Warning: If you don't want to know who I am, don't read any further. I get very personal about my beliefs and what makes me me. I usually blog about teaching and professional development topics, but this is a personal post. You've been warned.
1 - I am a farm girl.
"You can take the girl out of the country but never get the country out of the girl."
I grew up the oldest of 3 daughters to a very successful farmer. My dad is the former president of the American Soybean Association which is one of the largest farmer's organizations in the world. (There is a lot of video of him in the flat classroom project.) Accordingly, he has traveled the world and although he spent time divided between the fields of south Georgia and testifying in Congress on agricultural policy, he always made time for me and I spent just about every Saturday working on the farm with him.
I remember one time we were struggling to lift a huge battery to an irrigation system to "jump it off" and I said, "Dad, its too heavy for me, I'm just a girl." He then told me to never say such a thing again and that I could do anything I set my mind to. He told me he would rather have us three girls and that we were just as good as any sons he could have ever had.
My dad threw the football with me, we played basketball in bare feet and tennis until it was way past dark. I lived most of my childhood either outside or in front of the gadgetry that Dad would bring home. When Lotus 123 began their programming, they called Dad because he had done some amazing things on his TRS-80 with spreadsheets and graphing that made Popular Mechanics.
When we got the TRS-80 in the 70's and I was not yet 10, I asked him to "teach" me the computer. He threw the book at me and said I was smart enough to "teach" myself. I've been doing it ever since.
Our family drives consisted of listening to Dad tell stories of great men in history and I think I know almost every great (and funny) story about Winston Churchill and Lady Astor. (His nemesis!) I learned that great men and women go through many tough times and I saw my family go through them.
2 - I am a woman of faith.
Growing up on the farm, I saw hard times when the weather wouldn't cooperate. I remember one time specifically when we DID NOT need any more rain -- we had turned the peanuts up and they needed to dry out. Rain would doom the crop. We prayed for NO rain and heard the rain was coming on the weather radio. We took our evening drive and looked out over the field. I literally saw the solid wall of rain part and go to the left and right of Dad's field.
Life is tough and bad stuff happens to good people. Good farmers would lose everything and bad farmers would prosper. Justice will happen in heaven, that is why it is called heaven. Earth is chock full of tragedy and I'm thankful to have peace amidst the chaos of life. God is not a heavenly Santa Clause sitting there to answer our wish list. He has been to hell and back and has always helped me in my struggles as well.
God is not real because it is convenient or because I was raised that way or because as many of the pseudo-intelligentsia say - I need a crutch. God is real because He's real. I have known and experienced Him all of my life and to separate me from Him would be for me to cave in and shrivel up and die. He is my best friend and although I often "mess up" He is the greatest person I've ever known. My number one goal in life is to seek out what He would have me do.
This is very personal because most people do not understand and I am of the belief that my job is to love others and be kind to them. I leave the judging to the Lord, that is His job, not mine. I have throughout my life worked with and loved all types of people. I believe that is what I am to do. I usually only get this "preachy" on my devotional blog, but Karyn asked, and this is me. I cannot separate this from who I am.
My definition of a good day is one where I get up early, read my Bible, spend time on my knees, exercise, cook a good breakfast for the kids, and get myself dressed up nicely to face the day. And a day that starts right usually ends right. Life is full of stress and it is nice to know that I have an advocate that can handle my worries. I think this may be perhaps why I'm 37 and don't have any grey hair (yet).
3- I have many hobbies
- I LOVE to cook, to read and to sew.
- I love action movies (the more explosions and special effects, the better). I collect movies of all kinds.
- I love to see live plays (particularly on Broadway, but alas it has been many years since I've done that --I'm on a teacher salary now).
- I LOVE to learn new things and enjoy meeting new people one on one so I can ask lots of questions. (People always ask how I can find out more about a person in 10 minutes that they've learned in 10 years about the person -- its called asking and listening!)
- I love the outdoors and have learned about photography in the past year.
- I am addicted to technology and learning new things about it.
- My children are my hobby as is my husband. I always tell my husband that I'm the luckiest woman in the world because I get to be married to my boyfriend. That is how I view him and I view my children as on loan from their lives. When they are 18 -- gone. I want to love and savor every minute.
- I collect motivational sayings and books and could never have enough bookcases. I read with highlighter or pen in hand and treasure and love every book I own.
- I love to raft, hike, fish, ride ATV's through the country, and pick flowers.
- About the only thing I don't like to do is clean, but I find ways to motivate myself there too.
