Friday, May 26, 2017

Moving Forward....but looking back




I always think it is a good idea when leaving a place to reflect upon that part of the journey. I am sure that there will be things that have happened in the last 3 years that I won't fully understand for many years, but I am thankful for each moment.  It has been a hard 3 years.  I have had to undergo some major criticism as a person and teacher.  I have had some hard things come about that I will always look back on and wonder why they had to happen in that way.  Maybe one day I will completely understand, but for now I just try to let them go.

When I stepped into these halls 3 years ago in August I was arriving back to the states from overseas.  It had not been the experience I had expected, and I was more broken then when I went in the first place.  I was also hopeful.  I was hopeful that I had finally found a place where I could settle.  There was hope of a previous relationship happening again, and a new job that I would be able to excel in.  These hopes led to optimism about this new place.  That everything would just fall into place, and I would have the perfect job, perfect life, and perfect everything at my finger tips.  Ha! Like that ever happens! 


I wish I could say that all those things worked out, but they didn't.  The last 3 years have been like doing a through hike on the PCT.  Trying to get ahead of all that was said.  Trying to mend from the brokenness that was laid down at my feet because of unknown expectations that I was supposed to meet that I didn't even know about.  Working through past events that impacted my current situation.

Teaching isn't for the weak.  It isn't something that you go into for the money, or the summers off.  I know there are still people that think that way.  Teaching requires a thick skin, because you have about a million people that want you to meet the expectations for their own individual child, and when you don't they are disappointed.  I think sometimes it is good to be in a place that helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses.  I will say these last 3 years both personally and professionally have done just that.

Here's the thing though, I feel like when we are at our lowest is when God works and moves to bring us up.  I would say the last 3 months have been a bringing up time in my life.  Applying for new jobs, unsure of exactly where He was leading me.  Preparing myself to move away despite the fact that I love my church, a new community that I am part of, and all of my volunteer experiences.  Preparing to start over again, because there has been so much loss, and most times it is easier to deal with loss if you just leave it behind.

You know what though?  That's not His plan.  For the first time in my life I am staying.  I am building friendships that are made of people that want to build me up instead of bring me down.  I am rocking my volunteer opportunities and meeting so many amazing people that love and value me.  Do you know how great it feels to be loved and valued?  Pretty stinking amazing.  I am getting to know people that want me in their lives.  Not just to talk about me behind my back, but truly enjoy spending time with me.

Sometimes we have to be taken to the depths of despair before we can understand what we were meant to do, and where we were meant to be.

I am leaving teaching, maybe I will go back to it one day, or maybe it will be in a different capacity.  I will always be thankful for these 3 years, in the states teaching.  I am a better listener, encourager, crafter, and teacher because of the moments in time I have spent inside these 4 walls.  I am thankful for team meetings that went outside of these 4 walls.  I am thankful for field days, field trips, staff prayer, science experiments, parent volunteers, but mostly I am thankful for students.  Everyday was a challenge in one way or another, but they impacted me.  They led well. They opened my eyes to see the creative ways that God shows His character in each of us. 

There is no way to know exactly how we have impacted another person.  We cross paths with people every single day.  Sometimes the impact is great, and other times it is so small it seems nonexistent.  It is there though.  Our lives touch those around us, we plant seeds.  Those seeds will move mountains one day.  Those seeds will be our legacy.  God's legacy.  I am thankful that even if I feel like I did nothing, He moved in me to do everything that was needed during my time in this place.

So, I pack up my bags.  I close the door, and walk down the hallway.  I put away the curriculum books, the expo markers, and I look ahead to new norms.  I look up, finish strong, and know that God's plans or so much bigger than my own.  That this little stop on my journey has changed me and others in ways that only He knows.  I don't say good-bye, I say see you later.  Because although this chapter is over, there are so many more left to write, and live.  The hike isn't over....because just over the next hill there is another one to climb. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

K is for Knowledge #atozchallenge #kisforknowledge

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

K is for Knowledge. 

When I think of knowledge it often doesn't really make me think of risks.  It took me awhile to come up with this blog post.  Mostly because I kept getting stuck on words that I chose.  I would choose a word and then change it, then go back to the original word.  I am not even sure now why knowledge has stuck, but it did. 

I guess I feel like with knowledge comes risk.  The more you know about this world, the people in it, and the way to communicate the great risks you want to take in order to love them more.  At least that is what I feel for myself.  Before I stepped foot in India I really had no idea what it meant to risk.  I had never had to risk anything for a hot meal, or a warm bed.  I had never had to risk anything for what I believed in.  There was little risk involved in my life. 

