Wednesday, December 03, 2014


I tend to be a planner.  

Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy a certain amount of spontaneity, but my character, my fiber, my being?  It needs a schedule.  I function better under a schedule.

Thanksgiving weekend is my scheduled time to get my Christmas decorations up.  If I don't, then it is a week-long process, wherein, my house is torn apart trying to get things on the tree (and the cat out of it), rearrange the house, and make it seem less like someone puked up Christmas and more like someone lovingly placed splashes of Christmas spirit all over my house.

Yeeaaaaah.  Doesn't look like that right now.

Thanksgiving weekend didn't go as planned.  

My sister came to stay, and we had a blast!!  But then, on Saturday, when she was supposed to leave for Cincinnati, she had a car problem instead.  So, we spent another day kicking around town and having a good time just hanging.  Wouldn't give that time up for the world!

Sunday, I got home from church, did lesson plans, and then collapsed on the couch and hibernated ... for like two and a half hours!  

Soooo, Christmas is in piles around my house this morning, and it was driving me crazy!!  Add to that, a nasty, passive-aggressive meeting with a very passive-aggressive individual that just left me wanting to give, not just a piece of my mind, but the whole dag-blasted THING ... in colorful language, no less.  

I was fussy heading to school this morning.  

Then, I read a blog piece by a woman in the next county over ... an anniversary of sorts.  She was recounting what she was doing a year ago.  A year ago, she was being rushed to the hospital with a terrible facial/optical injury following a car accident.  Life and vision for her changed at that moment.   

She wrote about perspective.  Perspective for her as been valuable.  

Hmmm ... perspective is valuable.  

My schedule is off.  VERY off.

But who cares.  

I have a warm, inviting house to come home to each day.  I have friends and family that love and value me.  I have a job, albeit, maddening, that pays the bills.  

The phrase I am blessed is such an overused term, but dude!  I. Am. Blessed. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I went for a walk this morning.  

Admittedly, I've slacked off on my walking in the last two weeks (or three, if I'm to be honest and transparent here).  

I was amazed, as I pounded the pavement, how easily I got my groove back.  

It struck me, while I pumped my arms back and forth, forcing the crisp air in and out of my lungs, life is a series of habits.  Some of them are good habits.  Some of them are bad.  Now one hopes the good habits outweigh the bad.  Yet, still ... habits.

When I made the decision to start walking 3 miles every day, it was with a desire to create a habit.  Everyone that is obsessed with exercise kept telling me that they felt so much better ... tackled all sorts of physical exertion better ... slept better ... managed stress better ... you name it.  It was better.

And when I was doing it consistently, I felt AWESOME! Good habit.

But life gets in the way, and then you just aren't feeling it one day .... and there's a meeting (or three) that is getting in the way of what you need to do ... and professional requirements for your time ... and your knees ache ... and your feet hurt ... and your jaw hurts ... and so you just don't walk.  And you don't walk the next day either ... or the day after that or the day after that.  Bad habit.

Listening to the birds flit above me in the canopy of trees, not a cloud in the sky ... crystal blue stretching out before me, I had an epiphany.  

Good habits are hard.  They require commitment and discipline and grit and the skin of your teeth kinda determination that grows character.  Good habits are time-consuming -- or so your psyche tells your brain.  Good habits have amazing results, but they are no-holds-barred, you-know-whats-to-the-wall exercises in putting your intestinal fortitude to the ultimate test.  

Bad habits are easy.  They slip in without notice.  They take up residence with out being asked, and before you ever realize it, you're slobby and slovenly and dumpy and without motivation or desire.  

My bad habits have taken over, once again.  I wasn't looking forward to this maiden voyage after another long hiatus.  I internally whined about it.  I berated myself for losing the will power.  I really dogged myself for not having the stick-with-it-ness for the good stuff.

I didn't count on today.  

I didn't count on the strength I felt.  I didn't count on the empowerment I felt as I pumped up each hill.  I didn't count on the fact that my body remembered the physical activity I'd made it work through the last few months.  It remembered, and it rewarded me by making me feel alive and vital and worth it. 

Life is a series of habits.  It's a series of wants and needs.  It's a series of choices.   It's habitual.  It's high time I reward myself with those positive habits.  The good ones.  The ones that require commitment but with great pay-offs. 

Megan got her groove back!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I've been reading a book.

Okay, I read more than just A book. Clearly.  What I meant to say is I've been STRUGGLING reading this one particular book.  Struggling because ...

A.)  I HATE reading non-fiction text ... unless it's GLAMOUR or BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS. And, let's be honest here, folks.  It's likely I will fall asleep reading one of those magazines.  I'm lame like that.

B.)  I know this book is going to nail me to the wall and make me deal with my undisciplined self, and man!  Who really likes being nailed to the wall.

It became obvious that I needed to pick it back up after months of allowing it to collect dust on my night stand.

Yesterday's chapter was all about CREDIT.  No.  Not the kind you use to buy stuff.   

The chapter revolved around giving myself credit. Period.  The author described an ALL-OR-NOTHING personality.  Someone who, when they are successful at the first swing at the bat, throws the proverbial bat down and gives up.

Yeeeeaaaaaaah.  That's sorta me.

Okay, it IS me.  

As long as I can remember, if something didn't work for me, if I didn't feel like I could succeed, I gave up.  There have been minor exceptions to this rule ... times when my pig-headedness kicked into high gear, and come hell or high water, I was going to show them!

Still, I bet if you were to sit down with my mother right now, she would confirm what I just said.  Since the moment I've entered this world, I've been an ALL-OR-NOTHING sort of girl.

Now, lest you think I'm dogging this particular personality, please, step back a few.  I'm not.  This mindset has served me well in some areas of my life.  Just not in ALL areas.

So, yeah.  Giving myself credit.  The author asserted that rather than immediately strip yourself of the power of your confidence, GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT.  "Okay, I didn't make my goal, but look at all the moments today that I worked toward the goal."

Such a simple concept, and yet I fail at it over and over and over and over again.  However, giving myself credit, I suppose there's a certain amount of victory in at least trying over and over and over again.

I found myself annoyed and upset with myself this morning over, what else? My weight!  I HATE that this is my constant struggle.  I HATE that is sucks up most of my thought process in that is snowballs into other things that, quite frankly, I don't give myself credit for.  

