Welcome to Still Chasing Fireflies, a blog about the emotional roller coaster that we call the human experience.
If you are going to be sharing my innermost thoughts and dreams, then I should probably introduce myself. My name is Mary Ann. I am a loving mama, a passionate teacher, a loyal friend, a speaker and writer, a wannabe runner, a tireless encourager, and a recovering perfectionist, just to name a few. I love to read memoirs. I love flowers. I love podcasts (and dream of hosting one) and deep conversations and documentaries. In a perfect world, I would get paid to talk to “ordinary” people all day long, finding ways to share the extraordinary stories that we all have trapped inside. (Oprah, are you hiring?) While I feel pulled a thousand directions every single day, my faith and family keep me grounded.
When I started this blog in 2015, I truly felt called to share my voice beyond my home and classroom. For years, I searched for confidence and a purpose. Motherhood and teaching are my passions, for sure, but something was missing. I needed a creative outlet. And it took too long for me to realize how differently all of our brains work, to understand that you may not think in words the way that I do, to realize that not everyone can vividly and easily express their emotions in language that has power to shake people right down to their bones. I hope that you will read something here that will make you say, “That is exactly how I felt but I could never explain it!” or “Now I understand what my (sister, friend, parent, neighbor) hasn’t been able to say.” I hope this blog will inspire you to find your gift and to share it with others, too!
When I first started sharing my blog posts, I was terrified… but in a good way. Fulfilling your purpose can be scary, but it also warms your heart in a way that nothing else can. After adding writing to my life, I felt SO HAPPY! I experienced some unexpected writing success rather quickly, the years I had devoted to my children were paying off in well-adjusted preteens, my online classroom was fulfilling and productive, and I was rediscovering the “me” behind the “mom” I had become. Life was so good!
Until it wasn’t.
Some painful things happened.
My marriage ended.
My school closed and I lost my job.
My hope and happiness, which I desperately fought to hang onto, were now tinged with fear. And uncertainty. And confusion.
Did I mention FEAR?
And my faith and my writing became really, REALLY important.
I still believe this blog was a calling. I also believe it was just one in a series of interesting measures that God was taking to get me ready for the chaos that I didn’t see coming. I’m excited to say, “Hey, you! HERE I AM! I survived!” In fact, while life is (always) riddled with challenges, I am rising from the ashes of the past as a stronger, more confident, and more beautiful human being than I was before. I have committed to myself that I WILL THRIVE in spite of the hard stuff in life. In fact, I REFUSE to let the hard stuff win! YOU can thrive despite your hard things, too!
At our house, we focus on the bright spots. And, as elusive as they sometimes are, there are ALWAYS bright spots. Fortunately, like fireflies, their shine is even brighter when the darkness settles in.
I guess even now, as an adult, I am still chasing fireflies. I invite you to chase fireflies, too! I hope you will join this journey with me!