Wednesday, January 17, 2018

LOOKING FOR THOSE DIAMONDS

My evenings are often a frenetic sprint to the finish line ... the finish line being my bed, let's be honest here. 

They are chaotic juggling acts of getting dinner made and making it balanced (that, sadly, hasn't happened in a while -- but tomorrow is a clean slate, no?), getting some form of physical activity (in this case, swimming) into the day, while adding all the domestic duties that I must get completed. 

In the helter-skelter jumble that is my evening life, I more often than not miss those little moments. 

Say what, you ask? 

You know, the little moments! Those fleeting points in time that seem so inconsequential but hold so much in their tiny time frames. More times than not, I find I must remind myself that when I get to the end -- whenever the end is -- I won't be dwelling on the monumental spots on my timeline. Rather, I am relatively certain, I will relish those flashes of time filled with so much beauty and brilliance. 

What is it with modern life that we spend more of our time on this hamster wheel sort of life, and we never take time to sit in wonder or sit AND wonder? 

This evening was no different than most ... a crazed rush to get garbage out to the curb, calls to be made, dinner to be prepped, dishes to be dealt with ... it was a whirlwind of activity that spun me toward my front window with the specific mission of shutting my drapes. Only, as I reached for the drapes, my eyes were drawn to my front yard. The street light had just kicked on. The street light cast its glow on the snow, causing my entire yard to sparkle. 

It was a brilliant display!  Suddenly, the dishes, the clutter, and allllll the items on my TO DO list, paled in comparison to the dancing diamond show in my front yard. And so I stood watching the shimmering, wondering at all the colors I saw gleaming off the pure, undisturbed snow. 

Sometimes, the most important thing ceases to be the most important thing. Sometimes, taking a minute to be silent and breath through a moment is the best use of time. It's in those pauses in time that you end up finding the most precious diamonds.



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

THE BEAUTY OF A SNOW DAY

I waited until after the noon hour to go out and clean off my driveway and front walk. 

Why, you ask? I can't help it.  You can take the girl out of Michigan but you can't take Michigan out of the girl. Back in Michigan, you could be fined if you didn't clean off your front walk, your driveway, and your front porch. So, the habit is deeply embedded in my being.  Plus, and I can't believe I am saying this considering I dislike shoveling A LOT, there is a certain amount of satisfaction in seeing a neatly, cleanly shoveled driveway and front walk. 

I am sure THAT is rooted in OCD.

While out there, I got the opportunity to chat with my lawn man, who was surprised to learn that while going to drivers training, I learned defensive driving techniques while driving in snow. Yes, it's a thing!

At any rate, I took my shower after that big project, and, y'all, I put on a fresh-out-of-the-laundry pair of fuzzy jammy bottoms, a t-shirt, and cuddled up under some quilts.

I cannot explain my utter love for fuzzy jammy bottoms. They are comfy and soft and feel like heaven on my legs. I. LOVE. MY. FUZZY. JAMMY. BOTTOMS. Mix those with two soft quilts, and you have the fabulous combination for a snow day nap, which is what ended up happening.

Ahhhh, the beauty of a snow day!

I didn't get done everything done that I wanted to get done ... I mean, the list was long and nearly impossible to conquer.  However, I didn't waste the entire day like I often do. I enjoyed the day while tackling some projects and enjoying a slower pace.

Monday, January 15, 2018

ERRANDS CAN BE FUN

Today did not pan out the way I had initially planned, and I couldn't be happier about it.

I had planned to stay home and organize everything.  Instead, I ran errands all over town this afternoon with the 'rents.

I tackled almost all of the errands except the Bourbon coffee and the meat market. Those might have to happen tomorrow.

We spent the afternoon laughing, being goofy, and getting done what we needed to get done. I still managed to clean up my living room, put another load of laundry in the washer, picking up the kitchen and dining room, and putting away some stuff that was in DESPERATE need of being put away.

I LOVE the feeling of organization.  I LOVE feeling like things have places. And I LOVE purging stuff! 

Amazingly enough, this weekend was highly rejuvenating! I feel like I am ready to tackle the rest of the week having spent time with the people I love the most in the world. Here's to a fun, productive week!

Blogging The Positive Each Day ... Take 2

Soon after I stepped out there and said I would blog every day about something positive in my day ... well, my computer decided to stop connecting to the internet.

Phooey on it!

