I've moved!

I'm still writing; you just won't find me here any longer. If you want to keep reading my writing, head over to mollyflinkman.com. I'll keep a cup of coffee warm for you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


word of the day: worn [wohrn] a) diminished in value or usefulness through wear, use, or handling b) wearied; exhausted.

If you haven't yet read this post yet,  you probably should before reading further.

It feels like everything has come full circle.  I left my room how I found it a year ago before turning it into a classroom.  It's no longer shiny and new, but worn and well-used.

Boxes pile the wall.

Walls stand bare. 

Shelves sit empty. 

And now, here I sit, on Trinity's campus in Illinois.  It seems fitting to reflect upon the past year here, where it really all began.  Again, full circle. 

People keep asking me how my first year of teaching went.  The only really honest answer I can give them is, "It was really hard."  

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change the past year for anything.  I'm lucky enough to have a job that allows me to impact the lives of teenagers on a daily basis.  I'm lucky enough to have a job that changes daily, throws new challenges in my path, and always gives me something to look forward to.  I'm lucky enough to have a job that I love. 

But still, that doesn't change the fact that this year was really hard. 

I'm worn in more ways than one.  I'm worn in the sense that I now have one year of teaching under my belt.  I made it through the curriculum, the tests, and the endless amounts of papers and paragraphs I found myself reading.  I'm worn because I've now been through the system on the other end.  I've seen the ins and outs of how it works to be a teacher and have experienced the things you never see when you're on the student side of things. 

I'm also worn in the sense that I'm exhausted.  Teaching is no 9 to 5 job.  In fact, I'd say it's more like a 24/7 kind of job because there were very few days or nights that school wasn't on my mind.   Sometimes it was the stress of not feeling prepared for the next day or finishing a lesson plan at 9:30 p.m.  Sometimes it was the stress of having 153 papers to grade or feeling behind in updating my grade book.  Sometimes it was the stress of feeling like I mismanaged a behavioral situation or misspoke to a student about who knows what.  Sometimes, in all honesty, it was the stress of feeling like I just couldn't do it.  Like I wasn't cut out for it.  Like I didn't really have any idea what I was doing.

And, really, sometimes I didn't, but that's just between you and me...

Time was a constant theme this past year because I felt like I never had enough of it.  School consumed so much of my life that my relationships got pushed to the back burner.  I never lost sight of the fact that they were there, but there was a steady whistle in my ear telling me that they were ready to be moved from high heat. 

Jake, when you read this, know that I couldn't have made it through this year without your patience, honesty, and support.  For all the times I cried for no apparent reason, you comforted me and affirmed me. You encouraged me and reminded me of where my focus should be.  I know this year wasn't easy for you either, and I'm thankful for your constant presence. 

This summer is already glorious.  Yesterday, I woke up at 10:00 a.m. because there was nothing I had to wake up for.  Last night I read 45 pages of a book that I want to read for no other reason than I want to read it.  Today, I can go through the day without thinking of all the things I "should probably be doing". 


But, let me tell you, I am already looking forward to getting back into it in August.  I think the wear ultimately manifests itself into wisdom, and I already see how much better I'm going to be at all of this next year.  The challenges will all still exist, but it's enough for me to know that I'm exactly where God wants me right now. 

And, even if that wasn't good enough, I get to take a new classroom and turn it from bare to shiny all over again.  Now that's just flat out fun.

Happy summer!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


word of the day: bloom \ˈblüm\ a : to produce or yield flowers b: to mature into achievement of one's potential

Our front yard has a dandelion field. I'm not talking about the occasional weed here and there, either.  I'm talking about a steady stream of yellow when they are all in bloom.
Can you tell the difference between the regular grass and the dandelion grass?  Jake and I have actually been pretty fascinated with the dandelion field lately.  Yesterday, when we left our house in the morning, the weeds were all yellow.  In fact, the strip you see above was more yellow than green.  When we drove past again in the evening, they had all turned white.  This morning, when Jake left to set up for church, same thing.  Yellow when he left, white when he came home an hour later.
Here's a close up from this evening.  The cycle continues.  It's about time we had a splash of color around here, really.  The blooms seem to be a little delayed this Spring for some reason.  Not today though.  The trees waved their green tips, the grass grew in vibrancy, and the sky smiled its clear blue smile.  Spring is here.  

It seemed only fitting to have such a beautiful day for Mother's Day.  And, as I thought about the continual cycle of dandelion growth, I was reminded of the hundreds of thousands of ways my mom has helped me "bloom" along the way.  
 For example, on my last day of fifth grade, my friends and I all walked to school.  I think this was a big step of independence for us.  We didn't need a bus or a mini-van; we could get to school on our own accord.  My mom took our picture before the maiden voyage.  She encouraged the growth.  It was only later that I learned she hopped in her mini-van and followed us...
One of my favorite pictures ever.
Towards the end of eighth grade, my dad broke the news to me that I would be transferring schools the following year.  As my mom destroyed my eighth grade formal up-do, I sat on the carpet silently crying.  She didn't say anything either.  I think she just knew that I needed to cry.  She knew that growth would come, but she didn't push it.  She rubbed my back and validated my sadness.  
 My senior year of high school, my mom wrote me 30 letters and put them together in a book for my graduation.  She told me she was proud of me, that I was beautiful, and that I was a rare treasure.  She rejoiced in my successes and told me there would be a void in their house without me.  She affirmed the growth she had seen in my already, but encouraged that which was still to come.
Mom- you rocked the bowl-cut.
My junior year of college, my mom and sister drove with me to Chicago to help move me back into the dorms at Trinity.  At the time, my relationship with Jake was very new and I didn't want my mom hanging around with all my friends.  I can remember telling her that I didn't even want her to come with me in the first place.  That I could do it on my own.  That I didn't need her help.  I know that I hurt her that night, but she didn't fight me.  She left and came back the next day like nothing was wrong.  She forgave me despite my harshness. If I could take back those words, I would, but I grew that weekend because of her graciousness.
All along the way, my mom has understood me.  She embraces my strengths, encourages me to move past my fears, and speaks to my weaknesses.  In one of her senior year letters she noted, "You're a unique combination of confidence.  You avoid confrontation and anything that draws attention to yourself, yet I routinely see you step out confidently on your own.  You are interesting to watch in this area." 

Spot on, really.  She gets me.  And today, that's what I find myself most thankful for.  

Mom, because of how well you know me, you have helped me to bloom.

I wouldn't be who I am today without you.  For all we know, without your patience and understanding, I would still suck my thumb, ride a bike with training wheels, hit off of a tee, and drive only on back roads.  

Thank you for giving me space to be independent.  Thank you for forgiving me those times that I pushed you away.  Thank you for modeling a faith that is real.  A faith that reflects relationships and humility.  Thank you for supporting me and affirming me in every stage of my life.  I don't say it enough and can't emphasize it enough.

Mom, throughout every dandelion cycle of growth, you were there.  I will never outgrow the need for your support just as I know you will never stop encouraging me to bloom.  
Happy Mother's Day!