Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Friday, May 29, 2020

Am I enough?

This last season of life has brought about a critical question that constantly begs to be answered. Am I enough?

As a responsible citizen, did I do enough during this crisis to make a difference? Did I listen to the right people enough of the time? Did I wear a mask enough? Wash my hands enough? Protect the people I love enough? Follow the rules enough? Disregard the media enough? Respect others opinions enough?

As a good neighbor (or family member), did I reach out enough to those who are hurting, lonely, or needy? Did I call enough to let people know someone cared?

As a teacher, did I contact that parent or student enough to keep them from falling behind? Did I focus enough on my students' personal needs over their academic needs? Did I love them enough? Did I spend enough time on my lessons to make them understandable?

As a friend, did I keep in touch enough? (As an introvert, I can already tell you the answer to that question. I will never keep in touch enough with my more extroverted friends.)

As a wife, did I communicate enough to make sure my spouse and I were navigating things on the same page? Did I carve enough time out to stay connected with my spouse in an intimate way? Did I listen well enough to know if we were connected?

As a mom, did I spend enough true quality time with my child, savoring all of our extra time together well? Did we talk enough? Did we cherish our togetherness enough? Did we have enough of the right conversations so everyone felt heard and seen?

As an employee, did I do enough to earn my pay from home? Did I further my knowledge with enough extra trainings in technology to prepare me for a new future in teaching?

As an individual, did I sleep enough? Did I exercise enough? Did I take enough vitamins, brush and floss my teeth enough, drink enough water, etc.? Did I take care of myself enough? Did I rest enough, embracing this once in a lifetime opportunity to just be still and reflect and reprioritize?

As a writer, did I take advantage enough of all this time at home to write more?

As a Christian, did I pursue Christ enough during this time? Did I represent Him well enough to those around me to make them want more of Him? Did I exemplify and spread the gospel enough? Did I pray enough and for enough people and situations to even make a difference?

To most of those questions, I guess the answer is no, and should be no. I will never do enough or be enough unless I only focus on one area. But my life and my roles do not just encompass one specific area. I am a wife, mom, daughter, sister, neighbor, teacher, employee, coworker, individual, citizen, neighbor, and friend. Better said, I am a Christian wife, mom, daughter, sister, neighbor, teacher, employee, coworker, writer, individual, citizen, neighbor, and friend. My number one goal is to seek Christ with everything in me, and then when I cannot ever be enough  or do enough in all my other roles, Christ fills in that gap and uses my insufficiency in abundant ways. (Thank you, Priscilla Shirer, for bringing a message to my church recently over this very subject.)

The last three months have been interesting to see people's true character come out. Everyone has processed this whole pandemic and social distancing differently, and different personality types struggled in completely different ways.

I'll admit, when I heard the order back in early March to stay at home as much as possible, I didn't have a single objection to it. My introverted personality already practices social distancing quite a bit, and screens are really the only reason people know me as much as they do today. Until I found the ability to blog, I rarely ever shared anything personal because in person and over the phone, the words just don't come. The ability to text over talking on a phone was one of the greatest inventions of all time in my world. I've always been a pretty private person. I don't say much in a group, but I have a lot to say if you let me hide behind a screen and type. I keep to my small group of intimate friends, and I don't venture out of it unless I am leading/teaching them in some way. I crave/desire/NEED alone time to recharge after being with a lot of people or even after spending time with someone who talks a lot. (Even one single ZOOM meeting or video chat is enough to drain my social energy for the day.) I thrive and can be incredibly productive in silence because my mind is free from interruption and my thoughts can flow freely.  I'm actually quite sociable with certain people, but I am very protective of my time and my need to spend large amounts of time alone.

So when a situation like the current one arises, I can thrive as an individual and find myself more productive and more fulfilled than ever.  I can write on a deeper level, read what truly interests me, connect with others in a written way, send cards, send texts, and spend a lot of time in prayer and Bible study. If you've asked for prayer, I can guarantee you that you've been prayed for very fervently during this extended time at home. 

But I've also had to accept that I'm not that friend who calls to check up on her peeps. I'm not that friend arranging a face time or zoom meeting to catch up. I'm not that friend driving by your house delivering groceries, gifts, meals, etc. I'm not that neighbor sharing goodies or checking up on you. I'm not that friend volunteering for any opportunity to help in the community. I'm not that friend suggesting to meet up somewhere because I just have to get out of the house and talk to someone. I'm not that friend that's just dying to visit with all her friends. I'm just not. And at times I've felt like I'm just not a good enough friend, neighbor, teacher, teammate, coworker, employee, wife, mom, daughter, or family member because of that.