I am currently using another means of blogging. So, I am going to try to catch y'all up on the positives since I last left you all....

Here ya go!

January 3rd ... I made two soups in two different crock pots. I had soups for days! I also went to the Wednesday night water aerobics at the Y, and it was an AWESOME class!

January 4th ... Made another trip to water aerobics, and I worked out hard that night. It felt good, and I felt good when I left. Water aerobics is a lot of fun!

January 5th ... I have spent the last five days sticking to my goal of spending time in the word every day. YAY ME!

January 6th ... Got to spend my Christmas money on some fun, new items at one of my favorite stores, Tipsy Gypsy!

January 7th ... Went to lunch with my PCG and Mom and Dad. It was fun to get together as a great, big group.

January 8th ... I was VERY productive this particular night with lots of furniture rearrangement, laundry, etc., but very little sitting on my hiney!

January 9th ... This day was a hard one to figure out a positive part. However, I realized that having my parents close was an absolute POSITIVE.

January 10th ... My garage was organized while I was at work! It looks great in there now.

January 11th ... We found out that were getting a half day on Friday due to impending freezing rain. Also, it was 63 degrees that day!

January 12th ... A half day with lots of naps and some reading done.

January 13th ... Because people were still scared of the "snow," Kroger wasn't the crazy Saturday it usually is. 

January 14th ... Spent the afternoon with Mom, Dad, and Ann in Lexington.

And there you have it. Some positives that have occurred over the last two weeks. 

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

WATER AEROBICS

I WENT TO WATER AEROBICS BY MYSELF!!

Meanwhile, you are sitting in your lazy boy all, "So, what!? Does she want a gold star or something?"

Well, if you must ask, yes, I do want a gold star! I want ALLLLL the gold stars!

Water aerobics was never something I thought I'd ever want to do.  I hated my body, and, as a result, the idea of donning a bathing suit for the general public to view was something I'd rather not do ... EVER!

However, knee problems ensued, and every single doctor I spoke with told me that swimming would my best form of exercise for my body.

Cue the Wearing a Bathing Suit in Public anxiety.

Turns out ... it's not so bad. There are people that look better than me in a suit, and those that look far worse.  The point is, we are all different shapes and sizes, and it just really doesn't matter. I am making a commitment to being healthy, and what I look like in a bathing suit shouldn't factor.

A friend and I decided, back in October, that we would go together to water aerobics.  Having that friend there with me somehow made it all easier.  And I remembered, once I got back into the water, that I LOVE the water. You couldn't keep me out of the water as a kid! I LOVED it then. So, naturally, I would rediscover my love for it now. 

However, I didn't go to water aerobics unless my friend went to water aerobics, and her schedule is much busier than mine with two kids, both of whom are in sports and other activities. I could find an excuse for every time she couldn't go.

And how were those excuses helping me?  They weren't.

Over Christmas Break, we started back up again (after a December hiatus), and I realized that if this was going to be of any benefit at all, I needed to step up my game.  I needed to commit to at least four days a week at the pool. 

Yesterday, I texted my friend and told her I was packing my swim bag and would be at the pool later on that day.  She replied that she wouldn't make it due to her son's basketball game. I could have said, Oh, okay. Well, I could just sit and read a book, but I'd promised myself I'd step up my game. And so I went. And it was fun!  And I worked out hard!  So hard, in fact, that this evening, every single thing on my body aches!

But I did it, and that is one day less of hardened arteries and one day more toward keeping my heart healthy. 

I don't care what size I am any more. I care that I do not suffer a heart attack or a stroke.

So, I will continue to go to water aerobics with my friend ... or by myself, if need be.  I am doing this to feel better, to live healthier, and to be kinder to myself.

Monday, January 01, 2018

FOCUSING ON THE GOOD, THE GRATITUDE, THE GRACE

So, I recently read how a blogger decided to spend a year blogging each day about the happy moments in her life.  Each day, she would focus not on the crazy, insane parts ... the moments that dig into our skin and fester ... nope!  She decided she was going to focus on those areas of her day that were bright and sunny.

I don't suppose she did this to provide a false sense of her life to her readers.  Rather, I think she chose to focus on the positive ... a glass half full ... rather than focus on an empty glass.

