A New Anniversary

Yesterday, June 1st, would have been my 25th wedding anniversary, if my husband hadn’t given up on us.  Given up on me!  If I had been “enough” the way I am, we would still be married, but I wasn’t.  To him, I was never smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, athletic enough, spiritual enough.  Nothing I did was EVER enough and so June 1st, 2016, was just going to be like any other day, except that God had something else in mind for me.

Last Monday, I was walking through the school office, as I do at least 10 times every day in the course of doing my job.  As I was leaving the office, our assistant Principal popped his head out the door and said the Principal wanted to see me.  Now I don’t care who you are or how old you are, it is always scary to be called into the Principal’s office.  I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, but it’s still worrisome!  She asked me to sit down. Yikes! And then, like the kiss of death, closed the door behind her.  I was certain that I needed to pack my things,  but then she asked me a simple question that sent my heart and mind into a tailspin.  She asked…”Would you consider taking the position of Elementary General Music Teacher?”

If you know me, you know that I am not usually without words, but it seemed to me like I sat in silence for a very LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time.  Eventually, I said something along the lines of “How am I qualified for something like that?  I don’t have a degree or teaching certificate or anything like that?”  Her response was that she has seen what I do in my class and with the after school clubs that I run (musical theater clubs) and she’s knows that I have what it takes to do the job!  I still had to apply and go through the interview process, but she and the Executive Director would like me to consider applying.  So, I did and the interview was set for May 31.

On Tuesday, May 31st, I was all prepared to interview for this position.  I even ironed a skirt.  Nothing makes you stand out more than being dressed up on what is supposed to be “water day” at school.  Everyone else is in swimwear and I cracked out the good clothes.  I had to dodge several questions about that, but I felt as ready as I would ever be. Nervous, but confident because I was just going to be myself in the interview.  I have nothing to hide!  She already knows that I don’t think I’m qualified, so I didn’t feel like I had anything to lose. Then I got the word.  The interview had to be pushed until tomorrow, because of graduation scheduling conflicts.  My interview was now going to be on my “should have been” 25th wedding anniversary day.  Ugh!!  All I could think was that I was probably going to burst into tears or something ridiculous during the interview because of the date, but there was nothing I could do about it.

I woke on June 1sr.  Ironed another outfit.  As 2:30 approached, I could feel the nerves building a little bit.  I just kept reminding myself that she had asked me to apply so that had to mean something.  If I don’t get the job, then I stay where I am, which a week ago was the plan.  Then the time came.  I did not know who all was going to be in the interview, but I assumed it would be the Principal, Choir Teacher and current Music Teacher.  Those 3 were there, but then we were joined by the 2 Master Teachers, the Assistant Principal, and the Student Advisor/Counselor.  7 of them and 1 of me!  All super nice people, but to say that I felt out numbered and under educated would be a major understatement.  However, the interview began and everything changed.

After answering a couple of basic background questions, these people who I look up to and who are so much more educated and experienced that I am, started sharing things about me.  Things that they know about me.  Things that they’ve seen me do.  Things that have impressed them about me.  They all made me feel that I, Vonda, am enough!  Just as I am.  I do not have to prove anything more by getting a piece of paper that says I am educated.  They have seen me in action and what they have seen was enough.

June 1st will now be a new anniversary for me.  It is a day that I sat in a room of colleagues who all expressed that I am enough, just the way I am.  God has been working in the background while I have been doing what comes naturally to me.  Doing what I love!    I have a Masters degree from the school of hard knocks and a PhD in working my butt off and because of those credentials I have accepted the position of General Elementary Music and Beginning Band Teacher at Horizon Honors Elementary School.

Full Circle

I don’t really know where to start, so I’m just going to see where my heart and fingers take me.  I have to share the events of the last week, because they are still making my head spin at the amazing greatness of God.  It started last week when I felt the need to blog about all that is going on in my heart right now.  I sat to blog.  Erased everything.  Started again.  Didn’t like it.  Walked away for a day and then came back.  As I typed, I was trying to share my feelings about this new theater experience and what it was doing for me.  I wanted to express how wonderful it is to feel “wanted” and “appreciated” after many, many years of those feelings being absent in my life. I am feeling loved and appreciated again, and I wanted to share that, but every way that I shared it in the post I was writing, really bashed my ex husband and I don’t want to do that.  I gave up on the blog.

