Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snowed In

This week I was supposed to be in NYC with my mom and sisters, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. Christmas Day it started snowing around 8PM and continued to snow all night into the next day and night. We ended up with around 14 inches of snow and a canceled flight. We did actually go to the airport, and even boarded the plane, but it was snowing too hard for us to take off. My dad drove us to and from the airport that morning in the third worst snowstorm in history for our area. It was quite a mess, but we made it home and enjoyed watching the snow fall all day. Today we ventured outside to play in it for a little bit.

Addie loved running over top of Ashley and me as we made snow angels.
Addie was quite the pro at catching snow balls.
Ready to run through the fresh powdery snow

Friday, December 24, 2010

Top 10

2010 has flown by and I’m excited for what 2011 will bring. Last year I wrote about 10 things that “changed my life.” I thought this year I would make a list of five great memories from 2010, and five things that I am looking forward to in 2011.

5 Great Memories from 2010
~ Learning about a mission team in Uganda with World Harvest
~Completing my masters degree
~Being approved by World Harvest to be a missionary/teacher in Uganda
~Getting hired as a fourth grade teacher
~Making it through the first half of the school year as a teacher with my own class!

5 Things I’m looking forward to in 2011
~Finishing an entire school year as a teacher with my own class!
~Enjoying a summer with friends and family before moving away for 2 years
~Moving to Uganda
~Beginning a new school year with missionary kiddos in a little school in the jungle
~Being part of the World Harvest Uganda team

Thank you to those who are partnering with me as I go to Uganda. Without the financial support of dear friends and family I would not be able to go, and I’m so thankful for the sacrificial giving provided by so many. I have raised about 25% of my support. I would ask for you to pray that I would continue to trust the Lord to prepare me for the mission field, and that He will continue to bring in the support that is needed. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Monday, December 13, 2010

Orlando

The last three days I was in Orlando catching up with many of my favorite people. Allison, my Orlando roommate and one of my BFFs, spent the weekend driving me everywhere and letting me do tons of things at the last minute with the most laid-back attitude. We had a great time buying a Christmas tree and decorating it, watching movies while drinking hot chocolate, and spending time catching up on life. Allison is such a caring friend and I don’t know what I would do without her! I’m excited that Allison is going to be coming to visit me in Uganda!


On Saturday I was able to meet up with one of my Uganda teammates, Josh, at a little southern restaurant in the small town of Wildwood Florida. It was fun to catch up, talk about Uganda, and enjoy some sweet tea on a sunny Florida afternoon. Josh is getting his PhD in Environmental Engineering and will be working to ensure there is clean water in Bundibugyo as the water runs underneath the road that is going to be paved in the near future.

On Saturday night I spent time with the Johnsons. This family is good for my heart. They are some of my favorite people in the world. Ande was my RUF minister while I lived in Orlando, and he and Kelly have two of the cutest and sweetest boys I’ve ever known. I love visiting with Ande and Kelly. They give the best advice, are so encouraging, and absolutely hilarious to top it off.

Sunday I went to my old church, UPC, and got to see some old friends after the service. Then Sunday evening I went to the Kinnaird’s home to share about Uganda with several families from my LIFE Group (Bible study) from UPC and old RUF friends. They asked tons of great questions and I loved telling them about the awesome things God is doing in Bundibugyo. It was also a joy to hear about the things happening in their lives as well. These families and friends were so supportive of me during my time in Orlando, and continue to be a huge blessing in my life. 

Monday I saw two more of the world’s greatest families, the Swains and the Noels. Scott and Leigh Swain took me on as one of their family members when I met them back in 2007, and are an amazing couple with four children who I wish I could spend tons of time with because they are a blast! Scott and Leigh have taught me so much and always give me the best advice. Scott is a professor at RTS, and he and Ande Johnson are my go to people for all theology questions. It was so great to see them and catch up for a couple of hours. 



