I love you but I quit.

I’ve alluded to it but I’ll just come out and say it.  I quit.  This is my last week of teaching.  This is my last week of enlightening (or, rather, attempting to enlighten) my high school kids.  This is my last week of obsessing over the perfect lesson plans, worrying about how I can reach that one particular student, fretting over keeping up with things like putting grades in the electronic grade book or the always awkward parent/teacher conferences or even the pleasure of joking around with my kids all day.  I’m finished.

I’m grateful that I’m not jaded.  I LOVE my job.  Like a lot.  And I probably love my kids more than a teacher should.  But, the thing is that I’m a mommy now.  (I have become more comfortable with saying that I am a mommy rather than I’ll be a mommy.)  For me, teaching and parenting come from the same place in my heart.  There is no way that I’ll be able to teach the way I feel I need to teach and parent the way I feel I need to parent when I’m trying to stretch myself in both directions giving 100 percent in both places.  I. can’t. do. it.  I know I can’t.

This was not an easy decision.  I cried about it a lot.  I cried because I felt that I wasted my time attaining my dream: a college degree.  I cried because I never wanted this to be my life.  I cried because if I could have planned out every single thing that I would do/ accomplish/ experience in my life, quitting was not in my scope of vision.  Becoming a wife was not in my scope of vision.  Becoming a mother was not in my scope of vision.  Becoming a stay at home mother was most definitely not in my scope of vision.  I had other plans for my life.

““My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”” – Isaiah 55:8-9

The timing is perfect.  October.  The month of pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING! The changing of the seasons in nature as well as in my life.  Fall.  In literature, this season can symbolize the changing from youth to “a more mature part of life that is full of wisdom and knowledge…”   But it is also, “the harvest season[.] When the spoils of the year’s labor are gathered and plenty becomes visible for all eyes to see before much of it is put away in preparation for the leaner months.”   Leaner months of getting to know BB.  Getting to know myself as a parent.  Leaner months of watching Wes in his role as daddy.  It’s exciting.  It’s scary.  It’s my life.  I cannot believe that this is my life.

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One day, when I was hanging out with Dee, we had a little talk about the transition.  I explained how I was feeling. (I love how openly I can talk with her.  She really does know me very, very well.  Isn’t it amazing how God can make your best friends out of siblings?). Anyway, I was talking and she said something to the effect of why I am surprised that my life is taking these drastic turns.  She said it’s because this is how other people’s lives go.  Not my life.  This is the story book.  I’m living a dream and I’m not used to the things in my life turning out like they do in those feel-good movies.  In my life (and in my little sister’s life) there always seems to be that unexpected plot twist (except it’s not unexpected for us because it always happens…or, at least, it used to happen).

So… off I go to live my almost too-good-to-be-true life with my more than perfect husband and my new baby (due in three weeks).  It will be one heck of a ride.  Am I scared?  Heck yes.  Am I certain that this is what I’m supposed to do?  With all of my heart and soul.  Do I think it will be easy?  Not even.  But, I’m sure I’ll write about it because that’s what I do.  I’m actually really looking forward to this transition.  Phase two.

But what I’m not looking forward to is telling my students that I will not be back.  I will have to tell them the answer to the question that they have been asking me since they found out that I am pregnant.  I will have to tell them, “I love you but I quit.”

 

unstoppable

sam

Love tank overflowing.

I pretty much quit doing the photo challenge…actually, I totally quit the photo challenge… but that’s okay. I was on vacation. Quite possibly the last one I’ll have for a while.  While on vacation, I was surprised with my first ever baby shower (and- might I say- the best baby shower I’ve ever had). I went to a friend’s house expecting to kick some booty in Phase 10 (my FAVORITE card game) and we did end up playing but I walked in on a surprise that had been in the works for months. I can be such an air head sometimes because the simplest things seem to get past me (it’s not that way in my classroom, though, thank the Lord).

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I walked in the door and was surprised to be greeted by my friends who were yelling surprise and throwing pink and blue balloons.  I just thought to myself, “Man, I guess this is the way that they greet people they haven’t seen for a while.”  And then someone pointed to the sign that read: The Beard’s Baby Shower and it all started to come together.  Why Trinity called me late one night inquiring about my favorite color.  Why Wes randomly asked what my favorite flavor of cake is (even though he already knew).  Why everyone at my friend’s house (where Wes and I always stay) left so early for the party even though we were all still there.  Why Wes asked me if I thought it was acceptable to lie to each other if the lies happened to be for a big surprise.  Why, a few months ago, when Wes said something (I don’t remember what it was) and then he told me not to worry about it but there was gonna be something that I’d really like (last time he told me this statement, my sister bought me an authentic women’s Larry Fitzgerald jersey for Christmas!).