Today, I was standing in front of the mirror, wondering why, yet again, I am 42 and still single.  My brain immediately went to "Well, I can answer that.  You're fat!  What man wants some one fat!"  And the snowball grew.  

Exception to the norm?   I stopped that snowball midway through the vicious roll down the hill.  I kicked that son of a snowball like a boss and sent it sailing into pieces.  

Yep.  I'm fat. But I have the power to change it, and look at all the little ways I worked to break the cycle.  This isn't an all or nothing journey. It is a journey.  I could sit down on the side of the road, throw up my arms and scream, "TAKE ME OUT OF THE GAME, COACH!"  But I don't want to.    

Instead, I'm going to give myself credit ... credit for sticking to the fight ... credit for not giving up ...

Saturday, October 25, 2014


I'm a Christian.

Actually, I prefer Christ-follower. 

I'm not very good at it.  Like so many things in life, I stumble and fall.  But as a pastor of mine once said, "Doing this life is so much better than a life without hope."  In my mind, Jesus is my hope.  

Sometimes, though, pursuing Him is hard.  It's heartbreaking, too. 

Sometimes, I feel like an island weathering a really, big, ugly storm.  Isolated. Alone. Scared. 

Sometimes, it feels like a marathon.  A never-ending marathon that just keeps going and going and going.  And, see, I know that marathons are mostly a mental game, but man!  Sometimes that mental game is hard work.  And I don't like to do it.  So, I stand at the edge of trail and cry.  I watch the other runners go past me.  Me ... left in the dust and grime of life.

It's in those moments, in the most surprising ways, He finds a precious moment to remind me that in that race, I'm not running it alone.  I'm not weathering that storm alone either.  Always, He's there, those arms tightly around me.  Protecting me. 

Today, I have been having The Conversation with Him.  It's this Conversation I've been having with Him for a very long time.  Honestly, if I were Him, I'd be endlessly tired of me and The Conversation.  The thing about my God is He loves me so much.  So, when I come to Him, angry, hurt, confused, restless, fearful, He's there to listen ... to see my tears ... to love me through my rants.  

The Conversation continued for most of the day, and into the evening, when it became necessary to go mow the lawn, which, in a very bizarre way, is randomly tied to The Conversation.

There's a lot tied to The Conversation.

The tenor of The Conversation took a turn for the ugly when I discovered that I was out of gas for the dang mower, the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE, and so I headed to the gas station where getting $5 of gasoline became an exercise in testing and pushing every nerve in my body.  

Driving back home, which took all of five minutes, I asked one of the questions that I tend to repeat, ad nauseum, when pulling out the The Conversation.  Why?  Why? WHY???  This ultimately rolls into an accusation of DO YOU REALLY CARE FOR ME?  DO YOU?

Sometimes, my inner self goes there in The Conversation before I even realize it.  I'm powerless to stop it.

I'd pulled my iPod out to listen to some tunes while mowing, further blowing out my old, tired eardrums.  I suppose there was a part of me that was hoping to deaden the voice in my head that flings all these accusations at Him.  Only my iPod staged a coup, and I was forced to listen to the only soundtrack on there that I had (other than my schools/kid stuff).  This soundtrack nails me between the eyes, convicts me mercilessly, and I haven't listened to it in a very long time because of that.  

It came on.  I fired up the mower.  And I dug in for a long hour and a half battle of wills and lawn.  

As a joke, sort of, I've said to folks that I've been praying for a cute, good-looking single neighbor to move in next door, who could help me do things around the house.  I finish the joke by saying that God has a real sense of humor ... oh yeah.  My neighbor's single.  But he's OLD and a widower.  

I laugh.  My audience laughs.  We move on in a our day.  Fun at my expense. 

Only, tonight, as I was mowing the first strips of my lawn, his friend (one part of a couple that come over and help him out with stuff) walked over to my yard and said, "Hey, I've got that big riding lawn mower.  Would you like me to do this side of your lawn?"

In that moment, this song came on the iPod ... 

It's in the stillness of life ... in those moments when I least expect it that He reminds me that I belong to Him.  Sweet promises that despite the challenge of the journey He is always there next to me.  He provides ... He loves ... He cares ... He holds my life in His hands and He cares for me deeply ... and in the stillness, He breathes His promises into me. 

It wrecked me.  I stood in my driveway and cried.  

The Conversation?  It is more than likely going to be a conversation we have for a while.  I am hard to teach.  I am a difficult student.  I am stubborn.  I am impatient.  I am willful.  

But He's a gentle teacher.  He is persistent.  He is patient. He is gentle and kind.  And He loves me with a love I couldn't begin to comprehend.  

He proved that tonight.  

In an act of mowing my cursed lawn, the very thing I hate to do the most, He proved He loves me with an undying, almost incomprehensible love, and despite my lack of pursuing Him, He continues to pursue my heart with a passion that brings me to my knees. 

Always in the stillness ... 

Sunday, October 19, 2014


I could whine and complain about the fact that my Fall Break ends tomorrow, but I won't. Truth be told, I was shocked when it rolled around to begin with!  

I know.  That sounds ridiculous.  But it's true.  I was plugging along, enjoying my quarter, and BOOM!  It was quarterly assessment time.  It is mind-boggling that this first quarter went by just as quickly as it did! 


To be honest, when Fall Break dawned bright (three days later than normal due to my having to teach an enrichment class), I didn't realize just how exhausted I was.  

I know.  That sounds ridiculous as well.  But, again, it's true.  I was so worn down that I spent the first chance I got just catching up on sleep.

I have often said that a sign of a great vacation (or in my case, a STAYcation) is when you feel like you have been off forever, and, ladies and gentlemen, I DO feel like I've been off forever.  I've traveled a little bit, walked some (it was soooooo rainy, y'all), organized a bit, cleaned and purged, laundered, scrubbed, cleaned, polished, read (A LOT!), and have just been lazy.  It's been wonderful.  

Haven't done much on the weight-loss arena.  Probably have gained.  I will have to get back to it now that the sun has come off of its vacation.

But I am relaxed.  I am well-rested.  I am ready to tackle the second quarter.

So, while departing is such sweet sorrow, moving on to the next portion of the year is exciting.  Holidays are approaching!  My favorite time of the year!  

