Thursday, December 30, 2010
With 2010 coming to a close, the world is abuzz with New Year's resolutions. You won't be surprised to know that I make resolutions every year and fail to keep them. However, I'll try again this year. The bar is set pretty low, so any accomplishment will be a point of pride. My pessimism is shining through, I know.
Drumroll, please. My 2011 resolutions are here.
1. Lose weight. I think 15 pounds would be doable and would help A LOT! Twenty five would be awesome, but who am I kidding?
2. Get organized. I can't make this one more specific. Any improvement in this area would be welcome.
3.Sell a crocheted item or two, or more!
4.Cook four nights a week, and cook different things!
5. Read 25 books this year, and document them on this blog.
6. Blog twice weekly.
7. Attend a genealogy workshop.
8. Memorize scripture. I think a verse a week is doable.
9. Do something different. Try new things. Zumba, pottery, Bunco, wool spinning...just a few of the things I'd like to try. They are all "fun" things, so why not?
10. Get back on the Financial Peace train. I think it ran me over during the holidays. :)
See! I did it. Now, the tough part is to figure out how I'll make those things happen. I will report back on my progress and failings throughout the year. I hope 2011 brings your all the things you hope for!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Last week was nuts for me. I had school obligations nightly. Most of last week, I arrived at work before daylight and left after dark.The weekend was busy, too, with little opportunity for rest. This snow day, therefore, is a recuperative one.
Friday, December 3, 2010
John 6:35 "Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'"
Hmmm. Food for thought!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
In the midst of all of my restlessness, I began to identify with Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel. She wanted a baby sooooo much. She had a husband who loved her with a "double portion" but she felt incomplete. She went to the temple and prayed. She poured her spirit as she prayed. I could definitely identify with that. She begged the Lord for a child and promised to give that baby back to God if He would just let her be a mother. The priest thought she was drunk, but when she explained that she was deeply grieved, Eli the priest blessed her and said, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” Hannah wasn't sad anymore. She could finally eat again. She went on back home and resumed her life.
And you know what? Hannah, whose womb had been closed, soon gave birth to Samuel, one of the most pivotal prophets in the Old Testament. And Hannah kept her promise. She returned to the temple and said to Eli, the same priest who had counseled her in her despair, "“Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.”
That story gave me a lot of comfort through my waiting. Sure enough, I found out in March of 2004 that I was expecting, and when Audrey arrived in October, my life was never the same. I'm still not very patient, but I've learned that pouring out my worries and anxieties to God does bring relief. The waiting is the hardest part.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Our Advent memory verse has been John 8:12, which says "Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life." What a great promise. Follow him and you won't stumble in the darkness. No more tripping over obstacles you can't see. He clearly illuminates the way.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
If you haven't tried Wordle, it is sooooo much fun! Paste some text or the URL of your website in and, presto! A fun visual. The bigger words are the ones you use over and over...I do this at school. I'll do a Wordle of a common document or well-known text (think the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, or MLK's I Have a Dream speech) and see if the kids can guess what they are reading. Or, I'll put something else in and see if they can make a prediction about the main idea. I just like the way it looks!
Monday, November 29, 2010
I am NOT good at waiting, and I don't dare pray for patience for fear that God will challenge me to wait through something that is really hard for me. I can't imagine living in wait for a Savior, like the Jews in Jeremiah's time. They were scattered all over and they were waiting, impatiently like I would, for their King to come to restore them to their homeland. They believed the false prophets, followed after teachings that sounded good but weren't true, and walked a fine line that was leading straight toward destruction. Nope, not the life I'd like to lead!
Every Advent season, we prepare our hearts to be renewed with the excitement of the season and the anticipation of His birth. Like children, we wait and watch for signs of his coming. How fortunate for us that the day of the King has already come! He reigns wisely in our hearts and gives shelter, hope, and salvation to those who will accept Him. The wait is over!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Tonight, we read a couple of different verses. First, our "memory verse" for Advent is John 8:12. "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" Maybe my favorite part of the devotion tonight was when Jack piped up, " I will follow Him!!!" I pray that my children will walk in the light of the Lord, and love that childlike enthusiasm that he has. (If you were at First United Methodist Church in Frankfort today, you would have heard Jack nearly commandeer the Children's Sermon with his enthusiasm!!!)
Then, we had a brief liturgy and another reading from Isaiah 2:1-5, which was the text for Reverend Sayre's sermon, "We Need Hope!" today. That passage concludes with a similar thought to the memory verse. "Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD."
