Thursday, November 30, 2017


I always try to be honest with you, dear reader, so believe me when I say that this fall has been one of the hardest I've experienced.  As an educator, my life is still delineated by semesters - fall, spring and summer.  I've shared some of these hard things with you.  The death of my father in law and my anaphylaxis being the main ones.  Some of I've held back - B-mans struggles, the lingering ever present headache since the anaphylaxis, the concussion Zac suffered.  Others are not my story to tell.  Situations that I'm peripherally involved in but that have effected me to my very core. 

To be certain, the fall has been filled with good things. Sam achieved his goal of playing Varsity football as a sophomore.  He was even able to becoming the starting center 3 games into the season.  This was especially meaningful as my nephew is the quarterback.  It just felt right to see them working together again at the thing they love, the game they've played together since they were 6. Zac had an awesome 8th grade football season as well.  I love to watch my boys play the game they love. The whole environment around football makes me happy. It was wonderful to see their hard work and dedication play off. 

My new job was also a bright spot. I worked hard, as did Ryan, to transform the middle school library this summer. I rearranged the furniture to make it a more inviting space.  That sounds super simple but actually involves removing every non-fiction book from the shelves, waiting for the sainted maintenance staff to move the shelves according to my drawing, then returning all the non-fiction books to their homes.  I planned lessons and choose books to read out loud to our 5th - 8th graders.  I got a vending machine, the kind that you'd see at a restaurant - put in a quarter, get a bubble container out with a prize, that spits out book recommendations for kiddos.  My assistant bought fish.  The library is a different place and kids love it.  I know because they run to the library on their days and plop on the couch, eager to be read to.

The B-side to every good thing is the stress caused by change and new situations.  I try to remember that this is the good stress.  The stress I asked for.  But, in the end, it is stress none the less.  Please don't misunderstand me.  The fall has not been a constant pit of misery.  Many good things have happened.  I've been able to serve many people with a happy heart. It's not all doom and gloom up in here.  The struggles seem to be more acute this year.

My seemingly constant companion lately has been fatigue and heaviness of spirit.  When I finally saw my doctor about the headache I'd had since the anaphylaxis, I inquired about my fatigue concerned there was another cause.  I love my doctor, she's been my doctor since I was in college.  She must have been straight out of medical school because I've always felt like she was my age.  My sweet doctor looked straight into my eyes and said "Of course your tired.  You've had a headache for over a month.  Your brain hurts and it wants to rest." 

The downside of this need to rest are the things that get cut in favor of sleep.  A couple of times it's been this blog.  But mostly, it's been my morning Bible Study and quiet time with the LORD.  There are just some mornings I can't get out of bed until the dead last minute.  There are other times that I've gotten up but can't concentrate or understand what I'm reading.  While these leaves me feeling further from God, I know that it's in our troubles and sorrows that he pulls us close.  I have not doubted His love for me this fall. I have worried about my ability to return that affection. 

As always, music has been a healing force.  When I'm too tired to express my love and gratitude to the LORD, music steps in.  The Psalm albums by Shane and Shane have been my top playlist this fall.  I love to hear them sing the words of David.  A man after God's own heart but so ordinary a human that a pretty lady almost derailed it all. And I remember that if David did all that, and more, and was still described as a man after God's own heart there's hope for me yet. 

Hope.  A funny thing.  An odd concept. And my another of my companions.  Every day I hope I am doing a good job.  Every day I hope my headache subsides.  I hope my boys are happy and healthy.  I hope B is able to make it through the day without hurting himself or another.  I hope those around me hurting know I hurt with them. I hope I've shown them the hope of the LORD. 

At the beginning of the school year, our Superintendent shared with us about a book he was reading called Grit.  I've heard this saying a million times before but I'm so thankful that the LORD let me to write it down this time.  I keep index cards on my desk, right by my computer to remind me of the LORD's promises - saying or verses to inspire me.  I trade them out from time to time but this one has stayed. 

Tough is not a word I'd use to describe myself.  I'm persistent. I'm not tough.  Not traditionally tough.  I don't think anyone would be scared to meet me in a dark alley.  But, I'm learning that I am tough.  I know that I'm not a tough person on my own.  I can't do it under my own strength, the LORD gives me the strength I need.  He also provides an awesome support system for me.  My sweet Ryan who picks up my slack at home. My momma, my sister in law, my biffles, my tribe, my coworkers, the boys' teachers, B's support team and therapist and many others I've failed to mention.  I am blessed beyond measure at the people who come alongside me.   

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