Ohh Back to School

You know what I miss?

Back to school.


Back to school everything. The excitement. The shopping. Decorating my locker. Getting new pens and school supplies. Finding out my schedule and comparing it to my friends’ and crushes’.

*Sigh* Those were the days.


I was always one of those people that geeked out over school supplies. I loved color coordinating everything from pens and highlighters, to folders and binders, and the little tab divider thingies.

I’m definitely guilty of Type A tendencies, but I’ve honestly let a lot of that go post-recovery. Just ask the pile of dirty laundry begging to be washed in my closet.



But there was something about going back to school that was really exciting. Sure I hated seeing the summer come to a close, but the thought of embarking on a new year – a fresh start – it was one of my favorite times of the year.

Because it was a blank canvas. I could make of it whatever I wanted. Endless possibilities.

And, honestly, this whole “adulting” thing…I really miss that. I miss that hopefulness and that feeling of a new beginning that I took for granted back when Lizzie McGuire, Winnie Cooper and Clarissa ruled cable TV.


But I think that once we get out of that “back to school” era of life, we can get kind of, stuck in the doldrums. Caught up in the monotony of everyday life. Stuck in a rut where we feel as though we’re merely existing. Paycheck to paycheck, bill to bill, weekend to weekend. We suddenly find ourselves in a place that, if we’re honest, there’s no real fresh start or new adventure waiting to be had come September 1.

We’re in the daily grind.

Wake up. Coffee. Commute. Work. Commute. Netflix. Sleep. Repeat. Toss in a dive bar and a boozy brunch on the weekends, and welcome to adulthood.

Can’t a girl just get excited about some new felt tip pens and college-ruled spiral notebooks anymore?


Jeezle Petes!

But I was thinking about this today, as my precious nanny-ees were sorting through their school supplies: we’re never stuck.

Just because our schedule may be relentless or just because we don’t get a fresh, blank, 5-subject monthly planner complete with motivational quotes, doesn’t mean that we can’t have a new realm of possibilities available to us.

And no, I’m not talking about the upcoming season of The Bachelor.

Just because you find yourself doing the daily grind doesn’t mean that God can’t use you.

It doesn’t mean that you’re forever doomed to an existence where your only variation and excitement comes from which snack you choose from the vending machine in the break room.


God will use you right where you are, with what you’ve got.

There are opportunities for new beginnings and new possibilities all around, but we’ve got to just be looking for them, and ready to adapt our lives when we find them.

And when we do find those opportunities–it takes courage to take that first step. It takes courage to say, Okay, God. I’m going to trust you.

Because that can be scary. There are risks. Potentially uncomfortable situations. And there’s a chance that you could fail.

But give yourself the chance to try. Put yourself in play. Because nothing will happen if you concede to the monotony of a stagnant existence.

That’s not “it” for you. God’s got something bigger. But you’ve gotta keep your eyes peeled for when He allows opportunity to knock.



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149 responses to “Ohh Back to School”

  1. Excellent post. We all need to be more aware of those moments God brings our way where He can use us. At least I know I do. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. You know, one of the things I’ve encountered in my Christian friend group is that they have this near unrealistic expectation that unless God sends them somewhere else other than where they’ve lived their whole lives, that God isn’t using them. Not all of them have that mentality, but they just don’t see it any other way. However, God doesn’t always have to send us all the way to China to use us. Sometimes, the people who are hurting the most and need God the most are the ones who are closest to us–they need Jesus and God just as much as the person in China does. I’m a huge culture reference nut, so I love using them to make references–but two songs come to mind about what you have just written here–people want to be used by God and not get stuck in the monotony of life, but God tells us to look at things with his eyes. Brandon Heath’s song, Give Me Your Eyes, and MercyMe’s song, Here Am I, are perfect examples of how followers of Christ should be walking in this life. Christ has empowered us with the Holy Spirit to effect change and bring the Kingdom of God to this earth, so let’s not just moan about how God’s not using us and look for ways that He can on our street corner.

    Great post!!!!


    • Hey Tom! Wow this is such a powerful perspective. Thank you for sharing that. You’re right. We needn’t look any fatter than out our front door. I look forward to listening to those songs! Hugs xox

      • Very much so–my career right now is one where I’m serving foster children and working towards reunifying them with their parents–never knew how much children mattered to God until I started doing this! It’s definitely teaching me to be like Christ on a consistent basis!

