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.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

AWARENESS

So, as my summer break winds down, and I anticipate the break-neck speed of another academic year, I feel like I need to go on record as saying that I need something to remind me of the work I've done this summer.

I need something that I can look at ... that jogs my brain when I feel like things begin to careen out of control ... when I run into the negative Nellies, the joy suckers ... when I feel like the light I see at the end of the tunnel is going to run me over and leave me for dead.

Melodramatic much?

Listen, if you know me at all, you already know the answer to that question!

So, what is that reminder, you ask?  

AWARENESS. That is my reminder. Awareness. The word that will ring that internal alarm and make me stop and think: aWaReNeESs

I need to be aware when I am being asked to put myself on the back burner for someone else's needs or wants, and I need to be strong enough to say no.

I need to be aware when I am feeling out of control and be willing to step back to keep things from spinning wildly out of gear.

I need to be aware of my body's need for exercise, for rest, for quiet, for de-cluttering, and I need to act accordingly.

I need to be aware of other people's attitudes and be strong enough to step away from the negative attitudes as well as to embrace and celebrate the positive attitudes.

I need to be aware of moments when I am being sucked into someone else's chaos, and I need to have the strength to walk away.

I need to be aware of the beautiful moments in my life and celebrate them, however little and insignificant they may seem to others.

I need to be aware.

Awareness ...




Friday, July 14, 2017

FEELING THE DIFFERENCE

"Wow!  The difference is amazing!"

"Really," I said, a bit unconvinced. "It's that noticeable?"

"Yes!  You hold yourself differently.  You smile more.  You seem more relaxed."

That was what I was told recently about my, apparently, noticeable difference in countenance during the past few months.

According to this individual, at the end of the year, I was barely making it.

I didn't realize that.  I mean, I knew I was tired.  But barely making it ... I didn't realize it.

As a caveat, she pointed out that I had a rough year.  I mean, I know it was rough, but I powered through it. I guess I didn't realize that it had weighed as heavily upon me as it had ... that it was THAT noticeable.

I just powered through it.

So, yeah, yeah, yeah.  Rough year. Powered through it. Exhaustion. I'm not the only one that has been there and done that.  Plenty of people power through it.

The biggest difference for me is staying physically active.  If I am not physically active, I lose control.

It's that simple.

Endorphins do amazing things for our bodies. but for me, it does AMAZING things for my mind.

That mind-body connection is for realsies, and I've been ignoring one or both for a long time.

For me, being able to deal with stupid people and silly people and insecure people and people who are not looking out for my best interest ... well, the key is to keep myself physically active.

I am feeling the difference. I am feeling what it's like to be of sound mind and body.

Strength isn't wholly physical, and it isn't wholly mental.  Strength is both physical AND mental.

This year, I will need to work really hard to make that connection stick.

Monday, July 03, 2017

BEING PRESENT FOR YOUR PRESENT

I did something huge yesterday.

Life-altering. Newsworthy. Noteworthy.

MONUMENTAL, in fact.

I went swimming with a group of friends.

Quite a bit of build-up for that?  Really?

I know, I know.  But for me. It was huge.

You see, last year, I had the opportunity to go swimming with friends, and I refused.  I sat and watched them have fun.  In fact, I made them feel uncomfortable about it.  I sat and stewed about it and was near tears about it and didn't have a lick of fun.

Why?

Because I was fat, and because I didn't want to show anyone my fat body and because it was just too embarrassing all that I was just SURE everyone would be thinking about me and my fat body.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I was fatter yesterday than I was last year. I was in a bathing suit in front of all these people, all of them more fit than I, and I just didn't care.  Because guess what?  I've come to realize that they don't care either.  They just want to hang out with me and have fun and relax and enjoy the afternoon.  All of which we did.

Something I am learning:
         We all spend entirely too much time worrying about what other people think or feel.  We spend an inordinate amount of time putting words into other people's minds.  What I mean by that is this, "Oh, they don't think I am a good teacher because every one else gets all these wonderful teacher appreciation gifts, and I don't."  Nope.  The real reason is that perhaps I just have a group of families that show their appreciation in other ways like service in my room or notes on Facebook or comments to other family members. Or maybe, this is just a rough financial road for many of them.  Their hearts are in the right place, but they just can't swing it.

Here's another one: "He would never be interested in me.  Look at all those skinny women surrounding him. Why would he be interested in me?"

What about this one: "She is talking about me to her.  I can only imagine what she is saying! That I am horrible and mean and not kind and just rude and ..."

We tell ourselves lies all the time. We listen to the voice inside our heads.  That voice comes from a place of insecurities and ugliness and inaccuracies.  That voice doesn't really know what it is talking about.  That voice doesn't really KNOW us.  

Yesterday, I hung out in the pool for almost three hours.  I laughed, I talked, I floated and listened, and I soaked up time with some of my favorite people and enjoyed the present. I watched birds fly overhead and listened to the sounds of the rural habitats that surrounded the pool. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and didn't give two hoots about what other people thought of my body.

It's so cliche, but it's so true.  We only get this one life. It is such a waste watching it all slip away from you when you are an observer and not an active participator in it.

Instead of anticipating all the depressing parts of  that "UGH, I HAVE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL SOON," thoughts, I want to make sure that I am enjoying the NOW.  The sounds of birds in the air, the gentle breeze on my face, even the oppressive humidity for which this area is known.

I want to make sure that I am soaking up all that this day offers and the next day and the next day after that.  So, that when I go back to school, I can say that I truly made every single moment count.  Every. single. one.

We all need to start being present in the present.

Friday, June 30, 2017

SUMMER BREAK GROOVE

Since getting back from Michigan, I've run head-long into some of my more "major" projects here at the house.  Cleaning and laundry were my top priorities, and those seem to be relatively under control.

I wanted to get that cabinet done, which I did.  It is moved in, and now, it just needs to be filled.  Folks, no worries there.  I WILL be able to fill it.

I've done some much needed weeding (that is an ALL THE TIME project, am I right!?), and, as an added bonus, I've run into TWO poison oak plants.  I sprayed the snot out of them and am now waiting for them to die an ugly, horrendous and well-deserved death.

I still need to score my ugly wallpaper in the hallway and get that down.

I still need to clean out the garage.

I still need to clean out the basement.

I still need to figure out how to clean the mildew off of my lawn furniture.

I still need to clean out my office (that place becomes the dumping ground of all STUFF I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH, I swear!).

But those things will come.  I know they will. A project a day ...

Today, I wanted to start the new tradition of getting out on the deck each morning and writing ... something, anything.

I've needed to get into some sort of groove for a while now.  My life runs better when I am in some sort of groove. It just does.

Helter skelter doesn't work for me.  It never has.

