Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cars, stress, and God...

Getting into a car accident is very scary and stressful, but the aftermath of it is even worse. For the past few month I have only been working part time, but I have felt more busy than I did when I working full time and interning with Intervarsity. Dealing with all this car stuff has been a job itself, only it’s eating money, and not making it.

After getting into the accident I had to wait for them to access my car to see what the damages would be. I was warned that it was probably going to be a total loss because the air bag deployed. But because there was not a lot of visible damage I was pretty confident that it was going to be repaired. The insurance company did come back and say they were deeming the car a total loss. What they were offering to give me for the car was more than I had expected but still not enough to buy a decent car. I wanted to see look into the option of getting it fixed anyway. When I tried to call to get a quote from body shops, they couldn’t really give me a quote without having the car brought it. I couldn’t really bring the car in because it was not drivable. So there was this whole ordeal of trying to figure out if I could tow the car to a shop to get a quote and then if I would need to tow it back if I didn’t want to get it fixed. Finally, I found a place that was willing to look at some pictures and the assessment that the insurance company did on the damages. The body shop actually suggested that I should not fix the car. I felt like that was saying a lot given that I could have given them a ton of business to get it fixed. So after praying, I decided to give it up.

Then came the process of finding a new car. This was hell. I think that I would rather have my wisdom teeth removed again than buy another car. Although it was only about two weeks of car searching, it seemed like an eternity. From spending hours upon hours to looking up cars online, trying to get friends advice on good cars, looking up reviews, calling places to see if the car online was still there, driving from San Fernando Valley to San Diego to look at cars, and dealing with pushy salesman it was just an exhausting experience. During the main week that I was car searching, I was more than stressed, I was having serious anxiety. I would come home crying after car searching, feeling so discouraged about not being able to find a decent car in my price range. I felt like I couldn't even deal with the stress in the midst of it because once I got home I had to go back to researching online and press on until I found one. There was also the pressure on being in a time crunch because my insurance would only pay for a rental car for so long and I need to vehicle to get to work.

Finally I found a car that I was ready to buy. I negotiated the price down to my max limit and was ready to sign the papers. But at the last minute they were not going to be able to through in the keyless entry that they originally said that they would. I really feel like I need a keyless entry for safety reasons living in south LA. I walked away feeling like they should have been able to do this deal for me and they were unwilling to. This happened at the beginning of a weekend. After another long, stressful, discouraging, and exhausting weekend, I was at the end of my rope. The thought of another week of car searching felt so burdensome I just would start crying even thinking about it. So went back to the place that wouldn’t give me the keyless entry and threw in 200 dollars over my max limit for the sake of my sanity. Although the car was not the best deal or the best car I could have chosen, for my sanity it was worth it to be done. And it is still a really good car.

There were several other stressful things that went wrong and created problems in this whole ordeal that I was starting to feel the “Job” of car problems. Thankfully I am almost there. There is still some insurance stuff that is not taken care of but now at least the majority of my day is not dealing with car stuff.

Here are some things that the Lord has thought me throughout this process.

I couldn’t really deal with why I was so stressed in the midst of it. Afterwards I was able to process what is going on for me. My mother was a single mom and raised me to be very independent and self sufficient. Part of that is really good, but I have twisted that into something that is really unhealthy. In dealing with all of this car stuff I felt very alone and that I had to do everything myself. Part of me felt bitter about it but part of me felt like, well, I’m tough, I don’t need anyone, I can do it myself. But that is a dangerous way of thinking and is a lie. Obviously I can’t do it all myself because I was breaking down crying every day, not sleeping well, and having a lot of anxiety. I was not letting God take care of me. Even though I was trying to let God provide for me needs, I have always operated in a way where I feel like I just need to take care of myself and do what it takes to get things done. In the end, God always comes though, even in the midst of my sin. I am very thankful for his grace on me. There’s a lot more but I can’t really get into it on a public blog.

