Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Love and an Author Letter!

Hello to whoever is out there reading my random posts.  You'll be pleased to know that I haven't had a meltdown since Friday.  I'm making progress and working on getting my ducks in a row for our move to Orlando and my new job.
Insurance forms, Experience Verification paperwork (to
send to two countries, banking information, OH MY.

On an unrelated note, I read a good book on my road trip. It was one I picked off the "new books" display shelf at the Library, called "Same Sun Here" by Silas House and Neela Vaswani.  

It's hard to tell if it's more of a children's or a young adult novel, but I'd say it's for the 10+ crowd.  I'm no good at book reviews or descriptions, so let me borrow the brief overview:  
In this extraordinary novel in two voices, an Indian immigrant girl in New York City and a Kentucky coal miner’s son find strength and perspective by sharing their true selves across the miles.
It's a pen-pal book, written entirely as letters from the Indian girl to the Kentuckian.  I've always loved books written as letters (i.e. Dear Mr. Henshaw, Love That Dog, etc...) and this was no different--I really loved it.  It helped that it has environmental activism, as well as immigration, as central themes.
Well, when I finished the book and read a bit more about the authors, I discovered that Silas House, the man who writes the Kentucky side of the story, lives and works in Berea, Kentucky--an Appalachian artisanal  town my family frequents when we visit our friends Lori and Mike. Since I thought that was a neat little connection, and I loved the book so much, I shot him a little e-mail.  And guess what?  He wrote back!  I just had to share:

Dear Tara,Thanks so much for your kind words.  If you ever decide to use SSH in class please let me know and I could Skype or visit your class.  There is a great printable discussion guide available online at .  Thanks again for picking up the book!
All best,Silas
I learned a valuable lesson--write authors!  I think that's my new motto.  :)  That's all for now.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Meltdowns and Promises

Something I should remember more often...

It has only been two days (and approximately four meltdowns) since we returned from our Tennessee-Kentucky-Pennsylvania-South Caroline-Georgia road trip, and already much has been accomplished.    Thursday and Friday were a whir of pre-employment orientation and apartment hunting.  As much as I'd like to say that all has been achieved in a calm, collected, and professional manner, it's simply untrue.  For easy reading, I decided to create a list of the meltdowns that took me through my Thursday and Friday as we began the process of establishing ourselves as Orlando residents. 

Tara's Meltdowns
listed chronologically

1.  PreEmployment Orientation meltdown (well... more like prolonged whining...) :
Did you know that some senate bill was passed recently which prohibits teachers with Masters degrees from earning more money unless her teaching certificate is specifically in what her Masters is in.  So, essentially this means that although my masters in Curriculum and Instruction (sp: Language Arts and Children's Literature) is directly related to teaching Elementary education, I will not be compensated for it.  I'm pretty furious, and expect to call everyone possible to see what can be done.  So, I actually did and learned a lot at the orientation meeting--but that's what stuck with me....

2.  "Oh-Lordy-Have-I-Acted-Too-Soon?: Meltdown :
Daniel and Mom came to Orlando with me on Thursday and spent my orientation time driving around apartment-hunting.  Afterwards, while waiting for Mom to finish up at a doctor's appointment, I got a call from another Orlando school asking if I wanted to interview; to which I had to respond that I'd already accepted another position.  The meltdown happened when I went home and realized that the school that called me was the technology rich, high ranking, dual-language (only 1 of 2 in the county), A school that I'd really hoped to work at.  When we got home that night I literally had a physical reaction to the anxiety I felt about having potentially accepted too soon and stuck myself into something I might regret. After my clamminess subsided and my jello legs firmed up, and I really gave in to prayer, I remembered that my God gave me peace about accepting my first offer.  He also gave me a passionate desire to serve those in need while living in the U.S., and the job I work at will give me daily opportunities to do so.  Oh how quickly I forget.

3. "I-Miss-My-Babies" Meltdown :
On Friday, Daniel and I drove back to Orlando to see an apartment we were interested in.  On the way there, a song came on the radio that my students from last year sang at the Father's Day program.  When I mentioned that to my Oh-So-Sensitive husband, he made what he thought was a funny remark about them being my "ex-students."  You should have seen me.  It was like he released a month of built up tears and pent up grief that I hadn't let flow.  I sobbed like a baby right there amidst the I-4 traffic, and I couldn't stop.  I actually want to cry right now, thinking about it.  I sometimes hate the idea of teaching third grade again this year because I know it won't be them.
Easier said than done, doc.
4.  "Oh-Lordy-Have-I-Acted-Too-Soon?: Meltdown Number Two :
Without going into all the details of our exhausting apartment search, I'll say that we ended up signing a lease with the very last place we visited.  We gave up our desire to have a first floor apartment (we had hoped to move in mom's piano), for a second-floor apartment with a much nicer interior than any we'd seen so far.  Having lost all of my checks to the black hole (i.e. the storage unit all of my belongings ended up in while I was in Honduras this past year), we had to leave to get a money order to pay the application fee.  Once I left, I freaked out and thought we'd made a terrible decision with the second floor unit.  All I could think about were the hundreds of other apartments we hadn't been able to see--what if there was some undiscovered gem out there?  I feared we had rushed into it.  I cried after the dumb 7-11 ATM rejected my card because I'd inserted it incorrectly three times.  And I was blessedly reminded that I've got a husband now and I don't have to make al the decisions alone.  He felt very comfortable and pleased with our choice, and his excitement helped me perk up a bit.

I can't believe how incredibly packed and non-stop my time in the States has been so far.  It's hard because when I get caught up in all of it, I forget to stop and breath and remember my God and all that he's promised me.  He promises that he knows the plans he has for me; he promises to stay with me, to strengthen me, to give me rest. He promises to satisfy my needs.  And, best of all, he promises to fill me with a divine peace that is beyond all understanding.  Enough with the meltdowns.  It's time I started clinging to the promises.

images found on

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

independence day

Some reasons I am grateful for America on her birthday:

Thank you for:

Law Enforcement
Well Maintained Roads
Good Education
Freedom to Worship
Free refills