Monday, March 12, 2012

Annual Update

Once a year I like to pretend that I am a blogger. So, in this year's annual update I'm mostly going to focus on school. Why? Well, that's pretty much all I have to talk about. First and foremost, I love it. Second, it is an honor and a privilege to get to pursue my dreams and make a difference in people's lives. Third, I'm tired.

Currently I am set to graduate in 5 months. That feels like next week and 10 years from now at the same time. I am about half way through my clinical work and I see clients at Denton County Friends of the Family. This non-profit organization provides free services (counseling, legal advocacy, shelter, etc.) to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Yep, FREE. If you know anyone needing help for those reasons, please send them our way. You can't beat free counseling. Along with seeing individual clients, I also lead a domestic violence group (one of our many groups) as well as one of our Violence Intervention and Prevention Program (VIPP) groups for batterers (their services are not free, though). I do about 20 hours a week there, work part time interpreting, and am taking a full course load of grad school classes. Hence, the tired.

Although I still feel a little like Pinocchio must have felt when he was pretending to be a "real boy", some of the jangly awkwardness is wearing off and I am starting to find more confidence in my skills as a professional. Or rather, the Lord's presence coming out through my training. It is ridiculous how humbling and exciting it is to partner with the great Counselor in His work with the poor and broken in the world. Just tonight in my women's group I was profoundly moved as they emphasized to each other, "You are not alone." His sentiments exactly.

Anyway, my next big hurdle on this educational sprint is my National Counselor Exam (NCE). This is the licensing exam I have to pass in order to be able to practice. I take that test at the end of April, so I have to fit studying in, too. I'm already nervous about passing it. (Insert prayers here.) I'm believing that if He's called me to it, He'll equip me for it. Still nervous, though.

So there's the latest. Although it seems like this grad school thing has kind of flown by, it has been one of the most transformational experiences of my life. I have been shaped, molded, challenged, encouraged, and propelled beyond my wildest expectations and I can't wait to see what He has in store on the other side of this education. Stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Xanga Flashback

So, I was reading through some of the blogs I follow, feeling inspired, and suddenly I remembered..."Hey, didn't I used to have a Xanga account?" What's a Xanga, you might be asking. Well, it's pre-blog, pre-facebook, social networking at its finest. I found this beauty from when I was still interpreting at McNair. I'd like to call it "A Day in the Life of an Interpreter (circa 2006)". Enjoy.

Once and a while a day comes along, a shining,
shimmering gift of day--wholly unexpected--and you just gotta
roll around in it. I had one of those days today at
work. At work! (of all places). I came in this
morning expecting to have an as-usual kind of day.
BUT...first thing this morning, the kids watched a movie for
about 2 hours, then they went to see the talent show,
then outside to play, then lunch, then back outside for
the rest of the day!!! Are you kidding me? Where did
this schedule come from!?! It happened because the
talent show threw the schedule off to begin with, then
one of the 5th grade teachers was absent and they had
no sub show up. So, everything was canceled, I guess.
The only work I've had to do, if you can call it
that, is to interpret the talent show *smirk*, and sit
here in the computer lab just in case my kiddo has any
questions while taking her test. Let me segue into
the talent show for a minute. "Talent" is a loose term
here. (I don't mean to be harsh, it's just that they are like 10.)
You just don't even know what an adventure it is
to try to interpret elementary school kids squawking
into a hot mic. I have to say, there were a few bright
stars, but overall...not so much. The whole basis of
my job as an interpreter is to LISTEN to what is going
on, to be the EARS for someone who can not HEAR. Do
you see the emphasized words? Listen, ears, hear. All
based on my ability to hear, and I should also add
UNDERSTAND what is being said...or sung. So, mostly it
was me (or Holly or Stephanie) trying to put English
signs to singing that sounded like the teacher on the
Peanuts cartoon singing karaoke. Umm...right. You try
to sign songs like, "SHMOW MOW CHECOM, YEAH YEAH,
FOOOOREVERRRRR!" So as an interpreter we sit there
staring at some kid with a mic and sign like 5% of the
words we can understand. So take that "song" above. We
would be signing: " .............yes, yes...*look
around to see if any other interpreter gets
it*............oh, baby.....*puzzled look* make me
feel like....................oh yes...forever...oh
yes...................................forever" . All the dot-dot-dots are when our arms are just suspended motionless in the air in hopes
that we'll pick up a recognizable word.
So as you can probably imagine, our deaf ed. kids don't
enjoy the talent show very much. Not to mention the
assortment of piano/other instrument players
players. How do you interpret that? Um, you don't. Unless
you are Stephanie and you poke the air as the notes go
up and down. Valiant attempt my friend. What are the
odds we'll get some of the Higher Ups to buy us some
sound-sensitive flashing lights?
Anyway....there's my day. My kid has finished
her test, gone back outside and it's 30 minutes until
school's out. Life is good!!!!!!!!!

