Monday, February 15, 2016

February Update!

I'm kind of depressed that it's taken me over a month to string together another post. Oh so much has happened since last time! Thankfully, this post brings much better news than the last one did...I don't have any life-altering news, but I don't have to write about anyone dying or almost dying, so that's a plus, right?!

Let's see, not long after my last post, I had to face the wreckage of my pickup once again. I cleaned all of my belongings out, which was equal parts therapeutic and terrifying. By the time I was done, I felt a little bit more at ease around it. I had a couple of casualties which made me a little bit sad...the first was my iPod, which I found without a screen and with mud caked into the battery. Yup, it was surely a goner by then! The other casualty was a pair of shoes--my beloved math TOMS :( Because lots of glass had shattered and they were canvas shoes, my dad told me that it'd probably be better if I got rid of them. While it was sad to see these things go, I knew that it was far better that I was physically there and able to get rid of them. In the meantime, Dad took no time to strip my pickup of any useful parts which could be used to enhance our other Toyota pickup (which is virtually identical). He pulled out the driver & passenger's seats, the driver's seatbelt, the windshield washer fluid cap, the battery (which I had just bought a month prior to the wreck), and about 15 gallons of gas. From here, we'll probably sell it to a junkyard so it doesn't turn into a rat trap and won't be such an eyesore in the yard (not to mention a constant reminder of the wreck). 

Not only was I initially terrified to go around my pickup, I was even more worried to drive again. However, I had to go to work a couple days after the fact, so I had no choice. I'm thankful for my mom who agreed to copilot my first driving trip, mostly for moral support. It helped me so much! Now, I feel like my confidence is almost restored, but I'm still VERY cautious on two-lane highways, especially ones without a shoulder. It'll take me a while to feel better about that, but it's part of the process. 

I've also completed almost 1.5 months of the second semester. I'll just say that this semester has been much more chaotic from a disciplinary standpoint. Not just for me, but all through the school. It is what it is, I suppose. I think/hope that it's settling out a little bit, but we shall see. I did have the opportunity to attend a workshop on classroom management last week, which I think will help me and my colleagues along! Before we know it, it'll be spring break, then it'll be May! Basketball season is almost over, which means that we're about to be in the midst of the spring sports extravaganza. Also, I'm still knee-deep in planning. I hate lesson planning a lot. Good news: we're using the same (slightly antiquated) textbooks next year, so I get to reuse lesson plans and don't have to worry about doing so much planning next year!!! Yay! Sometimes, it really is the little things in life, just saying!

What else has happened? A few weeks ago, Thomas and I were part of the annual TEC retreat. It was a beautiful, transformative weekend. We both served as table leaders and gave talks. Thomas's talk was about relating God's love to our lives, sharing pieces of our amazing love story! My talk was about explaining the awesome family that exists within the church and how we can give back to it. Even if it left me feeling exhausted, it was (as it always has been) TOTALLY worth it!

Here's the real news item for this blog post--I finally bought a new car! After doing thorough research, I finally settled on a Subaru Forester! I fell in love with its safety features (an IIHS top safety pick), its reliability, and its rugged nature, not to mention its economical value! From start to finish, I made all the big decisions and was able to finance it! I hate being in debt again, but I know this is worthwhile, so here we go! (Extra shout-out to Thomas for being my trusty sidekick at the dealership and in the negotiation process!)

In case you didn't know, teaching is an incredibly difficult job. I'm approximately 2/3 of the way through my first year, and I'm feeling ragged. For anyone who thinks that teaching is an easy job, I'd gladly let them take over a few of my tougher classes. The thought of doing this for the rest of my working years leaves me a bit uneasy. On one hand, it does get easier with time and experience. Also, I don't necessarily have to stay at one school for my entire career. Students change from year to year. On the other hand, when I'm married and (God willing) have a family, do I want to come home tired, stressed, and overburdened to the point that I have nothing left for them? Do I want to spend my evenings and weekends perpetually planning or grading? Summers and major holidays (not to mention snow days and weekends in general) are a perk. So is instant job security (I mean, I am a math teacher. I could get a job about anywhere that I'd be willing to go). Here's the million-dollar question: what the heck should I do with my life?! Alas, this is a question with no easy answer. More realistically, this is a question that I'm not equipped to answer at this point in my life. I know that right now, I'm called to teach high school math right where I am, which I'll definitely do at least til next year. After that, who knows what I'll do...well, God knows, and I'm sure he'll lead me to where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to do in due time!