If I'm not careful ... if I blink ... it will be all over with ... so, I need to enjoy it all.  Take it all in.


Thursday, October 16, 2014


I thought the title should be: REDISCOVERING ME, THE READER.   

I was instructed it should be what you see in the title line.  

Sometimes, sacrifices are made for the good of cause.

I'm going to admit this, publicly.  Yes, I can be big about these things.  I was a hold-out on this whole eReader phenomenon.  I'm not going to say I was completely bashing it.  I'm just going to say that I felt, how shall I put this, slightly snobby, shall we say, about my reading habits.  I mean, like my coffee purist tendencies, I have had a book purist mindset.  I LOVE books.  I love the smell of the pages, and the sound your fingers make when you run them across a crisp, white page.  I love the way the pages sound when you turn them, and I LOVE the interesting cover art and the ding-dang blurb on the back jacket flap, people.  I LOVE BOOKS!

This doesn't extend to wine.  I don't care what score the Wine Spectator gives a certain bottle.  If it's $7, I don't much care.  Long as it tastes good.  Most usually do.  I have a working class palate.  I do have standards though.  I won't, for instance, stoop to Boone's Farm.  I have to set the bar some where.  

So, when two friends, nagged me/bugged me incessantly/exclaimed over (the correct preposition to use here???) the virtues of their Kindles over and over and over again, I did what any red-blooded, book snob would do.  I dug in my heels.

But I recently, I've had a SUPER, SUPER hard time finding ANY of the books I want to read at the library.  And my friend, Elly, the one who is ALWAYS right, told me she reads much faster and way more books with her Kindle and has a much easier time of obtaining books through our library eBooks program.  

Oh hang it!  I took the challenge!  I sucked it up and caved to the nagging.  I sold out and crossed over the line of purist to, I don't know, sold out eReader?

On a whim, I downloaded the app, since I don't currently have a Kindle, and started the process of getting some books.  Elly, the one who is ALWAYS right, loaned me a few of her loan-able books, and, folks, I was off and running!

With this Kindle app? Dude!! My life is all rainbows and unicorns, and the skies are raining down Skittles!  I have read three books on this app in a week's time.  And I've just downloaded two more to read in the next few days.  I mean.  I am LOVING the app!

And I've come to the following conclusion ...


Dear Mom and Dad, 
Did you read that last statement? I MUST HAVE A KINDLE!!!

Dear Santa Claus, 
Seriously, dude!  I am as good as it's going to get. A Kindle, please???

Yes, I realize I have caved to the Almighty Man.  But did I mention the rainbows?  The unicorns?  The Skittles?  

I am willing to pimp out my ideals for a Kindle PaperWhite.  

Just sayin' ... 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Read Some Books Challenge 2014

So, I've read some books recently.  Not enough to be proud of, but still, I've read books.  

Two.  Books, that is. 

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein.  So, yeah, I'm going to admit something here.  I didn't READ it all.  I mean, I read it all, but I skipped some parts.  The parts about racing ... and racing in the rain, which, when you read the title might lead you to believe that, DUDE!  YOU MISSED THE WHOLE POINT!  But I didn't really ... least ways, I don't THINK I did.  The premise of the book was this dog's relationship with his Master and his Master's family, and I guess the whole racing gig, while part of this dog's Master's life, was also just a big metaphor for life and the life of a dog and the life of a Master with a dog.  It was a good read, a sweet read, and my book club and I all agreed, had we not HAD to read it for book club, probably not a one of us would have.  Two thumbs up!

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.  I've already gushed all over this book here.  So, I won't go into another gushing fit because, honestly, it's embarrassing and weird and slightly stalkerish.  But if you find yourself walking around your house all, "DUDE! I've got too much stuff!  Where'd all this stuff come from?  And where'd my paycheck go?" then this book is for you!  It really makes you rethink how you view your riches or poverty in this world, and it will, hopefully, help you refocus your desire to spend and collective. I know it has me.

So, there you have it.  Two books.  I recently checked out four books from the library, and I have a book on loan from a friend on my Kindle app. Oh, and I go back to school on Tuesday, soooooo, apparently, I have big plans for reading.  We shall see. 

I march on with my January Resolution of READ SOME BOOKS IN 2014!


So, I just had the craziest thing happen to me. 

Actually, it was kinda scary.

After running a few errands around town, I decided to take a spin on the newly constructed, fully restored speed limit major artery leading into and out of downtown Frankfort. 

This major artery takes me to a pretty major intersection that, in turn, takes you to my subdivision and, ultimately, home sweet home.

It was getting toward the first phase of rush hour -- Frankfort has a few phases.  It's beastly, that State Traffic.  As such, it requires me sitting in my turn lane for an inordinate amount of time.  Often times, someone takes their lives into the own hands crossing that intersection on foot, and so ensues some rather interesting people-watching, which is what occurred today.  

So, there I was, people-watching.  In particular, two young males that, just based on their clothing choices this morning, were not giving the best impression about themselves, if a person was to, say, judge a book by its cover.  What interested me about these two was the fact that the one was attempting to light a cigarette, but couldn't seem to do so, severely depleting the Cool Factor I believe he was going for.  There was finally a moment that they felt safe enough to cross, and so they did.  They had just managed getting to the grassy portion of their walk when, out of nowhere, this crazy driver in a red truck takes that turn on two wheels (not even joking here) and heads right for them! 

It is at this point in the story that I must take a moment to explain that sometimes, my face doesn't necessarily do a very good job of masking my emotions.  I try, but sometimes, the Dumbfounded Look tends to bleed through in a very obvious manner.  

Such was the case this afternoon, as I was sitting there thinking, "DUDE IS GOING TO HIT THEM!"

Of course, Smoking Dude's natural reaction was to go APE-Poo-Poo Crazy, screaming expletives and threatening and ... ladies and gentlemen, I might have turned and looked at him with my mouth open wide and my head might have involuntarily shook in sheer wonder and utter shock at what I was witnessing.  

If only he hadn't seen me do that ... because all of a sudden, his rage was directed at me!  And the light hadn't turned ... and he was screaming expletives at me at least I think it was, because then I got my wits about me and decided to look away and stare straight ahead and hope for the best ... and the light still wasn't turning and I was all, "Well, this is how it's going to end ... with me dying at this BLESSED intersection all because I didn't have a poker face!"

