Looking for the Blessings of God's Goodness

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Whoa! What Happened to my Life?!? Everything's Upside Down!

"I really need to blog more" is an understatement since my blog title indicates such extremeness. To say my life has been turned upside down is not an exaggeration! I wish I had the discipline to be a consistent blogger (a challenge one day I will accomplish!). For you who have followed my journey through social media, you know some of what is going on, but for others, let me give you the cliff notes version:
  • I sold my house, left South Carolina and moved to Texas in exactly one month this summer.
  • I'm back in apartment living :(
  • I moved from a district office position as Director of Instructional Technology back into the classroom under an amazing principal I saw doing excellent things at his school and in his sphere of influence. I knew I wanted to be a part of this type of organization, so I was willing to take the risk to step back into the classroom to work with this type of leader and have potential amazing opportunities in the future.
  • I left an established state education PLN that I loved and decided to reach for connecting and building relationships with my national Twitter PLN I had grown to love.
  • I'm basically rebuilding my entire life over again, thankfully not as a twenty year old, but as a wiser adult using my life experiences to make this transition much easier.
  • To say I'm totally excited and immensely scared to death makes no sense, but represents my heart and mind right now.

There's more, but that catches you up on the highlights. This life transition happened in the beginning of August, so I'm reflecting back almost 90 days into the experiences of my new life. I'm still considering my thoughts about everything, but here's just a couple:
  • Did I REALLY move to Texas? I know I drove 17 hours (split up between two days) and there are blatant signs of Texas all around me as I travel the state, but I still don't feel like I'm in Texas...hmmm, I guess this will come with time. I'll tell you how I feel about this perspective after traveling back and forth from Texas to South Carolina a couple times.
  • I LOVED the experience of leading a whole district in their transition to the digital world! It gave me great joy to help reshape teacher's mindsets about technology in the classroom. Digital transformation through becoming a Google for Education district, rolling out 1:1 Chromebooks, and sharing my passion for instructional technology was what I had trained so many years to accomplish. Was I stepping backwards by going back into the classroom. Absolutely not! I viewed this new season of life as potential stepping stones for even greater platforms to share my enthusiasm and passion for instructional technology. I'm just in a holding pattern waiting with great anticipation to see what the Lord does with my future.
  • Moving back to the classroom has been challenging, but there are so many positives from this move; I know it's only going to mold me into an even greater leader in my profession. First, I am so much more mindful and respectful of teacher's time when I recommend technology ideas and perspectives. It is so easy for district leaders to pass down initiatives (sometimes unknowingly and sometimes not) showing a lack of respect for the teacher's hard work and job stressors. To much is being pushed down onto teachers, and I firmly believe this would change if district office administrators had to go back into today's classroom. Second, technology has drastically changed since the two and a half years I was in the classroom! I'm grateful to have the opportunity to personally implement all the amazing things I used to recommend to teachers as well as to be able to restock my experience tool belt! Finally, the children, while challenging at times, bring a component to my life that my nurturing heart wants to embrace. My students are truly like adopted children that I get to love and pour my heart into. I get to make a difference and be a change maker in their lives.
  • I need community, people to live life with experiencing the ups and down, joys and disappointments, encouraging each other as we do this thing called life together! As a single girl, I have found it's extremely difficult to build community, and it's something I have to proactively pursue. Many of the weekends I've been in Texas, I've experience excellent opportunities, more than SC could offer, to come together with fellow educators to communicate and collaborate about a wide spectrum of information, but especially about my passion, instructional technology. I have LOVED this part of being in Texas! Also, I'm grateful for a fellow teacher who invited me to a ladies Bible study that I've been able to join and be a part of one day a week to help build a community basis. But there's still a desire and great need for more! When you live life alone, there are many struggles of loneliness and hopelessness that can to easily creep in if you're not careful. I've seen lives destroyed from this and know this is the reason I have to proactively search for community!
So why blog now...why have I felt the sudden impulse to stop everything, grab my computer and blog. Actually, several things this weekend made me know I needed change in my life, and writing about it seemed a perfect way to get started. 

