On Faith…

I’m not entirely sure where to begin this post.  I can’t fully divulge every tiny detail, but I promise all will be revealed in the next two weeks.

This past year, a situation happened with a coworker, and while she was telling me the whole story, I silently thought, “I wish the Gods would give me an opportunity like this.”

And now we’re less than a year later, and holy shit… I have the same opportunity, if not potentially better.

But the only problem is, there is a lot of stress that comes with said opportunity…  The next few days, weeks, months are going to busy.

At one point, Erin had her arms around me as I cried into her shoulder.  I’ve been so super emotional the last few weeks.  I told her about my fear and worries, but I finished it up with, “But I know the Gods wouldn’t bring us this far and not give us a way out.”

This is where my faith comes into play.  For the last couple of years, I have placed the Gods first in my life above all else.  I pray for guidance with all my decisions to make sure I’m on the right path, and ever sense then, things have always worked out well for me.  I’m not going to say that we’ve had smooth sailing because even good situations can be stressful and a lot of work, but everything has been, for the most part, very positive.  And with every blessing and with every bump, I give thanks to the Gods, through prayer, for their continued support and guidance.  They truly come first in my life.

My faith tells me that the Gods have my back.  It tells me that They wouldn’t give me an amazing opportunity without the ability to see it through to the end.  We may have bumps in the road along the way, but things will work out.  If the Gods will it, so shall it be.

Trying to Find “Home”

Or how Christian privilege affects me and my family
Or my problems with the Unitarian Universalist Church.

I am a Kemetic Pagan, and as such, I believe in a higher power.  I am not, however, an “exceptionalist.”  I don’t believe that my way to the Gods is the only right way.  At their very basic level, all spiritual paths include similar teachings about love and doing good and helping each other.  They are designed to help us grow as individuals and as a society.

With that being said, when I go to church, I like to feel connected.  With some really big stuff happening in the next few months, Erin and I decided that we needed to start our search back up for a community of people.

As Pagans, and especially as Kemetics, our places of welcome are very limited.  Many of the coven groups up here are full or not accepting new members, and most of those are Wiccan or Celtic based paganism, which is fine.  However, as with any place, we’d have to take a serious look at their practices for any “this is the only to believe” or “this is the right way.”  Granted, I don’t think that will be a problem with pagan groups; however, like I said, I haven’t found any in the area yet open to new people.

When Erin lived outside of Asheville, NC, there was a church there that we use to go to when we would spend the weekends there that we both felt connected to.  I’ve written about it (Jubilee Community Church) before.  This is the Christian Church that helped me to rekindle my own faith as a pagan.  They taught from the Bible, but also taught that all creation was divinely inspired; therefore, all creation is of God… And it didn’t matter if you worshiped the God specifically mentioned in the Bible or some other God, as long as you worshiped or served someone.

They take Joshua 24:15 very seriously: “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites,in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (NIV)

Now that Erin lives here, we’ve struggled finding a place of worship where we belong and feel connected.  It’s difficult when the majority of places in the area are strictly Christian (in the sense that they believe they are right and everyone else is wrong) places of worship, and the others are all very hidden.

We started attending the local UU churches, but neither really felt like home.  We stopped going for awhile, but then started going back recently… and the same feelings came back.  I didn’t understand it until I really started breaking it apart.  Why did I feel more at home in a  Christian place of “open” worship, but not in a place that wasn’t Christian?

Some would say that it’s the Christian God calling to me to have a relationship with Him, but that doesn’t feel right.  My Gods still feel right, and I still feel connected to Them, just missing a community.

Then it hit me: I didn’t leave the local UU churches feeling any more enlightened than I did when I got there.  There was a lot of talk, but not much in the way of worship.  A friend of mine put it that they’re so afraid of offending anyone, they end up not really doing anything but talking.  They talk about welcoming everyone wherever they are on their spiritual journey, but then it feels like they never do anything to help guide you on that journey.  There’s a lot of talk, but not a lot of teaching… A lot of stories, but very little connection..

