Sep 13, 2015

...On Faith...

(If you're not a Christ-follower, haven't made that decision, feel adrift in your faith, or are just unsure, I hope this encourages you) (If you are a Christ-follower...I hope it encourages you, too). 

"God won't give you more than you can handle"

Hogwash.

Here's the deal: God will give you what HE can handle. He doesn't care about how big your hands are, how awesome your support system is, who your parents are, your qualifications, or even how "holy" you are. He cares how much you trust Him, and only Him to handle whatever comes your way.

WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, Michelle...WTF are you talking about? All Christians know that God only gives them the situations that they can handle, nothing more...I mean, we get told this every time some negative, horrible, sad, frustrating, deadly, depressing situation comes our way...we tell each other this falsehood because it's what our faith has been reduced to: God in a box.  A genie. A little cricket whispering good things in our ears. 

It's crap and it's damaging your walk.

This is why I'm saying this and hopefully putting some cracks in your walls of "only what you can handle"... *this isn't a cry for pity or look at me, how I struggle...this is simply an honest account of life in Michelle's world.

I had an awesome AWESOME teaching job in Texas. I loved it, loved the kids, the staff, the hours (not always the pay, but eh), everything. I LOVED IT. I also loved and toyed with the idea of pursuing a PhD. Not for any reason other than that I really wanted one...since I was a little girl. I sent away for university catalogs, filled out applications that I never submitted, searched for the perfect program, etc. Then I applied to UW-Madison, and was rejected. I applied to the History program thinking, HEY...I teach history. I should have applied to the School of Education, which I later did and was accepted. Oh well, live and learn. 

That was 2008.  I've been in WI since 2008. It's 2015.  That's 7 years with no full time teaching job (and by full time, I mean on a contract, receiving awesome teacher pay with benefits). I've had full time positions, I've had jobs that paid my tuition...but it's not been teaching full time. I desperately miss the classroom. Get it?? 7 years of waiting...applying for EVERYTHING under the sun...waiting...applying...being rejected...waiting.

Then, this week, I interviewed for a job 1.5 hours away from my house. We (mom and I) prayed that if I felt peaceful, I should accept...and if not, well...

So, I interviewed. Liked the staff. Liked the principal. Not so much the drive, but figured we'd sort that out later...move closer, whatever. 

They called...offered...and I heartily accepted. Before I accepted, but after we prayed, I told mom that I felt uneasy--probably just nerves, but uneasy, nonetheless. I went about the day and gathered all my teaching stuff, cleaned out the closet, packed it all in my car (like 10 trips with boxes up and down stairs, crates, posters, bags of books...you get the idea, A LOT of stuff). I posted on Facebook....YAY!! I have a job!!

Then, on Thursday, I was supposed to drive down and sign the contract. Interview to signature: 44 hours. So, I went to my old district to turn in the keys and started crying as I turned into the parking lot. Cried as I explained that I was leaving. Cried as I hugged these awesome teachers that welcomed me and were so kind all last year. Cried as I got back in the car. Cried driving to the new district. Cried in the district office. Asked if I could take the contract home and think...just take a moment to think. 

The principal met with me and continued to court me telling me all the cool stuff about the district. Showed me to the classroom, and I had NO EMOTION. Introduced me to other staff...no emotion. Really tried to sell me on the district. NO EMOTION other than blind panic and tears.  If you've ever seen me decorate my room or walk through a school supply aisle in August, you know that this was a bad thing...

If you know me at all, you know that I'm fairly un-emotional. I don't cry. I'm not a weepy girl. I don't freak out, panic, or have anxiety.  In fact, my family says that I'm dead inside...I'm not, I just don't emote the way the rest of them do. I'm steady, non-reactive.  I'm pretty good at reading a situation, making a decision, and going with it. 

I cried all the way home. Hours spent crying: nearly 12.  When I got home, mom reminded me that we prayed for peace, and obviously, I wasn't feeling peace. We got exactly what we prayed for! Yes, you could argue that we'd been praying for a teaching job and I got one, so that was answered too...and you're right. But here's where it loops back to the "more than we can handle" line we feed each other and ourselves like it's chocolate cake. 