First, after hearing my friend Angela Maiers yesterday at #TCCA16, I knew I had to put feet to my actions if I truly wanted to deal with the thoughts and ideas that Angela's words provoked in me. Second, I know that part of the beauty of life is sharing each other's struggles and successes bringing hope and encouragement as we live life together. How many others are experiencing struggles that I can encourage through sharing? Finally, even if no one else reads this post, I know building my focus for what needs to be accomplished is a must! So, as I rest in my front porch chaise enjoying my beautiful potted plants, the fluffy wispy clouds and pastel blue skies, I contemplate my next steps! Stay tuned :)

#Grateful #Thankful #KeepInspiring

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Celebrating Over 20 Years of Clear Communication Lisp Free!

Growing up I was different, but I didn't realize it till my early teen years. My first realization came when I moved to a new school after my dad's work relocated us to the low country of SC. When a fellow middle school student asked me why I talked differently, I wasn't sure how to respond.  I didn't know I talked any differently, so later that day, I found a tape recorder and listened to my voice for the first time. It was surreal to be in the position of someone listening to myself. I was different! I didn't know how I had become different, but the overwhelming insistence and urge to correct this issue came at me intensely. 

Throughout the next several years, for hours I would sit with a tape recorder trying to change how I sounded, but nothing worked. This went on for years, and I began to think it was something that would never be changed. 

After my freshman year of college, several speech teachers encouraged me to seek out help, so I wrote this letter to my school's speech therapist who was returning the next year after working on her masters at another university.  Mrs. Meadows wrote me back, and we set an appointment for my first lesson, the morning of September 24, 1991. 

Through a series of tests, she determined I had a lateral lisp when pronouncing words with an "s." She told me my tongue was staying flat and not coming up to the tip of the teeth like it should to form a correct "s."She had me form a "t" to kinesthetically understand the curvature and placement of the tongue and how far up the tongue should be coming. Then she had me prounounce a "t" and transition that sound into an "s" sound. VUALA! I could tell the difference!  

I left Mrs. Meadow's office with more drive than ever.  I knew what the problem was, I knew how to fix it  and with every ounce of determination, I was going to overcome this barrier of difference! Literally, for the rest of the day, I practiced the transition from a "t" to an "s" sound repeatedly. Over and over I would form it.  Then I started transitioning into words with an "s."  

I t   w a s   l i k e   I   w a s   l e a r n i n g   h o w   t o   t a l k   a g a i n! 

I was hesitant in speaking, wanting to make sure I was pronouncing any "s" correctly.  The more I talked, the more confidence I gained in my pronunciations.  Wednesday, my words became more natural, less hesitant, more sure.  I was starting to experience a naturalness with this new way of speaking that excited and invigorated me.

On Thursday, I came back for my second lesson We talked, and I explained to her my practice. She took out the same test she had given me on Tuesday and administered it again. On the first test, beside each word was a minus symbol signifying an incorrect pronunciation. After the second round of testing, Mrs. Meadows looked at me, smiled and said, "Kitty, I think you're cured! You're my miracle student!" Every word had a + symbol beside it. I had 100% accuracy!

"What?" I thought.  "Really? It was that easy? No, surely there was something else I had to do!" What I wasn't remembering were those repeated hours of failure that built the fire of determination to "fix" the problem once I finally knew how to. 

With a ton of determination and the help of a very gracious speech therapist, I overcame my speech issue! She had me come back a couple more times to make sure I didn't "relapse," but it was quickly apparent I was done with the issue of a lisp! 

Over five years later, Mrs. Meadows sent me all my paperwork and the letter I had sent her back in college. She enclosed this kind note reminding me of all we had been through. 

Would I have been as effective a verbal communicator today if I hadn't found a way to solve my speech issues? I'm not sure, but here's to over 20 years of being lisp free! Thank you Katie, and most of all, thank you Jesus for providing a way to overcome something that seemed impossible to achieve!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thank You Jesus for my Head!