      • (I think there’s a typo in there – farther you mean!!) btw, loved the post – reminds me of being young adult (now older adult … post being Mum and just become Granny (only you never stop being mum …) – remembering Back to School as a mum, buying 3 kids new shoes in the shop crowded with other mums buying 3 kids new shoes ….! Happy days … ! And sure, God uses us where he finds us, not just where he sends us …

  3. Maybe it took all that you went through to get you right here in your life… You are an awake soul… many people take a whole life to get to where you are… Peace

  4. I can’t completely relate to this because I’m starting university this year….eep! But I do believe that it’s important to actively try to reduce the monotony in your daily schedule. Yes, the same things may happen everyday but the consequences, the emotions that come with them, and so on don’t have to be the same. It’s really what you make of it. 🙂 Nice post! I really liked it!

  5. You should find the book The Bush Always Burns by Heath Adamson (and let’s see if I’m still up on my HTML 😉 ) I keep a copy in my car for if I have to wait anywhere–like a nine-hour day supervising the landfill where I work (I know, absolutely unbelievably glamorous 😉 ) I haven’t finished it yet but it’s so good. His general theme is this idea that when Moses noticed the burning bush, there’s no indication as to how long that bush had been burning there–for all we know, it could’ve been burning 40 years waiting for him to notice. As Heath says, “The bush always burns and the ground is always holy,” it’s “Jesus in the unannounced moments of life” and that’s something I’ve been slowly coming aware of, that Jesus is so present with his presence, that there is always something of Jesus in every moment no matter how mundane or minuscule. A decade ago (boy it feels weird to say that) I would’ve said Jesus has a lesson for me in every moment, but life with Jesus now is so much less a sermon now and so much more a love song, it’s not a lesson or a job or a plan, it’s a whisper, it’s a caress, it’s an affectionate look, because I am so loved, and I am so his, and that’s what those in-between right-where-I-am moments are all about until finally it bursts through this frail body because I just can’t keep that kind of love to myself…and now you’re preaching the gospel with every gesture.

    Anyway, I’m getting carried away (and I don’t want to be brought back) 🙂 lovely blog and wonderful thoughts! There’s always opportunity and possibility (and gosh what on earth would we do if Jesus asked us to turn off Netflix for five minutes), the bush always burns and the ground is always holy. 🙂 Happy almost-Friday! 🙂

    P.S.: Some humor to get you to the weekend:

    Q: What’s the difference between a piano, a tuna and a pot of glue?
    A: You can tuna piano but you can’t piano a tuna! (:

    • It’s Jesus in the unannounced moments of life -WOW. oh my gosh Carson what an awesome quote. That’s going on a post it on my mirror! And hahaha! I love that joke. Gonna share that one with the kids I nanny for tomorrow! Thanks for your thoughtful insight, as always. Here’s to a love song relationship with Christ:) big hugs xox

  6. I also loved the beginning of new school semesters, especially the Autumn one for the proper start of an academic year! Being able to set a new routine, pursue new habits, explore a new schedule… ’twas refreshing and exciting. One of the main ways I’ve found that “charge” again in adulthood is through the liturgical seasons of the Christian calendar. Every Advent is the beginning of a new Church Year, and even though the same seasons and holidays are going to come around again, it’s also like a new school year – different spiritual practices to try out, different themes or subjects to learn about, different ways to listen to God’s voice in and around the Scriptures… #churchgeek #buthopefullyitmakessense

    • Thanks Fr. Brench! What an interesting perspective! You’re right, that definitely makes sense! -from ordinary time, to advent to lent – the themes (and vestments) are always changing! 🙂 haha I’m definitely going to think about that at Mass from now on! I’m honored that you stopped by. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

  7. Funnily enough my new job is working at a school. I’m one of the full time tutors. So I got that first day of school feeling. And while figuring how to have a life in the midst of the daily routine is already a bit of a challenge. Every day feels very fresh. It’s inevitable when teaching teenagers. But especially right now when it’s already feeling like I don’t quite know how to have my life and work full time, I so so appreciate this encouragement. Thank you as always. Keep smelling those new markers. Ha ha

  8. I miss back to school. I always liked buying backpacks. I’m doing my seminary courses online and still found myself looking at backpacks. I think that’s part of not wanting to adult :). I hate talking on the phone but had to do it for work. I hate public speaking but I’m trying to learn to preach. God always pulls us from our comfort zones. It’s the only way to grow even if it’s terrifying. I enjoy reading your posts!

