Hey!  Look!  It’s the bonus day we get every four years: February 29!  And because this day is a bonus, I figure we should have a new recruit today, yes?


Today’s Recruit is Renée from Lessons from Teachers and Twits. I met Renée via the twitter, if I remember correctly.  She is wonderful to chat with not just because she is a fellow teacher, but because she is also a fellow lover of words.  She never holds back on her opinion or advice, which I admire about her.  We don’t always agree, but we can always see each other’s side.

I am so happy to bring you the voice of one of Sluiter Nation’s most loyal readers.


I remember desperately wanting to be allowed to try out for gymnastics and being told: “You will have to wait until you are 5 years old before you can try out.”

And then forever came and I did flips on a red mat and suddenly I had a shiny purple leotard and ribbons in my chalky hands.

I remember watching the big kids walk to school. Stuck on the warm side of the window, I studied how they threw their snowballs and sucked the giant icicles they’d knocked from the roofs of houses.

And in eleventeen and a hundred bajillion days, I was the big kid walking up the hill, all the way to school, my feet squished inside Wonder bread baggies, inside of boots: a sweater over a turtleneck under my blue-belted coat with the over-sized buttons.

I remember my breath rising in the air in the wintertime when a boy I liked touched my knee after I had fallen off the slippery jungle gym. And even though the ground was cold and I was wearing snow-pants, I felt warmth seep through his gloved hand. I wondered about kissing and if anyone’s mouth would ever touch mine.

One February, I met a man. We talked for hours on a dark leather couch, oblivious to the noise around us. In the wee hours of morning, he walked me back to my dorm. I fell instantly in love with him and his silly hat with the earflaps. Together, we learned a secret language that I kept to myself.

One month, I sang on stage while it snowed outside. People looked at me and nodded their heads. That night I kissed an ice-cube and danced until my feet bled.

The next day, I was a teacher in a New Orleans classroom eating my first King Cake. Everyone laughed as the purple and green and yellow sugar dripped from my fingers to my wrists. I hadn’t known such sweetness existed before: to be surrounded by students and colleagues and sugary treats all at once.

An hour later, I was staring at a diamond on my left hand. Everyone talked about how we would need pots to cook in and rugs to walk on and glasses to drink from, but I was quiet and stared at bundles of fresh flowers and contemplated commitment.

Four minutes passed. Trembling with exhaustion and anticipation, I looked at my 6-month old son as his fingers curled over the edge of his blanket.

Fast-forward two nano-seconds.

And by nano-seconds, I mean twelve years.

I see myself now, the outline of a girl who keeps filling herself in. I will always pray the ground, always burn the rice, always sing in the shower. I will always be the first on the dance floor.

The lines around my eyes remind me the clock is moving.

I am loving harder.

But losing harder, too.

I am writing harder.

And more than ever, I am

blaming less. This February,

I am alive

and leaping

with gratitude.


A teacher for 20 years, Renée Schuls-Jacobson loves being in the classroom, finds her students endlessly fascinating, and believes the most important thing we can do is teach folks to read critically and write masterfully.

The mother to one busy middle school-aged son, these days she finds herself scribbling ideas for blogs on napkins and scraps of paper.

And then she loses them.

Her family and students keep her humble and serve to remind her that, even on a good day, she’s still a total twit.

Be sure to visit Renée at her blog, Lessons from Teachers and Twits, and like her on facebook.

And of course follow her on twitter at @rasjacobson

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Oh, friend. This here. This.
    This is art.


  2. Good post, Renee, Good job.

  3. Wait, why can’t anyone see my hotness? Is it because I’m on my iPad?

  4. I really enjoyed this story about time and how fast it slips by while appreciating all the wonderful moments.

  5. Love it! It reminds me of a much more personal version of the song 100 Years to Live. Hey! You should put it to music!!

  6. sonja lange says

    beautiful – I feel like that college girl but I look around at my home and my kids and still wonder who is in charge of all this

    • I know! Sometimes I remember hanging out in my dorm like it was yesterday. And then I wonder, how did I end up married in suburbia? Which — buy the way – is not a bad place to land. It’s just… I saw myself living alone. With cats.

      • Ain’t that the truth? I had planned to travel the world, learn to speak Italian and possibly Mandarin Chinese and have a series of affairs with foreign men.

        Today, I speak only English and French, my affairs with foreign men are distant, fond memories and I married a boy from my hometown. He still drives me crazy. But oh, he’s given me two beautiful sons.

