What to do when you aren’t prepared for your blessing.

I’m in an interesting position in life. Well, interesting might be an understatement. You see, my husband’s job ends at the end of May, which we knew, and it wouldn’t be a problem, since my job is stable, right? Wrong. I received a notice back in March that the district won’t be renewing my contract. It’s a seniority issue – the district needs to make some cutbacks and the teachers are the first ones to go. So while it’s entirely possible and maybe even probable that they’ll rehire me, as of now, my job ends at the end of May too. So both my husband and I are in the job market. We are looking to move apartments for a myriad of reasons, and everything is a little… up in the air.

All of these things can be dealt with. Kai and I are strong, and I know that God will take care of us. On top of this, I was feeling that I was personally in for a life transition. The last post I made, about teens and internet safety, practically went viral. I had 350,000 views in just three weeks, and the article was posted on other websites that had just as many views. I felt that maybe I needed to do something. Perhaps I needed to sit down and finally write that book I’ve been thinking about, or maybe I need to go back to school and change career directions or something. All I knew is that I felt like life was on the move.

I was excited. I was going to gain some new purpose. Since I’m still young, I’m still figuring myself out and I thought maybe this life change will be something I could really hang my hat on. Something great and self-fulfilling.

Well, you know how they say God works in mysterious ways? I found out what my big transition is going to be. I found out in the form of (surprise!) 4 positive pregnancy tests. And as I looked around my apartment at my withering succulent plant and my barely life-sustaining beta fish, I became acutely aware of how unprepared I am for motherhood. Of course, I think I’ll be a pretty decent mom – someday. But now? I can’t even rent a car yet! I still want to be selfish. I still want my extra money to go to things like video games and vacations, not diapers and baby formula. for the first couple of weeks I had a very difficult time adjusting to the idea. I went to the doctor and even saw the nugget on an ultrasound. Yup. That’s a baby. But I was in denial.

All I could think of was how my life was never going to be the same, and how not ready for that I was. Oh sure – I changed my diet, I started taking prenatal vitamins, I did all the right things, but it all felt very hollow. I was not in love with this intruder in my stomach giving me heartburn and making me want to sleep for 12 hours every night.


But the Lord was doing something in my heart. When I stopped feeling sorry for myself for even just a minute, He reminded me of another time that I was less than grateful. A a kid when my family stayed in a hotel, I used to get super mad because my dad is a big snorer. He could wake the dead if he slept close enough to a graveyard. One vacation in particular I was griping to  my mom about how I couldn’t sleep and I was amazed that she could put up with all that noise. Her response was at once so simple and so profound that it stuck with me. She told me that when she starts to get frustrated at the jackhammer volume of snoring coming from my father, that she would start thanking God that she even had a husband and that her husband was healthy and loving and involved. She started being grateful and stopped being annoyed.

So that’s what I did with my little one. I’m not saying it was an instant transition, but when I stopped complaining to God about how I wasn’t ready, and started thanking God for the gift of life in my womb, my outlook changed drastically. It’s crazy how a little thankfulness can turn your outlook around. I no longer resent my little passenger but I thank God that he’s given me a healthy body and a healthy child. He trusts me with the greatest responsibility in life – a tiny human. What a gift.

I’m sure I’ll be keeping all of you updated along this crazy adventure. 🙂

That is all.


To the Well-Intentioned but Ignorant Parents of Teenagers.

I’ve been mulling over this topic for quite some time, but this morning it became increasingly clear to me that I must say something. Folks, stranger danger is a real thing. And even more real today than it was ten years ago thanks to, you guessed it, the internet.

I speak specifically to the parents of kids old enough to be on social media. Of course, I am no such parent, but I am a teacher of those kids. I am also only 6-10 years older than the high school students I teach. Maybe that makes me unqualified to speak out, but maybe it makes me the most qualified candidate. Many of my colleagues and the parents of my students are old enough to be my own parents, so I tend to share a comaraderie with my students. And yet, I am far enough removed to be able to speak in ways that they cannot yet speak for themselves.

