“Anxiety is feeling unrealistic fear, worry, and uneasiness.”  Yep, that’s me…. at least where I was and sometimes still am…..  About lots of things….

Would my kids pass their end of course test?

Would we find just the right teachers to fill our open positions for next year?

What do others think of the job I’ve done?

Am I a good parent, wife, teacher, person…..?

What would the traffic be like in Philadephia?  Would I get lost?

I could take almost anything and make it into something to worry about.  And I can worry with the best of them.

Then, as a friend often says to me, “God winked.”  She says that when she feels like God (or the higher power of your choice) sends you a message that points you in the direction you’re intended to go.  I’ve been getting a lot of those this spring and yet, for a while, I still let anxiety hold me back.

Then God decided that I might need to be hit over the head and I received an invitation to apply for an EnCoMPASS fellowship.  I figured …..why not?  The worst they can say is no thanks.  (Where did that person come from?)  And then I GOT IT!  Surely that was a mistake…more things to worry about.  But it wasn’t and last week I was honored to participate in the EnCoMPASS institute with an incredibly talented and inspiring group of math educators.

During the institute, several of us expressed some anxiety (or discomfort) with the task at hand.  In response to our questions, one of the Drexel staff said  “Are you uncomfortable with this?  Why?”  “Is being uncomfortable a bad thing?”  Those comments really made me think – is discomfort a bad thing?  If we’re always comfortable do we learn anything?  If we don’t take a risk and try to be ok with being uncomfortable for a bit will we ever move ourselves forward?   Somehow I don’t think so.  And all of a sudden I didn’t care about being anxious…

Finally… this is where I was…



… so here I am – writing my first blog post after making some “big” (at least for me) decisions about my life – or my teaching life that is.  Next year I am back in the classroom full time and I’ve never been more excited about it.  Thanks to wonderful support from my family and colleagues, some wonderful God winks from former students (including @maxmathforum) and great inspiration from both the MTBoS (mathtwitterblogosphere) and EnCoMPASS, I’m taking the plunge:  trying not to worry and becoming comfortable with being a little uncomfortable.


Update:  Wow!  Talk about God winks – My new little blog is featured in the Math Forum Newsletter this week.  Here’s the link to see more information about the EnCoMPASS grant and my friends at the Math Forum.  Now the pressure is really on!



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  1. YAY! I’m so glad that you decided to blog! I am looking forward to reading what you have to say.

    • Laurel on July 2, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Cool. I like your God winks analogy. I’m a worrier, too, but I’m now tweeting and commenting on blogs. I am also looking forward to reading what you write next. -Laurel

    “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
    ― A.A. Milne

    • MKay on July 2, 2013 at 11:45 am

    So glad you had an awesome time at the EnCoMPASS event! God is AMAZING and His W*nks ALWAYS come just when they are needed and our hearts feel such warmth when we catch them. Have a wonderful day and keep up blogging .. it is a great way to share with the world your passion!

    • Natalie on July 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I felt the same way!! I couldn’t possibly be worthy of participating in the Encompass project with so many awesome people. How great to have been selected. I’ve learned so much already.

    • Mary Wren on July 2, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Nice work Lois. You have inspired me. What did you use to get started? point me in the right direction, please!

    • Jason on July 3, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Hey, Lois. Great to see you online… Had a great time chatting in Philly and looking forward to more!
    – Jason

  2. This is a beautiful post, Lois.

    I felt very fortunate to be part of EnCoMPASS too, meeting you and everyone else was definitely the highlight.

    I have to get a pair of math TOMS the next time we see each other so we can be twins.


    • michele ban on July 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Hats off to you Lois. Great read. I admire your courage (to take the plunge) and find it inspiring.
    I’ve often told me (own) kids, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards”.

    Well, you’re moving forward Lois. Sending you my best thoughts.


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