Looking for the Blessings of God's Goodness

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Yes, I'm That Obnoxious Person...Sorry!

Have you ever been in a public gathering, conference, maybe even church and seen a person typing on their phone/device and you annoyingly think, "Can't that person put their phone away and focus just for a little bit?!?"

News flash! I'm one of these obnoxious people but unlike you think, I AM focussing my mind with my device! I'm a kinesthetic person that needs to be involved in what I'm experiencing. My career puts me in front of people constantly interacting day in and day out, so when I have to sit still and try to focus, I have to engage my mind with what's being said or "grasshopper thinking" and constant yawning usually ensues. I used to take paper notes, but then I would lose the notes or forget to bring my journal I was taking notes in, so I took to using my device to keep electronic notes. I especially love tweeting my thoughts because I considered, "If it was meaningful to me, could it also be meaningful to others?" Notes plus helping other...makes sense to me!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"You Matter".... Do I Really Matter?

This weekend I had an excellent time at #TCCA16 in Houston, Texas, and yes, I was tweeting about many challenging ideas Angela Maiers said in her keynote as well as other presenters throughout the conference. I knew I needed to flesh out these provoking thoughts if I truly wanted to put into action true change. I headed to my tweets as I reflected and considered an action plan for moving forward.
From the time I was born, I was always told what to do, how to do it, what not to do, etc. and NO, there was no debating an issue. Being the middle child, I acquiesced, not only because I wanted to please others, and I didn't want to stir the waters, but I was also afraid of what would happen if I didn't obey. As I became an adult, I internally sensed this wasn't right, but I didn't have the courage to voice this disagreement till I got on my own and purposefully displaced these types of negative influencers in my life. Even on my own, I had to fight different entities for my voice and the ability to be me no matter what others thought. For the last ten years of my life, even though it may have been difficult and lonely at times, I have learned to be proactive about being me despite some strong odds. Yes, I've dealt with internal battling about what I perceive others may be thinking about me, but I'm immensely determined to be me and deny pressures from others to be anything different.

These were the thoughts I mulled over as I considered one of Angela's first thoughts. "Teachers, all you need to do is be fiercely and fully you!" She's absolutely right about the fierce part! In today's education world, there is so much pressure to be many things as teachers, things that may go directly against who you truly are. I respectfully yet firmly refuse to do this, not out of rebellion, but out of respect to myself. I've come a long way from being that little impressionable girl, but now I think of myself as a graciously firm individual passionately intent on being me. Not only is it emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting to try and be all things to all people, but it will NEVER work. Since moving to Texas and turning my life upside down, I've digressed in this important focus, but as I'm getting my feet back under me, I've slowly been readjusting. Angela's words on Saturday where a mental spark that I needed to fiercely plant my feet firmly in the ground and renew my focus to be ME ~ nothing else...period!

"You matter." I know the phrase, and I love the passionate voice of Angela Maiers and others who promote this invaluable perspective. Sure, I believed it, but in all honesty, I struggle truly believing it...making it a "heart knowledge," not just a "head knowledge." I tell my students they matter, but as Angela said, "Can you really help students understand they matter if you don't truly understand that you matter. Time for an honesty check!

A major struggle I have is thinking that others don't need me in their lives and that I don't matter. At school and in life, I continually give to my students and others, but I don't feel as if anyone has a thought about my wellbeing, needs, or concerns. I don't say this selfishly because I know that if I were to mention this to certain people in my life, they would be more than willing to reach out. But, in my heart I wonder if reaching out "when asked to" is the same as knowing I matter to them without having to ask for something? I have family and friends I never hear from unless I call to connect. Does this lack of communication and connecting mean that I matter or don't matter to them? If something matters to you, shouldn't there be a conscious activeness to show value and meaning towards that person? My norm is that my phone will rarely ring bringing personable conversations for days and sometimes weeks unless I first reach out to make it happen. Life is busy. Everyone has their jobs and families, life gets hectic with schedules. I've come to accept all this. But still, I'm left wondering, do I really to matter to the people that know me.

In considering my own heart and mind while reflecting over Angela's challenge of mattering, one of the words that stood out to me the most was choose. My ability to matter cannot depend on how someone may or may not treat me. I matter because I choose to matter. I can make a difference because I choose to make a difference. I may struggle in knowing if I really matter to people, but there is no in between ground in choosing to matter. I know this choice is a daily decision that some days I may not feel like making, but ultimately, I matter because I choose to matter! Thank you Angela for your inspiring words to challenge my heart and mind!

Below are more tweets that stood out to me during this powerful keynote!


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!
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! :)

#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