The Noels were my last stop on the way to the airport. Jonathan (the music director from UPC) and Amanda are another dear family who I spent a lot of time with during my Orlando days. They have two kids who I used to babysit for all of the time and it is amazing how these two sweet kiddos have grown in the last couple of years since I moved away. This awesome family of four joined hands with me and all said a prayer for me as I prepare to go to Uganda. I can’t describe how precious it was to hear 3 year old Emmy, and 5 year old Gabriel pray for “blessings and safety as Miss Pam goes to Africa.” 


Thank you so much to everyone who came to see me or let me stop by your home. You all were, and always have been, such an encouragement to me and I’m so thankful for the little bit of time I was able to have with all of you this weekend. Love you guys!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

I’ve been thinking recently how it bothers me that I can’t share about Jesus with my students since I’m a public school teacher. This past weekend I was praying for my kids and praying that even though I can’t talk about my faith that I would find opportunities to show them the love of Christ. Well a few weeks ago I asked my grade level if they wanted to go to the play, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. They thought it sounded fun, so I arranged it, and I got copies of the book for us to read in class. As I have been reading the book to my class I have been pleasantly surprised about how much it explains about the Christmas story. It has scripture and everything. I have read the book before, but just forgot how great it was. What an answer to prayer that I am allowed to read this book to my kiddos. Tomorrow we are going to see the play and I’m hoping it will be close to the book and explain that Jesus came to be the Savior of the world!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Behold the Lamb of God

This past Thursday and Friday I went to a conference for work. While I was thankful for the opportunity to go and learn new things I came away from the conference questioning some things. First of all it seems to me that educators are always told all of the things that we are doing wrong, never well. We are constantly being told to fix this, change that, or do it another way. Besides that, I have been questioning what I am able to do and say as a public school teacher. I can pray for my kids, and love them, and teach them to the best of my ability, but I can never share about Jesus with them. This is hard for me. It is making me think about what I’ll do in a few years, once I return from Uganda.

Last night I was able to attend a concert in Richmond with my mama. The conference I was attending was in Williamsburg and another teacher had driven me there. So my mom picked me up in Williamsburg and we drove a little further north to Richmond for the Andrew Peterson, Behold the Lamb of God concert. I had the chance to go to this concert about three years ago when I was living in Orlando and absolutely loved it. This is a description of the Behold the Lamb of God concert from Andrew Peterson’s website.

“Named one of the 10 best albums of the decade, Behold the Lamb of God is a collection of songs about Jesus. Since 2000, Andrew Peterson and his friends have performed Behold the Lamb around the country, telling again and again this "true myth", as C.S. Lewis called it, this tale that's bigger than life, but is—astonishingly—true. The tour has become a yearly tradition not just for Andrew and the other artists on the tour, but for families and churches who attend the concert each season. The live concert, like the album, is a community effort, featuring singer/songwriters Jill Phillips, Andy Gullahorn, Ben Shive, Andrew Osenga and more, and over the years has featured artists such as Alison Krauss, Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, Buddy Miller, Phil Keaggy, Sixpence None the Richer, David Wilcox, Pierce Pettis, Mindy Smith, Ron Block, Brandon Heath, Bebo Norman, Stuart Duncan, Eric Peters, and Randall Goodgame—all in the name of proclaiming the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ.” 

If you have the chance to catch this concert, they tour all over the country and I highly recommend you check it out. If nothing else, buy the album and I know you won’t be disappointed. I was excited to meet Andrew Peterson after the concert and had him autograph his children's book for Rwenzori Mission School. I’m excited to take it to Uganda to share with my future students.