I find myself listening, but not actively.  I catch myself dozing off in the middle of the message, not processing it.  I’m like the little kids that color through a sermon, but never really getting anything out of it.  It’s all very flat…

But it puts Erin and I in a situation where we don’t really know where to go or what to do.  We thought about going to various different places around to see what we come up with… We thought about driving all the way to Asheville every Sunday, but it’s a lot of driving and a lot of gas money for a weekly trip.

I put out a blurb on Facebook saying, “Aside from the UU churches in the area… Are there any places of worship that accept GLBT folk AND…

Aren’t one of the “big three” faiths (Christian, Judaism, Islam)… or
Don’t require you believe the same way they do… or
Accept and affirm people from other faith backgrounds… or
Aren’t “exceptionalist” churches (aka our way is the right & only way)… or
Don’t require a belief that Jesus is the Son of God… or
Jesus is the only way to get into heaven…??

Just curious.”

 

The first response I got was “I believe you’ll only find that in the comfort of your own home! Welcome to the South!”

That’s so sad… and I really hope that it’s not true.

O is for… Omnipotence.

“Nothing can come between
You and I
Not even the gods above
Can separate the two of us”

- One Direction, You and I

Erin and I were driving… somewhere…  I don’t really remember where, and it’s not even that important, honestly.  And this song came on.  It’s a song by One Direction (this generation’s version of Backstreet Boys or NSync) called You and I.  It’s your stereotypical I’ll-love-you-forever-and-ever song, but this one has some lyrics that made me stop.

“Did he just says ‘gods‘?”

Why yes, he did.

I’m going to go off on a side rant here for a second: I really wish there was more pagan spiritual music that didn’t sound like heavy metal or celtic folk.  If anyone knows of any, please… PLEASE share it with me.  I absolutely would love some pagan music that’s more pop or alternative rock-ish.  I’ve gotten into this thing where I’m basically taking mainstream music and using it at spiritual music. All creation sings of wisdom and God, afterall.

Anyway, so we here this song and then Erin says, “You know, I don’t know if I’d really ever say that… I don’t feel comfortable tempting the Gods in that way.”

I agreed with her.

Lots of pagans have differing definitions of “the higher powers” and how far its higher power can go.  Some may not believe that there is any higher power controlling anything, but that we’re all connected by the spiritual energy found in us all.

For me, the Gods are omnipotent, which means I believe that They have unlimited power.  This doesn’t mean that they constantly control everything, but that they could if they wanted to.

Some sects of Christianity believe that the Christian God controls everything along with His unlimited power, which makes me wonder, then, why such bad things happen.  It’s a questions that comes up quite a bit.  Some will say that the Christian God is testing the faith of His followers and people.  Some will say that bad things happen to bad people, and that because of sin, there ARE NO good people.

For me, The Second Law of Thermodynamics explains why bad things can sometimes happen.  Now, there are probably a lot of people out there who’s head might start spinning because I suggest that science can explain my faith, and my explanation may be a bit shaky, but work with me.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that entropy (or the tendency for disorder) never decreases in a system.  Disorder is always increasing.

Disorder can mean any number of things, but I like to think of things in a very basic manner:  Order is Good, Disorder is Not-As-Good.  I don’t mean a cluttered room when I say disorder in this sense, although the Second Law might.  I’m saying when bad things happen in our lives, that our lives are in a state of disorder, and these things tend to happen.

So if this disorder is supposed to increase, why don’t our lives continuously get worse? The Gods.

The Gods have the ability to affect change in our lives.  They have the ability to make anything They want to happen, happen.  This is why They’re Gods.  This is why people call on Them for help.

On that same note, however, they can take things from us if they want.  They can decide to make something bad happen in our lives, if they wanted to.  The Bible itself is fully of stories of the Christian God bringing bad things down on people because He wanted them to happen.  There are stories about Ra and the destruction of mankind.  The Gods aren’t perfect.  They’ve hurt people in the past.

So why on Earth would anyone tempt them to do it again?

I’m not saying that we should fear the Gods, although that’s what it sounds like to some extent.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but from experience, the Gods bless us with everything we need right when it is that we need it.  They help to keep our lives out of that disorder and bad, and help us get out of it when we end up in it.  I don’t believe that all problems can be solved by prayer, but I believe prayer can help.  If anything, it gives us a way to take our stress and lessen it, to rid ourselves of negative emotions.