God provided an answer. As soon as I decided not to sign, I was immediately done crying and completely at peace. I haven't cried since. It wasn't a matter of God giving me a job because I just can't handle not having a teaching contract any more, so He's stepping up like the genie we expect Him to be. NO! Instead, He's been slowly, deliberately, gentlemanly, persistently working on my heart. He's been teaching me faith. He's been teaching me a lesson that I wouldn't have learned had I not stepped out and applied to school here, given up my job, took on the responsibilities of helping with my mom's health issues and with raising my niece. He's been teaching me how to trust him...in a desert...in abundance, and in want. He's been teaching me to look for His hand, his guidance...and it all became so crystal clear on Thursday. I mean, as a friggin' bell.  It also means that this wasn't the right position (even though the offer was AWESOME), and that there will be something else...better...else...

It isn't how much we can handle. It's how much we're going to hand over and trust Him to handle. It's about how much my faith, my personal belief in His power, is going to allow me to look at a situation and hand it over and say "there's no way I can handle this, I know you're working on it, and I trust YOU to keep doing what you're doing". That's what it's about.

There's that Hillsong song called "Oceans"...  it resonates so deeply in my heart, and has for the past few months:  trust without borders. 

Hillsong Oceans,, from youtube


I know that faith is a lifelong process, developing it and learning...and I'm not saying that I've got it all together...but I am saying that I got the coolest glimpse of what it's supposed to be.

I hope this encourages you. Hand it over, He's got bigger hands. 

Love,
The Snarkiest of Kaisers. 

May 29, 2015

Faith...Marriage...Babies...Life

So, the conversation has been coming up more and more:  "when will you get married?" "If you get married, ..."  "Are you going to ever get married?"..."what about having kids?"  The answer to all of that is I don't know. I have no idea...maybe...perhaps??  Kids? Um...really not sure, as I've helped raise one... We'll see?

Then, if I'm entering into one of those "pre-dating" kind of conversations, there's always the question of "relations"... sex...This immediately turns into the dude I'm conversing with bolting like a...a...man that's not getting any until there's a ring, witnesses, and a pastor.  No matter how much they say that they're all good with my choice, they bolt. It never fails.

Then comes the "You're an almost 40-year-old..."?? It's always a mix of horror, shock, awe, and pity. This is always ALWAYS followed by the classics "so, what will you do??..."how do you know you're good at it/you like it?"... uh...dude, seriously?  I know that I've honored a commitment to God and to myself and that will be blessed.

I get it...it's not "normal", it's completely counter-cultural. It means that relationships must prove themselves to be more than a hook-up, more than the pure romance of dating, because otherwise, it's going nowhere.

I'm also not so naive as to think that there's a dude out there that's just been waiting. I understand very well the world in which I reside and I'm sure that by now, you're all doubled over in a laughing fit.

So, why?? Why on earth would I not be doing what everyone else is (clearly) doing? It's simple, it's definitely not about me being better or worse than anyone, and I definitely don't need some congratulatory regards. I'm just old-fashioned in that ONE way. I think that the most secret parts of myself belong only and purely to whomever I marry...if anyone, ever. If not, I'm okay with that, too (Isaiah 54:5).  The apostle Paul never married, and just went about his work...I'm good with being in that company.

For me, part of it is based on faith--I just think that's the way it should be, there's a purpose to marriage, and that's how you become as one flesh...and if you're one flesh with someone through that connecting act, then it makes sense that you shouldn't also be one flesh with a bunch of other people. It's a secret that only you and your spouse should be in on.

Part of it is that I was already called a slut in high school (because I was, um, more developed than many of the other girls) and I didn't want anything to add fuel to that fire.

The last part is that even though I've dated quite a few people, I never really felt anything for almost any of them that interested me beyond "eh, I like you".  I don't throw around "I love you", so why would I be careless with my entire self?

There it is. I'm not embarrassed about it...I don't really even ever think about it. It doesn't bother me to see dudes run off like they're being chased by Bigfoot. So, marriage will happen when there's the following situation:

dude isn't bothered and doesn't hit the bricks because he has to do a little waiting
dude has his crap together and his priorities straight
dude puts God before me, then everything else falls into place
dude is kind, thoughtful, respectful, funny, generous with himself and others

It's not a big list. It's what matters.