  9. I felt the same way when I watched a school bus pass. Alot of people I know are returning to college. I don’t know if i will be ever to afford college, but I do believe that the world is my classroom. I also feel like God has tried many times to show me new doors, but change can be so painful. Thanks for reminding to let go of control and let it happen.

    • That’s such a great way to look at it-the world really is your classroom. I so feel you, change can be painful – but think about the growth that comes of it:) thanks for stopping by and sharing your heart. Lots of love and hugs to you friend xox

  10. I’ve spent most of my adult life as a teacher. I still go through back-to-school time every year, although for me it’s more about being exhausted and rushing to get everything ready in time rather than new supplies. As for the rest of your post, though, thanks so much for the reminder. 🙂

  11. You had me at school supplies. Ah the nostalgia. Getting that big three ring binder. The dividers. Trapper keepers. Black marble composition notebooks. Problem was, nothing in school ever seemed perfect enough to put in! The pressure of a perfectly clean and pristine notebook.

  12. My parents homeschooled me and my siblings. We would receive a curriculum from a school in Idaho and they would send us the books, lesson plans, and such.

    I loved getting the box of new schoolbooks. Lovely new uncracked books that hadn’t been read by anyone yet. 🙂 Good memories…

  13. “God will use you right where you are, with what you’ve got.” That is such a true and encouraging thought. 🙂

    By the way, I love the gif of that baby sheep. 😀 So cute.

  14. It’s so easy to know that you have to trust God in the opportunities He has given you but we have to act upon them. Today for example, I got an email from the bible school and they have accommodation for us to stay in near by and I was looking at the travel to get to there then my mind just shouted at me asking what on earth am I thinking about doing it and decided to punch anxiety into my stomach! and I felt like crying and I know I want to go my heart is telling me to go lol!

  15. Oh my, what a wonderful post!!! I used to get excited about color coordinating everything for back to school as well and I loved bts shopping…but you know what?! I still do it! Who says you have to go back to school in order to get excited over a new agenda or pair of pens?!
    And yes, new beginnings are scary and it is so hard to start over and fresh in adulthood, but like you said we gotta trust and do it anyway. I totally loved your post! Thanks for the motivation and smile on an early Friday morning:-) I think I´m going to get myself a new pen to match my new booklet later;-) Cheers!

  16. Yes. God opportunities are everywhere. Also, you now have endless options: join a writing group, take a class at the local community college, join a book club, join the local art museum, etc. I have taken different classes and joined small groups since finishing college. It has been a source of excitement and reminiscent of those first days of school. I am still taking classes and belong to a writers’ group. My disease has slowed me down but it will not stop me. God bless you.

  17. loved the writing veryyyy much. can’t tell how I feel recalling those days. and also thankful to you for making me believe that we are never empty of opportunities. we must keep believing

  18. Sorry, but that nerdy obsession with color coordinated folders and pens and highlighters doesn’t go away. I still have color coordinated stuff for my notebooks and my Bible and my books. It’s a life thing for some of us.

  19. I so agree with you about adulting. I miss school… Which is why I’m auditing a class this year. Lol… And bought new school supplies. 🙊 I think you’re right though, God brings us fresh starts and exciting journeys everyday. We just need to pay attention. Life with God is the most exciting venture we could ever take!

  20. Love this! <3 I always hated for summer to end, but loved learning, so I had mixed emotions about it. I have learned to love every season that we walk through and be grateful for ONE.MORE.DAY!

  21. Great read! I am an educator and know all too well the excitement of a new school year!! Exciting times! But yes, every day is a new opportunity. #embracingIT

  22. I too get geeked out over supplies!!! I say what the hay and buy myself some new marbles (pack of 4), highlighters, and some colored pens!!! Those folks in Staples ALWAYS have to keep an eye on me!! I sniff, and I sniff, and I sniff that fresh unwritten in notebook paper. AAHH!!! Then I make plans to go to Barns and Noble to sniff their books…Um..do I need a sponsor?

  23. It’s amazing how you have such a wonderful perspective at such a young age. I was in one of those stages where it seemed I was just grinding away, stuck on a treadmill, moving a lot but not going anywhere, and just when I thought it would go on for the rest of my life, lo and behold, I can finally see myself moving where God wants me to be.
    But after a while of appearing to go in circles, anyone can get discouraged. Where do you find the inner drive to keep going through the motions until you see things turn around? Faith is the only way I know. It sounds trite, but somehow you have to believe that God will bring you into a life filled with His purpose and fulfillment, maybe even in spite of you. I can tell you’ve found that, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.

