Saturday, March 4, 2017

Breaking Point

Along with 1 in 4 Americans, I face clinical depression and anxiety. I recently came perilously close to dying. I suffered for weeks with severe physical symptoms of anxiety, including stomach problems, headaches and insomnia. I longed to escape these symptoms and was irresponsible with medication. My family intervened, saving me from myself. I feel ashamed and guilty that I scared them. I share to help others. I also write this to help myself work through my feelings.

Leaving my job at Balfour Elementary, where I was the media coordinator for almost 13 years broke something inside me. New administration at the school and district level changed, which led to me taking on the duties of 1.5 people in addition to my job, and no funding for library books. I felt that position was so tied to my identity that I felt I lost who I was. It seems ridiculous to my intellectual side; people leave jobs all the time, many after longer than 13 years. However, life through the lense of depression/anxiety often does not make sense. My decision was for the best; why stay somewhere where I was devalued in my position and by some as a human being?

I got offered a job this summer at the elementary school I attended as a child. I had a hard time getting references from my former district, despite receiving several excellent evaluations. I spoke up against poor treatment from my administrator before and after I left, and I have known other people that have struggled after leaving. Even getting references from my so-called friends has been difficult. I get politics, but why not just be honest or simply say, "I can't provide you with a reference."

I received a position as a media assistant, and was treated wonderfully. However, the salary would not  sustain my family, and I haven't been there long enough to qualify for the leave needed to recover from this mental health setback.

Overall, I think I need to just move on. North Carolina's public education system in broken. I will do my part to keep fighting for the rights of students and teachers as a parent and concerned citizen.. I plan to pursue a degree in Accounting. I feel hopeful for the future.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Book Fairy

Once upon a time, there was a book fairy who decided to work as a school librarian. She was a book fairy because she loved giving people books, among other gifts. She was often called crazy, yet she gave and gave anyway. She was a reader her entire life. It began when she was three, and her mother would have her pick out books every night to read each morning so that she would not awaken the rest of the family at 5 am. Soon her nose was always buried in a book. The time when she got into the most trouble was when she ran away to Kmart to spend her birthday money on books, and was found in the store by her father, sitting on a lawn chair reading.

13 years ago, the book fairy found a job in a lovely school called Bubbles Elementary. She shared books with children, found resources for teachers, updated an outdated collection and was very, very happy. Then a group of trolls took over the government and started taking away money from schools. Bubbles was okay for awhile, but eventually, it too started having problems. There was no money for new books for the children or a library assistant. An inexperienced queen took over the school, and would not listen to the book fairy on how the library should be run. Most heartbreaking of all, she thought the book fairy was not a good librarian, and the book fairy even began to think the same so she decided to leave. The book fairy felt shattered; how could she live if she was not sharing books with children?

In August, the book fairy will not be at Bubbles Elementary for the first time in 13 years. It seemed so unfair! She should have been there forever. There shouldn't be another librarian in HER library, in HER school. 

The book fairy was wrong. Even though she seemed angry, she was really afraid. Not really of change, but of losing herself. She became so invested in Bubbles Elementary that it became a part of who she was. If we stay in one place and never move, we never learn and we never grow. When life gives us the signal to move on, and we refuse, nothing but disaster will follow. 

The book fairy will move on and become a wonderful addition to another school. She will share books with other children and resources with other teachers. And yes, she will give away more books. 

And Bubbles Elementary? It will always be in her heart because it was where she became a teacher.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


I made a confession to my sister today: I'm not sure I want to be a librarian anymore. Not sharing this, because I don't want pity. Trusting God to help me find my way.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New bookcases!

It will come as no surprise to most nerdy people that I am a book hoarder. If you follow our Two Nerdy Sisters blog, we have a weekly post dedicated to my book purchases. Anyway, I had books double shelved and piled everywhere. I was fortunate enough to inherit bookcases from my husband's aunt. Now every book in my house has a home. I gave some of my bookcases to my children, enabling them to deal with their overwhelming stacks of books.

My reading closet:

This bookcase held encyclopedias; it is perfect for picture books.

This one was in the basement and was going to be given to Goodwill. I protested and it is my favorite.

In my bedroom:

DVD rack turned into bookcase. ☺️
At the top of the stairs:

What's that? An empty one! (Well, I begrudgingly gave my husband a shelf.) I have a place for all the books I will order in the future. It should take me a year or two to fill these.

The total number of bookcases in our house now? 14 We could open a small library. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

My Favorite Book From Every Year I've Been Alive

This idea stolen from my friend and Newbery Pie co-blogger, Benji Martin. Check out his list.

1978: My favorite Dr. Seuss book because it has my favorite quote -

Honorable Mention: The Stand by Stephen King





Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (Ramona, #6)







I know this is an odd choice, but I read this in high school for a book report. It is a still a favorite.





















P.S. The Weston Woods version of this is amazing!



















2004: A family favorite.



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The best E&P book!







For the last two years, I couldn't decide so I picked two.


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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Balance is everything...

Here comes my resignation story. I am not going to give specifics about what went down or complain about how I was treated. That's not professional. I am not going to fill this post with a diatribe about how legislatures are killing education or how we are testing children to death. Those things are all true and you have heard them over and over again. If education is your passion, you will continue in this profession despite those things, and children desperately need people like you. If you are reading this, you are most likely an educator or someone very close to me. As they say, "No need to preach to the choir."

As any passionate educator will tell you, being a teacher takes everything you have, and if you're not careful, it can be to your own detriment: to your health, to your family, to your relationship with God. As staff were cut and my responsibilities grew, I failed to maintain a balance and all those things suffered, particularly my health. This is by no means an original statement, but I obviously didn't hear it enough times: as educators, we must take care of ourselves. Like me, many educators are also parents. We get in the habit of putting ourselves last, and years of that practice eventually takes its toll.

I am so blessed to have the financial resources and the family support to take time to find my balance.

I love reading. I love children. I want children to love reading. I have breathed this every day for over 12 years. I believe that I was put on earth for that purpose. I am not done; I have just pressed the pause button. I will focus on my three readers at home for awhile. As usual, you'll see me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads keeping it #nerdy.

God bless you all and thank you for reading.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Guideposts and Cockeyed Optimists

I'm not going to name this person, but if you know them, you may be able to guess their identity. I am not special or anything so I do not want to "name drop." This person has inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

I love my job as a school librarian and I love children's literature. If you've read this blog, you know that I have publically identified myself as someone, along with millions of others, who suffers from mental illness, specifically depression and mild panic disorder. Last year, I had to acknowledge my illnesses because my diagnosis of chronic migraines led me to consider resigning. I know this person is one of the reasons I am still a children's librarian. 

I hope that you all can find someone in your profession who is knowledgable, and has a strong unwavering ethical character, someone who can be a guidepost for you. Here is the lesson I learned this week:

How do we respond when faced with negativity from others within or from without our profession? Continue with business as usual. Addressing the negativity can turn it into a monster, especially when there is little or no chance for change/resolution of the issue/problem. My guidepost didn't say this; it is simply what they did. 

So just think of Nellie Forbush,

"I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
That we're done and we might as well be dead
But I'm only a cockeyed optimist 
And I can't get it into my head."