Then I went to another country, where I met people that risked their lives EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I was floored by the amount of risk it took for them just to live every day.  Mothers that would risk their lives, and the lives of their kids for a decent meal. Families that risked never seeing members of their household in order to put a roof over their kid's heads.  Those were the stories of risk. 

That knowledge made me a better person.  Those experiences of seeing poverty, and self-sacrifice allowed me to view my risks as minor compared to what I could be risking.  I learned from that journey that I wanted my own to be bigger, harder, and more meaningful.  The only way that I could do that was to apply the knowledge that I had come across and let my life be impacted from the inside out. 

Have you gained knowledge about a subject or situation that has opened your eyes to risk a little bit more? 




Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J is for Jump In #atozchallenge #jisforjumpin

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

Jump, that four letter word that means to lift your feet off the air and go.  Where have you jumped in your life?  What risks did it take to lift those feet?

Some of my jumps have been huge, more like leaps into the unknown.  Others have been small little hops.

It occurs to me that there are some tasks I jump into without any sort of hesitation!

You know like.... sitting down to watch a full season of my favorite tv show.  Or going and taking a hike instead of cleaning.  Those kinds of jumps are easy.  It doesn't take much thought or preparation, and most of the time I end up learning something, if nothing else how to spend time just being.

Then there are the jumps that involve others.  Like the jumps into new community, or the jumps into asking that person that you just met to go have coffee in hopes of building a friendship that spans continents and decades.  Those kind of jumps take a lot more risk and time.  Those kind of jumps require a little hand movement for balance.  When you jump in to a new community you risk losing a part of yourself.  This happened to me a couple of years ago.

I have a hard time with trust (as do most people). I had been wanting a true community for awhile.  Been praying for it, contemplating what it might look like, and I walked into something that I thought finally fit that idea.  When I got to that community I jumped in. I was open and honest.  I let my guard down.  I had deep conversations with people that I wouldn't normally have had before.  I asked people to lunches, dinners, and movies.  I spent time with people even though I didn't necessarily always leave feeling the greatest about myself.  That jump was hard, it was a risk.  It helped me in a lot of ways, and it hurt me in others.  I lost a little of myself in that jump, but I gained other parts of myself back that I had thought were forever gone.  I wouldn't take the jump back, it was worth it.

That jump is preparing me for my next jump.  I am not sure what kind of jump it is going to be, or what awaits me on the other side, but I know that it is worth it.  I know that people are worth it.  No matter if it is only for a year or two, those moments, those memories they will always be a part of my journey.  I will always know that I tried my very best to risk all that I had to make that jump into a community that I thought worthy of jumping for.




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I is for Inadequacy #atozchallenge #iisforinadequcy

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

I is for Inadequacy.  This is probably a confusing one to fit with my theme.  I somewhat just needed an I word, and then also thought about the result of risks.  Inadequacy came up.  Sometimes I don't risk because I don't feel like I can do it.  Whatever the dream, goal, or situation is I feel like I am not good enough to accomplish it.  I feel pretty inadequate. 

I used to think that I was the only one who felt this way.  Why I was so naive to think that is beyond me, but I sure did.  I thought that I was the only one who doubted myself and my choices. 

We often have to risk feeling inadequate to live a more adventure-filled life.  Letting down those walls, being willing to risk not knowing everything.  We live in a society that is driven by success.  Driven by social media accounts that claim perfect lives.  When in reality for one moment if we all just allowed our inadequacies to be seen, the world would connect in so many more real and deep ways.

To risk inadequacy means to understand ourselves and those around us a little bit more.  We will never be perfect, but our imperfections are what makes us needed and loved.


Monday, April 10, 2017

H is for Hiking #atozchallenge #hisforhiking

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

H is for hiking!  I absolutely LOVE hiking!  It is the BEST for thinking and contemplating risks!  There is also a certain risk that happens when setting out on that trail.  What will you encounter?  Will the trail really take as along as the guide says?  Are there steps along the way that will bring an unknown adventure?

I have hiked many trails that were unknown by me.  Sometimes with others and a lot of times on my own.  The worst risk I took was when I decided to go hiking in 100 degree weather at noon with only 1 bottle of water, on a trail that wasn't marked very clearly.

