Archive for the ‘Love and Marriage’ Category

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Say It With Petunias: or, Too Early for April Showers

March 2, 2007

Mood:  rosy

Song: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”

*Warning: This Post is Slightly Belated*

white roses by modotti

Since my darling husband and I both worked on Valentine’s Day (a.k.a. “Singles Awareness Day”), we made the prudent decision to celebrate the day beforehand.  I had no idea what he intended, but I was quite content to go along for the ride.  We ended up at the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum for a romantic morning spent tiptoeing through the tulips and rambling among the roses.  I was also treated to a history lesson thanks to a display covering the long-forgotten language of the flowers.

That’s right; even this English major acknowledges that there are ways of speaking without words.  Some sources believe that the practice of assigning meaning to particular flowers originated in Persia and the near east.  Perhaps King Charles of Sweden, who visited Turkey in the 1700’s, brought the tradition back with him; possibly Crusaders carried the secret significance of flowers back with them to the courts of Europe.  

The language of flowers spanned many cultures, each contributing meanings to local blooms; in fact, though modern minds may think it strange, great expense was poured out to obtain just the right flower to signify a desired meaning.  In certain instances the order of flowers was set by a long ribbon so that the message would be read properly and in order.  During Victorian times the Medieval tradition was revived, allowing young lovers to communicate despite strict cultural mores.  While sceptics (both Victorian and contemporary) will scoff at the idea that flowers can bear meanings, be assured that the language is still alive today; what clearer token of romantic love can sweethearts exchange than a deep red rose?

Read the rest of this entry ?

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I Believe…Help My Unbelief…

June 3, 2006

Mood: Trepidation

Song: "1-2-3"

Decisiveness has never been my forte.  Doesn't everybody fourth guess themselves?  Charles, on the other hand, makes decisions with an ease which astounds (and sometimes terrifies me too, I'll admit).  In our first year of marriage I've discovered that he often works out ideas by communicating them with his best friend/wife; thus, I know that with him the thought isn't always the deed, so I can hear him without immediately reacting by spiraling into a tailspin.  On the other hand, while I may may not seem thrilled initially, he recognizes that I simply need time to adjust and that I'm sure to see the logic in a little bit of time.  Thus, we balance each other, as marriage is intended to do. 

2005 was a year of change; 2006 has been comparatively tranquil.  Now I am faced with a further moment of challenge and I find myself unable to see beyond the immediate present to a successful resolution.  I became a teacher with the best of intentions, but I wonder whether or not I can survive another year with my ability to feel compassion unscathed (much less 30 'til retirement).  It is not that I fail to care about my profession or my students; it is that I care too much.  Ideally the educational system would value individuals (we're a nation founded on individualism, after all); the reality of a classroom of 30 students, however, the reality is that it becomes exceedingly difficult to find more than a few seconds to spend with each student before the rest of the class descends into nefarious acts of malfeasance.  To teach or not to teach:  that is the question.

I am an educator; it is more than a job…it defines who I am.  I know that I will continue to teach whether or not it is my profession.  I wonder whether the needs of specific students (particularly those at either end of the learning spectrum) are served at all by the public school system.  I've even dreamed of founding my own school for those who are not cut out to be "like stalks" so that they are not either stretched beyond their capacities or cut off to make the less able feel "special".  Unfortunately, our public schools are almost forced to see their precious students as numbers.  Don't even get me started on accountability (or No Child Left Behind); what sense does it make that teachers (and schools are judged by an arbitrary test that doesn't impact students?  How am I supposed to motivate them to care about what doesn't count (especially when legislators are too afraid of lawsuits to put teeth into NCLB by actually prohibiting students who don't meet the standards from graduating)?  It is no wonder teacher burnout is so common; I don't believe that I'm burned out yet, but I don't know what else to call this exhaustion of body and soul.  I've listed the pros and cons of job hunting outside of education.  I'm also practical enough to realize that just about anything else lucrative I could select will require more credentials (and we can't afford for me to take classes with Charles's school bills as well).  What to do, what to do? 

PROS:

1.  After the first year of teaching, everything else is downhill.

2.  I have a contract (unsigned as of yet-I don't want to breach), equalling security. 

3.  Good student aides make life much better.

4.  Charles is encouraging me to continue using my gifts (and credentials)

5.  Teaching gives me a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that I've never been able to reach anywhere else.

6.  I am an effective teacher, whether my low self-image will allow me to acknowledge that or not

7.  Eye lyke Ynglish ande amm pashunate aboute itt. 

8.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

9.  My school (and my district) does value excellence.

10. I already have ideas for next year

11. It would be wonderful to see where my amazing students end up

12. I do care about my kids (all 150 of them)  

CONS:

1.  Stress, stress, stress

2.  After a year, I still feel like an outsider in my department

3. As previously mentioned, education in the public school system is far from ideal

4. It would be nice to come home and BE home, and teaching is far from a 9-5 job

5. I am interested in pursuing other options, in particular Library Science

6. Charles will finish with his Paramedic training in November and both of us are ready to leave Arizona; signing another teaching contract would keep us in Mesa through May of next year.

7. Parents of students can either build you up or destroy morale

8. It's difficult to be judged by how my students perform, particularly because I'm a bit of a control freak

9. 150 students = 150 essays to grade :(.

