Dear diary

Quote

I’ve been journaling this summer.

This is something I have attempted throughout my life. I usually make it two entries in. Two entries, and then it goes into a drawer or under a bed. Those journals were often selected for their interesting covers or fancy organic paper. So many pages left untouched…

But when I would feel that desire to journal again, I didn’t want to write in the old one with two feeble and uninspired entries and a cover that screamed whatever I was trying to project about myself the previous year. I just had to go get a new one– with a special cover to indicate my taste at the time, or at least the taste to which I aspired. Inevitably, the pattern would hold true and two entries later, our brief tryst was over.

So, this summer, I vowed to break the pattern.

My journal is plain black, free of decor, ornaments, or inspiring quotes. The pages are plain white– no lines or colors or pictures. It’s basic and beautiful in its simplicity. I am also writing in a different way. There is no account of the day, no he said-she said. I’m writing my thoughts, my fears, my hopes, and my prayers. And I’m making the writing time intentional– journeying somewhere to write. Coffee shops are good. Today I tried a pub– also good.

I’m really enjoying writing about Brian. Sometimes I see things more clearly when they’re written down. No faces or expressions or emotions– just the black text on the white page. But I tell my journal things I don’t tell Brian, and that’s not good. Sure, I will have private thoughts that I may never share, but I’m telling my journal things I should tell Brian. It’s helping me to see that I’m holding back and not being completely honest.

The solution is not for Brian to read my journal, though he’s free to. The solution is for me to be open and honest with my husband, even on the hard stuff. Even on the stuff that’s easier to put into writing than into conversation.

Note: A Spaten Franziskaner is a perfect pairing for an hour of journaling– thank you, Flying Saucer!

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train. –Oscar Wilde

Surrounded by beauty

In the past two weeks I have finally had time to do this thing I’ve really wanted to do– I’ve been getting to know the women in my missional community group from church. And I found out that I am surrounded by beautiful women.

I know in my head that living in community is important. I know that I need to have women in my life who share my beliefs and spiritual goals, women that will call me out on my sin and my selfishness, women that will point me back to God. But living that out is a very difficult thing.

Living that out means being honest, being vulnerable, showing how dark and disgusting you are on the inside. Living that out means loving others when their dark and disgusting bits are showing, and helping them to see those bits and ask God to change them. It’s tough. We are selfish, rebellious creatures.

During the school year, I didn’t have the time to see these women one on one, but that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s been incredible. There are women in my life who have been through serious suffering and sorrow, and they just smile. They share how God brought them through it and never left their sides. There are women in my life who have similar struggles to my own, they have the same worries or fears, women with the same questions– and now that we’ve shown each other these things, we can get through them together. We can pray together and we can pray for one another.

I just feel so overwhelmed by them; they are so beautiful! They have these hearts that just want to love and to serve, and I am so blessed to know them and get to walk alongside them.

The stay at home wife

I have become the stay at home wife.

Now that school is out, I’m home all the time. I am excited to take care of my husband and my home. I’ve been baking, cooking meals, doing laundry, organizing and unpacking– all sorts of wifely duties. Today was consumed by laundry, ironing, cooking, grocery shopping, and finding permanent homes for some of my things. So, after dinner dishes were cleaned up and I sat back to review my day, I couldn’t figure out what I’d really done.

I thought about it for a while. I mean… the fridge is full and so is my husband’s belly, the hamper is empty, all Brian’s work clothes are ironed, and there are clean sheets on the bed. Things were accomplished today, but yet, I didn’t feel accomplished.

I mulled over this for a while. Then, it hit me– in doing what I did today, it allowed Brian to do what he did today. My husband had important work calls to be on. He was on time for them, caffeinated, and fed. Brian is working on something for a ministry at church. He had a chance to work on it while I did the grocery shopping and cooked dinner. Then tonight, we were able to lounge on the couch after dinner, watch a show, and then talk and laugh. We were not worrying about the laundry or chores, because they were done.

I am fulfilling an important role right now: I’m serving my husband. It’s beautiful, really. It’s what we promised each other that we would do on our wedding day. And now, with summer, I get a chance to live out that promise and serve a little extra.

Excavating my past

In the spirit of getting to everything I put off during the school year, I went home to the ranch to (partially) fulfill a promise to my mother.

