Sunday, September 30, 2012

14 Weeks--Little Navajo



I will try to do something a little more flattering with my hair next week.  I just wanted to start updating for record keeping purposes.  (Oh, and for BigBro and SILSheena--so they'll know how things are going.)

How Far Along: 14 weeks

Size: Little Navajo is the size of a lemon.

Gender:  About five weeks before we know.  Favorite is convinced it's a girl, and I get in trouble if I call "her" a "him."

Movement: Most of the books I've read say I won't feel the baby until I'm closer to 20 weeks, but I cannot wait for that part.  At night, I pay attention just to see if I can feel anything going on in there.

Sleep: Like a log, dude.  I'm generally worn out by 8pm, and have to work to stay up any later than that.  I've also noticed I don't have to wait to go to sleep at night.  That happens pretty quickly.  Even frequent restroom trips aren't deterring my sleep patterns.

Maternity Clothes: Not yet, though I'm rocking rubberbanded pants like no one's business.  A friend from work loaned me a few pairs of pants; however, I can already tell my short-waistedness is going to plague me right into pregnancy, too.  Most of my shirts are fairly loose so I'll be able to wear most of them for a while.

Symptoms: Sickness is starting to pass or become less frequent.  Bathroom trips have picked up in frequency.  Heartburn is more of a concern now than it was in the past.  I definitely still have to watch what I'm eating because my gall bladder is still fairly sensitive to certain things, and I really have to avoid the Hazelnut coffee at church.  It used to be my favorite, but now the smell sends me into convulsions.  Oh, and an uncontrollable urge to clean my pantry this week.  My mom assured me that was probably hormonal.

Aversions: Weird smells, meat in general--chicken especially, movie popcorn (so sad!), PICKLES!, coffee

Cravings: Apple cider, baked potatoes (mostly because they don't upset my gall bladder), milk (and I'm not a milk drinker)

What I miss: I'm so grateful to be pregnant.  I can't think of one thing I should be missing.

Feeling toward pregnancy:  I'm a little surprised I'm still so body conscious.  I thought once I started showing, I would be so excited, but I've found that I still look at myself in inches to lose as opposed to babies gained.  I'm still down several pounds since we found out, but I feel like I never physically looked like I had lost weight, and now everything is relocating to my belly. Favorite promises me that my stomach never stuck out this much.

I'm really hoping this feeling passes quickly.

Best Moment this week: A few girls at work commented that I look like I'm showing.  Most days, I just can't believe I'm getting this experience so their comments almost made me cry.  I'm just so grateful. 

Oh, and then getting a text from SILSheena saying she almost bought a baby dress but BigBro told her she needed to wait until ultrasound confirms Little Navajo is a girl.

Annndddd, listening to my parents tell people they are going to be grandparents.  All of it has been awesome.
What I'm looking forward to: Officially purchasing a crib, picking out material so mom can start on bedding and finding out if Navajo is "for sure" a girl. 

I'm leaning toward a red/aqua nursery regardless of gender, but material patterns will definitely change according to gender. And it's been really fun to talk about name choices. 

A gender reveal party. 

I think I'm looking forward to everything.  I never thought I'd get to do this, so everything makes me super excited.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Think...Well, Badly, Actually.

If there's ever anything I wanted to be when I grew up it was this:  Charming.  I think it's almost better to be charming than to have computer skills, but we all value things differently.

Unfortunately for you, I am not charming.  In fact, if I'm anything, it's probably best described as awkward and neurotic.  If there is any crazy conclusion that will result in anxious behavior, I assure you, I've had it.  Case and point:  I was laying in bed one night and I heard an airplane fly over my house.  All of a sudden, my breath caught in my throat and I got all panicky thinking about what would happen if that plane fell out of the sky and crashed into my house.

I wish I were lying.  But that?  Is just a sample of the ridiculousness that goes on inside my head.  You don't even want to know the panic attacks I've induced over little Navajo.

