Poetry

For the Love

Come on, poem!
I can feel you sitting smugly in my brain
Getting a gorgeous tan from all of the neurons
Jumping around, working overtime
Trying to squeeze you out.
I feel my hemispheres collapsing on each other
Giving me blurred vision and a clenched jaw.
My veins, so rigid from the grip on my keyboard
They might burst.
I dare you to fall out of my brain and splatter
Onto the paper.
An inky crime scene.
I dare you…

Poetry

authentic

in an attempt to be self-aware
straightforward
sincere
he frequented thrift stores
listened to folk music
sipped on fair trade coffee
and attended grass-roots campaigns.
he created countless adventures
stating that danger was subjective.
none of those things could be accomplished
though, without the snap of a picture
and an upload eliciting favor and praise,
the proof of what it is like to be alive.

trespassing,
his last picture was standing in the middle
of a train trestle, suspended over a canyon
the caption comprised of Gundersen lyrics,
“here I stand in the land
of the rocks in the valley,
trying to be a better man.”

but being authentic does not equal invincibility.
the conductor still has nightmares.

Poetry

The Bed of Love

In youth
It was about rocking and rolling
Followed by
Tiny humans invading your sheets.
And empty nest sometimes leads
To a periodic, cold-sided bed.
But those who last beyond
The orgasmic sweat,
The pb&j smears
And pang of solitude,
Find that the real bed of love
Is holding a bluish, wrinkled hand
Sadly waiting for the line to flatten.

Poetry

Recollection

I recollect
That time I called collect
From a payphone so scarce
I could scarcely recall how to use it.
The numbers came to mind
Without having to be reminded
From a time past
When the timing was off.
“Use this,” he had said,
“When you’re done using him,”
And he penned them on my hand
After handing me a beer.
He got lost in the crowd
While I got lost in my thoughts.
Summer passed, then fall and winter
And I found myself falling
For the stranger in the bar.
Barring logic, I was his
If he would only pick up
On the upside of town.
Here I stood calling collect
Hoping I was more than a recollection.

Poetry

On Cloud Nine

She was far above
The skyline
Skipping from one
Cumulus to another
Completely enchanted
By his touch
So much so
She was blinded from
Cumulus to cumulonimbus,
The lightning strike
That would arrest her heart.

Poetry

for fear of being misunderstood

blinking cursor beating to the rhythm of racing hearts
the dance begins all over the keyboard
fingers plopping down on keys
like juicy raindrops splattering on asphalt.

thirty paces forward then back- tap!, tap!, tap!
some other word to fill the space
thoughts are materialized, immortalized, then vaporized
with the command of an index finger and key.

seven lines in and the breathing begins
reiterations turn into incantations
as the lips whisper the words in hurried pace
progression, possession, obsession.

closed lids and I hit “send.”

Reviews

Beach Body’s Insanity

I know, I know. I’m the naturally small-framed girl who doesn’t get to complain about her weight gain. Except that I do.

 
Me, ten years ago, when I was a professional cake eater and didn’t have to worry about consequences.

No health resolutions this year. Nope. Why torture myself? But the fitness train smacked me square in the forehead the first week of January. The crisis? The shimmy and shake to slide my summer shorts up past my thighs and then the inability to button them, let alone, zip them up!

And then my husband signed me up for a ladies’ weekend at Hammock Beach in April. Let me tell you. Not fitting in most of your clothes that zip and button will speak to you! And the culprit isn’t even the baby weight. I’ve been fortunate enough to bounce back with my body after both of my babies. But the issue came when I stopped nursing but kept eating like I was…until eight pounds later and no zip-zip because of the hip-hips.

My burning bush moment.

I had to do something. And buying the next size up was not the answer. I got myself into this mess, I’m going to dig myself out. No easy outs.

Treadmill.

Done.

For three days, and then I realized that I really wanted something that would work my entire body.

And then I remembered I owned Insanity. No. We mustn’t. We can’t. We shouldn’t. Curse it and crush it, we hates it forever!

Except, my precious, I knew that was the answer.

I’ve started Insanity three times and have never finished it. And by “never finished it,” I mean I made it two weeks and missed several workouts during that time. It’s a 6 days a week commitment, but once you miss two days in a row, it’s time to say sayonara and sip on a milkshake.

Not this time. I have clothes that keep sending me love letters telling me that they miss me! And I miss them too!