Everyone that actually knows me, knows that my faith is part of me, deep and abiding, not judging, just loving my neighbor as I love myself...walking humbly with God...learning, struggling, doubting...  yes, I throw around the occasional dirty joke or swear word, but it's that's not going to diminish my faith: I'm human.  That's generally the second reason that dudes run away--their experience with other Christian girls is not what it will be with me, and I think they just don't get it.

...and now, it's wedding and baby season...and I'll be interrogated (again)...and that's okay.

*This post is not about judging anyone--you did/do what you did/do, based on your feelings, beliefs, etc. I love ya, anyway...it's just life, it's not that serious.*

I hope that some young girl that's being pressured understands that it's okay to say no...and it's okay to stand her ground and wait...there's no shame it in, and think of all the stuff we get to avoid that has no chance of stressing us out: (unwanted) pregnancy...diseases...I mean, for that alone: I'm winning. We get to live and be and do our thing without those extra concerns, and that is a welcome thing. Life is stressful enough.

Love yourself, be confident in your choices, put God first, lead by example...
Love,
theKaiser

Aug 12, 2011

...Chess...

This is Chess. Chesser. Dawg. Puppy. Friend. Companion. Licker of toes. Eater of all things funky. Escape artist when it was time to clean her ears. Foot Rest. Squirrel Chaser. Cat Pursuer. Barker. User of an "inside voice" bark that I taught her. Yogurt container cleaner. Carrier of your hand when she wanted you to take her outside. Door Scratcher. Pillow. 'Fraidy cat of thunderstorms. Car Rider. Protector. Licker of faces, hands, necks and ears. Tackler. Good, good dog.

She went to the big squirrel chase in the sky today. Labored breathing, congestive heart failure. Old age. We rescued her in 1997. She was either 15 or 16 years old, still trying to act like a puppy. My dad stayed with her and scratched her ears and told her our names and stories of all of our love for her. She went peacefully. She will be sorely missed.


She answered to "what's up dawg" everytime I saw her because I thought the "gangsta" play on words was too funny to stop doing.

We love you, puppy. We'll see you soon.

Jesus, when you see her, scratch her ears and the white part on the front of her chest. That's her favorite. Then ask her, "what's up dawg?". I promise you'll get licked.

</3the Kaiser.

May 22, 2011

....more random facts...

SO....I was talking to a friend the other day and decided that I need to post more random facts about what makes me, ME.

1. I like the toilet paper to go over the roll, not under.
2. I could eat shrimp scampi everyday.
3. Chocolate-peanut butter ice cream is my favorite.
4. Sour things make me want to barf.
5. Once, I was taking a drink and someone said something funny and not only did the Dr. Pepper come out of my nose, it hit some dude that was a table away. I hate it when people say stuff to make me laugh when I'm drinking something.
6. I think milk is disgusting.
7. I have 9 pillows on my bed. I sleep on every last one of them every night.
8. I have a crush on Howard Zinn, even though he's dead.
9. I love it when people will join in having entire conversations just through movie quotes. I especially love it when it's an obscure reference.
10. Pachelbel's Canon in D is my favorite tune. It will be my wedding march. I prefer baroque period classical music.
11. While I can play piano and drums, the violin is my favorite instrument.
12. Snobbery will get you nowhere.
13. I prefer to fall asleep to music.
14. I love kickboxing.
15. I once threw up rasberries so hard that they came out of my nose.
16. I ate so many pecans that I made myself allergic. They remain my favorite nut.
17. I am deathly allergic to bees. I carry a bee-sting kit (EpiPen) in my purse or backpack. If I get stung, get me to the hospital before my lungs fill with water and I swell up.
18. I know how to change a tire on the car, change the oil, replace the alternator and the serpentine belt. I've done all of these things. I've also rescued countless friends that have had a flat tire. Parents should make sure their kids know basic maintenance before allowing them to drive.
19. I prefer a small town to a big city, as long as I can easily get to all the conveniences of a big city.

<3, the Kaiser

Mar 20, 2011

bad-ass...