I feel like I am starting to get into a groove.  A summertime groove.  The sad part of it is, once I finally get the groove going, it will be time to go back to school.  SAD!

Yet, still, I will attempt to enjoy it while I can. Soak it in.  Appreciate it all for what it is, a well-needed, well-deserved break.

Off to continue my morning time, summer time groove.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

START PRAYING NOW!

Apparently, when I was out of town, vacationing in Michigan, work was being started on the house formerly owned by Hairy Man.

Let me back up.

It's been three and a half years since Hairy Man and his weirdo family moved, rather unceremoniously, out of the house behind me.

They lost the house, which I would never wish on anyone. But it happened.  And they moved out just a weekend before Christmas. Sad, really.

I know this because my neighbor told me.  Her lawn man told her. Her lawn man is now my lawn man. He gives me all kinds of scoop. But I digress.

In that three and a half years time, it's been put up for sale, sold, torn apart, resold, torn apart again, semi-put-back-together, Work Stopped Due to No Permits, torn ALLLLLLL the way apart, had a man die in it, and then worked on some more.

In that time period, with all those things going on, there have been great amounts of time ... HUGE amounts of time where NOTHING at all is going on in that home.  NOTHING.

Grass has grown really long and then cut rather haphazardly.  Bushes have been ignored. Scrub brush has grown up. Countless sketchy characters have come and poked around looking for a good bargain.

I didn't notice it Saturday, but on Sunday, I realized that A.) the car port had been completely cleaned out. All the garbage that didn't fit in the industrial dumpster they had sitting in the driveway forever, got left in the car port. B.) The rose bush I always scammed the roses from was gone.  Torn out.  So sad. C). The old, dead tree that the woodpeckers made nests in and raised babies had been taken down (I'm praying the babies flew the coop before their home's untimely demise.

Then, on Monday, a group of Hispanic men came with painting materials and spent the next three days painting every surface in that house, one would assume.  They also brought their own microwave to make their midday meal, which tickled me greatly!  Their mamma's didn't raise no dummies!

Now, today, we had power tools and dry wall and more people in and out.

We need to start praying now, y'all.  Praying for that good-looking single man who is going to move in when they FINALLY get it all finished.  Preferably, this good-looking single man should have the ability and willingness to do stuff around the house of the single girl that lives just to the south of his newly renovated house.

If I can't get the good-looking single guy, I would settle for a cute elderly couple. A couple who don't like loud parties or stupid crap in their yard or who have grandchildren.  Children are loud ... and they do stupid stuff like fly down the steep hill in front of your house on scooters without wearing helmets, or walk across your yard.

Yeah, I'm one of THOSE neighbors.

Y'all better pray hard!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ORGANIZATION MAKES ME HAPPY

It is almost 2 p.m.

I've still not showered.

In fact, I am still in my pajamas.

But it's not what you think, though.

I've been cleaning since about 9:30 a.m.

I've been making homemade bread.

I've been doing laundry. And folding laundry.  And putting laundry away.

I've been organizing those items that get pushed to the back of your cabinets that you can't find until they are gross and unrecognizable.

I've been organizing coffee.  Heaven help me, I have a lot of coffee!

I've been simplifying and rearranging.  I've been reinventing and rethinking.

Some people like to spend their days in front of Netflix killing tons of brain cells.  Me?  Organizing and decorating and re-imagining things ... THAT is what makes me happy.

I will be spending my afternoon outside.  I will be rethinking a cabinet. Trying to shape it to the purpose I would like it to be.

I will be doing some more writing.  And some grilling.  Mmmmmm, I love the idea of grilling! I am doing all those things that fill my tank ... that make me smile ... that help me gain balance again ...

Pardon me while I go organize something.

Monday, June 26, 2017

YOU MIGHT BE AN OLD FART IF ....

Y'all.

I love social media!  I do.  Sadly, I like it so much, I am on it probably way more than I should be. I need to be more present in my own life and less in your alls.

But that is a post for another time.

Anywho ...

Social media has created a monster.

The monster has a name.

It's called The Over-Sharing Monster.

The stuff I've read on social media in the last few days.

I mean, decorum, people. Decorum!

I say some pretty stupid things on Facebook.  Usually, it's for a laugh ... or because my life is such a collective laugh.

I've been mean on Facebook.  I admit it. But I made a point a long time ago to be positive and upbeat, utilizing the Bambi Rule: If I have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Some of among us?  Not so much!  Sheesh! Some of things people are posting....none of us need to know that stuff!  NONE OF US.

Y'all are putting people on blast. You're sharing your dirty laundry.  You're updating me on personal stuff. You're showing pictures that make me cringe.

I like to keep up with my friends. In fact, I usually only keep FRIENDS as friends. I live far away from my family and friends.  Facebook allows me to keep tabs on all y'all.

But keeping tabs doesn't mean I want to know about absolutely EVERYTHING.

Don't mind me.  I'm just going to clip my toe nails while I nibble on my homemade brioche rolls while waxing ...

Grumpy, old woman, party of one.


HOME FROM VISITING HOME

I busted outta town just as soon as school was out.  Okay, maybe not AS SOON AS school was out.  In my infinite wisdom, I scheduled a dental appointment AND an allergist appointment the week after school as well as just having to deal with Closing Day activities.  However, as soon as I could, I packed up the car and the cat, and I busted a move to The Mitten State.

I needed room between me and this academic year.  I needed perspective.  I needed REST.

Y'all.  I LOVE my job.  I love every part of it.  But this was a hard year.  A good hard, but hard nonetheless.

At some point, I am going to work on school stuff.  However, right now?  Well, I needed to get out of town and re-calibrate.

So, I went home. I soaked up my parents' love and attention. I sat. I napped. I went to lunches and dinners.  I walked main street, and I sat on the deck and soaked up the sun.  I went to breakfast with a dear, sweet friend -- we picked up right where we left off (the beauty of sweet friends). I toured museums and beaches and wandered gift shops and junk shops and antique malls.

I hugged old friends and nodded at some enemies as well. 😁

It was good to be home.

Home is where the heart is ... home has nostalgia ... home has memories ... home has familiar scents and sights and sounds.

Home also provides perspective.

I remember years and years and years ago feeling like I was drowning ... like I was in a dead-end spot with no way out. I prayed for something different. I prayed for a new start. I had no idea how that was all going to happen, but I prayed for it. Then, without realizing, I was forced out, and I landed in Kentucky.

Eleven years later, this is home ... or my new home.  It's also where my heart is.  I have precious friends here, people who have adopted me into their families ... we've created new families ... I have a wonderful job that challenges me and frustrates me and fulfills me and makes me want to be a better person every single day.

It was a bittersweet day leaving Michigan.  It always is.  Yet, I was excited about getting home to Kentucky.

