why I love my job

Last week, I had the privilege of taking a group of honors students from my college to see To Kill a Mockingbird at the movie theatre. It is the 50th anniversary, and seeing the film on the big screen was an incredible experience.

I first read the book when i was 15 in Paula Molberg’s English class, and I fell in love. I mean fell hard. Since then, I have read the book at least once every year, and mostly at Christmas. This year will make the 35th year that I’ve read it. I have whole passages memorized solely by familiarity.

And yet . . .

I wept. Openly and without shame at that one scene in the movie. Stand up. Your father’s passing.

scout your fathers passing

It was a joy to see the students experience the movie for the first time in some cases and for the first time in the theater in all cases.

I love that I get to spend every day at a job that never feels like a job. It feels like a conversation you might have with your friends over coffee or at a dinner party, a conversation that is stimulating and rich and full of life.

It feels like everything I imagined that first day in graduate school when I walked into a classroom, filled with terror and anticipation, and pride. Yes, pride. That I had made it through. That I didn’t die in my sleep as I fully expected because that’s the kind of luck I have. That I walked in, took a great big gulp, and said, “Good morning. Welcome to English 1301.”

And my life changed in that moment in ways I never imagined.

So to this small group of students, I want to say thanks. Thanks for sharing the ride, for reminding me about the wonders of discovering To Kill a Mockingbird, for believing that your education is magical, and for trusting me with the wand. I promise not to break it.

to kill a mockingbird honors 2013

grandma’s desk

Not long ago I decided to fix a major problem with a desk that has great sentimental value to me. My grandmother had this elegant, feminine desk in her house when I was young, and when she passed away, I got the desk in my bedroom. I took very good care of it for many years, and when I was grown, I left it in our spare bedroom. My nephew moved in with us one year to go to college, and he left a wet towel on the floor that damaged the bottom of the desk.

blue  with glaze

blue with glaze

closeup of desk

Now, I love Justin, so this post isn’t at all about him but is about fixing something that was basically beyond repair. Nothing I did would remove the water damage and some of the other damage done from moving and rearranging, so I decided to paint it.

If you know who Miss Mustard Seed is (and if not, follow my blog roll on the right because she is magical), then you’ll recognize the style. Now, I can’t blame my poor skills on her because she has some wonderful tutorials and never makes the kind of mistakes I made on this piece, but still, it was my first attempt to salvage furniture, so I’m okay with the mistakes. I’ve made fewer since then. Here is the desk along the way. The pictures are from my i-phone, so I am def going to have to take new pictures, but for now, this at least gives an idea of what I’ve been up to.

Grandma's desk repainted

Grandma’s desk repainted

What is really fun about this picture is that you get a sense of the mess my living room was in when I was in between craft rooms. It’s a huge room at the front of the house, and it seemed like a good idea to use it for my craft room since I had outgrown the bedroom. Of course, it wasn’t long before the room became totally dysfunctional, and after my son moved to Austin (boo), my husband built me an incredible craft room (yay). The important thing is that this desk now has a home in the guest room and gets the loving care it deserves. I still think of Grandma every time I see the desk.

a difficult day

One of my coworkers was killed in a car accident Friday, so the week has been filled with figuring out what to do to help her students continue in the program. I’ve been so busy with the students, starting my own classes to finish my coursework for my doctorate, and teaching my own classes this week that I have had little time to reflect on losing Erica.

I want to know only one detail in this tragedy, and that is that she didn’t suffer. She died instantly and never knew what hit her, and that’s what I want to remember. I loved her as a friend and as a coworker, and we became very close after going through some difficult transitions within her program. She was strong and had grown into an incredible leader.

I thank God for the time He gave us to get to know each other and to appreciate and learn from each other. Erica, I will miss our 5:00 am swims, chicken fried steak at the line cafe, and your pedicures. I love you, baby, and I know you and your precious baby Cliff are flying high with the angels.

the dream closet

We moved into our corner farmhouse about fifteen years ago, and it was love at first sight for me. I, of course, agreed to look at lots of houses, but I knew the moment I saw this house, it was the one. When I called to inquire, the realtor told me they had put the for sale sign up that very day, and it was listed below our budget. Below. That never happens to me. I knew it was a match made in heaven.

The upstairs was a converted attic space that was usable, but by no means premium. One summer we gutted the entire thing, insulated it, and built a master suite. I am sharing a couple of pictures of the finished closet because it is amazing. A. Maz. Ing. A dream closet. I’ve purchased a good camera and a camera class, so I intend to take new pictures, but for now, let me share what was one of the nicest things my husband ever did for me.

This is the bedroom side, with the French door leading into the closet. We left the beams exposed and put a wonderful ceiling in.

closet 002closet 088closet 091closet 092closet 145closet 147

It’s hard to tell, but each of the racks running down the middle has a rack on the other side, so we have approximately 72 feet of hanging racks. The window seat is surrounded by shoe shelves, and each side has shelves for purses and sweaters. This summer, I sewed cushions and curtains for the window seat, and I will show updated pictures when I post pictures of our bathroom redesign from this summer.

Back to School

apple

When I was little, I used to get an itch to go back to school. I would practice putting on my new outfit. Pack and unpack my school supplies, carefully labeled with my name in progressively improved penmanship. Sharpen my pencils, and clean out my desk in preparation for all the homework I imagined I would complete there but, inevitably, sat on my bed completing.

When I was older, I would polish my nails, practice my makeup and hair, and clean out my closet, arranging my clothes into outfits. I would spend just one more day in the sun, bleaching my curly hair with lemons then rubbing them across my cheeks to get rid of the freckles.

So I found a job where, every year, there is a first day of school. I can rearrange my closet, get a mani-pedi, and pack my bookbag. The fall semester starts next week, and I can’t wait.

my first craftroom

A few years ago, we converted an extra bedroom into my craft room. At the time, I did mostly paper crafts and a little sewing. I thought I would share pictures of the room because I was so blessed to have a dedicated space where I could spread out and create without messing up the whole house. I will post pictures of my new craft room soon, and it is amazing. I loved this room and had fun crafting in it, but I outgrew the storage when I started sewing more. I am very thankful that we had the space and the furniture to make this a happy space to create.

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