Next weekend I’m going to be in Orlando. Some dear friends are hosting coffee nights on Saturday and Sunday so I can share more about Uganda. If you are in Orlando and would like to come please let me know and I’ll send you an invitation.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

 sister, cousin, and best friend :)
 cousins :)
 The fam (minus Michael and Ashley who are in MO with Ashley's family)
Best friends for 12 years (plus a little one on the way!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Perfect Hiking Weather

This weekend was wonderful! Ann, one of my Uganda teammates, and I went hiking in western Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was beautiful and the weather was perfect. The combination of clear blue skies, beautiful fall leaves, cool weather, my pup, and hiking with a friend was perfect. We talked all about Uganda and teaching, hiked all day Saturday and Sunday, watched Pride and Prejudice Saturday night, and ate yummy french toast, tortellini, and pancakes. I loved every minute! It was fun to be able to talk about Uganda with someone who has been, and is going with me! It made me all the more excited for next summer when I will finally get to go!



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Things I Love

As I mentioned in my last post, time is flying by. I am enjoying many things this year that I know I will miss next year.

I am enjoying visiting friends on the weekends in nearby cities. I am loving the beautiful fall weather and gorgeous changing leaves. I am enjoying teaching 4th grade. I love coming home to my pup Addie every day. I love having my brother and sister-in-law down the street. I love spending time with my mom and dad. I am excited that my sister will be home for a week at Thanksgiving and 3 weeks at Christmas. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas at home with family. I am looking forward to visiting friends in Orlando. I am looking forward to a trip to NYC with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law.

Thinking of all of these things is bittersweet because they are things that I will miss so much once I am in Uganda. But I am all the more thankful for the gifts God has given me. One thing I am loving and will not have to leave behind is Christmas music. I have officially pulled all of the Christmas CDs out and they make me smile :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Quarter of the Way Through

The school year is already going by me in what seems like a blur. We just completed the first quarter. How can we already be ¼ of the way through the year!? Oh my! Today was a teacher work day, and as much as I accomplished, it wasn’t nearly as much as I had hoped to have accomplished. I hoped to get way ahead on planning. Well if knowing what I’m doing on Monday counts for way ahead then that’s where I am. I am taking it a day at a time, no, one lesson at a time. Some days I just kinda fly by the seat of my pants. It’s like I’m living in this fog. I sort of know what I’m supposed to be doing, but not completely, and it seems like the more information that I am given the foggier things become.

I am trying to be more positive during the school day and not let things get to me as much. I have some boys who are very trying, and often I have no clue what to do with them. So I just roll my eyes and shake my head and then deal with each situation the best I can. I’ve been trying not to stay as late and I do not bring work home with me very often. Sometimes I bring papers home to grade, but I am trying not to bring home planning. The teachers on my grade level come into my room and tell me I have to leave and I have to go out the door without anything, They are literally saving my life. My mentor told me today that I need to know now I will not be taking anything with me over Thanksgiving or Christmas break, so I need to plan accordingly. I really am thankful for the supportive teachers at my school, and my mom. My mom is a teacher and if it weren’t for her I might have already quit by now. Well, hopefully not, but I would be a lot more stressed.

I love my kids. Most of the time they make me laugh. Sometimes they make me want to cry, but usually laugh. They are sweet. They are chatty too. They are also super smart. They catch any mistake I make in about 2 seconds. If I am ever fumbling through anything I just ask them what they think and they always make everything work out. Actually, now that I think about it they really are the best.

I have sent out some support letters, and I’m planning on being in Orlando to raise support the first week of December. I have had a slow start to support raising due to work, but I know God will take care of everything in His timing.

I am super excited for next weekend because I’m going hiking in North Carolina with Anne, one of my Uganda teammates. It will be so amazing to have a weekend with a friend who completely understands and shares my love for missions and Uganda. Can’t wait!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Fabulous Journal Entry

Reading my kids journals is usually quite entertaining. I came across this precious entry in one of my kiddos journals. This made my day :)

This certificate goes to the wonderful Miss Stephens. I know she has only been my teacher for a couple of months, but I feel like I have known her for years. These are all the words that describe her. Awesome, fun, fantastic, wonderful, cool, dreams big, happy joyful, and my favorite one of all is she is Miss Stephens. She is herself  and from my point of view she rocks! So this certificate goes to Miss Stephens. She rocks and do not and I mean do not ever change yourself ever because I love you the way that you are!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why I'm a Teacher

Sometimes in the midst of the craziness of teaching I wonder why I decided to do this. I often reflect on other jobs I've had in life and other careers I've considered and wonder if I have made the best choice. Well as I was grading my kids' Writing Journals this weekend I was reminded of why I wanted to become a teacher. This is the entry from one of my students.

