2014

I always get really beyond excited about the new year.  It’s probably cliche to acknowledge that it’s a “clean slate” and everything feels fresh and new, but that is the beauty.  Robert and I are going in to this year with full-time jobs, friends, a lovely little rental home, and a city that makes us feel warm and adventurous.  

We made a lot of transitions last year; our lives changed drastically nearly every three months.  This year I’m looking forward to a steady rising action and strong mind, spirit, and body.  

I’m not waiting to see what 2014 has in store for me… I’m excited to take 2014 and DO something with it. 

Keats

One of the great loves of my life is John Keats, though I’ve been terribly negligent for some time now.  Some poets create mainstream verses, but my Adonais always reminds me that words are the most gentle of touches, most soothing of whispers, and most enticing of experiences.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, we are wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth..

The first few lines of Endymion pair mortality and the ethereal beauty of nature that only Keats could see and feel.

And his letters:

I kiss’d your writing over in the hope you had indulg’d me by leaving a trace of honey

So much attention to those tiny details that we often overlook or deem insignificant.  The perfect words woven into elegant imagery.

In times like these, that Bright Star always knows what to say.

O blush not so! O blush not so!
Or I shall think you knowing;

And if you smile, the blushing while, 
   Then maidenheads are going. 

There’s a blush for won’t, and a blush for shan’t, 
   And a blush for having done it; 
There’s a blush for thought, and a blush for nought, 
   And a blush for just begun it. 

O sigh not so! O sigh not so!
   For it sounds of Eve’s sweet pippin; 
By those loosen’d hips, you have tasted the pips, 
And fought in an amorous nipping. 

Will you play once more, at nice cut-core, 
   For it only will last our youth out; 
And we have the prime of the kissing time, 
   We have not one sweet tooth out. 

There’s a sigh for yes, and a sigh for no, 
   And a sigh for I can’t bear it!
O what can be done? Shall we stay or run? 
   O cut the sweet apple and share it! 

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What can I say? I’m a capital “R” Romantic.  I will always feel, see, and think like they did, and cause trouble for myself behaving as they did.

Survival

Ummm, I don’t even know where to begin!

School started on Wednesday, and the last three days have been the most heart-warming and challenging of my entire life.  I met all of my students on Wednesday and not a one of them wanted to have anything to do with me or school, for that matter, and by the end of the day I was more exhausted than I thought was possible.

After a glass of wine and an hour of moaning and groaning to my husband, I pulled myself together and moved on to the next day.  Thursday and Friday my students seemed to recognize the fact that they have 170ish more days to either fight the man or buckle down and succumb to the routine of school again, and most of them have started to warm up to the latter.

Guys, the variety in personality is awesome and incredible! I know I’ve had kids before, and they were just as unique and fun, but these little guys are part of the TMS tough love culture and they have made their (pretty high!) expectations of me known – loud and clear! I love them all to death already, but I know that I have so much growing to do and SO MUCH TO LEARN.

My colleagues are definitely the best in the universe.  I’ve never laughed so hard and felt so intrigued by so many different people.  And they like me! I think.

I’ve done a lot of this:

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Some of this:

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But mostly this:

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I can’t wait to see what the rest of this journey brings me.

Love,

N

Back to School

I’ll start off by confessing how much I’ve secretly cried over the last two days.  Not bad/sad tears, but tears of utter amazement and awe that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be and with a group of incredible humans.  It definitely made me feel better today when one of the assistant principals started to cry while welcoming all the new teachers… at a new teacher breakfast where they fed us homemade pastries and breakfast casserole! 

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(not my image)

It was quite tasty.  I kinda need the recipe now… so I can make it and eat an embarrassingly large amount.

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I also got some serious edu-nerd loot.  Tons of informational texts (great for new teachers, I can’t wait to fill my brain) and a basket FULL OF SCHOOL SUPPLIEZZ! MY FAVES!

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I mean, there was a packet of like sixteen dry-erase markers in every color you can imagine.  It was glorious.  I’m pretty sure it included mauve.

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My classroom has been scrubbed and polished (no, Jessica, I did not get angry and flip them over hulk-like ;),  so tomorrow I’m going to drag my muscular husband down there with me to haul the boxes of YA novels that I’ve accumulated over the years.

Should I be ashamed that I have that many copies of The Watsons Go to Birmingham? NO. Never.

PS – Check out my sweet Promethean board, what what

I also met my incredibly sweet and spunky mentor today,  who has already offered to give me a million things for my room and tons of advice.  I know I’m a total creeper, but I wanted to hug and kiss her and ask her to be my BFF.  Or LYLAS.  Remember that? Too bad I don’t think that can be used as a noun.

So, despite the stress of the move and the fact that we are still trying to unpack and find a place for the millions of things we own (I swear we’re not hoarders), we are really enjoying our tiny bungalow, our new city, and each other.

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Especially this guy right here.  Can you tell how excited he is to be here!?

I hope as your week is winding down that you look at your busy lives as a gift.  Let that gift swell your hearts, but relax enough to look grace in the eye and say THANK YOU!

Love,

N

Hail Mary, Full of Grace

“You’re so blessed among women,
    and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
And why am I so blessed that
    the mother of my Lord visits me?
The moment the sound of your
    greeting entered my ears,
The babe in my womb
    skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.
Blessed woman, who believed what God said,
    believed every word would come true!” – Luke 1:42-45

I’m about a week behind on my SheReadsTruth readings, but this morning I’m in the scripture learning about Mary’s faith.  I know that as a child, growing up Catholic, Mary was a huge deal.  As I ventured outside of the Catholic church and found my place elsewhere, I didn’t understand why Mary had been given so much credit and power to pray over our souls…

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen”

Reading this morning about how she was chosen to bear the Son of God and how her faith was so completely submissive and graceful makes me understand this so much more.  Mary had a faith that I long for, despite the torment she had to endure through her pregnancy and then through the crucifixion and torture of her own son.  I’ve never known pain like Mary did, and I pray that I will never have to.  

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I don’t know when or if children are in God’s plans for me, but I fear becoming a mother every single day — drugs, violence, chemical imbalances and heart conditions that he or she will inherit, bullying, self-awareness, the question of his or her faith, poverty, decisions…  Can you imagine if I added “imminent beatings and crown of thorns for the sake of humanity” to that list?! 

Either way, I want to be like both Mary and Jesus.  I want to have the spirit that Mary had, where when God told her something was coming, all she did was nod faithfully and ask “How high?” She gave birth in a BARN and she continued to ask “What would you like of me, my God?” No wonder she was chosen to bear the Savior! I’ll probably bear something similar to Gollum if it’s dependent upon my level of patience and willingness… 

I pray for that kind of faith and strength.  I pray for the patience to know that God will keep His promises to me and Robert.  I know that we will be taken care of once we get to where we’re going, but I know that only God can grant me the peace it takes to wait on those promises to be fulfilled. 

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