But that pattern of thinking is no new thing with me.  In fact, I would say those reactions are systemic of a deeply ingrained pattern of thinking.  A pattern God has probably been speaking to my heart for years, but I only just started noticing since January.  (What can I say?  I don't pay attention wel...SQUIRREL!)

Since the issue is, in fact, systemic, panic isn't the only emotion derived from my thought patterns.  I've also graciously developed skills in paranoia, suspicion, fear, hurt (often imagined) and even allowed those patterns to lead me to long seasons fighting a depression I couldn't always identify.  And while medication was and is always an option (and often a good one for a lot of people), I quickly became aware that my problem would quickly return if I didn't find a way to treat it at the root.

During one season of Bible study, I remember reading something Beth Moore said.  Paraphrased, she indicated that since the whole of her mind was diseased, the whole of her mind needed to be remade.  And that meant trashing the things that led to those familiar thought patterns.

Her thought really resonated with me, and since I found myself being less than positive about several situations in my life, I aimed to change a few things to focus my mind on Christ.  For a while, I only listened to Christian music--not because I think Christian music is the only route to go (it certainly isn't), but because it was a guaranteed bit of positivity to my less-than-positive mind.

Eventually, though, I let that go and stopped worrying about my thinking tendencies and found myself struggling with the same set of thoughts I've already described.  A cycle will be a cycle until you decide to break it.

Or until God says, "You've circled this mountain long enough.  Turn north" (Deut. 2:3).

(Odd how that scripture applies to my thinking regarding weight loss.  Oh, and everything else.  Turns out my whine and self-medicate approach likely isn't healthy.)

The Nehemiah study really brought this home for me.  Every week, Kelly Minter really seemed to focus on the gates we weren't latching and what was coming through as a result.  Every week, I would justify the things I wanted to maintain even when I realized they were feeding my manic thought life.  

So, gradually, I've started to identify what has to go...

What I will not read (which was extremely difficult because I will read almost anything)...
What I will not watch...
What I will not hear...

It's been a rough process because not everything was counter to Scripture.  In fact, I realized there were some things that cultivated my bad thought life simply because they threw me in a frenzy of comparison or something similar.  (But some things were outside of what is acceptable for a Phil. 4:8 Christian to consider.  Waaaay outside.)

Clearly, everything I'm learning boils down to one true thing:  bending my knee to God's authority in my life.  And gracious.  It's going to take me a lifetime to get there.


Friday, September 21, 2012

The Shock That Was My Diagnosis

The day we found out I was pregnant, I expected to schedule surgery.  That is God's honest truth, but I should probably start from the beginning so you get a better idea of how I got to that point.

Most of you will probably remember the fact that I had been participating in Made to Crave and had committed to training for a 5K with the CCL earlier in the summer.  We were militant in our consistency to train.  It was rare we missed more than two nights of walking/running and logged food every.single.day.  Due to my PCOS, my weight loss had been slow, albeit consistent.

Then, all of a sudden, weird things happened.  To start, I couldn't eat much of anything without getting really sick to my stomach.  I would run anyway, stopping only to throw up a few times before I continued my pace.  My belly felt distended and gross, and food just didn't sound appetizing.

My super encouraging running group consulted one evening and decided I would go to the emergency room--which I refused.  (And not graciously.)  The CCL, a nurse with only good stories to share (ha!), was convinced I had a bowel obstruction.  Every symptom I had seemed to fit with that diagnosis and PastorJosh and my mom were concerned that this really was something serious I was treating like a mild rash.  To ease their concerns, I swore I would go to the doctor the very next day.  The next morning, my mom actually called to confirm I was following through with that promise.  

Favorite and I drove to the clinic together and the doctor I saw was an energetic little guy.  He went through all my symptoms and asked me to jump up on the table.  When he pressed on my right side, I almost punched him.  "Oh, so you're a little tender there?" he said with a smile.  "Yep.  Looks like gall bladder.  We can do a screen with our machine.  Just have a run a couple of tests first."