The reason this subject has become suddenly so urgent to me is because today I read an article about a new website called YouNow which is essentially a livestream site that a person can set up a camera feed and you can watch it constantly. Users can connect with cameras using hashtags like #sleepingsoundly. In other words, people – teenagers – are setting up cameras in their bedrooms so anyone, any stranger, can watch them sleep… or whatever. And while the stream is happening, there is a constant commentary by all watchers. I watched one today (for about ten seconds because I felt totally creepy) of a teenager somewhere singing on his porch. The comments ranged anywhere from “you have a great voice you should date me” to much more obscene things like calling the boy a “fag” and telling him he looked like various parts of genitalia. Now yes, this website is not specifically marketed for teens, and yes, there are terms of use that technically prohibit obscenity and illegal acts. But if you know anything about teenagers you know that they quickly find loopholes to most rules. The internet, especially social media, is NOT safe. And it is sobering how real this is.

You may be thinking “I’m smarter than that. I have a facebook and I watch my kids online.” You might have a Facebook. So do I. And so does my mom and my grandma and all of her friends. But you know who doesn’t have a Facebook? Your kid’s friends. I took an informal poll of my 150 students at the beginning of the year, and 60-80% of my students don’t even have a facebook. They connect with each other on Kik, an app that allows users to text each other without exchanging phone numbers. They use Snapchat, an app that allows users to send pictures that supposedly disappear forever after ten seconds. They use Whisper, an app that a user can “anonymously” tell their deepest secrets to a vast community of other secret sharers. They use Yik Yak, Vine, Tumblr, Twitter (do you know about subtweeting? you should.), Instagram, Oovoo, WhatsApp, Meerkat, and sometimes even dating apps, like Tinder.

The problem with thinking you’re smart is that I would almost guarantee that there is at least one of those apps you’ve never heard of. And if you aren’t on it, your kids probably will be.

Teenagers typically do not yet understand the importance of internet safety. Along with the age-old feeling of invulnerability that adolescence has always carried, now there is an unprecedented and intimate access to a world wide community of strangers. So instead of driving too fast or sneaking out at night, your kids might be posting naked pictures on a website you’ve never heard of to people they’ve never met.

I know, I know. Your child would never do that! Let me tell you something: You. Don’t. Know. That. You know those tiny feelings you get every day but you cope nicely because you’re an adult? Feelings like insecurity, boredom, even the loneliness of being at home when your friends are all going out – well these feelings are massive to teenagers. A combination of hormones and inexperience create a veritable powder keg of unpredictable behavior. Insecurity might lead to seeking acceptance from strangers by posting a selfie and waiting for people to reblog, like, or comment on it. Boredom might lead to extended conversations online with someone they’ve never met about deeply personal matters. Loneliness can lead to online sex. No, really. It can.

Please please hear me, parents. I am not an outdated, irrelevant old person sitting on my metaphorical front lawn griping about “kids these days”. I spend more time with teenagers than I do with people my own age. And in many cases, I spend more time with your teenagers than even you do. I am begging you to give a crap about your kids.  When I was a teenager myself, social media was just gaining popularity and my mom had my Myspace and Facebook password. I never sent a message, posted a picture, or added a friend without her knowing it. It sounds extreme, but I’m safe today because of it. I can’t even count the many times I would have done something incredibly unsafe and irresponsible if not for the fact that I knew my mom was watching.

My success as an adult today can be blamed almost wholly on the fact that my parents were involved in my life. I could go on forever about the rising rate of teen suicides, sexual miscreance, and drug abuse problems that can be traced back to beginnings in social media. These things are real. And if you don’t show up in your kid’s life and give a crap, maybe no one will.

That is all.

The Test with No Wrong Answers.

Y’all… I just spent a good five minutes trying to decide if I capitalized my title correctly. I’ve been grading too many papers.

ANYWAY. Here is a life update: I am married and teaching high school! Everything I’ve ever wanted.

Spongebob and Squidward work the graveyard shift.

Spongebob and Squidward work the graveyard shift.

We have two cars, a lovely apartment, two beautiful babies(fish)***, I have a great job that I love, even with all of its challenges. Up until a couple weeks ago, my husband had a pretty good job too. But then: (cue dramatic music) he gets laid off. It wasn’t exactly ideal timing. I was just getting ready to start buying Christmas presents and ugly sweaters (see previous blog posts about how much I love Christmas). But, such is life.

So, like the responsible and industrious man that he is, my husband starts filling out job applications like crazy. He finally got a couple of interviews and then last night, a call! He has a job! But here’s the thing. It’s a graveyard shift. Basically I’ll get home for work just in time to kiss him goodbye and vice versa.
weddingNow. In case you had forgotten, we are only newly married. We haven’t even been at this for three months yet. I still want him to go jean shopping with me because I can’t stand to be apart (which of course, he loves). So the schedule of his new job is, of course, disconcerting to me. Since finding out, I have tried so hard to be supportive and positive. The job will allow us to have a lot more financial freedom than before. God has blessed us tremendously in that regard. But you know what? I’d rather have my husband home with me at night.

