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"


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 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 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 a 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. 

The Snarkiest of Kaisers. 

Jun 22, 2015

Crush, crushed, crushing

Crush... so, I've got a crush. No, I'm not going to say on whom, and I'm certainly not going to give out any details, other than to say that I'm always surprised when I realize that I have a crush. Not because I don't get crushes,  but because I'm completely clueless when it comes to guys and whether or not they have a reciprocated interest. I just normally don't pay attention because I'm thinking about an idea for a chapter, or a revision to a chapter, or what I'm going to make for dinner, or that I'm just really tired.  The idea that I could even be on anyone's radar is so foreign that I'm always taken aback.  No, it's not a self-esteem issue, either I don't notice and they get tired of waiting, or they never noticed me in the first place--because I'm not flashy, high maintenance, or looking for attention.  It's tough to be a bookworm and get the kind of looks that other girls get. Anyway, he's a cutie...and seems like a nice guy.

Crushed... well, I interviewed for a job in the district that I currently work for. I knew it was a long shot because the director of the program isn't my biggest fan (she did something senseless and I called her on it because I will advocate for students ALL DAY LONG).  Long story short--it's the district that I work for, working with the type of kids that I worked with all this year, it would be under contact (this year I wasn't under contract, which sucks), and the pay would be infinitely better. I didn't get hired for it. They hired someone brand new, from outside the district. I was their second choice. So, while the district is over-budget for next year, they can offer me part time (with the idea that it will probably get to full time at some point), but still no contract, no benefits, no sick days...nada. I love what I do there, but am actively looking for other positions to open up. I think that my boss knows that it's not right and that she would do better for me, if she could... #thanks,Walker

In the end though, I never put much stock in interviews and job searches...I know that all I want is to be exactly where I'm supposed to be. Obedience is key, right? my dissertation, that is. I'm writing like the wind, FINALLY. I've submitted one chapter, have nearly finished both my proposal/intro and Chapter two. I think that I've finally figured out how to get this VERY theoretical thing onto paper, and have a firm grasp on the theme that needs to be pulled all the way through. It certainly took me long enough to find the words. The biggest struggles are trying to get organized and write on a schedule when there aren't specific due dates like I had for classes, and then, to be able to put together coherent sentences that are respectful to the histories and constructions of the time period they come from, while trying to pull the ideas from your head and make them cogent.  Dissertation writing is no joke, y'all. it's summer school, at a different planting...summer. I'm tired. I'll sleep when I'm dead.

May 29, 2015


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 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'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,'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...

May 25, 2015

...2 years later...

If I'm not mistaken, I promised TWO YEARS ago that I would start writing in here on a more regular basis...well, clearly, I keep my promises, haha!

The past two years have been ridiculous to say the very least. The Kid, whom all of you know is my niece, has put us through the wringer a little bit--there's been "bullying" (she's pretty sensitive kid and teasing, even mildly is never handled well), BULLYING (middle school girls are nothing short of b*tches), boyfriends, drama, poor grades, get the drift. We decided to homeschool her in both 7th and 8th grade (meaning that I fought with her to do ANY schoolwork for 2 years), most of which she did fairly well at, but now we're still fighting familiar battles and she's at the end of 9th grade. I don't remember school being a difficult place to be--I remember hating certain teachers and subjects (who was the other Biology teacher at Cole--not Ms. Smith and her alien abduction stories--the other one--blech.), and hating any math class, ever...until Ms. Monroe totally saved me. But I don't remember school being such a hard place to be. Maybe it was because the kind of nonsense that happens at "normal" public schools was never tolerated at schools on military bases? I mean, sure there was teasing and a fair amount of snobbery, but nothing so drastic that people couldn't function. So that's reason #1 that I've been absent from blogging.

Two years ago, in September, I submitted (finally) my prelim exams at UW-Madison, earning the "doctoral candidate" title. I'm writing my dissertation now...broadly defined as "what the non-teaching of human rights says about social studies and civic education in the US"... I'm sure that there's a creative title in there somewhere, but it will mostly likely just be called, "I'm tired and I need a job".  The only good dissertation is a done dissertation...the mantra I'm living by right now...and I'm trying to avoid adopting Hemingway's advice "write drunk,edit sober", but only mostly because I'm a poor grad student and alcohol isn't cheap...unless you drink cheap alcohol, which I don't.  The writing is finally going mostly well--I've gotten a proposal and almost two full chapters written. I need to revise the proposal, but it's not going to be too tough to do, I'm just putting it off because I finally got my mind around chapter 2 and I don't want to get distracted.

I started teaching again this year after not having my own classroom for nearly 6 years. I'm working with the kids that should be expelled, but for the mercy of the school district. I've got grades 7-12, "teaching" them whatever their teachers send over, monitoring their online classes, and (because I am a glutton for punishment and pointed out that I could teach 3 sections of history) three separate courses of history because I wanted to tell future employers that I used my licenses this year. WI is all about the "reflective" teacher, so I needed to be able to "reflect" on my praxis. The reflections have told me that I'm excellent, bwahaha.  I'll be teaching two classes: Modern US history and Social Issues this summer at a local high school...summer school is always a blast.

