I and Love and You

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Life

To: You

Hey.

I’m lucky.

It’s pretty simple.

My life is good.

I don’t how it is.

I just know that it is.

I’ve told you about my life before.

But I haven’t told you everything.

Now, it’s time to tell you about one thing.

When I wake up I usually think of one thing.

When I go to sleep I usually think of one thing.

When I get bored I usually think of one thing.

When I’m happy I usually think of one thing.

When I’m sad I usually think of one thing.

When I’m angry I usually think of one thing.

I’ve been pushed to new heights because of one thing.

I can tell you when I met her I didn’t like her.

We were a sitcom idea in the making.

Look at those two crazy kids and how different they are.

Let’s watch them as they figure life out and figure out how they fit into each other’s lives.

Let’s watch them and see how they slowly learn they aren’t different at all.

Let’s watch them become best friends and who knows what else.

It’s unbelievable that this is my story.

I can’t even understand it.

I know people that would tell me it was just meant to be.

I know people that would just say, “About time.”

And then I roll my eyes. I always roll my eyes.

I think about how I always knew.

I wonder if she did too?

I bet she would tell you she did.

The road was long.

I don’t like taking shortcuts.

It’s a fault of mine.

I’ll walk around for no reason.

Inspecting.

Wondering.

Testing.

It doesn’t matter.

She was there.

I got her.

She’s got me.

I

and

Love

and

You

From: Me

Resolute

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Life, School

So…

2010…

Very interesting year.

I mean if I could tell all of you everything that happened.

Some people would roll their eyes, some would probably be surprised and some wouldn’t even care.

There are a few people that know everything. And that will stay that way. A few people.

But what I can tell you will probably be echoed in your own thoughts.

I grew. I learned. I loved. I lost. I fought. I let go. I returned. I renewed. I understood.

I did all these because I had to. Because 2010 somehow became the year that I figured out what I was missing by losing something I thought I needed. Confused? I was at first, but then I got it. I got that from this one thing I was being made to realize everything else.

I sit here and smile because this is the part I can’t tell you about but, trust me, it changed everything. For the better.

2010 was also the year I truly decided to become a teacher.

Today I took the first big step in becoming that teacher by taking a test. A test that hurt my head and made me think more than I have in a while. It was good thinking too. The kind of thinking that you don’t get that often because we so often make our lives easy. We try to find the least complicated route and then stick with it.

2010 was anything but uncomplicated and it doesn’t even matter now. I’ve set this course and now it can’t be changed. I’m surrounded by the people that will allow me to take on this path and become better because they are with me.

I’ve tried for 29 years to find a purpose and then one day I woke up and realized I was living it. That might have been the most shocking thing of all. Once you see it, you’ll never not see it.

I wish I could take more credit for where I’m at but that’s just not the case. I’m able to rely on incredible people who do nothing but want my success. I can’t tell you how that makes someone feel when you have the world behind you. I remember just over a year ago when I needed to move and start over and no one questioned it. They may have had their reservations but no one told me I was making a mistake. No one said anything negative to try and stop me. That kind of support is what is missing in so many other’s lives that I can’t even begin to tell you how it truly effects me.

I’m thankful forever. I’m thankful because I can’t not be. I’d be a fool to look and not see what I’ve been given, but I’d also be even more foolish to look and not see what I’ve done. The support was there, but I took that support and ran with it. They way we all should. The way no one should look back and doubt. I don’t doubt.

2010 made me understand the true meaning of cause and effect. I lived it and now I am so very lucky to reap it’s rewards. I live a charmed life because I earned it. Because the people around me gave me the strength and love to accept I had to be nothing but what I wanted to be.

I came out of 2010 knowing that no matter the outcome I did my absolute best and I did it because I had to. Because you wanted me to and because you needed me to.

And that’s my resolution. To be the best. To be my best and to make you be your best.

Beefcake

Posted: October 25, 2010 in Life

I go to the gym. I try to go every single day. Usually I go about 3-4 times a week.

I’ve noticed a lot about the gym. A lot about the people who go and a little about me when I go.

There are a few types that are always there:

Girl who isn’t trying – She joined the gym last week and has no idea what she’s doing. She’s pretty heavy and just doesn’t know where to start. I was there at one time. I remember walking into the gym and having no idea where to start, but I looked it up. I found a diet and I worked out. But this girl does about 5 minutes of cardio and then hits the weights. She does a lot of weight work. That’s just not how it works. I’m sorry. I lost 40 pounds on cardio alone and now I’m just starting to lift weights. Diet and cardio. That’s how you to start.

Guy who is trying too hard – You know I get it, you’ve been doing this workout thing for a while now. You’re arms are looking pretty good. That’s awesome! But let’s not make the whole gym aware that you can do 40 curls without stopping. I certainly don’t care and that cute girl on the elliptical is watching the “Jersey Shore.” She ain’t watching you. Keep your arms to yourself and start doing some squats tiny legs.