But then there’s the second piece of the puzzle, and it’s a rather big one: nutrition. More like no-trition. The thought of giving up junk after years and years of being able to eat it and not gain an ounce was not appealing. But the problem is, your health is only 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. The mantra is “abs are made in the kitchen.” Why can’t French fries produce abs? They come from a whole food!

That’s where MyFitnessPal came into the picture. I started Insanity and keep a log of all the foods I eat throughout the day to help keep me within my calorie range. The cool thing is, the healthier you eat, the more you get to eat because most great foods for you aren’t astronomically high in calories. Plus, the app is educating me about what I’m putting into my body.

Insanity comes with a nutrition guide, but it’s not practical for my family. So I decided to simply try to eat as many whole foods as possible. Protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats. I’m not good at variety, so my days look a lot alike. Five meals:

Breakfast: Kashi go Lean, oatmeal, or eggs

After workout snack: mixed nuts, fruit, or plain Greek yogurt sweetened with some honey

Lunch: Leftovers from the night before

Afternoon snack: cottage cheese, veggies and dip, fruit, yogurt, or nuts (depending on what I had earlier), and unsweetened green tea over ice

Dinner: I subscribe to Dinner A’fare so my meals are planned for me three nights of the week. However, most of their meals are nutritious whole foods prepared different ways: chicken breast, steak, or pork tenderloin. I usually do a side of veggies, a salad, and a complex carb like brown rice.

I only drink coffee in the morning (with my ungodly amount of creamer because Satan hates me), and then it’s water all day long with a side of green tea in the afternoon.

But, I’m realistic. I’ll never be a tofu eating healthy super woman. Ditching every last piece of junk is what makes me crash and burn. I still have a glass of wine here and there, some sort of treat once a week (usually a serving of ice cream, which sadly, did you know, is only ½ cup?), and I eat pizza once a week.

I haven’t had a soda in over a month. A MONTH. I think that’s a new world record for me. I’ve eaten chips potato chips only once (thank you, Super Bowl), and the only fast food I’ve had is two different trips to Jersey Mike’s spread two weeks apart.

 
A rare picture of me, 18 years ago, praying and thanking God for the Mt. Dew I held in my hand. The varsity girls basketball team was not allowed to drink soda during the season. This was after our last game. And yes, I’m the one in the birkenstocks. I was raised in Asheville. What did you expect?

The cool thing is that now that I’ve been in a habit of eating like this for thirty days, it’s become just that…a habit. But it’s a good one! I don’t really crave all the bad stuff. The thought of drinking a soda now and wasting 150 calories of my daily allotment on something that has no nutritional value seems absurd to me. Will I ever have a cherry coke again? Absolutely. But it will be the exception, not the rule.

So yes. I made it through the first month of Insanity without missing a workout and without completely falling off the nutrition wagon, and I’m in love with my new lifestyle. I’m in recovery week (which is still a workout, but not quite as intense), until my second month hits next week. I’m scurrrrred.

So have I gotten closer to obtaining my goals? I say yes and no. I took a picture of myself in a bathing suit as well as the shorts I want to fit into when I started this journey. I also took one last week and compared. They look pretty much the same to me. However, I also took my measurements and I am, in fact, down 2.5 inches overall so far. That’s not a lot, but I’ve gradually been putting on pudge for ten years (that’s what happens, kids, when you get married), so I can’t expect to shed it in only a month’s time. Also, while the scale is not a big deal to me, I have dropped five pounds. Your body gets to decide where it wants to burn fat first. I assume my body decided to start with places I don’t care about like my forehead, wrists, and toes.

I feel stronger. I feel more energized. I feel healthier. I’m teaching my family what healthy eating choices look like, and I know I’ll be the better for it in the long run.

So, yay me!

 

Plus, when I reach my goal, I have a stack of gift cards to go shopping with. I’m hanging that over my head, and it’s definitely propelling me forward.

Life

Mixed Messages

Sometimes I need a dose of my own medicine, specifically, the “I’ve already told you this 1,000 times” white, chalky spoonful that’s hard to choke down.

I have finally figured out a truth about parenting and it’s this: You have to continuously recalibrate yourself.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was an idealist. I had dreams of how we would bond, what traditions I’d pass down from my family, what new traditions we would implement. I subscribed to Parents magazine and clipped out ideas of fun, memory filled activities and I kept them in a binder…and then she was born and I never opened that binder. In fact, when I was cleaning out a closet a few months back and came across it, I tossed it. Why?

Because, life happens. And when it happened for me, I realized that babies and small children are definitely not my thing. There’s a reason I taught middle school and high school students for 11 years! I’d rather deal with a sassy-mouthed teenage gorgon than make believe a tea party. It’s how I’m wired.

