Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Pioneer Woman - my Shero!

Ree Drummond may very well be my favorite #girlboss ever! I have to say, finally visiting Pawhuska after a decade of reading her blog and of watching her cooking show on Food Network these past several years, I was dubious as to whether or not all the hype would live up to my enormous expectations.

Well, did.

Her show’s catch phrase is “Welcome to my frontier!”

We definitely felt the welcome!

Now, more than ever, I am in awe of what this seemingly simple Oklahoma-living, kid-raising, Marlboro Man- loving cook, wife, mom, and business owner has accomplished with such grace, poise, and low-key fanfare. You walk into The Mercantile (known fondly as “The Merc”) and instantly feel as though you’ve stepped into the home of a very close friend. From the gift wrap counter, to the colorfully displayed shelves of dishes, novelties, and linens, to the friendly sales clerks dressed in sharp, black-button down shirts with the now-famous strands of PW’s signature turquoise beads - it all bathes you in a warm, fuzzy feeling of belonging, of truly being a part of her frontier.

Mom and I both picked up this first issue of her new magazine. Y’all. You NEED to stop by your local Walmart and pick up your very own copy! It has been a very long time since I have read a magazine from cover to cover, but that is exactly what I did with this one. The articles are relevant, the editorials are heartfelt, and the pictures are just pure Americana. And in today’s climate - who doesn’t need a bit of THIS in their life?

Just this weekend my niece referred to me as a “fan girl,” and I guess - even though I am a full grown, soon-to-be 50 year old, I am indeed a fan girl. There is something to be respected about a person with a dream that is totally centered around her family, her principles, and her desire to leave a positive imprint on the world around her that completely inspires me.

Maybe - from one transplanted gal to another - there is something about her that further encourages me to press further on my passion here at the B&B. To take heart that great things take great time to create, to nourish, and then to flourish.

Friday, June 23, 2017

When C H A N G E is good, but not always fun.

Change is never easy for me. It never has been. That dreaded feeling that collects in the pit of your tummy, rolling and tumbling in such a way that you're not sure if you are excited or just plain terrified.

One thing I've learned, though, is to trust the little nudge in the depths of your soul; when it urges change, I know I'd be wise to listen and consider my next steps very carefully.

In a way, this is quite funny that I still go through this myriad of emotions, considering that the B&B is continually going through changes, especially with this huge expansion we're in the big middle of right now. I think it must be because Mike and I are so focused on the end goal that the changes we endure during the process feel more like "the next step" rather than true changes.

When I signed my contract with my last district, I thought it would be where I would spend the remainder of my teaching career. There were no doubts in my mind; instead, there was such a sweet serenity in knowing I'd be teaching in the very community where I live, that the commute was a mere 9 minutes - door to door, and that I had found my forever school home.

I seriously never thought that would change.

I am so in love with where we live - the actual land, but also the neighbors, the community, the familiarity that has become our home over the past six years. My students here are at the heart of what I have done for 10 months out of the year, for these years. The thing is, they will always be mine. If a student has sat in my class, it is my hope and prayer that they know that NOTHING will change my feelings for them. Not their graduation. Not them moving on to the next grade. Not them moving away.

Not me leaving this district for another.

I have moved to a new district. Coming to this decision had nothing to do with my current students, nothing to do with the community, and nothing to do with the fierce love I have for all I have experienced here. Instead, it has everything to do with that little nudge in my soul that prompted me to move to a new challenge, a new opportunity.

To many my decision probably makes no sense. I now have a bit of a commute. I know only a handful of people at the new district. I'm leaving my comfort zone for a place where I am sure it will take me a while to find my footing, my place. I'm also leaving students who mean the world to me. Students that I would cross the country for if they needed me to. I'm letting a huge piece of my heart stay with them, even as I move on to my next chapter in my teaching journey.

The decision making process itself was too personal to even try to put into words here, if I wanted to. The truth is, when I have these whispers in my soul - God whispers, I like to call them - it is personal and not something I'm inclined to share publicly. If you know me at all, you will know that this decision was made after lots of prayer, lots of thinking, and many, many talks with Mike.

It's been several weeks now, and the rumbling and tumbling in my tummy is still there, but now it is pure excitement. I look forward to the new students who will be in my life, the opportunities I will have to make an impact on them and their families, and especially the open door which was swung wide for me after my time in prayer. My heart is ready to encompass all the new even as it holds so close and so dear all of the old.

To all of my former students, you have my heart for always! I will still be front row and center for all of your accomplishments in life, I will still laugh at all of the fun we had, and still want to hug you tight when I know you need it most. Nothing will change that.

To all of my soon-to-be students, very soon this heart of mine will encompass you as well. Even though I don't know you yet, my heart is with you - planning, preparing - for that moment when we meet and begin our time together.

Once again, I am a transplanted gal. Trusting the process. Cherishing the past. Embracing the NOW. Anticipating the future.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Don't miss the bliss.

“This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.”

Is this not the best thing ever?

That wherever I go I have the assurance that God has gone before me, paving the way for my time there. Way too often I get caught up in the busyness that is life - work,marriage, kids, mortgages, students, the B&B...The reality is that - if I chose to - I could stay busy every single second and miss the bliss that comes from being in this very moment.

I’m a planner by heart. If you don’t believe it, just take a look at my plannerS (yes, multiple planners because just one doesn’t cover my life. One for the business, one for school, and then my personal one where I attempt to reconcile all the facets of my life into one place.) I just can’t NOT plan. Menus, to-do lists, lessons, steps or phases to take our business to the next level. While planning is important in life, the very act of planning everything so precisely is that sometimes my thoughts are more future focused, on things and places and people that have not yet been manifested in my life.

It’s in these rare moments of clarity in the midst of chaos that I realize I am in “over-planning” mode, and need to do my best to stop, breathe, and take in this spot where I am right now. It may be a spot of joy, maybe a little bit of a hard place, or maybe even just a place of silence where there is not a lot of activity going on. In each of these times, I need to embrace the now, the blessings and the lessons that are in THIS space. They are for me, from my Father.

I don’t want to miss the bliss.