I could not believe that my daughters, my  friends, Wes would go through the trouble to covertly plan a party.  A party for me!  Afterwards, I just kept thinking (and I keep thinking) that it was just too much.  It was all too much.  I felt so loved and so, so, so liked.  I am grateful that my friends notice me.  They see who I am and they like me.  That’s kind of a big deal.

It’s like little things that add up to make something big. I know I seem to be waffling back and forth as to whether or not I want to live in California. I mean, it has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember but the reason that I’m wavering is because I don’t know if it’s God’s will. Sounds crazy, right? I read quote the other day,

“We would never imagine that getting our heart’s deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us” (Timothy Keller, 6.30.2014. Twitter.com).

Not saying that moving to CA will be the worst thing to ever happen to me but I do know that moving to CA without God’s stamp of approval will make a seemingly good thing turn out to be just that: seemingly good. I don’t want that. I want to go where God says to go. And I want to be content in the stage of waiting.

The contentment portion is what gets tricky. It’s like I’m always waiting for the next thing. “I can’t wait for this weekend” or “I can’t wait for this day to be over” are all phrases that show discontent with what’s going on right now. Why can’t I be grateful and content right where I am…right in the moment?  But I digress…

Back to the baby shower:
I walked in and was totally taken aback by the outpouring of love by our California family. I mean, they secretly planned a baby shower under the guise of a Phase 10 war! Ingenious! My (adopted) daughters made a little photo booth area with all sorts of different beards. I think the theme was books and beards.  It was so clever. I told my sister-friends that  I wanted to do a belly cast before BB’s born so they had someone make a cake for me in the shape of a belly cast. My sister friend sent a video that we watched at the party.  People gave us books for BB. There were pictures of my ultrasounds and pregnant belly.  My mom in law sent a baby blanket that she made along with her favorite book which had a special note to BB inside.  I cried when I saw the book because I knew exactly who it was from.  Pastor Jaren and a lot of my other friends hadn’t heard the book so he read the book to everyone.  It was great.  He’s a fabulous story teller.

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BB has a plethora of bibles that cater to kids, now. Some of the bibles are even interactive! My daughters thought to tell everyone to bring a book because of my love of reading and the fact that I’m an English teacher. But, on top of that, they wrote special notes (in the books and on cute little flowers) for Wes, BB and me. I love that personal touch.  I must figure out a way to incorporate these notes into BB’s journal.

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It always takes me a while to get back into Arizona mode after we go to California.  I started writing this post over a week ago but looking at the pictures made me nostalgic.  Our vacation filled my love tank to OVERFLOWING!  I’m so happy there.  Here, I have to constantly work at being content and it takes me some time to get back to that middle place where I can remind myself that this is where I work and this is where a lot of Wes’ and my family lives.  This is where Dee lives and, let’s face it, I’m not the best at keeping in touch…neither is she.  This is also the place where I will give birth to my baby.  And, I complain a lot but I do love the mountain views.  The sunsets.  The mild winters.  I have a couple of friends here.  This is where I met my husband.  This is the place that I earned my bachelors and masters degrees.  Where I got finally figured out what career I wanted to pursue.  Where I got my first teaching job.  Where I turned thirty.  This is the place where I learned to love to run.  This is the place where I ran my first half marathon.  This is that place.

Be content.

It’s easier said than done.  Maybe part of the reason I’m still here is because I have to keep walking through it.  I know that life in CA won’t be all glamorous but I can’t help but think how awesome it would be to live in the place where most of my friends live.  To be involved in church again.   I may have played it up so much in my mind that I’m setting myself up for disappointment. I don’t want to be disappointed.

I know that in CA, I won’t be going to Roscoe’s every weekend or playing Phase 10 every day… or will I?  I probably won’t see my friends every day either but I’ll at least see them each weekend.  I wouldn’t want to be on Facebook or Insta as much because the people I connect with on those social media platforms will be in the near vicinity.  I noticed while I was on vacation that I didn’t get on FB nearly as often as I normally do.  My CA friends/family and I connect through social media.

Be content.

In this waiting place, I can be content.  I can do hard things (like wait to see what God’s got up His sleeve for my little family).  I can mature in many ways while I’m waiting.  I can gear up for parenthood and other life changes.  I can work on becoming the budgeting queen.  There are a lot of things that I can do here…now… while I’m waiting.

