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!

  • This is our Airbnb, Postcard Place. It's located right in Pawhuska, just a two and a half minute drive from the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile. It even has its own Instagram account, @postcardplce. ⁣
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Postcard Place can accommodate up to six people. With comfy bedding (including clean duvets for each new guest), USB ports by every bed, make-up remover wipes, comfy blankets for tv viewing, complimentary coffee/tea, creamer, full kitchen, soap, shampoo, hand lotion, and even a luggage scale, we've tried to think of everything you might want when spending a night away from home. Of course, we also provide stamped Pawhuska postcards so you can send greetings to those who couldn't come along on the trip.⁣
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Find Postcard Place on Airbnb and book it for your next trip to Pawhuska and come @visittheosage.
  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
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Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
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This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
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For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
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Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
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Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
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We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
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Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
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The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.

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