But deep down I knew I wanted to be a purposeful mom, even though it didn’t come naturally to me. So, when my daughter was about 2 years old, I ordered Dobson’s Bringing up Girls and devoured it. I passed it along to my husband who read it as well.

I then bought Revolutionary Parenting, and an assortment of other books to help give me some insight and instruction on this crazy, try not to fall off a cliff hike known as parenting. But, it didn’t take long after I was done reading and taking notes for the practical information to become fuzzy in my brain. In fact, I can’t really tell you anything I learned from any of those books from 4 years ago.

Because, life happens.

I hear a lot of mommies who wish their children would “stop growing up,” but when Elizabeth was born, I just wanted her to move from one phase to another, on the expressway, so she would get to an age that I was comfortable with. I spent a lot of her younger years dreaming of her bedtime. And now I’m looking at my daughter who is 6 years old, and I already wish I could steal some of our time back.

But here’s the thing. I have a picture of what I’d like my relationship with my children to be like when they are older. I have a picture of what I’d like their values and character to be. I have a picture of a family who is bonded and loves each other deeply. But…painting that picture starts now. As a teacher, it was always fairly easy to tell which of my students had parents who were active, intentional participants in their lives, and those whose parents were on autopilot. And over the past 6 years, I’ve been guilty of stretches of autopilot. I assume we all are at some point.

Last night before I went to bed, I sat down to read, but kept thinking about this intentionality and what it looks like, because I realize that in order to be an intentional mommy, I can never stop learning. I can’t go to one class or read one book or watch one video at a single point in time and be done. I have to continually encourage myself in this way. Never stop reading, never stop listening, never stop doing life with families in our faith community.

So I logged into RightNowMedia.org and started searching for parenting studies. I clicked on one and only watched about 10 minutes of it (it was a little bit of a snoozer), but the speaker said something that struck a chord with me. She said, “you are sending messages to your children all day long.” This comes in the way we interact with them, the way we react, the way we ignore or put them off. Even the things we do that aren’t interacting with them (the way we respond to others or talk about situations with our spouses in front of them sends them a message). Everything we do sends a message. They are constantly absorbing and studying us. Not what we’re saying, but what we are doing.

Wow! I immediately felt convicted. While I’m really starting to enjoy the age at which Elizabeth is at, I specifically thought about all the times she has approached me to ask a question and I’ve been in the middle of doing something on my computer or phone, and I told her to wait. And while I believe parents don’t need to put down everything every time their child has a request, there are so many times I’m doing something trivial with technology that I should put my device down and cancel the message that says, “my phone is more important than you.”

And then I started thinking about my device usage in general, even when she isn’t vying for my attention. My husband and I don’t let her use electronics or watch TV during the school week, but how much time does she see me spend on my laptop or phone when she’s home? Sometimes it’s not the length at which I use it, but rather the frequency at which I pick it up. What am I modeling for her? If I don’t want her to become a teen who is glued to her phone, I have to put limits on myself, because what I model has more of an impact than what I say.

I also have a habit of checking my phone while I sit at red lights. When my daughter is old enough to drive, I don’t EVER want her looking at her phone, even when she is temporarily stopped. But what I DO has more of an impact than what I’ll teach her with my words.

I realize this post is a bit scattered. When I sat down to write it, I had the intention of listing multiple different ways in which to be intentional, but I wrote myself into thinking about the impact technology has on family units these days. And getting it under control is a tough hurdle to jump…I’ve eaten dirt way too many times. Because even though I’m having this epiphany now, I’d be lying if I hadn’t already had this epiphany multiple times over the past 6 years. (Remember that time I read Notes from a Blue Bicycle and wrote this post here?)

 

But life happens. We forget. We need to be told that 1,000th time. We need to constantly learn and relearn. A regular spoonful of medicine helps us be intentional.

Finance

Our Personal Journey Part IV

With Brent’s unexpected promotion, the second time I stayed home wasn’t the tight financial experience we had the first go around. It was still a difficult year with his travel schedule and getting me to the point to accept medication as a viable option to help control my depression, but at the end of the year, it made complete sense why God had led me back home. No doubt, we would have fallen apart if I had been working full-time.