 

sam

Dee. Day 7

Forgot to post this here yesterday and this was my favorite one!
As I talked about before I really love my books. And there is nothing better than showing off what you love. I wasn’t able to get all the shelves because my room isn’t quite as…. Clean as is necessary but here’s what i got! I’ll make sure to post the other shelf when I clean because that’s the shelf with my favorite books
🙂

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I wear my crown like a boss.

I wear my crown like a boss.

I saw this photo while on a social network and I just had to share. It reminds me of my friends. All of whom are strong beyond belief. All of us have overcome (and are in the process of overcoming) various struggles that we weren’t certain we would make it through. At the time there may not have looked to be any hope. But, all of those tough things have made us into the beautiful, brave, witty, uncommonly wise people we are today.

If we wish to change the past, we must remember that we wouldn’t be who we are today had we not gone through the things that we went through. It was all for a reason…for our testimony. Through the telling of our story- the choices we’ve made, the choices that have been made for us, and the choices of others- our trials, struggles, triumphs can be used to uplift another person.

Look around. People are struggling every day and they feel alone. They feel like no one knows their pain. Don’t keep your testimony a secret. Share it! You will bring hope to a person who feels alone. This may be a person who looks as though they’ve got it all together. Don’t be fooled. We all have issues. Some of us just have more issues than others which means we will have a more robust testimony to tell. Share your story and reassure yourself that your story, your pain and your triumphs were not (and are not) in vain.

Serial quitter.

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I wrote the above note in a fb conversation with my older sister before I realized how profound it was (yes, I’m patting myself on the back). I did. I used to quit EVERYTHING: relationships (the very few that I had), college (over and over and over again), work, easy work, hard work, New Year’s resolutions (yep, I decided they were useless and “resolved” not to waste anymore time setting myself up for failure). I was good at it, too. I would see myself getting close to a goal and then instead of running toward it, I would put on the brakes, then reverse: sprinting in the other direction (and that was BEFORE I started to like running).

It’s hard to imagine that girl now. But, she’s still there. Inside. She’s comes out every once in a while and then I have to shut her up by reminding her that: 1.) I am capable. 2.) I am not the loser that she tells me that I am. 3.) I can do ALL things through Christ… He is much, much bigger than any deficiency that she sees in me. 4.) I’ve set lots of little, accomplishable goals and have had success in completing them (how many times do I have to mention that I actually graduated college–she was in my head a lot during those years. Like a lot. A lot).

These things prove that I am no longer a serial quitter. No matter what she thinks. Or maybe…

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…I am still a quitter. I am my biggest obstacle. My brain and my heart battle it out constantly (this is where my stubbornness is NOT handy. It’s actually kind of frustrating sometimes). I really have given up giving up on myself. I think. Or at least, I’m working really hard in that area. The little goals I make are all (and always) pieces of a larger goal (even when I don’t really realize it). But, looking at the big goal is way too much for me (and for her) to handle. It’s like if God told you your whole life story. Every obstacle. Every victory. Every single thing that happened to you. Would you be able to handle it? Or would you totally freak out? “You mean, this guy that I’m talking to isn’t “the one?!?!?!” He introduced himself to me as, “Will… God’s Will,” I had no need to question it. I just assumed it to be true.” Would we be able to recover from the setbacks? From the failures? Would we be able to pass up the “once in a lifetime” opportunities that come our way?

For me, getting my body and my mind into shape is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I need to do it now to make my future better. I am learning things about myself. I am learning coping mechanisms… ones that are more productive than gorging myself with Kraft Caramels (a.k.a. little pieces of heaven) and Sonic chocolate shakes with oreo pieces (yum!). Way better than nagging my hubs (he is so patient). And better than sleeping my life away (I’ve tried that. I still managed to wake up with the same problems).

I’ve decided to work my butt instead of my buts. No excuses. Failure is not an option.
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So, ya, I’m still a serial quitter… but not in the way I used to be.

sam

Dreaming.

I dream of teaching young adults. I dream of making a significant impact on the lives of the young adults that are entrusted into my care. I dream of being forever faithful to God, never faltering in my belief that He loves me just the way that I am. I dream of being a great wife to Wes. I dream of walking in the destiny that God has for me. Taking it all in (in bits and pieces, of course); accepting it and running with it.

I dream of being secure in the body that I have. I dream of looking at myself in the mirror and saying, “You sure are beautiful” and believing it. I dream of the day that I can accept compliments at face value without looking for some hidden meaning or hidden mean thing within the words.