Super buff guy – He’s a trainer. I have no idea when he actually works out to be so buff, but the dude is huge. I try not to make eye contact with this guy because I’m sure he could use one more client. Oh wait, he’s too busy talking to the next person on my list.

Hot girl – Now I didn’t say girl in great shape. I just said hot girl. I mean I’ve noticed the increase of attractive women since I joined the gym but that’s not the point. The point is running a mile in your matching shorts, shoes and tank top really isn’t a workout. I don’t think she’s that worried about it because I doubt she had anything to eat all day anyway.

Guy who doesn’t want to be noticed (Me) – Last year on January 5 I made a commitment to lost the 60 pounds I’d gained since high school. I joined a gym and started eating better. By the time I moved to college station I’d lost about 40 pounds and then lost another 10 by June of this year. Shit happened and I gained back 10. Now I’m back in the gym and eating better and I just want to workout and go home. I don’t want you to ask me for anything. I don’t want you to show me anything. I just want to do my 45 minutes of cardio and then my sad excuse for a weight workout. After that I want do my best to walk past the Layne’s, Hungry Howie’s Pizza and C&J BBQ on my way home to chicken and vegetables. It’s not easy. I mess up a lot. I get take out more than I should, but I’m back in there now. And I’ve lost 4 pounds. What. Up.

Objects in Space

Posted: October 24, 2010 in Life

Well, it’s been a while.

I’ll be honest. A lot has happened. A lot I’d love to share and a lot you’ll never know about.

Life has this way of taking you to the top and dragging you back down. It’s funny to me.

I get stuck a lot. I can’t see ahead of me. I’m surrounded by objects that don’t matter. I get sidetracked by the open space.

I can’t help it. I could describe it, but you wouldn’t understand it. You’d look at me like I was crazy.

Sometimes you have to have faith.

I’ve chosen to have faith recently.

Faith in myself and faith in others.

Faith that will hopefully let me grow and learn and not make the same mistakes again.

I’m not always the person you see. I can’t be. But I am trying.

Trying to do something I’ve never done before.

I go through this phase more than I like to.

It’s recurring because I’m not ready to beat it.

I want to beat it.

I want to walk away from all of it and be there.

The time will come and then I’ll see that this, all of this, was for more than me.

And if you’re lucky, you’ll see it too.

Attitude problem

Posted: September 23, 2010 in Life, School

“Where do you work?”

“In AB.”

“I knew you worked in AB. You’ve got an attitude.”

This little conversation was had after I walked up to a classroom and stood against the wall.

What can I say? I guess it was still early in the morning and maybe I hadn’t woke up all the way yet.

It could have been a time when I forgot to eat my apple for breakfast and I was a little hungry.

Or maybe, just maybe, I have an attitude.

Last year in Life Skills I don’t remember being told I have an attitude. But four weeks into my life in AB and a student I’ve never seen tells me I have an attitude.

Is it my face? I know I make faces. In relationships I have to be careful not to roll my eyes or give the “are you stupid” face. Especially the rolling my eyes thing. I don’t even know I do it half the time. It really gets me into trouble.

But I’m pretty sure I didn’t roll my eyes when this student asked me a question.

I work with a variety of students daily. Each one of them needs a certain type of motivation. It’s almost been a full six weeks now and I’m finally figuring out all those motivations.

I want my kids to pay attention, show respect and get their work done on time. Some kids respond to praise and some respond to me sitting there saying, “Do your work. Do your work. Do your work.” And most of these tactics change all the time. What worked yesterday is not guaranteed to work tomorrow or even five minutes from now.

I know in certain situations I definitely have an attitude. It’s a part of the job sometimes.

It’s a little worrisome to me if that attitude is leaving the classroom and finding it’s way into the halls.

That’s the joy of this job. It not only let’s me help students but I get to figure a little bit about myself every now and then.

Teacher Certification Update:

I’m four weeks in and had my first test on Wednesday. It’s insanely interesting and incredibly time consuming. And I love it. Nine more classes and I’ll be able to take my certification test. Weird.

Never stop exploding

Posted: September 16, 2010 in Life, School

I’m pretty sure since only a few of my readers now were privileged enough to ever read one of my older blogs you may be asking yourself some questions about me.

1. Why do you write this awesome blog?

2. What have you been doing for the last 10 years since you graduated high school?

3. Special Education huh? How did that happen?

4. Are your eyes really that gorgeous?

Because I know these are the questions you want answered I’ll just go ahead do that for you. You’re welcome in advance.

#1. I write this awesome blog because I’m a writer. Always have been. I remember sitting down in eighth grade and preparing to write the novel that would make me famous. I had a computer that was only a word processor. Some of you may not even know what that is. It was just a monitor, keyboard and very small hard drive. I remember the monitor glowed green and now I compare all those poorly formed sentences to the jumble of mess that crosses over the screen in “The Matrix” movies. Anyway, I never finished the story and have no idea where the computer is. Sorry. My first great novel is lost for the ages.