Those of you that are reading my other blog are probably all thinking, “Why don’t you take your own advice??”  And I’m trying to honestly, but I’ll be the first to say that this is easier said than done… To recognize the omnipotence of the Gods and allow Them to work in our lives for the greater good.  It’s not easy, but if we can, the benefits can be so rewarding.

The New Normal

That’s a TV show, isn’t it?  I don’t have cable, so I don’t keep up with all this stuff on TV.  Erin and I almost never watch TV, so we just keep our internet and Netflix and that’s all we need.  SO MUCH CHEAPER, let me tell you!

What is that saying?  The best laid plans often go awry.  That statement is so unbelievably true.  How many times have I had to adjust my “normal” to a “new normal” to compensate for something that the Gods have placed in my path.

Well, it’s happened… again… I think.  It’s all very crazy.

I can’t go into a lot of details right yet… Although some people are more aware than others.  It’ll all be coming out soon, I’m sure.

We all have grand plans for our lives, and most of us take steps to make those grand plans come to fruition, but sometimes the Gods place blessings or trials before us that change our plans somewhat or completely, and we have to deal with those situations before we can continue on.  It’s what I like to call the “New Normal,” which is what you have after all the adjustments have happened.

This is a normal part of life, even though it is generally a terrifying part of life, even if the situation isn’t a bad one.

Here’s how I’ve learned to cope with these situations that force me to find my new normal:

1) Education

Finding your new normal is a process.  Whatever the situation is that you are going through that has forced you into this situation is also a process.  There are people out there that have gone through what you are going through, and the best thing you can do is to research and learn from these people’s experiences.  Unexpected debt? Death? Birth?  All of these things have a process: a way to repay, a way to cope, and a way to prepare.  The first thing you can do is research these situations and learn as much as you can.

Knowledge is power.  Knowing as much as you can will help you to feel empowered on this new journey.  It’ll give you a sense of control over the situation.  It may also help you to find community in others who are going through the same thing you are.

2) Talk/Write it Out

This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but writing or talking to someone can be a great way to get any feelings that are inside of you out.  I’ve found that bottling up my emotions causes me to feel anxious, and talking them out (or writing them out), has really helped me when I feel like my head might explode.

3) Take Everything Day-by-Day

And don’t forget to remind yourself of the positive.  Even when you have good things happening, the stress level may increase (like in the case of a new baby or promotion at work).  It’s important to remember, even then, that good things are happening.  Always, always, always look for the silver lining.  We can very easily get caught up and trapped in situations where our negative thoughts bring us down.  The quickest way to the new normal is to NOT let this happen.

Remind yourself of what you already have that’s good and keep reminding yourself, and add to it once the list begins to grow as you reach your new normal.

 

Having to adjust to new situations is very rarely easy or fast.  It’s important to remember that things will get better, but they will take time.

And, like always, when things really seem to be out of control, give it up to the Gods.  Let Them take your worry, your pain, and all the negativity so that you can focus on getting back to the New Normal.  When you do that, I promise things will start to immediately FEEL better.

Kemetic Prayers

Hello!

Erin and I want to start adding daily prayer into our lives, especially around meals, and I wanted to get some ideas from others…

Does anyone pray before meals to give thanks?  If so, what do you say?  Did you write the prayer yourself or do you use a standardized prayer that someone else wrote?

Thanks!

The Netjeru

So I’m taking the beginner’s class for the Kemetic Orthdox Faith, and we’ve only had the first lesson and the first half of the second lesson, but I’ve learned quite a few things so far…  And it’s making me challenge a lot of my core beliefs about faith in general, but also strengthened my faith in unimaginable ways.  I’m really glad that I did this.

I have always believed that the Gods choose us, and not the other way around.