But if I were, I wouldn't be me. If I spent extra time on the phone every day, that's time that my mind isn't at rest to work on a writing project or to send someone an encouraging text. That's time I'm not focused on self-care, reading up on something that interests me or will help me be a better me. That's time that I'm not studying up for a Bible study I'm going to lead or just growing closer to Christ by spending personal time with Him. It's time I'm not outside on my porch talking to God, praying for those that He puts on my heart. I'm not that friend that takes the time to just sit and talk when I'm supposed to be working because it's time that I'm trying to get my work done so I can spend more time with my family. I'm not that friend that has time to spare to socialize because if I'm engrossed in a certain task or project, it takes me a long time to get back into it after I've been interrupted for a few moments of socialization. 

My son has noticed after these last three months with me that it truly does take me a bit longer than normal to transition my focus from one thing to another. It takes me a while to process new information if I'm fully engrossed in one matter and suddenly asked to shift my train of thought. 

I've had to learn to accept that God made me the way He did for a purpose, and I will never be enough or do enough in all the roles I play. And that's okay.

Just as I've battled with the whole "I'll never be enough" issue, I got an e-mail from someone thanking me for the way I articulate things so well in writing and letting me know how much they appreciate my way of communicating with the written word. Then I got a text message from a friend saying how I always have a way of putting into writing exactly what she wants to say. And I got another message from a friend asking for prayer, stating, "You are honestly the strongest prayer warrior I know."

It was like God knew what I needed to hear. There are a lot of roles I'm not going to be able to fill with the personality God gave me. But there are other roles that I just fit right into naturally because of who I am and how my mind and personality operate. I'm never going to be that extra social friend that makes your phone ring all the time, fills your ear with words, or is physically there by your side. But I am going to be that quieter friend who loves you in a quieter, more distant, perhaps deeper way.  And that's okay. I am me, and as long as I continue pursuing Christ with everything in me and letting him mold me, that is enough because He is sufficiently enough to use me and all my "not-enough-ness" more abundantly than I could ever fathom, allowing me to fulfill the role He created me for.

If you're feeling like you're not enough or haven't done enough this last season, don't despair. As long as you are pursuing Christ over every other role in life, that is enough. He can and will do more through you than you may ever know. You can keep striving and pushing yourself past your limit to be someone you're not in order to be enough to everyone around you. Or you can just be still and let God use you best in the lives of all those people around you with the person He created you to be. (And while you're sitting in that stillness, you can color, too. :) It's a very soothing exercise.)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The last nine weeks

Well, somehow, we made it. We left school for spring break, and we never went back. Yet somehow, we did finish out the school year. Academics, tedious curriculum, and testing took a back seat, while connection, technology, and problem solving took a front seat.

We still continued with academics, but at a much slower pace. We still followed curriculum, but not to the level of detail that we do at school. We still added a small bit of testing, that which could be done online without a bunch of protocol to follow. So our kids lost nine weeks of the minute to minute structure, which included a ton of testing they missed out on at the end of the year. Some kids fell further behind, while others soared far ahead due to the new way of learning in a home environment. Some became tech savvy, while others just gave up when a certain video or assignment didn't open for them. But as I told my kids, no matter what was lost, we all gained new problem solving skills and life lessons through this that will follow us much further than nine weeks of academics and testing would have. That's my personal view in all of this, and I'm sticking to it.

Now, that doesn't mean you won't hear me groaning and whining at the beginning of next year when my next group comes to me falling far short of the bar that students normally come to second grade able to achieve. There's going to be a lot of mental preparation necessary before start of the year, but that's over two months away, so I'm dismissing those thoughts and concerns for now. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

This was a learning experience for all involved. For the kids. The parents. The teachers. And all of our administrators, superintendents, and those making critical decisions for the entire educational system.

What I learned, first and foremost, is that connection comes before anything else. My kids needed to know that I cared, that I supported them, that I believed in them, and that I was cheering them on. That's why I never ended a single daily video announcement for them without telling them that I loved them and missed them. I wasn't just a teacher giving and collecting assignments. I was the person guiding them so they could continue to learn, despite all the obstacles in front of them.

