Saturday, February 9, 2019

i am not dead...just teaching middle school...and other big Aughtmon news

It has been about 5 months since my last post.
Being homeroom teacher for 25 6th graders has seemed to edge out my blogging time....
just a smidge.

But I wanted to make sure that you all know that I am still alive and kicking.
And that in this season of learning and growing and navigating a new teaching gig,
that the Aughtmon crew is in the midst of a ginormous transition.

In the way that Jesus does, He has us embarking on a new path.
After much prayer and pow-wowing with our church in these last few months,
Scott and our leadership team have determined that Pathway will be coming to end
in June.

After 14 years of loving and teaching and stretching and being together,
this season is coming to an end. Over the next 5 months, we will be
launching our church family into finding new church homes.

And now I am crying into my keyboard. Because we all love each other like crazy.
When Scott announced it to the church in December, we all had a good bawl together.
You can know that this group of people are THE BEST!
So we will be having a party to celebrate all that God has done in and through these folks
for our last gathering. I am sure there will be lots of tears mixed in with the joy.

As for our family, we are being launched into a new season of....
not quite knowing what is next.
It is funny how we can think that we know who we are and what we are and
where we are going and then realize how amazingly little we know about almost everything.

But here is what I do know. Jesus knows.
He knows our next steps and our straightest path.
He knows that I like to have a plan and I get a tad anxious with THE UNKNOWN.
He knows that want my boys to feel safe and loved during this shift.
He knows that I want Scott to feel supported and encouraged during this transition.

(Let's be honest. Scott is doing almost all the supporting and encouraging right now.
Because that is who he is! I am mostly eating a lot of chocolate.)

You may be thinking, "Sue, aren't you freaking out?"

I have a Ph.D. in Freak-out-ology.

But with these past two years of my transition to teaching,
working as an project editor instead of a writer,
moving from our beloved home of 11 years to a tiny house,
moving from the tiny house to a city 40 minutes away from family and friend,
and getting ready to send Jack off to college this fall...
I am thinking....I am tired of freaking out.

So I am moving towards a place of faith. Of believing what I can't see.
Of reaching out to my people in my dark moments and asking for prayer
when I can't sleep or have heart palpitations or get lost in worrisome thoughts.
Of leaning into Scott and his love for me while we wrestle with next steps.
Of encouraging my boys to know that if we trust Jesus, He will make our paths straight.

Jesus always does.
He always brings light and clarity and hope.
(Usually way later than I am hoping for...I tend to get impatient.)

So I wanted you all in on the journey with me. Because, you are my people, too.
In these last 10 years of blogging (10 YEARS, YOU GUYS!!!)
your words of  encouragement,
the sense of solidarity your sisterhood (and brotherhood...come on, I know you guys read, too)
has lent me,
and companionship you have offered me on this crazy life journey...
have been both monumental and instrumental in my own life.


So I will keep you posted about what is coming next.
As soon as Jesus tells me....

Saturday, September 8, 2018

you are my density....or my destiny

Yesterday was one of those days where I had Jen Hatmaker's phrase come to mind,
"Fix it, Jesus, fix it."

I sat at my desk after my last class pondering how the class had gone down.
Thinking about my lesson. My approach. My ability to challenge young minds.
My classroom management skillz. Skillz with a z because z stands for zero.

Then my mind shifted to my house that I was headed home to.
The one that looks like the Wreck of the Hesperus.
This ship is featured in a maritime poem in where said ship was obliterated.
That would be my living room.
I have this weird thing where if my house is a wreck..I feel like a wreck.

And then I thought about how I am pretty sure that
2/3 of my boys did not pack their lunch and had eaten air or dollar cup o' noodles
from the snack bar, which is sure to petrify their insides with monosodium glutamate.

Then my super positive train of thought led me to think about
the pile of grading on my desk,
the devotions I am editing over the weekend,
the week-long field trip I am prepping for in 2 weeks,
the retreat I am speaking at in 3 weeks, and
the fact that Scott and I haven't gone a real date in...I actually can't remember how long.

Then the thought popped into my mind that Jack will be leaving for college in less than a year.
That thought alone lays me out flat. Oh..and that he needs tennis shoes. There's that.

(I am not kidding, people, this is exactly how my mind works. PRAY HEAVY.)

Then I think,
Am I doing what am I am supposed to be doing right now? 
Is there something that I am missing? 
Is there some way that I can sew up all the jagged edges of my soul
and make this piecemeal life of mine have some semblance of order? 
Am I missing out on my destiny and that is why life feels so wild?

(And by destiny, I clearly mean, a life without issues, tragedy, stress, and cup o' noodles?)

The word "destiny" always reminds me of George McFly in Back to the Future approaching
his future wife and saying, "You are my density."

Maybe in this destiny (or density) is in question. Because I feel undone.

So. Then we come back to the clearly needed prayer of  "Fix it, Jesus, fix it."

And as I was doing all this thinking (worrying, kvetching, sulking, stressing out) yesterday,
I was struck by the thought (HOLY SPIRIT, IS THAT YOU?)
that Jesus may not be that concerned about altering my circumstances.
Of course, there are moments in time when yes, absolutely,
in order to bring hope or healing or change that
He shifts the earth on its axis to change the course of my life
(marriage, motherhood, speaking in public, teaching middle school, anyone?)