One thing I’ve fully believed from the time I was 16 to now is that I was chosen by Bast.  She came to me in a vision-dream one night, and I’ve felt her presence ever since then.  In this dream, I was feeling lost, abandoned, alone. Bast came to me in the form of a giant black cat, curled up on my stomach while I lay in bed.  I pet this cat and felt comforted, and I heard Bast’s voice in my mind telling me that all would be well and that I was loved and cared for just as I was.  When I woke, my hand dropped to my stomach and I still felt the fur on my skin where we’d touched.

This class has thrown these thoughts, not into full chaos, but definitely shaken them some.  The KO believe that you have divine parents in the Netjeru who want to have a relationship with you.  A lot of times, people are brought to the KO faith by Bast and Yinepu (Anubis), but they aren’t the parent figures…  So this got me to thinking, is Bast not my divine parent as I had previously thought?  Is there someone else out there who I don’t know about?

And how do I go about figuring all that out?  Maybe it’ll come up in some later lesson, but I struggle with impatience.

It’s excitement, I know it is.  I’ve never taken a spiritual class before that so closely matches what I currently already believe about the Gods and creation, so I’m excited.  Is there anyone out there who has experienced this and has any advice?

(P.S. – I realize this is a small post, but Erin and I are going out of town this weekend and I need to finish the shopping for our vacation before she gets off work!)

Wonderful Weekend Update

1) I finished my graduate class on Friday.  Pretty sure I made an A.

2) Erin finished her graduate class yesterday, and she DEFINITELY MADE AN A!  I love my smarty-pants girlfriend. :)

3) Lindsey Stirling is the BOMB!  I’m serious, if you ever get a chance to go see her in concert, you MUST GO!  You won’t regret it in the least!

About Wednesday, I realized I might not be getting out before lunch like I had hoped with class.  I told the professor that I had to be in Charlotte by 7PM on Friday, and how long did she think we’d be here that day?  She ended up switching some stuff around for me and the class to make sure we were all out in time for me to leave.  Everyone was exhausted anyway, so I wasn’t the only one ready for it all to be done.

We left almost as soon as Erin got home from work and started driving up there.  She had to pack a bag for an overnight she was doing for work, then we were off.

We got there around 5:30, checked the tickets and saw that the concert didn’t start until 8:00pm.  Whoops.  Photo Jun 27, 5 50 03 PMWe were definitely there in plenty of time then.  We got into the already forming line towards the front and started to wait… and wait… and wait some more.  At one point, I look over and it is pretty dark behind the building, and I make some comment about “I hope it doesn’t rain.”  Then the lightening starts… and the thunder… and then the Gods opened up the heavens and it completely down poured on us.  We didn’t have an umbrella, and after the first few claps of thunder and lightening, all there was was the rain, so I resigned myself to being drenched because the other option was losing our spot in line.  And I just made jokes and tried to think warm thoughts.  By the end of it, I think the only way I could have been more wet was to go swimming in all my clothes… Photo Jun 27, 7 19 00 PM

 

Eventually, they let us in and we went to the bathroom to wring out our shirts before getting as close to the stage as we could.  It was standing room only and  first come, first served.  Luckily, with how the rain happened and how everyone was running to the bathrooms immediately after getting in, we got a spot six back from the front of the stage.  It was amazing.Photo Jun 27, 8 39 26 PM

The room was insanely packed.  This was the first time that Lindsey Stirling had been to NC to perform, and I think she was pretty excited that the room was as packed out as it was.  Then this band comes out who is not Lindsey Stirling, and I’m thinking, “Okay, this is fine.  She has an opening act, whatever.”  Turns out, her opening act was AJR, who’s currently single right now is “I’m Ready.”  It’s the song with the SpongeBob Squarepants repeat in it that I KNEW I had heard before.  They’re really, really good.  “I’m ready” is a little annoying when it gets to the SpongeBob stuff, but the other songs they played were really good, and apparently all of them were recorded in their living room.Photo Jun 27, 8 01 32 PM

After they played, there was a break of about 15 minutes before Lindsey Stirling came on.  But when 9 o’clock rolled around, the lights went off and Lindsey Stirling came on and she rocked out so hard that I am STILL reeling from how absolutely amazing she is.  She put on the single most awesome show I have ever seen.  Below are some of the better photos I ended up taking.  Absolutely amazing and so worth the rain!