I also learned the importance of setting up an organized system to contact all parents with a single message at a moment's notice. I didn't stay on top of getting that system down while at school, so the first two weeks of this crisis, I lost a lot of critical time just trying to contact families and get all my parents on the same page. I learned my lesson and will make sure to establish that system of contact perhaps even before the first day of school from now on.

Another main lesson learned was that I dragged my feet way too long getting my kids more plugged in to digital resources. Yeah, we used IPADS and chromebooks several times a day to work on specific programs, but I didn't use it to let them actually create and record their work, find their voice, etc. Now that I've been teaching digitally for the last nine weeks, I realized just how powerful and useful technology can be in the educational world, as well as how much time it can save. My quieter kids found a voice, a voice that I, myself, as a quieter student, would have been able to thrive with. I will not complain one bit about being able to grade papers and post daily announcements from my phone rather than having to lug a bag of germy papers with messy work home every night to grade and find stickers for. That's not to say there's not a need for paper and pencil, but I know now that there are so many other options out there.

I also dragged my feet in staying up to date with computer systems, so I decided to use this time to learn and play with all things Google in order to get my Level 1 Educator certification. I went through the multiple hours of module trainings, played around with all the different aspects of Google Drive (Forms, Sheets, Sites, Docs, Slides, Calendar, etc.), putting the test off as long as possible. I finally blocked out the required three hours to take the test and was still ready to beat myself up for how slowly I found myself working through all the assignments they had me set up and work through. I realized quickly that I wasn't as prepared as I thought, having to google how to do almost everything they asked! LOL. I didn't even reach the end of the test before my time ran out, so I assumed I failed and would need to practice and play around quite a bit more before paying for the test again and taking it again. However, I must have done okay on what I did finish because I got my certification! What a relief and an accomplishment! I'm so thankful I took the time to learn because it really does make working online so much easier and more efficient!

So now my summer plan is to keep playing around with my new technological knowledge, getting myself more comfortable for an unknown future ahead that is bound to be much more virtual and technological than ever before. Perhaps I'll start working through the training modules for my Level 2 certification now that I see how much the time really pays off in the end.

I signed up to teach a morning Bible study this summer, assuming it would draw a smaller, more intimate crowd as a morning study usually does. However, we found out that as of now, all of our summer studies will be done virtually, so now I look forward to putting my digital teaching experience and newfound knowledge in practice doing what I love to do, guiding women in their relationship with the Word of God. I'm a little nervous, as I was looking forward to a small group, but I have a feeling that a virtual study may end up drawing a bigger crowd than I'm used to. I just started the study on my own and am really looking forward to leading it. My friend wrote the study and my mom and I got to be part of the taping, so this will be a first to see myself in the videos! I like knowing that the author is a friend, so if I have any questions or need deeper clarification on anything, I can just send her a quick message and ask. :)

So, rather than hopping on a plane to go somewhere far, far away or sending my son on a bus to go to camp far, far away, this summer will be spent mostly at home, still in front of a computer quite a bit. When not in front of my computer in my little corner, you can probably find me out on my porch enjoying a good book, writing a poem or two, digging deep into Bible study, and drinking more coffee than I should. If I'm not there, I'll be on my bike exploring with David. Oh, and once we know it's safe to be out and about, I'll meet my mom for chai at a local coffee shop. :)

Truly, though, I needed these last nine weeks. I found myself spread so thin this particular school year. Every minute seemed to be accounted for at school, to the point that anyone who just wanted to take a few minutes of my time to talk would throw me into a tizzy. I kept my door shut at all times just to protect my time and my need to finish things in a certain time. I've always been the quieter, keep to myself kind of teacher, but I don't remember feeling so selfish and protective of my time, even when I was in the middle of an adoption process! These last nine weeks were very healing and restoring to soul. I slept till seven almost every day, and I hung out on my porch for at least two to three hours every morning just soaking up the quiet (and the choir of birds all around me). I learned how to be still again, and I cherished this time. Personally, it was just what I needed.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Today's the Day!

Today's the day! May 21, 2020.
The original Graduation Day. We made it!

David finished his senior year of high school at home, online. No prom (he wasn't going to go anyway and is actually happy about a refund coming for the ticket). No Senior Breakfast or Senior Activity Day. No one even signed his yearbook.

