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Blog: Mrs. Dawn Hays Resigns as OP President

My all-time favorite movie is Inside Out. In one short animated flick, the people of Pixar brought to life the emotions of joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. They wrote, in my opinion, the perfect allegory of the human psyche and showed us what it is to love, to dream, to feel disappointment, to change, and to grow. I own the DVD and have watched it at least thirty times. And every time I watch it… I CRY!

Sometimes I cry because I relate to Riley. Growing up is hard and her story is touching. Sometimes I cry because I am a mom and those baby memories…oh! But always—ALWAYS—without fail, I ugly cry when Riley’s beloved imaginary friend, Mr. Bing Bong, sacrifices himself by jumping from the rainbow rocket wagon into the memory dump where he fades away… to be forgotten forever. He knows for Riley to grow, mature, and adjust, he cannot weigh down her memory. He must decrease for her to increase.

So… what in the world does this have to do with anything anyway? Right? Well, deep within me lives this amazing, joy-filled, luminescent, energetic main character. She knows how to turn on the projector and cast a vision. She can run the control panel and keep things on track. She is exuberant and wants her HQ to be the best HQ it can be and all for the good of her “Riley.”

However, there is another character in there fighting for the lead. She is blue and slow and tired. She is prone to fall to the ground and must be dragged from place to place by her ankle. She can make a real mess of things, too. Her name, in my case, is not Sadness… but Lupus. Like Sadness continuously touched and altered Riley’s memory orbs, Lupus touches every aspect of my life and, frankly, makes everything just.so.hard.

From the Latin word for “wolf,” Lupus has an insatiable appetite, too. She devours my energy, nibbles on my joints, nerves, and skin, and eats away at my mental processes. Most days, by the time I have finished grading a huge stack of papers and have written my lesson plans and original content to be used in class and home activities, my brain aches. It’s not a headache or a migraine. It is a deep, spastic pain—like a pulled muscle. Retrieving words hurts. Remembering what I have to do next hurts. Answering a text hurts. Reading hurts. Really, just being awake hurts.

Lupus eats away at my joy, too. I cannot stack activity upon activity and live a life where I can sneak in a board meeting before I go to the grocery store before I pick the kids up from afternoon activities before I do this and do that and do some more… all the while answering texts and emails and phone calls. I have to carefully arrange my life with bookends to each activity. I have to sit out from things that are important to my family. I cannot always be there for everyone because most of the time I can barely just be there for myself... managing meds, diet, alternative care, health-related appointments, and rest.

I am a fighter, though, and so I have put on a brave face for years now and done way more than I should have… because I care. Working hard for this group, however, is causing levels of stress and fatigue that feed the wolf and make my symptoms worse. This past June and July, I spent yet another summer working full-time to have everything in place for the new school year. My body reacted by breaking out into rashes and swelling. For almost six straight weeks, my eyes were swollen nearly shut. I suffered with nerve pain that I cannot adequately describe and I struggled to eat.

Therefore, the time has come for me to take a cue from Bing Bong and “jump off the rocket.” I cannot be the energetic, exuberant leader this organization needs, and the time has come for me to fade into the recesses of Olive Plants’ memories…to become part of its history and not weigh down its present nor its future.

I submitted my resignation as president of Olive Plants Co-op, Inc. on October 5, 2018, and the board received it with kindness and understanding. I will remain on the board as a voting member but will not be involved in any of the “heavy lifting” of the organization, effective immediately. I ask the membership of the group to likewise receive my resignation, and although I must fade, I ask that my contributions, dedication, and tireless efforts not be forgotten.

I have chosen, and the board has confirmed, as my successor Mrs. Cassi Wisener. Cassi not only understands the vision and mission of Olive Plants, but also has the energy and know-how to lead our organization into its next phase. She has acted as interim president in my stead for two months and has done an exceptional job. I am thankful for her willingness to serve our organization and to relieve me of the massive responsibility. I wish her the very best and ask each of you to support her. Her success as president of OP will mean success for our organization, for us, and most importantly, for our students.

As for my classroom, I intend to keep all tutoring commitments for the 2018-19 school year. Teaching is in my blood, it is my life’s work, and although it is not my identity, it is a huge aspect of who I am. One day I will have to walk away from it too, but I am innovating, adapting, and incorporating technology into my classroom in ways that I believe will put that day off for as long as possible. I appreciate your continued support, partnership, and prayers.

I am thankful that the Lord gave me the mission of founding Olive Plants and leading it through its earliest years. Thank you to those who have supported the vision and mission of OP and to those who have encouraged me personally over the years. Thank you to those who have worked alongside me to build something beautiful. This organization would not be what it is without the efforts of those who have contributed positively. I will always be grateful for you. I will always love Olive Plants.

--Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive plants around your table. Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!  May you see your children's children! Peace be upon Israel! Psalm 128

--But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank thee for ever, because thou hast done it. I will proclaim thy name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. Psalm 52:8-9