 

Erin said next time she is going to pop for the Meet and Greet so we can get autographs and pictures taken with her and see her sound check and basically be RIGHT UP IN THE FRONT.  I am sooooo excited!!!

 

 

 

The MAGNIFICENCE of Giving Up

There are a couple types of letting go.  I wrote a couple weeks ago about letting go of the past in Letting It Go an Loving Yourself Through It.  In that post, I talked about not letting dark and painful memories or abusive people control you, and how it’s okay to love yourself and let other toxic people go in the process.

In this blog, I want to talk about another type of letting go.  I want to focus on something that I struggle with a lot in my daily life and something that I think I still work on almost every day and that’s letting things go in every day situations.

When I was in high school and college, I struggled a lot with anxiety over this or that assignment or thing I had to do.  My anxiety is still an issue, but most of the time, I can control it through controlled breathing and double-checks on my thoughts.  There are days, though, that it gets away from me, and back then it would get away from me all the time.  Finals were always the worst.

Towards the end of my college career, I had to write and defend a senior undergraduate thesis.  Mine was on the use of the ABCA12 gene in the determination of congenital ichtyosises.  Mouthful, right?  Well, it was a huge deal because we had to pass this class to graduate and we had to make a certain grade and present in a certain amount of time with our paper and defense to pass the class.  We’re talking 5 minutes over/under and you drop to a C.  INTENSE.

So naturally, I was freaking out to all hell.  One professor, who use to drive me up the wall because she expected more from me than other students (not lying.  A student ahead of me would ask a question, she’d give them the answer exactly.  I’d ask a question, she’d tell me where to go find the answer.  Hated it then, but now I don’t.), told me, “Kel, you have to learn to let go.  You’ve done everything you can to prepare, right?  You’ve worked on your paper, your presentation, you’ve practiced?  You’ve gone over what you’re saying and your peers have quizzed you on the material? Yes? Then that’s all you can do and you can’t stress about it anymore.  The rest of it is all really out of your control.”

Her words ring through my mind every time I start feel myself stressing out or getting overwhelmed.  I hear her in the back of my head say, “Calm down. It’s okay.  You’ve done everything.”

Here’s the cold hard truth of the matter: you can only control yourself.  You can only control how you react to the things that happen to you.  You can only control how you feel and think about situations, people, etc.

You cannot control the actions of other people.  You cannot stop them from saying or acting certain ways to you.  You cannot stop them from doing something you don’t want them to do or get them to do something you want them to do.  You cannot make people change.  You can’t control what they think or how they feel.

I’m really starting to get into what everyone seems to be calling the Law of Attraction, which I don’t really call it that, but I guess that’s a valid name.  It basically says that how you think will manifest itself in your life.  If you think positive thoughts, positive things will happen to you.  If you think negative thoughts, negative things will happen to you.

It’s saying that rather than saying, “I don’t want to be late to work,” we should say, “I want to be/will be on time to work.”  When we use negative language (can’t, don’t, won’t, shouldn’t, never), we are actually focusing more on the negative than the positive, which then draws that to us.  If we focus on more positive language (can, do, will, should, always), we start to attract more positive energy to us.

Basically, if you wake up in the morning and you stub your toe… if you focus on that bit of negative that happened that morning, the rest of your day tends to spiral out of control into a negative series of events, but if you stub your toe and then just move on and recenter on being positive, the day will improve from there.

The local UU minister here posted on Facebook the other day saying, “Maybe, and I could be wrong about this, when we stump our toe, it is the universe crying out to us that nine toes aren’t stumped, ten fingers, two elbows, one nose, one noggin, two knees. Look around at the bigger picture.”

So how does someone do this?  It’s incredibly hard, but the results can be magnificent. Please be aware that this has worked for me, but it may not be the path for everyone.

1) Prepare to be completely 100% honest with yourself.