I am now rested and relaxed and ready to spend the summer, short as it is, recharging, doing things I want to do, digging into my hobbies, living in the moment, and just being.

I am home from visiting home.

It is always good to go home.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

HOMEMADE CHALLENGE

I am FINALLY seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm pretty sure it isn't a train bearing down on me.  So, I am starting to think about summer, and the time I will now have available to me.  I do love my breaks ... recharging ... getting my priorities straight ... resting ... getting healthy again. 

I read recently about a blogger who decided to do a 100 Day Challenge of Homemade Meals. Not going to lie, I loved that idea! It takes time to do stuff homemade, but I know, academically, that homemade is much better for us all than pre-made, preservative-filled foods. The idea of a homemade challenge really appealed to me. 

However, I also know that I tend to work in extremes. I will attempt to tackle a 100 Day challenge (that would take me into mid-September), and, at the first moment I miss a day, I will throw up my hands and call it quits. 

Thus, my idea to do mini-goals. From today forward, I am beginning a 30-Day Homemade Meals Challenge.  For the next 30 days, I am going to try hard to make homemade meals ... breakfast, lunch, AND dinner!

Oy vey!  The planning involved in this one!

Now, there are going to be SOME processed items. I can't get rid of them completely:  Milk, some soups, .... 

However, I am going to work really hard to make foods that will possess more homemade elements than processed elements. 

I recognize there will be some times that I won't  be able to make meals (I'm going to an event this afternoon ... heading home to visit my family later on, but my mom pretty much makes every thing homemade, so no biggie there). The problem times I foresee will be whilst I'm traveling.

Nevertheless, this is something I can do.  This is something I HAVE to do. 

Soooooooo, here I go!  Homemade or bust!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

THE OFFICIAL NOD TO SUMMER

If you're a Mitten-born human, Memorial Day Weekend is the OFFICIAL start of summer.  Oh sure.  There are still a few more weeks of school ... there are graduations and open houses and stuff like that.  But if you grew up in Michigan, you know that Memorial Day Weekend is when every one makes a mass journey North (capitalization intended) to open up cottages and put the dock and boat in. Once those items are ticked off the TO DO list, Summer is here.

If you don't own a cottage but love to camp, this is the first weekend of many that you travel to a rustic destination where you hook up the RV or camper or fifth wheel or pop the tent and enjoy a weekend of sun and water and campfires and fun.

I live in the Bluegrass State now, and have for almost 11 years (which seems INSANE when I think about it!). But my heart strings tug every time Memorial Day Weekend rolls around.  I am eager to go to a lake some where ... listen to the waves lap onto the shore line ... light a bonfire and walk away smelling of fire and sunblock and mosquito spray.

There's a part of me that hankers for a spontaneous trip somewhere .... somewhere close to the water ... to a campfire ... where the trees are tall and the scent of cedar hangs in the air ... I even long for those monster mosquitoes!  The ones that are so big they could pick you up and carry you back into the woods.

I love every season!  They each have some redeeming factor that sets them apart from each other.  However, there is something about a summer stretching out in front of you that is just almost heart-stopping.

I'm like a kid again seeing all the possibilities a summer has to offer me....

Welcome Summer!  You've been missed.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

THE LOANER CAR -- YOU MIGHT HAVE HIT OLD FART STATUS IF ...

So, my Escape is "in the shop."  All I've got to say is that what ever the issue is, I hope it is finally resolved.

But that's a blog post for another time.

I got this loaner car, which is a good thing because I can't get to school without wheels.  Ya know....they are sort of necessary.

After the guy made me sign a piece of paper that made sure I knew if I wrapped the car around a tree, it would be on my insurance, he gave me the daggone keyless start.

Now, I've had a loaner with keyless start.  I looked like a real rube trying to figure that out for the first 5 minutes of getting in the car. But I figured it out.

So, I was prepared for that ... seeing as this is a brand new Fusion.

What I wasn't prepared for?  The knob with the P, R, N, and D on it.  What in the world do they want me to do with a knob!?

It's a knob, so one would assume that I would turn it to the appropriate letter, right?  Nope. I was utterly befuddled as I pushed the letters and the center of the knob.

That was five minutes of my life I will never get back!

The dash is all digital as well.  Like, completely computerized!

I was telling my dad about it, and his response was simple, "If I ever had to buy a new car and they offer me one of those deals, I'd tell them to go back and get me something else!"

"Like a crank start car, Dad? What was that? Like a Model T?"

Y'all.  I might be skating into OLD FART status.


MEETING ME WHERE I AM AT

Last night was not a good night for me.

I had a ton of stuff to get done.  It didn't get done.

I am dealing with a possible car problem ... again. (Can these engineers not invent a car sans issues!?!?! We can invent robots that can fly our Amazon packages to our doorstep, for heaven's sake!).

I am struggling physically.

I am struggling with relationships.

I am  just struggling.

I hit my breaking point last night as I was getting into bed.

Psalms 130: 1-2 "Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!"

Yeah, I was all kinds of that passage in Psalms last night. ALLLLLL KINDS.

And then a sweet friend texted me. I doubt she had any idea what she was getting into when she did so. I am nothing if not brutally honest, and I let her know just exactly what she was texting in the middle of ... my emotional breakdown.  I haven't had one of those in a long while ...

To her credit, she stuck with me and provided me with some sweet words that calmed my spirit enough that I was able to sleep.

God meets me where I need Him. I don't always understand how He does it or the timing in which He does it. But He does it.

Today is a new day with new and amazing adventures to have (or just the same old, same old ... I suppose it's all how you look at it).

I know that whatever happens, He has me securely in this grip. I really have nothing to worry about.


Sunday, May 07, 2017

LISTENING TO WHO LISTENS

You know those friends you have?  Those one in a million friends?  The ones who are willing to call you on your crap but turn around and point out all those things you thought were faults but were really virtues all along?

I'm lucky to have a few friends like that ... people I can trust with my craziest dreams ... and my scariest nightmares.

I've been struggling this past week.  Really struggling. I woke up this morning feeling weighted down  under the immensity of the struggle.  I texted a friend, one I knew would understand the struggle.  It's been her struggle as well. During the course of the text conversation, I said, "I want to do it all and perfectly, and if I can't, then I give up."

She responded, "Makes sense. But you don't really quit anything ... other than maybe taking care of yourself."

Huh!  I've never really thought about that before.  I see myself as a big quitter.  So, I said, "I don't? I feel like I've given up on everything."

Her reply rocked me. "You haven't.  You pretty much accomplish everything you set your mind to."

I am not sure why, but we get things into our heads, and it takes something close to a nuclear bomb to remove it from it's cozy spot in our heads.  I see myself as something completely different (and often with much more of a negative spin) than the people around me, especially those that know me and love me.

