to feel deeply.

to feel deeply

I am a thinker, a feeler, a great empathizer.  Work is never just work for me.  There are people and feelings and all the real stuff attached.  My heart beats for the students, parents, and teachers that I work with each day – feeling all of the deep feels for disabilities and struggles and mental health concerns.  My heart longs  for our kiddos attending school in Haiti and our staff and all of the people I have met along the way on that little island nation. The daily news brings me sadness with terroristic acts, rebel fighters, refugees, black lives matters, standing behind the blue line…and so much heartache each day. Each one coming with a burden.  I am quick to tear up – emotions run easily for me. I feel the pain of others so, so deeply.  It is what keeps me moving at times, and stops me abruptly when the pain is just too much.  Leaning on others is necessary and carrying along the fears or worries of others is needed too.  I simply pray that God gives me enough strength to do what he calls me to do.  Feeling deeply – a blessing and a curse.


loving a lazy saturday.

Monday through Friday – my days are jam-packed. Filling up my google calendar with meetings and classroom observations and student interactions whenever I can. Loving my work. But there are those moments when you realize that you may be just a bit overloaded…like Thursday morning when I buzzed into Subway for a breakfast egg flatbread sandwich to go…stopped by the office to eat it and check emails before an afternoon training session. As I started brewing my keurig for a cup of coffee, unpacking my laptop and files from my school bag and chatting with a colleague, there was just one itty bitty problem – I forgot the CUP to brew the coffee!!!!  Steaming hot liquid poured all over my bookshelf, dripped down the back – warping the pressed wood paneling. Yikes!  Clearly moving just a little too fast for my own good.

So on this lovely leisurely Saturday, I have savored a slower pace.  Morning coffee IN A CUP as I read the newspaper (praying for those impacted by the horrific act of terror in Paris), an afternoon movie matinee with my hubby, a stroll through Target with nothing on the shopping list, and now a little college football on TV, as I can surf the web and google chat with my sis and her pal Jill!

Hope you are finding time to breathe…and savor the simple joys in life!  Here are a few of my current favs:

**Online Shopping – skipping the hectic pace ahead by  browsing and purchasing Christmas gifts now!

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 7.27.44 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-14 at 7.28.05 PM

**Microwave Egg Cooker – enjoying the best egg sandwiches with this easy contraption – 45 seconds – voila!  Top it with cheese and serve it on buttered toasted English Muffin bread. Yummo!


**Cute Post-It Notes and colorful flair pens – makes my work feel fresh and organized!

cute post it notes

Colorful Flair

**Practicing my Haitian Creole with this app!

Haitian French Creole

**Tis the season for staying warm!  There is nothing like a reversible infinity scarf!

Bass infinity scarf

**Drinking juice from these cute glasses!

bicycle juice glasses

**I really do try to stay away from processed food as much as I can…but oh do I love these yummy orange sweet rolls in a can!

Orange Sweet Rolls

**Fantastic recent movies…



**Cuddl Duds throw – sooo perfect  for a nap.  And the Cuddl Duds flannel sheets – heavenly.

Cuddl Duds




love god. love others.

That is all.  Nothing more, nothing less and yet everything in between.  Having just joined 12,000 women seeking an experience to connect and draw nearer to Jesus, I am still holding on to this solid bit of truth.  Love God – Love Others.

Really that is what we are called to do.  I heard messages from truth tellers at the Women of Faith conference this weekend. In fact a couple of my favorites shared anecdotes from their REAL lives (Jen Hatmaker and Glennon Doyle Melton.) Bright and beautiful women that tell it like it is – all the stuff.  The good, the bad, the brutiful.  I was encouraged to be bold – to be unashamed of this God of mine.  I was affirmed that God loves me…no matter what.  No need to earn it.

jen hatmaker


And in the midst of all this learning…I was able to do some of the real stuff of life that matters.  Sharing conversations of the heart with a bestie – reflecting on life and the twists and turns along the way – analyzing choices and hope and dreams – skipping sessions of the conference to sit by the river with a coffee.  Enjoying a long lunch and a cocktail at noon.  Wondering what “church” ought to look like, sound like, feel like – sharing how we may be called to live out our faith daily in our interactions with others…one day at a time.


