Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Goals; professional and otherwise

As a part of my review for my new job as a teacher I was asked to answer the questions below.  I dreaded doing it but actually enjoyed it in the end.  So instead of New Year's Resolutions, I have this.

Professional Goal Plan Sheet
Teacher:   Amie Berryhill                                     Date:  December 12, 2010

1.  Write your own personal mission statement.
As a human being and a child of the Living God I believe I am created to know and love Jesus, to read and live out his Word, to be the best wife possible to Daniel and to live out my calling as a teacher with gusto, passion and confidence.  With the perspective that I am the only Amie Sue Furry Berryhill that ever was or ever will be on this planet, I commit to strive only toward what he wishes for me to be: the best wife, daughter, sister, (someday) mother, friend and teacher that I can be.
2.  What two goals surfaced out of writing your mission statement?
My desire to be an amazing teacher can be broken down into many concrete goals.  I would like to increase my ability to differentiate in my math classes, to integrate more technology and manipulatives into my lessons and to have a firmer grasp on how to help my students become better writers. 

3.  List potential obstacles to achieving goals.
My biggest obstacles in achieving these goals are my fear of the complexity of the tasks and my inability to balance my job-life, home-life and social-life.   The first of those obstacles comes from watching other teachers create “math contracts” and use the computer lab for class activities with seemingly little difficulty.  My second obstacle, being my inability to say “no”, keeps me running from work to kickboxing to coffee dates to babysitting to house sitting to whatever else.  This kind of lifestyle steals my peace, saps me of energy and leaves me doing lots but doing little well.

4.  How do you expect to achieve these goals?
I expect to achieve these goals by tapping into the amazing resources I have around me, namely, the other teachers here at PES.  Melissa Puno, Amy Stadler and Katie Winslow are just three of the teachers that I need to simply ask for help.  I know they are doing the things I want to do: differentiated math, using technology and training up strong writers.  I need to go to them for advice, ideas and encouragement.
 My second goal can only be achieved by surrendering. I need to surrender my will and my need to please others to the Lord.  I need to stop trying to be everything to everyone so that I can be what God and I most want me to be: a loving wife, a remarkable teacher and a joyful, rested, loving human being. 

5.  What excites you about these goals?
EVERYTHING EXCITES ME ABOUT THESE GOALS!  Knowing that they are attainable and that making them a priority will benefit everyone around me (Daniel, my students, me) fills me with a desire and an energy to get started right away.  I hope that during the Christmas break I will have time to do some major planning for the two quarters left this year.  I also hope that the ringing in of the new year will be a chance for me to resolve to slow down, say no to some social activities and to spend time investing in my relationship with God and with Daniel.  With these goals in the forefront of my mind and with the Holy Spirit guiding me, I think 2011 will be a marvelous year.

*Sidenote:  A group of my closest friends and I have committed to reading through the Bible together in the year 2011.  We have a game plan and a means of communicating with one another for accountability and encouragement.  I believe this group resolution will keep my head and my heart firmly planted in Scripture and from my life experience I know that I am a much better person when God’s Word is being read and meditated on daily.

Monday, September 6, 2010

2010 Reading List

Bolded titles are ones that I have read so far this year.

A Study in Scarlett - Arthur Conan Doyle
The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon - Stephen King
The Lightening Thief - Rick Riordan
The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
Prayer is a Place - Phyllis Tickle
Life Together - Deitrich Bonhoeffer
A People's History of the United States - Howard Zinn
World Without End - Ken Follet
Emma - Jane Austen
The Zookeeper's Wife
Red Moon Rising
Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
Eat Pray Love
Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
Letters to a Young Evangelical - Tony Campolo
Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
East of Eden - John Steinbeck
Good Omens- Neil Gaiman
Smoke and Mirrors - Neil Gaiman
Fragile Things - Neil Gaiman
The Name of the Wind - 
The Titan's Curse - Rick Riordan
M is for Magic - Neil Gaiman
The Checklist Manifesto
A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson
How Can My Kid Succeed in School? - Craig Puhlman
Pope Joan
Say You're One of Them 
Inkheart - Cornelia Funke
The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

Beatrice and Virgil - Yann Martell
The Well-Trained Mind; A Guide to Classical Education
The Core
Last Child in the Woods- Richard Louv
The Sparrow
Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Flowers for Algernon

So, I still love Neil Gaiman.  Also, I've reread a few of the Harry Potter books and Breaking Dawn of the Twilight series. Any suggestions?