Something about that resonated with me. In life, especially with social media, it is so easy to focus on the negative. Some would have you believe that is the only way to look at life. However, when I focus on the negative ... when I spend all my time fussing over those little things ("they don't appreciate me," "that Starbucks barista sure is sloooow," "my time isn't respected," "if he only learned to do it my way," "no one works harder than me," "I feel worthless in their eyes," ... you get my point), I fail to see those bright spots in my day that were true gems.

I don't know, honestly, if I can swing an every day blog entry.  I'm not sure if there is enough in my life that would be interesting to blog about, but I suppose therein lies the problem.  I am not spending enough time appreciating those small moments.

No time like the present, right!?

Today, I woke up in my parents' house.

I know. It seems so anti-climatic, right?  To an outsider, it would be.  However, an outsider doesn't know how long my parents have wanted to move closer to my sister and I ... how long they've dreamed of having a warmer winters (so what happened to this winter with the single digit temperatures??? I'm convinced they drug that nonsense down here with them!) ... how long they've wanted a change of scenery and change of pace.

In November -- Thanksgiving Weekend, to be exact -- they saw that dream turn into reality. So, waking up in my parents' house, HERE IN KENTUCKY, was a big deal! It was the turn of a page, I sometimes thought would never happen.

So, waking up on New Years Day, in my parents' new house, with the sun shining on our Ole Kentucky Home was a fabulous way to ring in 2018!

I can't wait to see how this new year, with all its memories yet to be made, will unfold!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

THE CLUTTER IN MY CLOSETS

I could provide a list of reasons as to why it's been since summer break that I've written last. The excuses would all be hollow albeit creative.

The bottom line is that I've been lazy. The static of my professional life got in the way of my personal life, and I just got lazy.  Pure and simple.

To put a visual in the minds of my readers as to how out of control my laziness had gotten, my home office became a catch all of STUFF that was threatening to overthrow the delicate balance of my domestic power.

It was so bad that I couldn't really see the surface of my desk  -- there was no functional use for the desk other than to hold crap.

It was pretty pitiful.

Fast-forward to Fall Break.

After spending a week in Michigan helping my parents purge items, I came back to Frankfort with a desire to declutter. I needed a clean slate. I need to make sure my surfaces were all free of clutter.

I tackled the biggest CLUTTER ZONE. My office.

Now, lest you think I completely freed myself of the clutter, I need to be honest. My office closet, should you choose to open the door, will likely kill you if you allow the stuff inside there to fall on top of you.  There are those spots in our house like that, no?

Sharing with someone not too long ago, I said, "I think my home is a reflection of my life. I have areas that are solidly together. Other areas?  Not so much."

My closets? That is where I hide the junk I don't want any one to see. It's where it gets shoved so it is out of sight and out of mind.

Isn't that the way it is with our lives?  Well, at least, I can say that about my life.

I hide the spots that I don't want any one to see. I shove my mess in compartments to "deal with it later."  Only, I never deal with it.

I am not sure why I dread dealing with stuff.

Is it too much of a bummer?

Does it feel too much like adulting?

Does it smack too much of being responsible?

It smells too much of discipline?

Gosh!  I HATE discipline.  I mean I really, really loathe discipline. It goes against every fiber of my being.

Yes. I like to have things planned.  I like to know where I am going and when I am going to go there. But discipline?  Buckling down to accomplish a task? Timelines and deadlines? Things that must be done at certain times and places? Ick!  I do not like doing that.

So, I guess, I clutter my closets.




Sunday, July 23, 2017

ROCKING THAT HAIR

My crew .... my peeps ... my church family ... we have a tradition of going out every Sunday after church. We try to keep it cheap, and we try to keep it easy.

Today, we strayed from our normal cheap and went across town to Q'Doba. I was wearing a new dress that I got for school not because I looked particularly awesome in it when I tried it on (it's a swingy dress for curvy girls ... not really body defining or body shaping), but because that first week of school, we all end up DROWNING in our own sweat.  I figured it would be light and airy and slightly cooler than anything else I could possibly choose to wear.

It's been oppressively humid here as of late, and I just figured, with the air in church being what it is these days, I might be well served to wear this dress.  And so I did (broke out a new pair of Spanx as well!).

So, there I am, paying for my meal at Q'Doba, and the clerk at the register looks at me and said, in his best Tim Gunn voice, "Well, don't you look stylish today!"

There was a time in my life where I would have done everything in my power to deflect such a compliment. I had an assortment of comebacks that I felt were humorous in nature, but that really just magnified the fact that my self-esteem was in the gutter.

