Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Things at my school have been a little crazy since we returned from Spring Break. For one, we had an entire day of air conditioning....yes, just one! It seems to be a recurring "thing" each year, but still! My Relay for Life team is 23 (now more like 22) days from our event and are working way hard to reach our goal, and it's making me a little frazzled...

So, to get it off my chest, here are 7 vents that will make me feel better. Most of them school related, but you get the idea.

1. HEAT!! I cannot think clearly when the air in my classroom is so thick that you're practically swimming in it. There's the constant (new to each kid who walks in) observation "it's hot in here". Yeah, do you think no one else has noticed? Trust me, we know.

2. TV/DVD units without remotes. Seriously?! How am I supposed to find the important parts of the video I'm showing (Dead Poets Society) without a remote to guide the disc? Well, if I had other, newer technology..oh wait...I don't.

3. Math. Yes, math stresses me out. We're constantly calculating and recalculating our Relay total because we have some major incentives in the works if we make our goal. So, the "how much have we raised" question comes up more than I like. And when you can't even run a calculator correctly, things don't always add up...literally ;)

4. The Royal Snub. I was at a Relay meeting this week and was snubbed by someone who (I thought) was pretty much obligated to tolerate me; heck, I even thought I was liked (occasionally) by this person. The worst part: it's a relative. When did I become beneath even a simple hello?

5. Good people don't get enough credit (and I don't mean me). There are some really awesome people at my school; there are also not-so-awesome people. It seems to me that the people who really make our school "go" are the ones that no one notices, because things just happen. Do people really just think things happen on their own? Let me fill you in: someone has to do them. Just because it isn't you doesn't mean it's the school "fairies" that do it. Real people give up their time to do things, and those same real people have real feelings. To those people: SHOUT OUT! YOU ROCK! Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

6. Spring Fever. I've got it; full blown. I'm ready to get OUT of school for the year and enjoy the nice weather. I mean, if I'm going to burn up like I'm at the beach, I'd like to at least be on a beach in my swimsuit with a nice tan.

7. And finally....have I mentioned it's hot in my classroom? Is the heat frying my brain? Possibly. But I can't end this post on a negative; I'm really fortunate to have great coworkers and people to collaborate with on school tasks and otherwise. There are people in my building that I feel are family, and I will sweat it out in what I have coined "The Historic District" of our school (read: the oldest part with things that don't work) if it means I get to work with them. I also have some pretty awesome students, too.

**Takes deep, cleansing breath**

Ahhh, that's better :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Need to Vent...

I've been away from the world of blogging for a good bit of time, and while I haven't been writing I have most certainly been thinking. This morning I was browsing on Facebook and ran across the profile of someone I graduated with from high school. Now, I don't keep up with much on Facebook unless it's someone that I'm close to, but there are things that catch my eye. Today it caught my eye that this person has recently become engaged. On the surface this seems well and good, and maybe it just hit me the wrong way this morning, but I looked at Johnathan and said "I feel a blog post coming on".

So, here's my issue: this person I know from high school was a total charmer. He had the looks, a great personality and incredible talent. Along the way he fell into a spiral of dangerous substances and we lost touch before high school ever ended, and I remember thinking through the years that it was too bad he made such poor choices, because he had so much potential. Then he popped up on Facebook a few years ago and I discovered that he had gotten married and his wife was having a baby. Maybe things were looking up. But no, that marriage fell apart and now he's moved on to another woman, one who also has children. None of his personal choices have anything to do with my issue, though. I told you that to tell you this:

I am so frustrated by the fact that some people can use and abuse the idea and practice of marriage while others cannot even plan a wedding. I'm disappointed that couples who are committed to each other cannot make that commitment public and legal in front of loved ones because of who they love. I'm incensed that the same people who proclaim love and grace and forgiveness also proclaim sin, death and condemnation. Yet, any straight person can get married over and over and over inside of a church and in the eyes of the law but my gay friends cannot. My gay friends cannot get married and enjoy the benefits of being a committed couple (legally) but people who have abused and misused the privilege of this commitment can, even the ones who were unfaithful to their previous spouse and left grief, anger and despair (sometimes in the form of children) in the wake of their destruction. I'm appalled that somewhere in what I'm laying out there's the potential for a thread of "logic" from the opposition.

