Choosing Joy

So, I started this post with a title of “Friday Favorites: Summer Reads”…but then I typed that third sentence down there and it turned in a whoooole different direction. So, this post is a little different than the usual…a little more personal & not so photography related, and hopefully that’s okay! :)


Aaaaaaand we did it!!! Happy FRIDAY!! I cannot believe that today is my last Friday as a first-year teacher. Even as I typed that sentence, I had to pause and just MARVEL at the incredible change God has brought to my school year — to my attitude, to my students, to my classroom in general.

It is CRAZY to think back to that very first Friday in August. It was the second day of school, and I was just realizing how different this school year would be than my previous experiences as a long-term sub and student teacher. I entered into the year with all sorts of expectations and dreams, but found myself flooded with a lot of tears, anxiety, and just plain frustration. Mostly with myself, but also with my students, with the system, with EVERYTHING. September and October were hard.

Fast-forward to today, May 30th, and I am overwhelmed with the thought of leaving these kiddos behind!! I don’t know what exactly happened, but I do know that nothing specifically changed from then until now (except for the genius decision to put my classes on two different rotations to help my sanity…more on that later..) That tells me that the only thing that really changed was my HEART.

And it’s amazing how just a tiny change of heart can make such a huge difference.

And that’s just how it is in life..ya know? Your situation may not change, the people surrounding you may not change, but MAN, an attitude change can move MOUNTAINS. And I don’t know about you, but that’s really encouraging to me. A lot of things may seem out of our control (because, well, they are!), but how comforting to know that the things we can control — our hearts, attitudes, and acceptance of joy — is what really matters. And I know this doesn’t apply to every situation..there is definitely a time and a place to move out of a difficult situation, but sometimes I think we are called to move ourselves within difficult situations, if that makes sense.

choose joy

Yes teaching is stressful, yes some kids are lazy/irresponsible/apathetic, and yes the system has got a whoooole load of issues. These issues are still the same — just as they were back at the beginning of the year. But by focusing on the positives, by taking the time to intentionally greet each and every student, by remembering the reason why I do what I do, by praying for my kids, by laughing at the little things, by recognizing & celebrating with them in their triumphs and encouraging them in their failures, by investing in relationships, by choosing joy — by doing all of these things, this year turned into a completely different year — one that I never could have imagined last September.

I know I will forever look back on my first year of teaching and smile, and it’s all because I chose joy.

And because, well, my students actually-sorta-really-kinda rock despite their craziness and they make me laugh every day :)

So, like I said at the beginning, Happy Friday my friends — may you choose joy as this week ends today and every day. Chris and I are off to Athens, OH tonight for a early engagement session tomorrow morning at OU! Can’t wait to explore the campus & take some sweet photos — be on the lookout for some sneak peeks next week :)

lots of love,