The Purple Rose

It was a single rose, there was nothing special about it except that it was a deep violet. Silver glitter outlined different layers of the rose. This was a gift my sister and I had chosen to give to my grandmother.

This rose was the most beautiful rose I had ever set my eyes on. I could not believe we had found this treasure to give to my grandmother. My grandmother was very grateful for the rose we had given her, she put it on display for all to see. Every time I would go over to her house I would see it and ask her about it. She would smile and tell me how much she loved this rose.

I could not understand why she loved this rose so much. She kept the rose until it died and even beyond that. Once it got to the point where is was mostly dried up, my grandmother then pressed the rose herself. I cannot tell you how long that rose sat there, to me it felt like months.

This story that I have just shared with you is one of the happiest moments I remember having with my grandmother before she became bedridden. There are more memories I could share, but this one always sticks out to me. I had never seen someone so appreciative of such a minor gesture, even if it was a big deal to me at the time.

I had never seen someone so appreciative of such a minor gesture, even if it was a big deal to me at the time. Even until this day, I do not fully understand why she treasured this rose so much. Maybe she knew her time was running short and the rose was symbolic, or that she wanted to make sure that my sister and I felt loved by her.

Now every time I receive a rose I think of her. I do miss her but the roses remind me that I will see her again.

Now if my boyfriend gets me roses then it is a little different. I do still think of my grandmother, but I also think of our relationship. Like the flower that my grandmother put on display, the goal of our relationship is to put God in the center of our relationship for everyone to see. The color of the rose was unique just like our relationship, but only with God a beautiful color is what makes us different.

Reflection of 2016

I realize I have not written anything in awhile, this is because I have been busy with 7 classes and a part time job. On top of it all, I have my health that I have to keep an eye on. It seems that one little thing can make me ill, which causes more trouble for me. This semester has been my most difficult one, and I have doubted myself quite a bit this semester as to if I can do this.

I am not one to give up, especially on something I am so passionate about doing. I am going to be transparent with you, I have struggled so much this semester. I am a honors college student who took on a big course load, who has to work in order to pay for school, and I have to keep an eye on my health. It felt like it was too much like I was drowning from life. I knew I had to change something.

anxiety-wordsI have really bad anxiety, and most of the time this has taken my focus off of what needs to be done. This happened quite a bit this semester until I had had enough. I talked to my doctor about what else I should be doing so I could be successful this semester. She gave me a few suggestions which I tried every idea out. I started exercising weekly, eating better, going to bed earlier, talking with people who understand my anxiety, and most importantly investing more in God.

I am not going to lie but this did take awhile to work. It has been almost a year since I was diagnosed with high anxiety. Today, I see myself becoming more of the type of educator I want to be. God has worked through my friends and family more than I can count this past year. God has also opened new doors for me and placed people who love and care for me in my life. All of these things have grown me in Christ and into someone, I can be proud of.

I just want to take a moment and share a couple of things that have impacted me the most 4d299934a22e4172fad4c03339e8e832this year. The first thing was changing jobs. As some of you know, I had my very first job for a little over four years and was treated awfully. Where I work now, I am appreciated, loved, and have become a part of their family. This family has been such a blessing to me, especially the young lady that I have the pleasure of working with. This young lady is seventeen-years-old and she has autism. She is nonverbal, but her silence speaks louder than the little words she does speak. God has worked through her to show me that working with people as special as her, this is what I need to do. Whether this is through teaching, ABA therapy, occupational therapy, or whatever God has in store for me.

 

I must admit that I have been blessed with the people who have been placed in my life. I have already met friends that I know will be lifelong. I have had professors who have encouraged me and inspired me to do more than expected. I have had a boyfriend who challenges me to be a better Christian and person daily, land a family who loves me and supports me. And lastly, I have a God who loves me unconditionally and holds my future in his hands.

I know that in the end all of what I have been through will be used for the glory of God. I also know that this will be helpful in my classroom. I will be able to see signs of students with a mental illness and understand how I can help. I want my students to understand that they can come and talk to me. I want to be able to give resources to help them so that they can improve. screen-shot-2015-06-26-at-12-10-29-pm

Here are some resources below.

Mental Illness General Information

For Educators about Mental Illness

Tests and Diagnosis

I Still Twinkle

Sometimes the easiest thing for us to do is let our light burn completely out. Here is my story of my light not going completely out, but it faded. Now I twinkle.