When I read these headlines and saw this picture, my disbelief turned to thankfulness. 

Peter Kassig
"The radical group ISIS has released a video it says shows American aid worker Peter Kassig being beheaded in Syria."*

Shock from the words of this story gave deep perspective to the headache I've been dealing with on and off for almost two weeks. I've dealt with migraines for as long as I can remember and at one time or another the intensity of the pain has left me saying, "Just cut my head off."

If reports are true, Peter literally dealt with the blow of this awful ending.  Why, how and many so many other questions flood the minds of the nation as we deal with this atrocious news.

The first thought that struck me after reading this story was a sense of gratitude and thankfulness for my head. Despite my pain, I was not dealing with the circumstance Peter had to endure. Even though I am physically and emotionally exhausted from the pain, I could only have an attitude of thankfulness to my Heavenly Father because I knew there were others in far worse circumstances than me.  

Thank you Lord for my head.  

My thoughts and prayers are with the Kassig family during this nightmare, and I pray for comfort and peace that only Jesus Christ can bring to tragedy and senseless actions. 

*Source: www.wyff4.com/national/reports

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Comforter and Healer of my Heart

Six years ago on October 15th 2009, my sister left this world leaving all of us with a myriad of questions, questions that can never be answered.  As each year passes, those questions resurface and my gracious Abba Father continues to patiently listen as only He can.  The whys will never be answered until Heaven, but I'm deeply grateful for the ability to trust a Heavenly Father who loves me through the questions.  

The true answers I've needed, He's abundantly provided, but I didn't always recognize them at first.  It's taken time, struggle and finally the decision to simply trust God's Word no matter how I felt to find comfort and calmness in these answers!

Life gets tough and the only way we can "take it" and really "make it" is if we confidently know our life is in His hands. The Healer and Comforter of my Heart helps me to  choose these words daily:

"My Life Is In Your Hands"

You don't have to worry
And don't you be afraid
Joy comes in the morning
Troubles they don't last always
For there's a friend in Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

With Jesus I can take it
With Him I know I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

So when your tests and trials
They seem to get you down
And all your friends and loved ones
Are nowhere to be found
Remember there's a friend in Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if you heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

With Jesus I can take it
With Him I know I can stand
No matter what may come my way

My life is in your hands

--Kirk Franklin


The week of October 12th, 2016 ~ 

This week, my goal is to breathe meaningfulness into the lives of those around me, especially the quiet and seeming withdrawn people! Of course, I always want to do this, but this week I especially have this focus because it's the anniversary of my sister's death. My sister struggled deeply with many things she never shared with others till it was to late. I can't change the things of the past, but I can make a difference in someone's future. Please pray God will bring specific people into my life to encourage and uplift. I want to help others choose life and life more abundantly!

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Power of Modern Day Communication

As I look back over the last three years I've spend on Twitter, I am amazed at the national/global connections God has allowed me to make.  These connections have not only enhanced my professional life, but have given me many opportunities to take on the roles such as an encourager, prayer warrior, advocate and many more.  Just today, God gave me an idea for how I can broaden the reach of how Christian ladies communicate on *Twitter through the power of common hashtags developed for them. The idea is still mulling, but because of what God has gifted me in learning about Twitter in my professional life, I would love to see that same power at work in the Christian ladies' community.

The communication capabilities we have today were never possible even several years ago, and I'm excited to see where God can take a "seed of an idea" and grow it into a powerful tool for His kingdom!  Oh the possibilities…

the Christian Ladies' Community on Twitter

*If don't know anything about Twitter, but would like to learn, read my blog post, Twitter for Beginners.

My Twitter accounts:
personal ~ @SSOperator13
professional ~ Kitty_Tripp

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Car

The other day as I worked on my computer with the TV on in the background, I glanced up when I heard an update on the crisis in the Middle East.  As I watched, I saw a picture of a long line of refugees trying to escape the unstable region. Suddenly, the life struggles I was having seemed to be nothing compared to what I could only imagine these people were having to deal with.