I'm not talking about someone who was the victim of infidelity marrying again, nor am I talking about anyone who lost a spouse. My issue is with people who marry and divorce and marry again (and again and again) without any regard for the seriousness of the commitment they are making. We live in a temporal world..."this will work for now" is more of our mentality than "this will work, period." I didn't make a promise to my husband that I would be by his side until I got bored, or met someone new, or built a better second life for myself or the myriad of other reasons marriages fall apart. No, I promised my husband all of me for all of my life, forever. He promised me the same. Should he be unfaithful to me (not that I can even fathom it) then eventually I should be able to move on and marry again if I see fit. In my mind, though, despite its legality he has abused the sanctity of marriage in a way that gay couples cannot, primarily because they can't get married to start with, but beyond that because he has taken the promises that we made for granted, broken them and expects to make them again to someone else regardless of what he has done before. Some churches call that grace, when asked for in the correct context. I can't see it. Maybe it's because I have my own issues with marriage and religion (separately and together), or maybe it's because I just can't wrap my head around the idea that some people can have more and more while others get nothing. Where is our sense of balance?

If you have a license to drive, and you are continually destructive, break the rules and/or cause harm to others, you lose your privilege to drive. Why would we treat that more seriously than the destruction of our hearts? If they are truly ours to give, and the government shouldn't tell us what to believe or how to practice, then why should they tell us who we can commit ourselves to for life? And to think, all of this from a Facebook post...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

Life is full of tough decisions. Anyone who has truly lived knows this. Every day we make decisions about where to go, what to do and who to surround ourselves with; each of those decisions has a consequence, either positive or negative.

This week, I have made some tough decisions. One of the decisions that I have made is to give up my part time job teaching at the local Community College. I didn't approach this decision lightly or as a result of overwhelming emotion. I had to make a choice to allow myself the space I need to be really, really good at the things that are most important to me.

Some of my colleagues and I had a conversation after school not too long ago about jobs, especially those in education. We concluded that we work in a profession where one can compromise marriage, family, personal commitments and even health only to be told that it wasn't enough. We are told we could have done more, said something else, made one more phone call and the list goes on. Or, we can step back and say, "hey, this is a job. I am paid to do it." Sometimes we have to draw a line in the sand for the sake of our sanity.

I don't ever want to see my position as a teacher as "just" a job. What I do has meaning; it has value. Sometimes I'm not sure where that value is, and other times I know I did something that matters. I've found myself disappointed in a lot of the results that I have been getting at both jobs, and something tells me that I'm not giving enough of myself to either of them. Splitting myself benefits no one, especially (selfishly) me. If I'm looking at my future and I see a family, I want to have time to be really great at being a mom just like I want to be really great at being a teacher. One can only stretch themselves so thin before something snaps. Something had to give. I have to get back to me: the reader, the writer, the amateur photographer and the happier person I used to be. I think I'm taking a step in the right direction, even if it was a tough call to make.

I can be terribly non-confrontational when it comes to some things, but choosing myself in this instance was not one of those times. I chose my family, I chose my free time, I chose my hobbies.

I chose myself.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Disappearance, Diagnosis, Determination

In 3 parts:

Disappearance: Yes, I disappeared. For 6 months. I know when I do crawl out from under my two jobs and my good relationships and my non-profit work that I usually spin an entire post writing about how I'm going to be better. But I rarely make good on it for too long. So, I'm skipping it. Confession: I disappeared.

Diagnosis: Part of my new personal chaos is a diagnosis of Diabetes. The condition runs in my family and so part of me had known that it was only a matter of time, though I was definitely giving myself 20 more years before I would have to face it. But here it is, and here I am. I've been through diabetes education courses, multiple appointments and I have a good care team and good treatment plan. Right now it involves daily injections and medication but I'm hoping with diet and exercise (ugh!) I can get this thing under control.