  24. Happy September! I’m also missing back to school supply shopping. Lately, I’ve been thinking I need to go buy some #2 pencils just so I can smell the wood. I know that’s weird. Seriously, though, this is a brilliantly insightful post. It is a great reminder to go about our lives with simplicity and humility, whatever our current status or station might be, and to try to keep our hearts, minds, and senses open to whatever God might be calling us to within our everyday. A few weeks ago, I heard a really great homily about the number of times Jesus spoke some variation of the words “Stay awake!” If we can do that, then God can completely transform our “ordinary” into something extraordinary. Thanks for this reminder. I think I really needed it today. Hope you are having a great Labor Day weekend, my friend! ❤️

    • Hey Lulu! haha yes! the #2 pencil smell. i remember it well 🙂 hahah So true. Within our everyday. I love that. Yes! He is a transformer. So glad you stopped by, Lulu! Your comments always brighten my day 🙂 big hugs xox

  25. You do nail things well my friend 😀

    I used to get to the fall and yearn mightily to go back to school, to experience the joys and adventures of classes and learning. Until…….until work sent me back full time for a semester at a university that I’d never get into on my own. Oh. My. Gosh. I struggled with competing with the recent grads who had just gotten their BS when mine was 15 years old. With grads who had just finished their 4 years at this school, when the previous four years I had just worked and lived life. Interestingly, after that, I’ve had no more yearning to return 🙂

    But you are SOooo right that “And when we do find those opportunities–it takes courage to take that first step. It takes courage to say, Okay, God. I’m going to trust you.” Trusting God is so difficult. Letting go and allowing things to go the ways we don’t expect, or want. Not seeing what we hope in the way of results, either in others or ourselves. It is so difficult.

    So keep trusting as you have. You inspire so many of us.
    Enjoy the holiday
    And get some fresh flairs and paper for doodling with 😉

    • Hey Jeff! Oh my gosh, thank you so much for this awesome note of encouragement. You never cease to make me smile, and I am so grateful for that 🙂 yeah, I can definitely feel you there – competition can definitely be an ugly monkey on my back. That’s awesome though that you had that additional opportunity to further your studies! Hope you’re having a great weekend! hugs xox

  26. I love this! I for sure have always loved back to school. Like you said, its a new beginning…a blank slate of sorts. Unfortunately, the older we get, the less concrete “new beginnings” we experience. Oftentimes we stay in the same jobs for years. But I love how you pointed out that we can find new beginnings in many different places if we just look hard enough!

  27. You have the ability to capture the sentiment of everyday events experienced by most while sharing personal insight. You do it so beautifully!! This blog is the tip of the iceberg for you- don’t keep this gift hidden here the sky’s the limit!!!

  28. It is so very easy to find ourselves lost in life. Particularly routine. Opportunity is presented in the beauty and life all around us we just have to breathe it in,reach out and take it. Never forget or take for granted the time we have here. There is so much on this Earth to explore and so many things we can experience. Take those college ruled notebooks and fill them with new adventures of a different color. 🙂 You’ll find the right use for them when it is time.

    • Thanks for this awesome reflection. You’re so right-we’ve got to appreciate all that this earth has to offer! And I love that about the notebooks:) here’s to color! Hugs and love xox

  29. Excellent post, we love having boundaries and so getting into the real world, where we have to set a lot of them, is a huge wake up call!
    What we forget is God give us boundaries too which we just need to choose to look to him every morning!
    Thanks for your wisdom!!

  30. Well dear, I have only one binder and a calculator to get for my grandson and he’ll be ready for school. This is a new beginning for him. He’s entering middle school.I am a bit anxious, too.

    I love that picture of you. You are beautiful.

  31. Wow, talk about things lining up…we just had a sermon on this very topic at our church a couple of Sundays ago. Our pastor reminded us to be on the lookout for times when God nudges us. We have to be obedient and step out of our comfort zone sometimes.

    I was someone who geeked out on new school supplies too back in the day so I totally get where you are coming from. Love this blog of yours, I am now following to see what else you have to say. =) Have a wonderful day!

  32. I like your thoughts! May I suggest this read, it is a life changer…

    “Joining Jesus on His Mission: How to Be an Everyday Missionary”
    Book by Greg Finke

  33. I always love the new beginning in the first day of school and I love that last quote: “Opportunity often begins with an obstacle.” There has been quite a few obstacles in my life this week and I know that God will pull me through. And that he will use it as an opportunity to give himself glory.

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