My Teacher Miss Stephens
Miss Stephens makes me so happy and proud of myself. I love doing stuff with her like reading and getting help with answers on my test.

Yes, it was a short entry, but just what I needed as I had spent hours grading papers and needed some encouragement. I often wonder if my students are feeling helped and cared for. With 27 kids in my class it is hard to devote time and attention to each one. At least one of them feels cared for :) My prayer is that I will find ways to uniquely care for each one of my students.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Encouraged

So I know my last post was me venting a little bit and I felt that it would be good to share the good things happening in life as well. Thursday and Friday were better days at school. I did have to write a referral for a fight, and call a parent during the middle of class when one of my students was being defiant (although the child refused to come to the phone to speak with mom). But aside from those two incidents I enjoyed work the past couple of days! I got a new student on Thursday, and from what I can tell so far he seems like a wonderful student, and a great addition to our class. I did all of my planning on Thursday and Friday for next week, and the only thing I brought home with me this weekend are papers to grade. If I can get caught up on my grades I will feel much better! Thanks for those who have been praying for me and my class. I have been encouraged by so many dear friends and it is great to know that I have people who are supporting me. God is definitely teaching me that I have to lean on Him and not on my own abilities.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Exhausted

Life is ridiculously busy and it is beginning to wear on me. I work about 60-70 hours per week and my mind never really stops thinking about school. I stress about not being prepared enough, not returning all of the parent calls, notes, and emails from the day, not covering all that I wanted to, having to get after my kids, having to do it all again tomorrow. I need a break. It’s the 6th week of school and I am completely exhausted. I don’t know if it will get better. Sometimes I think that it will, and sometimes I think about the pile of things on my desk that keeps growing, and I wonder how it will get better.

Support raising is slow. I am dragging my feet I suppose. I want to raise support and share about Uganda, but I don’t want to ask for money. I have contacted some churches, made plans to speak at my community group, and purchased a plane ticket to Orlando to raise support there in December. 

Today I was able to speak with one of my Uganda teammates and it was very encouraging. She feels the same way I do in many ways. It is hard living in the moment God has me in now when I really long to be somewhere else. Time certainly has a way of getting away from me. This is exciting in some ways as I look forward to next year, and scary when I think about all that I should be doing now. Sigh…

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome to Room 9

I haven't been great about taking pictures, but my kids have! All of the kids have jobs each week and one of the jobs is photographer and one is scrapbooker. The photographer takes pictures all week and then on Friday, and over the weekend, my scrapbooker makes a few pages to add to our class book. These are a few pictures that have been taken by the kids.

Amazing Interactive White Board :)
Kiddos desks
Our Friends & Family board which needs more pictures!
Our board to "Get to know each other"

I am loving my job. Even on the "tough days" there are moments that make me laugh. I am finally getting into the groove of things a little bit. Everything is still overwhelming and I can't get it all done, but I'm just realizing that that's how I'll always feel and it's ok! :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Best Dog Ever

Meghan was the best dog anyone could ever hope for. I mean she was seriously perfect. I was there the day she was born on January 3, 1997. She became a permanent part of the family at 8 weeks old, on March 3, 2007. All of my parents’ memories of Meghan are simply that she has always been “perfect.” Well I do think Megan was the greatest dog of all time and was eventually the perfect dog, however, I remember some moments when maybe I didn’t feel she was quite so perfect :)

The first incident I recall was the summer we moved across the country. Meghan was 6 months old for the 3,000 mile road trip. On one of our stops I was taking Meghan for a bathroom break. Well at the time, I was 11, and Meghan probably weighed almost as much as me. When she spotted the rabbit there was no time for me to let go of the leash before I was pulled flat onto my face, dragged across the field, and my glasses were smashed to smithereens.

