Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's REALLY Almost My Birthday This Time

Third Amendment:

Well, friends, on Thursday, August 1, I will be 25 years old!  That's right: a whole quarter of my life has passed.  I would be incredibly sad if I didn't know that I still have three quarters left, and if I was not completely convinced that the next years are the best years.  

(If you hate reading, skip this paragraph.  It is very interesting, but the info is not mandatory.)
This summer has been nuts.  I spent the first half scrambling to get my teaching certificate "in time" to get a job offer.  I then spent three weeks preparing lesson plans for ninth graders at the school where I subbed all last semester.  I finished the first month's plans on July 17.  Then, on July 19, I got a phone call from "my" principal saying the district had made cuts and I would not be able to work at that school.  I was pretty freaked out considering teacher in-service was set to start in less than two weeks (in OKC's district).  But my faith was bigger than my fear (even though my fear was a good size).  I applied to three schools in three surrounding districts (for crying out loud, why are there SO MANY districts?) and was ready to beat the streets finding a job.  I wanted to work in OKC but had reason to believe there were no English Language Arts (ELA) positions open.  Monday I called my old high school (that would have been fun, I think).  Tuesday in the midst of some other chaos (see later video blogs), I got an email from an OKC school asking if I wanted to interview.  Thursday morning I went in to a school three times the size of the one I was at last semester.  68% Latino (que bueno!) with updated facilities and technology.  The interview went well.  Not so well that I would refuse an interview from a top school in the 'burbs, when they called sounding desperate two hours later and wanting a same-day interview.  Shortly after that second interview, where I was very "candid" (read "ballsy") about my bent toward OKC's district, I got a call with the offer from my future employer.  I thought about it a few minutes.  Who doesn't want to work at one of the best schools in the metro (if not the state)?  This girl.  That school will find someone else, someone who is excited to teach their kids.  I am excited to teach the kids who really need good teachers, and to keep them from having to deal with a sub for the first few weeks of school, and to learn their (our) language, and to meet their families, and to watch them become all they can be

So, as I approach this momentous hallmark of adulthood - getting my first ever full-time (and some), salaried job with benefits, I think about what I want for my birthday.  It might be fun to have a huge dinner party where we all get dressed up and get to eat and drink and be merry.  But I find myself not really wishing for anything except the opportunity to be spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared to give these kids my whole life - for a year or five or twenty or more (not counting breaks).  This has been a hard transition.  I'll work at the library until Tuesday night.  Teacher in-service technically begins Wednesday, July 31 but I am reporting for professional development Monday and Tuesday (7/29-30).  Classes begin Monday, August 5.  I don't know what grades or specific classes I'm teaching, my last half-check from the library system will be August 8, and I still have regular bills.  If I didn't walk with God I'd be so stressed out, I wouldn't be able to function.  Knowing God really does let you know peace.  Yet and still, when I think about birthday presents and parties and celebrations, my next thought is how sad I'll be if I have to wait until August 31 (my first teacher check) to buy what I need for this huge life transition.  Yes, I have a bright and brilliant personality, but the first 20 days of school will be much more manageable with the right number of dry erase markers, poster board, connector cord from my laptop to the smartboard (Mac user problems), colored sharpies, extra paper, pens, pencils, folders, binders, and things my students might forget or be unable to afford.  I'll need index cards, dividers, paper towels, Kleenex (because those are not provided and I personally hate drying my nose on toilet paper). And of course, prize candy, because sometimes you just can't motivate a teenager any other way.  I need to make an eye appointment and get new glasses.  My new school is 30 minutes from my house instead of around the corner like the old school was.  I'm trying my best to be healthy and drink Shaklee's energizing tea or use our chews instead of drinking coffee or energy drinks.  And I think adding yoga into my routine will help keep the health up and the stress down.  But everything costs money I don't have.

So here's what I'm asking: if I told you I was throwing a huge 25th birthday soirée at a restaurant of my choosing (probably the Cheesecake Factory), would you come?  And if you came, how much money would you spend on dinner?  It would bless my heart to no end if you would give that amount in cash, check, or via PayPal on the Internet into my keeping so that I can spend it on starting this school year
right.  I would love to gorge myself on cheesecake and sangria swirls, but my health and productivity are the kids' effective lessons and progress.  They come first.  Make a choice, make a change, make a difference.  Send me an e-card or hand-written one, and tell me how much you love me and how much you're praying for me and these kiddos, and then wrap your head around this: I believe that God will richly bless you if you choose to give into their lives through me.  You would be sowing a seed into the Kingdom.  Pay it forward past me to them.  Please.  Contact me in the comments, via email, or on Facebook or Twitter for my mailing address if you need it.  If you're using the PayPal method, just click the "donate" link to the right and follow the instructions.  When you do that, if you are then curious what HEAR OKC is click here.

In addition to your monetary donation to the dream, please include a mailing address and something that you would like me to support you in, stand with you on, or pray for you about.  A wise man (my pastor) told me to give out of my abundance, and I have been abundantly blessed with insight and the ability to encourage and intercede.  Give me a chance to use it for you.

P.S. I promise not to buy new clothes or new shoes, not get my hair dyed, not get a manicure or pedicure.  All of your money will go straight into the "Najah as a healthy, not-stressed teacher" fund unless you specify otherwise. 

P.P.S. Why cash, check, or PayPal rather than gift cards? Because there are things I will need other than what I listed above.  I might need a stool to sit on at the podium.  I might feel the need to paint my podium.  I might want to use material instead of paper borders.  I have to buy lunch at school everyday.  Who knows what stores I will find my materials at, or what kind of deals I’ll be able to make.  I don’t want to be limited to Target, Wal-Mart and Staples.  Also because you can just give me two dollars, if that’s what you feel led to give.  

P.P.P.S.  If you are not able to give anything, I totally understand.  If you are one of my Leo friends and I am not getting you a present because I have no extra income, I totally understand (and apologize)!  Please, at the very least write a little note and give me some encouraging thoughts and words as I prepare for one of the biggest changes in my life AND tell me what I can pray for you about.  I will most likely keep the best of these notes with me at school to encourage me when the kids are acting like knuckle-heads or when my lesson plan flops. 

Thank you a million times in advance (and expect a thank-you card)!! I love you!


  1. Najah, Sweet Girl

    I love you so much and I think you are absolutely BRILLIANT (spoken with David Tennant Dr Who accent)!! You shine so bright, you are going to sparkle for these kids. They don't know what's about to hit them :)

    I will soon follow you into my 25th year of life and I must say, God has carried me through some rough seas already. There are some points that I am not even sure I would have survived had I not had Him. The worst to befall me occurred this past March. I found out I was pregnant with our first child to then have to have surgery to remove my baby because I was dying for internal bleeding from the fetus implanting incorrectly. This happened within hours of each other. My heart still hurts and my tears will never dry. However, I know my Creator has my son, I know I will hold him one day, and I know God will not let this child be my only. He's amazing and dream fulfilling! Remember that when you are having trouble looking up :)

    Chris and I are on a tight budget; I am, however, going to keep you in mind when I have some extra cash floating around. I want to help you and support you and encourage you to keep moving forward and giving your heart to these kids. All I ask in return is to pray with me God will grant my hearts desire soon with a child. I love you girl, you are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I'll send you a more personal response to this via FB message, but thank you so so much for reading, and for your kind words! You are so much in my prayers!!