Hello, my name is Rebekah and I am a victim of bullying. I was bullied from 3 years old until my sophomore year of high school. I hated the idea of actually going to school, but I loved to learn. I always questioned why I even bothered to try anymore if all I got in returned was getting bullied.

I remember the very first day of freshman year of high school. I told myself this year would be different, that I would make some good friends, but it was the most difficult year of my life.

I will not give you all of the depressing details of my years of being bullied, but I will give you a glimpse into what everyday looked like for me.

I would wake up to my alarm blaring at me. It usually took me twenty minutes to get out of bed, I did not have the energy because I would stay up until 2 or 3 every night. Finally when I was up I had to somehow convince myself that I cannot not go to school. Then, I would have some sort of fear that would make my entire body paralyzed for multiple minutes.

Once I got to school was even worse. I was always flying under the upper class men’s radars. If they knew you were a freshmen you were a target. Lucky for me, I was mistaken for a sophomore, junior, or senior. However, there was this one instance where I had upper class men guys push me around in the hallway and harass me because they were bored. I was always on edge and fearful.

In the classroom, the teachers were given no respect. It was really hard for academic learning to take place because something was always going on in my classes. During my algebra 2 class I remember how my “friend” would tell me I was stupid practically every day. That definitely made class unbearable, and eventually I started to believe him.

Every day I would come home from school and lock myself in my room. I would do homework, but I would also enjoy the temporary peacefulness I had. Then it would start all over again.

I had begged my parents to let me drop out or switch schools. Of course in my family, dropping out was not an option. It took all of my freshman year but I found the school I would go to for the rest of my high school years.

This school was nothing like my old school, it was like a safe haven. When I went to schedule my classes for my sophomore year, I met with the head of school and was assured I would not be bullied. They have a zero bullying tolerance. In fact, many students that had been bullied in the past had come to this school.

My experience here was life changing. I went from this shy, super introverted, terrified student to one who reached her full potential. I went from dreading school to being excited everyday.

I had many wonderful teachers who challenged me to take a harder course, or simply do more research on a topic. I also met friends who did not call me stupid or put me down, but who encouraged me and helped me when I needed it. I could not have imagined a better school for me to attend.

How does this all tie into my career? Well, the experience I had my freshman year, and many years before that, I want to be the person I never had for students like me. I want students to find their safe haven in my classroom if they do not have one. I want to be that positive influence in their lives and cheer them on.

I learned many things from my second high school. I learned how to be more confident and challenge myself even more. I learned how to connect with students of different cultures. I learned how much the teacher really does affect the environment of the classroom. I learned that teacher-students relationships are important to develop. I learned how to love going to school again.

All of these factors, and many more, all influenced me in some way to become an educator. Yes I have had negative experiences with schools in the past, but I want to be that positive. I want to give my students what my teachers gave me. I am confident in my career choice and I have some big shoes to fill, especially as a future 9th grade English teacher.

After all of this, I still twinkle. So many things could have taken that from me, but I did not let it. Now, that twinkling light is a part of my life. I carry it for all to see.

Mayday, Mayday, I am Going Down! Daily Post Prompt

One could describe this as an air raid, but to me this is normal. For a couple of years this has been the norm. They have become a part of everyday life. When the bombs hit, most flee while a few join the battles with me. What these people probably do not realize is that they cannot fight these battles with me. I must face these bombs alone. Of course no one realizes that this is all internal and only I can control this.

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Image from media-cache.ak0.pinimg

I cannot tell you the countless times I have heard that anxiety is “all in my head.” Of
course when someone says this they mean it is a made of mental disease. From all of the experiences I have had with anxiety I can tell you this, it is very real.

For the most part I feel like I am a part of this world like everyone else. When I have an anxiety attack I all of the sudden detach myself from everything. Every part of me seems to shut down, starting with my mind. Everything goes black as I lose sight of where I am. My heart becomes fearful, so it responds with palpitations. My eyes become glossy as the attack proceeds to take my body captive. I am now under the command of the attack.

I am the target and the bombs are the anxiety attack. I cannot do anything to help myself. I cannot even remember where I am or who is around me. Everything is strange to me, and until I can bring myself back I am stuck with unfamiliarity.

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Photo from likesuccess.com

This is just a glimpse into my mental illness, a more extreme glimpse. I used to think this was a normal thing, so I got used to this. Now that I understand this is an illness I strive to get well. I do not want crisis in my life, especially when I do not know when it will happen.

I encourage anyone who has a mental illness to strive to get better. No one deserves to feel like they are under attack 24/7. Also remember that you are not alone, 40 million people are affected in the US alone.