For you to be able to take steps towards letting the every day go, you have to be able to be honest with yourself.  If you haven’t been honest with yourself in the past, being open to being honest with yourself might be the first hardest thing you see.  This step means realizing things about yourself that you may not like when you see them.  This step means understanding that when you see those things about yourself that you don’t make excuses so you can push all that back away again.  This step means knowing it’s OKAY to have parts to you that might be “ugly,” and knowing that this could help you work through those things and come to terms with them.

2) Recognize your emotions.

Stress. Anxiety. Fear. Confusion. Frustration.  These are emotions that tell you that your body is thinking negative thoughts.  Our emotions are caused by our reactions to our thoughts.  Negative thoughts breed negative emotions.  Being open to your emotions allows you to recognize when these thoughts are coming into our brains.  We might not always know when we are thinking these negative things because we’ve become so accustomed to thinking this way that it just happens… kinda like breathing.

3) Figure out the situations where these emotions happen.

When you start to feel anxious or stressed or confused or frustrated, stop and look at your situation.  Where are you? What are you doing? What about this situation is making you feel this way?  Maybe write this down so you can think about it later or keep track to see if it happens again.  In fact, keeping a journal in this process may actually be really helpful for you.  You can write down quick notes about the situation and the emotions you are feeling and then maybe come back to the journal later that day before bed to process and journal about number 4.

4) Pinpoint the thoughts that you have about the situation.

This is where you start getting into it.  What about the situation from above is making you feel this way?  There is going to be a lot of negativity in this section, and that’s okay.  If you’re being honest with why these situations make you feel the way they do, then you’d expect some negativity.  It’s okay to be negative here.  The idea is that you recognize and understand that bad thoughts, so it’s best to get them out.  Write them down or think them over.  I’m a big advocate of writing, which is why I go back to that.

5) Figure out ways to change those negative thoughts into positive thoughts.

If you can’t change something from “I don’t want to be late” to “I will be on time,” you could change the outcome to something more positive.  What outcome are you looking for? “I will do well in my class.”  “My presentation will run smoothly.”  “I will be able to pay for my bills.”  Find ways to turn the situations into positive ones and stockpile those thoughts for later.

6) When the feelings come back, start thinking the positive thoughts you created.

After you have your stockpile, you can start to pull from it when you start to feel yourself experience those emotions.  Nervous about a meeting or an interview?  “I have prepared the best that I can, and I will present the best part of me available”  Anxiety over a test or exam? “I have studied and reviewed as best I know how, and I will perform on this test to the best of my ability.”

7) Give Up.

Once you have those thoughts firmly in your mind, you have to physically give up those emotions that are holding you back and allow for more positive and calming emotions to enter.  This part, along with part six, takes the most practice.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  It is really hard to give up on feeling anxiety and stress and confusion and frustration and worry.  It is really hard to let go.  But remember: if you have TRULY done what you say in part six, then whatever happens on the exam or in the interview or that presentation or whatever the situation is is ENTIRELY out of your control.

Think about it: You study and study and study, but the questions on the exam aren’t written by you.  You have no way of knowing what the exact questions are.  You can only prepare so much.  You may buy a brand new suit and practice interview questions, but how the interviewer reacts to you and how she or he feels about you and your possible place in the company is NOT something we can control.

We go through our lives each and every day thinking we have control over things we really don’t have control over.  We may think we we prepare enough… or study enough… or practice enough… or do whatever enough… then we’ll be able to achieve anything and everything, and that is simply NOT the case.

Our chances of success increase with the level of preparing that we do, but we cannot prepare enough to guarantee that job, or that A, or that perfect presentation.  We can only do the best that we can, and then be okay with the results that come out from it.  But the only way to do this is to make sure that we are, in fact, doing everything in our power to prepare ourselves as best we can; otherwise, we fail ourselves.

But if you prepare and do everything you can and it’s still not good enough, that doesn’t mean stop what you’re doing because you failed.  That means that you come to terms with your level of ability at that time and understand that your results are a reaction to your behavior and actions.  It means that we did the best we could, and this is what we got… and if it’s not what we want, we look at the situation again, see where we can work more (that maybe we missed the first time) and then try again.

We are a nation of people that beat ourselves up over ever little shortcoming that we have, and we have to stop.  It’s killing us.  Our lives can be so much more if we only recognize where our limitations lie and work with what we know we can change and affect.

