I really do prefer the title of Educational Badass

It is officially the last day of the year 2015. I am planning on firing off a list of awesomeness later when I hope to get some input from my co-pilot. Until then, I have something else I want to share.

I got a facebook message from a previous student last night and it started like this. Student: I am proud of you.

WHAT?! My first instinct was to tell her to go to bed and sleep off that Christmas cookie induced high. It caught me so off guard! Proud of ME? What did I do?

If anyone should be proud of someone, it should be the other way around. This young girl is now the polar opposite of who she was when I first met her. I mean, truly, she has really gotten her poop in a group, and I  AM proud of HER. She is one of those kids you just know is going to be with you forever, permanently engraved her name in my heart. Any teacher knows what I am talking about. I would be willing to bet that we all have a few, gaining one or two every few years.

So, yeah, today is New Year’s Eve, which means tomorrow is a NEW YEAR! Whoo! While everyone else is thinking about starting new with a clean slate tomorrow, all the teachers are sitting here thinking, “The new year actually started in August and we don’t get a clean slate until the end of May. But, okay, let’s drink wine anyways!” Its true. While I am sure we have been browsing pinterest over break for all the new, amazing, fail proof classroom management systems, ways to differentiate and integrate across curriculum….. yeah, right… you better be taking naps!!!  Truth: We all get to go back to school in a few days teaching the same kids, in the same classroom, with the same curriculum. No monumental changes. And now you are thinking, “What does this have to do with a facebook message?” Stay with me.

I will be so honest in saying that I started this 2015 school year like chicken liver warmed over (Grandma’s words). I struggled to be excited and I was depressed. Seriously. I wanted to quit. There are many things that contributed to those feelings, both personal and professional.  It breaks my own heart to admit that. I love teaching. With every ounce of my being I love teaching, but I was in a dark place. (Please, teacher friends, tell me you have been here too?!) I’m actually not so certain I completely came out of the dark place until about 2 days into my Christmas break. I needed to step away and catch my breath. The first half of my year was a ridiculous roller coaster of anger, frustration, sadness,exhaustion,  a dash of happiness, and a sprinkle of joy.

While I was home with my family, I did some secret soul searching in between naps. I came back a little excited to go back to school. Teachers, stop having a panic attack. Not the kind of excited where I  wished break would end, just the kind that I was not freaking out about having to go back. I went to my classroom yesterday afternoon. I left with WAY LESS anxiety than I showed up with. I cleaned out some cupboards, cleaned my desk (oofta), reorganized, got my lesson plans done and even made a skeleton plan for 2nd semester. Yeah, you can be jealous.

Then, last night, I got that profound facebook message. She went on:


I think my heart, head, and tear ducts simultaneously exploded. Hey Ms. Story, remember why you do this now?!  I was already feeling pretty good about having a stronger 2nd semester and then this kid comes along and ignites the NOS. I am so totally getting back to the Educational Badassery that was lost for a bit.

Maybe I don’t get a totally new year tomorrow, but it feels like it. For the first time this year, I am excited to the core about what I do. I am refreshed and ready.  I am totally okay with Monday. I might even pick out an outfit for this sweet baby bump I am rocking right now. 🙂



This truly is the most wonderful time of the year! Thanksgiving, Megan and Carli’s birthday, Christmas, Dad’s birthday… I could go on! So many reasons to celebrate!

Ray and I spent our Thanksgiving holiday doing some traveling. We started on Wednesday traveling to Cheyenne, Wyoming so that we could spend Thanksgiving Day with his family. Luckily, we just beat the snow by the hair on our chinny chin chins and found ourselves warm and safe among our family. We spent Thanksgiving Day just as it is meant to be; snuggled in watching the parade on TV in the morning, stuffing ourselves to the gills all day long, a couple of naps, and LOTS of laughing. We even did a tiny bit of shopping on Thursday night and Friday. This is something I have never done before. ( I am more of a December 22nd kind of gal.) It was interesting. On Friday, we headed to Kimball, Nebraska to spend the afternoon and night with my grandparents. I love them so much. There is just something to be said about the bond you have with grandparents, especially when they have been such a big part of your life. We were also blessed with the company of my aunt and uncle and my cousin and his wife and new baby on Friday night. It was a picture perfect day. Our plans for Saturday included a trip to Sidney for Cabelas and then to relax and be together for the rest of the day. While the trip to Cabelas went as planned, the rest of the day did not. Ray was feeling quite under the weather and the weather itself was not looking so bright for Saturday night and Sunday. So, we decided we better start home. Lots of tears for Grandma and I. We are REALLY bad at goodbyes, especially to each other. We managed to get home late Saturday night, and emotions aside,  I am glad we decided to come home when we did.

In just a few short days we were so easily reminded of all the things we have to be thankful for. We were blessed with decent enough weather to travel in, great food to eat, warm houses to sleep in, great jobs to come home to,  and most importantly, a healthy family to visit and pray with.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

Tune in tomorrow for some super awesome words for my sisters as they celebrate birthday #22 and #19!