Instead he slept late every day. Rode bike a lot. Explored nature. Got to enjoy a cup of coffee whenever he wanted. Watched a lot of his favorite TV shows and movies. Ate a lot of McDonald's cheeseburgers. Went out for curbside iced coffee drinks and ice cream with Mom at least once or twice a week on our bikes. Worked with his dad a bunch out in the driveway, tinkering around with this and that. Got spoiled with gifts and treats from the Adopt a Senior program. And then found he had to ride bike more to work off all the junk food he's been eating. Lol.

Is he disappointed in the way things turned out? Not a bit.
If he is, he sure doesn't show it. I think he's thankful and appreciates the gift of the last nine weeks of school, as am I. There's a lot that was lost, but we found so many gifts along the way. Mostly, the gift of time to just slow down and relax.

Graduation plans have changed yet again, so we'll see if the latest plan actually happens. Keeping our fingers crossed. Truthfully, that boy has already checked out of high school and couldn't care less about a graduation ceremony. It was a fight to get him to just put the cap and gown on for 5 minutes to take a few pictures, pictures that made him feel incredibly uncomfortable. I had to promise I would not put them on Facebook, but hey, I didn't make any promises about my blog!

I watched the virtual Senior Award's Ceremony alone because he just didn't care, but I took pictures of the awards he got so at least I have them as a memory.  Since Mike was off work yesterday, we decorated the porch and ordered from his favorite restaurant to celebrate as a family. Perhaps we'll have a drive-by celebration after his actual graduation, but he's been saying all year that he didn't want any kind of party or anything, so it looks like he's gotten his wish. This mom is going to find a quiet way to celebrate him, though.

He's ready to leave public school behind him, and I'm so excited for him to attend such a fabulous Christian university this fall. Having attended two Christian colleges myself, I can't say enough about the impact that a solid Christian education can have on a person at such a critical age. DBU, here he comes!

Moving on.

(This was a few years ago at one of the ponds at DBU, 
but it was a fitting picture to end this post.)

Here's a slideshow of many memorable events of David's life in no particular order. 
I planned to play it at the Graduation party he doesn't want to have, that we can't have for awhile, anyway. 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Five days

Well, here we are, ten days after my last post, five days till the calendar reads "Graduation". The date has been marked on my calendar all year. I'd have my room all packed up pretty much by the time the kids left around 1:30, I'd rush to get the end-of-year paperwork completed in their CUM folders, and I'd make a mad dash for the door in order to quick change and run to my son's high school graduation at 5:00. I'd meet my parents and other family members there, and I'd proudly take a zillion pictures while beaming with pride. Then we'd all go out to eat as a big family and celebrate this huge milestone in my son's life.

That was the plan, anyway. I was supposed to be counting down the days as I write this.

But God chose David's class to experience things a bit differently. He had other plans.

Instead of cleaning and clearing out my classroom a little bit each day all month, I went in to the building for one day this week and cleaned out each students' desk on my own. The calendar still read March, the last date they'd ever write on the calendar area for me this year. I passed out all the papers we hadn't read, tossed the worksheets we didn't do, and bagged up all workbooks and supplies we barely even used. I said a prayer for each student as I piled all their belongings together before putting it all in a bag with their name on it. I huffed and puffed for six hours straight in silence, trying to get it all done before my time ran out. So many memories flashed across my mind of the year we had together. I took a video of the room with the kids' supplies all bagged on their desks and sent it to my kids, ending the video on the pictures we had on the door, pictures of them as four year olds in Pre-K and pictures of them again this year. I thanked them for being such a great class and told them again how much I loved them.

Then I turned the lights out, closed the door, and walked sadly to my car. I held it together until the drive home, and then the tears flowed. Such a surreal way to end a year with a group of kids you've loved so dearly. So much community in that room, community that won't be able to happen again for quite a while, even when we do go back to school. Limits to physical proximity will limit so many ways our kids are used to interacting and learning together. No one can even begin to predict what school will be like in the fall. It just won't be at all the same as we've been accustomed to, that we do know.

These last five days will hold a virtual Award Ceremony, a virtual Memory Book experience, some virtual reflecting, more virtual meetings, and still a bunch of digital paperwork.

And on our home calendar, it still says Graduation, and we'll definitely celebrate in our own way.