On January 4th, as I was laying in bed after a long day, I felt the urge to write something about what my sister had done for me.  I didn’t go to my blog, I went straight to  Facebook and shared the picture along with a wordy status update. It wasn’t exactly what I had been planning to write in my blog, but some of the same ideas came out.  In one of the versions of my blog, I started to share how my freshman year of high school had been such a pivotal time in my life, because a very good family friend, Greg Overmyer, had the courage to PUSH me to audition for Fiddler on the Roof.  I had only dabbled in theater to that point, and so I really didn’t have any inclination to take on high school theater, but he was relentless and I finally gave in.  The rest is, as they say, history!  Because a friend saw something in me and didn’t take my first, second, or third lame “I don’t really have time for that” as his answer, the trajectory of my life changed.  I found my passion!  As I stated above, I never actually posted ANYTHING about Greg, anywhere.  Those blog posts never left my computer screen.  And yet, on January 5th, I received a comment from Greg, on my Facebook status.  Greg is one of those Facebook friends that I don’t think I’ve every actually seen post anything, much less comment or “like” anything.  His comment said that it seems as though our lives may have gone down similar paths and would I call him if I got a chance.  SO WEIRD!  But I knew it was a “God thing” of some kind, because of him being on my mind just the week before.

I didn’t call Greg that day, but the next morning I couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling that I NEEDED to call him.  So, call I did and it was immediately apparent that God had been orchestrating this whole thing.  What you need to know about the relationship that I had with Greg growing up is that he was like a big brother to us.  I mean an annoying, obnoxious big brother.  My strongest memories are of him doing cannonballs into our swimming pool or throwing my sister and brother in the pool whenever he had the chance.  A lot of dunking happened when Greg was in our pool. He and his sister were regulars at our house growing up!  As we talked yesterday, it was like no time had passed, and yet, 25 years have passed that have been filled with life changing events and hurts.  None of the specifics of his story are necessary for you to know as I share the moment in our conversation when I saw the reason behind my call to him.  I shared with him that he had been on my mind last week when I had tried to write that blog post.  He didn’t think it was weird at all and then he explained why he commented on my Facebook status.  He shared that while talking to a Doctor for an extensive period of time this last October, the doctor asked him what he would do if he could anything at all in the world.  The answer was THEATER!

And there it was.  Meredith’s question to me a year ago October, was the same question the doctor asked Greg this October and the answer, was the same as mine.  Theater!  The very thing that Greg had relentlessly encouraged me to pursue is a passion that we both still share at this pivotal time in our lives.  I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing for a few seconds and I’m certain I had goosebumps all over.   I invited him to come see the upcoming shows and told him that he should look into Don Bluth Theater as a way to get started again.  We ended our call with the promise to talk again soon, but I had no idea how soon that would actually be.

As I’ve posted on a FB status, I was slated to fill in for the part of “Carnes” in Oklahoma for my friend, Don Crosby, next weekend for 2 performances.  I’ve been memorizing and practicing since the idea started being tossed around, because it seemed like it was really going to happen.  However, it just never felt right for me to do the part.  Not that I can’t do it, because I WOULD TEAR IT UP!  But it just never felt to me like I was SUPPOSED to do it.  When I called Meredith to share the phone conversation I had just finished with Greg, she said the words that I needed to hear!  (Damn her and all of that wisdom she has packed into her!) She said, “You should ask Greg to fill in for Carnes!”  If you don’t already know this about me, I am NOT a spontaneous person.  I think everything through and then plan and analyze before acting.  Only a couple of times in the last many months can I think of examples of me acting immediately on something without really giving it much thought, but calling Greg back was immediate.  His answer was “Yes!”  1 hour later, I was in my car driving across town to pick him up and take him to the theater with us.  I introduced him to Don Bluth and it’s a done deal.  He’s doing it!

My friend, my big brother from so many years ago, my swimming pool tormentor and the person who introduced me to the theater has now been given the chance to jump into a show that’s already in motion, simply because I listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and called.  I then acted when I felt to call him back and share the “crazy idea” that Meredith and I hatched during our phone call.  I didn’t have to be relentless about my suggestion like he had to be with me so many years ago, but that’s good, because there was no time for that.  This show opens next Thursday and we need someone fast and good.  If you know Greg or remember anything about WHS theater days, you know that his portrayal of Tevye as a Senior was nothing short of genius.  If anyone can jump into a role and do a great job, it’s Greg.

If you don’t already have tickets to see Oklahoma and you are a WHS alumni you should try to come next Thursday or Saturday to see 2 of your past drama alum friends make their stage re-debute (Is that a word?), together.  If that isn’t something coming full circle, I don’t know what is!

The “Condition” Of My Home!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  Like I expected, as soon as I put up a “blog” I ran out of ideas to write about.  Until this week. 

