A little more than a month ago, I sat down and wrote a letter to my boss. It is one I’d been thinking about for awhile, and as I said in the letter, I wrote it with mixed emotions.

I have been an educator most of my adult life.

My school picture in middle school.

I didn’t really set out to be one, it just kind of happened. When I graduated from Lawrence University with majors in Spanish and anthropology, I had taken no classes in education and swore up until graduation I would never be a teacher. That was all well and good, except I had no job.

Then,  I heard that the state of Mississippi offered a unique opportunity for anyone willing to move there to teach. So, much to the relief of my parents, I agreed to teach for two years in Mississippi in exchange for a salary, health insurance, and a free masters’ degree from Ole’ Miss. With the exception of one semester off when I learned to fly airplanes, those two years turned into six with Greenville, Miss., public schools and my career in education was born.

I’ve had lots of “first day of school” pictures over the past 37 years like this one with a couple of the neighbor kids.

Eventually, I decided it was time to move back to the Midwest to be closer to family. Crete Public Schools in southeast Nebraska offered me a position teaching Spanish, and I accepted, quickly integrating myself into the community. I took more classes in educational administration at the University of Nebraska and gained more responsibility.

One of my fondest memories as a principal will be the Crete Middle School Color Run.

Soon, I was the activities director and then the assistant principal of the high school. Before I knew it, I was named principal of Crete Middle School and for the last seven years have been working with 400-500 pre-teens, tweens, and teens as well as their teachers every day. I found great fulfillment in that role.

One of the rare moments my desk was clean (during the summer months). As you can imagine, a middle school principal’s office is typically a busy place.

But time moves on. Over the past year or so, I’ve grown restless in my field and the more Ann and I talked and prayed together, the more evident it became that it was time for a change. We made lists of pros and cons and taped them to the bathroom mirror. We reviewed our finances, and considered health insurance options. We met with our parents, and our pastors. We prayed. And we prayed some more. A lot more. Eventually, we both felt like the time was right to make a career change. And so, about a month ago, I sat down and wrote a letter resigning my position as middle school principal.

I don’t have another job. I’m not exactly sure what’s next. And as crazy as it sounds, I’m OK with that.

I’m looking forward to traveling to new places, and new times of the year.

So here we are, in our 40s, on the verge of starting something new. Ann and I have lots of ideas for things we can do that will hopefully allow us more flexibility, give us less stress, and help us have an even greater opportunity to impact the world. The fact that Ann’s former company was sold and they’re allowing her to take her pension early provides some financial security for us, as well.

We’re not sure exactly which avenues we’ll pursue just yet. We are confident, however, that God has a plan for us, and we’re just excited to see what it is.

For now, I’m going to finish out the school year (13 days, 7 hours, and 32 minutes, but who’s counting?), take a family vacation, and thank God for the opportunities I’ve had and continue to have to pursue my dreams. I hope you’ll stick around and see where life’s journey takes us next.

As always, thanks for sharing!