"What kind of tests?" I asked.

"Oh, you know, a pregnancy test.  Can't expose you to all that radiation if you're pregnant."

My response?  I laughed.  (Looking back, I totally understand how Sarai could've laughed at the Angel who told Abram they would conceive.  That was such a ridiculous conclusion.  How could it prompt anything but giggles?)  Then, I spent the next ten minutes explaining why the pregnancy test was a complete waste of time and resources, and ended by asking the doctor to please perform the scan anyway.

He hesitated, agreed and left the room.

He came back in two seconds and told me he just didn't feel right about abandoning protocol and asked me to take the test.  I grumbled but complied.  It was a waste of time, but it would satisfy his requirements and then we could move on.

About 3 minutes later, he walked back into my room and said, "Well, we won't be performing any scan on you today!"

I responded, "Oh?  Is your machine broken?"

He looked at me completely bewildered and said, "Um.  No.  You're pregnant so we can't run the test."

Pregnant?  Me?  The guy must have been kidding.  In fact, the nurse ran a second test just so I would believe what they were saying.  I stared at those little strips in complete disbelief.  It was surreal.  How was I pregnant?  (Logistically, I know how one gets pregnant.  But the likelihood that I would be, particularly when one considers my history, changed this scenario a bit.  I should also probably mention that I also had gall bladder problems--likely caused by the pregnancy per my doctor.)

Since Favorite was in the waiting room, the doctor went to get him.  We were both completely shocked and the doctor was so giddy he could hardly stand it.

Our first ultrasound came almost a week later as the result of a bleeding scare.  And on the screen, Little Navajo was timed perfectly with my last period.  I don't mean that to be TMI, but for someone with PCOS, this is a huge deal.  Huge.  And that day we got to see Navajo's little heart fluttering away on the screen.

At my last appointment that same heart was beating a mile a minute--which is the whole reason Favorite believes Navajo is a girl.  Me?  I'm not so sure yet.

In the time I waited to tell, I debated how much pregnancy information should go on my blog.  In the end, I concluded that this is the only type of scrapbooking I do, so there will likely be weekly updates and pictures (if I can manage to fix my camera).

Mostly, I hope that my story gives others hope in the waiting.


Not to us, Lord, not to us

    but to your name be the glory,
    because of your love and faithfulness.
          --Psalm 115:1





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our Most Sincere Thanks

Well, I learned that cutesy doesn't always work with announcements.  I used the announcement picture on my blog to share our big news with friends, family and colleagues; however, I learned quickly that many of them didn't understand why I was moving when I just built a house last year?

So a lot of confusion ensued.  

In case others were confused, here's the big news:  Favorite and I are expecting a baby in late March.  When we told my niece, she said we should name the baby Navajo.  So, for now, that'll be the nickname I'll use here on the blog.

Right now, I need to tell you how grateful I have been for the texts, emails, comments, etc.  We feel so blessed to have the opportunity to walk this road, but it's and even bigger blessing to know this isn't just personal for us.  So many people have commented that they've been praying for us--more often than not, those people have been interceding on our behalf for years.  Years, ya'll.  How do you thank that kind of faithfulness?  It's humbling.  So, so very, bend-your-knees-to-the-only-One-who-could-have-ever-provided-this-kind-of-support humbling.  

People have hugged me.  Cried.  Screamed until I couldn't understand what they were saying.  Asked questions.  Jumped up and down.  They've stared at me in dumbfounded silence and breathed quick prayers of gratitude for our miracle.

Little Navajo is a miracle, yo.

I have a whole story about how we found out I was pregnant, and an even more amazing witness as to how far along I was during my first ultrasound, but I'll save that for another post.  For now, I need you to understand how very humbled and grateful I am for any type of support or encouragement that's been extended over the last seven and a half years.

You.Are.Incredible.

