Tip-Toeing Austrians and The South


My classroom, those 2nd grade stinkers, have provided me with such an enriching and challenging experience that I honestly feel, pinky swear, that I could write a book. Or two. I may or may not have started already. Last school year was rock bottom. I often found myself on my knees, full-well knowing that there was absolutely NO way I was going to make it through on my own strength. I was planning my out - An Americorps position in NYC (fulfilling my dream, to say the least). Little did I foresee MY dream coming to a halt as another, unexpected dream came forward. My Oliver. I pinned something on Pinterest recently that went something like this: I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be. Oliver tip-toed his way into my life at exactly the moment I needed him most. With his support, encouragement, shoulder, and faithful ear, I survived.  The Lord and His timing.

Then there's this year.

While I love my home at Detroit Enterprise Academy, I've been feeling a tug toward something different.  I want the chance to take what I've learned from Detroit and apply it somewhere fresh.  In an interesting turn of events, apparently Oliver's Visa is also soon-to-be in need of a fresh face.  If he stays in Michigan, he will be under Austrian contract (as he has been), which states that, given at most a 4-weeks notice, they can bring him home if needed.  With our future in mind, he asked for US contract options.  The only department in his line of work which would be able to bring him on under an American contract and offer him a Green Card:

Charleston, South Carolina.

It is this, Michigan with unstable contract terms, or Germany.

With heavy hearts and our dreams in mind, we weighed the options.  I would love the opportunity to live in Europe, close to his family.  Their language, culture, traditions - all pieces of him I am eager to continue learning.  He, however, desperately wants a home-base.  Europe would still only provide short-term options.  So, with all of this weighing heavily, the day of his "Decision Meeting" came.  At this point, we were ready for anything.  We really didn't know what they would suggest - best to be flexible and relinquish control, right?  Right.  We would go wherever led.

They suggested he pursue Charleston full force.  Considering his role in my life, this means that we pursue it, together.  NO, we are NOT YET engaged.  Formal proposals and engagements are foreign to him - he wants to do things "his own way".  I trust him :) We do, however, know that we're stuck together!

As of now, I've applied for South Carolina teaching certification, and I've sent in a stack of resumes.  His company will provide him with an apartment, so we just have to arrange something for myself.  We'll be anxious to get a wedding in the works once there, I'm sure :)

All that to say this: Come end of July, I will be headed to Charleston.  I will continue to keep you updated as we thoughtfully and prayerfully navigate these new roads.



Ode to The Twenty-Eight

I hand you a pencil,
you bite off the eraser.
Please, keep your shoes on your feet, sir.

I ask you to find your seat,
into another desk you ram.
Please, put your lip gloss in your cubby, ma'am.

I say, "Push in your chairs!"
You growl like prowling grizzly bears.

I say, "Fold your hands!"
Your eyes begin to gaze into far off lands.

I say, "Voices off!"
Up, up, UP your voices loft.


When you pull a hair off my shirt,
leave a love note on my desk when you see I am hurt..
Allow me to hug away your tears,
and encourage away any deep, dark fears..

I am filled with a sense of awe,
..even if I catch you in yet another pencil gnaw.


Bits and Pieces

Feeling: All the grumbles of a Monday mashed with the chaos of a Tuesday. Muesday. Mmmhmm.

Smelling: Taco Bell. Hey, it is Muesday afterall.

Listening to: Joseph Arthur's "Honey and the Moon". This song has been my faithful companion for so long. Years, really. You know that song that immediately sends chills down your back and releases an uncontrollable "ahhhh, yes" with every repeated play? This would be mine.

Remembering: To breathe and breathe calmly when faced with the moans and groans and growls of those lovely seven-year-olds. Honestly? Change the ages to six-seven-eight and this just about sums it up.

Wishing that: It weren't too late for coffee. Actually, define late. Muesday, Betsy. Muesday.
[If you think I didn't leave my computer after that previous thought, you're terribly mistaken]

Looking forward to: Spending some time Downtown on Friday with an old friend. yummyfoodandartandmusicohmy!

Thankful for: 1. Remembering to buy myself a delightful bundle of crisp, fresh flowers. 2. The growth my kids are making academically. 3. Those working tirelessly on behalf of this. 4. A solid night's sleep. 5. These beautiful ladies who consistently enrich my world.



First week back.


I'm not exactly sure how it happened, or why it happened, but I am sure of this: If this week hadn't have gone well, I'm fairly certain I would have been on the next flight out to Alaska. Alaska, people.

The first week back after any extensive break is always pivotal. Pivot to the left and you're good as dead for the remainder of the year. Pivot to the right? You're feared, respected, golden.

I pivoted to the right. Thank the GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY I actually felt feared this week! I have yet to feel that from our class as a whole, so I'm choosing to bask in the success. The most excellent thing about seven-year-olds [aside from the fact that most are still shorter than me]? They rarely hold grudges. Two hugs are delivered for every grown, every grunt, and [of course], every tear.

Who knew that daily "Awesome Kids of the Day" Ceremonies had powers to transform? I didn't. My life has been forever changed.



Mildly wishing I had been awake an hour earlier to catch the clock at 11:11 on 1/1/11. So glad I still have a chance [assuming I can stay awake amidst my all-consuming need to regain my sleep schedule].

As 2010 drew near to its close, I had a few options lying before me. Among them, in no particular order of desire: spending time with family, a close-knit gathering of close friends, an evening of sparkly shenanigans...