Remember that dream home we bought that needed a lot of work? Over the 5 years since we moved in, we have saved and paid cash for some much needed upgrades:

  • Put on a new roof
  • Have the entire outside repainted
  • Repaint the entire inside
  • Buy a new washer and dryer
  • Buy new stainless kitchen appliances (microwave, range, dishwasher, and fridge)
  • Purchase a new formal dining room set (we didn’t have a dining room in our former house)
  • Purchase a new bedroom set for our daughter (her nursery had been piecemealed together, and once she turned 5, we decided she needed some decent furniture)
  • Install a new AC unit
  • Decorate areas of our home
  • Buy a backyard patio set (our former house didn’t have a formal patio)
  • Complete random miscellaneous improvements that can add up (install new light fixtures, change our whole house to LED lighting, install new door handles, etc.)
  • We’ve also been blessed to save and do things other than home repairs during this time as well (Disney annual passes, vacations, travel, concerts, etc.)

We were able to do all of this without ONE, SINGLE PAYMENT. I don’t say all of this to brag (because our home is still a long way from “dream” status), I say it to explain that if you’re willing to be patient and pay cash, you can accomplish a lot without dealing with payments, stress, and tying up your income.

 
Our home after a new roof and fresh paint. What a facelift!

So what are the things still left that we’d love to save for?

  • Master and guest bathroom remodels
  • Kitchen remodel
  • New flooring throughout the house (yes, we still have the same carpet/tile/linoleum that was installed when the house was built)
  • New formal living room set (we currently have an almost empty room in the house)
  • A pool

Obviously, those are some hefty price tag upgrades. In all honesty, we could have chosen to finance some of these projects and made the payments fit in our monthly budget even without me working. And let me tell you, on hot summer days, I’ve been tempted to add a pool to our backyard!

So, with me at home and Elizabeth approaching kindergarten, we had a decision to make: completely scale back our budget and send her to private school or send her to the A-rated public elementary school that was within walking distance from our house. We opted to try public.

She attended for 3 weeks and was not thrilled with school. Trying to get her ready each morning and complete basic homework each night was a struggle. And Brent was still traveling.

But, he finished his last trip (for a good long while) and returned home a few days before I received the phone call…

It came from my former place of employment. Their new English teacher for the 2015-2016 school year had quit three weeks into school. And that’s when one of the women in administration I admire and respect asked if I’d be willing to come back and at least step in until they could hire a new teacher. I really wasn’t interested until I heard that the 9th grade students I had taught the year I left would be on my 11th grade roster. I had already invested so much into their education, I didn’t want to see them lose ground. The decision became personal for me, and I decided to set my pride aside.

If Brent had still been traveling, the answer would have emphatically been “no.” But, I figured it was worth a conversation. At first he didn’t support me returning, even on a temporary basis. But, the thought of this gig only lasting maybe a few weeks to a month eventually eased his mind and he gave me his blessing.

So back I went.

A week and a half in I decided that I couldn’t just leave my wonderful 11th grade students hanging. I tried to envision what their junior year would look like if they ended up with three teachers before the year’s end. For many of them, it wouldn’t prove productive. So I prayed and decided that I needed to carry them through to the end of the year. I let my boss know, I signed a contract, and Elizabeth was moved to the school where I taught.

We saw God’s hand move as he placed me back at work for that year.

  1. We came to realize that Elizabeth needs, at this time, to be at a private, Christian school. The difference I saw in Elizabeth and her attitude toward school was incredible. Getting her out the door each day was no longer a struggle, and she loved doing her homework. It also gave us peace of mind knowing that like-minded teachers and staff were instructing her every day.
  1. I had a handful of students who desperately needed me last year. I probably did more counseling last year (for a variety of reasons), than I have in my entire career. Sometimes it was as simple as being a shoulder to cry on or a place to hang out during lunch when they just needed some space. Other times, it was helping them work through major life decisions.
  1. Remember our first house we were renting out? We finally came to a place where our last renters moved out and we thought we might be able to sell it, especially since it wasn’t profitable (the rent checks we received each month didn’t even cover the mortgage. On top of that, we owed $185 in HOA fees each month, and the general cost of repairs had caused us to bleed money each month for 5 years). But, we had some improvements we needed to make just so we could break even on what we owed on the mortgage. Plus, we knew we’d be paying a double mortgage while it sat on the market. Having my paycheck allowed us to let it sit vacant for almost 5 months while we fixed it up and had it listed. It finally sold (we lost a ton of money from the original purchase price), but we were freed from the burden.
  1. I had such a cynical attitude towards the school from being deeply wounded and wronged and God showed me I needed to work through it. When I left this past May, I did so without resentment. That year gave me the time I needed to heal.
 
With some of my creative writing kids. They were a hoot!

