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!

  • Steve writes: When I first set my eyes on the outside of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, I was unimpressed. In fact, I thought it was plain ugly. Construction continued, and I returned several times over the years, each time finding more to like about it. Finally, on a visit with Ann, the inside of the Cathedral was open for a visit. So we went inside.⁣
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Architect Antonin Gaudi's creation is brilliant. The way he uses stained glass to bring color to the stone inside, combined with the shadows created by the shape of the stone is breathtaking. Truly, this cathedral might be the most impressive one I've seen anywhere. This place should be on your bucket list. It's worth a trip to Barcelona to see it.
  • We've been going to the @PWMercantile for a couple of years now, especially since we bought a house in Pawhuska. Over that time, we've seen a number of changes both to the restaurant and to the merchandise they have in the store. But one item has remained constant: these turquoise beads.
  • One of our favorite stops on our hosted food tour of @visitkansascityks was the @403club. Sure, they offer a great selection of locally crafted and larger production domestic beers. But they also have pinball machines. In fact, they even have a pinball league.⁣
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We spent about an hour in this fun spot, sipping, playing, and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. It will definitely be on our list of places to go again, someday. Beer and pinball are a pretty good mix.
  • On our visit to Italy, we visited the Prosecco region. While we toured a number of wineries, we actually stayed at an inn run by the Roccat winery. ⁣
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Prosecco is a sparkling wine, and people often see it as intergangeable with champagne. This isn't the case at all. Champagne is made from the Chardonnay grape, while Prosecco comes from Glara. Because of this, the two wines are completely different.⁣
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We enjoyed a tasting at Roccat, where they served us glasses of crisp, clear, delicious wine alongside some crunchy breadsticks that were just the right thing to enjoy with the wine.⁣
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If you ever have the opportunity to go to Italy, make sure you include time to head to Valdobbiandene and try some Prosecco.
  • Located in @clearlakeiowa, the historic Surf Ballroom has hosted some of the biggest names in music. It was on this stage that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson performed their final show on February 3, 1959. After the concert, they boarded a plane for their next town on their tour. That plane crashed shortly after takeoff, and the date has been remembered ever since as "the day the music died."⁣
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@traveliowa
  • Set in Millennium Park in Chicago is one of the city's most iconic art installations. It's a giant, shiny bean which reflects everything in sight. It's fun to walk around (and under) the bean and see how the shape distorts what it reflects.⁣
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Folks come from all over to see this art installation and take it in. Children love running around it and gazing into it, not realizing they are learning about convex and concave shapes. ⁣
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Standing here you'll hear a multitude of languages and see people from all walks of life there to enjoy the art. And that's why we love public art so much--it brings people together.
  • On our cruise from Italy to Greece, we made a stop in Mykonos. There, we had the chance to take part in a Greek cooking class in a woman's home learning from her.⁣
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We spent an afternoon with lessons about Greek cuisine, and how they waste nothing, not even excess juice from a cucumber. We also saw how to make incredible dishes like this spanakopita, or spinach pie. Sitting in her dining room, enjoying the light, flaky crust and delicious filling is an experience we won't soon forget. ⁣
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While traveling, we try to find opportunities to experience local culture. It's amazing how similar people in the world really are if you just take some time to see what life is like.
  • Do you remember that song from "The Music Man" about trouble? You know the one about the kids in the knickerbockers, shirt-tail young ones, peekin' in the pool hall window after school. ⁣
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Well, we got to peek in a replica of that pool hall on a recent visit to The Music Man Square on our hosted to Mason City, Iowa. It's the town where "The Music Man" creator Meredith Willson was born and raised and his legacy lives on. ⁣
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Before you go see @thehughjackman and @suttonlenore in this Broadway favorite, consider a visit to the real River City.⁣
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Click on the link in our bio to see our latest blog post about why fans of "The Music Man" need to visit Mason City, Iowa. ⁣
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@themusicmanbway

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