How I Got to Georgia College (pt2)

I had just drove back from Fort Lauderdale after sleeping in and being too late to the class to attend.  I went on to to look for possible work that fall and found something I wasn't expecting.  You see, it took me 7 years to finish my first master's degree.  I paid as I went and then took over a year off before working on my thesis.  The nice part about that is not owning any money once I got my diploma and hood.  The last thing on my mind was going back to school.  I did a job search for the southeast because I enjoy warmer weather and on the list of jobs is a graduate assistantship.  I clicked on the link and read about the graduate assistantships offered at Georgia College in their M.Ed. in Outdoor Education Administration.  What?  Could it be that I could get a degree that's directly applicable to my career?  (side note:  I believe both my BA in Humanities and my MLS are directly applicable to life overall).  But I had just finished a master's degree, did I really want to start back to school again?  The possibility for a tuition waiver and a stipend was too good to pass up, so within a week I had signed up for the GRE and sent in all my application paperwork.  When I headed for Maine the only things missing from my application file were letters of reference and my GRE scores.

While in Maine I had a phone interview with Jude Hirsch, the chair of the Department of Outdoor Education at Georgia College.  She explained the program and it sounded perfect.  The next step was to wait and see if I got awarded a graduate assistantship and then find housing.

I believe I found out later in June that I had been accepted into the program and that I got a GA.  Now was time to find a house.  I had been told about the "farm" from another person entering the program.  When I came to visit the school in July I was given a tour of the famous "farm" by one of the second year grad students.  After looking at one of the trailers to possible share with a first year student, I opted to take the third bedroom at the pyramid trailer where my tour guide lived with another 2nd year grad student.  The other trailer was just two small for two people, but had an amazing front porch which is where my kayak currently resides.

The trailer I currently live in is called the pyramid due to the obvious fact that it's painted to look like a pyramid.  Why you ask?  Well, this trailer, along with another one on the farm, used to belong to the Nuwaubians.  After their compound was raided the trailers went up for auction and the owner of the farm purchased two of them.  The other one has been painted white, but ours is still the original pyramid block design.  It's a nice place to live.  It's on the outside of town and I can't see any of my neighbors.  There's another trailer on the farm that apparently belonged to Janis Joplin.

My room isn't tiny, but it's too small to fit my queen size bed in and still have a desk and my gear fit, so I've been sleeping on a twin blow-up mattress all semester.  At first I was going to buy a bed, but then I figured I already owned a bed and wasn't going to shell out the money for a temporary one.  Perhaps next school year I'll live in a place that will fit my queen size bed.  One of the "fun" quirks of the trailer is the shower.  Due to a broken knob you have to use pliers to turn on the cold water.  

That's the story of how I came to Georgia College.  Now I can start writing on all the trips I gotten to take this fall with class and for fun, including going to Las Vegas for an experiential educator conference.

Christmas: Hope for All People

Have we forgotten?  In the bustle of activity leading up to Christmas, have we forgotten to prepare for Christ?  In the hurry to celebrate the New Year and take down the decorations, have we forgotten to celebrate our Savior? 

Imagine for a moment the events of Jesus birth: the smell of animals and hay, the sounds of excitement around the birth and the feeling of anticipation from a new mother.  Mary and Joseph were witness to the first moments of our Savior’s life.  To see the first breath taken by the God who breathed the universe into existence.  Before his birth humanity lived under the darkness of the Fall and now the Light had come into the world.  And this Light has become the hope for all nations. 

The Advent and Christmas seasons offer believers time to reflect on the immense importance of the Incarnation, the act of God becoming human.  God humbled himself and became like us in order to save us from our sin.  Not only was he the light of the world, he gave us that light in our baptism and confirmation to spread that hope to the rest of humanity.  In our celebration of Christmas let us remember our call to spread the hope we have found in Christ to the world, a world that has people still living in darkness, which can only be broken with the light of Christ’s love.

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce:

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations… There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.