        I am content.

  7. *Spluttering through tears* Renee, you are are on FIRE these days. This is rich and textured and note-perfect – the right words, the right number of them. Wow.

    You have indeed brought something special today. Thank you for this beautiful piece.

    Now, if Katie would just go into labour and bring someONE special into the world, today would be pretty much perfect.

    • Hi Liz:

      Thank you for your support. You know I need your support. You and some of the others are like the best blogger bras I’ve ever known.

      As far as Katie goes, she’s set and scheduled. In fact, if I’m not bonkers, she’s scheduled to go on the day I’m planning to post my “scary” post. So I’m going to focus on Katie on that day. And send her all my good energy. Because good things are going to happen on that day. They are.

    • no! no labor! 🙂 Only 13 more days until Charlie!!!

  8. I feel like a stalker lately, following you everywhere you go. What a fantastic blog. You have a beautiful way with words. It’s like I jump inside and feel what you’re feeling. Life does seem to go by in a nano second the older we get. Wake up, and it’s time to go to bed. Blink and my oldest is talking graduate school, the middle is talking college, and my youngest is talking Jr high (Lord help us all). All the while I just sweat with hot flashes. When did THAT happen?

    And thank you for bring me here! Another new favorite to follow.

  9. Oh. My. God. Truly, this is one of the most beautiful and moving posts you’ve written (at least that I’ve read!) So glad I followed you over here today. I agree with Liz – your writing has moved to a whole new level lately. Must be all that effort you’re putting into that book….:-)
    I so enjoyed this glimpse into your life.

    • Dawn! You are making me say “Ohhhhhh!” out loud. For real. Thank you so much. And I am putting a lot of effort into the book.

      It is kind of killing me.

      Thank you for following me to Katie’s,. If you have never been here before, check her out. She’s fabulous.

  10. I can’t wait to hear about the next moment. And the one after that, and the one after that. 🙂

    • Leeeeeesha! Thank you for following me here. Y’all need to check out Lisha. She and I actually met. Yes, real bloggers meeting in New Orleans. And nobody was killed or stabbed or anything. And Lisha (The Lucky Mom) has a fabulous Facebook page with a jillion followers. And somehow, she remembers all of us.

      Also, she has a fabulous orange coat.

  11. Your writing is amazing, Renee. Just so beautiful and so precise and full of heart. Love, love, love this post so very much!!

  12. Aw, my dear friend, such gorgeous writing:

    “The lines around my eyes remind me the clock is moving.

    I am loving harder.

    But losing harder, too.

    I am writing harder.”

    Happy to see you on Sluiter Nation–will have to check out the host’s blog as well. Much Love,


    • El, meet Katie. She’s major league preggers. And scheduled to deliver in like 13 days. Or something like that. She fabulous. As are you, my writing partner. Thank you eleventygoogleteen times for your support in cyberspace, on the phone and on Facebook. I have your chapters. I swear I will do them.

    • oooo! A Sluiter Nation newbie? I LOVE new people!! Come on in…have a seat! Can I get you anything? Coffee? Wine? A muscle relaxant? Wait. No. Not that last one. Dang. There I go being all awkward with new people again.

      • Bwahahahaha!! You read my mind actually–but I have a good stash of muscle relaxers here. Oh, and coffee, please! It is wonderful to meet you Katie!! I am so excited to hear that you are A LOT pregnant (giggle). I sort of kind of (shhh don’t want my husband to hear me) miss holding babies. Naughty smile.

  13. odelia jones says


    • Odelia! Y’all, this is one of my former students sneaking up on me. She is wonderful. And I am so proud of her. She is going places. 😉 Thanks for following me here today, Odelia. 😉

  14. Lindsay@Lilloveandluck says

    I’m in love with this.

    • Hi Lindsay: I am late to respond. It was a crazy day. But I’m following you now. So consider yourself stalked. And thanks for the Twitter love today. Can’t wait to learn more about you.

  15. Catherine Johnson says

    What wonderful memories, super post!

  16. Renee, this is beautiful. I happened to be home (sick) from work today and browsing. So glad to see this. It comes at a perfect time: when life seems beyond hectic–my own writing is taking a big backseat these days– we’re in the thick of chaos with the kids, work, etc. Lovely and genuine writing. You have such a heart. xo.