If you are reading this, you undoubtedly know that I have had a trial some last couple of years.  I am now a single mom working one full-time and 2 part-time jobs.  To say I am busy, is an understatement at best, but I am not complaining.  While I have little free time, I wouldn’t go back to what I had lived with for 22 years.  I am so much happier and fulfilled with my new life, but BUSY!!!!!  Trying to balance everything is a challenge, but I doing pretty well. 

Rewind to Thursday this week.  It’s the 4 day of the school and my middle daughter, Hasley, is not feeling well.  As we leave for school, I am feeling that whatever it is will pass as she gets up and moving.  However, it becomes clear to me as I’m getting my classroom ready for the day, that she is not feeling well all.  Taking a sick day so early on in the year is scary for me, so I start down my list of “emergency” contacts.  I’m finally able to reach someone and it’s my father.  He agrees to come get her and take her back to my house for the day.  On my break, I run to the store to get the customary chicken noodle soup and gingerale for the sick patient.  I know there nothing in the house for her to eat if she starts to feel better.  When I walk in the door to quickly deliver the food, my entire world comes crumbling down. 

Mind you, I’m rushing.  I only get a 30 minute break and 20 of it was taken up with getting to the store and then back to my house.  I want to love on my girl for a couple of quick minutes before having to rush back.  As I enter my kitchen to put the groceries on the counter, my father is emptying the dishwasher, which at first glance looked like a touching act of service he was giving me.  However, as he turned around to greet me (or so I thought), he launched into a furious tirade about the “condition of my house”.  “Is this the way you are raising my granddaughters?  In this filth?  I couldn’t even find a place to sit down and eat, because there was a hairbrush on the table?”  I was dumbfounded!

Let me back up and describe the “condition of my house”.  It’s messy!  I get up at 5:30 every morning for us to leave by 7:00.  There were dishes left on the counter from the hot lunch I had packed my girls that morning.  Dirty dishes were in the sink from dinner the night before and from breakfast that morning and the dishwasher had not been emptied.  On the kitchen table was the hairbrush that I had used to put a ponytail in my daughter’s hair while she ate and some hangers and miscellaneous mail etc.  Hasley has been learning to make fondant cake decorations, so there was powdered sugar on the part of the kitchen counter where she had been working.  In the living room was a laundry basket full of clean clothes that we had not yet folded.  And my kitchen floor could probably be classified as filthy, but IT’S A FLOOR!  I mop it, just not every day.  There isn’t dog pee or poop anywhere inside.  Food it not rotting anywhere and we’ve had maybe 2 roaches TOTAL in 8 years.  I assure you that I have never seen a mouse or rat anywhere on the premises.  FILTH is an overstatement at best and quite honestly CRAZY if we are being real!  If someone I wanted to really impress called to say they were on their way over for a visit, I could motor through and have it sparkling in 45 minutes.  You can’t do that with FILTH.  You can do that with MESSY.

Back to Thursday…through squinted eyes I looked at my dad and asked  “Are you serious?”  Dumb question, but it was all I could muster at the moment.  To which he replied, “I am not only serious, I am ANGRY!”  And then the moment came that broke my heart and has forever changed my relationship with my father.  I said “Dad, I am doing the best I can.”  And then, here it is…”No you are not! Not if your house looks like this.”  NO YOU ARE NOT!!!!  My father does not value anything that I AM doing.  He only sees and cares about what I AM NOT doing.   He is not filled with love and compassion for his daughter who is working herself to bone, he is filled with anger by the hairbrush on the table. 

Everything started to go black.  I wanted to call someone for help, but couldn’t remember any numbers.  I couldn’t get into the contacts of my phone.  I was trembling so hard, I had to sit on the floor.  I then told him to leave.  He was no longer welcome in my home.  Yep, I kicked Hayden out.  It didn’t work.  He wouldn’t go, but I kept trying.  It took a total of about 30 minutes.  I used some colorful language, threatened to call the police, and then finally my sister convinced him over the phone to go.  He left.  I really am not sure if I will ever see him again.  That will be for another blog entry I am sure.

Besides getting my father to leave, my sister also talked to me that day.  She said some things she’s said before, but there was a new gem that resonated.  What I heard was “what you experienced today was the clash of people with different priorities.”  And she is right.  My parents have always been concerned with appearances.  Physical appearance, weight, cleanliness etc.  What you are feeling on the inside doesn’t matter.  It’s what you show on the outside that counts. (and that’s almost a direct quote from my childhood).  Once when I needed to go the emergency room in the middle of the night, we had to wait until my mom could put on make-up and do her hair. Put on a smile, comb your hair, put on your make-up and make it look like you are fine, no matter what you are feeling.