As I watched them walk, I thought about how blessed I am to have a car.  If I need to travel somewhere, I hop in my car and I'm on my way.  It's so easy to take common every day experiences like this for granted. We're jolted back to the reality of this blessing when something breaks down or stops working. Thank you Jesus for not only the blessing of my car, but for also keeping it working!

Friday, August 30, 2013

What Makes You Feel Accomplished?

Do you even remember your New Years Resolutions, your goals for accomplishing great things?  For those of you who are on track, you're over coming around the back stretch...can you believe it?! Are you on track?
For those of you like me, who started with the greatest intentions and fizzled out as the days faded into weeks and then months, TAKE HEART!  As I read on Twitter today, "We learn to walk by stumbling."  So a lot of us have stumbled and missed out on the feelings of accomplishment that catapults us into creating new challenges to accomplish. Take heart and try a different approach. Maybe some baby steps are more your learning style right now.
Over the last six+ months my "stumblings" have transformed into accomplishments that have left me shaking my head and feeling a profound sense of "wow"ness and deep accomplishment.  Last year I bought a bike and decided I needed more fresh air and lots of sunshine (baby step #1).  Being a teacher, the summer afforded me the time to get out and bike to my hearts content.  Throughout the year, I discovered the @MapMyExercise apps that developed my curiosity in the stats behind my workouts (baby step #2).  I was amazed (or disappointed) by the numbers of when I either walked, ran or biked, and it seemed as I moved from workout to workout I was motivated to up my statistics.  I went from putting in 2-3 miles to easily 5-7, sometimes even more!
Then I discovered the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a biking adventure I'll never forget.  I had a blast, never once looked at my app, but remembered to start it as we left on our adventure.  When I got home and saw we had biked over 20 miles and burned 904 calories, I was hooked (Big Baby Step #3).  The numbers intrigued and enticed me and I developed a desire to push myself a little further each time I worked out.  Did I always feel this way?  No!  But over time I stretched my "normal" and saw myself going distances I never dreamed I could do.
Spring rolled around and I was poised and ready to challenge myself!  I felt like I had transformed from baby steps to giant leaps.  I had built a solid foundation of baby steps and now I was confident in making attainable monthly goals.  And boy did I make some serious and realistic goals that I'm still shaking my head and thinking, "I can't believe I accomplished that!"
April and May's accomplished goals all led to the making of my most challenging goals for June: 200 miles of exercise and burning 11,000 calories.  To anyone who has no experience in understanding these stats, I'm sure they seem crazy!  But on June 30, I moved beyond accomplishing beyond my goals and logged my highest stats ever: 208 exercise miles and 11,718 calories burned...WOW!!!  I felt an immense sense of accomplishment!  That is, until today, when I received my Mid-Year Fitness Report...I was in SHOCK!!!
I don't even think I would have ever set goals like this...I would have thought I was crazy!  I'm not a major biker or runner; I'm just the "down to earth, girl next door" whose trying to take care of her body through exercise.  How in the world did I accomplish exercising 645.2 miles and burn 37,508 calories? In looking back over the process, I am convinced of three things:
1. I allowed my "stumbling" failures to help me take realistic baby steps.
2. I found a way to merge my passion for technology with exercise. My fascination behind exercise statistics gave me a focus beyond the fact that I was exercising, and I didn't particularly want to.
3. Fascination + Passion + Motivation over time = Accomplishments Beyond What I Could Imagine!
So, where are you? Where can you start turning you "stumblings" into baby steps? A sense of pride and accomplishment is priceless and I wish for you the ability to attain these as you find what makes you feel accomplished!
"Little by little, inch by inch.  By the yard it's hard, by the inch, what a cinch!  Never stare up the stairs, just step up the steps.  Little by little, inch by inch, IT'S A CINCH!" -Ron Hamilton