Me now.

Teaching 3rd Grade.

Not ready to get pregnant yet.

Sleepy all the time.

Trying to live by this: Early to bed, early to rise.

Also trying to live by this: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Failing at both of those pretty regularly.

Dreaming (literally and figuratively) of Europe.

Still very much in love with Daniel.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wet Fleece, Dry Fleece

I feel like Gideon. 

Lord, give me a sign. Let this fleece be wet tomorrow morning but the ground remain dry so that I may know it is you speaking to me and sending me.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fast and Pray

I detached from Facebook for the week.  Hence the updating of this blog.  I substituted one time waster for another.  I was doing great at the beginning of the week.  Reading the Bible a lot.  I felt better about everything.  

"Godliness with contentment is great gain."  That is a verse I am trying to ingest, meditate on and then live out.  It's so small a verse yet so huge a concept. 

I have for some time felt that God accidentally made me in the wrong century.  I mean not really since I trust God not to make such huge mistakes (tiny ones, maybe).  So since I trust his timing I would often wonder why I was put here and now? I mean, I guess that is the huge question we are all wrestling with right?  Here is what I am getting to: deep down in my bones I want to live in a one room cabin with no electricity and spend most of my day farming.  I think I would have been really great at living in the year, oh, 1902.  

I read Cold Mountain recently, and it is about these two ladies who run this farm in the 1860s in the mountains of North Carolina.  Yes, it was difficult.  Yes, it was exhausting.  But goodness, to work with my hands like that; to plow fields and shuck corn and raise goats.  I also just started See You in a Hundred Years.  A book about a husband and wife who leave New York City to move into a farm in Virginia and live like it was there 100 years ago.  I've only read the first two pages.  I'll update about it as I get more into it.

Tonight, I built a bonfire in my backyard. (It was my second solo bonfire success!)  I wanted to make squash and brats.  So I collected the wood, got the fire going, chopped the vegetables, skewered the meat and got to cooking.  IT WAS DELICIOUS!  And I feel accomplished, though it was such a small thing.  

All of this is to say that I want a simple life. I want a simplicity that starts within and then manifests itself in my actions and behaviors and lifestyle.  

I love to fast.  Not while I'm in the middle of one. But before and after.  In the middle it sucks.  I hate not eating what I want when I want.  So fasting is the most immediate way to practice self-discipline and to crucify my flesh.  

I did an extended fast recently.  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be... because I did it with other believers.  It was amazing.  I didn't have any divine revelations but everything was put into perspective.  I learned that I am capable of doing an extended fast.  I hope to do another one soon.  Maybe 7 days.  I feel listless and directionless.  I want to fast and pray until I hear God's voice in my life.  Until I feel where his Spirit is leading. Until I know what step to take next.  

"Taste and see that the Lord is good."  I don't think I've gotten a good taste in a while. I feel thirsty for his Spirit.  

"Seek him and you will find him when you seek him with all your heart."

Friday, November 13, 2009

I think it's time to soar.

I have been thinking so much lately. Thinking and not doing. I've also been reading a lot. Well, not any more than usual but I have been wanting to read a lot more. Insatiable. That is the word that best describes my desire to read right now. I am currently reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan, A Common Sense Guide to Economics by Thomas Sowell, Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, Getting Started in Drawing by Wendon Blake and Leviticus by uh, Moses? I'm reading Leviticus because every January I make the resolution to read through the entire Bible. By the time I get to Leviticus I poop out. It's dreadful. So, I'm starting there now. Reading three chapters every night. It works very well to put me to sleep.