As I've moved toward my middle 40s, and as I've come to terms with my body as it is right this minute, I've come to realize that most people are not, in fact, blowing hot air up my rear end. In fact, they are genuine, and as such, I need to accept the compliment with a gracious, genuine spirit. After all, if I am demanding authenticity in others, shouldn't I be willing to do the same?

And so I did.

"Mmmm, girl!" he continued. "You are rocking that hair!"

I have worked really hard this summer to stop making others own my thoughts. Do you know what I mean by that?

Let me explain.

We've all been there  ... at least, those of us who call ourselves women, have. We walk into a room and immediately begin to compare ourselves with each other.  It has gotten so brazen and out of control, that you can actually WATCH a woman size another one up. It's pitiful to witness.  Now, the rest of us are not unaware of this sizing up that is taking place.  In fact, we begin an inner dialogue that might go something like this:

          "I knew I shouldn't have worn these pants. They are too tight.  I know they are because Ellia just looked at me with those judgey eyes.  She is probably saying, 'She has really packed on the pounds!' Ugh!  I should have worn the more forgiving pants.  Oh great!  Now she's looking at my hair! Why did I cut it?  Everyone else has long hair!  Did she just scowl at my hair?  What is her problem?  She probably thinks I don't like men!"

Anyway, I think you get the point.

At one point or another, we've all been there. We've all been there, and we've allowed our inner voices to put notions in our heads about other people.  We've allowed those inner voices to put words in others' mouths.  We've given the inner voice power ... waaaaay too much power.

I know this was happening, and while, I've done a great job of not letting it rule a lot of my life, there were still portions where that inner voice had power. It weaseled its way in and created chinks in my armor.

I've worked really hard this summer to strip that inner voice of its power. I mean, once you strip the inner voice of its power, it doesn't really have a voice any more, does it?

An older version of myself would have looked at that clerk in Q'Doba today and thought, "You are just hoping I will put something in the tip jar, aren't you?  You don't know what you are talking about, do you?  Oh what? A fat girl can't be stylish?"

Me right now?  I stood a little taller, a little straighter and graciously said, "Well, thank you!"

"You have a fabulous day!" the clerk responded.

"You too!"  And I floated away to the condiment stand, rocking my hair the whole way.

I could be like every one else.  That would be easy, right?  To just be vanilla?  But, as I have told countless fourth grade students when I am teaching them about word choice in their writing, isn't a bowl of ice cream with sprinkles and caramel syrup and whipped cream better than just plain vanilla?


LIFE MOVES ALONG

Today is my unofficial last day of summer break.

It is sad, but all good things must come to an end right?

No!  They don't!  I won't let them! It's not happening!

Long about this point in the blog, faithful reader, you are sitting there shaking your head, because, I am sure, you think I've lost my mind. Am I right?

Stick with me here ...

I know summer break has to end.  That is the way of education. However, not all good things HAVE to end.  Some good things can morph into new good things ... they can be replaced by more good things ... different good things ... things that will all work to make memories and moments in this life.

Life moves along.

There is nothing we can do to stop it. There's no magic potion to slow it down, and there's no fountain of youth to lengthen its span.

It is what it is; a dynamic, living, breathing thing that moves us along. It carries great highs and the lowest of lows. But still it moves along.

And then, just like that, other good things can begin (again) ... like a fresh crop of fourth graders ready to learn ... like watching former fourth graders find their wings and soar ... like hanging with friends that you love like family ... like tackling challenges head on with positive outlooks with the hopes of realizing positive results ... like showing by example that life doesn't have to be all storm clouds and gray; it can be fun amidst the crazy ... like letting life move us along, but while we are, appreciating all that the little moments have to offer.

I watched someone close to my circle of friends laugh and joke and cut up today. Not so significant unless you know the back story -- he lost the love of his life not too long ago. That's a devastating blow. A blow that is hard from which to recover. And yet, life moves on, whether we like it or not. Seeing him laugh ... seeing him tell stories about his wife ... seeing him cut up ... it was a precious thing to witness.

Life moves along ... so do we.

Nope.  I will not be sad for the end of summer break because where there is an end, there is always a new beginning.

I have no clue what this new beginning has in store for me, but I am anticipating it ... welcoming it ... embracing it ... because ...

Life moves along.