  • Strawberry fields forever...⁣
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While traveling, we adore stopping in farmers markets and checking out the fresh produce available for sale. When we saw these strawberries in Tallinn, Estonia, we just had to take a picture.⁣
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The vibrant color of the berries tells us they were ripened naturally on the vine. You just don't get that color trucked in to a supermarket. And that natural ripening means, of course, that these are some of the sweetest strawberries you'll ever taste. Yum! #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #goplaces #emptynest #emptynesters #midlife #couplestravel #couplestrip #celebritycruises #cruising #seastheday #cruise #sea #beyondborders #humansatsea #cruiseaddict #cruisecritic #tallinn #lifeisbeautiful #cruiseship #cruiselife #estonia #strawberries #farmersmarket #lifeisshort #visitestonia #adventuregirls #tallinngram #berries
  • On our Baltic Sea cruise, we stopped in Stockholm, Sweden. To get there, we had to sail through the Stockholm Archipelago. ⁣
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For days leading up to our arrival in Stockholm, the captain of the ship kept telling us that we should plan to be up early so we could take in the scenery as we passed through the archipelago. After enough repetitions, we resolved to get up early to see what he was so excited about.⁣
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We are so glad we set the alarm. That morning, we sat on our balcony and had breakfast watching some of the most beautiful scenery we'd ever seen pass by our cabins. We had an up-close view of land that we've rarely had from a cruise ship unless it was docked. ⁣
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Sure, we travel to see specific things. Who doesn't? But we really love it when we find something like this that we didn't know existed, but it is so amazing it enriches our lives and makes us want to go back again and again.
  • In the @visitmasoncityiowa airport, is a new restaurant called CAVU American Kitchen & Cocktail Lounge. Offering chef-crafted foods and incredible cocktails, this restaurant has the best airport food we've ever eaten. In fact, we'll call this airport a destination.⁣
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Pictured here is Chef Cassie's fried potato salad. This was her elimination dish from the show, "Master Chef." Apparently, Wolfgang Puck didn't think much of it. After trying it, we don't think much of Wolfgang Puck's taste.⁣
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This dish, which is served warm, is composed of crispy fried potato chunks covered in delicious potato salad dressing. The combination of flavors and textures had us going back for more. #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #goplaces #emptynest #emptynesters #midlife #couplestravel #couplestrip #midwestliving #midwestlivingmag  #midwestmoment #igersmidwest #midwestisbest #masoncity #clearlake @masoncity
  • In Rochester, Minnesota, in the shadow of the famed Mayo Clinic, is a beautiful pedestrian area called the Peace Plaza. Because of its location, it's often the last area a person walks through as they go to the clinic hoping for help. And, it's the first place people pass as they leave the clinic sometimes with good news, other times to confront their own mortality.⁣
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The designers of the plaza seemed to understand the huge role the space would play in the lives of the people coming through. They designed it as a calming, meditative space filled with tranquility. It's a place you can refocus a little, and take some time to transition from the clinic to the world. And, it's just one more example of the ways that @minnesotas_rochester demonstrates humanity to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come each year to the clinic.
  • Are these salt and pepper shakers not the cutest?? Pawhuska, Oklahoma, is a magical place at Christmastime. We stopped by the @pwmercantile this morning and snapped a few new pics. Getting excited for the Holiday Lights Parade tonight!
  • We have four holiday gift guides up on the blog for the traveler, home cook, cruise lover, and road tripper on your shopping list! Just click on the link in our bio to check out our blog. ⁣
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One of our all-time favorite items (it made two of our lists) are these @EagleCreek packing items. This starter set goes with us on every single trip. Last year, Steve packed 16 size XXL shirts in on of them. They are super lightweight, safe space in your suitcase, and help you stay organized as your travel. ⁣
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What are your favorite gift ideas for travelers this year? ⁣
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#postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #goplaces #emptynest #emptynesters #midlife #couplestravel #couplestrip #giftideas #giftsfortravelers #traveler #travelgifts #giftguide #roadtrippin #packingtips #packingbags #howtopack #packlight #eaglecreek #celebritycruises #travelblogger #packing #packinghack #giftsph #holidayshopping #giftidea #travelgram #packing101
  • Who's ready for some pumpkin pie??⁣
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The thought of digging in to a piece of pumpkin pie (served with a cup of coffee with pumpkin spice creamer) takes us back to a small town festival we love. ⁣
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A few years ago, our town of Crete, Nebraska, began holding the Great Pumpkin Festival during the first weekend of October.⁣
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From spring to fall, local volunteers tend gardens filled with pumpkin vines so that folks who come to the festival can take home a reasonably priced, locally-grown pumpkin. ⁣
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The festival is full of games, food, performances and fun. It's a wholesome day where the town turns out to celebrate another year together in a relaxed, calm atmosphere.⁣
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Does your town have a festival? Tell us about it in the comments below.
  • ***NEW BLOG POST *** Today is exactly 8 months since we started our weight loss journey using the @noom app. See how we’ve lost 126.3 pounds while traveling. Just click on the link to our blog that’s in our bio to read our answers to your most asked questions about weight loss. And click to the second photo here to see our “before” pic.

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