This is where we are right now…

Let me explain…  no, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Usually I try to do these during the late Spring/early Summer—during those long lazy days when spare time is abundant—but our Spring was packed, and Summer even more so. Like I said, I can’t explain everything, and even just summarizing would prove time-consuming and long-winded.

The main thing I can say is that our life is very complicated right now. Very busy. A lot of things going on—not just with Candace and I—but our children as well. The days hurtle past from Mondy to Friday, that the sweet leisure of the weekends is gobbled greedily by us all.

How’re we doing, you ask? Pretty good, I guess.

I am restless…  starting to get that itchy feeling in my feet. I admit, I’m giving the frequent job offers I get a little more thought than I have in the past. A job offer near San Francisco, a job offer near Portland, and a job offer in Oklahoma City.

Man oh man, if I were ever tempted to move to another city in the U.S., those cities are among my favorites—and there’s offers at each one! Not interviews, offers. But the more I think about it the more I realize this is where I want to stay. For now, anyways…

Candace is steady as ever—full of grace, wisdom, and surpassing feminine beauty. She was working as a lactation consultant for WIC, but over the summer accepted a job as a special education teacher at the local school. The pay is alright, but it the proximity to home and the convenient hours that make it a boon to our family. She walks the kids to and from school, and has all the same days off. It’s also a chance to make strong connections with other teacher and the administration while she pursues her teaching certification for high school science and mathematics.

But what excites me the most about her job is that she is leading the One-Act Play and starting the process of re-developing the long-neglected theatre department. A powerhouse up to the early 2000s, the program has fallen into disrepair in recent years. Candace is a force of nature and I look forward to what she will accomplish in the lives of these young people.

As for our children…  they are amazing. Frustrating. Hilarious. Beautiful.

Gaelynn is now in eighth-grade, an honor roll student who participates in art, band, basketball, choir, middle school OAP, and track. She also takes twirling. Next year she plans to try out for high school majorette and she’s one of the favorites to make the squad.

She recently “came out of the closet” to me that she wasn’t sure about being a veterinarian any more. She said she still wants to own horses and a menagerie of animals, she just doesn’t want to treat them medically for a living. We talked about what she did want to do and she seemed rather passionate about being an art teacher— whether on the high school or college level. her mother and I think it’s interesting, and we’ll continue to encourage her to this end until she indicates otherwise.

Israel is in fifth-grade and hitting the pre-adolescent pudge that his sister hit a few years ago. I mess with him abbout it, and he thinks it pretty absurd. His doctor said he’s likely going to have a big growth spurt the Summer before his sixth grade year. He’s still brilliant and maddening.

The quirks of his personality make me laugh, and I can only imagine what a fascinating sort of adult he’s going to make. Israel still shows a keen interest in machines, technology, and “creating stuff.” We talk about engineering and the various fields but he said he can’t settle on just one. “Can’t I do them all?” he says.

Sophia is still our princess. Petite and demure, yet her brilliant blue eyes will flash and she becomes Napoleonic in dominance. Like her mother, she is a force of nature. Less inclined toward the more scholarly pursuits of her elder siblings, she possesses a sort of genius when it comes to social interactions. I fear she’s going to be a powerful manipulator.

Liam is my blond beast. Raw-boned and rough-hewn, he’s my warrior poet. On an average day he’s bounding through the house waving a foam sword, dressed like an extra from The Road Warrior: football pads, samurai armor, and a boxing glove on one hand. Following his close at hand is Xander.

Xander is almost a clone of Liam. The two of them really are a couple of barbarians, yet full of such sweetness. Xander adores his siblings, Gaelynn especially. Sometimes when he’s feeling ill he prefers Gaelynn to his mother or me. They share a close bond, one I hope continues as they grow older.

I remain Editor-In-Chief of a newspaper in rural East Texas. Today actually marks my fourth year at the Henderson Daily News. I have written three books but am unable to find the time to “finish” them. Not the stories themselves, mind you, all the everything else. The easy part’s been done, I’m just not sure how I want to put them out there.

Candace and I are also on the verge of buying a new house. There’s this one right near the school that we really like. We’d probably be a lot further along in the process now if we didn’t have so much else going on. But I think we’ll start making the move in earnest after the holidays and hopefully be moved in before the Summer. We’re probably taking a road trip to visit friends in Austin and South Padre Island this March, then I’ve got some weddings I’ll be officiating in May and June.

Lately, I’ve been thinking more about where I want to “end up.” Maybe it’s the realization that I’m on the cusp of turning 40, but I’ve been thinking more and more about the purpose of my life—of the things I want to accomplish before I die. I’ve accomplished a lot, but there’s still more to be done.

My children are growing, and I am starting to see the trajectories their lives are going to take. I can, after a fashion, see their futures. Sometime in the next 20 years the last of my children will have “grown up” and reached adulthood. What then?

One thing I have decided is that I will soon be leaving the journalism business.

As soon as Candace has her certification and starts full-time teaching at the local high school (sometime in the next year or so), I will work on getting certified in English and History. I think I would like to spend my remaining working years as a high school civics and/or English teacher at the local public school. During the summers I will work on my writing full-time — all while we catch-up on some much-needed traveling that we’ve neglected.

Of course, this is all a couple years down the road…  but this is where we are right now.



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