This summer as we completed our women's study in Nehemiah, my mom continued to point out that Nehemiah sought the Lord day and night for four months.  That's a minimum of 240 prayers.  And when I think of what went up on our behalf?  Sheesh.  Heaven must have been groaning under the weight of your burdens for us.

Prayer works.  It sustained us while we waited.  It carried us to this new part of life, and I believe it will sustain us there, too.  

From the bottom of our hearts.  Thank you.  A million times over.

Crys, Favorite, Little Navajo

Sunday, September 16, 2012

An Ode to Fall

Fall is absolutely my favorite season.  Here's the breakdown in my mind:

Fall=Everything that is right with the world.

Winter=Snow, the possibility of ice storms and subsequently no power, laundromats and gross hair.

Spring=Blooming plants and allergies

Summer=OMGosh I cannot breathe in all this heat and why isn't my electric company a monopoly since I can't shop for a better rate?

There are a lot of reasons I like fall, but most of them will probably seem superficial. 

I love the colors.  Saturated reds, yellows, oranges.  Deep rusts and crisp complements like purples and blues.  Sometimes, I think you can almost smell the color.

It smells like apples.  And there are few things I like more than a fresh-picked jonathan.  Oh, and hot apple cider--about which I am having rich and beautiful dreams.  These days I could mostly give or take Starbucks in favor of my Keurig, but caramel apple spice?  I can't quit you.

The weather is crisp.  Cool and comfortable--especially with long sleeves or a light jacket.  It's the perfect weather for football and sharing the stands with an entire community dedicated to their team in good times and less than good times.  (Unfortunately, my high school career spanned "less than good times" as far as a winning season was concerned.)

There are bonfires and s'mores and great conversations and pink cheeks with hay rides.  There's homecoming week, new jeans and a rhythm to the school year.

And this time of year feels like it ushers in the opportunity for something new.  It's a lot of change all at once, but it's the most welcome kind.

As long as there's apple cider.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday HodgePodge (9/12/12)

1  ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? The NFL is back in action along with all the college teams.  Are you a fan?  Who do you root for?  If you're not a fan what do you do while the rest of America watches Saturday, Sunday, Monday night, and now Thursday night games? 

I love football season.  Mostly, it's just because I enjoy the community mentality people seem to have when we gather to cheer for hometown high.  Life always seems a bit cozier during football season.  Everyone seems to be heading the same direction and hoping for the same things.


I'm sure that probably sounds simplistic, but that's the feeling I get every year around this time.


I will say I know next to nothing about football.  Favorite occasionally tries to explain, but he usually ends up laughing at my clear belief that no team should be more than one down.  They should call the next one a second down to keep confusion at bay.  Alas, no one asks me.


(And for the record, with my lack of knowledge, I think it's probably good I didn't grow up anywhere in the SEC.  I would've had to move...)


2.  What's something I'll always find in your closet?

Cardigans--generally with 3/4 sleeves.  I have them in all colors, and purchase them in droves when I can find them because I wear them year-round.  Apparently, that's not a desired sleeve length for all people in all seasons.  Just me.

3.  Share one of your earliest memories.

The only thing that comes to mind are my imaginary friends--Tizzy and Lizzy.  I remember they used to follow me around, but they had a big crowd of kids that came with them.  Apparently the kids in the crowd didn't have names.  I would just talk and talk and talk to them. 

4.  What circus act best describes your week so far?

I don't know that I'm an act so much as an observer.  (Right now, I do little more than eat, sleep, read and panic over what the advanced class is going to do next.)  And trust me when I say the three ring circus becomes less appealing when it includes people you love.

5.  What's a food you disliked as a child that you love now?

Pistachios.  The first time I ate a pistachio I remember thinking it was the grossest thing in the world and why did adults go crazy for them.

At some point in time, I fell in love.  I have no explanation, but I've heard your taste buds change every seven years or so.

Which is interesting since I've always hated bananas.