Why is it that we have so much difficulty seeing ourselves through the lens of others?  And why is the lens we use so very critical?

And why are we using lenses anyway?

I suppose if I knew the answer to these questions, I wouldn't be struggling like I am ...




Thursday, May 04, 2017

DO YOU THINK I WILL SLEEP AGAIN?

I am averaging 5 hours of sleep these days.

I can't seem to get it all done, and it ALLLLL needs to be done.

I am looking in my school bag right now and wondering when it is all going to get done. I'm wondering, but I don't have an answer to that one.

Pretty sure things are procreating in that bag.  It's like this freaking magical bag out of the pages of a Stephen King novel or something.

In order to get my butt in gear (and allow myself precious coffee time), I have been dragging my butt out of bed at 4:45 in the morning -- just call me crazy. It wouldn't be the first time I've heard that one.  Yet, here it is 9:42 p.m., and I am no where near being done. I am seven hours away from getting up again, and hours and hours of work left to do.

That doesn't count the piles sitting on my floor at school.  Yes!  I said floor.  I have resorted to creating TO DO piles on my floor at school.

Y'all.  Who does that?

Recently, I've found myself looking at my cat as she sleeps, stretched out and cozy, with a great deal of envy.  It's a sure sign you've sunk to a new low when you are envious of your feline. I mean, she licks her hindquarters for heaven's sake ... okay, theoretically, -- it's awfully messy for an animal that is supposed to be a self-groomer. But that is a post for another time.

The question becomes, will I ever sleep again?  Will I ever get a good seven to eight hours of sleep again?

Or am I resigned to this five to six hours business?

A few more nights of this, and I'm going to start looking my age. Forty-five year old bags under the eyes and all. Drawn ... wrinkled ... gray hairs sticking out further than they already do ... I'm envisioning the old lady filter on Snap Chat, and that filter is scary.  SCARY. I've never been a proponent of plastic surgery, but after seeing that Snap Chat pic?  Holy wrinkles, Batman!

I'd rather say I'm making exhaustion look good!

Yeah ... I don't believe it either.


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

WEIGHING HEAVILY ON ME

Things are weighing heavily on me.

I can't really pinpoint what exactly.  Just lots of things.

The stress things ...

The sleepless things ...

The TO DO things ...

The "what she just said offended me" things ...

The "he just hurt my feelings" things ...

The school things ...

The house things ...

The bill things ...

The friend things ...

The not my friend things ...

The "she's being kind" things ...

The "he's being mean" things ...

The fair things ...

The unfair things ...

The "I'm stepping all over you to make myself look better" things ...

The celebrating other's joys things ...

The showing the envy and jealousy things ...

All the things ... they are weighing heavily on me.  I have this dark feeling deep in my chest. I am not sure what it is, but I think I am going to go for a walk .... try to clear my head of all the things ...

Saturday, April 29, 2017

BELIEVE WHAT I AM SAYING

You know that old adage, "Practice what you preach?"

Well, I may not always good at that.

In fact, I might be really, really bad at it.

I've been having these personal praise and worship moments in my car and in my living room and in my kitchen and just all over the place lately, and the one thing I've been prompted by the Holy Spirit the most during those times is this:

Will you praise me in the tough times? Will you trust me in the tough times?

Just so you are aware, it's super easy to answer YES! emphatically when you're in the midst of the fun, happy times ... when you are in the midst of a lull in yucky life stuff ... when you are in the middle of rich worship time.

In the midst of deadlines looming and car parts failing and a tooth that needs a crown and the pressure of my job weighing heavily on me and too much month and not enough paycheck?  I find it so much more difficult.

I want so badly for things to always be easy.  But then, if things were always easy, my faith muscles would be so very flabby ... much like my current muscles. Y'all. The flab!

Today, after panic set in over car troubles once again, I said a wimpy little prayer. I told God I was trusting Him.  I would do so in such a sloppy, ugly, whiny fashion, but by the time, I'd opened up this blog to begin typing, my nerves had calmed, and I was feeling more at peace.

Trust is so hard. Trust in something .... some one where there isn't the typical, tangible form is so very difficult. For people who do not believe, it's even tougher.

I tend to default to the Dollar Signs ... they tend to take wing and fly out of my purse.  That causes stress. That causes lack of trust in my God and an uncertain trust in my human ability to make it all better (which I don't, just so you are aware). It's an ugly cycle ...

But I have to remind myself that He is in control.  He guided me to that car. He made the way available to me. He dreams bigger than I could dream for myself. He has this in the palm of His hand.  That alone should be comforting.

That alone IS comforting.

I just need to believe in what I'm saying.  I need to have faith.

Friday, April 14, 2017

I CAVED

Well, it happened.  I caved.

My dad has suggested it.  My mom has suggested it. My sister has suggested it. My good friends have suggested it.  Heck! Countless Facebook friends have suggested.  Yesterday, I finally caved under the pressure and made it official.

I hired someone to mow my grass for me.

I mowed my lawn last week, and while I was okay at the time, three days later, I was lame and unable to use my good knee.  And I need to use my good knee.  I walk and stand for a living.  I need to be able to exercise. I need to be able to function in my house, seeing as all of the ways into and out of my house are via stairs (I didn't really think that one through very well).

He did the first cutting yesterday, and I have to say.  The weight lifted off of my shoulders was immediate! I know it sounds super melodramatic, but it felt like I could breathe again. Lawn mowing has been a stress for me from the word go.

I was raised by The Lawn Nazi. I love my dad, but when he was younger, he wanted a perfect looking yard. I have assumed many of his same tendencies, heaven help us all! Now, I'm not going to say that I have a perfect lawn.  I mean, I have dandelions galore in my yard, and I am perfectly fine with that.  However, I don't like having weeds growing up along my house ... or a ratty looking yard.  Both of these things happened frequently when I was in charge of mowing because A.) My life is chaotic during the school year, and since we have a growing season from March until October, much of my mowing was happening during school time, and B.) My physical limitations lately have gotten in the way.

I would get done with the yard, but then wouldn't have the spizerinktum to work in my flower beds. Something would ALWAYS suffer.  As a result, my house looked like The Crazy Lady at the Top of the Hill House.

I was constantly worried about the appearance, especially after countless neighbors starting commenting on how sad my lawn looked.

As I was walking up my street toward my home today, out on what I hope will be my daily walk, I couldn't help the feeling of calm that washed over me as my yard came into view.  It is neat and tidy and cut!

I guess some things are worth the money spent!  Plus, as my sister and my other pointed it out, it's cheaper than another knee surgery!

EASTER IN KENTUCKY VERSUS EASTER IN MICHIGAN

There are a few differences between the Easters of my youth and the Easters I have experienced down here in the "South."

The biggest difference?  I have never, in my life, hunted Easter eggs outdoors.  Never.