Moving on from my mini career crisis, since I last posted, Wyatt turned 10! I now have 2 nephews (3 by the end of the year) who will be at least a decade old. Yes, I feel old, thanks for asking. The years have flown by with them, I can only imagine what it'll be like when I have my own children (hopefully)! Wyatt is quite the young man these days. He is wise beyond his years, compassionate as can be, and has dreams as vast as the horizon. We chat often about Harry Potter (his latest literary adventure), his desire to build his own restaurant (or food truck, he hasn't quite decided), and about life in general. He's always quick to ask me about how teaching is going and to offer words of encouragement. I hope and pray that he will continue to grow up to be an amazing young man, and that he won't let the world corrupt his contagiously positive attitude.

I have lots of travel plans queued up for this year already! I can't wait! Most of my plans revolve around weddings (I have six to attend so far!), but there are a few others. In June, Thomas and I will be traveling to his uncle's wedding in Connecticut. I'll also start traveling to visit Thomas in Arkansas. July will include a trip to Louisiana for my friend Kevin's wedding. In November (I think), I will be a bridesmaid for a friend's wedding. Even better, I get to attend another fun concert! Thanks to my foresight to sign up on the email list, I was able to buy tickets to see Coldplay perform in Dallas this August!!!!!! I got in on the presale group, and I'm so stinking excited!!!!! (Once again, shout-out to Thomas, who bought the tickets for me while I was at work...this man is amazing!) I'm sure more plans will materialize in the coming months...we'll see!

I feel like I haven't mentioned much about Thomas and I's wedding plans. I just wanna marry my best friend already! We'd love to get married sooner, but it wouldn't be wise. You see, Thomas took a job with JB Hunt, so he'll live in Arkansas for about a year for training (starting in June). After that, he'll be transferred to another branch, where he can stay more permanently, unless he takes a management position a few years down the road, bringing us back to Arkansas. Even though we hate that we'll be long-distance for ANOTHER year (especially during our engagement), it makes more sense financially and job-wise (for me). I'd have to transfer my teaching credentials multiple times (something I'm already dreading), and it'd open up multiple cans of worms that we don't need right now. So, here's where we are: Thomas is going to Arkansas, I'm staying here, and we'll get married right after he relocates next year. There are locations scattered throughout the continental US, but we're pulling for either Dallas, St. Louis, or some of the Tennessee/Kentucky locations. Of all the locations, Dallas is seeming the most enticing because we'd be close to Thomas's parents. (I never thought I'd say that I wouldn't mind living in Dallas...my, what love can do to a person!) We won't know where we're going until about this time next year, which is equal parts exciting and terrifying. We're still in a holding pattern when it comes to most of our actual wedding plans. The only big update is that we've signed up for marriage prep classes at church. We've considered a few songs for the ceremony/reception, but no decisions have be made. We should probably start compiling a guest list, but we still have time!

In another fun bit of information, Thomas's sister, Elizabeth, recently received the big college acceptance letter she has been waiting for! She graduates high school this May (another of my bigger planned trips for the summer) and will be attending St. Louis University (SLU). She fell in love with campus from the get-go, but really loved the fact that they have a great physical therapy program. To be a physical therapist these days, you basically end up with a doctorate. At SLU, there is a 6-year doctoral program in physical therapy, which would eliminate the need to apply to grad school, transfer to a new university, and spend an extra year (not to mention extra money) at another institution. With this acceptance, she'll be able to go from beginning to end at SLU! I'm so excited for her and to have a reason to visit St. Louis! (Hence why Thomas and I would be interested in a prospect to relocate there.) Good news all around!

Okay, I have to stop now. I have lessons that desperately need to be planned. I can't put this off anymore :( On the bright side, we have Friday off this week, so I only have three more teaching days this week! Woohoo! Hope all is well wherever you may be!