I dream of no longer feeling like an outsider: finding people that I can feel comfortable being myself with.

Lofty dreams… but dreams just the same.

 

sam

Re-evaluation.

I am realizing that God sometimes works in ways that I wouldn’t expect.  Actually, He almost always works in a way that I wouldn’t expect.  Maybe that’s why the Bible reminds us that His ways are higher than our ways and even that His ways are a mystery.  I had things all planned out.  Completely planned out.  Really, the only reason I make plans is so that I can watch God make a fool of me (totally kidding).  I saw these pictures and they are a great portrayal of the way I’m feeling right now with my plans being altered:

 

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Although this one has to do more with exercise, it also has to do with what I’m dealing with right now.  It may pain me to go back to school when I just (I mean, just) finished but, it would hurt me much worse to stop when I am so close to accomplishing my goals.

 

And, finally…

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sam

Feeling like a grownup.

Welp, now that I’m a college graduate with my own wheels (yeah buddy!), a book club, getting on track for a healthy lifestyle, working with Wes via Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and a career in the works, I’m feeling very, very grown up.  This is a strange, new feeling since I usually feel like a kid and since I don’t have any children, it’s much easier to feel that way.  But, the other day I was thinking that I really like the grown up feeling.  I could certainly get used to it.  Twenty-nine is the perfect age to begin feeling like an adult.  Perfect age, indeed.

Papa (my father in law) took the best photo at my graduation.  There were something like 4,000 graduates from the University of Arizona at the May 2012 graduation.  Very impressive.  But, what this meant was that there were around 22,000 people at the graduation ceremony.  That’s intense!  Now that I’ve got nothing more to say, I’ll just add some pics:

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My face in the crowd.

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Graduation outfit.

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My mama and my hubby.

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One of these things is not like the other!

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Me and my love.

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  Me, my sisters and our dad.

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Not enrolled in classes and owe U of A nothing!

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Yes, it’s a lovely feeling to have completed something.  Something that I often feared I never would.  Something that was both hard and easy at the same time.  Something that I’ve wanted all of my life.  With God’s help, I did it.  With my husband’s support, it was accomplished.  With my little sister’s belief in me, I proved to us that we can do this.  As my older sister wrote in my graduation card, I’ve “proved to myself that [I] can do anything [I] put my mind to.  Afterall, [I] just did.”

 

sam

No Excuses.

I have not done a study on pride.  There is no excuse for that.  I also have not completed my 30 Day Shred workout every day this week as I had planned.  Again, no excuses.  But what I really wanted to talk about was how come when I’m so close to graduation that I have lost all steam.  Maybe this is the time that I am learning to persevere.  It’s funny because I thought I was learning to see a goal to the end but I had never thought about it as perseverance… strange.

Reminds me of something in the Bible (yes, I’m kind of preachy; But, just so you know, this is how I talk to myself): Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).  While this verse is talking about obtaining the prize of heaven, I am attempting to think of it as attaining the prize of graduation.  The prize that I am going for is definitely not going to get me any “kudos” in heaven except that God will say to me, “You are doing what I’ve called you to do.”  And, for me, that is really good.  I feel that for a lot of my life I was wondering what I was supposed to do and I could never put a hand on it.  I was in college and had no major.  I dropped out and that’s when I realized what I should’ve been going to college for (story of my life, by the way).  So, that’s how I know that I am on the path to my destiny (that sounds so intense).  All I have to do now is manage not to screw this up.

It doesn’t seem to make sense but this thing that I am going through is bigger than just graduation.  It is culminating all of my past shortcomings and showing myself what I am actually made of.  If I can accomplish this one thing, there is not limit that I cannot overcome.  Isn’t most people’s biggest obstacle the things that we tell ourselves?  Because, for me, it doesn’t really matter how much someone tells me that I am smart, capable strong… if I don’t believe it in my head (or at least in my heart), I’m gonna be back to square one.  This is something that I know about myself.  So, for me, I’m entering into a new season where I will not excuse my shortcomings and failures.  I will go for it straight on.  And if I fail at least I’ll be able to say that I tried.

Lord, help me to run in such a way that I will be able to attain the goal of college graduation and physical fitness.  I need the encouragement that only You can give me.  You know the way that I think.  I need help in overcoming myself.  I cannot fail with You on my side, my front and my back holding my hand every single step of the way.  If I ever needed You, Lord, it’s right now.

 

sam