10. Not teaching would allow me to put in extra hours moonlighting (like tutoring 1-2 nights per week) which would definitely help with our finances

11. Teaching would mean taking further courses (about 45 hours) in Secondary English Immersion, which costs money we don't have

12. We want to start our family in the next couple of years; I respect those who put in the hours teaching requires with children but I don't want to attempt it myself.  Thus, if I do anticipate changing careers, now's the time to try before becoming a mother

Lord, I believe you have a plan; I don't necessarily see where I am headed, but I trust that you do.  I believe…help my unbelief.

JRW

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365

May 28, 2006

Oh, and by the way…

Happy Anniversary, my darling husband. I am blessed to be your wife. We can truly say that we are more in love today, in a fuller sense of the word, than we were exactly a year ago when we wed. Thank you for choosing me and loving me.

One year past, Lord willing, many more to come :).

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Sirens

April 8, 2006


Song: "They Can't Take That Away From Me"

Mood: Elated

Admittedly, when an ambulance pulls up in front of your apartment complex, it usually signifies trouble. When said ambulance, however, is being driven by your amazingly handsome, charming, and altogether capable EMT (nearly Paramedic!!!!) husband, looking majorly fine in his uniform, the event leads to nothing but smiles. Yup! Charles stopped by just because he missed me, even though his shift ends in an hour 🙂 🙂 :). Who says romance is gone after nearly a year of marriage ;). Hmmm…for some reason my pulse is still racing :D.

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Warning Labels:

January 18, 2006

Mood: 🙂
Song: 🙂

An unexpected side effect of antibiotics?

An incentive to test out that tip I read about in a magazine waiting in the Albertson's check-out line

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Annus Mirabilis

December 28, 2005

Mood: Changeable

Song: “Turning” (a Starbucks poison of choice for the individual who can identify the
origin of this song :))

“Look in thy heart and write” –Sir Philip Sidney

****Warning***

This post contains no lighthearted ramblings, and it is the author’s firm contention that your time would be better served by enjoying any one of a thousand holiday pleasures instead of rambling with me through this dark night.

In the deep midwinter of 2005, the days fly apace, and their swift passing is in time with the shifting I feel in my own heart. Nothing stays the same; the world itself is in flux. Thanks be to our Lord that he has given us the perfect mix of change and stability. After all, it is always winter again, yet always THIS winter. To have it always winter and never Christmas is the sign of a society in decay (and parallels to our own beloved nation are sadly merited).

I must confess, however, that in memory’s vault this year has contained transition without much rest. In my own life, 2005 has included:

*the passing of two essential men in my life: my beloved stepfather and my grandfather
*the passing of my old life as I entered into marriage: the two shall become one flesh
*the passing of my family home to another owner
*the passing from school to work marked by my completion of student teaching in May
*the passing into silence of several friendships, some expected, some surprises
*the passing of the hospitality torch from my mother to me as I hosted my first married Christmas

Such changes are not all negative; some are to be eagerly embraced, and I do not regret the steps I have taken into adulthood this past year. I stand amazed at the road I traverse, and with the Florentine I am unsure of the way. Is it any wonder that I have experienced a sense of isolation? There are days I feel like I am starring in the Lifetime movie of the week, watching events unfold but not directly acting upon them. Each and every relationship I cherished has altered, and I consider myself alone and apart. I know there are those who care for me, whose lives are inextricably linked to mine, yet they seem distant. By the way, if you’re out there reading this, please let me know ;). Sometimes the words matter more than you realize.

Do not think my life alone has been impacted.

One amazing friend has finally discovered marital peace. Her honesty is an inspiration to me; dear one, know that your experience has encouraged me to press forward through the deepest darkness. I cannot appropriately express my appreciation for your willingness to let me see you as you are. What they don’t tell you is that the first year of marriage is both more challenging and more rewarding than anyone who remains single can envision. I long for the day when we will have physical proximity to match the closeness of our souls.

Another friend has been dealt heartache on the very eve of bliss. She compares herself to a phoenix, and this is apt. Now it seems she has learned to trust again; I am unsure about my own ability to rebuild so quickly. Though we have lost touch, and I believe my friendship was never as vital to her as hers to me, I think of her often. Her name, appropriately enough, encompasses the strife (even against heaven) that she has endured and the princess she is and will continue to become.

For those who don’t know, this year has also forced Charles and me to consider the possibility (always looming in the background) that we may not be able to have children. Why should this matter? I do not trust easily, as previous posts indicate, and my Heavenly Father is calling me into deeper waters, since waiting may not be an option, yet it is our only choice at this point. This is pertinent, since I have recently discovered that a bacchant friend of mine is expecting her first child. While I rejoice for and with her, I am also struck by how much she has matured in the past few years. Again, though I don’t speak to her often, she is in my heart. So many of my acquaintances have morphed into rabbits, and I am both anxious and terrified to discover parenthood.

One of the tragedies of post-modernity is that we have utterly eradicated all signposts towards maturity. Do we become adults at 13, as Jews do when they are called to the Torah as a bar or bat mitzvah? Is adulthood gained when we graduate from high school or perhaps college? What about marriage? Giving birth? For those who remain single or decline to become parents, when are they grown-up? Age 25? 30? We live in the age of “Peter Pan”, with many Americans simply deciding not to reach adulthood. If nothing else, 2005 has convinced me that I have indeed crossed that gap.

Thoughts?

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Darling, You’ll Need a Bigger Box…

December 3, 2005