Ah, Well, let's just say that I've tried. One dude chewed like a cow and it was gross, the next dude slowly revealed his um, disagreements, with law enforcement. One big heartbreak and I've just, I think never recovered--or there hasn't been anyone interesting enough to make it worth my while...or...well, it seems that dudes don't dig chicks that aren't slutty. At my age, that shouldn't be a problem...but it is. I think the other problem is that it's intimidating that I'm smart and capable, and while I don't need to be rescued, I wouldn't mind.  Why isn't there just an awesome guy that wants to go on adventures, travel, laugh, maybe sit on the couch together reading on a stormy afternoon, and just be best friends and enjoy one another? The lies we're told as little girls that he's "out there"...prince charming...all we have to do is be pretty and sing to the wildlife and he'll show up is absolute crap. I want a dude that kisses me like he means it.

What else? I've started canning stuff from the garden, and I make really delicious apple-plum jam. I've also been learning to bake bread. Up next: pasta.

Oh, fitness. Yeah...I fell off that wagon. I'm back on it...i bought some heavier weights today...and a new seat for my bike. I've already changed my eating habits and that's been really helpful. I mostly just lack motivation.

there you have it...I'll update soon.

-the kaiser

Jan 6, 2013

New year...


It's a frightening word: new year, new job, new relationship, new, new, new.  It's intimidating and full of expectations.

This is a new year: 2013.  I'm not sure yet what I think it holds for me, just like I'm reeling from the shock of how quickly 2012 seemed to pass.

Then I think about change and how willing I am (not) to embrace it: weight loss is a welcome change, more points on my license because of a speed trap is not so welcome. It all has to do with perspective.

Here's where I'm at as 2013 begins:

Homeschooling one kiddo, working for a great company
Waiting for what feels like a non-existent mate
Writing and revising what should be my pre-lims
Eating healthy and pushing the limits of my body
A full 50 pounds lighter than I was one year ago
A full 3 clothing sizes smaller than I was one year ago
A licensed teacher snooping around for open positions
A doctoral student praying for a full time job with full time pay and full time benefits

A daughter with loving parents
An aunt with a loving niece
A sister with an awesome brother

A gift for cooking, baking and eating
A knack for writing
A shelf of books to read, and soon
A working and terrific car
A passport for adventures if the plans would ever come together
A plan for investing and letting moolah work for me

Life in my veins, breath in my lungs, laughter in my throat, a song in my heart and a skip in my step.

I'm going to try to write more frequently... unless, of course, life gets in the way.

Grace, blessings, and peace to you...whomever you are, wherever you roam.

Oct 12, 2011

...the times, they are a-changin'...

Well, to say that it's been awhile since I've updated would be the understatement of, well, this month. Since moving to the house in July, it's been pretty insane around here: unpacking, organizing, doing laundry at the laundromat, school starting, intense drama with the Kid, my classes starting, trying to figure out when I'm going to finally do pre-lim exams, a puking cat, one rowdy puppy, the death of the family dog, migraines a-plenty and the loss of my sanity. I've also learned how to caulk a shower, process a ton of tomatoes into sauces, salsas and various other things, blanch and freeze eggplant, and still not get everything done that needs doing in 24 hours.

I've learned that I am finally without a friend in administration at my job because things are changing and people that were there are no longer there. I've found out that just because you have a teaching license doesn't mean you'll have a job, and that for whatever reason, cats knock all of the water from their bowls because they prefer it to be running water instead of still.

I've also found that I have great friends that attempt to help me find balance and that are always willing to help...and that they don't just care about me but my entire family. My brother being here has been wonderful--talk about calling in a ringer!

My brother drinks about a gallon of milk a day. Not really, but you get my drift. I'm pretty sure it offends him that I only like enough milk to make the cereal appear as though I attempted to moisten it.

I've become something of a shower ex-pat. I stopped sharing the upstairs shower because I can't stand to be away from my mom.

Just kidding, it's because the Kid and my brother lack something in the way of keeping the bathroom as clean as I like it.  However, I really love my mom. That lady knows how to keep a bathroom clean....she also tends to listen to my kvetching.

I've also discovered that motion sickness medicine works great for least that one time I took it.

I take melatonin and it helps me sleep. That's right. Something helps me sleep. Be jealous--i sleep like a rock when I remember to take it.

I've gone girly and have gotten serious about playing with make-up. I bought powder and blush. Today, I used a skin primer. I'm pretty sure that I looked less pale than normal.

I need a haircut. I probably need a good cry. I definitely need chocolate.

<3 the long haired Kaiser.

Aug 12, 2011


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.