So things were running smoothly, our paychecks were allowing us to do a lot of cool things (we had brand new categories in the budget that were just stinking awesome), and it was nice knowing that I could press the eject button whenever I wanted if things got too stressful.

Up until that point, Brent and I had been trying to get pregnant for almost 3 years, when I resigned to the idea that it just wasn’t going to happen. We were a one-child family. I suddenly started routing out a new vision for our future. I saw myself working for the next 5 years to pay off our home and then returning home once that huge goal had been accomplished.

But, just as we make plans, God reveals something bigger and better.

Half-way through this past school year, we surprisingly discovered we were expecting. And, just like that, my heart told me I belonged at home…again. God had blessed us with extra income for those 11 months to help us get through what would have been a worrisome, money-depleting patch. I was able to help my students who needed me, Elizabeth was moved to a Christian school, I worked through my resentment, and we were given the time and money to sell our first home.

So here we are, full circle. Remember that pool I would have loved to finance? Or that master bathroom remodel? We could have afforded the payments in our monthly budget. I could be floating in this hot, hot, heat, sipping on lemonade, or relaxing in a luxurious bath spa with no worries…

Except the absence of those payments are the very thing that frees up just enough space in our monthly income to pay for Elizabeth’s costly tuition.

Oh, yes, I could be floating, but our only choice for Elizabeth’s education would be public school. And right now, what’s working for her educational experience is more important than my vanity and life of “luxury.”

She’s in 1st grade, and while we are going to evaluate what is best for her each year, it’s nice to know we have a choice. If private school is the best option for her until she graduates, I probably won’t be floating in a pool until I’m 50. Some of the cool things we had fit in our budget for that one year have since disappeared. We aren’t currently able to save for vacation or a new car. Our meals out will be a lot less. I might not have a brand new kitchen or bathrooms or flooring, but that’s what parents do for their kids, right? They sacrifice and defer some of their wants and desires to do what’s best for their offspring. All of those things are just “stuff.” Believe me when I say I wish I didn’t drive a 2001 mini-van that has chipping paint and a huge dent in the back, but I wouldn’t trade it for how I’m currently able to use our money to invest in my daughter’s life. I’ll have a luxury car one day, but for now, we’re just not in that season of our lives.

So yes, as I sat and peacefully drank coffee after my daughter left for her first day of school this year, I thank God that we can write that hefty tuition check each month because of our healthy financial habits over the last seven years. If we hadn’t taken that first step then, you’d be seeing a completely different portrait now. Probably one that included all of our fleshly wants and desires, but not one in which private school would be an option.

 
Me, doing what I do best! 🙂

Take that first step. For some of you, getting to a place of financial freedom might be as simple as 6 months. For some, it could be what seems like an overwhelming number of years. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

 

And better yet, if you’re a student who hasn’t entered the world of debt yet, I guarantee if you start practicing financially healthy habits now and avoid debt at all cost, you’ll probably get to retire early with a ton of money! No, seriously! Debt eats away at your future. It’s never too early to start healthy habits to set you up for success later!

Finance

Our Personal Journey Part III

If you didn’t read parts I and II, they are here, and here.

With our debt paid off, renters secured for our first home, new work-in-progress dream home purchased, and a wonderful nanny to take care of our daughter, I did something I never thought I’d do again: head back to work. But it was clear that this was the path God currently had for me.

 

 
My classroom.

Life felt much different with my salary (of course we were paying top dollar to have an in-home nanny). But still, we had some breathing room, and it sure felt like Christmas to me!

We finally managed to make it past Dave Ramsey’s first three baby steps:

Step 1: Have $1,000 in an emergency fund

Step 2: Pay off all debt (except mortgage) using the Debt Snowball

Step 3: Save 3-6 months living expenses in a designated “emergency fund”

While we were working on Step 4 (invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement funds), we were also able to start saving and doing some small projects around the house to help improve its condition.

My second year back to work, just as I got used to expanding some of our monthly budget categories and adding money to areas that had never existed before, I was faced with a hard decision: whether or not to finish my graduate degree. The program that I had started three years prior had to be completed within five years time of the start date. I knew it would make me a better teacher and make me an even greater asset to the school.

But it could only happen one way: cash flow the entire thing. It meant we’d have to put a girdle on our budget once more. Brent and I decided it was something I should do, so I started the difficult process, this time as a full-time English teacher, wife, AND mom. I spent most weekends locked in my bedroom, reading, studying, and writing (not to mention the work I had to put in as a teacher creating plans and grading high school essays on a regular basis). There were even times I went back to work after school hours just to grade essays and work on lesson plans.