So, it is my goal, this Advent season, to walk in the light of the Lord, to be an example to my family and friends, and to keep that light ever burning in my heart. I hope to post a brief Advent reflection daily...but you know how that goes. I get a little overwhelmed with the day to day and the light begins to dim. Pray for me and help me persevere! Know that I appreciate you for reading and giving me those virtual hugs in the form of comments. Your support means sooo much! XXOO!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I'm thankful for much. So much. Here's a partial list, not really in any order.
1. A fantastic husband and a wonderful marriage.
2. Beautiful and healthy (if not always well behaved) children.
3. An ever blossoming relationship with God and a church for me and my family to grow in.
4. A host of wonderful, supportive friends. You know who you are!
5. A mostly great job. Today, it is super great. I'm not there!
6. Abundance in almost every area of my material life, certainly more than I deserve.
7. My parents and extended family.
8. My health. Two years ago, I couldn't really say that. I was just thankful to be not dead.
9. Gifts and talents and the opportunity to share with others.
10. Glee. I know that is dumb, but it brings me soooo much joy.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
You see, I've been going in circles the last two weeks. I knew I would be encountering some busy days, but on our first day back to school, we had a faculty meeting that just intensified the stress I was feeling with the beginning of the new quarter. I've been something of a mad woman lately. I work a little on this, a little on that, put out a fire here, cross one item off my to-do list but add four more, and at the end of the day, I'm not sure what I've accomplished at all. I've just been swamped. And, everytime I've seen a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, it really has turned out to be a train!
To top it all off, I have not been able to shake the sinus infection that I developed last week. I still sound hoarse and sniffly despite finishing a round of antibiotics today.
Anyway, I *think* things are going to slow down this week. Perhaps. I've decided to move forward and stop worrying about whether I've done all the things that needed doing up to this point. I'm starting from scratch, and I aim to keep my head above water through what promises to be a busy Christmas season.
Tonight, I started planning our family's advent activities. I want us to do a nightly devotion and some kind of activity. I'm thinking of a mini-tree with an ornament for each day that corresponds with our devotion. I also hope to blog about the devotions we'll do. That's not an unreasonable goal is it?
Thursday, October 28, 2010
School started back on Monday after a long, fabulous three week break. I came back to work to chaos because I hadn't really planned or prepared much during the break. But, I pulled it together pretty quickly and my kids have been responsive to the things we're doing. Midway through the day on Monday, I noticed my voice starting to waiver. I attributed to talking more and louder than I had in weeks, and to the layer of sawdust that had blown in through the permanently semi-open window when the huge old oaks were cut outside my room.
However, three days later, I'm in absolute misery. My head hurts, my ears hurt, my throat hurts, I can't hear, I can't talk, and I'm coughing. Time for a visit to the doctor. To no one's surprise, she pumped me full of antibiotics to cure the ear/sinus infection and some decongestant to thin out the gunk. So, I'm sick. It's official.
The problem is the timing. This week just doesn't work for me. Tomorrow is Audrey's birthday and I had planned to take the day off and accompany her class to the pumpkin patch. Doc says that is a bad idea. Audrey disagrees. Tomorrow night, we have tickets to see a play at the Opera House, which is part of my awesome birthday gift from John. My house is a MESS. I need to clean up and cook, and then, of course, clean up again. Family is coming Saturday morning for Audrey's birthday brunch. I'll usher them out the door just in time to welcome in a gaggle of five and six year old girls in their pajamas for our non-sleepover PJ party. Gotta get the cupcakes baked for that. Sunday, we'll have church, Sunday School, and a chili potluck Harvest Party after church. Maybe a mini-nap will happen before Trick or Treat on Sunday night.
I'm thinking I need to be 100% to do all this. I'm not. I am about 65% right now. I've been advised by many to let go, not to worry, and such. The problem is, I want to be Supermom. I thrive on it. I want to please everyone, do it all just right, and never, ever disappoint. In my quest to be perfect, I fear that I might just be missing the point of it all.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I have also been struggling with my boys in a big way. Sam is extremely stubborn and just a different kind of kid. He wants to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Jackson is just loud and very, very physical. He has to touch everything. He doesn't like to slow down or to listen. These are personality traits that are very much NOT like me, so I just have a hard time relating to why they behave the way they do sometimes.