But mostly, in the ordinary every day scheme of things?

He is using my circumstances to shape my soul.
Those rough uneven edges of my life are whittling away all pretenses and pride.
I am in desperate need of a Savior...and it shows.

The pressure of work and home and church and parenting are squeezing me.
What is coming out? Apparently some anger, discontentment, and a hearty helping of sarcasm.
I get snarky when life feels tight and overwhelming.

And the people that surround me? Jesus has them there to show me who I am.
I see my life mirrored in their eyes.
Am I loving? Am I forgiving? Am I gentle with my words? Am I ushering in hope and peace?
I don't know.
What are my people saying? How are they feeling around me? 
Is Jesus spilling out of me when life is cracking open my heart?
Maybe. Sometimes. Possibly not yesterday.

These pressures and hard places and impossible challenges...this life that I am living...
Jesus doesn't want to "fix it."

He is
With love and hope and prodding and prying and some uncomfortable situations.
He is allowing this world and all of its imperfectness to rub against my hopes and dreams
and reveal my destiny.

My destiny is not about what I am doing.
It is about who I am becoming.
And WHOSE I am becoming.

A little more each day...we are Him.
From glory to glory.
(Or from Wreck of the Hesperus to Wreck of the means the same thing.)
Our character is revealed more in our failures than our successes.
Our hearts are re-shaped during trials and struggles.

His glory at work in you and real life...right now.
And if we let Him...He will use every single thing in our lives,
the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the difficult and the joyful,
to pour out His life through ours.
A collaborative destiny.

And that is a beautiful destiny to be a part of, don't you think?

Saturday, September 1, 2018

and the moral of the story is...don't take the trash out at 4:00 a.m.

These first three weeks of teaching 6th grade have had an interesting side effect.
I keep waking up at 4:00 in the morning.
Even though I am crazy tired.
My brain is saying, "Right now, in the pitch black of early morning, why not think about grammar?"
And then I think, Maybe I should get up and take advantage of this time...even though I am running on about 5.7 hours of sleep, my eyes feel like sand and I feel like crying a little.
Then my body responds to my brain by saying,
"Stay where you are. Don't move. Don't get up. Nothing good can come of it."

So I have been lying in bed, for another hour and a half, tossing and turning,
worrying, running through weird classroom scenarios and questioning my lesson plans
until I rise, thoroughly exhausted, at 5:30.

Super fun.

All that to say...Scott, Jack and Will were away on high school retreat this week
and Thursday morning, I woke up at, you guessed it, 4:00 a.m.
Just in time to realize that I was hearing the garbage truck barreling down the street.
And just in time to realize that Addie and I had forgotten to drag our trash and recycling to the curb.

So I thought, "I am going to go put it out now."

I got up and threw on Addie's shoes next to the front door.
(They are just a smidge too big for clown shoes).

Then I proceeded to carefully drag our giant trashcan to the curb.
Our next door neighbor is the sweetest older lady
and the rumble of the trash can on our cobbled path is a terrifying noise to wake up to.

So when I saw that we had very little recycling I thought,
"I will just pick up this ginormous can and carry it."

In hindsight, this is the moment that was screaming, "SUE, GO GET BACK IN BED!"

I made it about 5 steps down our path, misjudged my footing,
(half of my foot was on the path and half was in the planting area filled with lavender),
and rolled my ankle.


One second I was tiptoeing to the street holding a huge can in my arms...
the next I was laying in our wood chips gazing up at the stars.

As my Grandma Blakeley would say, "Mercy Days!"

I just laid there and thought, "This was a bad idea."

a. Because of 4 a.m.
b. Because walks in foggy moonlight never end well
b. Because of carrying a garbage can the size of Rhode Island
c. Because of clown shoes
d. Because no one was going to get cholera if I didn't take the trash out
e. Because it is super uncomfortable to lay in wood pokey
f. Because Addie told me that our cat uses this area as his private potty

It was so very clear as I lay there in the lavender with a throbbing ankle,
trash can flung to the curb,
that maybe my pre-dawn decision making skills are not the best.

I also had the split second thought that if we had a surveillance camera, I would really like to have seen what that all looked like going down. Because I have never hit the ground that fast before.

So I hobbled back into the house, iced my ankle and then crawled back into bed until 5:30.
I made it through the school day with ibuprofen and an ace bandage left over from Will's last injury.
When I finally made it to the doctor later that afternoon,
she listened to my story with very highly raised eyebrows.

"What time in the morning did this happen?"
"4:00 a.m."
"Because you were...."
"Taking out the trash..."
"Hmmmm." (I think that sound meant, "I feel bad for you...for lots of reasons.")

Now I have crutches.
This is the best.
Because you know how awesome I am with crutches.
And an ankle brace.
She said sprains are tricky and can take 6-8 weeks to heal.
Mercy Days.

So this is my 4:00 a.m. advice to you.
1 out of 4 doctors does not want to hear about how you pitched headlong into your herb garden.
(The other 3 enjoy a good laugh.)
The truth need to rest.
Your body parts need to be kept safe and whole.
And crutches are Satan's unwieldy tools of discouragement and upper body torture.
I believe this is a sound word from the Holy Spirit.
May Jesus keep you and your ankles safe in the coming weeks!