I've been feeling levels of discontentment which have heretofore been unknown to me. Forgotten God is speaking very clearly to that. It's about the Holy Spirit and his role in our lives. Francis states that we are all living dreadfully separated from the Spirit of God. And I agree.

I want to be famous. There. That is my biggest confession. I'm not sure which is saddest... the fact that I have that pitifully shallow desire or that I have no skill or talent for which I would ever be famous. I would like to write children's books. Or be a musician or a photographer. I suppose in a nutshell I would like to be an artist. If Daniel made all the money we needed to live I would do arts and crafts all day. I think. Also, I would have babies. But that scares me, too. I was thinking today... I think my mom could have been anything she wanted to be when she was a young lady... instead, though, she had kids. It's funny because I think I could be anything I want to be, too. But I think instead I'll have kids.

I really do believe that being a mom is the most important responsibility and joy, even, in all the world. That is why I so strongly desire to be one (and because of some innate urge that I feel deep down in my soul). BUT, I must also admit that I mourn all the things that are sacrificed when deciding to take that path in life.

I know a lot of yuppie moms. Moms who have garages full of colored Tupperware tubs that are color coded for each holiday and season. Moms who scrapbook. Moms who don't have to work because their husbands make plenty so they can stay home and volunteer at their kids' school or take the kids to the library or to the park in the middle of the day. Part of me wants that so bad it's embarrassing. But another part of me cringes at the thought that one day I will be just like all the other yuppie moms in all the other yuppie neighborhoods who all attend yuppie churches with other yuppie families. (Do you feel my disdain for yuppie-ness???)

BUT what if I have a family with a mini-van, some scrapbooks and color-coated Tupperware tubs while living in community with other believers??? Will that make it okay?? Will that make me less of a yuppie? I hope so. And by in community with other believers I mean literally living in the same house with another family or two (or three or four).

How ridiculous is it that this takes up so much of my thought life when D and I are years away from ever even having a child (or a house or a mini-van)? Quite.

I'm late to something. C'est ma vie.

('Let your yes be yes and your no be no.' That's when the Bible is telling us not to swear or promise. I promise to blog more often. And I swear I'll be as honest as I can.)

Shout outs to Brandy, Abi and Jess: my followers. And Emaline. I think she reads this, too.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It happened exactly the way I didn't want it to happen.

The blogging that is...because well, obviously, I'm not a consistent blogger. It turns out that it is kind of overwhelming to write something that is interesting, deep, funny or all of the above. Added on to that is the pressure to write well. I thought about shutting down this operation completely but then I knew I would think of a zillion interesting, deep or funny things to say right after I did it.

The other day I spilled some flour in the cabinet. My housemate pointed it out to me nicely and I gladly cleaned it up. The next morning I came down stairs and found a note from my housemate that asked if I would clean the flour up in the cabinet. Apparently, I had missed a few places where the flour had spilled. So I go to look in the cabinet and find notes posted with arrows pointing to all the places where I missed cleaning. They were mostly on shelves above or below my line of sight. The night before I had only cleaned up what was right in front of me.

I don't mean to overspiritualize, but it made me think about some things. 1) We (here meaning me) hate to have our mistakes pointed out to us. 2) We (again, me) need others to help us see the bigger picture. and 3) Grace is the best thing about Christianity.

Even little paper arrows can cause my anger to flare and my accusing finger to fly. Even though I knew there was no maliciousness intended it still hurt. Hurt what exactly? I guess my pride.

My second reaction (after anger) at seeing those paper arrows was to laugh. There were LOTS of arrows. I had missed LOTS of the spilled flour. I couldn't help but laugh at how blind I must have been to have missed so much and how silly I was to think that the flour only spilled directly in front of me.

Grace is not easily defined for me. But I know it when it is given. There are not silly hard feelings to hold onto. There is no unspoken bitterness.
After cleaning ALL the flour up I continued to clean and organize the whole pantry. So this morning I woke up to a nice note from my housemate telling me how nice the pantry looks.

Living in community, specifically Christian community is an exercise in learning to show grace and receive it. I think we are doing pretty well.