Monday, October 19, 2009

I am marathoner!

"I can officially say that I am a marathoner." That is what this girl on my team kept saying after our race. This past weekend has been one of the best in my life. I arrived in Mobile about two hours ago, and although I am glad to home, I am sad it is over. It is funny how you anticipate something for so long, and then it is over, just like that. For the past 6 months, I have been training for the Women's Nike Marathon in San Francisco. This weekend I finally did it. My Team-in-Training group that I have been training with for the past several months met up at the airport at 5 am on Friday morning to complete our amazing journey together. It was an experience like no other. Friday and Saturday were days of hanging out, touring the city, and bonding, then Sunday was the day of the race. Sunday morning started at 5 am when we got out of bed. All runners had to meet up at 5:50 am and check in our bags and meet with our team so we could walk to the starting line. The race began at 7 am. There were over 20,000 people at the starting line. The first half of the marathon was easy. I ran with a friend that I had been training with for the last 6 months. We had a great pace and did our best to keep to our schedules intervals. At mile 12, I said good-bye to my running partner as she headed off to complete the half. From that point on I was alone, well unless you count the 10,000 others that surrounded me. I found myself in a zone. I was feeling the best that I had ever felt on a long run day, until mile 17. That was when I hit my first wall. At that my moment, I began to ask myself, how am I going to finish this race. There is still such a long way to go. The next three miles were slow and dreadful. At mile 20 I hit the runner's high that I have heard others talk about, but have never experienced. That gave me a little extra kick, but only lasted until mile 22. At mile 22 everything hurt. My hips and knees hurt so bad that I was worried that I would not be able to finish. I just kept pushing and praying that I would see someone I knew to cheer me in. At mile 24 my ipod quit working, and I realized at that moment that I was on my own and the only person that could complete this task for me was me. I prayed hard. That is when I picked up the pace, stopped the intervals, and just focused on finishing. At mile 25, my running partner jumped the barricades and began running me in. About a half a mile later my running coaches joined in. I was surrounded by a group of people that I loved and I knew would make sure that I would make it to the finish line. There were thousands of people behind the barricades shouting my name and going crazy for me to finish. My coaches kept yelling, "This is Sara and this is her first marathon." That got the crowd even louder. About a hundred yards away, VV (my coach) looked at me and said, "The finish line is all yours, take it! Finish strong!" At that moment, I ran with everything that I had inside of me until I crossed the finish line at 6 hours and 6 seconds. My goal was to finish the race in 6 hours, and I did exactly that. It was amazing feeling to know that I had finally reached a goal that I have been talking about for years. I have to admit that it was a very emotional experience. This race was one that raced money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. All throughout the race there were reminders of this, whether it be a survivor or signs saying thank you for saving my son. Every time I read a sign I had to fight back the emotions and remind myself to breathe. What an amazing event serving an amazing cause. I can not wait to do this again!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why I love to teach!

The last few days reminded me why I love teaching, especially middle school....

I have this student, in which I will name him Matt, that is angry at the world right now. He recently found out that he would be repeating the eighth grade. Ever since he found out, he has become very difficult to deal with. Not only is he a pain to me, but he has even been treating his friends bad. Today, I had had enough.

Currently, my class is working in teams on a huge project. Matt's team is nearly done; yet Matt has not contributed much. The boys on his team got in an argument over Matt's lack of effort during class, which led to me finally having to ask Matt to step outside. Matt stepped outside, alright, tight lipped and arms crossed. He was on the defense, ready to take whatever I was about to dish out. I think he was taken off guard with our conversation.

I said, "Matt, I know why you are acting the way you are. You are mad about being held back. And because you are mad, you are taking it out on everyone around you. Well, you know what? I can handle it, but you are going to end up losing your friends if something does not change." He responded with, "Well, they wanted me to do the Math part of that project, and I can not do Math. " Later I discovered that he had a fear of Math. He was told (in Math) he was stupid. He told me that he would never amount to anything but a shrimpper because that is what his father was. He also told me that he wanted drop out of school because he would never be able to learn. He and I went back and forth about 5 times with me telling him that he is not stupid and him responding with, 'yes I am.' After a lot of talking ,I discovered that not only had his parents told him he was stupid, but a teacher had told him that, as well. He had grown to believe this statement as true. After a lot of talking, the last piece of advice I gave him was: "Matt, you have a choice. Either you can believe what your teacher told you was true, and accept it as fact. She wins. Or you can use her statement as fuel to your fire, and prove her wrong. You win! It is your choice." He said nothing, just walked back in the room.