District plans are ever-changing, but at the moment there's a plan for an outdoor graduation ceremony with fireworks at one of the local football fields with a very limited attendance (each student and two guests). It will be a much more intimate experience than a large graduation and will be livestreamed for family and friends, and it's now moved to June 8th at 8:00 pm. They're still asking for feedback, so it could even change again. David was originally scheduled to be at Dallas Baptist University for orientation that very evening (the ONE thing on his calendar this summer that has NOT been cancelled), but he was able to switch it to the 11th.

So, that's where we stand, five days before the end of the school year.

But, as Beth Moore stated last night in a Living Proof Live event, we were chosen to be part of this experience precisely at this point in our lives. The class of 2020 was chosen for this time, and it can only be a preparation for what's to come.

 The parade of teachers at the high school, cheering on their seniors as they came to pick up their caps and gowns. 

Five days left of high school 
(though he's technically already done)

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Fifteen days

The calendar today reads May 6th. This is normally an exciting week, full of fun, laughter, lots of flowers, chocolates, and other Teacher Appreciation gifts, and it's usually the beginning of the annual "classroom cleanout". It's the week I normally start clearing the shelves of unused supplies, sending home things we didn't and won't have time to use, purging items I don't want anymore, collect items that other teachers are purging (it's like shopping at the Teacher store, but better!), and I start to organize the classroom for the upcoming year.

Normally it's something I do with joy as I reminisce over the year, seeing how my kids have grown and thinking of how I can continue to improve the next year. Last year I did it with tears, carefully separating my own things from what belonged in the classroom, knowing the following year I'd be teaching yet another new grade--KINDERGARTEN. Mind you, I have never aspired to be a kindergarten teacher. Some people like it, but second grade, third, and fourth grade were my sweet spots, so even the thought of teaching kindergarten sucked all the joy out of me at the end of the year. Thankfully God intervened on my behalf and let me move back into my second grade classroom, but those hard memories resurface now as I face yet another unexpected end to the school year.

Today I await my chance to even get into my classroom to pack up for the year. Truthfully, I am dreading it, knowing the tears that it will surely evoke, walking back into a classroom prepared for March. Literally frozen in time. A classroom still full of so many materials, plans, unused supplies, and missing students. Nametags on each desk I made and laminated for them with their names written in cursive for them to practice. A rolling suitcase that I called the "portable store", full of goodies for them to work hard for and spend their hard-earned plastic coins, goodies I'll have to save for next year's class. Math packets half-filled up that we worked on daily as a small group. Fun Math and Reading stations posted on the wall, those parts of class they looked forward to every day because they got to work with and learn from their classmates, as well as their weekly jobs and centers that they loved to do with a partner every morning during breakfast. Now the legos sit quietly, the puzzle sits unfinished, the date hasn't changed, and the job wheel hasn't rotated once in the last two months. Our class picture still hangs on the door, right under their Pre-K class pictures that they also took with me in their very first year of school. And my heart hurts for the kids I don't get to hug tight fifteen days from now when that last school bell rings for the 2019-2020 school year.

And here at home, I'm supposed to be proudly counting down the next fifteen days to my first and last child's high school graduation, a day I've been thinking about since the first day of school this year, knowing it was the last day my son and I would share in the same district on the same school schedule. Such a huge milestone in his life, and we don't even know what the graduation plans are yet. I hoped he'd be able to come for our annual Graduation Walk at my Elementary School, as this year I'd finally get my turn to have my own child be the one walking those halls of the very elementary school where he started out as a kindergardener. I looked forward to the fact that my parents now live here and would get to attend his graduation, along with his aunt and uncle and cousins that live nearby. At this point, graduation may be a virtual experience!

It's a surreal way to count down these last fifteen days, so far beyond our wildest imagination of what we'd ever experience. I'm enjoying the experience of teaching from my front porch every morning, soaking up the sound of the birds, and I'm savoring every extra moment with my son, cherishing our daily bike rides ALL OVER TOWN and our curbside dates at random destinations, like SONIC, Chick-FilA, Rosalind Coffee, Braum's, Scooter's Coffee, etc.,--trying to make the end of his senior year as fun as possible when you're stuck at home with Mom. :) But every day that gets us closer to May 21 is another day closer to those tears welling up, another day to grieve all that's been lost, despite what's been gained.