Determination: I'm not one to make resolutions in the way of New Year, New Me, or anything like that. However, I am one to set my mind to things and see them through. So, I'm determined to work on myself first this year, more than anything else. I love my family, friends, co-workers and such but this year has to be about my own well being. I cannot do this work without a strong support system and I know I have it. So, I'm going to blog when I can. I'm not going to chain myself to this blog or any kind of writing push this year. I'm going to write when I can, about what I can. I'll post photos of what I can, when I can. When I need a space to work things out, you can count on finding me here. This is not a farewell address by any means, but I'm giving myself a break to work on me. I'll catch you on the other side :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wrapping It Up

The school year is over. As of tomorrow, I am officially on summer vacation. That means travel, soaking up the sun and lots of reading. But before I get to that I'm looking back over the year to find the accomplishments of 2011-2012:

10 Things that deserve a pat on the back in 2011-2012

1. Helped kids get into big name (and small name) colleges and universities
2. Raised over SEVEN THOUSAND dollars for Relay for Life
3. Started teaching at Gaston College and made it through my first semester
4. Published my second yearbook with little drama
5. Started my photography business taking photos of prom, graduation, etc.
6. Watched my favorite senior girls become high school grads
7. Adjusted to new administration, new procedures and managed to adapt
8. Recruited an awesome yearbook staff for next year
9. Met lots of YA authors
10. Survived! Another school year in the books :)

Give yourself a minute to look back at what you have accomplished in the last year; give yourself a little love!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The times...

They are a'changin'

The only thing I know I've been able to count on is that nothing is fixed or permanent. My life (like most) has been a continuous set of ups and downs, joy and heartbreak, anger and forgiveness, you get the idea.

For the last 5 years I have built this little network of people that I love and am willing to share my life with. During these years I have managed to build new relationships and strengthen (some) older ones. I've been pretty darn happy between my stable marriage, a good job and a loving support network of people. That, too, is now changing.

My closest friend, maybe even the person I've been closest to in my entire adult life other than my husband, has taken a new job at a high school on the North Carolina coast in the Morehead City area. The school itself is one of North Carolina's best academically and has a super strong arts program and many financial resources. In short, it's a band director's dream gig. Oh, and the location isn't so bad either.

I find myself torn into two distinct pieces: one part of me is beyond excited for him. I know that professionally this is something most people only dream about in terms of finding a job that suits them perfectly and can support them adequately, and education is no exception. I am confident that he will go on and be successful with a new group of students and parents in a new town.

But then, there's this selfish part of me that doesn't want to give up my friend. Most of my close friends live at least 2 hours away and it has been so nice to have someone so close geographically. Our friendship is atypical; we're probably closer than most adult friends are. And now it's all...changing.

I don't know how things will go after July 1 when all the boxes are packed and moved. But I know that change can be good, if I let it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Relay for Life 2012

Before I begin I have to admit something: I am ambitious. Sometimes to the point that I create situations that seem impossible. This is one of the times that I thought I had bitten off more than I could possibly chew.

For the last three years I have been a captain for a Relay for Life team. For anyone who isn't familiar, Relay is an organization that raises money for the American Cancer Society. The event is set for a Friday night and Saturday morning and members of the community form teams, usually through schools, churches, businesses, etc. These groups can also be family groups who Relay for a certain person. For 2 years our team was named in Johnathan's honor, but this year I thought bigger. Why not create a team for my high school to honor all of our faculty survivors and give our students a cause to rally around?

That's how Rebels with a Cause was born.

In my ambition I set our fundraising goal at $5,000. Please keep in mind that while that doesn't seem like much money when you consider that research and medical progress is incredibly expensive, it is an incredibly large amount to raise in a small community where a high percentage of our students are socio-economically disadvantaged.  It was a lofty goal; it seemed impossible.

But we did it.

Today, our total nears $5,500 for a world where cancer is a thing of the past. Our Relay event was held this past Friday, May 4 and Saturday May 5. I could not be more proud of what we accomplished as The Little Relay Team That Could.

 Team WLHS: Rebels with a Cause
 One of my dearest co-workers, a great friend and a SURVIVOR!
Johnathan and me in our team shirts. He is my reason to RELAY!