Why, you ask?  Well, I grew up in Michigan. You can never predict what the weather is going to be like.  You can have a gloriously beautiful Easter or you can have snow or rain or both.  It all just depends.

Weather in Michigan is a giant crap shoot.

So, when I was a kid, we hunted our Easter eggs indoors.  Some how, some way, the Easter bunny managed to get in the house (I suspect he and Santa had similar tactics) and would hide all the eggs prior to Ann and I waking up.

Down here in Kentucky?  EVERYBODY hunts for their Easter eggs outside.

There are tons of community Easter egg hunts, Easter egg drops, Easter egg rolls ... if you can do it with an Easter egg, it is offered up to the community.

It's kind of neat to see all the outdoor activities tied to Easter that the south supports. However, it's all a bit foreign to me.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

IT'S JUST A NUMBER

Weight.  Why is it that particular number nags at us ladies so?

My doctor and I have had numerous conversations wherein he has said that he isn't so much concerned about a number as he is the types of food I am eating and the exercise that I am getting.

And yet, that number.  It hangs over my head.

A few years back, when I really got my butt in gear and did something about my weight, I was sooooo concerned about a number.

This morning, while pawing through some old pictures, I found one I took of myself when I was at my lowest weight during that weight loss journey.  I looked at it this morning through new eyes. Eyes that were comparing myself to now, a great deal heavier ... heavier than ever, I might add. Suddenly, that number didn't seem so bad!  It seemed wonderful, in fact!

While at school this afternoon, helping my teammate with her classroom (loooooooong story there), I discovered some Spring pictures that our school secretary left for me to sort and get to the appropriate homerooms.  At the top?  My homeroom class picture.  I looked at that photo, and thought, "Who is that beached whale next to my kids!?"

It was me.

That number I had way back then?  It seemed like a distant memory ... a dream as I stared down at my fat body now.

Why is it that we are never satisfied with where we are at?  Why are we ruled by numbers?  Weight ... clothing size ... salary ... kids ... number of square feet in our McMansion?

Instead, I wonder what my life would be like if I focused on the number of days the sun shines?  Or the number of times I smiled? Or laughed?  Or the number of butterflies floating around me?  Or the number of favorite songs playing on the radio?

It is, after all, just a number ...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

SPANX ARE OF THE DEVIL

I had an event to go to recently. Naturally, the event called for me to dress in something other than a pair of yoga pants.

Why has no one created formal wear in the yoga pants department?

I pulled a dress out of my closet that I had not worn since probably September.  I slipped it on.  Not going to lie. It didn't fall as nicely over my body as I always dreamed it should.  In fact, it highlighted every roll in my middle, and, lately, I've "grown" a lotta rolls!

So, I did what any desperate fat girl would do, I pawed through my lingerie basket until I uncovered my trusty Spanx.

I have a love hate relationship with my Spanx.  I love that they cover up a multitude of sins.  However, it takes an act of God to wrestle those suckers onto my body.  And heaven help us all, when I have to wrestle them off.

My last thoughts, as I got the last bits of fabrics over my ample middle was, "Please, Lord, keep me from having to go to the bathroom. Wrestling these on and off in a bathroom stall will not end well."

I was doing great at the event too -- but those two pots of tea I drank did eventually require some attention, which meant I would have to deal with the Spanx.

Now, getting Spanx back up again is a delicately, tricky business.  You must get them pulled up, but still maintain a proper and equal percentage of restricting fabric on offending and flabby thighs.  At the same time, you must make sure that your abdominal muscles (or lack thereof) are fully and completely encased in said Spanx. Otherwise, all the stuff you've shoved in there will refuse to stay put.

I knew things were not right when I felt the left leg roll up a tiny bit from my fatty thigh.  However, when we got into the car, I quickly tugged at the leg, rearranging the fabric.  Something still didn't feel right.

My car mates and I made a quick stop at a local outlet mall, and that's when things got dicey.  I got out of the car, and my fat shifted. With that shifting, came the waist band of the Spanx shifting, which means, I could feel the waist band roll on itself.  The more I walked, the more it rolled so that by the time I entered the store my car mates wanted to shop in, my Spanx were threatening to roll right off my body!

It's amazing how fast the fat can push those suckers in a downward motion working with gravity in the most heinous of ways.

All I can say is thank goodness there was a restroom nearby.  A quick visit allowed an adjustment and put a stop to what could only be termed a very, very ugly situation.

The Spanx are now shoved back into the bottom of my lingerie basket, and they are not scheduled to make another appearance until Easter Sunday.  Congregation, beware!

Monday, April 10, 2017

ON TAKING THE HIGH ROAD

Blaming other people for your shortcomings is a cop out.

Blaming other people for your feelings of inadequacies is a cop out.

Blaming other people for not getting to your next level is a cop out.

I speak from a great depth and breadth of experience.  There have been so many times where I've attempted to blame other people for my issue. My issue? A lack of self-confidence.  Plain and simple.

It isn't right nor is it fair to make other people own your issues.  What I've learned from my years in my 20s ... and my 30s  ... is that if I am projecting a feeling of "not measuring up," it's usually because I am comparing myself to others rather than just focusing on the task at hand and doing it to the best of my ability.

The moment I got it straight in my head that measuring myself against others is not only stupid, it's dangerous, well, let's just say that I became a stronger version of myself.

Most people put their best foot forward, and that foot oftentimes is a sham. It would seem in today's society we fall into this "putting up appearances" trap.

"I have to show how perfectly clean my house is."

"I have to show how perfectly dressed my kids are."

"I have to show how perfect my marriage is."

"I have to show that I have it all under control."

And where does it get us?  Well, one thing I've noticed is that we get cut throat.  We are more willing to mow over someone else to make sure we get noticed, we get the accolades, we sound like we have the expertise, we have the knowledge.

I work really hard to show an authentic life.  That means is that I will authentically point out that I've gained a ton of weight. It will also mean you will see my hot mess of an outfit ... the crazy hair that does it's own thing ... a speck of something between my teeth ... my discouragement wrapped around my physical issues ... my struggles as a single woman in a world of couples.

I am not going to say that I don't still struggle with measuring myself to others.  I still catch myself doing that.

I am not going to say that it doesn't still smart when I don't get the invitation to the party or shower or wedding or night hanging with friends.  Being left out does smart.

However, what I have to remember is that my worth isn't wrapped up in anyone else. My worth is wrapped in Christ. The only person I strive to measure myself against is Christ.

As such, if I am working to meet my potential as Christ's child, then I need to be willing to take the high road.  I need to be willing to smile, recognize that person's issues are NOT mine, and move past it.

It's like a car wreck.  Why would any one roll up on a car wreck, look at the carnage, and then tell the police officer, "well, this had to be my fault."