For those who do not have a mental illness, do some research on mental illnesses. I guarantee you know at least one person in your life who has one, whether they are upfront about it or not. I know when I was first diagnosed I wanted to keep it a secret, so have some grace on them. This is not an easy thing to live with.

(Featured image is of 1945 air raid on Japan. I could not find who took this photo.)

 

Daily Prompt

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge

In light of this week’s photo challenge I want to share a photo from my trip to Poland. This trip was a Holocaust study. The concentration camps were depressing, but I managed to find hope. This photo represents the hope I found in Birkenau that made this trip transcendent.

The flower represents beauty in an atrocious place. My colleagues behind the flower represent hope for future generations. Future generations can be educated about what happened in this place and how it came to be. It takes others to educate them on this, especially if they have walked where many victims were lead to their death.

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Discover Challenge-The Things We Leave Behind

In my short time on this Earth, there are not a lot of things that I have left behind. Recently, I have had to walk away from something that has been a part of my life for the last four years.

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Image from clipartpanda.com

Four years at a workplace is almost unheard of for a first job. I was fifteen when I started working somewhere with a consistent paycheck. I had a one goal; to save up for a car. I never could have imagined that I would be there until I started college.

I remember my first day. I remember the countless hours of computer training. I remember how anxious I was to get on the floor and start working. I remember how shy I was to talk to anyone, but how I quickly outgrew that. I remember loving where I worked and being proud that I had job. I will remember all of these things.

I also remember the abnormal feeling when I thought about leaving. It still feels that way now. It is time for me to move on though. I can live without working my first job. However, I would never wish to go back.

The existence of this job was good and bad. It was good because: I learned responsibility, I met some amazing people, I gained experience for other jobs in the future, I could see my what my life would look like if I did not go to school, and it made me grow up a little. From this experience I will carry these things with me for the rest of my life.

Where there is good there is also bad. Over time my job became stressful. I felt like I could not advance with this company, and my managers were the ones holding me back. Once my school schedule became more demanding my hours got cut. I had to explain myself every time I had a school event, or when I started college they did not respect that my schedule would change each semester. Even when I gave a more open availability, they refused to work me when I could.

I started to become very stressed. I had to somehow pay for school, and after being at this

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Photo from etinspires.com

place for four years they feel like they can treat me like this. I explained to them on multiple occasions why I needed the hours, and how I was being as flexible as I could, probably more than I should have.

This went on before I started college. I just ignored it, thinking it would get better. It never did.

I constantly came home upset and stressed that it finally took its toll on my mental health. Again, I tried to ignore that but it kept getting worse.

As of last Wednesday, I will longer be working there after the third of August. My workplace is very angry with me, but I need something different. I need something that will help me advance, and at the same time respect me. I have never felt more free.

Throughout my time here I have also given 110%, even when I felt like that was not deserved. I am not sure what this place will be like without my existence, but I know that they are losing a hard-worker. I have had several of my co-worker’s demand that I visit

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Photo by Sean MacEntee

them because they will miss me, and I know my customers will feel the same way.

As I reflect on my time here I have mixed emotions. I do not regret working here, but I do
regret not leaving sooner. I truly believe that if I would have left sooner my mental health would not be as bad as I is now. I have taken much wrongful treatment on behalf of my managers and my head of department. I have been trampled on, walked all over, and oppressed.

I do see a light at the end of this tunnel. I have a new job and I start this Thursday. I could not be more excited and relieved! I will always look back on this experience to realize how far I have come, because I grew so much from it. In the future, I will be more willing to stand up for myself and have a stronger backbone than before.

To end my daily challenge post I will give a quote by Bill Withers: “I feel that is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see if yourself and whatever is behind you.”

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Photo by: fitnessedgecleveland.com

 

Ode to a Cardboard Box

I am a cardboard box,

Rained on and hit by many trucks.

Once used to hold something of value,

And now I find myself sitting right here covered in tire tracks and dirt.

No one wants me now,

Will I ever serve a purpose again?

 

This looks like the end for me,

As the sun breaks me down daily.

I now anticipate the end of my time,

But I am forced to stay right here.

 

Seasons change right before me-

The sun is the only thing that is keeping me alive.

The rain washes me clean and I can see it!

A new beginning is coming my way.

For so long I have been a worthless object,

But now I will be turned into something new.

 

It just took one person to come and pick me up.

One person to take me and set me on the path to recycling,

When I could not do it myself.

I am now made new.