And wait!  One more thing!  In the midst of all that learning….and sharing….and loving on life…

…I got to chat with our Haitian Staff!!!!  Yes!!!!  On the floor outside the auditorium…via google hangout…from a little laptop in Saint Paul to a chromebook in Port au Prince.  To see their sweet faces and be encouraged by their commitment to educate…to dream of next steps and plans for our first graduating class this spring.  Humbled. Inspired.

google hangout

Keep on living and loving my friends….one day at a time…one step at a time.  Love God-Love Others.


10,000 steps.

I just finished walking laps in my neighborhood to reach my 10,000 step goal. It is 8:39 pm. Finally got to my fitness goal for the day – didn’t quite make it in the sleep category.

10000 steps

Why is it so darn difficult to reach the simple goals of 8 hours of sleep at night and 10,000 steps in a day?  I used to be an athlete at one point back in the day – practicing the sport of the season for a couple of hours daily. And then there were the years of hitting the gym faithfully – step aerobics and treadmills and lifting weights.  But at this current stage of life, I am struggling to even manage 10,000 steps of walking on a regular basis.  In fact, I was so frustrated with my lack of time – actually my lack of discipline – in my failure to reach the goal, that I simply stopped wearing the little bracelet tracking device.  Ugh.

BUT…I am back on the wagon again today.  A fresh calendar to log the results is hanging in the fridge – my most recent attempt at that strategy lasted 3 days until I simply took the calendar down.  I purchased a new pair of sneakers to leave at work for a midday walk – however I have not put them on once in the past few weeks.  I have purchased sessions at Core Power Yoga that are just waiting to be redeemed.

Sleep and regular fitness ought to be ESSENTIALS in my life.  I have some familial history around high blood pressure and heart attacks – really hoping to escape that unfortunate gene.  My work can involve a bit of stress at times and the greatest antidotes to that are good sleep and a healthy dose of endorphins flowing!  So…what is my excuse?  Why not go to bed at a decent time?  Why not wake 30 minutes earlier for a little fresh air and a walk around the neighborhood? Why not put on the headphones and a little inspiring music for a quick evening walk?  Heck – I could learn to speak Creole, if I simply listened to the language recordings as I walked daily! Dang.  That is what I ought to do.  Yet the draw to watch the Nashville premiere or surf Pinterest or flip through People magazine lure me in.

Am I alone?  Are there others out there struggling to find time to be fit?  To get your sleep?  Do you set goals and achieve them? Have you established rituals and routines that work? If you do, then PLEASE chime in with your fantastic tips!  As for me – think I will go lay out some sweats and my sneakers for a little morning stroll and get ready to head to bed!  Good night y’all!

midlife contentment.

There is all of this hype around folks that have midlife crises…during our forties and fifties…questioning life, aging, whining over our lost youthfulness.  And yet…for me…I believe that I may have reached midlife contentment.  Gratitude for life as I know it…very little angst for what lies ahead…and not too much regret for all that has passed.  It is a good place to be.

My BFF Jen Hatmaker (you do know that if you read her stuff, you naturally feel like BFFs) says it so wisely in her book For the Love.  [If you have not picked it up yet, stop what you are doing, click on this LINK and order it now. Well…at least those of you that may be a midlifer or a mom or a Jesus loving justice seeker.]

You settle in. These kids, this husband, this little life you’re building…you say amen.  You are slower to tell everyone how wrong they are and quicker to gather your folks and breathe gratitude.  This is your place. These are your people. This is your beautiful, precious life. Probably about halfway done on earth, you lay down angst and pick up contentment.

Annie Dillard was right:  “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”  You decide your days should contain laughter and grace, strength and security. You realize insecurity, striving, jealousy, and living in comparison will eventually define your entire life, and that is not the legacy you want. Let the young whippersnappers duke it out; you and your people are busy enjoying a bottle of wine on the deck.