 
My desk view at 8 p.m. one night.

My third year back to work was the most stressful. We were called to host an international student for the school year. Let’s just say it was a very, VERY difficult year. In the midst of the drama and stress of having a teenager from another country living with us, we were dealing with a stressful health issue with Elizabeth that had already been going on for two years. On top of that, I was teaching full-time and working on my final semester of grad school.

But we pulled through. I graduated with my M.Ed. that winter with a 4.0! Brent and I knew that one of the fruits of my labor would be a much-deserved raise (an exciting ordeal when you’re on a teacher’s salary).

Over the course of the entire program, we had cash flowed $30,000 (tuition, books, and fees), and wanted to see ourselves recoup that money in a reasonable amount of time. The school where I taught boasted a million dollar teacher endowment fund, so while part of me was concerned my raise might be nominal, I expected to be taken care of.

I sent an inquiry to HR about what kind of raise to expect. And I waited. And waited. And waited for an answer.

By God’s providence, I was home sick the day I received the emailed response of my inquiry: The school no longer provides compensation for higher education of its teachers.

I.could.not.believe.my.eyes.

It made no sense at all. I started crying, thinking, what in the world did I just complete that $30,000 program for? I couldn’t tell you one school that doesn’t encourage and compensate its teachers for bettering themselves by obtaining advanced degrees.

I was devastated. I was hurt. I was angry. I felt abused.

Sobbing, I called Brent and shared the news with him. It was clear: I absolutely COULD NOT work for a school where I didn’t feel valued (isn’t that true of any place someone works?) It wasn’t about the money itself. We didn’t need the money. It’s about feeling valued.

And then I let the words come out of my mouth: Maybe I should just stay home again.

I couldn’t get those words out of my head the rest of the day and I began praying. By the time Brent came home from work, I told him I really thought staying home might be what I needed to do. We had barely survived the drama of the year, so maybe I needed time off (forever). He agreed to the notion as long as I could make the budget work (I’m the CFO of our household, a position Brent happily gave to me).

 
It was hard to leave students who I’d had under my wing since their 9th grade year.

I didn’t care if we went back to beans and rice, rice and beans, I was staying home.

I handed in an unsigned contract. I didn’t ask for a raise, I just expressed my disappointment that such a decision had been made. And sure enough, when I walked out the door, they reissued my contract (with a raise) in attempt to save me. But, it was too little, too late. I was so disappointed in the school I had come to love. A school that told me what an asset I was. They had proven it was nothing but lip service.

So our budget got scaled back once again, not as tight as the first time around, but not with the squishiness I had come to enjoy. But we felt at peace.

 
I graduated with the graduating class that year.

That summer as we were looking at my final paychecks, things started to take a financial nosedive. We sunk a decent chunk of our emergency fund trying to fix our AC over the course of two months. We were facing having to have a new AC put in (the current one was only 3 years old). Then, our renters called and said they would be moving out. The thought of possibly having to pay two mortgages for an indefinite amount of time before we could get new renters made my head swim. We would surely run out of money.

I looked at Brent and told him maybe I had made a mistake. Maybe I needed to get a job (certainly not teaching, though).

But he assured me that he felt like this was the direction God had told us to go, and that he would provide. He always had.

Weeks later, in the midst of my worry and doubt, Brent’s place of employment created a management position within his department, so he decided to interview. He was already the systems administrator for his company’s 5 national locations, so we knew a promotion like this would require even longer hours, travel, and greater commitment.

After weeks of waiting for the rounds of interviews to end, he was notified of his status: He was now in management! We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. His first new paycheck picked up right as I received my last one from the school. We didn’t miss one single beat.

God took what I thought was terrible news and used it to guide me back home, which is where I needed to be for the upcoming year.

With Brent’s new position came a crazy travel schedule (something he had done very little of before). It was challenging having him gone so much, but it would have been worse if I had worked full-time.

And remember the depression I had previously battled? It reared its ugly head again when I wasn’t suppressing it with the busyness of work. Looking back, I realize that I had still been dealing with it while working, it just made itself manifest in different ways, many of which were not healthy for me or my family. My self-coping strategies were no longer enough and I was forced to seek help, something that has been a game-changer in my life. I doubt I would have faced my demons if I had been working full-time, just trying to make it from day to day.

So all was well. Until I received a phone call a year later from my former place of employment…

 

I promise Part IV will bring things full-circle. 😉