So, this weekend we went "up north" to hang out with my lovely family. In Texas, I don't remember people saying that they were going in a particular direction, they just name the city they're going to. In Wisconsin, there are famous cities that everyone knows, and we name those too--Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Appleton, Eau Claire, you get the drift...but "up north" needs no further designation--it means you're going to/ or at least near, the northwoods. Bonduel, for example, a small town near my family's farm is the "gateway" to the northwoods. Basically, you're pretty far north. The farm is almost an hour northwest of Green Bay. From my house, the farm is almost 4 hours of driving.

So, in the drive home, which was dark and rainy (and lots of jerks driving with their brights on, no one here flashes them off when there's oncoming traffic), I had lots of time to think.  What I thought about was nonsense: the two ways that the word bad-ass has been applied to me.

1. I carry a note in my wallet from a student that says "you are the most bad-ass teacher I've ever had." For those of you that teach, you understand what high praise this is... and why I carry it in my wallet. YES, sticks in the mud, perhaps students shouldn't use profanity or write notes to the teacher, but this particular student had been a family friend since his days in the womb. His mother and I went to college together...then wound up at grad school together, and have been pals ever since. That makes it okay. Anyway, I carry it around for those days that I just NEED the encouragement.

2. Intellectual bad-ass. I call myself a nerd or geek at least once a day. The other day, I got corrected: I'm not a nerd (yes, I am), I'm an intellectual bad-ass. It sounds so much better, and takes away the nerdy, taped-up glasses, replacing them with the Doc Martens that shroud my feet in excellence. It also makes it sound like I'm not wasting my time finishing this final (perhaps) degree....and that I'm doing brilliant work. It encouraged me.

There you have it. Bad-ass.

Stay classy? Nope. Stay Bad-ass. It's much more fun.

<3, the oddly encouraged Kaiser.

Feb 11, 2011

more randomness

So, the last post on random facts about my life has gotten me thinking about more things that I can write down, so here's part 2.

*I love red nailpolish for toe-nails. So classy.
*I like it when men make the first 1 million moves to get my attention. I like the man to call me, send me messages, etc.  I don't like to pursue, but once pursued, I will romance him equally. I think it's sorta trashy when women act like men in relationships.
*That said, don't get me wrong--I am independent and can do just about everything for myself...but to have a good man involved would be nice.
*I like to work on my car. Greasy fingers, figuring it out, all of it.
*I hate math. It hurts my brain. It stresses me out and makes me feel really dumb.
*I like less is more in the makeup department. Enhance, not look like a clown. Personally, mascara and a little gloss goes a long way. I really just don't like a bunch of crap on my face.
*I love showtunes.
*When I'm walking up or down steps, I count them. I don't realize I'm doing it, and I only do it in German.
*I read Les Miserables, Sense and Sensibility, and something by Shakespeare every year.
*I only like blueberries in pancakes and muffins.
*Strawberries are my favorite fruit.
*Muenster is my favorite cheese.
*I take out the mock-up of my engagement ring and wear it around the house every so often. It's almost exactly the ring that I want.
*My most prized possession is a ceramic music box from my grandma Mimi. She gave it to me before I moved to Germany (I was 9) because she knew that would be the last time she'd see me. She was right, she passed away just before my 12th birthday, and we moved back to the states just before I turned 13.
*The walls in my room are covered in quotes, research ideas and a darth vader mask. no lie. Why? well, because I don't have a study, i need things that inspire me to be somewhere visible.

That's it for today...
<3 the Kaiser

Sep 20, 2010

Reasons...

So, I’m not artsy fartsy. I’m not talented with a sewing machine or brilliant with making things for people. I’m jealous of all my friends who paint and draw and make things with cloth or string.   I’m creative in the kitchen and when something needs to be stitched with dental floss. I wear doc martens and flipflops, but never simultaneously. I needed a creative outlet to restore my faith in writing. I used to love writing. So, here I sit, fingers on the keyboard, thinking and thinking about what, exactly, should be included here. Should it be vignettes about my daily life or a place to vent? Should I divulge the secrets of my graduate school plans? Maybe I will do it all. Maybe, just maybe, there will also be talk of recipes, storms, skylines and clouds, movies and lyrics and a wardrobe of all black t-shirts. We’ll see. I’ll write and you (whomever you happen to be), will read. Perhaps you’ll also comment. Either way, I will write.