that song from Frozen

Sisters,

I have my first-ever student teacher right now. It is my eighth year in Helena, my ninth year as a teacher, and apparently that makes me qualified to help someone else become a teacher. Terrifying, right?

I spent Christmas break making an epic student teacher binder. Seriously, it is a work of art. Custom cover, tabs, and LOTS of pages with cute fonts: standards, class schedules, classroom management pointers, and all sorts of details about how my schools operate.

This project masked the fact that I was feeling completely terrified at the prospect of sharing my classroom. I was dealing with major impostor syndrome.

Imagine my surprise when the first week with Mr. R revealed that I have, in fact, spent the last 8+ years carefully crafting a method of teaching that actually has a thought process behind it! As I explained my classroom routines and my curriculum, I discovered that there is actually a method to my madness and I have real thoughtful reasons for why I do things the way I do. You guys, I might actually know what I’m doing!

This week is Mr. R’s fifth week. In two and a half weeks, he moves on to his secondary placement. He has rapidly taken on more and more teaching responsibilities and is now teaching every class for the entire week. I spent last week hanging around in the back of the classroom while he taught, taking notes and observing. This week, however, I am tasked with getting out of the classroom and leaving him alone to teach.

Sisters, this is SO HARD for me.

What if my students are obnoxious? What if he can’t find a material he needs? What if, what if, what if?!

He’s fine. He’s more than fine, he’s doing so well.

That doesn’t make it easier to let go. I should be relishing this opportunity to get extra planning and prep done. I should be making manipulatives and planning epic lessons for the rest of the school year. I’m doing some of that. Mostly I’m wandering aimlessly, unsure of how to occupy my time without my students.

As I was lamenting my control freak nature to my amazing school secretary, she leaned back in her chair, swung out one arm, and started singing…

You know, that song from Frozen.

Letting it go,

Abby

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my sister told me to write this post.

The funk.

Y’all with me?

Nothing is “wrong”, per se, but things just feel… off. Like at any moment I might teeter over the edge and be swallowed up in a canyon of anxiety or depression. Which is why, earlier this afternoon, I found myself asking my best friends – my sisters – what to do to try to get out of the dreaded FUNK before it was too late.

Image result for anxiety stay away meme

And so here we are.

My first thought was to go somewhere, like a coffee establishment, to write. While there are many Starbucks (Starbucksen? Starbucksi?) close by, the closest are all of the “Starbucks in the grocery store” variety. My options: Meijer, Family Fare, and Target. All fine stores, but let’s be real here.

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So the Target-bucks it was.

However…

I had to stop at home to get my Chromebook. Which meant I had to let Duke out. Which meant I saw the disastrous state of my kitchen and the half-finished load of laundry in my room.

And so here I am, sitting in a somewhat cleaner kitchen, with a shot of decaf from our espresso maker, waiting to hear the “ding dong ding dong” of the washer when the cycle is complete. And then it’s off to daycare pickup, and then on to mommy time for the rest of the night. Or at least until the girls are in bed.

Did I get myself away from the edge? I hope so.

the unbearable heaviness of being

I wrote this quite awhile ago, but never posted it. It’s still true, so here it is.

Sometimes there is just too much.

Too much pain, suffering, sadness. Too much that is unfair. Too much that hits too close to home. Too much fear.

Why are things the way they are?

Oh, sure, I know the Sunday school answers. But those aren’t cutting it today.

I am a jumbled mess of sorrow and anxiety. Why are these things happening to these people? And what’s to say I won’t be next? Whether it’s me or someone close to me, it’s become painfully clear that no one is safe from the horrors of life.

Somewhere inside me is the knowledge that God is still in control, a seed of faith buried underneath a mountain of doubt.

I alternate between a fiery desire to live fully every moment I’m given and a crippling sense of futility that makes me want to pull the covers over my head and give up on it all.

I gave in, and admitted that God was God.

-C. S. Lewis

 

detroit 

I wrote this last summer, but apparently never posted it. So here it is…

Aaron and I have given up on giving each other birthday gifts because a) we don’t need more stuff and b) we stink at actually going out and buying gifts. So we’ve decided that in lieu of gifts, each year we will head to Detroit for a Tigers game and an overnight stay.

Detroit, of course, is a city that needs no introduction. Anyone – anyone who doesn’t know the city, that is – will likely tell you that it’s an awful place. If you’ve been there, you know how wrong that assessment is.

We started our day at St. John’s Episcopal Church, with the sole purpose of enjoying the organ playing of Dr. Lewis, my college organ teacher. (Shout out to all my Hope peeps who survived Theory II and Senior Seminar with Uncle Huw. Here’s hoping your homework doesn’t have a fanged smiley face on it.) Figuring out a new church can be difficult when it’s within your own denomination, so asking a couple of lifelong protestants to be Episcopal for the day was a little intimidating. But we were greeted warmly, shown the best place to sit to see the organ, and if anyone was offended by our cluelessness, they certainly didn’t show it.

After the service, Dr. Lewis told us about the history of the church and introduced us to several people. And, honest to goodness, the altar guild (I hope I have that right) gifted us the day’s flowers. (Here they are!)


I got my pat on the ego for the day when Dr. Lewis introduced me as his student and explained to others how I had won Hope’s concerto competition on multiple instruments. (There is no affirmation quite like the positive words of a teacher you respect.) After some continued fellowship at the church coffee hour, we were on our way.

After the game (a pathetic loss), we headed to La Lanterna for dinner. We ended up having an extended conversation with the couple seated next to us – a pair probably about our parents’ age. She is a retired kindergarten teacher; he worked in the auto industry and then in higher education. (Side note for Hope folks: they live across the street from Paul Schaap – as in the science building. !!!) They finished their meal first; as they stood to leave, they shared heartfelt words of thanks for our work as teachers. We ordered dessert, and then prepared to pay the bill. It felt like a Facebook cliche when the bill arrived and it was only for the cost of dessert, because – as we found out from our waiter – our table neighbors had paid for our meal.

Detroit. It’s an amazing place.