It’s time to say goodbye

Hello friends,

I want to thank you for being faithful readers these past however many years I’ve kept up with this blog. You have followed me down some rabbit holes of directions, I must say. But this blog has been very helpful for me to share parts of my story, learn what I really want to say, and explore my faith.

That being said, I think it’s time to say goodbye.

I have done a lot of thinking about what it is I truly want to share and who I want my target audience to be, and my thematic message as well. I have decided to document something God is teaching me about that I expect to be a life-long journey, and not just a momentary fad.

Please check out my new blog: The Wannabe Minimalist.

Here I will document my journey to leading a more simplified yet meaningful life.

I hope you will join me for this next step in the adventure of my writing career, and I pray you too will be inspired to cut the clutter out of your life and practice saying yes to the very best of life. I won’t say too much, as I am hoping that the blog will explain itself.

Peace out. Namaste. See ya later. Good night! It’s been real ❤

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I Am From

In Allison Vesterfelt‘s talk on Tribe Writers, she goes back to the basics with telling her audience of writers to reflect on where they came from to get in touch with their true voice. So often we write to build a platform or to make money or for an editor. But when can we say the last time we just simply wrote from where we are and what we came from? Here’s an exercise she lead the group through that I tried out– it’s call an I Am From poem.

FullSizeRender (1)Here’s mine:

I am from cross stitched samplers and bubbling fish tanks

From ez mac after school and silver bear banks

I am from noisy heaters that pop and snap

From advent wreathes and windows with plastic wrap

I am from Dave Matthews and the Goo Goo Dolls

From disney store window shopping and senciled on walls
I am from nutcracker “guys” and Tom Chapin tapes

From homemade costumes and hand-sewn little red capes

I am from songs to wake me up and songs when mom gets home

From the blues in dad’s garage, from french braids and a fine tooth comb

I am from out of tune grand pianos and starburst jelly beans

From pop up trundle beds and oyster stuffing

I am from playing “catch”–
a play fighting game that often ended in tears

I am from softball and track, and running races over these past 20 years

I am from all of these things and so much more

And I am glad of where I came from and glad for what’s in store

My New Job as a PHM: On quitting teaching, walking labyrinths, and foolishness (part 1)

A lot has changed in a matter of about a month.

I quit my job. That was probably the biggest thing.

No longer am I a CPS teacher on the Southside of Chicago. In fact, no longer am I a teacher at all, unless you count fitness classes, but I don’t. No longer am I getting a large paycheck every 2 weeks either… which is also quite an adjustment.

Can I be honest? Oh, you know I will be no matter what you say– I’ve been wanting to quit my job at CPS since about the second week of school this past year. Going there everyday for the rest of the school year was very hard for me. There were days when I could barely keep it together before the kids left, and sometimes when I had to physically leave my classroom to keep from breaking down in front of them all. The end of the weekend was hard, and so was the close of a long break. Getting out of bed was hard. Walking through those doors was hard.

But do you know what as harder?

Actually making up my mind to leave. 

That was way harder.

“I am not a quitter.”

— This is what I kept telling myself day after day. But inside my soul was crying out. Inside I knew that I could be so much more alive and so much more fulfilled in a different environment, doing a different kind of work– a different calling.

After wrestling with God about this for month after month, I finally felt it deep down in my bones: the only reason I would be staying is for the financial security; I was afraid to leave only because of the pay cut it would mean for me. Was that a reason to hang on to a draining job that was quickly squeezing the life out of my passion? Would staying be truly acting out of my identity in Christ?

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out “Abba! Father!” The spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” -Romans 8:15-16

My heart burned with the conviction that God would be with me, wherever I went and whatever I was doing. Being a CPS teacher was a calling— for a time— and leaving my job as a CPS teacher was also a calling–for this time. I couldn’t live as a true Child of God if I was acting out of fear– being a slave to it, and in doing so, a slave to my identity as a teacher.

I mentioned before about how God took my identity away from some things, and so doing, healed me of a 7-year-long battle with bulimia, and so I knew that if God wanted to take away my identity from the role as “Teacher”, then some serious healing or blessing would probably follow. See, whenever He takes our identity from something, he places it in Himself. This way, we are never defined by this world, but by He who overcame the world. This, in and of itself, is a blessing.

What could I do? God did not give me a spirit of fear! I informed my principal that I would resign from teaching at the end of the year. 

As more and more people “found out” about my departure from CPS, there were mixed opinions.

Some were proud of me, wishing they could do the same with their disliked job.  Some were confused– why would I quit a high-paying job that I was having such success in? Some were supportive, encouraging me to do what what was best for me and my family. Others were discouraging, implying that I was quitting and giving up too soon.

I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t let any of their opinions effect me. But after some Spiritual Direction and time of solitude at the Portiuncula Center for Prayer, I found myself ready to truly say “Goodbye” to my former job, be utterly grateful for every part of it– the good and the bad– and to fully embrace this new and refreshing season in my life.

At the Center, there is this blabyrintheautiful labyrinth that the hermits can walk while meditating or praying. There is only one way into the middle of it, but you must walk the entire interior of the maze. There are no dead ends and no ways to skip or even look ahead in anticipation. You simply have to follow the path, trusting that it will lead you to your destination.

This is how it is when you follow God. You cannot look ahead but a few steps. You cannot fear getting lost, because He is guiding you, and although you may stumble, you will not fall off the path (Psalm 37:24). This takes a lot of trust, and many people on the outside will probably just think you are taking the long way, going around in what appears to be meaningless circles and odd turns that make no sense. But…

“..the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” -1 Corinthians 1:25

What appears foolish to the world is often the wisdom of God. What appears like weakness to humans, often is taking the mighty strength of God. These facts have comforted me as I think about how my career change may be perceived by others.

All this to say that I now have a new profession.

I call it a “PHM”.

I’ll be explaining what that is in a later post, but rest assured that is it far more energizing, fulfilling, and live-giving than my previous job, and I am so grateful to God that this job is part of my journey on this labyrinth of life. Even if the rest of the world scoffs, I have the reward of my Savior shouting “Well done faithful servant!” in the far corners of my heart.

Stay tuned for more… I’ve got  to get back to work.