This year has been one for the books [quite literally]. I've loved and lost, succeeded and failed [miserably], regularly weaved my way through three states, flew more times than my credited miles account for [ooops], gained teaching certification in 2 states, been fingerprinted twice [also in 2 states], interviewed my little heart out, taught my little heart out, cried my little heart out, drank coffee like it was my job [wish it was], dyed my hair, moved home, overcame my fear of bees, became a cat person, became a morning person [slightly disturbing], discovered boxed wine, learned how to dougie, and encountered the true meaning of the phrase "money does not bring happiness" [nor does job security, full-coverage benefits, or a 7-7 job, but I'll save that for another time].

With all this and more in mind, I chose to do the "NYE UNTHINKABLE". I stayed in. Alone. By myself.

Armed with Netflix, a carefully planned and prepared homemade dinner, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, comfy socks, pen and paper, hot chocolate, chocolate, and fresh flowers [bought by and for myself, thank you very much], I took the leap and denied all resounding desires to dance and laugh my way into the new year. This took courage.

Reflection, meditation, and I have always been three peas in a pod [up until September, that is]. Regardless of how nerve-racking it can be [I have a dangerous mind], I've missed this. You have to take time to examine where you are, what you're doing, and who you're with. A simple enough notion that I've completely neglected in these last few months. To say that I've been a robot is putting it rather lightly. I've never felt like less of myself.

A friend once advised me that to be happy - to reach a state of holistic fulfillment and peace - we can't focus on what reality always tells us. What does reality tell you? Last spring, reality whispered these little words in my ear - money, job security, full-coverage benefits, and a 7-7 job. By reality I don't mean the reality of responsibility. I mean the reality of the world - that your heart and soul mean nothing in the scheme of life, the ladder of success, and all that drives and provides our worldly possessions We have to listen to what reality tells us, but when reality begins stripping away every beautiful layer of your heart, it's time to run like hell.

I wouldn't say that I'm running. I'm not interested in running. I am, however, interested in getting as far away from the lies of the world as possible in my quest to reclaim the passion that once stood boldly at the forefront of my very being. Wow that was intense. Thank you, coffee.

What I'm saying is that I'd like to get back a piece of me that I feel I've lost.

Since I haven't had much time with my ever-faithful friends, Reflection and Meditation, I thought I'd invite them back in for a night.

If you're one to do so, please keep me in prayer. This school year has been a good one and I plan to finish it out strong; however, I'm sensing a change of direction in the months ahead. Terrifyingly necessary.

I know it's easy for some to weave through "The Roaring Twenties" fresh-faced and unharmed. I, of course, am on the path with blistered feet and tired eyes. I take comfort in the fact that lessons learned are unavoidably placed and that, simply put, I'm not alone.


Good morning, Saturday.

Please excuse me while I seep into a lovely haze of inspiration.

As you may or may not know, I have a little "thing" for DIY projects. Art and me were never one in the same; however, I cherish the beauty and truth in creatively tackling life's little expressions. Anything handmade. Gifts, cards, wall-hangings, clothes, jewelry...I adore it all. I support local artists and, although slightly time-deprived, have been known to crank out a few projects myself [alright, 'a few' may be a slight understatement].

So, in the spirit of celebration I'd like to share my most recent bits of inspiration. Prepare yourself.

I love love LOVE the garland.

I would also want to try this with antique mason jars.

The wall-flowers. All I'm sayin'.

I may or may not have a slight obsession with anything chalkboard. But seriously, how incredible is this? I thought so too.

My favorite piece of jewelry is an antique piece of silverware bent into the shape of a ring - I love when silverware is recycled and used to serve other [equally beautiful] purposes. Hello, genius.

There's an amazing little gourmet ice cream shop in Columbus, OH - Jeni's Ice Cream, that has a handmade flag banner hanging on their ceiling, much like that on this card. Love. [Check out the flavors listed on their website - Sweet Potato with Torched Mushrooms? Riesling Poached Pear? YES PLEASE.]

For as long as I can remember, I've had an extreme love of all things snowflake. When I was little, all my mom would need to do to keep me occupied in the winter months was throw some hot chocolate, scrap white paper, and scissors in front of me. Hours, I'm telling you. This, this would be a snowflaker's dream.


Now, if you'll excuse me while I go track down some yarn, hot glue, and a couple of mason jars.


8 Mile, Vaulted Ceilings, and Saxophones

Born and raised in Detroit. Love Detroit. Well, love/hate relationship would be more accurate, I suppose. Connection is what it is. At any rate, the Detroit I know is by far significantly different from the Detroit most others know. The interesting thing is that each person knows it to be something different. Crime, poverty, segregation, sports, mo-town, industry, culture..

When I was little, my dad used to take us to Belle Isle, a non-residential island in the Detroit River, armed with apples and an old shopping bag of air-popped popcorn, ready to feed the ducks and deer. We'd walk the River Walk at the fireworks, ride the People Mover on game days, take family pictures outside the DIA, and anxiously await the first glimpse of buildings when driving south on Gratiot. Detroit, especially Downtown, was like magic.

It goes without saying that Detroit has shown me a whole new side of itself.

Last night was the first time I ventured south of 8 Mile to experience the "Downtown Scene", coincidentally on the biggest bar night of the year. Lovely.

I chose to drive [draw your own conclusions here], which [fortunately] gave me a truly authentic experience. Lovely, indeed.

Having spent some time in Chicago and New York, I was anxious to see my Detroit in the same light. WAS NOT disappointed.

The Park Bar had AMAZING Mediterranean food - hummus, shawarmas, oil and vinegar salad with cucumbers and feta and..my oh my.

Grand Trunk Pub offered the perfect mix of rich history, breathtaking architecture, and local brews. Beauty.

Aaand of course, my first jazz bar. Cliff Bells was fantastic - classy and casual. Incredibly low-key. I fell in love here.

This will most likely be the first and last time I talk about a scene on here, but MAAN was it hard to resist. I finally feel like a local - pretty sure that alone is deserving of a high five.