(P.S. You should have seen the spell check on this entry.)

End Xanga post. Actual date: May 12, 2006. Love you, Berlinn

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sharpening my pencils!

Yep, it's back-to-school time for me! My financial aid has finally gone through and I am OFFICIALLY headed back to school in 4 days! I am actually starting to get excited.

Today I found out about a huge blessing. The Lord Himself must have reached his sovereign hand down into the TWU financial aid department and processed my forms Himself. I turned the forms in Tuesday and as of today, 4 days later, my loans have been processed, classes paid for and extra money disbursed so I can get books, supplies, parking pass, etc. What in the Sam Hill is going on??? I don't even care. I'll take it! Aaaannnndddd, TWU even saved me a step. I knew my financial aid processing was going to be down to the wire because of the timing of my application process. When I went in Tuesday to turn in my loan forms, I was told that unpaid classes were being dropped that night and that there was not time for my loan money to come in before that, so I needed to get an emergency loan. No big deal. I've done that before. You just get a partial short-term loan to cover a percentage of the cost and that saves your classes from being dropped, and gives you time for your real financial aid to come in. So I filled out those forms and was told to keep an eye out online for my acceptance. So, from Tuesday to today, I have been checking and checking for my emergency loan confirmation. Well, it never came through. But, my classes were never dropped, so something had to be happening. Finally, this afternoon, I called up there to see what was going on and found out that my real loans had already been processed. TWU just canceled my emergency loan request and expedited the real financial aid. They even saved me a step!!! (Whew, I'm getting faint just thinking about it!) The lady I talked to said I had a zero balance, everything was taken care of, and to keep an eye out for the disbursement of the rest of the loan money (the part not needed for tuition). She said it could be as soon as today, or as late as next week some time. I went and checked online and it was already there! (Do you hear the angels singing???) That may be WAY more than you ever wanted to know about my grad school financial aid, but considering the experiences I have had in the past, this is a monumental victory in my epic battle of educational funding. Thank you, Jesus. You are truly my Provider in all things.

In other news, I also start back to work next week. With the starting of college classes comes the need for college interpreters. Financially, I already have enough work scheduled to cover our home expenses, so anything extra I work from now on will be bonus. Plus, the classes I have are on-going through May. Hooray! I don't have to worry about being dropped mid-semester and scrambling for work. (Aside: It is always a bit tense being an independent contractor because you never know if there is going to be enough work. It is glorious to be able to set my own schedule and pick and choose my jobs, but it is scary when the work thins out. But, I know the Lord will continue to give us exactly what we need. So, when I tend toward worry, I just have to hand it over to Him and know He will not let us down.) So for now, it looks good through this whole semester. Thanks again, Lord! Today has been a great day for getting to actually see His provision in my life. I love those moments. Faith tells me that provision is always there, but sometimes it is really nice to see it play out in front of me.

So, three cheers for the TWU financial aid department, and Snoopy-dance to the Lord for his fantastic, much-appreciated and constant faithfulness in my life.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Lots of Changes: School

I am going back to school! I have been accepted to in TWU's Counseling and Development program and will be starting classes in January. The program is designed to be about 5 semesters long, but that depends on how many classes you take. Currently I am registered for 9 hours in the spring, and I plan to continue to take as many classes as I can manage while also working part time. I met with my advisor on Friday and was totally freaked out to learn that after the first semester, I will have clinical hours every semester after that. That means that in less than a year, I'll be meeting with clients. Yikes! I mean, I know that's the point, but still, it's a bit intimidating to think about! Anyway, this first semester will be heavily content based with a lot of papers and projects (oh joy). But as the program progresses, it shifts to a more counseling, hands-on focus. My advisor said that the demand shifts from work-load to time requirements as I progress through the program. Toward the end, the difficult part will be getting all of my hours in around actually having a life.

So, for those of you who felt I fell off the planet when I was in school before, well, I'm diving back off the edge. :) I am nervous, but I am also really excited. I really do feel like this is the direction God has called me and there's no better place to be than smack in the middle of His will, even when its scary.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lots of Changes: Jobs

Hi Friend! Hope you are doing well...