As things continued to go wrong with the all this car stuff I begged for God to make it end, but more of more things kept coming up. I realized that I have no guarantee that these problems will end. I can only choose to turn to God in the midst of them or continue to live in stress and anxiety. There is a “churchy” phrase that comes from Daniel’s friends being sent into the furnace that I really like. God will not deliver us from the fire, but he will deliver us through the fire. God does not promise that we will not go through difficult situations but he does promise that he will be with us in the midst of them.

Ways that God has cared for me through this whole ordeal

-During the accident, surrounding me with people who were leading me in what to do

- That my insurance paid for a rental car the majority of the time

-A really nice insurance agent who was very fast and always responded quickly to me

-A friend who was gave me a lot of advice about cars

-A friend who went with me to buy the car

-My small group praying for me

-My mom being home from work that month so that she was available during the day when I needed to call her with questions

-My dad giving me advice and sending me some money for the car

-My grandfather’s inheritance that helped pay for the car

-The time to car search in only working part time

-There is more I just can’t think of right now

Friday, May 13, 2011

Continuous Line Drawings

This is another catch up blog. I did this activity with my students months ago. I did a series of exercises on continuous line drawing from what I had learned from Inner City Arts

We started by first just talking about different types of lines, horizontal, vertical, straight, curvy, zig zag and practiced drawing those lines.

Then I had the crumple up a piece of paper and pretend that an ant was walking along the parameter of that paper. I asked them to draw the path that the ant took.

(This is why I love the creative process. The kinders liked the image of the ant. One student turned her path into more of a story and drew an ant house and car. It wasn’t apart of the exercise but it was part of her creative process).

I tried to do blind continuous line portrait drawing. Most of them could not do it without looking.

Then I had them do continuous line portrait drawing while looking. When I was doing this activity it didn’t seem like any of them could really stick to the continuous lines but when I looked at their work afterwards, quite a few of them were able to do this.

In the next activity I called out different objects like a shoe, house, ball, pencil and they were supposed to draw those objects in a continuous line.

I put a random object inside each of their desks that they weren’t supposed to look at but just draw by feeling. They really liked the mystery of this activity and trying to guess the different objects that they were drawing. Having the desk to put the objects in really helped them not to peak.

Although it was a little difficult to get through each of the exercises, I think they overall enjoyed it. I had them each pick one of the drawings from all the different exercises and put them up on the board. I then did a non-judgmental critique with them. Since it’s been months now I am forgetting what we talked about but I think it went pretty well. I was having a hard time remembering to talk about each student’s art.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Native American Cave Drawings

This was an activity that I did during Spring Break Camp with older students. I was teaching a class on different types of storytelling. We first talked about how in ancient times people told stories in different ways. I had them list of ways people told stories: music, dance, plays, drawing, chants, oral storytelling, etc. I gave them some cave drawing and had them write a story about what they think was happening in the cave drawing.

I then had them make up their own pictographs and tell a story through their drawings. Most of them really enjoyed coming up with their own symbols and sharing their stories with each other.

If you give a Mouse a Cookie

I am very behind on blogging. Let’s just say that even though I have been working part time, I have been more busy than when I was working full time and interning with IV in the past few weeks. More blog posts to come on car stuff, future stuff, and more of my students stuff.

I am trying to document more what I do with my students to build up a portfolio and remember what worked and what didn’t. Since I am always looking to integrate academic material with creative learning, I was trying to spice up how to enhance reading comprehension skills for my kindergarteners.

My kinders actually respond pretty well to me just reading them stories. And I love reading kids books, it’s one of my favorite things in life so I am always happy to read to them. I usually ask them questions after reading the book to build their reading comprehension skills. But I tried to make this more of a creative process. I read them the classic, “If you give a Mouse a Cookie.” First, as a class we went over each part of the story and I wrote the sequence of events on the board. Then I assigned each them a different part of the story that we had talked about. I had them draw a picture of just that part of the story. I took all their pictures and taped them on the board in order and had them retell me the story with their pictures. It worked well because most of them had heard the story before and different parts of the story were not that complicated to draw.