It left me wondering ... why the rage?

I could list the reasons.  I know them by heart.  It's my job to know them for, well, my job.  

But broad daylight bullying ... I don't understand people.  First the Truck Dude and then the Cigarette Dude and ... where will it end?  This need to devalue people?  

It's a modern day scary ... or maybe it was a scary Halloween dream sequence I conjured up while waiting for that blessed light to turn.  


It is Fall Break, which means I am, once again, trying to get a handle on The Crazy that seems to surround my life during my work days.  

Why must Crazy follow me?  Why can't I just motor through life without having to slip in Crazy's puddle of Hot Mess?  

I spent the first week of my break being chased by Crazy, ending with a quick trip to Michigan.  The second week was all doctors' appointments and making up for the lack of sleep from the beginning part of the first week.  This week has been getting my proverbial act together.  I think I might need more than a week, y'all!  My act has been spinning out of control for a while now.

I decided I wanted to cook more ... in response to my desire to be less wasteful of my cash and the food I buy with said cash and then subsequently let rot in my refrigerator because I am lazy and end up spending more cash eating not-so-good-for-me food.  

I had friends over last night as a thank you for all their help while I was gone to Michigan, and I decided to make a family favorite meatloaf, a tossed salad, and a family favorite cake for dessert.  It was a big hit, and my kitchen was filled with warm, savory scents!  And suddenly, I remembered what it was like to come home to a balanced meal!  This is the way it should be ALL the time!

This morning, I woke up, and rather than randomly search for yummy recipes, I decided to look for a savory recipe that included chicken.  My momma didn't raise no dummy.  If you had beef last night, you need to make a white meat or fish or casserole this evening.  So, chicken it was!  And cranberries.  Because nothing says savory like some cranberries ... made into a cranberry sauce ... and throwing in some onions ... and Sweet Ray's barbecue sauce.  I mean, really!? 

At some point, I am going to get this whole organization thing down. I promise.  I mean, the Earth will probably stop spinning when I do, but I am at least giving it a valiant effort.  
In anticipation of next week's Back-to-the-Grind, I am looking at some make-ahead breakfast sandwiches, as well as easy to-put-together meals that will allow me to eat nutritiously, but also with some sort of ease and lack of stress.  

I know, I know, it's a stretch, people.  I get it.  But it's something to strive for, no?

Monday, October 13, 2014


I don't do things just because everyone else is doing it.  I don't want to conform ... COMPLETELY.  So, when I started seeing all the HYPE about Jen Hatmaker's book 7: AN EXPERIMENTAL MUTINY AGAINST EXCESS, I dug my feet in and refused to give in to the collective peer pressure.  I. Wasn't. Going. To. Do. It.

But then I had a friend.

Well, I have more than one friend ... I think ... but I had this friend, and her husband lost his job, rather unceremoniously (not that there is EVER ceremony to such occurrences), and she was all, "YOU'VE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK IT IS AMAZING AND IT'S WRECKING ME AND OMG THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD YOU JUST MUST READ IT," and I still refused, mainly because I knew it would wreck me too.  And seriously, people, why would ANYONE want to be wrecked?  Right?

Fast-forward to a month or so ago, when I FINALLY decided to download my free Kindle app, because everyone was all, "OMG KINDLE IS DA BOMB HOW DID I LIVE MY LIFE WITHOUT MY KINDLE," and so, yeah, I kinda caved under THAT peer pressure.  I'm not impervious, folks.

So, I asked my friend, the same one that was all, "YOU'VE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK IT IS AMAZING AND IT'S WRECKING ME AND OMG THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD YOU JUST MUST READ IT," if she wouldn't mind lending me some books just to see if this free app would work.  And dag gone it, that woman lent me 7!  

The thing is, this book?  It was amazing!  It is amazing! And that's saying something because I absolutely HATE to read non-fiction. As a teacher, I am required to do a certain amount of professional reading.  I hate it.  The cat is out of the bag.  The dirty little skeleton is out of the closet.  I really, really do hate it.  So, picking up a non-fiction book that might wreck me?  NO.  WAY.  Just, no way.

But the minute I turned my digital page to PG. 1, I was hooked!  Personally, reading Jen Hatmaker's book was like talking to my friend.  It was sarcastic and funny and acerbic and slightly irreverent and well REAL in all the right places. Before I knew what was going on, when I was powerless to stop her, Jen was nailing me to the wall about my excess and the mutiny that would need to take place here.

I finished the book last night, and I hit the ground running this morning ... after copious amounts of coffee and due diligence given to the ridiculous topics on The Today Show.  The excess I tackled first?  My kitchen.  

Y'all!  There were things in my cupboard, I didn't even know I had.  Like, the pie plates got together with the cake pans and spawned more cake pans and pie plates!  I had no idea I had so much!  And muffin tins!  I could make muffins for the next two months!!  

How did I not know I had this stuff?  Because it was all tossed in various locations and covered with clutter.

So, I pulled everything out, wiped down the cupboards, and set about rearranging my kitchen so that everything is in a more logical spaces.   

I filled two bags for Goodwill. Two. Bags. That is just my kitchen.  I still have two closets, and a dresser to go through, not to mention my basement ... OY VEY, my basement!

So, yes. I was wrecked.  I am wrecked, but in a good way.  In the best possible way!  I have waaaaay too much stuff for one, single girl with a cat.  It's time to share the wealth and really think carefully about the stuff I might bring into this house in the future.  

Let the mutiny BEGIN!!! 

Thursday, October 09, 2014


I went home to Michigan last week. 

Or as everyone else in the world seems to think of the Mitten State ==> The Great White Northern Iceberg.

Let me just say, it FELT like the Great White Northern Iceberg when I was home.  41 degrees.  That is all it was while I was home.  Then I came home to Kentucky, and it's been c-c-c-c-cooooooold here too.  

It isn't my fault.  I swear it!

I so wasn't prepared for this trip in that while I was ready for it, mentally, I wasn't at all ready for it PHYSICALLY.  I think it's because of the PEP classes I taught the days leading up to the trip.  I spent so much time writing TO DO lists, Lists of Things To Bring, and the like for those classes, I was tapped out when it came to my THINGS TO PACK list.  Therefore, I left things here at home.  Important things.  Things like prescriptions.  And shampoo. And stuff like that. 