6.  Describe your summer in three words.

Hot.  Surprising.  Awakening.

7.  Where were you on September 11, 2001?  Will you do anything special to mark the day?

I was standing on campus having a conversation with a friend before I headed to the student center.  Another person I knew came up and said, "A plane just hit the twin towers."  I remember getting a really surreal feeling and wondering if it was a stunt gone bad.  I mean, people want to fly under the St. Louis Arch so maybe they tried to fly between the twin towers?


When I got to the student center, I joined crowds of students and professors who didn't even sit down as they stared, gaping at the televisions.  


Mostly, I can remember the world didn't feel very big that day.  It felt suffocating and dark.


8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I have a few scriptures attached to my computer screen at school.  They've become like prayers to me, and I can remember the exact reasons I posted two of them more than six months ago.  


The third came from a colleague's husband who posted it on Instagram.  It resonated with me and I definitely recognized God's deep faithfulness in my life--certainly not because of what I am, but because of who He is.


1.  "Let him who walks in darkness & has no light 

trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God" (Isaiah 50:10)

2.  "Is anything too difficult for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14)


3.  "Not to us, Lord, not to us
          but to your name be the glory,
         because of your love and faithfulness"

                             --Psalm 115:1 (NIV)
.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Can't Be Sad Because I Don't Have Feelings

It happened.

I'm turning into my mother.

(I love you, Mom.  I know you read.  Sometimes.  But hang on for the rest of it because I promise it's not too insulting.  Mostly.)

My brothers and I have recounted a few moments of our childhood in which my mom wasn't known for being the most sympathetic person.  She believed if the sick and downtrodden (namely, us) were going to be at the house, we might as well make ourselves useful.  We joke that she would call home and say things like, "I know you're puking, but do you think you could paint the front porch?  That would be really helpful.  Just take a bucket outside to puke in."  Or, my personal favorite, "I know you're not feeling that well, but the kitchen floor really needs to be mopped.  And, well, you're home, you know..."

In her defense (you're welcome, Mom), she held herself to the same standards and I recall she rarely missed work when I was a child.  Actually, I can recall her allowing herself to get so sick that I had to call Gloria one night in complete terror because Mom needed to go to the hospital, none of us were old enough to drive and my dad was working a job 3 hours away.

Honestly, she just had little tolerance for wasted time or illness and did her best to instill her "pick yourself up by your bootstraps mentality."  There was no such thing as an excuse.  (See what I mean?  No sympathy.)

Sometimes, though, I have difficulty doing that in my classroom.  In the last few years, I've been working toward instituting a policy that requires students to be responsible for their work while giving them space to screw up because they are, after all, teenagers.  Here is the policy as it appears on my syllabus:


Late Work
Occasionally, life happens and assignments go missing.  I am aware that every student faces difficult situations that might also serve as a blockade to the completion of homework.  If one of these events should take place, the student is required to see me before school begins to receive any sort of consideration for the assignment.  Otherwise, I do not accept late work.

Please note:  Blatant misuse of this policy will result in less consideration on my part.

I'm comfortable with this policy because it puts all responsibility into the hands of the student.  My department policy states we do not accept late work so in order to comply with the policy while still feeling I'm giving students the benefit of the doubt, I allow them the opportunity to talk to me in the morning before the bell rings. If the student believes the situation is important enough to warrant a morning interview, they likely need a little extra consideration.

On Wednesday, one student came to discuss the homework assignment and the reason she wasn't able to finish.  She was near tears and terrified, but even had she been fine I would've given her an extra day because she followed the policy set forth in my syllabus.  She was standing in my classroom at 7:45 am.  Nothing screams responsibility quite like that.

Unfortunately, few of the rest of my clan took that rule seriously.  Of 25 students, I received a sum total of 8 completed assignments.  Several tried to plead their cases.  Honestly, I was a little calloused toward the lot of them (just a little like my mom and personal illness) because I felt the policy clearly stated they had a responsibility to see me before school began.

