a deep breath

That title is really more of a reminder to me in this very moment than a title…a reminder that it’s so good for me to write, and to breathe, and that writing helps reflection and deep breathing.

6 weeks ago, I was at the beach. I was scheduled to be at the Storyline Conference, but because of a sequence of many events, I decided to sell my conference ticket and head to the beach. My dear friend, Lizzy, met me there, and we had a wonderful couple of days together. While there, I decided to definitely get Lucy, and I decided that Lucy and I should consider a permanent move to the coast.

We haven’t quite gotten there yet because when I got back to STL, Lucy arrived, and 5 days later, she had emergency surgery to remove ROCKS from her stomach. Then she wore a cone on her head for a week, and then it was Thanksgiving, and then I packed the following week and moved the week after that. Lucy and I are enjoying our new apartment, though I get tired thinking about all of the things that have happened to get to this spot.

IMG_4402

This past week I trimmed one of Lucy’s nails. I stopped after one because I immediately cut through the quick and it bled and bled, and I decided to not do that again. Well, home girl was needing a nail trim DESPERATELY today, so I took her to get her nails done at Petsmart. She hated it…whined, growled, snapped, barked, growled some more. The recurring theme when I get Lucy groomed is that the groomer will say afterwards, “So, she didn’t really like having ______ done. You might want to work with her on ______.” (Fill in the blank: face trimmed, nails touched, bottom of paws trimmed…) I want to say, “Well, she IS a puppy, and she’s learning. We are working on these things ALL.THE.TIME. When people give me feedback on how Lucy is doing, it does make me really examine the way that I communicate with my students’ parents! Sandwiching the negative between positives has never held so much meaning to me as it does now. Also, we really can’t expect perfection…like ever.

IMG_4206

IMG_4300

As we drove home I was thinking about how the last few months seem like a blur. I started wondering if I was crazy to get a dog, and then I thought how she has caused so much change, and in this case, though it’s been hard, it’s been necessary. She pushed me to move, which was positive. She’s opened up a heck of a lot of conversation with people…seriously, conversation dies down? Talk about Lucy. And I was bored before I got her…now I’ve gone to the opposite extreme and am desperate to slow down. She also keeps me in the present more than ever. I can’t think too much when my dog is needing to go out for some exercise. She can’t sit still and keeps me going…

IMG_4336

Recently, I read an article on the Storyline blog about settling for less when a fuller life is in reach. The author wrote about a man who had grown up in a yard with a beautiful maple tree. The maple tree started to cause problems to the foundation of the house, so the family cut the tree down. The man was sad about the loss of the tree, so his mother collected some of the acorns from the yard and mailed them to him. He planted the seeds in his own yard, and now has the new beginning connected to the old roots of that beloved maple tree. The author made the point that sometimes change is necessary to prevent the damage that our current circumstances could have on the foundation of who we are…but how there are always bits, always seeds, of the old that have become a part of us and we can take with us as we grow. That’s pruning.

IMG_4421

A couple of years ago, when I applied to teach at my current school, the education committee asked me to share some of my story and to tell how God had been working in my life. I told them that over the past year, it felt like God had taken the flower pot of my life that I had carefully constructed, and he just dumped it all out on the ground because there was something in there that was poisoning me. He didn’t do it out of cruelty, but out of love, he had to get the poison out. I didn’t know at the time that I would have the same pot-dumping experience multiple times in life. I’ve experienced it again recently, and now I scramble to rest and preserve the little energy I have. I’m thankful for a loving Father who withholds no good thing from his children, even when it might be something painful. Here’s to 2016, which I’m certain will be filled with pain and joy. Praying that we will see God’s goodness, love, and faithfulness to us in the midst of it all. And if you hear of an incredible (or even not so incredible) opportunity for Lucy and me to move to the coast, contact me IMMEDIATELY!

IMG_4406