For a long time I have felt that there hasn't been much to blog about. Now I feel like there's too much! So, I'll start with just one area: new jobs! That's right, Jason and I both have new jobs.

He has left Hilton and is now working full-time at our church (Cross Timbers Community Church), as of the beginning of August. Hooray! His official title is Volunteer Team Media Specialist. You may ask, what does that mean??? Common question. :) He is now working within the children/youth department of our church. He is on the volunteer team branch of student ministry, which means he schedules, trains and generally takes care of all of the children and youth volunteers for our CT Denton campus. The "media specialist" part of his job title has not fully come into play yet, but he will be building that up over time. This part of his job entails researching, testing and implementing various forms of technology that will help the student ministries team run more efficiently. So he gets to mix his love of kids and youth with his complete nerdiness about technology. The perfect job!!! So far he is LOVING it. It is exactly what the Lord has equipped him for and the people he works with are amazing! We already feel more cared for and invested in within one month of his working there that we did during his entire time at Hilton. Not that I am bashing Hilton. It was the place the Lord provided and it was where he needed to be for that 2 1/2 years. Without that job he wouldn't have been prepared or equipped for this one. But, Hilton is smack in the middle of corporate America and there are draw-backs to that environment. We will always be grateful for how the Lord took care of us through Hilton, but we are also VERY glad to be with Cross Timbers now. It is going to be exciting to see all that the Lord has in store for us both through this new opportunity.

I recently started working with Texas Interpreting Service (TXIS). This is an interpreting agency based out of Ft. Worth that covers all sorts of interpreting jobs all over the metroplex. My pal Stephanie has been working with them for 5 years and per her recommendation, I finally decided to check them out. After a brief interview, they deemed me worthy of the status of interpreter and I started working about 2 weeks ago. Since they have contracts with many of the colleges in the area, I was able to get some classes that provide steady, weekly work. I am also able to pick up various one-time gigs as the opportunities arise. For instance, I filled in as a sub earlier this week for a UNT class, and next week I have a meeting and a training seminar I am covering. It has felt really good to be back in the work-force, to be able to contribute to our family's income, and to bust out my rusty old interpreter skills (and hopefully get them polished up all shiny and new again). I have started out pretty shaky. I haven't interpreted since I left McNair 4 years ago. Just like any language, if you don't use it, you lose it. But I can already feel myself smoothing out and the vocab is slowly building back up. My fingerspelling is glitchy and I've got some major vocabulary gaps, but I'll get there. The Lord has been sweet in the sense that He has gifted me with a talent and ability in this area and the roots of that are still solid.

It is also cool to get to have such a variety of experiences. I get to learn new things in the various classes, travel to interesting places and meet lots of new people. For example, one of my classes is an organic gardening class. Part of my interpreting is done outside in the garden while the class builds a landscape. We also get to travel around on field trips and do cool stuff like make earthworm compost in the lab portion of the class. So, if you need any gardening tips, I may have some for you! :)

Also, since I am trying to go back to grad school in the spring (more to blog on that later), this job will enable me to pick and choose my work hours around my own classes. Perfect!

So, that's the general update on the job stuff. I am so thankful for how the Lord consistently provides for us, and gives us unique opportunities perfectly suited for our unique skills. I am excited for this new season in our life and am looking forward to all He has in store.

There's a bunch of other stuff going on, too, but I'll have to get into that some other time. Until then, love and blessings to you and yours!!!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Deep Thoughts: Love

My pastor, Toby, always talks about how Jesus transformed the world in profound ways with extremely simple concepts. One of those concepts that has me contemplating the entire structure of my existence is love. That is the “greatest commandment”, He called it. The most important. Numero uno. Just to love. To quote one of my favorite movies, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return” (Moulin Rouge).

And, not only does He prioritize it above everything else He’s called us to, he staples a profound promise to it. “Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8). The Creator of the universe promises us that if we will just love like He loves, we will never fail. This is the answer. The answer to every relationship, every fight, every misunderstanding, every injury…just love.

I know, I know, easier said than done. But luckily for us, we serve a gracious God who honors our smallest, fumbled attempts to mimic the eternal floodwaters of His love. (“If his love is the ocean, we’re all sinking.”) So attempt it. Sure, clumsily, awkwardly we stumble along with our pitiful paper flowers of love, but I imagine that when you look at those construction paper flowers in someone else’s hands, they will have been transformed into a bouquet of eternal ramifications and heavenly fragrance.