I risked my life that day.  I had to jump into the creek in order to cool off, and ended up getting minor heat stroke, which still affects me on very hot days.  It was not the smartest decision I have ever made, and looking back I think that I was once again just trying to prove something to myself.  Do you ever think that you take risks because you are trying to prove something?  Maybe that is in fact what risks are mostly about.  Trying to prove that you can do it.  That no matter what you can succeed.  Not every risk is worth it.  That trail was beautiful, but not worth my life.

There is another trail that I hike, it is by far my favorite trail.  I know it by heart.  I know that when I get to certain points along the way I am getting closer to the end.  I know the turns in the trail, the way that it winds through the woods.  I know the random cars that have been left abandoned on the hills of the trail.  I know that the risk isn't that high.  So, often I take that trail.  The familiar is necessary sometimes, for in the familiar I can do my best thinking.  I am not worried about what is going to be around the next corner, I can just focus on the long term goals ahead.

These are the thoughts that I have when hiking.  My brain has time to process, learn, grow, and look forward to the future!






Saturday, April 8, 2017

G is for Goals #atozchallenge #gisforgoals

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

Sometimes I make goals for my life that I know are a huge risk.  Do you have goals that you have yet to accomplish.  Last year before I turned 35, I made 40 goals of things to do before I turned 40.  So, I thought.... hey why not include those in this post?

 #1  Attend a Renaissance Festival

#2  Celebrate New Year's in New York City and watch the ball drop!

#3  Pay School Loans down

#4  Go Skydiving

#5  Get a tattoo   ( I did this last August... yay!) 

#6  Drive the Pacific Coast Highway all the way down California

#7  See a show on Broadway

#8  Get to know 5 good wine and cheese pairings, and host a wine tasting

#9  Hike some of the PCT

#10  Get in the best shape of my life

#11  Go skinnydipping

#12  Go to an Art Museum once a year

#13  Visit Napa Valley

#14  Go on a cruise

#15  Learn how to cook Risotto

#16  Go geocaching

#17  Meet a hero (Mandy Hale, Glennon Doyle, Cheryl Strayed)

#18  Be open to new dating opportunities

#19  Take the ultimate U.S. Road Trip (solo)

#20  Read every book by C.S. Lewis

#21  Learn to Knit  ( I kind of did this)  Loom Knitting, counts! 

#22  Take Spanish and be able to hold a conversation

#23  Read 100 books

#24  Get a hair cut at a fancy salon

#25  Cook/Bake all my gma's recipes

#26  See a show at The Fox

#27  Read the Bible Cover to Cover each year

#28   Drink tea instead of coffee in the afternoon

#29  Run the Bolder Boulder

#30  Watch every film on AFI top 100

#31  Go to the doctor/dentist/eye doctor as recommended

#32  Complete a 1/2 marathon

#33  Write a short story

#34  Take a 24 hour solitude/no phone retreat 4 times a year

#35  Pray everyday

#36  Donate 2% of income each year to charity

#37  Try yoga

#38  Send 10 letters a year to friends far away

#39  Make something crafty and sell it

#40  Build my business


So... some of these require pretty big risk!  Some don't... but regardless making goals and accomplishing them is a big part of who I am.

I actually love it.  Do you have any goals that you have set?  Are they risky goals?



Friday, April 7, 2017

F is for Failure #atozchallenge #fisforfailure

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

F is for failure!  There is no doubt that we all have failed, and if you are anything like me I fail pretty much what seems like 5 billion times every single day!  I used to view my failures in a very negative way.  From early on I never seemed to live up to anyone's idea of who I should be.  I think that is one of the worse things about being the oldest child is the need to be the best at everything, and prove yourself worthy of all the hopes and dreams your parents had for their firstborn.  When I would fail, whether it was missing points on a test, not remembering to pick up my room in a timely manner, or talking just a little too sassy to others... I would analyze it for the next few weeks.  I mean seriously analyze it.  I would go through every second of that failure and basically told my self what a horrible person I was.

Enough years of this failure self talk and I began to think that I wasn't worth anything.  The risks I had taken resulted in an utter loss of who I was made to be.  I got caught up in thinking about my view as a failure instead of all the good things that I was doing or had accomplished!

So... failing as an adult looks a little different.  I know that I will fail.  There will be things that I don't do perfectly.  But theses failures comes with a new knowledge.  Knowledge that everyone fails.  Knowledge that my failures along the way have made me stronger, and better.  Knowledge that failure doesn't mean less risk, it means risk more. With every risk that turns into a failure I learn a little bit more about who I am, and a little bit more about my contributions and part in this crazy, beautiful world.