The next day (today), he came into my room with his head held high and smile on his face. With excitement in his voice, he said, "Let's do this Math thing, Ms. Petty. I got this!" I guess I got through to him. He and I sat until after the bell rang, finishing his project together. It reminded me why I love what I am doing.

But shortly after, my day came crumbling down. About two hours later I found out that one of my students that had been recruited to play basketball at Faith did not get in because she failed her OLSAT for the second time. This was suppose to be her ticket out of the Bayou. It would have meant opportunity for her. The test was this morning, but the proctor already told her that she failed it. She returned to school with her head hanging low and her eyes puffy. My heart broke for her.

Directly after I had recieved a text saying she had failed her test, Macy sent me a text saying that her cancer was back, and she would need to start a new chemo today. What do you say to that?

I know the Lord is in all of this, but He feels so distant. I pray the Lord provide new opportunites for my student and health for my best friend.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Right now I am watching my dog sleep. I have to say she has a good life. We just got back from swimming at the Lightfoot's. She, along with three other dogs, swam for three hours straight. Now she is out! Ah, life just does not get any better than this.

Recently one of my favorite songs has become "The Climb" by Miley Cirus. The words say,

"I can almost see it,

That dream Im dreaming but

Theres a voice inside my head sayin,

You'll never reach it,

Every step Im taking,

Every move I make feels

Lost with no direction

My faith is shaking but I

Got to keep trying

Got to keep my head held high

There's always going to be another mountain

I'm always going to want to make it move

Always going to be an uphill battle,

Sometimes you going to have to lose,

Aint about how fast I get there,

Aint about whats waiting on the other side

Its the climb

The struggles Im facing,

The chances Im taking

Sometimes they knock me down but

No Im not breaking

The pain Im knowing

But these are the moments that

Im going to remember most yeah

Just got to keep going

And I, I got to be strong

Just keep pushing on,

Theres always going to be another mountain

Im always going to want to make it move

Always going to be an uphill battle,

Sometimes you going to have to lose,

Aint about how fast I get there,

Aint about whats waiting on the other side

Its the climb."

I feel as though these words ring so true to where I am in life. I have been really struggling with being single lately. I know the Lord is a good, and I have to trust Him, but I often find myself feeling alone. I trust that the Lord is still preparing me and my husband, and that is obviously why I have not met him. My prayer is that I enjoy the journey of singleness, and stop dreaming about what is on the other side.

Friday, April 17, 2009


John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. "

For some reason, today, this verse has stood out in my mind. I think part of it is because I am realizing how often I allow Satan to steal my joy. I believe that God has come to bring me a fresh, new, and abundant life. When I first discovered Him, I experienced new and abundant life, but as time has gone on, I have fallen in to old routine, where I am sitting and waiting for life to happen to me.

No longer. Today is a new day. I have decided to set goals for myself. Goals that are obtainable, but will require me to not sit around. Amongst these goals, I will do my best to not waste money in the process, but be creative in how I pull all of it off. I will also invite friends on my journey. Here is what I hope to accomplish by May 2010:
  • Complete my Master's degree.
  • Maintain my teaching position in the same school.
  • Let the people closest know how much I care for them by loving them in their love language.
  • Serve others as often as I can, not just when asked.
  • Run a marathon. (Stop talking about it, and DO IT!")
  • Get involved in a Bible Study.
  • Rebuild my relationship with the Lord to one that is strong, and full of joy.
  • GET HEALTHY!!- Include veggies, fruit, water and exercise in my daily life.
  • Pay off credit card debt.
  • Plan outings with friends, and have friends over.
  • Make ateast 5 new friends.
  • Reconnect with 5 old friends.

For the fun stuff:

  • Go kayaking or canoeing
  • Go camping.
  • Go hiking, possibly in the mountains.
  • Get a group to go to Stix River.
  • Beach trips with friends.
  • Rock climbing.
  • Mountain biking (10 mile trip)
  • Boogie boarding/ surfing
  • Ride a wave runner
  • Go boating
  • Spend an entire day on the water with friends.
  • Get in touch with someone I have not talked to in a while, and meet up to hang out
  • Go to a concert
  • Plan 2 really good girl outings

Anyone want to come along for the journey?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Look Back

It's weird to me to look back on my six years of youth ministry in Orange Beach. Sometimes it feels as though that time did not exist. It is almost painful to look at pictures from students that I worked with. It reminds me of the movie Back to the Future when Marty's face seems to be disappearing from all the pictures. Why does that happen? Why do we seem to grow so far apart from people we were once so close to? Six years...six years seems to be a long time. I often wonder if I made an impact at all. I loved those kids. I still think about them often. I do not think they know how often I think about them.

