Gordon the “gourd”man wishes you a Happy Halloween! (at Trinity Presbyterian Church)
You take the Red Pill -- I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
I’ve long held that journaling private thoughts in a public forum is the apex of wisdom - it was my motivation for starting a blog.
So a quick update on my life and how I feel about things.
1) As of June 1st I have resigned my position at Florida Virtual School. Working at FLVS was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I am exceptionally grateful for my time there, but I was called in a different direction.
2) As of January 1st I’ve decided I don’t particularly enjoy my major and don’t know what I am going to do for the rest of my life.
3) As of 6pm today June the 3rd I have accepted and started a position as a Sr. Camp Counselor at Camp Gilead in Polk City, FL.
How that makes me feel:
1 ) Leaving FLVS was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I abandoned security financially and emotionally and had to leave a status, position and income that I had become dependent on as a part of defining my identity. I am terrified to be without that security and I can do nothing but be completely dependent on God to take care of me and keep me safe and secure. Without leaving however, I would have only ever continued to worship the created things and influence that my job provided me and not worship the creator of those things.
2) Along with point 1 I have always maintained an illusion of control and confidence around my affairs. Not knowing what I am doing academically and aimlessly wandering around also scares me to no end.
3) Camp is going to be a challenge. I love my comfort. To be without the things that make me feel comfortable and safe. To be without my family and friends that I find my identity in is unnerving. I am excited, scared, humbled and generally a ball of nerves wondering how God is going to provide emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, relationally, and socially. He is and always has been in control, but I am going to have to learn to love and trust him far more than I love or trust anyone or anything else and that is scary for me.
I need your prayers, encouragement and advice over the next few months and beyond. So that I can faithfully display and declare the Glory of God in Jesus, expectantly depending on God’s provision, Joyfully Growing through his ordinary means, Boldly sacrificing for him and neighbor, Lovingly Pursuing his kingdom and those around me and Passionately witnessing about God’s holiness, power and grace in Creation in the face of my sin and in the glory of his redemption of sinners like me.
Love you all,
Dear Educator: Hey, remember me, I’m your student, and I have something to say. I have gotten to attend many different schools. I’ve gotten to work in your districts, speak at your conventions, send you YouTube videos, and write you letters and articles, but you are still ignoring me. I’m the shy kid in the back of your class, the college junkie, the obnoxious teachers pet, annoying class clown, and the “average” kid no one ever pays attention to. You look at me every day but you still haven’t learned what it means to listen to me, but I’ve been listening to you. Don’t believe me? I know if I say I want customer service half of you will cringe and the other half throw me a party. I know you want freedom from regulation. I know for some Waiting for Superman made some of you cry tears of joy while others cried tears of anger. I don’t care. I don’t care because it doesn’t matter, you don’t listen to me anyways. You think you do?! Fine. Prove it! Pay attention to customer service, pay attention to “Student Service.” Let me talk, and let’s have a conversation. Respond to my needs, not my wants. Design a plan to make me successful - not your numbers, because I’m not a number. I have hopes, I have plans. I have dreams sweeter than you can imagine and I have nightmares that would make you cry. I don’t want cheap talk. I want action. Don’t hand me a comment card or a survey. Stop yelling at my teacher every time I have a complaint, it’s not her fault and it just makes things worse for me. Invite me into the educational process, it’s my education. Student service isn’t about new performance metrics, or a great new program, it’s not about hiring a new manager or starting a QA department. Student service is more than keeping customers happy and it’s more important than appeasing the lawmakers and bureaucrats. The point is not to keep me entertained, the point is to keep me engaged. It’s not allowing me to text my friends and play with my phone, it’s about preparing me to live the life I am going to have outside of your classroom. It’s not about handing me an A to get me to shut up or rearranging your classroom to be more fung shui. It’s about creating an environment where learning is fun and useful. Please! For the love of all that is good, please stop teaching me how to pass a test. Teach me how to think, teach me how to explore and wonder at the world. Teach me how to interact with people and how to work together. Start listening. Start paying attention. Sure, you may have to start some programs and hire some people. You’ll have to work within the laws and get things cleared though the important people at the capitol. I get it. Just don’t give up, don’t stop listening to me just because they’ve stopped listening to you. Don’t lose your passion, don’t forget why you started to be an educator. Just don’t give up. This is my life, it’s important to me and I need you to go champion for me, and I need you to listen, because of you don’t who will?? Be my comrade in arms, listen to me, genuinely express care for me and my success. I promise that one day it will all be worth it and I’ll blow your mind. Sincerely - Your Student
The importance of a great music collection cannot be underestimated. I got to clean out iTunes today and listen to some great new music. You should check out Michael Henry and Justin Robinett… they’ve got some great stuff. I also bought all of the current “popular” music just to get caught up. I’ve decided to trim my budget to add more music. We’ll see how it goes.