So I guess this is the year I have no feelings, but I'm really so proud of myself for getting to this point.

And I know my calloused Mother will high-five me for it ;)

(Kidding, Mom.  I'm only kidding.  Sort of.)



(And, ladies, if you're feeling brave about your role as a wife or woman, you should click over and read this.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Comments: Character Assassination

When someone makes stupid comments or attacks my character, I can generally let it roll off my back with the understanding that person is spending far more time thinking about me than I will ever think about him or her.  Last year, I stayed relatively silent as people repeatedly searched my blog and constantly clicked on "Angry Rants" and "Another Kind of Rant" to find information that supported their ideas about my personality.  (PS.  Your IP addresses really give you away.)  And mostly, I subscribe the the belief that what others think of me is really none of my business.

Mostly.

But occasionally, I have enough and I have to comment.  Feel free to stop reading if you are uninterested in my comments regarding personal attacks. 

First of all, I fail to understand how a website like Topix is allowed to operate or why any person would be willing to comment on the inane drivel posted regularly.  It's not a site I visit--mostly because I don't need to gossip endlessly about topics that are none of my business.  Today, however, I was informed there was a comment made about my salary, and that comment was basically connected to other "I've heard it before" issues that really just ruffled my feathers.

I understand I really had no business visiting that stupid site and confirming any information I was given.  But I did.  Call me a glutton for punishment.

So a few things you probably don't know because I've never posted them on my blog:

1.  I work in my hometown at the same high school from which I graduated almost fifteen years ago.
2.  My father serves on the school board for that same high school.

That information alone is enough for people to scream nepotism, though I think some of those people fail to understand part of the definition for the word includes the phrase "regardless of merit."  It simply means family favortism, plain and simple.  But I think most of us would agree those who have merit should be subsequently rewarded. 

That said, here are a few other things I've never addressed on my blog:

I graduated in December more than five years ago, and I knew it was highly unlikely I would be hired for a half a semester in the classroom.  Since I felt a particular pull to hometown high, I met with the current principal to let him know I was available to substitute in any and all subject areas in order to get my foot in the door.  I also shared I would be very interested in any opening in the English Department.

A few weeks later, I received a call.  Would I be willing to cover a maternity leave in the math department?

I said yes, but you should know I had no idea what I was doing.  I was completely incapable of teaching the subject matter and would have been little better than a babysitter.  Unfortunately, there were no other able (or willing) candidates.  All I had going for me was "willing" and the administration jumped at the only bone available at the time.

Due to some real insufficiencies in mathematics, the principal gave me an "easier" math class (read:  lower level freshman math) to teach and moved the other teacher into Algebra II.  The teacher who was moved was a trouper.  Not only did she encourage me every.single.day, she also willingly taught a class she wasn't prepared to teach as it had never been a part of her schedule.

It was a trying couple of weeks.  I cried every day when I went home.  I was sure that if any English position became available, I was ruining any shot I had at a permanent placement.

But apparently, willingness is an appreciated quality.  Not long after my stint in math ended, a teacher who had been waiting for another placement at a university retired.  Since I was already in the building, and obviously more capable of teaching English, the administration honored my "willing" stint in the math department and hired me as a permanent substitute in the English classroom.

Over the next few months, I worked hard.  I had no lesson plans prepared and felt lucky to stay a few steps in front of the students.  I spent hours planning for those three preps and more time trying to grade the ridiculous amount of assignments I thought I was supposed to give (new teacher mistake).

When the English position was posted, I applied like everyone else.  I wrote a cover letter, submitted my resume and filled out an application.  I interviewed with two other candidates.  And when all that was over, I was positive I lost the job.

I didn't feel my interview went well, and any person involved in the process was completely stoic about the route they would ultimately choose.  So when my department chair (at the time) told me the administration was recommending me for hire to the board, I almost knocked her out because I flung my arms so far to hug her.  I was that surprised.