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R. Edmonds

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Featured Image by: Dmitri Korobtsov

 

 

Tracks and the Gate of Death

Auschwitz is one of the most notorious concentration camps even still today. 11 million people in all were murdered during the Holocaust. 6 million victims were Jews. The other 5 million were Gypsies, POWs, criminals, political prisoners, and basically anyone against the Nazi party.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit such a place where such atrocities took place. This blog will serve as a reflection on my experiences in both Auschwitz and Birkenau.

I have always been interested in learning about the Holocaust. In fact, I started to do a study of my own because I knew there was much more than the history books told. I have studied this topic for seven years and I thought I knew it all. This experience proved me wrong.

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Photo I took at Auschwitz I gate. “Work sets you free.”

 

Walking through Auschwitz I, I did not feel anything close to what I felt at Birkenau. You see, Auschwitz I is more of a museum. Yes it was used as a labor camp, but with everything reconstructed over the years it did not feel authentic to me. Things such as taking out the beds that the victims’ had slept on and turning the barracks into a museum set up is just one example.

 

Another example, one of the barracks had
been turned into a bathroom and I felt that this was very disrespectful. My thought was that people had died in there. I was ashamed that I had used that restroom.

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Photo I took outside of the gas chamber at Auschwitz I.

The last thing, the gas chamber. I had read so many stories of victims saying how people was climb on top of each other and leave nail markings on the wall.
Those markings were gone. The tourist that had came through had left new markings. I understand the symbolism of this, but the entire thing felt tourist-y.

It was hard to imagine the life the victims lived here.

However, everything I saw in Auschwitz I prepared me for Birkenau. All of the information given to me gave me a better understanding of the camps and the Holocaust.

Birkenau had a completely different atmosphere. I had heard Birkenau called the largest memorial/cemetery multiple times. I understood the symbolism behind it, but I did not fully understand what was meant until I walked through the camp.

Walking through the notorious “Gate of Death” intimidated me. Even when I walked out I was afraid. This IMG_1737was the largest Nazi death camp killing around 1.2 million people. This includes not only Jews, but Gypsies, POW, political prisoners, etc. Treblinka following behind with around 850,000 deaths.

As I walked into the remains of the camp I felt something. It was almost as though each victim had left a part of themselves behind. That was an overwhelming feeling but it was also a very powerful one.

I saw the tracks. Yes, the tracks that brought millions to their deaths. From the outside looking in I thought they were infinite. Little did I know that they had led to the most preferred method of killing, the gas chamber. There were four gas chambers total in Birkenau but now only rubble stands in their place.

Our first stop was the men’s side of the camp. All of the barracks were wooden. The wood was taken from barns that had previously been on that
land. When I walked into the barrack I was surprised that there was light coming in from the top through a window like structure. I looked around and thought about how much these “living quarters” resembled a barn.

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Photo I took inside of one of the men’s barrack.

The left side of the camp was the women’s camp. There were some barracks that were made of brick, but once the Nazi ran out of brick they used wood. The barracks on this side started out bigger and then became smaller and smaller. It seemed like the smaller the barracks were the more victims were forced in there.

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Photo I took in the women’s section of the camp

 

 

I never realized how massive in size the camp was. I also never realized that there was a section of the camp dedicated to gypsies. Here conditions were better than normal. From what I gathered, this was because the Nazis did not want them to suspect that they would be gassed. There were 23,000 gypsies and I was told that 21,000 were exterminated.

This type of treatment was not uncommon in Birkenau. The Nazi are known for deception, I mean just look at Hitler. Hitler and the Nazi were not stupid by any means. How do you get people to believe that the Aryan race is the most superior? How do you get people to hate a people group? These tactics were used still in the camp. The victims even knew how deceptive the Nazis could be.

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Photo I took of the remains of the gas chamber/crematorium.

The sonderkammando were prisoners who were one of the most favored. There job was to work in the crematoriums that burned the bodies that had just been gassed. They lived above the crematorium/gas chamber. The Nazis purposely kept them separate from other prisoners because of the information they held. These prisoners burned their family, neighbors, and other loved ones.

As I walked past the remains of these gas chambers/crematoriums I was astonished. How could these people keep going on like this? I tried to put myself in their position but I could not. I have no idea what I would have done. They were strong individuals. They were stripped of humanity and then forced to do the same to others. I cannot fathom this to this day.

