I started this blog post in April and never finished it, the pain too raw to share. I was in the midst of watching my mom deteriorate, her body weakened from the throes of terminal cancer. As I sat by her bedside, watching her rest, I began writing about my #oneword17 – resilience.

On January 1, I knew it would be a tough year. I had watched my mom undergo two rounds of chemo with a third on the way and the outlook was pretty grim. I knew I would need to be strong for her, strong for my kids, strong for the family.

Resilience was the only word that came to mind.

I tried to write about resilience as the storms of life swirled around me, but the breadth and depth were too much to describe with accuracy. It seemed like every time I caught my breath, I was swept away again, continuous tidal waves of chaos and heartbreak.

In May, after she passed away, I was in a fog for a bit as my beaten-down spirit struggled to keep up with all the “lasts” of my daughter’s senior year.


Dance Recital. 

Tennis Tournament.

Show Choir Performance. 


Two months later, I sent that same sweet girl to college, the first of my children to fly the coop.

The transition from a family of five to a family of four “with one away at school” was odd; my Momma’s soul was happy for my daughter’s new opportunities, but despondent by the new normal. It took a few weeks to adjust – resilience once again pulling me through.

Then I got the news that my Uncle Garland had passed away.

Another funeral.

Another paralysis.

Another rising again.

I threw myself into the new school year, helping to transform our traditional computer lab into an Innovation Lab. I quickly discovered that shifting a cultural mindset was much more complex than purchasing foldable tables and bean bag chairs.

Now here we are, the start of the holiday season and my world is busy, too busy actually. Last week I was faced with several project deadlines with limited available time. Being a recovering perfectionist, I battled the “must be 100% perfect” mentality as I stayed late at work each day then continued my work at home long after the boys were in bed.

We had Reading and Math night where it was standing room only in my Mission to Mars activity station. Four rotations later, I lost my voice. The next evening I drove three hours west to join others on the VSTE Conference Committee with four full days of non-stop action from morning to night.

With no voice.

This morning, as I was packing up to head home, I got the message that my cat died.

Friends, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

This time last year, I was rushing home to visit with my dying mom. The year before that, I was rushing home to visit with my dying mother-in-law. Now the cat is gone and I’m rushing home to console my children while my heart is mourning, too.


The act of falling down flat on your face and figuring out how to pull through and start again.

And again.

And again.

It’s been a tough year, but one thing I’ve learned from my #oneword17 is that I am tougher than I ever thought I could be.

I just need a little break to rise again.

In memory of Pinky



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