take over the majority of mayor positions in country , we also have no class.

FOUR DAY WEEKEND!!

bliss. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

estas son las maƱanitas..

just ONE thing to say today...

it´s my 28th birthday. : D

And it has been so wonderful so far...before i even got to work i had been sang to three times:)

thank you Jesus for so many blessings, near and far...people who love and appreciate me. such joy.

thank you to all who have blessed me with kind words, gifts and love. i am so rich!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy halloween!

-or as the first graders think, happy birthday satan...?
- let´s just let that sink in...
- here in nicaragua its a HUGE no no to celebrate halloween...that if you do, you are sinning and worshipping the devil and participating in pagan rituals.
- it´s just hard for me to swallow that.
- and to me, not that important to argue about
- so no caramel apples, pumpkins or sugar overloads for me...never mind that a lot of what you all enjoy in celebration there is not available here
- it makes me feel like it´s not really october 31st....for me, this day was always grey and wet but exciting, full of parties and silliness and candy (how i love candy) and basically an amp up to my birthday...
- so i feel out of place where it´s sunny, HOT and not a costume or party in sight.
- but it´s alright...because it really isn´t recommendable to eat as much sugar as i normally would on halloween (or in the entire month and a half that its on sale....LOVE me some reese´s pumpkins) and i´m too old for costumes...and i already dress up for the many silly activities my school does.
- so i´m good. even better when i remember where i´m at with my kids in high school...
- we read charles dickens´david copperfield. and we are currently watching the bbc version (to which they exclaim harry potter! how cute!!)
- we were watching the scene between agnes and david just as they were becoming youth, and david tells agnes she is his dearest sister...in response to that, they all sigh and more than 2 students simultaneously declared, with the conviction of the most profoundest truths, FRIENDZONE.
- thanks to cable, i actually know what this is (only about 2 weeks ago hah!) and i just had to laugh at how they use their everyday context to fully grasp this victorian england classic.
- it made me love dickens even more.
- i think i need to expose them to some jane austen. or john steinbeck. or any number of great classics.
- alas, i can only do 4 books in a year...both because of budget and time. and i already have my three year course marked out...but man, i wish i had a library for them. or just more hours.
- makes me wonder how i will feel next year not teaching them.
- it´s exhausting and overwhelming but i LOVE it...and am not quite sure i want to give it up...
- maybe having a psychologist and nurse next year will save me some time...
- we´ll see where i end up :)
- today in hacia i am going to walk them through the OAS letter and human rights declarations...and then teach them what is guantanamo bay. we´ll see how they react.
- i admire those who write a daily blog...it´s tough! half because of time and the other half because who knows what you´re going to say!
- i´m trying to pick up the discipline again, not caring if its messy or unfinished or not pleasing. just trusting that it is worthwhile to create.
- i think i´m worrying my fellow teachers...i abandoned the uniforms this week and have been coming in dressier clothes...a dress, a pencil skirt/tank combo, a skirt and blazer...and they all marvel and say where are you going? where´s the party?
- truth is, it´s my way of faking it til i make it...cus i am SO ready for vacation!
- yesterday was my bff´s birthday...and as i chatted with her online briefly it made me think of all these friendships that i dearly miss and yet have drifted farther and farther away from.
- i want to reconnect...to reinvolve myself in their lives and them in mine...let´s hope there´s still that possibility!
- picked back up with insanity and power walking...i think the power walk left me sorer than shaun t!
- tomorrow i turn 28. i remember as a kid and youth i always said 28 was my favorite number.
- not really sure why, it was just pleasing to me, balanced and full and calm.
- i´m hoping that those things are the base for my 28th year...a year in which i hope to experience new stages of life, opening of doors and closing of others, of digging in deep where it really matters.
- its a year of hope, of refreshment, of enjoyment...and tomorrow, i´ll only have one thing to post...:)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

26(ish) bits

- spent 5 hours analyzing student data...and in each case, wanting to expound on why the tools we were using were not relevant...
- so we took turns on expounding, so as to not wear ourselves out
- horrified at the reality many of my students face
- wanting to ignore it, not really able to do anything about it...
- and yet it´s my responsibility to deal with it.
- spontaneous girls night out turned into a relaxing evening, tasty supper...
- and greeting all my students that were at the same place :)
- my love is far away...sleeping on a porch in hammocks with his male relatives. so glad i stayed home :).
- family members moving tomorrow, will miss having the little munchkins over for saturday breakfast.
- bruno (our pitbull) has one ear that sticks up and one that flops down...permanently inquisitive.
- sold my dell, looking to invest in an ipad...i used to swear i´d never be a mac girl...guess things change.
- getting ready to enter the last month of school...thank the Lord!
- looking for something fun to do with my kids after exams...a fun song maybe...any suggestions?
- started the day with a chai...reminded me of student teaching days...fridays were chai and cinnamon sugar bagel days
- finished it with a pitahya and limoncello gelato mix. refreshing.
- so many things to get done this weekend...
- but a huge desire to do nothing...
- we´ll see where i end up sunday.
- 18 out of 26 and sleep is creeping in.
- guess i´ll just owe you some
- imperfect prose.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

25 things

- what is it about not getting things done that suffocate me? is it the feeling of failure? of irresponsibility? of being stuck and not moving forward?
- how do you deal with not getting things done?
- i dislike very strongly lying, exaggerating children. they make my life so much more complicated.
- thursday is my least favorite day. i´m the most tired, the most apt to be less than enthusiastic about the day, and just generally cranky because i know i still have one more day to do but nothing left to give.
- i miss fall
- husband going to the countryside...today or tomorrow. part of me is glad for some solitude, another is not happy about not getting to have the weekend with him.
- sometimes i dislike being an introvert.
- how do you really care for yourself as an introvert when your world demands that you be an extrovert?
- fries with cheese are #1 on my care list...don´t know if that´s really appropriate.
- i miss soft pretzels with cheese...no matter how many recipes i try here, nothing even comes close to the pretzel maker.
- what would it look like to get a franchise of pretzel maker down here?
- cinnabon made it down...why not auntie annes? anyone interested in making this happen? i´d give you a place to stay...
-i feel like the school is huffing and puffing through its last weeks...the kids, the teachers, the parents...everyone is worn down. and i wonder, how could we prevent this?
- my birthday is in 1 week. i´m not sure what i want to do.
- i do know i want it to involve papa john´s pizza. and maybe a ceasar salad.
- i am woefully disappointed in my lack of important things to say.
- next year represents a new season...growing to 400 students, 2 sections all throughout elementary school...and around 6 teachers leaving. i can only pray and trust that He knows what He´s doing.
- my thesis for post grad school is about the impact of the family environment on academic stats. the goal is to make a statement about parental responsiblity, partnership between school and family, offer practical solutions...but in the end, i know some just need redemption. and not a single strategy will function without that. not truly, anyway.
- looking to buy an ipad at the end of this year...trying one out tomorrow to see if i like it.
- struggling, surprisingly, to switch to all digital...my time here has made me more of a paper girl again and i find myself wrestling with my impulse to write stuff on paper when i know i´ll just have to type it in the database later.
- communication is the most vital and easiest to screw up component of our lives...i see this DAILY. and i find that the root of most of our problems (be it work, school, friends, family) is due to this. how can we become better communicators?
- makes me wonder...was it really necessary to scramble languages?
- ...of course it was...we are too natively arrogant to depend on God by ourselves.
- depend on Him. rely on Him. walk WITH Him...why is this so hard to learn and practice?
- i miss my park in kc...that i can´t even name right now! dear Lord.