Then there was the first time Meghan experienced fireworks. She hated fireworks her whole life. They made her jumpy and nervous. Well her first 4th of July back in ’97 we had yet to realize this, so we took her to the fireworks show. She started freaking out and struggling and ended up bashing me in the face and smashing another pair of my glasses to smithereens (I believe it was a couple of months later when I began wearing contacts :))

The time I was the angriest at Meghan was when we first moved to Virginia and I was home alone. Somehow she got out of the yard (hopped the fence or dug out from underneath, can’t remember which now as both events happened frequently when she was a puppy :)). Well I just grabbed a box of chocolate bars (great treats for a dog, I know) and I chased her all over the neighborhood trying to entice her home with those chocolate bars. She would get real close to me and I would hold out the chocolate, but just as I would lunge for her collar she would lunge for the chocolate bar, and because she was as fast as lightening, I fed her an entire box of chocolate bars before I caught her. I’m surprised she lived through that incident:)

Well over time Meghan became the greatest dog of all time. A little over a year ago when I got Addie, Meghan played a huge role in “training” Addie. Addie is sure an amazing dog, and although she’s a puppy, and has gotten into her fair share of mischief (jumping out the car window while I was driving, destroying about 20 pillows, 2 chair cushions, and countless socks) she has learned to come when called, because Meghan always came when called, she has learned to play fetch, because Meghan was the champion of fetch, and there are countless other things Addie learned from Meghan.

Meghan really was the best. Coming home tonight and not having Meghan come out to greet me was heartbreaking. I will surely miss that fluff muffin. I’m so thankful her sidekick, Addie, is here to keep me company. But certainly there will always be a void that no other dog will be able to fill completely.

I'll love you and miss you forever Meghan!





Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I am not a Wal-Mart

Well I keep meaning to take pictures of my class, but just like dozens of other things I keep meaning to do, it just keeps getting pushed further down on the list. My classroom certainly has a quite lived-in look and I have decided I rather like that :) I adore each and every one of my students (and tomorrow I am getting a new one). There are many different types of personalities, and some present more of a challenge than others, or I could say will probably be the cause of a couple of premature gray hairs :) But still, I am enjoying my kids.

I feel extremely overwhelmed and never understood how much work a teacher actually does…until now. Trying to teach math, science, social studies, health, writing, reading, grammar, and listening, as well as other things here and there is a lot to juggle. I suppose every teacher feels the exact same way. It is amazing the expectations and pressures that are placed on teachers. I guess that is just the nature of the job. I am still struggling to keep my head above water in this third week. Spending all of my weekend planning from sunup to sundown almost put me over the edge this past weekend. I haven’t had any real meltdowns yet, but I have had some close calls.

My biggest challenge has been parents. Apparently along with the gifted cluster class comes concerned, overbearing, overcommunicative parents. What I really want to say to them is, “It’s been 2 weeks! Relax! Everything will be fine!” And to some I want to say, “Do you think I am a Wal-Mart? I am not open 24/7.” Although they believe that is how often I should be at their beck and call.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll have some funny stories to share soon. Nothing comes to mind right now, but my mind is so jam packed that the more I try to remember, the more I forget! Throughout the day, as I think of things I need to do, I ask my responsible students to remind me at certain times during the day. They are very diligent about doing so, and that is one great advantage of teaching 4th grade :)

I’m planning to go to DC on Saturday to spend the day with a friend. It will definitely be a very welcome distraction from real life :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Full Plate

I realize that I haven’t posted on here in a few weeks and that is because my days have been jam packed FULL! And that is because...I HAVE A JOB :) I couldn’t be happier or more excited about this school year, but I also realize I have a lot on my plate and I might be living in “Miss Stephens’ Dream World” which could come crashing down on Tuesday (the first day of school) but hopefully not!

