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February 6, 2009

“Where do you want to go for dinner on your birthday this weekend?” he asked.

She responded calmly, her statement propelled by a confidence born out of exhaustion.

“Virginia Beach.”

Hugh and Jess: A Memoir, Page 286

I started teacher training last August.  I also started a new season of migraines.  I love teaching, but I hate the sinking feeling that comes from knowing I never have enough time to get everything done.

Last week, I hit a wall.  Too many papers left ungraded, too many bedtime stories left unread, too many decisions left undiscussed with my husband.  “I am getting depressed again,” I told Hugh.

He spent the next day with me, sorting out everything I had to do for work.  We made lists, color-coded my priorities, and made a plan.  For the last seven days, I have gotten caught up on the important things – and I have let the unimportant things go.

As I worked diligently through the list Hugh and I made, I started to feel better.  Here was a new revelation!  I was not sinking into depression again – I just had too much to do for my job.

A couple of days ago, Hugh asked me what I would like to do for my birthday this Saturday.  He was wondering if I would choose Outback or Chili’s for dinner.

But I had a different idea.

Tomorrow I am turning thirty-two years old.  And I want to celebrate my life.

I have hard days.  I have hard weeks and dark times when I doubt my calling and I feel overwhelmed.  But the bottom line is that I get up each morning and continue to live my life. I balance more than I could have thought possible five years ago.

Bondage doesn’t define me anymore.  Failure is no longer my blanket.  Instead, I am learning to live.

I told Hugh I wanted to go do my most favorite thing in the world: whale watching.  He asked me once why I loved it so much, and I told him it was because whale-watching forces peace on me.  I stand silent on the deck of an old boat, smelling the salt air, waiting for a humpback to breach. I feel restful in a way I cannot explain.

He is going to take me to Virginia.  Our family has packed bags, and we leave in a few hours.  I have thrown sweat pants and my new Ben Franklin biography in a tote.

We will drive and talk and walk in the cold and drink Starbucks for three days.

And we’re off!

19 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2009 9:33 am

    Awesome!! Have a fabulous time and happy birthday!

  2. February 6, 2009 9:51 am

    Happy Birthday and happy whale watching!
    May you feel wrapped up completely and securely in His peace and perfect love.

  3. February 6, 2009 9:52 am

    Sounds beautiful… may you just soak in the peace & have a happy, happy birthday!

  4. Alicia permalink
    February 6, 2009 10:08 am

    Have a wonderful birthday….Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!! Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. February 6, 2009 10:26 am

    I love reading your blog and your last post just resonated with me so much..
    A few years ago I was undertaking counselling for scars and hurt left after being in an abusive relationship and my counsellor asked me to think of something, an object or something that I could come back to time and time again to help me keep my reslove and just give me hope. I chose Shamu the whale from Sea World, well all killer whales really…because they symbolized strength and yet peace and beauty….

    I pray blessings on your birthday and I pray that you may find peace and hope to keep going and to keep doing all God has in store for u

  6. February 6, 2009 10:48 am

    Happy birthday and many whale-sighting wishes!

  7. February 6, 2009 11:12 am

    I hope you have an amazing time!!!

  8. February 6, 2009 11:12 am

    Oh, and happy birthday!!!

  9. February 6, 2009 12:41 pm

    Happy Birthday ~ and enjoy His peace that is beyond our understanding. Really, really enjoy the weekend!

    (My husband and I like to say…”and we’re off!”….”and we’re leaving, too!” We’re just Aren’t we all? 😎

  10. February 6, 2009 1:06 pm

    That sounds fabulous! Have a Happy Birthday!!

  11. Amanda McEwen permalink
    February 6, 2009 3:17 pm

    WOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!! Put that phone on and expect a call in the morning :). Hope you have a blast and get to see LOTS of whales!! And when you get back….CHEESECAKE FACRTORY!!!!!
    Love you DAHling!!

  12. February 6, 2009 5:34 pm

    Happy Birthday and have a wonderful time. It’s supposed to be warmer this weekend, so I hope it is a wonderful time at the beach! (I live in VA too).

  13. February 6, 2009 7:36 pm

    Woo Hoo!!! Congratulations on your little vacation, and Happy Birthday! How WONDERFUL!!!!!

  14. February 6, 2009 8:48 pm

    Good for you!!! Enjoy and have a very happy birthday!!!!

  15. Missy permalink
    February 7, 2009 11:02 am

    Sweet Jessica – I am with you on your feeling of being overwhelmed with balancing it all. I found a verse in Psalm 113 that says “He will make the…woman a keeper of her home and a joyful mother of children.” I know that this is our design – yet so much seems to distract and get in the way of this. I have spent the morning today searching my heart – asking the Lord to show me what HIS priorities are for me. What is HE calling me to do? I am praising the Lord with you for your husband. I am thankful that He has given you a perfect companion – I will pray that your time away is sweet, refreshing, and enlightening.
    Love you so…Missy


  16. sumijoti permalink
    February 7, 2009 6:41 pm

    Oh Jess. I love it!! Have a fantabulous time. 🙂

  17. Diane permalink
    February 8, 2009 7:08 pm

    Oh, Jess, I am so happy for you!! Tell Hugh he is a #1 husband!!

  18. February 9, 2009 9:09 am

    Oh I’m so happy for you! I could imagine a more wonderful thing to do. Whale watching…on my list of things I want to do before I die.

  19. stephanie renner permalink
    February 10, 2009 8:12 am

    Good for you. I hope it was awesome!!

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