It’s a difficult place for me emotionally, because we have all been praying so hard for Kai to get a job. God was gracious enough to keep us afloat financially in the mean time. And our prayers were answered with this job offer. The answer just isn’t what I want it to be. God’s provision doesn’t look like I want it to. I was prepared for us to take a financial hit from a new job. Not a time-with-my-new-husband hit.

In my prayer time, I’m having a hard time not being ticked at God. Why can’t the answer be something I was prepared for? Why can’t I sacrifice something that I was already ready to give up? But in this, I realize: God’s plan is sovereign and perfect and I need to get my butt on board with it. God has been so faithful to us in our new marriage. We are beyond blessed. This is the first time that we even have to face something legitimately difficult.


I’ve had this verse on a note in may car for the last couple of months:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits! Psalm 103:2

I have to remember to not just praise Him when everything is lovely. The challenge is only temporary; God is permanent. It’s like my favorite preacher (my dad) said on Sunday: God is teaching us to trust him when the miracle provision stops. I’m so glad I serve a faithful God.

Well, since I’m about to have a lot of free time while my husband works, more posts to follow 🙂

That is all.


*** One of our fish died last night. RIP, little buddy. Miss you forever.

30 Minutes to consumerism.

I bet you think this is going to be some self-righteous diatribe on why America is shallow and capitalism is ruining the spirit of compassion, etc. And yes, that may be true… blah blah blah. What I want to share with you is why it’s awesome to be an American consumer. Check this out!


There are two possible reactions to this (please click on the pictures):

Reaction 1:

freaking out gif

Reaction 2:

witchcraft gif

I personally am reaction 1. This is like the most amazing thing to happen to technology since the Oreo dunking spoon.

Amazon reps have said that it will take several years to perfect the technology/meet FAA guidelines/ensure that the drones won’t become self-aware and try to eliminate humans. But whatever. All I’m saying is that this is blowing my mind. I don’t care.

Just wanted to share this little gem with you.

That is all.

Why being engaged is the hardest and most wonderful thing I’ve ever done.

I’m engaged! Yay! it’s wonderful and amazing and I am so happy with my fiance and my life. I’m planning a wedding, which is exciting, but more than that, I have an actual count down to when I can officially belong to my best friend (and he to me).

ringAs with all things, however, it is a learning experience. I am learning that being engaged is more wonderful than I could have imagined. I am loving the planning. The appointments, the registries, the purchases…. I love it. I have a binder even. What nobody told me about though… Is that once engaged, every issue that the two lovebirds has becomes magnified.

Being engaged is really hard. Up until now, my fiance and I have made it through with very few major disagreements. We’ve never fought for long and we’ve always been able to come to a relatively quick resolution. But now. Now there’s a start date to forever. Now you can see the starting line. Now you’re within arm’s length of the loading dock. I’m out of analogies. The bottom line is that every little problem that was happening before is now an urgent question. “Is this how it’s always going to be?” “Will I always engagedhave to deal with this?” “We he always be able to put up with me?” “Am I willing to live with these issues FOR THE REST OF MY LIFFFFEEEEEE????” Yeah I know it probably sounds dramatic but with a ring on your finger, drama doesn’t seem so crazy.

Here’s the good news though: being engaged may be hard, but it is infinitely more wonderful than it is hard. The idea that I get to plan out a life with my truest of loves is exhilarating. The fact that I get to share our love story with friends, family, strangers and anyone else who will listen is such a joy. spending time with my fiance just dreaming, planning, and enjoying each other is what drives me these days. I love my fiance. I love him with all of the strength that my soul can muster. And I am so ready to fight for us. I am learning though, just what that truly means. And thank God that we have a loving God that cares about our joy and will help us every step of the way. Because without God, and without God giving us to each other, we would definitely fail.

That is all.

To be thankful.