It was about 4 weeks ago that I was hired and I have spent every weekday, minus maybe 2 or 3 days, in my classroom. My room has come together nicely. But have I done much planning? Mmmmm...maybe not. Oops. Well, I’ll get it finished this weekend! I spent two weeks cleaning, organizing, throwing things away, moving furniture, and did I mention organizing!? My room was a disaster, but it has all come together and I will post pictures next week once the kids have taken over :) This past week was teacher work week and the week before that was training for new teachers. I have had more training the past two weeks than I think I received in 18 years of my previous education. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it sure felt that way. In the midst of all of the curriculum training I also had some other responsibilities put on my plate. My principal called me about a week ago and asked me if I would be the media liaison for my school (twice a month I have to send pictures and information to the newspaper, local TV stations, etc.). So of course I said “sure!!!” Then I went to more training :) Then at the beginning of this week my assistant principal says, “Miss Stephens, You are going to have the gifted cluster class.” And I said “ok!!!” And off to more training I went :) Then today my principal AND assistant principal come to me and say, “Miss Stephens, Will you take the BRIDGES kids in your class?” And I say, “oh, why not!!!” (BRIDGES is a special program for autistic kids, and 6 of their students will come into my room for portions of the day). Anyway, things keep piling up and I know this is going to be a crazy year, but I’m honestly thrilled.

Oh, and there was a bonus to taking all of this on. There is a new writing curriculum that I think is AMAZING and have been dying to teach called Being a Writer. Well each grade level is allowing one teacher to teach the curriculum this year, and I was not assigned as that teacher :( I asked my principal if we could share the curriculum, and she gave me a no. And since it is about $400 a kit, I knew I wasn’t going to be getting one. Well today when I had BRIDGES added to my plate, and I took it so willingly, my principal said she would get me my very own Being a Writer kit! YAYYYYYY!!!!!!! This must only be exciting to a teacher :)

I would definitely appreciate prayers that I will be able to juggle all of my new responsibilities as well as raise support. Please pray that my students will respect me as a teacher, and that we will all work well together, and learn from one another. And please pray that I would get enough sleep and stay healthy this year :)

Oh and I already have a funny kiddo quote! I had the kids do a Getting to Know You activity at Open House last night. One of the questions was, Who is someone that you admire and why? Well one of my students wrote...

I admire the girls at McDonalds and I don’t know why.

I’m thinking this one is going to be quite a character :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Me? Really?!

One of the missionaries from Uganda told me that if I didn’t feel any doubts or discouragements during the week of assessment with World Harvest not to be surprised if I did have them the couple of weeks following. Sometimes I do have doubts, but I truly believe the Lord has called me to go. However, I do sometimes questions whether or not this whole plan is not a little crazy. Part of my recent fear is the idea of giving up the job I JUST got! I mean it is the job I have been working SO HARD for for so long. Does it make any sense to just give that all up, leave my family and friends, and move to the middle of the African JUNGLE?! I was so encouraged yesterday by a blog post written by one of my team leaders in Bundibugyo.

“Often during the day I will look around at our surroundings and wonder why we are here. Sometimes this is with a little smile and a feeling of thankfulness for the opportunity to be somewhere and do something few in America will ever get to do. Sometimes it is with a furrowed brow and a quiver in the stomach thinking we need to pack the car and leave tonight. Who in their right mind would move their family to the center of Africa? What would compel someone to do such a thing?”

Amy goes on to describe WHAT and WHY they are in Bundi…

“I have been hoping to blog for sometime now on what we are doing. Yet, I could not find the words for it. In the heat of the battle, sometimes you forget why you are doing what you are doing. I feel I have some words for it now. It is simple. God loves us and calls us to see Him and love Him by showing his love to those who are forgotten. We are seeking to do so through teaching, healing, mentoring and sitting. We seek to be advocates to those for those who have no advocate. We begin to understand his grace as we extend his grace. We are freely giving to those who could never repay and at points have no idea that they even need help. We are giving Hope in a place that has had none for a long, long time. It is hard being here, but it is fulfilling. We need people willing to come and live life to the fullest with us here. We need a few good men (and women). “

