Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Hello Again

Hi, there!

It's been a little while since even I have visited my blog.  Does anyone still read them?  I'm not sure, but this has always been a place where I can come and just get out what's on my mind.  So here I am, three years later.

It's been a crazy three years.  Since my last post in February of 2014, a lot has changed.  The camp where my family lived and worked for 15 years was closed, which motivated my parents to make the move back to Texas closer to family.  However, the move closer to family took them farther from me.  I stayed in Oklahoma.  I loved my job and things would just play out better if I stuck around a little longer.  So, in the summer of 2014, I packed up all my belongings, put them in storage, and took a trip to Canada to spend time with my best friend before she got married.  When I came back stateside, my family all lived in Texas, and I was homeless.

I moved into a tiny house just days before I began my third year of teaching special education in Kingfisher.  Did I mention I love my job?  I work in a classroom that intimidates most people.  We deal with things on a daily basis that would make the average person a bit (maybe a lot) queasy.  But you see, the biggest struggle leads to the biggest reward.  Working with these kids has been the most rewarding experience of my life.  I wouldn't trade the last five years for anything.

I'm getting ahead of myself.  During the three years that Mom and Dad have been hours away, some big things have happened.  In September of 2014, Dad had a massive heart attack.  I was three hours away getting texts and calls from Mom and Josh, and falling apart because I couldn't be there.  I was stuck in Kingfisher, with pneumonia by the way.  They decided to do open heart surgery, and I took my sick self on a three hour road trip to Texas.  Dad had a quadruple bypass, and came through it like a champ.

In August of 2015 (the day before school started), Dad had another huge medical event.  I will do a post about that soon, because our God is a God of miracles and everyone needs to read that story.  Needless to say, they did not expect my dad to survive, and brought the family in to say their good-byes.  While the family was preparing for the worst, I was making a 4-hour drive to Plano to try and make it to where they were.  Thankfully, things did not play out the way the doctors expected, and dad came through it again.  Later that same week, my great-grandmother passed away.

Fast forward to this year.  In November, my mom's stepdad, the man who raised her, my Papa Grouch, passed away unexpectedly.  In February, my last remaining great-grandparent, my Papa G, also went to heaven.

All of these things have made me realize one very important thing.  I want to be closer to my family.  The distance did not seem so big in 2014 when I moved into my tiny house and prepared to make it completely on my own for the first time in my life.  But the distance seems far greater when you are racing to get to a hospital "in time."

This has led to one of the hardest decisions I have made in some time.  This week, I turned in my resignation letter to Kingfisher Public Schools.  There is a lot of controversy surrounding the education system in Oklahoma, right now. So, I'm going to make one thing very clear. I am NOT leaving Oklahoma because of my salary.  This does not mean I'm happy with my salary. Oklahoma teachers are woefully underpaid and something needs to be done, but that's not why I'm leaving.

I've said it twice already.  I love my job.  I hate the paperwork that seems to be ever-increasing and I hate the politics involved in education.  I love my students. I love the people I work with.  I love knowing that I am making a difference.  The staff and students I work with have become my second family, when my real family is so far away.  I was emotional when I turned my letter into my principal; I was emotional when I sat at home that night thinking about it; I was emotional the next morning when I saw that my position had been posted for the next school year.  I don't think it's going to get better as we get closer to the end of the year, and I have to say goodbye to these people who have been such a huge part of my world for the last five years.  I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye.  I'm not looking forward to the change of a new school, new colleagues, and new students.  (Nevermind a new state with new laws.)  In spite of all that, I have complete peace that this is the right decision for this time in my life.

So, I'm facing a lot of changes, and I'm not great with changes.  When I pulled up my blog, I realized my camping theme wasn't really accurate anymore.  If everything else is changing, might as well change this, too.  So, I did a "redesign."  Deciding on a name change was difficult, but I read this quote and felt it was a pretty good place to start.  "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." (Lao Tzu)  My journey is not technically a thousand miles, but it's sure going to feel like it.  It can be overwhelming to look at it all in a big picture and all the decisions that have already and still have to be made, but I can make it if I look at each single step.  So, this is the first step of my new journey.  I can't wait to see where it takes me!

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To all my friends, old and new
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