I want to share a thing I saw today. Besides a surly group of 10-13 year olds.  Today as I was getting my lunch, thinking about all that I have to do today and things of that nature, I took notice to the homeless man standing on the corner of the intersection asking for help. I see him every now and again, always standing on the same corner. He has a marvelous beard and an impressive collection of Black Sabbath t-shirts. Today what was interesting to me though was that a young kid came up and gave him a paper bag (presumably with food in it). The kid just handed it to him and walked away. Then, the homeless man thanked the kid, gave the bag to the woman sitting on the ground next to him, and clasped his hands together, looked at the sky, and said thank you. He thanked God for the sustenance he had just received, and it was totally genuine. It made me think… how often do I do that?


Now I know that all good little Christian boys and girls say grace before eating. “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food…” Right. But how long has it been since we actually stopped what we were doing and gave thanks to our creator? When is the last time we considered all of the great things He has done for us and understood how miraculous they are?

We should really stop and think about all He has done and offer him gratitude. It’s the least we can do.

That is all.

Why being a kid is boring.

Since the last time I posted, which was like, before the invention of covered wagons, a lot has happened in my life. I will update you now via bulleted list, since it is my favorite type of list.

  • I have gotten my first job. I teach middle school science.
  • My love an I have celebrated one year of being together. Not including the time we dated in high school.
  • I live at home with my parents, my grandma, a cat and a dog.
  • I have discovered I don’t hate onions.

Okay. With that out of the way, I suppose you may be wondering why it is that being a kid is so boring. But before I do that, I want to clarify a few things. Being a kid shouldn’t be boring. Being a kid should be so Bored-300x200fun and exciting that as a child you occasionally pee your pants from over-emoting. Also, being a kid shouldn’t be hard or lame.

BUT. Being a kid is sometimes really boring and hard and stressful. And I think I know why. It’s like, the best, most wonderful, least stressful time a human being ever gets. 

Preparing for this school year, I was able to review old lesson plans and look through textbooks and determine everything that the kids need to learn this year. I’m thinking, “Science. Awesome. It should be so fun.” But what I am finding is like, long tedious writing assignments, boring books to read, lame videos that are older than me to watch, and ugly posters to hang. I realized over the course of this discovery something very important:

This is why kids hate school. 

Kids hate learning because we learn meaningless and irrelevant things. Kids hate watching videos because they are narrated by robots and intended for audiences twice their age. Kids hate reading because the books they read are completely beyond them and have nothing in them they can relate to. It’s not that being a kid is actually boring. It’s that the adults in their lives make it boring. The three main rules for kids are sit still, be quiet, and work hard.


Kids aren’t supposed to sit still for that long. 

Kids aren’t supposed to be quiet all the time.

And kids have to be taught that hard work is rewarding.

I am challenging myself to really ask “why is this important and how does it relate to my kids” before it ever crosses my desk or ends up on my whiteboard.

It’s sort of like when Paul says that Christians have to be “all things to all people”. As an educator, and as a human being that interacts with kids, it is SO important that I am able to make things as fun and exciting as they should be for kids. So as I’m thinking of this, I realized too, that being an adult is also boring. And it shouldn’t be. I’ve come up with a new life philosophy that I’ll at least strive towards.

Life is too short to be bored. If something I need to accomplish or a way I’m living my life is boring to me, then I will make it more exciting. If my Christian walk is boring, I’m not doing enough. If a book is boring, I’m not reading the right one. If a person is boring, I’m not listening to their life story closely enough.

Let’s make life exciting.

That is all.


Much like cats and dogs.

So I’ve been watching Cheers lately. You know, where everybody knows your name. Anyway I’ve just gotten through the first two seasons where the lead and MV5BMTAyMDQxMzUyODZeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU2MDk3MzU5OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_his romantic interest have a on again off again relationship that finally ends in the finale of the second season. (So far.) So I’m watching this couple and they fight like madmen. The yell, they call names, they scream, they slap each other… The normal things that happen in a terrible relationship that should have never happened.  And,  as often happens with things that are supposed to be purely entertainment, I had a revelation.

I am so so so so sososososososoooo grateful that I am not a terrible person. Better yet, I’m grateful that I’m not in a terrible relationship. These two people in the show… they have nothing in common. They are opposites but in all the wrong ways. They’re mean and have no principles. They can never compromise. Someone just has to be wrong.

I just want to take this moment to thank my parents forphoto making me a decent human being. I want to thank my lovely boyfriend for not putting up with the garbage this woman in the show spouts every day and for not being the lousy boyfriend the guy in the show is. I want to thank myself for being self-respecting enough to know that I don’t want to date someone I feel superior to. And I want to thank God for allowing me to have someone who I am an equal with in so many ways.