I am SO in awe that God is allowing me to go and love the Ugandan people and the kiddos of the missionaries. God’s grace and love for me is overwhelming. I know Jesus is good, and even if everything would seemingly fall apart tomorrow, I still believe Jesus is good. Giving up my job and the security that it brings will be hard! Going to Uganda will be hard! But there will also be many joys and many beautiful pictures of redemption. I am excited to go and share the gospel and to remind myself of the gospel too! I know this year will have its ups and downs. There will be times that I can’t wait to go, and days where I think God has the wrong girl for the job! But I am thankful to have a Savior that loves me in spite of me and it doesn’t matter how I feel, or what I think or say or do. I am fully loved. Wow.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My First Big Girl Job

Yesterday I had an interview for either a fourth or fifth grade teaching position. I am SO excited to say that I go the job! Jesus is so sweet because I really left the interview feeling like I totally bombed it and I said "well Jesus I answered those questions so crapily, so if I do get the job I will KNOW it was ALL you." And indeed He does get ALL the glory. I called one of my friends to tell her the news and her dad was in the background saying, "Pamela finally has a big girl job!" I guess it is true..I finally have a big girl job :)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Uganda!!!


I have some very exciting news to share! I think it is the most exciting news I have ever had to date :) I spent the past week in Philadelphia attending Assessment and Orientation with World Harvest. This is the final approval process to be a missionary with World Harvest. I am happy to report that I am approved to go to Bundibugyo, Uganda! Lord willing I’ll be on the field this time next year. I’m going to be teaching the missionary kiddos :)


This past week was SO wonderful. Five (plus baby due in Sept :)) of my new teammates were going through the process with me, along with several other missionaries heading to other countries in Europe. The missionaries going to Uganda with me are AMAZING! I have been praying for teammates who I felt like I could connect with. God was more than gracious with these precious teammates.

In other news…I’m still on the job hunt for this year, but I am THRILLED to know where I’ll be next year and beyond for a while!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Update

The interview yesterday went really well. But I didn't get the job so I will just count it towards more interview experience. The principal called me the same day to let me know the position was going to someone else, but he told me that he will recommend me to other principals. With about 300 people applying for one opening this will be very helpful.

One of my best friends called me after I had just gotten the news and she was very encouraging to me. I was having a little meltdown and just feeling confused and frustrated. I started questioning everything in my life. She reminded me that my life is not my own, it isn't all about me. It is about Jesus and I am just one little letter in an entire story. However, she was also so encouraging in reminding me that I am loved and cared about.

Last night I came across this Bible verse...
Acts 20:24
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

I am really getting excited about my interview with World Harvest and I can't wait to meet my potential teammates. It will be so fun to spend the week with people who love missions as I do. Also, a bonus to the week is that my aunt and uncle live about 15 minutes from World Harvest and I will get to stay with them for the week. I haven't seen them in 3 years! So it will be fun to catch up with them and be with family in the midst of a potentially challenging week.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Still Searching

I'm still on the hunt for a job. I have applied to MANY teaching jobs in Virginia Beach. I had one interview at Providence, but I found out yesterday that I did not get the job :( Bummer. I have an interview tomorrow for a fifth grade position at another school.

I've been teaching summer school, although in a position I did not think I wanted. I was offered a kindergarten position for summer school, but because I do not have my license in hand (it is still in the LONG approval process at the state headquarters) I lost that job :( Fortunately there was a special education assistant position. I am working in 11 classrooms. My job is to work with all of the kids with IEPs (special ed.). I am actually really enjoying it because I am getting to observe many different teachers and I'm working in three different grade levels, so I feel like I'm learning a lot. I am really looking forward to having my own classroom for an entire year. What a treat that will be for me after all of this transitioning the past couple of years.