There was a memorial at the end of all of the gas chambers/crematoriums. I do not know what this space was used for before, but I was glad there was a memorial there. There were plaques in multiple languages in honor of the victims. Those plaques stood in front of a stone monument in their honor as well. There were steps at the end of those tracks that I

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Photo I took of plaque in English.

thought never ended. I was overwhelmed with emotion that I had to sit down.
I sat down in honor of those victims and gave them the moment of silence that they deserve. I could not formulate thoughts for many minutes. This was all so much to take in and I wanted to process it correctly. I wanted to know what could I have possibly learned from this. I thought about how I can use this experience in my classroom one day. I longed for immediate answers but struggled to find them.

When I headed back towards the “Gate of Death” I had a different view of this camp. In honor of that different view I decided to walk the tracks all the way back. This symbolized a hope for the future, that something as horrendous as this may never happen again. I walked those tracks for those who never had the chance, for those children who lost their childhood. I walked those tracks for me. So that I can always remember the promise I made to myself that day.

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Me walking towards the “Gate of Death.”

 

I promised myself that I would share my story of everything I saw here, and I promised myself that I would incorporate this theme of hope into my future classroom. Now as I sit here typing this on the floor of my bathroom, I know this is just the beginning of me sharing my story. I will speak for those who never had the chance and keep this part of history alive.

 

I now challenge you, my readers, to never forget what barbaric atrocities that happened during the Holocaust. Not only the Holocaust, but any time in history where many lives were lost to those who considered themselves “superior.” It is still happening today, even if 11 million lives were not lost. It is happening in schools with bullying, in other countries based on beliefs, and all over the world. That is why this all matters.

 

If you have interest in looking at my photos from my trip to Poland here is the link.

My First Post 👋

NQTI have only started blogging this year, so I have decided to start out with an introduction blog so that you can get to know me. I believe this will help you understand where I am coming from in my writing.

I want to first start out by saying I am really bad at grammar so please ignore all the grammatical errors. I am learning grammar since I will be an English teacher one day. In school I was not taught grammar, so as a young adult I have to learn it.

I have a passion for teaching. I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was in second grade. As a seven year-old I will admit I did not know what I wanted to teach. I went from wanting to teach art to wanting to teach dance. Now, as I write this blog today I have decided on teaching English. I am a huge nerd when it comes to reading and writing,  partially why I chose English as the subject I wanted to teach.

I have heard countless times how teaching is a “waste of a degree” and how “I will make barely any money.” I do not think teaching is a waste of a degree, I believe teachers are a foundation for their students pursuing a higher education. Without teachers, each person would have to teach their child and not everyone is cut out for that. That is completely alright too. As for the money, this is why you get married (totally kidding!). In all seriousness though teachers do not teach for the monetary aspect of it. If that was the case, everyone would want to do it. Our education system could become better, or worse. I want to be a part of making the education system better.

Here is a link that shows what else you can do with a teaching degree.

So you have some background as to why I want to be a teacher, but who am I? I amwhat-its-like-to-be-an-english-nerd-2-10812-1415724640-0_dblbig.jpg the type of person who works twice as hard as anyone else because I have no other choice. I am the type of person who loves to learn. I am the type of person who wants to know how people are process information, and how they drew the conclusion they did. I take a genuine interest in other’s lives. I love to see the world. I am dedicated to whatever I do. I am an overachiever. All of these things took time for me to develop.

I love to read. I am a picky reader, but I will give every book a chance. What types of books I typically choose are memoirs of all sorts. However, I usually pick out Holocaust memoirs since I am a big-time history buff. I also enjoy reading mystery, dystopian, plays, and many others. Shakespeare does holds a very special place in my heart, because he is extremely witty and humerous. I am going to stop talking about books right here because this could go on for another 1,000 words or more.

Here are some photos I took while I was in Poland doing a Holocaust study.

stock-vector-wooden-coffee-bar-coffee-shop-counter-vector-illustration-with-barista-366759752Since I am a college student, I do have to pay for schooling somehow. During this past school year I worked two jobs, part-time, and went to school full-time. I was a sub at a special needs school, and still plan on doing that when school starts back up, and I am a barista at a place that I have worked at for four years. This summer, I have a job, a paid internship, an unpaid internship, and I am currently working on another job. Even though working seems to consume my life, all of the jobs I am working or worked help me develop the mindset of a teacher. Most of my jobs do involve some aspect of being in a school, like my internship and subbing position. The others are just to help pay for school.

To wrap up this post I would like to say thank you for reading my blog. I hope you will keep reading future blogs that I post, and if not that is okay too. Please feel free to leave any feedback, comments, or questions you have.

Have a great day! 😄

~Bekah