The condition of my house and my father’s reaction shouldn’t have been a surprise, but yet it was.  All of a sudden, I was a little girl wanting my father to take me in his arms and say how proud he is of me for all that I have done and accomplished this last 2 years.  I wanted to know he’s seen that I haven’t compromised or backed down and that I’ve managed to handle all of the facets of an ugly divorce with integrity and grace.  I wanted him to say how he has seen that, although it’s been difficult, I’ve helped his grand daughters handle the trauma with amazing strength and faith.  He has said none of those things to me.  The one and only thing my father has now said to me regarding my handling of this major transition in my life is that I am not doing a good job because of the condition of my house.

I can’t find a Silver Lining with what happened with my father.  Maybe some day I will.  But I have decided to look at it from a different point of view.  When I thought about what happened with my dad and what my sister said, I was able to see something.  There are 2 ways to describe the place you live.  You can live in a “house” or you can live in a “home”.  The condition of my “house” may not be stellar (but let’s be clear that it’s not FILTH).  The condition of my “home” is something I’m proud of.  I am raising my girls in a loving, Christian, comfortable, accepting home.  You can’t see those things, but they are, in my opinion, so much more important than a perfectly clean, neat house!

In my home, there will be dishes in the sink, but if my kids need to go to the ER, how I look makes no difference.  In my home, the floor will be dirty (probably often), but if my girls are sad about something, I’ll sit and love on them for hours if necessary.  In my home, there could be a hairbrush left on the kitchen table, but if one of my girls is working 3 jobs to keep things a float, I am going to come to her home and empty the dishwasher as an act of service and humble awe at the amazing woman she is. I am going to take her in my arms and tell her that I am so proud of her and the way she is raising my grandchildren.  If she’d like me to the mop the floor then I will, but if she’d prefer for me to just hold her as she cries her eyes out for a while, then that is what I will do. Because in my HOME, love comes before appearance.

I guess I did find a Silver Lining as I was writing this because later in the day on Thursday,  I was talking to Hasley about what had just happened with Papa.  My only regret from how I handled it was that she heard the whole thing.  She’s never heard me yell like that or seen me trembling uncontrollably, and I didn’t want her to think it was in anyway her fault because she had been sick that day.  She then said “It’s okay mommy.  I think Papa was really wrong for saying those things to you.  You are a great mom and you are raising us great.  I love that we can be comfortable when we are HOME and don’t have to keep stuff perfect.  When you are at HOME you should be able to be comfortable and we can’t do that anywhere but here with you!”  I’d say that is a Silver Lining-knowing that the 3 people who matter the most to me, think I’m doing a great job and are at HOME with me.

You can keep your house anyway you’d like.  I’d say the condition of my HOME is exactly what I want it to be!

 

 

 

 

 

So here it goes!

Well, you all have been asking and I’ve been hesitant to start, just because it feels like “pressure”.  If I start a blog, then I’ll be expected to write something.  The writing has just been flowing lately, so I guess I’ve decided to blog!  I didn’t mean to, it just happened. 

 

What is my blog going to be about?  I’m not 100% sure.  It’ll just be the same kind of things I’ve been posting on Facebook.   Things that happen to me or things I learn throughout this process of becoming who I was meant to be.  Not who I think I was meant to be, but who I am actually supposed to be.  The person that God created me to be!  I’ll try to include a Silver Lining in each one, but may not if it doesn’t lend itself to one.  I’ll probably repost some of the entries I have made on Facebook as well.

 

I am determined to come out of this divorce stronger and better than I’ve ever been before.  I don’t want it to change me, I want it to enhance me.  I don’t say that to be prideful.  I say it because gold is still gold before it’s refined.  The refining process just burns off the impurities and makes the gold the best quality it can be.  I feel as though I’ve spent the last 13 months (or maybe 22 years) in the fire and I am starting to see the results of my refining.  I know that a lot of changes have already happened in me, but the refining that I am most keenly aware of is in the people God has taken from and sent into my life.  One significant person has been removed only to be replaced by 100 (I didn’t actually count, but I’m sure that number is low).  God has placed me where I need to be in order to be with the people who are going to help me become ME. (That is a lot of “mes” in one sentence, but it is MY blog).

 

Thanks for the encouragement to start a blog.  I don’t know where it will all lead, but then I’m getting used to that.  A phrase that I heard very early on in this process this year has kept me going a lot of the time and it is “Start walking and then I’ll guide your way.  Love, God”  So that is what I’m doing.  I’m just walkin’ and asking him to show me the next step.  It can be painfully slow at times, but He always shows me the next step in His time.

Today’s silver lining:  realizing that going through the fire is necessary in order to burn off the junk!