My current iPhone home screen. I saw someone do this a while ago and thought it was a great way to share and find apps.
Things is a GTD (getting things done) app that helps me plan, organize and manage my tasks. It’s not free but also offers cloud syncing with an iPad and Mac client.
This is like Things, but for school. iStudiez also offers cloud sync and tracks my schedules, assignments, and grades.
The best Twitter client I’ve found for iPhone. Tweetbot is gesture based and has a really nice user interface.
This is a 3rd party camera app that comes with a bunch of third party filters. I used it because it launches pretty quickly, but have been using it less lately because of Apple’s quick camera access in iOS 5.1.
This is Siri for people without the iPhone 4S. It can make calls, send emails and texts and perform basic searches all by voice prompt.
This is a companion app to an online solution I use to manage my finances. Mint hooks into my online banking and aggregates data from all my accounts. It tracks my budget by category, reminds me to pay my bills, and sends me an alert when something is wrong with my money.
Snackr provides a 5 minute audio clip of my daily news. It trolls Facebook to bring current events based on y interests. It also provides me with a personalized update with my friends birthdays that day and the weather forecast.
This app offers cloud syncing and is a simple easy text editor. I use this for documenting long thoughts, and keeping information sorted that isn’t really a note, but isn’t really a shareable document either.
I use this app to add things to Evernote quickly. It works really fast and is just what I need.
This is amongst my favorite apps. Free time hooks into my various calendars and allows me schedule time with people based on my availability. It offers filtering options for finding time by meal, and by duration.
This app plays me music. Spotify is a free service that allows you to basically play any song ever at any time. You can also create playlists of your favorite songs and share them with your friends.
This app is put out by my church and allows me to play that weeks sermon. Track upcoming events. Stay on top of the church’s bible reading plan and keep up with what’s going on in my church community.
This is a companion app to an online service. TripIt manages travel itineraries by aggregating all of your flight, car, hotel an other reservations and crates a plan for you. It also stores all of your information in one place and monitors your travel to alert you and any travel companions of changes.
This app in my option woks best as a group contact manager. I use it to keep groups for school projects, social events and work activities. With the touch of a button I can then email call or text all the members of the group at the same time.
This is a journaling app. I use it to track stray thoughts and options for my own benefit.
This is the standard Apple settings app. I place it here for quick access to things like brightness and network settings.
This is my primary app for phone and texting purposes. I use this app to basically replace the standard phone and SMS app on the iPhone. Dialvetica provides really quick access to phone and sms commands and automatically creates a favorites list based on who you call when.
Agenda is my replacement for Apples calendar. This app is clean quick and has a gray gesture based user experience. The iPad app is also excellent.
This is my bible. It is the most expensive of all my apps 15$. This app is a powerful bible, with great study notes as well as highlighting annotating and bookmarking tools. I have stopped carrying a paper bible and have this with me all the time.
This app allows me to launch other apps and perform other tasks at the touch of a button. It helps you automate and schedule tasks for later. For instance if I need to call the dry cleaners I can tell Launch Center to remind me at 3:30. Then at 3:30 I get a notification - when I select the alert it starts calling immediately.
My trip to NJ:
This year for spring break I had the opportunity to spend time with some family in the “Garden State” AKA New Jersey. While I was here I was able to spend time with my aunt and uncle, Jaron and Beth; and my cousins, Josiah and Lizzy. I had a wonderful time! It was an amazing opportunity to spend time with some wonderful people and do life together.
I left Tampa, FL (TIA) on Monday afternoon, on my way into Atlantic City, NJ (ACY). Once I got into ACY Jaron picked me up at the airport and we went to a hotel, where he and Beth were enjoying a night off. I then took their car to their home on the Jersey Shore, where I relieved the babysitter who was staying with Josiah and Lizzy.
Tuesday was my day to spend time with Josiah and Lizzy while Jaron and Beth enjoyed a much deserved break. The kids got up a bit earlier than I normally do, they inspired me to get up around 6:30, and I was able to get myself ready for our day while they played in their room until 7. After we had breakfast (eggs scrambled with cheese) and finished getting dressed we headed out for an adventure! It was freezing cold (29 degrees!) and so we headed to somewhere warm, Barnes and Noble. These kids loved B&N and we spent some time playing on the train table in the back of the store. After Barnes and Noble the kids and I headed to the pet shop and watched all the animals for another half hour. After our pet store adventure Josiah was eager to go to Chucky Cheese. Wow! Is that ever the adventure. Armed with a cup full of tokens and ambition we spent an hour to an hour and a half having a blast and collecting nearly 300 tickets. We then headed home to have lunch before picking Jaron and Beth up from their hotel to join us in our escapades. Tuesday evening Beth made us Pizza to eat and we all got ready for another great day on Wednesday.