Anyway. That is all for now.

The final nom.

I found a photographer, Henry Hargreaves, that has done something interesting. He has taken famous prisoners’ last meals and made a photo journal. for instance:


It’s really rather fascinating. Some men, like John Wayne Gacy, live it up. eat a lot of whatever they want. while some men, like Victor Feguer, ask for this:


Why? What makes a man, who knows he is about to die, want to eat what he does? What would you ask for if you were about to die? What would your last words be? What would the last thing you wrote or wore be? It’s perhaps a morbid or somber thought, but maybe one we could consider. What is the one last thing we want to do or see or accomplish or say? I don’t anything insightful to offer, just thinking.

That is all.

6 things I didn’t expect about adulthood.

I am 22 years old. I am living in my first apartment, working my first real job, freshly graduated from college, etc.  As I have been on this journey through adulthood, I have discovered some things I did not anticipate. I mean, bills and stuff, I was ready for that. But I had no idea about these:images (12)

1. I am empowered.

People ask for my opinion, and it matters. Now I believe my parents and the other adults in my life have always taken me seriously to a certain extent because I’ve always been pretty mature. But now, in this strange turn of events, everyone is paying attention to me. People ask me questions, and I have the answers. People want my input, and they use it. It’s nice to feel important. Except now like, at the DMV I can’t really play the, I’m-a-dumb-teenager-please-pity-me card. And people expect me to be able to parallel park, which is a lot of pressure.

images2. I am a light-switch Nazi.

When I was a kid, I used to get in trouble because I would walk out the door and leave every light on. I just really wanted our home to be a safety beacon for prodigal nocturnal mammals and birds, I guess. But now, now that I pay my own bills, I dont even sit in my living room if my bedroom light is on. That porch light? You’d better text me as you walk up the stairs if you want it on when you visit. Ain’t no lightbulb in my house getting overused. And on the same token, I treat the thermostat like a nuclear reactor. Only touch in cases of extreme emergency. Like if your toes are falling off. even then, put some more socks on because its only going up one degree.

3. I. Get. So. Much. Junkmail.

Like, every single day, I get coupons for 1000 baby diapers and purple Q-Tips. I get coupons for free stuff, cheap stuff, expensive stuff, new stuff, and old stuff. I get offers for credit cards, cable subscriptions, face washes, club memberships and dating sites. (No, really.) I have to throw away so much paper it’s practically sin. I mean, seriously. No, I do not want to buy 60 pounds of beefsteak, grocery store in another state.

4. I have to scrape ice off of my own car. images (2)

I mean, yes, I can have a man do those kinds of things for me… scrape ice, move boxes,pump gas, etc. But my point here is that I can’t just wait around fro Dad to do it because it’s not his job anymore. And he’s not here. So, to the Elvis CD whose jewel case I used to scrape ice this morning, I hope you didn’t want that back. Because I’m an adult and I scrape my own ice. And I am not very good at it.

5. I have begun to see price in terms of hours worked. And I see work in terms of items purchased.

images (14)Adulthood has made me incredibly practical. My mom has always said things like, “No, you do not need to buy the 12 dollar nail polish because that is an hour out of my life and I could buy like 16 lightbulbs for that.” And I just thought she was being selfish. But look, y’all. I don’t buy crap anymore. Unless I have lectured for an hour thinking, “this lecture on the principles of marketing will pay for four boxes of fancy crackers” then I buy no fancy crackers. I buy regular crackers and save six bucks.If I get a gift card, I think, “Wow! toilet paper and toothpaste!” In fact, everything fancy I have bought lately, was not without a brief evaluation of how many unfancy things I sacrificed for that item. I’ve learned I’m just not into wasting my own money the way I am my parents’ money.

6. And most shocking and heartbreaking of all, kids now call me lady. And I call them kids.

I’m not a “girl” anymore. The other day in the airport I overheard this cute group of teenage girls say something about the “lady” behind them. And then I realized that “lady” is me. And then I realized I had just been thinking “Oh what cute young girls.” I AM MY MOTHER. But I’ll save that thought for another post. Anyway it makes me feel like these ladies.

images (8)

imagesimages (4)images (3)

Don’t get me wrong, adulthood is super. I enjoy it. I like responsibilities, I like respect, and I like freedom. I guess there’s just some things about it that I’m gonna have to get used to.

That is all.