Please pray that my interview will go well on Thursday (it's at 11:30) and that if it's God's will I will get the job! I am trusting that God has just the right place in mind for me :) and maybe it isn't the worst thing to get some interview experience!
One more thing, I am going to Philadelphia the last week of July for Assessment and Orientation with World Harvest. If I am approved by them during this week then I can begin raising support to go to Uganda a year from now.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ms. or Mrs.

This year in the yearbook my name was printed as Mrs. Stephens and not Ms. Stephens. Today one of the students I student taught came up to me and informed me of this mistake. She said, "Ya know what Ms. Stephens? They accidentally put your name in the yearbook as Mrs. Stephens. But I really do think you deserve that r in your name."

Maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was hilarious and so sweet! :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Problem Solved


I am TOTALLY freaking out about getting a job…again…I know. I have applied for every single job opening in Virginia Beach K-5. For every job opening principals literally receive HUNDREDS of applications! Therefore, I’m totally stressed. For a while I was stressed about interviewing and making sure my portfolio was perfect. But once I found out how hard it is to even get an interview I stopped worrying about the interview and now I am just hoping to even get one. My mom keeps telling me to remember that God’s got in under control. I know this should totally calm me down, but if I’m honest, it doesn’t.

I was sitting earlier thinking about how God IS in control of everything and how He works everything out for good and His glory. When I am stressed I forget this. Well I asked God to help me better understand why bad stuff happens. I then proceeded to watch some TV and randomly decided to go through my books to see if I might have any good kiddo books on my shelves. As I was going through my books I came across a book I haven’t read and really didn’t even know I owned, called God and Evil: The Problem Solved by Gordon Clark. I literally busted out laughing because I know it is not an accident that I came across this book :) Anyway, I’m off to go read…

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Really Finished!





Last week I decided I wanted to walk in graduation. It was a complete last minute decision, and I had to make some phone calls and beg for them to let me walk. (I was supposed to let them know like 2 months ago!) But they let me, and I am so glad they did. It was a nice finale to all of my hard work this past year. The reason I decided I wanted to go was because I found out Glenn Beck was giving the commencement address! I really like Glenn Beck, and it was fun to get to see him in person. My mom ended up being the only one to come with me because my dad, brother, sister-in-law, and sister all had plans on Saturday they couldn’t get out of. My mom and I had fun running around campus taking pictures though, and we got to go shopping on the way home :) I can’t believe I am actually finished!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm A Graduate (Almost)!

My sweet Fourth Graders had a little farewell party for me. They put me in a chair in the middle of a circle and read sweet letters to me about our time together.

My student teaching has come to an end! I finished teaching 4th grade last Friday and returned to my assistant position this past Monday. A little over 16 weeks ago, the night before I was going to begin student teaching, I remember thinking to myself, “this is going to be a long and hard 16 weeks.” Well it FLEW by! I loved my fourth graders. It is nice that I work in the class across the hall, and I still get to see them around the building. I did learn that I prefer teaching the younger kids. I MISS my first graders SO much! I am hoping to get a position teaching a lower grade in the fall, preferably K, 1, or 2. But I won’t be picky. I’ll take anything that is a real teaching job!

I sent my application in to World Harvest this week. I am waiting on my references to be returned and for them to review everything. The next step is to be invited to Assessment and Orientation. That is a week long interview process at World Harvest headquarters the end of July. I have applied to teach at a small school for MKs (missionary kids) in Uganda.

My FINAL assignment for school is due on Sunday. Then I will be finished with my master’s degree! I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday that I started. This process has flown by too! It is amazing how quickly life changes. I am SO excited for this next year. I have been collecting a big pile of things for MY classroom in the fall and I am going to have so much fun setting it up!

On another random note: I was teaching a unit on plants and one of the kiddos said the SWEETEST thing for me to add to my quote book. I was asking for examples of germination, and I asked them if they could find an example in the classroom. We had planted seeds that were beginning to sprout, and I was looking for one of the kids to give that as an example. One little boy raised his hand and said that I was an example of germination. I said, "what do you mean?" His reply was, "well you're growing into a teacher." How precious is that! :)