When you devote your life to raising two children and teaching hundreds of students, you dish out a lot of love. You give unselfishly. It feels good, albeit stressful, but you wouldn’t trade it for the world. There isn’t anything you wouldn’t do for these children, these adolescents, these young adults. Their joy is your joy. And after 19 years, you feel happy. Why wouldn’t you? You are making a difference in the lives of so many. Then one day you realize that while you have been busy shaping the lives of so many, you’ve only been dreaming of the life you really want. It’s not until that day, when something unexpected happens, when you find you've been living an amazing story all along, when you find self-love, that you really wake up and start living. A collection of short stories, journal entries, tributes to teachers, poems, and blog posts; the lessons on these pages come from children, students, and teachers I’ve had the opportunity to know, teach, learn from, and love.