 My new "teacher chair", where I make daily videos for my kids
 Bike rides with David (that's David up there, leaving me in the dust)
 Random destinations

 Where kids are supposed to learn, together, and from each other

Our last first day together at GISD, oblivious to the year ahead

 Fifteen days. Can you believe it? 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

April 2020 at the Alspaugh's

April is always a month full of special celebrations in our home, though it seems to be a hard month every year, as well. This year proved no different, as we happened to spend it in quarantine.

April 10th, Mike and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary, 4 days after celebrating our 26th dating anniversary. This year, rather than going out together, we celebrated as a family by ordering take-out from our favorite restaurant. Then Juan disappeared and came back with banana splits for all of us. And my anniversary gift? A new office chair for my new home office, aka--my bedroom.

April 14th, we celebrated Julian's 27th birthday, making sure he knew he was loved and never forgotten about, though he's living far away in Buenos Aires, Argentina, far from both of his beloved siblings. We walked to the grocery store to get milk and came home with a pie. :)

April 18th, four days later, we celebrated Laura's 18th birthday. Juan went to the store to pick up medicine and came home with a cake to celebrate his sister, specifically to celebrate the last of his siblings to become an adult.

In addition to our celebrations, David and I have found several things to do together to pass our time. We've taken up biking and have ridden over 50 miles together (he's ridden a bit more than I have). I took a tumble over a parking curb, of all things, right in front of a doctor's office and am pretty sure I broke my toe. It's put a damper on my morning nature walks for right now, but at least I can still ride, so I'm going to have to go for morning nature rides instead until my toe heals. I'll spare you the pictures of my very purple toe, but here are my nature pics that keep me inspired every day.

We've also done quite a few different photo shoots--one for senior pics that we never had done, one to show my FLAT niece from Indiana around town for her school project (like Flat Stanley), and then more of David at his high school. Kinda made me sad to realize that, although school isn't over yet, he's already closed the door on that chapter of his life at Sachse High School, knowing he won't walk those halls again.

 We showed our flat niece our church, the soccer fields where David literally grew up and then worked his first job, 

 Whataburger (a Texas thing), David's MST Elementary School, 
 Our favorite coffee shop, Rosalind, a pic with Texas bluebonnets, 
 Big Lots, Chick Fil-A

 The front porch swing, Juan's surprise at how tall she actually is, 

 and our schools, where I work, and where David went and Juan works. Now we hope she'll come to Texas to visit us some day. 

We're still waiting on a final decision for graduation, but I plan to send out his announcements this week anyway.  We truly are launching this class into the twilight zone.

I continue to work and teach from home, enthusiastically for the kids that are working, while desperately trying to keep the rest of the kids on board as their participation rates drop daily. That part is truly draining, both mentally and emotionally. So I'm having to get creative to draw them back in and keep them working for the next four weeks. I've also been working through online trainings to get my Google Level 1 Certification, busily "preparing" for an unknown future with virtual schooling. I'm glad I finally "have" the time to get the training because it's all super helpful in the classroom, as well.

Juan is battling a hard allergy season and is struggling through this pandemic away from the company of people. Watching him deal with this is just another reminder of how trauma affects the brain and keeps him behind, that "learned helplessness" that comes with having lived so much of life institutionalized. Trauma is real and has lifelong effects on the brain. While David is creatively and proactively finding new things to do to keep himself busy and active through this, Juan will sleep his day away, struggle to sleep all night, and keep himself glued to social media and/or electronic devices. It's very hard to reason with him or even have an adult conversation with him, so I'm praying fervently that God is working on his heart and will prepare him for his next steps. While it's a difficult stage to live through with him, I'm thankful he's stuck at home and not out in any kind of trouble. The good news is that he paid off all of his school loans that he got for the first three semesters of college, giving him a fresh start to go back to school or pursue a new path. He does occasionally get out, walks the dog daily, gets creative in the kitchen, rides bike with David a little, and attends a drive-in church where his best friend's dad pastors. I don't mean to make it sound all bad. It's just different with him because of the way he processes life.

I had hoped to have more time to read and write, but daily phonecalls with parents and students, slow computers and wifi while trying to upload my plans, constant texting with parents, accepting and grading work at all hours of the day, zoom meetings and google hangouts have filled my time and stretched me thin, despite being at home and not having to go anwhere.

So with that, we wrap up April of 2020 and see what May brings to this twilight zone that we never imagined we'd ever through. I'm thankful we're all healthy, though. I'll keep you tuned on graduation!