My room at home, where I was living for five months before the wedding, was a mess. A wreck. Disgusting. I’ve lived at home several times post college and it has never actually been cleaned out from high school. There were literal layers of my history– high school awards, college textbooks, sorority knick knacks, Turkish pillowcases, Starbucks aprons, African jewelry, items from my classroom, and then all kinds of wedding stuff. It was like excavating my personal past.

Before:

  

Brian and I have taken FOUR loads of stuff from the ranch. Today I completely filled Brian’s car for trip number FIVE. I still couldn’t fit everything in the car, which means there will be at least on more trip. But I did manage to turn the wasted space into a guest bedroom in three and a half hours. A small miracle.

After:

    

Brian and I will reach the three month married mark on Sunday. There’s still so much to be done to fully bring these two lives together. Well, the stuff from the two lives anyway… It isn’t done begrudgingly. It’s actually still all very exciting.

There’s barely room the car for me!

Almost there

Well, today was Lindsey’s last day with her students, her room is cleaned out and all the grading is done. After a social engagement after work on top of everything else, she was exhausted. The minute she got off her feet she was done– straight to sleep.

I have seen my wife handle this entire school year, our first full school year together. I grew up in a family of teachers so some of what she has dealt with was expected, but plenty of it was a surprise.

Growing up with a teacher as a mother it should be no surprise that I hold up education as one of my central values. I deeply respect teachers for what they do, and even more for the crap they have to put up with. Having seen it all this year, and there was a lot to deal with, I am seriously impressed with my wife.

It is really interesting to get to know your spouse in the professional sense. To see behind the scenes of someone else’s job in a different field than I am in has been fascinating. I was a fan of teachers before, but I am even more in her corner now. Seeing this side of Lindsey has been awesome, and I hope I can learn to help and support her even more down the road.

But summer starts tomorrow after she leaves school. Sure, I still have to work but in a way I expect this to be a different summer for me. She will be around the house, she will be able to relax, and I know she has a stack of books she is dying to read. And, if promises are the be believed, the frequency of baking will increase. Which is always a good idea.

I want to close out with a note directly to my lovely wife:
Lindsey, I love your dedication to your job and your students. I love how much you care about them, and how much you care about your subject. I love how you dealt with the struggles and strife, and I loved to see how you celebrated the accomplishments of your team and your students. You are a great teacher, and you are truly going to be phenomenal as your career grows. I’m looking forward to a great summer with you. 🙂

B

Sentimental exhaustion

I’m hunched over in my teacher chair exhausted. This is the last week of school. Summer is just around the corner. Boxes, supplies, posters, decor, and books comprise an organized chaos that envelops half of the floor space and several desk tops. As I survey my semi-barren classroom, I’m filled with emotion.

Emotion #1: Exhaustion

I’m physically, mentally, and emotional beat. 6th graders take a lot out of you– so does planning for them, grading their work, cleaning up after them, managing them, loving them, and trying not to scream at them. A school year is just the right length– any longer and we would have all quit. Summer is what keeps us teaching, what keeps us sane.

Emotion #2: Sentimental

This is my first classroom. I’ve been in it for two years now. Both years were difficult in their own ways. Both years were fulfilling in their own ways as well. I may not be here next year. I just don’t know yet. I may be in another classroom down the hall, I may be in another school. But this will always be where I started, where I made my first mistakes, where I celebrated my first successes. This yellow elongated cave with no windows has been my home for two of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life. I’m going to miss this space.

So, as I count down to Friday (2 more days with kids and 1 without!) I’ve got a lot going on in my head. I warned the husband that this week I’d be running the gamut of emotions. I reminded him that last year I sobbed all of the way out the door. But then he reminded me of something. Brian reminded me that this year is different from last year, that everything would be different from now on.

True, I may not know what classroom or school or job I’ll be in next year. True, I’m saying goodbye to some of the craziest and most amazing students ever. True, that this week is hard and exhausting and a wee bit tumultuous. However, the difference now is that I have him. I have a husband who will always be there, no matter what or where I’m coming home from. I have a husband who will listen and console and celebrate with me. No matter what God has in store for me, I’m not alone in this journey. He also promised to put up with and love me this week through my insanity. And boy, am I glad of it!