So, I had to call Rite Aid and beg for a refill a bit early.  They, thankfully, obliged, and I didn't have to have the emotional meltdown I was sure would come. 

And because we found ourselves in Battle Creek, where I knew there was an Aveda Salon (the Salon my parents go to, and the one I used to go to), I asked if they wouldn't mind stopping so I could buy some. 

It was there I had a rather interesting conversation ... the focus of this whole mess, believe it or not.

The receptionist, who may or may not have been a stylist, was chatting with another client, and I stood waiting with my giant container of Shampure (this stuff is the bomb-diggity, ladies and gentlemen! Aveda, please do not EVER phase your Shampure line out ... I will be forced to throw myself off of a high place ... like the Singing Bridge ... since the tower at my school no longer exists, having just been dismantled a mere week before school began).  FINALLY, she quit talking, and my mom had the opportunity to introduce me to the lady.  "This is my daughter, Megan.  She lives in Frankfort, KY."  

I was pleasant and said hi, and I told her it was nice meeting her.  I can't remember the next part of the conversation, but she had apparently asked me a question because I was in the midst of answering that question when, while I was TALKING, she turned to my mother and said, "I just think it's so cute that she has a little Southern accent."

Okay, people.  This is where you insert one of those old school needles scraping an old, vinyl record sounds.  I'm sorry.  What now????

It was, in fact, a week ago from this particular date, that I found myself, I was at a friend and colleague's wedding, being teased mercilessly about my Michigan, nasally accent.  Yet, there I was, listening to this woman tell me I had a southern accent.  And this wasn't the first person from Michigan to tell me that.  When I was home in May for my uncles' memorial services, I had someone else tell me, and I quote, "you are sooooooo Southern sounding."

I fear I am in some sort of accent no-man's land.  Unable to lose the Midwestern nasal twang, but powerless to stop that Kentucky drawl from creeping in.  I mean, when you live in a place for eight years, it's bound to happen.  I am just sayin' ... 

Monday, October 06, 2014


I have just returned home from four days in the Mitten State.  It was good getting back there and having some time to hang with my family.  I love them dearly.  

When my sister and I arrived on Thursday evening after a loooooong drive north (made longer by my failure in following the KY Transportation Cabinet's alert regarding the I65 Bridge repair....shoulda ignored that one!), we were greeted by the amazing smell of a roast in the crock pot.  Roast, fresh corn, and salad.  It was a wonderful meal.  One of the most nutritious, solid meals I've eaten in a while.  

That meal was followed by Friday night's meal: Parmesan encrusted tilapia, mashed potatoes, green beans, and coleslaw.  Oh my goodness!  Food nirvana!

My mother is an amazing cook. She's honed her craft over a looooooong period of time, and there is very, rarely a meal she cooks that I don't like ... okay, I am not a fan of her chipped beef on toast or her stuffed peppers, but then, I am not a fan of those things period. 

As I wondered through my kitchen this morning, looking for something edible for breakfast and trying to find my coffee bean grinder, pushed back in the dark recesses of my cabinets, I wondered at the why  of these two things:

A.) Why do I never grind my own coffee anymore.  It tastes so much better that way, 


B.) Why do I not bother to make myself a balanced meal like mom always does?

I've come to a conclusion.  I don't take the time to do that.  I am too busy, and so I fall on the sword of convenience. Y'all, I have fallen prey to the Convenience Monster [insert scary music here!].  Only convenience isn't as yummy or as satisfying or fulfilling or as healthy.

Why is it that we women don't want to take the time to do something nice for ourselves?  Listen, I get it.  We lead very, very busy lives.  And I don't even have children ... well, unless you count the 21 I hang with for 7 hours of the day for five days a week and then the furry, four-legged one I must deal with when I get home from the 21 I hung out with earlier.  

Yet, even I fall into that need to ignore myself and my body's needs over just getting through another evening without crashing headlong into a plate of precooked meat product.  It is ugly people!  Darn.  Right.  Ugly.  

I am on the second week of Fall Break.  I have a perspective that is radically different than say the second month of an academic quarter.  The perspective is called "I am cleaning and organizing" and oh, yeah, it's also called "getting a good night's sleep."  I found a photo of me during a period of time that I felt the most pretty (???), desirable (???).  I was much thinner and much more concerned with making balanced meals.  Aaahhh, life was simpler then.  If only I could have a chat with my young twenty-something self.  Warned her, perhaps about the pitfalls of my 30s ... 

But looking at that photo has provided myself with another healthy dose of perspective that I've needed to allow myself some luxuries.  Freshly ground coffee ... baths ... wine and conversation with friends ... a good book into the wee hours of the morning ... sunsets and long walks on the beach (this one might be slightly cliche, but dude!  I totally LOVE sunsets and long walks along the beach!) ... those things that really blow my dress up ... well, so to speak.

I am attempting to figure out how to release the Convenience Beast.  I have to.  There's too much living I need to do.  I need to grab life by the horns and ride it like a boss.  I mean, if I'm going to wrestle anything, it should be a life well-lived, right?

Saturday, September 20, 2014


I don't know what it is about this time of year, but instead of feeling sad about the waning light of the summer sun, I feel rejuvenated.  I guess it's just because this Kentucky Fall is just so darn awesome.  

Driving to a favorite fall festival today, an amazing, sun-filled day stretched out before me, I was struck, once again, just how lucky I am.  At one point in my drive, I remember saying to myself, "I couldn't have dreamed this for myself."  And really, I couldn't.  

I have moments where I get down.  There are things I'd love to have and places I'd love to go. But you know what?  At the end of the day, I really do have a life that is rich and beautiful and, well, just good. 

Sometimes, I just need to stop all my whining and remember that I wasn't promised golden palaces and marble hallways.  I was just promised a life to live to the best of my abilities ... a life to be thankful for.  

This is me being very grateful...

