My mom retired after 35 years of being an elementary teacher. As she was ending her teaching career, I was beginning mine. I loved sharing teaching stories with my mom. She could relate to what I was going through, and on those really tough days and weeks, I always felt better after talking with my mom.
Unfortunately, a few years after my mom retired, she passed away. I expected holidays and birthdays to be hard without her. What caught me by surprise, though, is how much I missed her as I drove to school. And at the beginning of each new school year, waves of grief would roll in and out.
Now, I anticipate the waves, and instead of them overtaking me, I ride them out. As I drive to school each day, I welcome the childhood memories that come to mind....
Years ago, when I was going through a leadership training, part of the training required us to take the Myers-Briggs personality test. Through this test, I discovered that I am an ISFJ: The Nurturer.
I wasn’t sure what that meant, but when I read the description I was surprised at how well it described me. And for the first time, I realized that as an introvert, I have just as much to offer the world as an extrovert. I no longer saw being an introvert as a weakness, but a strength. As a quiet observer, I often pick up on subtle non-verbal cues, and I can usually sense how others are feeling.
I’ve known for years that I am an ISFJ, but several months ago I heard about something called the Enneagram. According to the Enneagram, an ancient personality tool, there are 9 different personality types. Knowing your personality type will help you understand why you think, feel, and behave in certain ways.
Here’s a fun infographic about the Enneagram:
Valentine’s Day. A holiday that celebrates love. You know what I love? The day AFTER Valentine’s Day when all of the chocolate is on sale.
If you’re in a relationship, you probably look forward to Valentine’s Day. For those of us who are single, it’s often referred to as “Singleness Awareness Day.” I don’t need a special day to remind me that I’m single (that already happens most days), but during the month of February, singleness is often magnified.
When I started this blog 3 years ago, I wasn’t sure if anyone would read my words….but I wrote anyways. The more that I wrote, the more people shared their own personal stories with me.
Surprisingly, the hardest blogs to write have also been the blogs that people have related to the most.
We often convince ourselves that no one will else will understand what we’re going through, so we struggle in silence. Blogging has helped me realize how much we crave honest connection. Let someone know if you relate to their story. Hope is ignited when we realize we’re not alone.
Or, if you’re feeling really brave, give someone the gift of going second. Share your story first. It will usually give someone else the courage to share too.
Is your life exactly how you imagined it would be?
For me, my life looks very different than how I envisioned it. My dream of becoming a teacher came true, but nothing else has gone according to my plan. Growing up, I thought I would get a job teaching in Northeast Ohio, live close to my family, and be married with a few kids by my late 20’s.
What does my life actually look like? I teach on the opposite side of the state and all of my family lives hundreds of miles away. At the age of 36, I’ve never been married, and I don’t have any kids. In fact, I’ve experienced years of singleness. I’ve heard some people say that singleness is a gift, but many times, it honestly has felt more like a struggle. (Check out my blog series called The Single Life.)
In Annie F. Downs' latest book, Remember God, Annie says, “I struggle so much when my expectations of God don’t meet the reality of my current experience with life.”
Annie then goes on to explore the question, “Is God kind even when my circumstances don’t seem to reflect that?”
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.