Another part of my struggle is even more frustrating and embarrassing. They will not poop in the potty. They are four years old. It is making me crazy. I have read every article on potty training, searched for help, asked my pediatrician...and nothing is helping. I know, I know...they will go, eventually. But in the meantime, I am soooo frustrated and TIRED of poopy underwear. Ugh!
Their overall behavior is really starting to bother me. Wednesday night at church, Jack would not listen to me. AT ALL. He was defiant and thought it was funny. John wasn't there yet, and if I weren't the study leader for our class, I would have dragged him down the sidewalk and headed home. Sam pooped his pants at Children's Choir after we had taken him twice and the teacher had taken him once. It was really hard for me to hang on and not loose my cool.
I stumbled across a blog, Homestead Wannabees, which is in my blog list, and Jackie, the mom who writes it, had a great idea about a pyramid of consequences. She explains it really well, so pop over and check her story out. Anyway, I made one and I made a jar of prizes they can draw from if they don't move past the first level all day. The prizes are quarters, pick a movie, Wii time, etc...cheap and easy stuff they love. Tonight, Sam had to go to the second level, and didn't get a prize, so hopefully seeing Audrey and Jack get one will motivate him.
I am also being more intentional about praying for my children and their specific needs. I prayed out loud for them at dinner tonight and asked God to help them have listening ears. I told them they needed to remember to pray for that, too. I am going to dig out my copy of Stormie O'Martian's Power of a Praying Parent and see if she has any specific advice for this. I honestly don't know where else to turn but to God on this one. It is something that is beyond my control.
Anyway, I feel like I've turned a corner, at least a little, in that I am not as discouraged tonight as I have been earlier this week. I am praying for all of the other moms out there who are struggling with the same things, or even worse! As frustrated as I have been, I know it could be so much worse. I am thankful for the health of my beautiful children. Everything else will work itself out in God's time.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Here is an overview of "stuff" I'll be doing next week...
Saturday- attending a wedding of a co-worker. Exciting!
Sunday-Church, Sunday School, and planning meeting at church in the evening.
Monday- Back to work, staff meeting, last soccer game.
Tuesday- AM Meeting, Work
Wednesday- Work, Dinner at church, Wednesday Night Bible Study
Friday- Personal day! Audrey's birthday and her class field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. John and I have tickets to see "Spring Awakening" at the Opera House
Saturday- Family birthday party @ 11, friends party @ 5
Sunday- Church, Sunday School, All-Saints Day party, Trick or Treat.
Whew. I am tired just thinking about it! Somewhere in there, I'll need to prep for Halloween treats and party food for the birthday girl. Fortunately, all my meals are in the freezer, so I have one less thing to worry about throughout the week.
So, what else can I do in the next three days to make sure my sanity stays in tact??
- Make a list of all party foods to serve and plan when to prepare them
- Buy the Halloween candy and hide it
- Lay out clothes for everyone for next week
- Buy, wrap, and hide Audrey's birthday gift
- Make and post a master to-do list for next week and check off tasks as completed
- Clean and de-clutter as much as possible
- Plan my lessons for the week, make sure all copies are made
In case you haven't noticed, I like having a list! It makes me feel like I can control the situation and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I actually feel better right now than when I started this post! I feel more organized and settled. I am not as panicked as I was. I might just survive going back to school!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. For those of you who aren't familiar with Crohn's, it is an autoimmune disease that attacks the gastrointestinal system. It isn't a very glamorous disease- and certainly not a convenient one. At that time, my boys had just turned two and Audrey was almost four. As a teacher, a wife, and a
mother, I needed all of my strength to get through my busy days.
But I didn't get a choice in my diagnosis, and Crohn's it was. In a way, it was comforting to finally know what was causing the bizarre symptoms I'd been coping with for years. And while Crohn's isn't curable, it is manageable, so I began treatment to get my symptoms under control.
About that same time, I was also faced with a sort of spiritual crisis. I guess a life threatening illness will do that to you! While I had complete faith that I would eventually be healed, I was lacking in the emotional strength to get through on a day to day basis. I prayed. My friends and family prayed. I was on every prayer list at every church around. I would write Bible verses on post-its and stick them all over my desk at work so that I was constantly reminded of the greatness of God's power.
I especially liked Jeremiah 29:11-14. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you."
The thing was, no matter how hard I looked, I just couldn't find Him. After Audrey was born, John and I decided to move to Frankfort, which meant leaving our church in Lexington. We had a hard time getting settled in a church here and as a result, my spiritual life had deteriorated. At the time of my illness, we were active in a church, but it felt more like I was just going through the motions rather than engaging in a real relationship with God. I knew something was missing, but I didn't realize that the answer was right under my nose.
