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!

  • Have you always wanted to visit @thepioneerwoman lodge in Oklahoma? We’ve got a new blog post today with 12 tips to make your visit spectacular. Our website link is in our bio. And if the lodge is not open for tours when you can come, no worries! There are plenty of great things to see and do when you @visit_the_osage and @pwmercantile I’m Pawhuska. #pawhuska #pioneerwoman #drummondlodge #ranch #postcardjar #reedrummond
  • This is our first spring in Osage County, Oklahoma, and we are in awe of these trees!! It is a red bud and is the state tree of Oklahoma. They are everywhere around here and we love spotting the bright pinkish purple blooms among the green trees. So much beauty in nature. #redbud @visit_the_osage  @travelok
  • Sitting in our hotel room in Venice, we could look out across the busy canal toward St. Mark's cathedral. The fact that it's an island city makes it different from any other city in the world. Water taxis zoomed around, larger vaporettos chugged past, as well. Occaisionally, a cruise ship would glide past our window. Tourists from all over the world came to take in this spectacle, yet to the locals, who drive boats down tight canals with ease, this is what normal life looks like. The world is indeed a large, interesting place. Have you been to Venice? ⁣
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#veniceitaly #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #italian_places #ig_italy #visititaly #italytrip #venetodigitale #veneto #goplaces
  • Seeing this photo takes us back to the the cooking class we took last summer on the island of Mykonos in Greece. We went to a woman's home, learned about Greek culture and history, and then prepared a meal using fresh ingredients from the garden in her back yard. Suffice it to say, it was one of the most delicious meals we'd ever had. But perhaps even better are the memories of the warm welcome we received as we entered her home and the glimpse into the lives of real people in another part of the world. ⁣
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#postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #celebritycruises #cruising #seastheday #celebrityreflection #endlesssummer #cruise #sea #beyondborders #humansatsea #cruiseaddict #lifeisbetteratsea #lifeisbeautiful #cruiseship #mykonosisland #mykonostown #cookingclass #greekfood #cruiselife #goplaces
  • Trust us on this: there is nothing that relaxes more than kicking back in a hammock in the shade on a beach in the Caribbean. Except maybe leaving that relaxing spot and getting back on a cruise ship for cocktails and a gourmet dinner. What do you do to relax on vacation? ⁣
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 #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #cruiselife #cruising #beaches #hammock #royalcaribbean #beachfun #relaxationtime #cruiseship #beachlife #instabeaches #goplaces @royalcaribbean
  • Near Valdobbiadene, in the heart of Italy's Prosecco region, is a bar with no bartender. You simply go inside, take the wine or beer you want from the fridge, and leave your money to pay for it in a box. We weren't sure who the owner of this bar is, or even who keeps it stocked. What we do know from the cards and notes they've left is that people from all over the world have come here and respected the honor system. It's amazing how honest folks will be if you just show a little trust. ⁣
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#postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #ig_italy #visititaly #italian_places #italytrip #italytravel #italy_vacations #foodandwine #italyunfiltered  #Valdobbiandene #bartending #italia365 #goplaces @italyunfiltered @massithedriver @proseccowatch
  • Ahhh...the Piazza del Campo in Siena! We absolutely loved our time here, sitting at a sidewalk cafe, sipping delicious Chianti Clasico wine and savoring the some of the best lasagna and pasta carbonara we'd ever had. While there, we noticed a number of people drinking some kind of orange colored drink. Our waiter explained it was a spritz of some sort. We asked if it were good. She shook her head and said that only the Americans seemed to like it. ⁣
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#postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #tuscany #tuscanygram #siena #piazzadelcampo #italyunfiltered #instatuscany #vacation2018 #ig_toscana #ig_siena #igerssiena #goplaces @aroundsiena @italyunfiltered @massithedriver @chianticlassico #chianticlassico
  • This barn at at @Calamus_Outfitters in @visitnebraska serves as a reminder that this really is a working ranch. The Switzer family has poured their hearts and souls into the land. We think it's pretty neat that they're willing to share this piece of the beautiful Nebraska Sandhills with visitors. Have you been to the Nebraska Sandhills? ⁣
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#visitnebraska #HonestlyNE #CalamusOutfitters #barn #Tanking #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #cabins #agritourism #ranch #ranching #ranchlife #goplaces

Making the most of midlife.