As most of you know, I have been teaching for 6 years now and have loved every minute of it. In my first days at Seacoast Charter as a kindergarten teacher, I remember fearing how I would fill the day up or how I would learn to manage 18 sets of eyeballs just wanting to play. Walking in the hallway was an adventure and bathroom time became way too much information. I remember the faces of children that just weren't ready to read and then seeing them blossom throughout the year. It was so much more than teaching though. These kindergarteners were leaving their moms for the first time in their lives, and they needed a caretaker while away from them. Not only that, but the parents were clinging to the hope that I would be there to bandage the scraped knees, consult them through the tears of a snatched pencil, or discipline them when they hit another person for taking their ball at recess. I realized that teaching kindergarten awakened me to a taste of the stages of children, but I was not ready to be a mom myself.
Getting married and moving to Atlanta made me shift gears into teaching 2nd grade. I become part of a Dunwoody community at Austin that truly opened their arms to me (after checking me out of course, ha!). I was a teacher from another state with a new counseling degree in hand. Other than that, no one knew anything beyond my resume. For three years I have used that counseling degree to mediate between the recess game unfairness, the crisis of gel pens being taken without permission and the popularity contests. It was an entirely different world, but it has brought so much laughter. These children have made me enjoy coming to work everyday. They have inspired me with their inquisitive questions and have pushed me to the full creativity when making lessons that would impact them. I loved watching them flourish by taking their learning into their own hands. From the classroom, they would go home and have their parents read to them related books for fun and do science experiments (because they wanted to). I have never seen the amount of self motivation that these children have had because of the support they are constantly getting at home. They continue to reach beyond their potential because the adults around them hold them to that standard.
For the first time in 6 years, I realized that I have invested my life into so many children and parents. I have built relationships with teachers, principals, parents and students. My grade team and familiar faces at work have been a family to me. I could not begin to describe the feeling of people praying constantly for me and working beside me. When I went into teaching I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God would open doors to these people. Within that time, they shared life with me. They saw me get engaged, take the leap of getting my Masters in School Counseling, get married, move, have Jordan start his program, and now have a little one on the way. After all of this, I realized that God had laid the foundation for me taking on one of life's greatest adventures... being a parent.
I have reached that stage of not being able to sleep, the back aches, the heartburn and huffing it up the stairs like I ran a marathon. All of this is preparing for our little coming into the world. It is absolutely amazing to have felt the first butterfly wing of a flutter inside me to the point where she kicks me with every turn of the night. I told Jordan that she moves the most when he is around. No one can question that God is behind such a phenomenon. Now that the school year is coming to a close (today is the last day..yay!), I am in the "nesting" mindset. I have gone from an organization nut at work to a heating pad loving mama. I have exchanged my pencil skirts and high heels for leggings under the "shirts" (that used to be dresses).
I know that teaching has been a blessing to me, but now it is time to take the leap and stay home. Jordan and I always wanted this to be a possibility, but God moved enough to make this happen for us. God opened the door of PA school, and now Jordan will be taking care of us. I am so thankful for all the sacrifices he makes to let me have this chance to stay home. In fact, I have spoken with so many women that did this for 8-10 years and had to go back to work for retirement. When I asked them if they regretted staying home, they said "not for a second." It definitely means taking a leap of faith.
My side business of doing art can be in full swing. For a year now, I have been managing teaching and doing my art on the side. Now, I can truly enjoy doing it on my own time. Anyone who knows me also knows that I have loved doing art since I was a girl, and I can only hope that our little one will enjoy it as much as I do. I am not someone who enjoys advertising or marketing myself, but I also know I love what I can make for others. My products are not something most of us can buy on the fly, but they impact the recipient for years to come. It takes time to craft the details of choosing the wood, cutting down the boards, sanding them down, drawing the picture, burning the picture, staining and then adding the hanging hardware to the back. It isn't thrown together and it isn't lacking in quality.
I say all of this to say that every one of us has made sacrifices for the dreams we have had or are having. It might be the dream of staying home or maybe it was the dream of moving to a new city for a new start. Every dream had to be encouraged and you have all encouraged me to keep wood burning. Any dream requires a leap of faith. I am confident that you will think of my art for the various gifts for others chasing their dreams of graduation, becoming a mom, celebrating an anniversary or saying their vows on the wedding day. The difference now is that I have taught generations of students, but now have the chance to teach my own, while doing my art. Chase your dreams as I am chasing mine. I can't wait to be a part in your greatest adventures!