April 21, 2014

The Final Stretch

It is a good Monday here in sunny and warm Phoenix! This is my second to last day of the semester and I am feeling the lag in energy as I head into the final stretch.

Last week took its toll on me. I worked tirelessly on my research paper, and I tried to keep on top of my other class (Family Communication) as well as my teaching responsibilities at GCU. This week I have light teaching duties, but I have a final exam for Statistics and frankly I am feeling uncertain about my performance. I was disappointed with my quiz grade, 93%. I worked so hard on that quiz, and I really felt I should have scored in the 96-98% range. There is nothing I can do about it. I have tried to ask my professor to clarify on answers and he tends to just iterate the same response (UGH!) I know I should be pleased - I mean - 93% is an A- in this class (and it is ADVANCED STATISTICS after all!) OK, slap me -- I admit that I am a perfectionist!

(Yeah, using the kitty divider this morning - in honor of my cats!)

I spent a very restless night last night. I had a statistical nightmare (really I did!). I dreamed I was trying to solve some problem, and I was so frustrated over the results of the data analysis. I woke up four times, and each time I went back to sleep the dream repeated itself. I am calling it a "repeated measures dream" (just some statistical humor).

Sometime in between that dream set and the other weird dream (with a Northern Pike - don't ask!), my cat Winston took to pounding on my son's bedroom door. I woke up around 1 AM, and considered throwing my slipper and my pillow at him. He finally heard me whispering his name (trying not to wake up my parents) and he came in to bed with me. He does this pounding bit to let my son know that he wants in his room. DJ generally doesn't let the cats in because 1) his room is a mess, 2) he has rubber bands and hair bands (for his long gorgeous hair) on the floor, 3) he has wires, cables and papers on the floor, and 4) his room is a mess (oh yes, double-emphasis on that one). Winston is his cat, always has been, and he loves DJ. If he does get in his room, he heads straight up to the loft bed and will curl up on top right where I cannot reach him (smart kitty). So anyway, I was glad he listened to me and left the pounding business. Still, I feel like I spent a night of tossing and turning and problem-solving. I am exhausted!

Today I am prepping for my afternoon class, and I am trying not to think about the final exam coming up this weekend. I have a study guide to complete (my portion) and extra credit lab questions to answer. I also have 24 student essays to grade -- supposed to have them graded this weekend -- but couldn't do it all. I will get those graded tonight so that I am free from grading duty for the week. In all, my week is pretty busy. I will be so very glad when Sunday arrives and I am finished with teaching and school!

Then, PTL, I will have one week off before summer session begins at Regent. I am looking forward to my next two courses: Qualitative Research methods and Crisis Communication. I am a qualitative gal so I am excited to learn how to conduct this kind of research. Plus this is the type of research I hope to do for my dissertation. The Crisis communication course will be good too and it will help prepare me for ministry with churches and other non-profit organizations. Crisis communication is so vital to the health of the organization. When crisis occurs, you have to have a game plan in mind or else you would quickly lose the perception battle.

Lastly, I am thinking about the next month or so (planning ahead). My son jokes that as an INTJ personality type - I have the next 33 years of my life planned out. Yeah, he read this somewhere during his time researching Jungian archetypes and the Myers-Briggs profile test. INTJs typically plan their future an average of 33 years in advance. The funny part is that most of the time our plans come to pass. We are atypical from most personalities in that we need to have a plan or else we lose focus and control over our mental processes. I am flexible to some extent, meaning that if it is not a "do or die" situation, I can go with the flow. I am a "whatever" type of girl. If you say, "hey, lets go here for dinner," my response will be "sure!" I really do not care that much. But if you say, let's move here or uproot ourselves to go there, then my INTJ brain kicks in and says "whoa -- we have to do analysis on that idea before we make any decision." I will put the breaks on when it comes to my work, my future, my plans or God's will for my life.

Long digression there, but the short of it is (ha -- that is so funny -- dualism, I love it!) that I do like to plan out my life. I have all my little boxes set on my shelf, one for each aspect of my life, and they are self-contained, in order, and very logically and critically analyzed for flaws, issues or concerns.

Right now, I have summer plans that include school (Regent) and a trip to VA Beach for my summer residency (June 9-13). I was invited to spend a couple days in the Outer Banks, but not sure if I want to do that or not.

In July, I am taking my parents and son over the hill to San Diego. My brother has wanted us to come for a visit and we tried to do that last year, but couldn't get our schedules coordinated.

In August, I have lesson planning to do (four classes -- Oh, Lord, what are you thinking?) and then school starts for me (Regent, GCU and ACU).

In October/November, I am thinking about taking a trip to Indiana to a writer's conference at Anderson University. I found this conference online and the focus is on faith stories. I am thinking about writing about faith stories for my dissertation and I was Googling for information. This school came up on Google, and they are hosting a conference. I thought that I might see if I could visit my Aunt in Berne (near Ft. Wayne) at the same time. I am not sure I can swing the cost of travel, expense for staying a couple nights, etc. Still, I think it would be interesting to listen to the speakers. The emphasis is on creative writing more so than research, but it might prove a good exercise to prepare me for scholarly research on this topic. We will see -- the Lord has to provide a way for me to go -- and the resources so I can go there. Just an aside -- Indiana in the fall -- that brings back so many sweet memories of my childhood. I can see the leaves and smell the wonderful crisp clean Fall air!

November/December hold no special plans, just the normal family stuff.

There is my life in a nutshell, boring as heck, and with little excitement to boot. I am all about school, school, school! God be praised, however, He knows me well. He has great plans in mind for me, and I am resting in His provision and sufficiency.

Dear Lord,

You are GREAT and your way is amazingly smooth. Your word tells us that you will direct our steps (Prov.) and that you will guide us to a smooth path. You have done this for me, and I am thankful! Thank you today for all you have done this past week. I didn't think I was going to make it and you settled me so I could focus and complete my work. I ask now that you continue to focus me as I complete these last remaining assignments. Let me finish this semester strong! I ask all this in your matchless and merciful Name, Amen! So be it, thy will be done! Selah (pause and calmly think about it!)

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