4- I live in a small town but am not defined by it.
Living in a small town has its benefits: you know people and your kids cannot really get away with anything. (Our school has mandatory drug testing so that helps too!) When people pass away, the town mourns and cares for you. When you have a tough time, people are there to help you. (When my father in law passed away, a friend mowed our grass -- people brought food and we got so many letters.) That is the way small towns are.
And yet, small towns can be so limiting if you let them. My family raised me and saved their hard earned money so that I could travel and get outside of this small town. They told me that there were bigger places than Camilla and although I lived here that my mind must be global.
If you read my blog, you know I had a tough time in school with my classmates. In fact, my classmates pretty much never elected me to a single office and I lost about 12 elections before I began winning in 9th grade (when the whole school voted.) My classmates called me "dumb" and "no common sense" and "ugly" and "stupid" and so many other things I don't care to repeat. However, because of my family and faith, the good Lord has always chosen to bless me wherever He has put me to serve. (Now in teaching.) I have had to forgive because I now work alongside many of those who so wounded me as a child.
I love this small town but I also know that it is a microcosm of the world at large with the same jealousies, bad habits, and unkindnesses that happen in the larger world. We miss that large circle of friends we had in Atlanta and yet the benefits of such a small town are immense.
I have a 5 minute commute to the grocery store, church, or the school and am 10 minutes from my parent's house. I am close to my family and therefore I am strong in their presence. My sisters and mother are powerhouses and pull me out of the slump when those who do not have a global perspective and think this town "is all there is" try to get me down -- they get me back up. I am truly best friends with my husband, mother, and sisters. I am very close to my children. I adore them. I need them. So many people want to run me ragged...they love me without expecting anything in return.
My roots run deep. I do love my hometown. I love my family. I love the country. My cure for my troubles is to go outside and play in the dirt. (literally) My husband and I are working and saving to build on the farm by my parents and I am praying for that day. Meanwhile, I live in the house where my dad grew up and enjoy the big back yard with three dogs and three cats! Life is good here but I keep it in perspective -- this is a small town. I must keep a big mind and not let myself be limited by the size of my town.
5 - Random things about me
Now for the random things.
- I was the 1987 Georgia Peanut Princess. (I had to wear a bathing suit and everything! Whew!)
- I love to act and received drama and extemporaneous speaking awards in high school.
- I sing in church once a month and have begun making video tracks to go along with my music.
- When my hometown of Camilla was hit by three tornadoes on Valentine's Day several years a go, my husband and I were the head of the "volunteer command center." I wrote a database in a day to track and manage the more than 10,000 volunteers that came out a few days after the tornado and I managed the website. My husband managed the "work in the field." We were recognized by the Rotary Club and the National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters and spoke at their national conference. It was truly one of the most difficult but rewarding things we've ever done and it truly happened because the people here asked us to do it. (We worked solid for 14 hours + a day for three weeks and my husband's office gave him time off.) People from other places could not believe how fast our town recovered with it taking about half of the time of most towns. Kip and I were just part of a huge effort of local citizens but still recall this work with pride.
- When I was in business, I was in the GTE Marketing Associate Development Program, my fellow associates voted me "Most Likely to Become CEO." (GTE doesn't even exist any more.)
- I was an intern for Senator Nunn and can say from first hand experience that some of the other senators were really creeps about interns. (Can't say names but I can say that I can stand up to anyone.)
- I have written and published poetry.
- I was the only undergraduate teaching assistant for Dr. Phil Adler at Georgia Tech who now has the faculty wing named after him. He is amazing and I'm proud of this.
- I was a research assistant for Dr. Danny Boston who did some pioneering research about the underclass. He contributed to many of my opinions.
- I love to make jelly and homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls.
- I wrote down my goals of life at age 12 and have accomplished all but two. The others were: graduate first in my class (high school and college), become an entrepreneur and be a successful business woman. The last two that have become an opportunity for me lately are to write and speak in ways that help people live better lives. (You can see that I had already read Dale Carnegie's book and was influenced by him when I was twelve.)
- I have a book half written that I am working on this Christmas break.
- I have been journaling since I could write.
- My brother in law and sister are one of the largest alligator farming operations in the world and sells to Gucci and other Italian designers. Everybody who comes to see the farm wants to see Mark's gators.
Oh, and I'll shoot big and add three more (you never know):
In fact, how about this -- if you read this post, consider yourself tagged! What are five things about yourself that others may not know? I'd like to get to know you better. Just link back to this post and I'll take a read!