For the Love chapter 2: On Turning Forty

Dang. Ain’t that the truth? How we spend our days, is how we spend our lives?  My days are currently filled with long hours at work that I love, date nights, lazy Saturdays, planning for school in Haiti, inviting family and friends over or out for dinner, reading blogs and books and facebook posts, flipping through instagram and pinterest, church potlucks, Friday night football games, eating bowls of popcorn while watching law and order reruns, bible studies and book clubs, phone calls to my folks, text messages and long conversations with my girlie… and so. much. more.

A big highlight from last weekend, was a 5 hour, 7 city search with the hubby for a new living room chair. A yellow chair. From furniture shop to furniture shop we traveled…there was a drive-through at McDonalds for ice cream cones…a gas station refuel, where we purchased sunflower seeds and sodas for the drive…it was an ALL DAY EVENT…for a silly yellow chair.  And you know what?  It was awesome.  Serious marital bonding over this chair. No stress – no rush – just a Saturday adventure for a couple of contented midlifers.

Yellow Chair


Tomorrow begins another school year.  I always feel as if this is my bonus “new year” – a time to reflect and plan ahead – a fresh start as new routines take shape.  Many of my friends are educators as well and they have been busy setting up classrooms, designing pinterest worthy spaces, planning lessons, reviewing student info, and listening to all of the newsworthy sessions from school leaders on data, pbis, rti, personalized learning, technology integration, yada, yada, yada.


My friends are also parents, ready to send their kiddos off to another year – many feeling nostalgic at the quick pace these children are growing up…but most are READY to just send them off – bring on ROUTINES! GET THEM BACK IN CLASS!

summers finally over

For me…I am just now realizing that it has been an incredible whirlwind of a summer and all I can really say is WHEW!

#1 Team Trip to Haiti

Team Trip to Haiti

#2 Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties

Showers and Bachelorette Party

#3 Kyle and Breelynn’s Wedding

Bree and Kyles Wedding

#4 In-Laws living with us for 2 months this spring and then moving them to Senior Living in Woodbury

In-Laws New home

#5 Job interview, departing Saint Paul Public Schools after 19 years and a new job as Special Education Assistant Director in  ISD 197 – West St. Paul/Mendota Heights/Eagan

New School

(cheering on Henry Sibley’s football team-representing the HS Warrior gear!)


Twenty-five years ago [May/June/July 1990], Bob and I made a few life changes all within a seven week period:

  1. graduated from college
  2. got married
  3. moved to California
  4. started our first teaching jobs

Apparently – we live in the “go big or go home” mentality.  Good stuff – ALL OF IT.  Feeling incredibly blessed for the village of family and friends that are sharing this journey with us.  Couldn’t have done it without you.

Now bring on the simple life – routines and all.

wake up _ routine

no regrets.

Tonight, a wise friend shared her wisdom with me….telling me to live life fully with no regrets.  Love – even when tired…to be “all in,” when the easy response is to hold back…to really live with “no regrets.”

So what does that really even mean?  Each one of us will be called to live our own life…challenged to make the most of the gifts we have been given and the circumstances that surround us.  There will be moments we need to say no and then again times to just dive in – head first.  I may have a tendency to live life carefully…to live by the rules…to be cautious…to do the “right thing” – the “expected things.” And then again, as I grow in age and experience and hopefully a bit of wisdom…I am learning to live in the moment.

I have heard stories of heartache this week…of paralysis and suicide attempts and cancer and farewells and deep, deep heartache. Life can be a bugger.  So all we can do is take it one day at a time…one moment at a time…living and loving and breathing…

…napping – eating coconut gelato – telling new colleagues to bring their sneakers for a noon walk – savoring late night patio conversations on a work night – watching a marathon of a TV series – reading a classic book  – taking long bicycle rides – grilling pizzas on vacation – asking hard questions and really listening – balancing kale salads and chocolate brownies – sharing hugs and tears and prayers…

Live life well my friends – with no regrets.

No Regrets