Back to School

When I left my teaching career earlier this year, I didn’t expect to return to any classrooms. Knowing that feelings can change, I left the door open, agreeing to join the substitute list when I became eligible October 1. When school began in August, I was thinking “no way!” to substitute teaching.  Continue reading “Back to School”

2019 One Word

What is “one word?” It is choosing a goal for the year, using only one word, rather than a long list of New Year’s resolutions. I first saw the idea on a friend’s page. I didn’t realize that it was a whole movement. I started noticing other bloggers choosing their words. There is even a One Word website. The first word that I picked for myself was “feel.”

My 2019 will usher in a new place to live in VA, a summer house in Maine, an ending of a 30-year career, and the beginning of a life without that career. There will be new ways to spend my time. Many of those have yet to be determined and will likely be fluid.

The first word I considered was “adapt.” I’ll certainly need to do plenty of adapting in 2019. I could also acclimate, adjust, become accustomed to, and modify myself. What’s missing from all of those words is the sense of doing them well. I don’t want to simply adapt, I want to… flourish!

I want this year to be a time of flourishing in all the changes that are yet to be. I want to serve, learn, and grow in my new environments. Let us see where this will take me this year!

Addendum: My friend and I don’t tell each other what our word is ahead of time. We both have to wait for the “reveal” in each other’s blog posts. Both blog posts went live just after midnight, to our e-mail subscribers. I was confused when I saw the title of hers. We picked the same word, out of approximately 250,000 words in the English language! Here is the link to her post.

Dear Jess

Dear Jess,

Can it really have been seven weeks since you left this world? I cried every day until one night I realized that I hadn’t. Of course, the tears still strike me randomly, like writing this to you, being at church and looking at the row where you sat, or a quiet moment in the car when my thoughts drift to you. Did you know you are my first friend who died? Most people don’t lose friends who are only 35 years old. I wish I could say that it was totally unexpected, but I always feared this would happen. With your Addison’s disease and living alone, I was afraid that you wouldn’t let anyone know if you got really sick. Remember the times I begged you to call me? When I reminded you that I was only a mile away? I felt a little angry that you didn’t call me, or anyone else, but maybe you couldn’t. I know you didn’t want to leave behind the people you love. Continue reading “Dear Jess”

Friday Night Football and Memories

This Friday night was so like another Friday night a year ago, that the memories flooded my brain. The difference between then and now flooded my heart.

It was another football game, a year ago, when my younger kids’ birth mom joined us. Katelyn was already with the marching band, but Conner and I arrived in the parking lot right after Annie. I parked my motorcycle in front of her company van and we shared a parking space. From there, we went to the field and watched the game together, chatting and laughing.  Continue reading “Friday Night Football and Memories”

The Year of Lasts

My 30th year of teaching has arrived. I know that God holds tomorrow in His hand and I am not guaranteed another day, much less a year or years, but there is still a plan. My plan is that this will be my last year of teaching. As such, it will be full of “lasts.”

I’ve already experienced what I expect to be my last city-wide school staff gathering. As I sat with all the rest, I thought back to my early teaching days, when my dad and I were both teaching in our school system and would see each other at the meetings. He is gone now and it was a sweet memory. Continue reading “The Year of Lasts”

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice If…”

It started as a dream that we were hesitant to put into words. My cousin, Jenny, and I would lament the distance between our homes as we continued to grow closer. We started noticing property for sale and started expressing, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I/you could have a place up here?” The dream started sounding like a possibility when we looked at the tax-acquired (foreclosed) property lists for the town. These properties were to be sold at bid, with low minimums. I submitted a bid for a 5-bedroom house on 2.1 acres last week, for the small amount of  $13,050. It needs a lot of work and money to be livable.

On Monday night, the sealed bids were opened and I won! I was, in fact, the only bidder on that property. The work it would involve scared all others away. Thankfully, I have a cousin and her husband (cousin-in-law?) who have the vision to see the potential of the place AND can provide help. Conner and I left Tuesday morning and we saw the house for the first time on Wednesday. Continue reading ““Wouldn’t It Be Nice If…””

When Hope Meets Reality

I thought we’d write a book together some day. There was even a title for it – “An Unlikely Friendship.” Many of you have followed this story and have been praying and cheering from the sidelines. I didn’t expect things to go the way they have in the last few months. Continue reading “When Hope Meets Reality”

Poetry Festival

I misread the schedule and arrived early this evening, to the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival. This festival started on Wednesday, with some inviting workshops during the day.

My day job meant I couldn’t attend any of those, sadly. Upon my arrival at the registration table this evening, I was greeted with, “You’re the last one!”

Continue reading “Poetry Festival”

“Mid-Life”

I often find myself thinking about age these days. It often comes in the form of calculating how old my parents were when I was in various stages of life. As I walked down a street in my city last week, I passed the house where my dad moved when he separated from my mom. I was surprised to realize he was only 52 years old then. Of course, it was a long time ago, but he seemed old, even then. I am 50, so nearly that old myself. As I walked in my hiking shoes with a backpack containing a laptop on my back, I didn’t feel or look that old.  Continue reading ““Mid-Life””

Four Months

It’s been a year since I wrote my first letter to Annie, my youngest kids’ birth mom. The last year has progressed through several stages and lots of emotions for me. I hesitantly wrote that first letter in November of 2015. The immediate result was a flurry of letters back and forth, between Annie and the kids and also between her and me. I went on to join the JPAY system and Annie and I have used that to frequently e-mail each other.  In January, without my telling the kids where I was going, I further tested the waters by visiting Annie in prison. In February, I started taking the kids to visit. You can read about the journey we’ve been on by clicking on the “Birth Mom” tab on the menu, or by clicking on the following links – Wading in with the Birth MomBeyond WadingThe Boys’ First VisitGuest Blogger – the Birth Mom!The Girl’s First VisitMothers’ Day 2016, and On the Inside. Now we are on our way to another stage. Annie’s release date is growing closer.

Four months.

Four months until this “new normal” that we have found will change again. Continue reading “Four Months”