You see, each encounter we have with another person is a sharing of the hope we have in Christ.  We, by virtue of the light given to us by Christ, have a choice to share that light or hide it from others.  That choice has eternal consequences.  The Incarnation was a powerful event in the history of the world.  Christ broke through the eternal into the temporal.  He came to dwell among us.  Now we are given the chance to share that light with others so that Christ may dwell among them too. 

This Christmas do not forget to celebrate that hope in our your lives, and share that hope with the people you encounter every day. 

**This article was written for the winter 2010 issue of Today's Disciple (a magazine published by my parent's church in Orlando, FL). 

Dealing with Disney

Due to the immense fun I had dealing with Disney, I thought I'd share some of that joy with everyone.  This wasn't the first time I had dealt with Disney lawyers.  When I initially went to get my USCG Captain's license I had to deal with them.  We went back and forth several times on the wording of the letter to the USCG so that Disney was sure I wouldn't come sue them for back wages and the USCG understood exactly what kind of boat I drove and for how many days.  I still had this letter in my file and thought, surely this will make things go faster.  Oh how naive I am at times, or perhaps how dense the Disney lawyers are all the time.  It still took all summer going back and forth with my managers and the paralegal trying to write my letter to get it right.  Fortunately for me the USCG representative on my file was very helpful and worked with me to get all of it figured out.  It took about three months from start to finish, but I finally got my license renewed.  Of course, I still don't have that sailing endorsement yet!

How I Got to Georgia College (pt1)

Before I left for Maine I had graduated (finally) from Rollins with my MLS (Master's of Liberal Studies).  I was also on a quest last spring to get my USCG Captain's License renewed and get my sailing endorsement added on to it.  I need my sailing endorsement to be a Watch Officer (lead instructor) for the Sea Program at Outward Bound.

You see, this little issue had been plaguing me all spring.  I was told in January that I needed the sailing endorsement, so I diligently looked for a class in the area to take.  Trying to get to a USCG testing center would seem like the easier answer because I would just have to study and take a test, but as with most government things, they don't try to make it easy and the closest one in Florida is Miami.  Taking a class in Tampa or Orlando would take the place of going to the testing center and reduce my driving.  The only problem was finding a time that would fit into my spring schedule which by now was full with finishing my thesis, working at Disney or being in Key Largo working for Outward Bound.

The first course I signed up for was in Tampa.  I drove almost two hours (I was just about to get off at the exit) and I got a phone call saying my instructor had gotten into a car accident and the class was cancelled.  I turned my truck around and headed home a bit aggravated at the gas money spent, but also understanding to the situation.  I then went online and signed up for another class.  This time it was in south Florida, but it worked with my schedule.  A few days before that course I got an email stating the class was cancelled because the had no place to hold it.  Apparently the room/building they normally used had been booked.  Great, this was the second time my class was canceled and now it was May.  My USCG license was expiring the end of July and I needed to get working on renewing that quickly.

I had two choices for renewing my license.  One was to go to a class and take the tests again.  The second was attempting to get Disney to write a letter confirming my sea time over the past 5 years.  Dealing with Disney lawyers is like untangling Christmas lights.  If you take on the challenge be prepared for lights to be out and several trips to the store.  I choose the class option.  I changed my reservation with Sea School (the company I'd been working with to take the sailing course) to take a renewal class for my license.  It was in Fort Lauderdale.  All I needed to do was make sure I was up on time to drive two hours south.

As you can probably guess, that didn't happen.  I woke up about 45 minutes late, jumped in my car and headed south.  When I was an hour away I called the gentleman teaching the course to let him know I would be late.  He kindly told me that if I was more than 30 minutes late (which I would have been) that the USCG would not accept my attendance in the class.  Annoyed at wasting more gas and frustrated at over sleeping, I drove back to Orlando.  At this point my mind was jumping between preparing to deal with Disney lawyers and determined to find work for the fall.  When I got home I went straight to and found something I wasn't expecting.