Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Road to Teaching

The first of many steps on my road to teaching was just recently taken. I was informed of my acceptance into Concordia University's Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program! I am very excited about this tangible step into the future. Since graduating from SPU almost three years ago, it seemed as though only ideas and thoughts have been passing through my mind. This acceptance letter represents something much more concrete about my future.

I am the leader of my family. So, naturally, I have been thinking, planning, and preparing for the next 50 years. It sounds like a big responsibility. It is.

Wondering where I will be working once we start having kids has been on my mind since I got engaged. Going back and forth between a variety of options, my imagination has offered me many different careers: biology research, social research, teaching, pastoring, marriage and family therapy, and even thoughts of retail management.

Moving down to Portland without a plan was certainly risky, but Jen and I just let life play out. God's answer to our prayers at the time was, Just wait. I searched for a job for a short while and my first interview was with the YMCA. I took the job that I knew I would enjoy, since I love kids, but I didn't know if it would blossom into anything else.

Lo and behold, I grew to be comfortable in the position and knew that my God-given gifts were perfect for managing those little rascals. After a while, I was certain that I wanted to be a teacher for the rest of my life. God answered our prayers with a, Yes. Go there.

I still have a lot of work to do: Volunteer in some classrooms, study and take a couple more required tests, and prepare in various ways to go back to school full-time. It's going to be awesome. June can't come soon enough. I just hope and pray that God will continue to work through me to be a role model that kids will look to for stability, wisdom, and fun.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hawaiian Love

Papa Murphy's is the best! We were able to have a fun reminder of our honeymoon with a Hawaiian heart-shaped pizza!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Writer: Jen

My wife has such great things to say about life. I have such great conversations with her almost every day of the week. Her heart for children and social justice is evident in her goals and dreams. I am so in love with her from the inside out.

I was pumped when she told me she would contribute occasionally to Riedlblog. It would certainly be beneficial to hear a bit from my other half, since she is such an integral part of my life. She stretches me and strengthens me in ways that no other person in the world does. I'm sure many of you readers out there would also appreciate hearing some of her thoughts and reflections from time to time.

So I'd like to give her a warm welcome, a hug, and a kiss to encourage her to feel free to write about whatever she wants!

<3 Love you Penny!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Kid Quote: Wii

All our boys ever talk about are video games. It's pretty crazy. A couple days ago, as the evening was coming to a close, we were waiting for two more boys' parents to come pick them up. Big surprise, we were having yet another conversation about video games.

3rd grader: "Do you have a Game Boy Advance?"

1st grader: "No, but I have a new version of the Wii."

3rd grader: "Oh really? What's it called?"

1st grader: "It's called a Wii Wii."

He was smiling ear-to-ear, clearly proud of his joke. And I'm still laughing.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Got Pain?

One of the most painful things I have ever experienced just happened a couple weeks ago. A pilonidal cyst appeared near my tailbone. Basically, it is a small bump that is infected, gets filled with pus, and needs to be drained. I don't know how it got there, but it hurt. Bad. So bad that I had difficulty standing, sitting, crouching, lying down, or being in pretty much any position.

But I had to go to work! I can still remember the pain on that particular day, driving to work. I'm sure that everyone looking at me in my car thought I was attempting to sit on a cactus because I looked so uncomfortable. Thankfully, the cyst drained after a few days of pain and I felt much better. But during those few days, I was in so much pain that I would've gladly accepted help from anyone that offered it. I couldn't deal with the pain on my own and I needed someone to help me.

Most days I go about life and I feel great. I just went to get a physical, and my doctor told me I am doing wonderful. Because I'm not usually in pain, I often forget what pain feels like. Getting this pilonidal cyst helped me realize that there are many other people with pain. This world is so screwed up that most people have some type of pain often, and many people are in pain all the time.

Just think of all the ways we go through pain in our lives: marriage problems, chaos of raising kids, coworker complications, extended family difficulties, a death in the family, body aches and pains, financial stress, no money, no joy, no purpose, no reason for living.

What a great example of Christ would it be if I get out of my comfort zone and help someone in pain? We have a God that will work through His people to relieve pain and suffering in this world. I wrote a little note to myself to help remind me of this every morning:
There are people out there in the world who are in pain. God wants to use you to help them out. Be prepared.

I don't want to be selfish and only think of myself. I want to focus on the mission that God has given Christians: To spread the good news. What better way to do it than by doing exactly what Jesus did before He was murdered? Jesus helped people who were in pain...and that's what I can do too.