Nope.  No one would do that.

I will strive to take the high road. Will you?

Friday, April 07, 2017

FINDING MY HAPPY AGAIN

A friend of mine told me recently that when I was walking consistently, she noticed I was always happy. I was fit and happy and had a positive outlook. She noticed all of that.

I haven't really thought about that time much recently ... well, other than to berate myself for letting myself go as much as I did.

I remember struggling with a plateau that I couldn't get past.  That was frustrating for me. However, I also remember fitting into a size smaller than I had been in ... having people notice my hard work ... feeling good, physically ... being stronger and able to do more physical stuff.  Despite all the emotional stuff I might have been going through, I felt physically fit ... more physically fit than I had in a long time.

So why did I stop?

I suppose part of it was the frustrating plateau. Then I had all that pain from the torn meniscus that I ignorantly ignored.  It became harder and harder to walk without excruciating pain. I suppose the last straw was having my surgeon's PA tell me that I had a limited amount of miles left on my knee, and how was I going to use the miles I had left?

People speak stuff into your life, and most of the time you can laugh it off. However, for me, there are certain things that people say that just cement themselves into me, and what that PA said?  It stuck.  He scared me to death. Suddenly, I was a whisper away from a knee replacement. And so I sat.

Here's the reality. I have a family history of degenerative knee disease.  I have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees. The odds are, I will be having knee replacements at some point in my life. It is what it is.  In the meantime, I cannot sit and have my life pass by me while I get to the size of Shamu.

So, I am going to start walking again. Today, I logged 1.2 miles. It was a sloooooooooow 1.2 miles, and there was pain.  But I did it.  I want to get back to those things that make me happy.  Walking makes me happy.

The next nine yards will be getting back to the gym ... the gym I've been paying a membership for and not using ... but I'm not going to beat myself up over that one.  It is what it is.

Baby steps, right?

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

SOME PEOPLE GO TO THE BEACH ON SPRING BREAK

Some people go to the beach on Spring Break.

Some people hang out their windows at midnight watching the local police department arrest a criminal on the run ... allegedly.

It's the difference between having the money for fun and making your own fun....or rather others around you making the fun ... er trouble.

So, let me back up because this is one of those stories that deserves being told.  In its entirety. With all the crazy, nitty gritty detail I can muster. And y'all know I can muster some detail!

I stayed up past my bedtime last night to catch the weather because, well, every one is saying we're going to blow away in a ton of storms today.  Of course, most folks know, I am a terrible Nervous Nellie when it comes to storms. So, I wanted to know if I needed to begin making my basement storm-ready.

The jury is still out on that one. But I digress.

You know that moment when you are settling into bed?  Your mind is shutting down ... your eyelids are heavy, and the cat is snoring beside you?  Yeah.  I was there.  I was in that happy in-between place until the sirens I had heard in the distance, suddenly came closer and closer to my house. With the sirens came this horribly loud, grinding noise, like there was a car dragging something or driving on metal tires.

I hopped out of bed and opened my curtains in time to see this car make a left turn onto a street behind me, the metal grinding sound ridiculously loud, and two police cruisers, lights and sirens going, right behind him, barreling up the residential street behind me.  I braced for a big crash, sure someone was going to careen into a house or something, but it never happened.  What did happen were about six or seven OTHER cruisers, lights flashing and sirens screaming, chasing after this car....coming from all different directions!

Now, I really thought that the dingbats had left my subdivision. The sirens sounded like they had... that was until I started seeing all the flashlights and search lights ALLLLL over the next street over.

It was about that time that I saw who I thought was a neighbor walking between two houses, and while it occurred to me that most neighbors would know better than to walk outside during such a chase, the guy bends down and, I thought, picks up something from the ground.  Then he lights a cigarette and starts walking across the street.  I grabbed my cell phone and was about to call 911 when a police officer speeds down my street and stops Smoking Dude in the road.

The exchange was hard to hear, despite my ear to the window screen technique that I had going on, but I did hear the officer ask the guy where he'd been and where he was going, and while the guy tried to walk off, the officer stopped him and asked him to just tell him where in the neighborhood he lived.  Clearly he couldn't, and before it was all said and done, Smoking Dude was patted down, handcuffed and carted off to the county lock-up.

This morning, upon waking up, I learned from the news that these guys (there were four of them) were being chased on I64 after they failed to stop for a traffic stop after speeding past a trooper doing 90 miles an hour.  The state troopers chased them from Scott County into Franklin County. Despite the use of stop strips, those idiots continued driving on their flattening tires.  The horrible grinding sound I was hearing?  Those rocket scientists were driving on nothing but the wheels!  Nary a piece of rubber was left on that car!

They arrested three occupants there at the scene.  A fourth occupant ran ... allegedly right into my neighbor's back and then front yards!

The post script to this exciting evening?  The police were back today searching my neighbor's yard!  Turns out that when I thought Smoking Dude had dropped something (I assumed his cigarette), he was actually stashing something into the straw in my neighbor's yard! See, this is why I do very little to my yard. Nothing to stash nefarious items in!

My neighbor has a security camera system and caught all of this idiot's actions on video.  BUSTED!

So, yeah.  That's what I do on Spring Break.

How is your Spring Break going so far?

Saturday, April 01, 2017

SPANX, NAIL POLISH, AND PUTTING ON SOME MAKE UP

I was invited to a dear friend's birthday celebration. It's a birthday tea ... at an honest to goodness tea house ... salon ... okay, tea place.

Anyway, they serve high tea. So, I knew immediately, this was more than just a "make sure the good jeans are clean" kinda day.  The problem is, and I am being brutally honest here, I have let myself go.....like REALLY go.....like, "someone find her the nearest grocery cart for her bag lady look" go.

I wasn't even sure I had a dress that would fit!

But as I've said sooooo many times you are all probably ready to puke from sheer boredom, I am attempting to fill my emotional tank. Filling my tank today meant putting on my girlie best.

I am a fan of the 5-minute face. I am also a fan of the 5-minute hair.  I love that I really only need to spend 10 minutes in front of the mirror (not counting the teeth-brushing/flossing time).  It makes up for the HOURS I spent in front of it in the 80's.  Y'all. One can of White Rain per week!

However, this is a tea room.  It seems to speak to elegance and grace and gentility.  This knocks me out almost immediately, seeing as I exude none of these things, but I was determined to pretend.  Girlie it up a bit!

So, I got out the "it looks like make-up" make up -- I usually defer to the "doesn't look like make-up" make-up.  Plus, there is only so much spackling a person can do in five minutes, right?!

I spent more time.  I added darker eye colors.  I put on some blush ... or more of it, I should say.  I unearthed my Spanx, wrestled those suckers on (heaven help me should I need to use the restroom!), and dug around my jewelry box until I uncovered my pearls.  Tea calls for pearls, no?

