Reflections from the Pause Button

I should write something.

That thought has passed through my head multiple times over the past few *ahem* months since my last update.  I’ve tried a few times.  I came close to a complete post once, but nothing ever came to fruition.  And yet, I still keep getting new followers and new comments on old posts, constant reminders that my blog isn’t dead yet, and I really should do something to make sure it stays that way.  So here I am.

While I haven’t been writing about it, my career has been on my mind a lot lately.  Gwen is over three months old.  If I’d had a job this year, I’d be done with maternity leave by now.  I’d be back in the classroom instead of home with her, watching her grow and change with each new day.  I’m so glad I have this time with her.

And, if I’m honest, I’m glad I’ve had this time, period.  I think back to my mental state this time last year.  I was feeling the culmination of six years of sacrifice, heartache, and uncertainty – and I was a mess.  I kept that mess pretty well hidden most of the time.  I projected the happy, confident teacher persona that carried me so well through so many other jobs and schools.  I clung to the “just keep moving forward” focus that had been my defense mechanism for so many years.

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Two weeks old, Eleven years in the making

Hanging on our wall next to our wedding photos is another picture of Dan and I, taken exactly eleven years ago on Feb. 7th, 2004.  It’s us on our first date – an 18 year old me in a recycled prom dress with a 20 year old Dan before he rocked his current beard-and-shaved-head style.  We look so different, so young.  At least in our wedding photos he’s sporting the beard.

I see that picture every day and think about the journey that began that day.  We’ve been a couple for eleven years.  You go through a lot of change in that much time, and we’ve seen more than our share of adventures, as you all know.  Eleven years.  Ten different homes in six different states.  Two doctorates for him.  Twelve education-related jobs for me. Four cars.  Countless sleepless nights and stressed-out prayers thrown out to heaven in desperate attempts to make ends meet and find our next step.

And now, one precious little daughter.

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Lady in Waiting

Sometimes waiting makes things seem so far away

Sometimes waiting makes things seem so far away

It’s amazing how much time we spend in life waiting.  I’ve waited for jobs, for apartments, and for answers that never came.  I’ve waited for phone calls, for a student to finally get it, and for things to finally settle down.

Right now I’m waiting for the ultrasound that will tell me my baby’s gender and for the months to pass until I’ll get to meet him or her.  I’m waiting for the first phone call asking me to sub this year, and in the long run, I’m waiting to find out what God has in store for my career.

You’d think we’d get used to it, all this waiting.  You’d think that we’d finally understand that anxiety doesn’t make the waiting easier, that patience is (usually) rewarded, and no matter how much or how little we wonder about and anticipate things, what will happen will happen.

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The Big Update – and why it’s taken me so long to write about it.

I’ve dropped a lot of hints that things are changing in my life, and I’ve wrestled a lot with how and when to make this announcement online.  In the end, the best way is to just come out and say it.

(OK, deep breath…)

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m pregnant, due February 3rd.

We found out at the end of May, soon after Dan landed his job, while I was still wrapping up finals at my last teaching job.  Friends and family have known for a while, but we’ve decided to forego the big “Facebook announcement.”  It seems like such a personal thing to publicly announce to hundreds of people, most of whom I never speak to in real life.  And yes, I see the irony of saying that on my blog, but I kind of have to announce it here.  After all, I write about my life, and this changes everything.  Plus, you’ve made an investment in my life just by spending time on this blog.  In my mind, that’s more significant than just clicking “like” on a Facebook post.  (So if you are Facebook friends with me, can we keep this news off there a little longer, please?  Thanks!)

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Summer Update

I am surrounded by boxes. My one-bedroom apartment has exploded in a sea of cardboard, bubble wrap, and packing tape. So what am I doing? Procrastinating by writing a long-overdue blog post, of course.

Confession time: I’ve been absent from my blog for a while not only because it’s summer, but also because I think I’m experiencing temporary professional burn-out. I’ve been in a constant fight to maintain my career for five years. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but it was mentally and emotionally exhausting.  While I kept up a brave face, being let go from my last job knocked me off balance more than I admitted even to myself.  After five years of constant fighting and overcoming, that blow hurt.  A lot.  It still does.  Now that the financial pressure is off (due to my husband’s amazing job opportunity), I gave myself permission to take a mental break from ambition and take some time to recover.

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Change Happens.

Life is full of change, completions and beginnings, starting over and moving on.  I attended a college graduation party this weekend.  We had senior awards chapel this morning in school, and in a little over a week, those seniors will graduate high school.  This is the time of year that we celebrate all that.  This is the time of year that we acknowledge achievements and impart advice for the next step.

So here’s what I’ve learned:

Life comes in seasons.  There will always be change.  There will always be goodbyes, transitions, and new starts.  I’ll admit that my life is an extreme example of this, but even without constantly relocating, life will never stay exactly as it is now.  And that’s OK.

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Let’s Fix it With a Petition! (…or not)

About two months ago, the principal made an announcement to the school informing everyone that he’d hired a former student to be a new English teacher next year.  Given my tentative situation as a long-term sub, all my students assumed that meant he’d hired another teacher instead of hiring me on permanently.  They came rushing up to my room after lunch, expressions frantic, asking “you’re not coming back next year?!”

The only answer I could give them was “I don’t know.”  It’s a complicated situation.  I’m still in the running, but I know he is considering other teachers for my position, too.  This new teacher he’d hired was a whole separate situation and had no bearing on my job.  However, I wasn’t at liberty to discuss most of the details with my students.  While I tried to assuage their fears as well as I could, I also couldn’t give them the certainty they wanted.  So they expressed their teenage outrage at my tenuous position and what appeared to be the hiring of my replacement.  “We should tell them that we want you back,” they announced.  “We should start a petition for them to keep you!”  And honestly, if I’d encouraged the idea instead of discouraging it, they probably would have done it.

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