The recommendation was made and the board voted.  At this point, I should tell you my father abstained from the vote given our relationship.  But you should also note that even if he had voted, he was one vote out of seven.  One.  And I wouldn't say all the people sitting on that board were my dad's biggest fans, either.  Still, the vote for my hire was unanimous.

I have never received special treatment, asked for special treatment or expected special treatment because of my father's position.  If anything, I have worked harder to prove myself capable of a position I truly enjoy.  I don't always get it right, but I'm next to positive few teachers feel they do.

Despite the rumors on Topix (the stupid, stupid, inane, ridiculous rumors), I do not receive extra money on my paycheck because of my father's position.  My raises are in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement that impacts the entire faculty and all the staff.  Any "extra" pay I have received was due to taking on special assignments like forensics coach, after school detention, tutoring, etc.

Now I totally understand people are entitled to their own opinions, and there are likely several who continue to assert that I am the worst thing to happen to hometown high's faculty since porkchop sideburns.  That's fine.  For every one of those people, there are a handful who really seem to have enjoyed my classes and benefitted from the material I taught.  Frankly, I'd rather people just not like me than attempt to attack an idea that simply has no basis in fact or proof.

That said, search my blog.  Continue any character assassination you wish to continue.  Believe I am a horrible, hateful human being if that strikes your fancy.  I just needed to have my say.

And now I'm done.

Monday, September 3, 2012

At Home

I am a homebody.  In fact, Favorite has to almost drag me on vacation if we're going to be gone for any extended period of time.  People the world over can't imagine why I wouldn't want to spend a week in Florida instead of my minuscule hometown, but it's mostly about my inability to abandon what I know and whatever sense of routine I've developed.

Oh, and I have really irrational fears.

When I was a kid, my parents spent a lot of time trying to convince me to stay the night with friends and family only to find themselves picking me up just a few hours after leaving me.  As soon as I would lay down, I would feel the walls close in around me and panic set in.  I can't explain why sleeping in a different place was such a big deal, but I can tell you that I occasionally have to talk myself through those same types of feelings (more than 25 years later!).

That said, I wouldn't say I calculate every decision carefully, but I rarely close my eyes and jump.  I'm too afraid of where I'll land...or if I'll land on my feet.

My lack of sleepovers and my need for routine should be hints that I rarely feel brave.  Or confident.  And I'm almost never positive that I've gotten it right.  Whatever "it" might be.

Subsequently, when God pushes or pulls me to a new place or in a new direction, I walk with trepidation.  I wait for the other shoe to drop.  I know there's a disaster waiting around the corner.  Oddly, I've had few experiences that reinforce this obviously irrational viewpoint, but there it is.  I tiptoe into the new.

Even when the new has been nothing short of exhilarating and fabulous.

Thankfully, that's where I find myself in the classroom.

I'm fairly confident I'm leaving a lot of gaps in my material.  I'm even more sure I'm not always capable of improving my students' understanding of writing or grammar.  (Or mine, for that matter.)  But I'm oddly comfortable with those truths.  Basically, I love what I'm doing.

And without any sort of push and pull on God's part, I doubt I would've navigated my irrational homebody self into a new career.  New?  Is sometimes a little too much for comfort.

I truly wonder if Abraham developed any stomach ulcers when he agreed to move to some unknown destination at God's request.  Or if Ruth was ever upset she agreed to serve a God who didn't allow her husband to live.  Or even if Peter spent more time telling everyone else that he was a whole lot better at catching fish.

I don't think it's wrong to fear, but I know that perfect love casts out fear.  I keep looking into an unsure future with a little bit of irrational fear; however, that fear coexists with my surety that God is good.  And that knowledge only came through the deepest season of mourning I have ever known.

Right now, I'm excited for the possibilities.  For the future.  For whatever movement changes the lay of the land.

As long as I can spend an adequate of time at home.