I threw on a leopard print cardi ... I dug out a vintage hand bag. I painted my toe nails AND fingernails BRIGHT, FIRE ENGINE RED, y'all!

The final result?

Well, I resemble a trollop, but a girlie one -- which seems a bit redundant, but whatever.

I team room ready.  Or as tea room ready as this Northern girl is going to get.




Friday, March 31, 2017

RAINY DAYS

I was initially bummed when I realized that today would be a rainy, cold day.  I had outdoor plans ... outdoor plans in the way of proving to my neighbors that I do care about my lawn.

But who are we kidding? I only marginally care about my lawn. On odd days and full moons.  Just joking ... maybe.

Today, I've decided, is the day I am going to knock out some work for work. There are numerous projects hanging over my head, and I want to get them away from my head ... or at least, not so close to my head.

It's also going to be the day that I finish this cursed laundry and finally hang up ALLLLLL the clothes I've been tossing over chairs and door knobs and such.

It's also going to be the day that I read ... and if that leads to a nap, so be it.

Rainy days remind me that I need to stop and enjoy the quiet moments as much as the hectic busy ones.

So, bring on the rain!  I am ready for ya!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY TODAY



A cleaned out, reorganized, washed down refrigerator.  I moved shelves around to accommodate a better storage of food flow (and I just wrote that sentence like I was some sort of refrigerator expert -- I am most certainly not as the next sentence will exemplify for you, dear reader).  Why I never did this seven years when I bought the daggone refrigerator, who the heck knows!  It sure does make me happy though!  If this makes me a nerd, I embrace it!  





I am prepping lettuce and other veggies for quick and easy salads.  Oh my word! I do love streamlining stuff.  This is most certainly streamlining at it's finest!

TO DO LISTS ... I simply LOVE TO DO LISTS!

Coffee!  Those of you who know me well know this liquid ALWAYS makes me happy!



Emmy the Cat. She isn't really all that thrilled that I am home.  I am messing up her schedule.  She follows me around, meowing, and I can't tell if that is because she sees this as extra Cat and Owner time ... OR if she is bitching because I am interrupting prime nap time.  I would suspect it's the latter, but daggone it! She's cute even when she's crabby!




I bought this new planner today, and it is revolutionizing my world. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but it sure does make me happy.  I LOVE my Happy Planner!!!




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Clean Slates

I took a peek at my classroom today.  Word on the street was that they ripped up all my carpeting yesterday. I wanted to see it for myself!

Oh! Wait. I probably need to catch you up, no?

About two weeks ago, I (and 14 of my colleagues) was informed I would be getting tile in my classroom over Spring Break. Now, I am BEYOND excited about tile. I have had carpet in my classroom for the last ten years, and it was in questionable "health" when I moved in lo those many years ago.  I have no clue how old it was, but it held a funky smell that I, sadly, got used to smelling.

Despite my excitement over the tile, I had a FREAK OUT moment ... or two ... or way more ... because, well, I had sixteen years worth of Teacher Crap shoved in that room.  I have been in that particular room for the last ten years.  There is a lot that can be collected in ten years. Trust me on this one.  Plus, I was STILL TEACHING, and it is difficult to pack stuff and function in a classroom.

I spent my last week and a half packing, and, last Saturday, I closed my classroom door on an entirely packed up room.

So, back to today. I walked into the room, and it was completely empty.  I stood in the middle of the room and tried to envision what the tile would look like ... and a thought began to form in my mind. I mean, I have this clean slate laid before me.  I can make this room whatever I want it to be now! Put my stamp on it ... move stuff around!  Really change things up!

I have spent the better part of the afternoon and evening looking at classroom layouts and thinking about how I can place furniture to maximize space AND keep it decluttered, organized, and neat.

I LOVE clean slates!

I LOVE re-imagining!

And despite the daunting task of resetting my whole room in a week, I am SUPER excited about the prospect of doing so.  This will be an opportunity to purge with wild abandon, and since a lot of this stuff hasn't seen the light of day in YEARS, wild abandon should be the rule of thumb here.

I am looking forward to a clean slate ....  That is what this SpRiNg BrEaK will be about.  CLEAN SLATES!




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Refueling ... Filling that Tank

I have had an on-going conversation with someone regarding filling my emotional tank.  Basically, how is it that I am filling the areas I deplete with professional obligations with stuff that will refuel my soul?

As of late, I've not been, and I'm not really sure how to begin that process.

What I have come to realize or notice is that truly dedicated professionals give 110% all the time.  I see it in my world of teaching. My colleagues that are truly inspiring? They go all.the.way. No shortcuts. No excuses. They just do it.

I imagine that is what the creators of the JUST DO IT campaign for Nike might have had in mind.

Lately, I have been harboring resentment, and this person whom I've been having this on-going conversation with nailed it.  Well, nailed me.  "Sounds to me like you are pretty resentful of people who A.) waste your time, and B.) don't value others' time and efforts only their own."

Insert a thousand bells peeling madly (and homage to one of my favorite movies, SOUND OF MUSIC).

She. Nailed. It.

I have said it before.  I hold myself to a very high standard.  I am not necessarily sure that is a good thing, and, so, I am DEFINITELY not tooting my own horn. But nothing crawls under my skin (like Alien-esque under the skin crawling) more than watching people just "playing" a role ... doing something only halfheartedly ... cutting corners to get something done quickly but passing it off as quality. Complaining that they are not getting the accolades they deserve when everyone within a 50-mile radius knows full well they've put in only minimal effort.

It takes hard work for anything to pay off.

That is why I am still fat. I guess I am not ready to put in that hard work. But I digress.

My co-conversationalist? She pointed out that I need to refill my tank. I deplete it each day that I give as much as I possibly can (some days are less than others), but I am not refilling.  It's like never filling a tank with gas.  She pointed out that I need to figure out how to fill my tank without allowing extraneous stuff, i.e., the annoying people, to add to the depletion of my tank.

Spring Break seems like the perfect time to do so.

A friend extended an invitation to dinner last night.  I jumped at the chance.  For almost four hours, we laughed and talked and, to be corny, broke bread, and I left there feeling emotionally full.

Oh! It all sounds so crunchy and hippy and silly. But in my old age, I am coming to realize that feeding my soul is more important than worrying about the people who are cutting corners, grasping at straws and generally doing whatever they can to get the attention of others.

My life ... my worth is not wrapped up in accolades and awards and tangible bits of things that will gather dust and wither away.  My life is a woven tapestry of people and places that work together to feed me, grow me, and help me work toward bringing glory to God ... not to myself.

Oh, I am human.  I am not going to be perfect at this.  Not even a little bit.  However, Spring Break is a great time for me to explore what it is that makes me ME. Filling up my emotional and spiritual tank ... that is what I am going to be doing.