Saturday, September 13, 2014


1.)  I have an OVERWHELMING desire to decorate with mums and pumpkins and cornstalks and scarecrows.  Okay, I have had this desire for a while now.  I am a creature that likes change. Since Labor Day, the inside of my home has been bedecked and bedazzled with aforementioned fall decor items. I'm weird that way.  Yes, I LOVE summer, and I hate to see it leave, and long about January, I am going to be BEGGING for the oppressively humid days of a Kentucky summer, but for now, I love the sights and sounds of fall as it moves into my neighborhood.

2.) I am thinking about casseroles and chili's and stews and soups and hearty quiches.  I LOVE to cook and bake, and that seems to hit a fevered pitch at this time of year.  I reference the oppressively humid days of summer in Kentucky for an explanation of the lack of baking and cooking in my kitchen.

3.) Fires.  Rolling, glowing, crackling fires!  I love bonfires.  I love a glass of wine and a lovely fire in my fireplace.  It feels cozy, and who doesn't love cozy?

4.) Festivals!  Oh my goodness, I LOVE a good festival!  Harvesty and homespun and cozy and folksy and all those things that people from the big cities scoff at.  But I LOVE the idea of going to a Podunk place and celebrating forks in a river or spoon bread or bourgoo or sorghum or bourbon or apples or hometown days or WHATEVER it is that people land on that will bring folks together to celebrate.  I LOVE it.  

5.) The smells.  There is just something about fall.  It SMELLS like fall.  I don't know if it is the process of photosynthesis slowing down or the smell of earth and soil as living organisms all ready themselves for winter, but the smells are comforting to me!  Of course, the scents of ripened apples and tart apple cider and freshly made cinnamon doughnuts aren't so bad themselves!

6.) The sounds.  The sounds of fall are tempered by the slow crawl into winter.  No more excited birds rising with the sun.  Instead, those crickets chirp for all they're worth and the mournful sounds of ducks and geese moving southward fill the air.  It's quieter than spring, and yet, still so abuzz with the business of fall!

7.) Sweaters!  I love sweaters and cozy jeans and comfy khakis.  Mind you, come April, I will be DYING to shed the layers and put my wintery toesies into some freeing flip-flops.  But for now, hoodies and sweaters and the soft fabrics of long-sleeves are a welcome change of pace. 

8.) The first, tart taste of a Jonathan apple is my favorite!  That, by far, is one of my best childhood memories. 

9.) Albion College football games on the banks of the Kalamazoo River, reds, golds, oranges dapple the landscape beyond the field covered in purple and gold! It has been a long time since I've sat at one of those games....

I guess this is why I am glad for a place with seasons.  I will be tired of all of this long about November.  By January, I will be HATING the mittens and scarves and hats and heavy coats and boots.  But for now, I am welcoming the entrance of fall with the crisp, chilly air and all its pretty wonder. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I am blessed beyond belief that I work for a district that has a Family Resource Center -- such a center gathers donations with which to purchase school supplies for those kiddos in need.  I am further ridiculously blessed with a generous SBDM Council that approves a crap load of cash for teachers to spend on academic needs.  I still spend a load out of my own pocket, but the abundance does not get overlooked by this girl.  I came from a district back in Michigan that didn't allow me to ask for school supplies, and I had to get every thing I wanted the kids to use on $175.  I think now they get $100.  

So, I wandered into Walmart this evening, and smack dab in the middle of school supply HELL, to spend some of the monies allotted me.  The number of stressed-out parents was staggering, and all of them had the same thing to say, "They want THIS brand and NOT that brand?!?  Do they know how much I'm going to spend on this [insert expletive here]?  And I have three kids!?!"

I typically get offended by such comments, because I am part of the group they are angry at. But this time, I stepped out of my teacher shoes and really listened. 

Dude!  Some of these teachers are ridiculous in their requests.  Only Crayola crayons?  Why?  Only Ticonderoga pencils?  

Listen.  I get it.  There are certain things that paying the extra money for quality, pays off in the end.  However, I'm thrilled when my kiddos bring in supplies.  Period.  I don't much care for what pencils they bring in as long as they have one or two.

I am relatively chill about the types of crayons and glue sticks and sticky notes every one brings in.  

I think it's because I was one of the kids that didn't have much at the start of school.  We were poor.  Not dirt poor, but I'm thinking probably grass poor.  We had just enough for a new school outfit or two, the necessary school shoes (God bless my parents if one of us had a growth spurt midyear and grew out of those shoes), and some school supplies.   

Now, my mother is the QUEEN OF CHEAP, the DUCHESS OF NECESSITY, and the GRAND DAME OF IMPROVISATION.  Procurement of school supplies was always interesting.  We already had crayons at home. Every other year or so, I remember getting a brand new box of crayons.  However, in the lean years, I was made to pick out the necessary colors from my Tupperware box of crayons and stick them in a baggie to take to school.  One particular year, I threw a grand mal hissy over the fact that all the kids would have brand new crayons fresh out of the box, complete with that wonderful sharpened crayon tip.  Oooooh, there's nothing better in this world than coloring with a brand new, freshly sharpened crayon.  My mother, being the DUCHESS OF NECESSITY and the GRAND DAME OF IMPROVISATION dug in the junk drawer and came up with a handheld pencil sharpener, proclaiming that now I had a special crayon sharpener.  I didn't buy it, but she was not buying the new crayons.  So, we were at an impasse.  I believe the conversation went something like this: "If you want sharpened crayons, you'll use this special crayon sharpener. Otherwise, you're coloring with dull crayons."  I took the sharpener.

Pencils were never a problem either.  Both my sister and I headed to school with a tote full of brand new pencils ... every single one of them advertising an insurance company that my parents sold at their insurance agency.  I never knew if I had number 2 pencils or not, but DOWAGIAC INSURANCE and WOLVERINE MUTUAL were always prominently displayed on them. 

No need to worry about erasers either.  There was always a motorcycle-shaped eraser or two sent with the baggies of crayons and insurance pencils.  

I remember when Trapper Keepers were all the rage.  I wanted that Puppy Dog one so badly I could taste it.  I bugged my mother to the point that she said if she bought it, I'd have to use it for multiple years.  I agreed, not realizing those dang-blasted Trapper Keepers were made for fashion and not for function.  No problem.  Dad just duct-taped that sucker up and was good to go for another few years.

Mom would look for clearance sales on notebook paper, folders, and spiral notebooks.  Those were stored in the antique chest in our family room.  Every year, she'd divvy those puppies out and send us on our way.  