    • Whaaat? What are all those high school English students doing today? I know. Screwing around with that poor substitute teacher. I hope you are doing well, and (selfishly) I’m glad you were home reading blogs because you are preggers and KT is ready to go. So you can be friends when you are both bloggers with babies. 😉

  17. One morning I read a post.
    And then I went back and read it again.

    Three times. (So far.)
    That’s how much I loved it.

  18. Beautiful, renee. You captured the speed of time perfectly. Loved reading the moments you touched on.

    And Katie–just followed you on Twitter. I do whatever Renee tells me to do.

    • Yay! New follower! Hopefully I don’t disappoint!!! 🙂

    • Nina! You will LOVE Katie. She does everything right. And Katie, Nina has a (relatively) new baby and she is an amazing blogger. She has a guest post set to launch in March at my place. Wait, it might be close to your Charlie-launch date. Hmmmmmm.

      Well, that’s the great thing about the internet: the words live on, right?

  19. Sheryl jacobson says

    Renee, you know I NEVER comment……… But this was so beautiful. I loved loved loved loved it <3

    • OH my holy whaaaat? My sister-in-law has chimed in. She has NEVER chimed in. Ever.

      She is the best and super gushy. But the woman NEVER comments.

      Even when I blogged about her son being the speaker at graduation, not a peep!

      But she is crazy hot, so it’s hard to stay mad at her.

      Enjoy the click on your STATS there, Katie. This one, it’s a one time thing. Probably. 😉

      • oh my! Sluiter Nation sure is a happening place today…and a place for firsts (and onlys)!! WOOT!

  20. Love. Love this post Renee! What an amazing picture of the leaps of life. Thank you!

    • Thanks Marilyn! Can’t wait for your guest post to roll out at my place. So nice that you followed me here. Check out Katie. She’s super hawt. (You know, for a pregnant chick.)

      But for real. Her writing is supreme.

  21. Love this, Renee! It so accurately portrays how quickly we leap through life, but captures the moments that define life.

    C’est très bien! (A little shout out to the previous French student on the Spanish teacher’s page. :))

    Thanks for hosting her, Katie!

  22. Renee, this is fabulous, and so many of us can, I am sure, relate! Nice work. Oh and plus you’re on a site of someone, like myself, from Michigan… so they must be cool!

    • this would be true. I am cool. and so are you. high five in America’s High Five.

    • Cowboy, you HAVE to meet Katie. I know you guys are both married. But Katie. This man writes love songs to his wife and his daughter. Unbelievable. And Steve, this woman is incredible. She has been through the darkness and come through the other side. Plus she can clean barf out of a couch like nobody’s business.

      You two should talk amongst yourselves. 😉

  23. how nice to meet you ! I love how you describe the speed of life. Brilliant – and true. heading to your site now!

    • Hi Missy! I am following you now, too. Thank you for the Twitter Love today. Or well… yesterday, depending on where you live. I’m up waaaay too late.

      Thanks for leaping with me.

  24. Beautiful, stunning, true post. I love the time descriptions and the truth that as we get older it goes faster and faster. I love this piece. Thank you for sharing.

    • Doesn’t time seem to speed up. Seriously? I remember being a student and looking at that ddang clock and thinking, “it’s broken. It’s definitely broken. This math class is never going to … and then it would move backwards to go forwards. And ugh!

      But no, it feels like it is flying.

      I’m on the fast train to menopause. Woot woot.

  25. My Renzay! Wow, girlalicious, you can write. But I know that. And so do you. But…wow. Loving harder, losing harder. It beats the alternative though.

    And it’s my first trip to sluiternation!

    • Whaaat? How can you not know Katie? Omigosh! Leanne, I thought you knew all the cool kids in the blogo? Okay, well ust so you know. Katie can totally sit at our table any time she wants. (It’s just she’s a little big for the table right now. And you know, she’s kind of eating for two and everything, so she sometimes takes the good stuff…

      But she’s a teacher, Shirtsleeves.

      How have you not found her?

      For the love of Pete, she might even be in your time zone? Maybe. Or not. I’m not good with that whole math thing.

      As you know.

      Plus it’s 3 AM.


      Not good.

    • Welcome to the Nation! Come in, sit down, relax…have coffee…or wine…or a cold one…or a Vicodin. wait. no. I don’t have those. Yet. Wait until after my C-section. Then I can hook ya up.




  26. Simply stunning, take my breath away writing. Thank you!


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