A little later in life I became a journalist. I worked at 2 daily newspapers for about 2 1/2 years and loved it. Well, I tolerated it because I was doing what I always wanted. I was finally a professional writer. I decided content for several sections. I had a ton of bylines. I attended events. I got some free stuff. But I wasn’t happy. I never felt challenged and when you like to write you are hopefully always looking for the next big step in your writing and it was never going to come as a journalist. So I quit.

A year later I found the inspiration I was looking for in a new career. On a daily basis I am given something new to write about and I really have trouble keeping up with it all.

This blog is also therapeutic. If any of you are educators then you know sometimes you just need a release. My writing has always provided that and hopefully it will entertain a few people as well.

#2. Well as I mentioned earlier, I was  a journalist for a bit. I also decided to take a good 7 years to graduate college and finally ended up with a degree in Speech Communication and Journalism from Sam Houston State University. I loved it there. I should have gone there in the beginning, but my life would be a lot different now and this blog may not even exist. What I’m trying to say is, “You’re welcome.” You’re welcome for taking almost a decade to get my stuff together. It’s the least I could do. Trust me.

#3. When I made the decision to just flat out quit my job as a reporter I didn’t know what I was going to do. I thought, “Hey, I could get a job at a school. That would be easy.” I also thought, “Hey, I know people in a certain college town that probably would like another roommate.”

I applied for an attendance aide, ISS aide and Life Skills aide. You can guess who called me. I remember telling my mom about the Life Skills position and she paused and kind of snickered. As a retired educator she knew exactly what I was getting into. I didn’t, but I ‘m so glad I did.

My year with those kids was amazing. A complete wonder for me. Yes, I changed diapers, a lot of diapers. But who cares? I loved all aspects of it. The kids are wonderful and working with them is 100 times more enriching than any of these smart ass general education kids.

Now I’m in Adaptive Behavior and I love it. I struggle more now than last year but I am finding my footing and making progress with not just the students I work with but all students. It’s wonderful.

When I think that I am less than four months away from being a certified to teach Special Education I know the path that led me here was a purposeful one. It was all supposed to work out this way and once again, you are very welcome for taking 7 years to graduate from college.

#4. Yes. My eyes are gorgeous. As one student said yesterday, “Are those your real eyes?” Why they certainly are.

P.S. I stole the title for this post from Steph. I straight up stole it from her Twitter because I think it’s funny and wanted to use it. She said I was rude. All facts.

Mr. Renford has pretty eyes

Posted: September 9, 2010 in School

Last year everyone called me Mr. Ryan. I never even thought about it. From faculty to students, I was Mr. Ryan.

Now I’m Mr. Renfrow or as most students call me: Mr. Renford? Always with a questioning tone. Or they call me Mr. R or Mr. Mister or Hey You or Excuse Me or Come Here.

I didn’t realize Renfrow could be difficult to say or even remember. I’ve had that name for 29 years now and haven’t had any problems. Every teacher I work with has it figured out, but the kids, I guess it’s harder.

Last year I was lucky enough to work with 4 kids daily. Now I work with about 150 and the ones that have the guts to ask for my help will most definitely mess my name up or just not say anything at all and wave a hand at me. They do have to keep up with 7 other names, 1 more is pushing the limit.

Now on to the good news. Apparently I have the prettiest blue eyes one girl has ever seen. I normally say my eyes are green, so for her to see blue really kind of threw me for a loop. Also, the fact a ninth grader has no problem telling me how awesome my eyes are (they are) made me take a step back.

It’s a far cry from my job last year in Life Skills as Mr. Ryan but it’s one that challenges me daily. The challenges are the same, just on a larger scale.

Instead of learning and anticipating the moods of 4 kids I have to take a large class into account. Now I’m not in charge of the class, I’m just there to help, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to watch the dynamics and recognize how student’s will take instruction or if they will take it all. I have to exhibit the same confidence the teacher does and they know when I have my guard down. I learned that very quickly.

I also learned when I have confidence the student’s trust me almost implicitly. I help out in 5 different subjects. I’d say out of those I’m pretty knowledgeable in 3 of them even though it’s been 10 years since I’ve actively studied any of them.

When it comes to Science, I’m worthless. Luckily, it’s freshmen science. I can fake that and I do. Well, not really. I mean I listen in class and try my best to make sure I understand the subject before I offer any advice but the students don’t know that. They think I’m there because I’m an expert like their Science teacher.

When I’m not confident I’ve had kids roll their eyes at me because I didn’t immediately know the answer. I’ve had kids immediately call the teacher over to make sure I was right (I was!). And I’ve had kids flat out tell me they would rather wait. Either way I’m doing my best to learn as they do. It seems if students see an older person then that person should have all the answers.

I’m doing my best and striving to learn from them as they learn from me.

On those rough days I find myself hoping the sun is shining just right and everyone can see how pretty Mr. Renford’s eyes look.