I believe that God has given me a mission to make a difference in young peoples' lives. Right now I feel like my relationship with the Lord is so stale. I pray that God give me a fresh insight into his Word, a new desire to serve Him and love Him with all of my being. I want to make a difference in a good way. I hope and pray that the students I work with now, and have worked with in the past know that I love them and care about them. I want them to know that I love them the way Jesus loves them. I know that the Lord has me where he wants me. I also know that He desires for me to be in youth ministry, not neccessarily as a paid job, but in some form or fashion. My heart breaks for ones that seem so lost, and do not know they need a Lord in their life.

I think the hardest part in youth ministry is to see students that you have poured your life into, and have chosen to run away from a God that loves them and wants only what is best for them. If they only knew...if I only knew how much we are loved and desired by our Creator.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

You gotta do what you gotta do...

In the first semester, I had a student that drove me crazy, but every once in a while he still visits me. Right after second semester, I brought some doughnuts to school for my students. Anytime I do things for my second semester students, my first semester students surprisingly show up.

Well, three of my old students came by after a visit to the library asking for a doughnut. No biggie, I gave them each a doughnut, and sent them on their way. Well, one of boys asked the girl next to him to take his book for him. She looked at him like he had lost his mind, and asked why he couldn't take his own book to class. His response was, "Girl, you know I can not be seen carrying books. Please girl, I have a reputation to uphold." She just laughed in his face, and turned around an walked out. He was like, "Crap, I can not be seen with these." Next thing you know, he was stuffing them up his shirt." - I guess you gotta do what you gotta do.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Break

The Godfather ate two bags of chips and a rice crispy treat in my class today. He seemed really hungry. I am not jumping to any conclusions. I am just saying....

Spring Break is around the corner, and all the teachers seem to be talking about is how they can escape a day early. My thought is let's just get this week over with, one more day to go then I am headed out of town.

Can't wait to hang out with my family. I am sure I will have plenty of stories to blog about when it comes to my niece and nephews. My niece is having her birthday while I am in South Carolina at my sister's house. We will all be headed to see the new Hannah Montana movie. Oh, don’t feel sorry for me, I love me some Hannah Montana.

Recently my 8 year old niece got really sick. She ran a fever of 105 the first two days, then nothing below a 100 for the next week. My sister said that Jason, my brother-n-law had to take her to the Emergency Room. Alex, my niece freaked out on them. (It ended up being the flu and a bad kidney infection.) Peyton said that every time they used a word Alex did not know in front of her she would start crying, and ask what is ____? For example, Peyton said,"The doctor is going to have to take a urine analysis." In the background, I could hear Alex get this loud whiny voice, "A urine analysis?....What is a urine analysis?" Then Peyton asked Jason to meet with the Peds. (pediatric). Alex whined again, "Peds..what is that?" You have to laugh. I know it was all because she just felt bad, and every thing sounded bad. Fortunately, she is doing much better now.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I salute you, middle school teachers!

I have been teaching middle school in the Bayou for the past year; and everyday I say to myself, "I need to write this stuff down." So, that it what I am doing. I am not even sure where to start, but I will try...

The other day one of my students, Wes, farted in front of me. I was so taken off guard, not because he did it, but because he was so proud of it. I was like, "Wes, that was totally inappropriate. You know, no girl is going to want to go out with a guy that passes gas in front of them; especially when he finds it so amusing." Wes looked at me, and with all seriousness, says, "Ms. Petty, times have changed since you were young. Girls, today, like it. They think it is cool." I thought I was going to fall out. So, I took a survey. Not much to my surprise, things have not changed...girls still find this act disgusting. (Wes told me that the girls I asked did not count.) This is the same student that walks in everyday, and sprays himself down with my air freshner. I don't stop him either. That spray is my life saver.

I have another student that finds it amusing to talk about drugs on a regular basis. He is known as the "Godfather." One day he asked me how to spell marijuana. I said, "Why are you asking me this?" He responded with, "I want to look it up on the computer. Besides, it is not like every teacher here doesn't know I am a drug dealer. But...they will never catch me." When I told him that I was going to have to report what he had just said to me, he just laughed, and said, "I guess I will just spell it W-E-E-D." Am I the only one that finds this unsettling?

I wish I would have begun this blog earlier. There have been so many stories througout this year that deserve to be written down. I could write a book.