Now, because my faith runs deep, I’m adding these final words:

8) When giving up seems impossible, give it up.

When I start feeling really overwhelmed, like I can’t let go of these emotions.  When I can’t physically give the up and get them out, even with everything else that I’m doing, I stop for a minute and pray.  The Gods will take care of me.  They know that I am faithful to Them, and They will protect me.  It may not be something that comes as a comfort to everyone, but it comes to a comfort to me.  I can give up these emotions because I know the Gods will take care of me.  Everything will work out in the end because I know they are watching out for me.

And they’re watching out for you too.  Just in case you ever wondered.

Whew.. Glad this is almost done.

The week in this class is wrapping up, and the KO class hasn’t fully begun yet, so the week wasn’t as intense as I was expecting it to be.  I finished the final project on Monday and then spent the next three days worrying about if it was “good enough” for the grade I wanted, which really meant I was worried if it was going to be the best on in class (because perfectionist).  I finally came to the conclusion and understanding that it probably wouldn’t be the best project in the class, but it was good enough for me and for the professor; therefore, I’m no longer freaking out about it.

Tomorrow is the last day of class, and I’m hoping we get out early because…. LINDSEY STERLING!  lindsey-stirling-15257Erin bought us tickets for our one year anniversary and the concert is TOMORROW!  ZOMG, I am SO EXCITED!  I am pretty sure I could listen to her music every day for the rest of my life and NEVER get bored of it.  If you haven’t heard of this woman, you need to stop EVERYTHING you are doing right now and YouTube her.  She makes every song on the face of the planet better.

But also, I’m obsessed with electric violin, so maybe I’m biased.

I’ve gotten a few interesting perspectives on the world around me this week involving my tolerance level for people and how bad the world can be around us and how amazing the Gods blessings have been in my life.

1) Literalist Christians cannot, in my opinion, effectively teach science.

I am taking a graduate level science class through Clemson University.  As a teacher, we get paid on our level of education, but we also have to get recertification points over a period of five years to renew our teaching credentials.  I’m lucky in that the school that I teach at pretty much offers all the classes and points we need each year for free, but some schools don’t OR the teacher doesn’t have a masters, which means they HAVE to take classes on the graduate level.  At this point, most SC teachers go ahead and get their Masters degree.

I’m taking the classes to get my +30, which will increase my pay to the level that’s worth it to teach at the secondary level (the doctorate pay level is higher, but it’s not worth it.  Most people who have doctorates get paid a lot more working somewhere else.)  Anyway, there is another teacher in this class who has, on multiple occasions, made it well know that he is a literalist Christian.  He firmly believes that everything it the Bible is a truth.  He believes that the world was created in literally 7 days… That people use to live to be 700+ years old… etc.

He asked the professor why she thought people didn’t live to be 700 years old anymore, and I wanted to shout that they never did to begin with, but I didn’t.  I bit my tongue like I usually do because these conversations are not worth it.  We’re not here to debate the Bible against evolutionary evidence; we’re here to learn about genetics.

Well, today… I couldn’t do it.  We had a molecular geneticist and an evolutionary biologist in the room and he said, “I think it would be a great idea to teach creationism next to evolution.”

And before I could stop myself, I said, “Which creation?”

To which he shrugged me off and said, “Any of them, all of them, I don’t care.”  Great!  I’ll teach Kemetic Creationism with my Evolutionary Biology because that will go over oh so well.  I will not teach Christianity in my Science classroom.  I don’t give a damn if it ever becomes a standard (because SC is trying to make it that way), I will not teach it.  The. End.

I don’t understand how someone can be a literal Christian and be a science teacher.  It blows. my. mind.

2)  Our water is actually really, really disgusting. 

Clemson and the surrounding areas pull their water off of Lake Hartwell.  Usually, this isn’t a problem, but it was abnormally cold for an extended period of time this winter and now it’s unseasonably hot.  This has caused the algae in Lake Hartwell to overgrow, which means there’s an excess of living and dead algae floating around in the water.  The treatment companies couldn’t get it under control before it started getting into the water.  Now, algae isn’t dangerous.  It just doesn’t taste all that great and it’s not really the best smelling then either.