So, you see.  I'm not so much concerned that they have a certain brand of anything.  I never did, and I sorta feel like I turned out okay ...  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I WANT TO BE .... (list of goals for this coming school year)

  1. I want to be the type of teacher that can laugh at a good booger or fart joke.
  2. I want to be the teacher than loves each individual kid for what they have to offer society, not what society thinks they should be offering.
  3. I want to be the teacher that is willing to question with my students.
  4. I want to be the teacher that celebrates the little things.
  5. I want to be the teacher that takes time for health and fitness.
  6. I want to be the teacher that has boundless energy.
  7. I want to be the teacher that hugs just because.
  8. I want to be the teacher that sees the potential.
  9. I want to be the teacher that instills a love for life as well as a love for learning.
  10. I want to be the teacher that recognizes each child is more than a number. 

SUMMER GOALS ... revisited

As you may recall, I had a few summer goals.  Someone just asked me about them earlier in the week, and I had to laugh, mainly because I had to refresh my mind as to what they were in the first place.  Never a good sign!

  1. READ 10 BOOKS ... okay, I am in the middle of reading my 5th one right now.  That's not bad.  Granted, it's not good either, but listen.  I tried. I know, that's a lame excuse. 
  2. WALK THREE MILES SIX DAYS A WEEK ... I walked three miles 5 days a week. I am counting it.  Yes, it is bending the rules, but I'm entitled.
  3. KEEP MY FLOWER BEDS WEEDED ... okay, I did GREAT on this in the beginning of the summer.  However, a quick assessment last night tells me I've slacked off.  At least there are still more flowers than weeds.  
  4. KEEP HOUSE TIDY ... I've succeeded the most on this one!  Other than my counter in my kitchen, the house, for the most part, is tidy.  Now, free of cat hair?  That's a different matter entirely!
  5. REDUCE MY GROCERY BILL ... this has also been somewhat of a success.  The key here is that I am slowly eating less and less.  This is a good thing, trust me!
  6. VISIT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY WEEKLY ... yeah.  I will refer to Goal #1 for an explanation here.
  7. WRITE EVERY DAY!!!  Okay, it wasn't every day, but it was dang blasted close!  I am further ahead now than I was this time last year.  Then end may very well be in sight.
Over all, not bad.  Not good.  But not bad.  I am giving myself a passing grade ... just barely passing, but a passing grade none the less. 


It's that time of year again.  The time where teachers across America are hauling crap tons of supplies into their barren classrooms, and, with elbow grease, a frequent flyer card to a big box craft store, and a glue gun (and let's be honest here, a lot of hours spent on PINTEREST), they create glamour in the form of an inviting classroom out of nothing.  

They begin to think curriculum maps and unit plans and fun, creative ways of bringing children to a better understanding in Math and Reading and Writing and Science and Social Studies.  They are invigorated and rested and ready to tackle the world!

And once again, it's that time of year for the sappy, soul-sucking articles to hit Facebook making it plainly obvious what all teachers need to do ... sacrifice their own personal lives for those that they are teaching as well as all of their family members.

Melodramatic much?

All the time!  It's a character flaw.  However, before you get all offended and take up the teacher cross and beat me over the head with it, allow me to explain.

I love my job.  I love the families that I serve.  I love my kiddos.  I am beginning my 13th year in this business with the same fresh-faced enthusiasm I had 13 years ago.  Okay, that might be a slight stretch, but you all get what I mean, I hope.

The point is, I am just as excited and nervous and thrilled and full of anticipation as the kiddos are when those doors open on that first day of school. 

Recently, however, and I wish I could put my finger on when exactly the tide shifted, it has become accepted practice that teachers are teachers beyond the school day.  No, I am not just talking grading and lesson planning.  I am talking an expectation that we be tied to our emails ... that we make sure to friend each and every parent on our personal Facebook pages ... that we make sure to give each parent our cell phone numbers, sealing the deal on making ourselves available to them 24-7.  

I read an article the other day on Facebook that I've noticed numerous people share.  It infuriated me, and I refused to share it.  Why such a strong reaction?  Because it perpetuated the notion that teachers, in order to be considered a fantastic teacher in the eyes of parents, must go so far above and beyond for individual kids, that their own personal lives are sacrificed.  My reaction was so strong that I checked myself with two friends that I feel understand where I am coming from in reading this article.  Surprisingly, they agreed with me.  Both said they had the same reaction to the article. 

The societal push is large and strong, and a lot of my colleagues have unwittingly or unknowingly jumped on the band wagon making it extremely difficult for those of us that have finally had enough.  You see, we are expected to help solve parenting problems and be available for homework help and generally have an open ear to any and all gripes that seem reasonable at 10:30 at nigh -- or later.  

What!?!  Someone has the audacity to contact me at 10:30 p.m.?  Yes.  They do.  I have had it happen numerous times. Early on in my career, I once had a parent call me at 10:45 p.m. to discuss with me the fact that she didn't like homework.  In general.  The stuff I gave her kid.  The entire theory behind it.  Everything.  She took the time, she told me, to call all the people in the phone book with my last name to find me and discuss this with me at 10:45 p.m.

That's why my phone number is unlisted.

I have had numerous requests for meetings ... at 10:30 p.m.   I am not sure if the individuals that were requesting the meetings thought it imperative to have that meeting right then? Or if it was just necessary to bug me with it at 10:30 p.m. Either way, I was awakened during those times to text messages requesting meetings. 

I have been texted at 11:00 p.m. to inform me their child was sick and wouldn't be at school the following day.  Don't get me wrong.  I appreciate the thought behind wanting me to know.  However, 11:00 p.m. perhaps wasn't the best time. 

Thus the reason I am no longer handing out my cell phone number. 

I have had numerous requests for meetings during my vacations.  Let me ask you something. When you are on vacation?  Do you take meetings?  

Thus the reason I set very specific boundaries as to when and where I will be available during my vacation times.

I can imagine, at about this point in my blog, many of you are angered by my words.  There was a time in my life that I would be concerned by that anger.  At this particular point in my life, I no longer care.