Wednesday morning I was inspired to get up again and spend some more time with these awesome people. It was a bit sad Wednesday morning because Josiah goes to preschool and Jaron had to go to work. After dropping Jaron and Josiah off, Beth, Lizzy and I went to Target to take care of some grocery shopping and headed home to give Beth time to make dinner. We then picked Josiah up from preschool and had a great lunch at Chick-Fil-A (one of my favorite restaurants.) Following lunch we went home and took a rest, and Beth got me hooked on the Hunger Games series. We finished rest time (which was a welcome new reality) and took a meal that Beth made to a family in their church. For dinner we had a delicious Chicken Casserole with cheesy rice and fresh home made rolls. Beth is a great cook! That evening after the kids were in bed Jaron, Beth and I sat in the living room and read the Hunger Games; Jaron was a bit irritated with Beth and myself for reading all day without him and getting ahead. We went to bed and I read until I had finished the first book and started the second.
On Thursday Jaron had work again but Josiah got to stay home and play. Josiah and Lizzy had some friends come over for a play date most of the day and so I spent a good portion of the day reading. I finished the second and third book by 2:30. I did stop for a lunch break and explored their neighborhood a bit by venturing out on a walking journey to 7-11. The trip to 7-11 was great but I learned that my shoes were suited for waking on flat hard surfaces, not the NJ terrain. That evening we had Chicken Parmesan for dinner which was also delicious thanks to Beth. After dinner Beth went to a “sell things out of your home” party at her friends house and Jaron and I watched a movie. We went to bed around 9:30, just before Beth got home, not the most considerate thing to do in the world, but we were tired. I slept like a rock all night.
Friday morning was similar to Wednesday. We dropped Jaron at work and Josiah at preschool, but then Beth and I took a detour to Starbucks, it was great to have time to just sit and talk. Beth is a wise person. We then went to Target to pick up more supplies and then to the NJ public library. At the library Lizzy and I did puzzles while Beth picked out books for the kids. We grabbed Josiah from preschool and headed home for lunch. Over lunch Beth and I planned a trip into NYC for Jaron and I the next day. That afternoon Beth went to the gym and I spent some time resting at the house. Josiah also colored me am awesome picture after his nap. She picked Jaron up from work and then we all went to Starbucks to take advantage of the half price coupons we got that morning while Jaron had a meeting. We had chicken fajitas for dinner that night, also delicious albeit a bit spicy. Jaron had youth group Friday night, so after the kids went to bed, Beth and I watched undercover boss on TV. When Jaron got home that night we all sat down and went over our plans for the next day.
Saturday was the longest day of my trip. Jaron and I went into NYC and got to hang out all day. I would go into more detail, but it’s so long I decided to write another blog post just on my trip to the Big Apple. It suffices to say we saw tons of sights, and were exceptionally worn out by the end of the day. Also besides being tired, daylight savings time flipped Saturday night, so I didn’t get to bed until super late.
Sunday was my last day in the Garden State. Although I didn’t find any gardens I had an amazing trip, and was very sad it was over. Sunday morning we got up and I finished packing. We headed to church, where I got to join Jaron’s Sunday School class. A bit disappointingly my flight left at one so we had to leave Jaron at church and head to the airport right after Sunday School. We drove to the airport and Beth and the kids saw me off. I had lunch in the airport and took advantage of the motorized massage chairs until it was time to board my plane.
As I sit here at 34,000 feet and I am a bit overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me. I had a fantastic week. Besides being amongst my favorite people Jaron and Beth are much wiser that I am, and it was great just to learn how they do life. I also loved my time with Josiah and Lizzy! More than anything though, at this moment I feel ready to go back and tackle everything that’s waiting for me. In fact, at this moment I feel ready to enjoy tacking everything waiting for me. During my trip I was able to relax (reading three books, napping, drinking coffee,) explore (NYC, and NJ,) and enjoy the world around me (my time with Josiah and Lizzy.) a recipe for a successful vacation all around.
The pilot just announced we were beginning our descent into Tampa where it’s 79 degrees, I’m going to miss the cooler weather up north, but there’s something endearing about a high of 80 I just can’t shake.
Until next time,
This week I have had the amazing opportunity to spend time with some family out of state. It’s vacation but we haven’t gone skydiving or bungee jumping and there hasn’t been any firework spectacles or roller coasters. Instead I have gotten to do life with some amazing people, which is just what the doctor ordered.
I’ve learned that taking a break from your life, doesn’t mean you get away from everyone else’s. Sure you need to relax and take time alone, anyone would go crazy if they didn’t. You also need to jump into the thick of things with other people and learn from them. Watch how they handle stress, kids, other people, and the unexpected. It’s refreshing because it’s going to be different from your gut instinct, but it’s also a better use of time in a lot of ways than jumping out of an airplane.
This week I’ve gotten to relax, but I’ve also gotten to learn. I’ve gotten to interact with some incredible people and lean how they interact with the world around them. Not only will I be rested, but hopefully when I go home I will know more about myself and others and be able to handle my situations better.