Coming back here and writing to all you long-suffering readers of mine?  Seems like a good start.

Here's to rest ... relaxation ... and filling our tanks!

Saturday, January 07, 2017

FRIDAY DINNER PARTY

I threw a little dinner party last night.  A friend of mine actually came up with the idea after we attempted, and failed, to find a date to do an annual -- or is it? I can't remember if we did anything last year ... seems to me we didn't because I'd had knee surgery and all -- Christmas Cookie Exchange party.

I really need to schedule these things months out ... but I digress.

So, my friend sent out an invitation to a few of our mutual friends, and the party was underway!

I tend to go into party planner overload when I undertake these things. The reason being, I want to attempt to achieve a Barefoot Contessa-like atmosphere.  She seems to do everything with such ease.
Shuck a few dozen oysters? No problem!  (wait ... do you shuck oysters? I'm not sure on this account...)

Throw together a four course meal with homemade sorbet to cleanse your palate after each course? Forget about it! She's got this!

Of course, the Barefoot Contessa has a kitchen to die for ... my kitchen, I am sure, she would want to die when she viewed it....and she has years of gourmet chef experience...plus, let's be honest here, she owns a flat in France.  I mean, come on! I feel as though the Parisian cooking bug just seeps into your pores when you eat at those cute, outdoor cafes and just hang out in one of those swanky Parisian flats.

Barefoot Contessa?  Yeeeeeeaaaaahhhhh ... I ain't her!

Yesterday morning, while I was folding yet another load of laundry ... y'all, the laundry! ... fretting about how I was going to pull it all off, it struck me.  My friends weren't coming to my house to be wildly impressed by my organizational skills or decorating skills or party planning skills.  They were coming over here because they crave the fellowship of women just as much as I do!

It's likely there were dust bunnies floating around as we gathered around my living room ... some of us in camp chairs(!) ... classy, right?  Likely people left with cat hair plastered to their butts. Their eyes were probably strained from the lack of lighting in my living room (I prefer to call it "mood lighting").

None of those things mattered.  What mattered were the bonds strengthened ... the shared experiences had ... the fellowship over good food, drink, and laughter. The most important things can never be quantified or displayed in a beautifully laid out magazine story or blogged about or posted on Facebook.  The most important things are happening in the moment and savored for a lifetime.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

HOW DID IT GET TO BE 2017 ALREADY!? (a belated reflection)

I am sitting here in a quiet house, save for the chugging of the washing machine -- y'all, the laundry!

It's official. Christmas is over.  That magical time of year that we all try to bottle and keep forever has passed.  It seemed to go a bit faster than normal because of a super crazy work schedule with the added bonus this year of a cold (or allergy-related "event") on Christmas Day and the stomach flu on New Years Eve ... yeeeaaaahhhh, ended 2016 on a VERY sour note).

I was telling my mom yesterday, it goes by so quickly.  Everything goes by so quickly.

I pondered that thought -- Everything goes by so quickly -- all day yesterday. Why haven't I savored each and every moment?  Why does it seem like it was just May yesterday?  Or Halloween?  Wasn't it just Halloween?

It makes my soul hurt how fast it all goes by ... and how little I savored this year.

Let's be honest here.  If I am really going to be honest with myself, I gave up in 2016, and I gave up on 2016.  I think I'd had enough.  Of what?  Well, the list is loooooong.

I mean, I had a crappy vehicle that was dying with each expensive part. I was dealing with a knee surgery that didn't end up like I thought it would and the rehab that followed. I developed a foot issue, gained more weight, dealt with a family crisis, managed TWO new initiatives on top of an insane school year. It was a lot. I gave up.

I told myself that I was 44 ... I was of the age of enjoying the Hermit's Life. But honestly, I was crawling in my hole because the amount of crap I was dealing with was just. too. much.

As a result, I didn't savor one bit of 2016.  It passed me right by ... like a flash. It does that when you get to be my age. I do NOT want to find myself staring at the end of 2017 with the same feeling of regret that I had looking back at 2016.

I want to savor.

Resolutions are so not my thing.  I mean, I like them in theory, but in reality, I can never seem to hang on to them long.  However, the List Writer in me seems totally cool with Goals (capital letter intended).  They seem a bit more doable in my mind's eye.  So, let's talk about goals, shall we?

My overall goal in 2017?  SAVOR EACH MOMENT.

My quarterly goals:
1st Qtr (Jan-March)

  • Carve out time for ME to do the stuff I love to do. This is going to be difficult. I waste crap tons of time. So, new habits will have to be practiced. 
  • Dedicated Quiet Time for Bible Study.
  • Eat healthier meals that I prepare.
  • Make sure my physical environments (both home and school) are decluttered of the stuff that isn't necessary to essential living. 
  • Find at least one adventure a month to go on. It doesn't have to be anything big. Just an adventure that is different from the everyday norm.


2nd Qtr (April-June)
  • Dedicated Quiet Time for Bible Study.
  • Have an established ME time habit established during the week. 
  • Have an established writing time and workout time. This will probably not be an every day thing due to the amount of extracurricular "stuff" I have in my life right now. By this point in the year, I should have figured out some sort of system. 
  • Make sure my physical environments (both home and school) are decluttered of the stuff that isn't necessary to essential living. 
  • Continue having one adventure a month. This might include a trip or retreat. 
3rd Qtr (July-Sept)
  • Host a get together at least once.
  • Dedicated Quiet Time for Bible Study.
  • Have an established ME time habit established during the week. 
  • Have an established writing time and workout time. This will probably not be an every day thing due to the amount of extracurricular "stuff" I have in my life right now. By this point in the year, I should have figured out some sort of system. 
  • Make sure my physical environments (both home and school) are decluttered of the stuff that isn't necessary to essential living. 
  • Continue having one adventure a month.  This might include a trip or retreat. 

4th Qtr (Oct - Dec)

  • Plan a holiday get together.
  • Dedicated Quiet Time for Bible Study.
  • Have an established ME time habit established during the week. 
  • Have an established writing time and workout time. This will probably not be an every day thing due to the amount of extracurricular "stuff" I have in my life right now. By this point in the year, I should have figured out some sort of system. 
  • Make sure my physical environments (both home and school) are decluttered of the stuff that isn't necessary to essential living. 
  • Continue having one adventure a month.  This might include a trip or retreat. 

Through it all, I want to savor every moment. I want to be able to pinpoint one thing a day that was a blessing or a happy event or something that made me smile.  I want to enjoy this life.

As I reread this blog, these goals seem awfully structured, and, in truth, they probably are.  But it's a guide to help me savor each moment. It's my mantra, and I am going to attempt to approach it with the same drive I approach my professional life.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, ONE AND ALL!