There are studies out there that purport that teachers have a higher than average rate of physical illnesses (beyond the normal flu-like stuff we all get during the school year).  There are just as many studies that refute those claims.  I will tell you from personal experience, the number of my colleagues on blood pressure meds, migraine meds, anti-anxiety meds, statins, and a whole host of other meds is, quite frankly, staggering.  And it's more than just a large group of society that all have poor genes AND get into teaching.  Something is amiss, and I've had to deal with it personally rather recently.

When your own father sits you down and tells you that if something doesn't change, and soon, this job will eventually kill you, it's time to listen. When your doctor warns you about the ill-effects of allowing your job to rule your life, you listen.  When that same doctor kindly and gently encourages some rather strict boundaries, you again listen.  Or at least you should ...  I did.

I have had some wonderful, wonderful families who have allowed me to share their children's lives.  They have been supportive and loving and just downright amazing.  It's for those families that I continue doing this job.  However, I am doing this job with some pretty strict boundaries this year, and I recognize that they will, more than likely, not win me TEACHER OF THE YEAR.  I am okay with that.  I have to be.  

For some, this decision will be considered selfish.  I will live with their assessment.  I will also live with the knowledge that I am doing something for me, that makes me a healthier person, a kinder person, a person that hopefully my kids will be comfortable being around, and a person that will make my family proud.  In my eyes, that seems more selfless than selfish.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I have TMJ.  Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction.

Basically, my jaw is ALL jacked up, more than likely caused by my own stupidity.  Although, there are an AWFUL lot of teachers with this issue, which begs the question, why?  Something in our jobs is causing this.

I could give you a looooong list, but I'm not in the mood.

Not in the mood because of what I've been dealing with this morning.

I mean, there are times in your life where you just need to step back and say to yourself, "Self, how did things get so screwed up?"

This morning? Been one of those times, for sure. 

A number of months ago, something went very wrong with my jaw, and the pain, while it should have decreased, had increased ... A LOT.  It was as if I'd somehow injured it.  In fact, that is what my dentist suspects has happened.  

Too much talking?

All those darn salads I eat?

A rogue apple?

Who knows!  

What he told me was there was nothing more he could do for me, and so I needed to head to the Big Guns.  Only, the Big Guns cost TONS and TONS of money, and a lot of it is out of pocket, and I just don't have those discretionary funds available to me at the moment.  The joys of being a teacher ... 

So, he gave me a number to contact the Big Guns and find out what I'd be looking at in terms of initial out lay of said strapped cash.

This seems simple, right?


I called the Big Guns, who informed me that I would need to contact my insurance company.  


I HATE contacting my insurance company.  They NEVER know what is going on.  Ever.  One has a better chance of figuring out the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa than Humana does of knowing ANYTHING about the coverages they offer.   

They were initially unwilling to help, telling me that I needed to ask the billing department of the pain clinic for that information.  When I informed the Humana chick that the pain clinic had, in fact, told me that HUMANA should be able to give me that information, seeing as they are, in fact, an insurance company, she reluctantly did a search for me. When the search yielded nothing, things got weird, quickly.

"Miss Murray, if you could call the clinic back and get the tax id number for the doctor, that would be super helpful."

"Yes, while it would be, do they just hand that information out to anyone?"

A pause on the other end, where I am sure some eye-rolling was occurring.  "Okay, let me contact them myself. Please hold."

I am convinced, ladies and gentlemen, that hold music is a way for large corporations like this to slowly drive an already on-the-edge consumer right on over that edge, because I was near my breaking point when the REALLY stupid stuff occurred.

"Miss Murray?  I just got off the phone with the clinic, and they have THIRTEEN providers, all who bill individually. So, in order for me to find out whether you are in network or out, you must actually commit to a doctor via an appointment.  Then, call me back, and we can search his or her name?"

I am not a completely stupid person, but this particular direction of logic seemed, how shall I put this?  STUPID!  

"If I may pose a question which will sound like a very stupid one, what happens when the doctor I've committed to isn't in my network?"

Without missing a surly beat, she replied, "Well, you just cancel that appointment and make a new one with another provider.  Then call me back to see if he or she is in network."

At this, I could no longer help myself.  I.  Laughed.  Out.  Loud.  She found no humor in it.

"Really?"  I said.  "There are thirteen providers in this clinic.  So, potentially, I could be making appointments with ALL of them.  Doesn't this seem illogical to you?"

"Ma'am, that is your option."

I won't bore you with the details.  

I have spoken with at least TWO receptionists at the Orofacial Pain Clinic.  I have spoken to at least TWO Humana employees. I have spoken with the billing GURU of the pain clinic.  I have left a message with probably more whining than the billing GURU cares to hear, but the bottom line is this:


Two hours of my life, I will never get back, and my blood pressure is up, my head hurts, and I STILL haven't taken a shower.  Buying stock in Ibuprofen seems like a better solution at this point.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I have blogged more times than I care to count on my struggle with food.  

Struggle:  I love to eat.

Bigger Struggle:  I love to eat bad things.

BIGGEST Struggle: I have gained a TON of weight.

PROBLEM:  I am waaaaay over-weight.

I have failed more times than I care to count as well.  It's a constant battle that I fear will never truly end.  That leaves me feeling badly.  How does something that I MUST do every day, i.e., eating, be such a struggle for some people?  Furthermore, why must I struggle with it?  Why can't I just eat when I am hungry and be done with it?

A friend and I were just having this, what seems like, never-ending conversation, and, sorry to say, neither one of us came up with any solutions.  

The bottom line is that this is a struggle ... for A LOT of us.  Not sure how to solve it.  Or if there is even a solution.  And as long as there is social media and TV and everything else out there that is driving what is pretty and desirable and "good-looking," there will ALWAYS be people like me, wondering what is wrong with us ... wondering what we've done wrong ... wondering why we are some how not good enough ... etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.  

Someone posted this on Facebook, and I happened upon in this morning. 

Not sure whose art this is, but I LOVE it!!  It speaks volumes to me.

If others see you content, they are drawn to you.  Period.  I am not saying that I am throwing away my struggle.  I am of an age that if I don't do something soon, I am going to be in a world of hurt, health-wise.  But at some point, I HAVE to find my contentment.

So, I'm changing the direction of things ... 

I am changing my course.  

I suppose the constant change in direction is better than just sitting there and watching it all pass me by, right?  

This is me ... changing the course of things.