I’m not sure if they got overwhelmed with the algae or if there was a second problem, but the water company lost control of one of their treatment reactors (or whatever they’re called), and basically put most of Anderson and all of Clemson under a boil water warning until further notice.  At first it was “just don’t drink or cook with it.”  Tonight, we’re not supposed to even touch the water.

This is absolutely terrifying.  What makes our water so bad we can’t even wash our hands?  Now, if I was at home, this wouldn’t be too big of a deal because I can skip a shower for a day and not really panic, but I’m not at home.  I’m living in a box with no way to boil my water.  There aren’t any pots or pans here.  Now, I know I can go and buy water, but it really got me thinking about two things: 1) All the people across this planet who can’t just go out and buy clean water and how absolutely terrifying that is and 2) How bad our water really is behind the scenes.  They treat it with all this stuff to make it safe because it actually ISN’T safe.  Think about that for a moment.  That’s really terrifying too.

3) Love is an insanely powerful emotion.

I haven’t seen Erin since Sunday because of this class.  It’s a lot of gas to drive back and forth from where we live to Clemson.  It can be done, but it’s not exactly a way to save money.  Not to mention, the school gives us free room and a meal plan while we’re here.  This has been a crazy week for Erin too.  Her final was this week for her graduate class and she was busy stressing and studying for it while trying to hold the house down without me there to help her.  I’m sure I provide more of a distraction though.

She passed her class with a B, which is fantastic!  She worked really hard these last ten weeks; however, she has a second exam that she can take.  She’s three points away from an A, so she’s going to try going or the A.  She can’t make lower than what she already has, so she might as well go for it.  If everyone wants to keep her in their thoughts and prayers, it would mean a lot to us.  She just wants to do her absolute very best.

But this week has been insanely hard for me.  I miss Erin entirely too much for my own good (if that’s even possible).  That emotion of missing her mixed with the water situation here make me second guess staying another night, but we talked about it and decided it was best for me to stay.  It’s not worth spending all that gas just for one night when we’re going to see LINDSEY STERLING tomorrow (yes, I must write her name in all caps, all the time).

This blog has been fairly random, but I guess I need to finish up my PBP blog for this week… or rather start it…

 

P.S. – I YouTube’d LINDSEY STERLING for you: HERE

You’re welcome.

How Much Difference a Few Days Makes

I’m sitting in a four-bedroom apartment style dorm at a local University right now.  No one else is here, and I hope that I’m not the only one in this room because that could make for a fairly boring week.

As a teacher, we get paid based on our level of education and our years of experience.  The lowest level is a bachelors, the highest is a doctorate (although, if you have a doctorate degree, you might as well not work in the public schools because you’d get paid more working elsewhere).  Right now, I’m paid on the Masters level pay scale, but I’m working towards my Masters +30, which is the next level up from mine.  The one between the Masters and the Doctorate.

Anyway, to do that, I have to complete a total of 30 hours of graduate classes, which is approximately 10 classes, in seven years.  This is my third year, and by the end of this summer, I’ll be 12 hours (four classes) in.  Once I get these classes done, though, it means I’ll get a pay raise of about $3,000 a year.  The problem with these classes, though, is that they take up an insanely great amount of time.  I’m usually pulling 12 or so hour days with class and projects/assignments.

The one that I’m in now runs from tomorrow until Friday, but check in at the school was today.

On top of this, the class I’m taking through the Kemetic Orthodox Temple starts TOMORROW as well, according to the e-mails I’ve been getting, so it’s looking like a fairly busy week for me.

What I’m trying to say is… this week may be a busy blogging week (if I’m totally bored with nothing to do other than work I will probably procrastinate on) or you won’t hear from me until Saturday.  The class is over Friday, yes, but Erin bought tickets to go see LINDSEY-freaking-STERLING on Friday in Charlotte and I am SOOOOOO excited!!!  It’s going to be amazing.

Also, in other exciting news, the title to my car came in the mail!  Yay!  It’s all mine!  *happy dance*

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