I came in and out of this building every day to bring my kids to First Care. I was friendly with other parents who happened to attend the Good News at Nine service. They continually showed concern for me, invited me to church, kept me updated on things that were happening here, and just made me feel loved. John knew how spiritually restless I was and we had many conversations about what we were looking for in a church home. We wanted a place with people who had servants' hearts. A place where things were happening, where we could be active and engaged. A place that was exciting. Church had become a chore for me, an obligation to check off my to-do list, and I knew it could be so much more.
We agreed to give First Church a try and we were instantly surrounded by a loving and supportive church family. We started coming regularly, plugged into a Sunday School class, and I joined the HOPE circle. I found the joy that had been lacking in my spiritual life. And, while I was still very ill, I began to find that I was growing stronger though the support of the people here. One Sunday, I was sharing that I was pretty sure I needed surgery, but I was out of sick leave time and I was going to try to put surgery off until school was out. Everyone in my Sunday School class began offering to donate sick time or do whatever was needed to help me out. When I did have surgery, they brought me meals, visited me, and prayed for me.
The past two years have brought many challenges and changes in my life. My Crohn's is now in remission and I feel better than I have in years, both physically and spiritually. I am grateful everyday that I continued to seek the Lord and that I found him here in this church and in the hearts of the people in our Good News at Nine family.
Friday, October 15, 2010
I prepared triple batches of the following:
- Cranberry Chicken
- Beef Bowtie Bake
- Penne with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese
All but the chili came from the Don't Panic! cookbooks, with my adaptations. The chili is mine. Tomorrow, I will bake some cornbread as well...I just got tired today! Plus, I baked a pan of brownies and made a salad to take over to a friend who is moving and feeding her volunteer labor force.
Later, I will post pictures and a cost breakdown of the meals. My goal was to be as cost effective as possible. I shopped at Sav-a-Lot and Kroger, kept a detailed list of the amount I paid for each item, and bought as much on sale as I could. I think I did well. Without the receipts handy,I am going to estimate that cranberry chicken was the priciest meal at about $8...but it serves 4 to 6, so I feel pretty good about that. The pasta dishes were probably around $6 or so, and serve 4-6. You can't beat that!!!
I plan on baking some homemade bread this weekend, too...never done that before and I am not a great baker, so we'll see how that turns out.
I have opened so many cans of tomatoes, beans, sauce, etc, that my arms got a great workout! I am proud of myself, excited to get the final tallies on the prices, and completely exhausted!!!
Monday, October 11, 2010
I've started an Oreo Cheesecake in the crockpot. I got the recipe from Stephanie O'Dea's A Year of Slow Cooking blog. I did not make the gluten free version and I didn't have heavy cream, so I used half and half. We'll see how it turns out! I've never done dessert in the crockpot.
For dinner tonight is an Old-Fashioned Beef Casserole, from a new cookbook I bought last week, The $7 A Meal Cookbook by Linda Larsen. It is simple...ground beef, rice, carrots, onions, cream of mushroom soup, and parmesan cheese. I'll probably top with a little casserole blend cheese, too, just because my kids tend to try new things with less prompting if they are covered in cheese. Or ranch dressing.
Audrey loves to clean the bathrooms, so I let her tackle that. I need to teach her to love laundry, too. That would be huge!
Left on my list:
- Fold and put away laundry. (Grrrrr...didn't I just do that????)
- Reading time with Audrey.
- Start The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey. I read it years ago...would like to do it again.
- Dollar General Store--- new hamper for my bedroom.
Short of laundry, I think I have tackled the most difficult and undesirable tasks.
On my master to-do list, I am still lacking in the exercise department. I promise, promise, promise to do better on that this week!!!Hope your Monday is marveous as well. I will leave you with this marvelous thought, my prayer for all of you who take the time to read my ramblings:
" But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." Psalm 5: 11
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Here's the "traditional" version, found in The United Methodist Hymnal, p. 881:
"I believe in God the Father Almighty
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord:
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit ,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen."
There are other variations of the creed, but all of them contain at least this much.
When I began to try to learn it and understand what it meant, my first point of confusion was that it said, "the holy catholic church." What? I thought I was a Methodist! A footnote in the hymnal indicated that catholic meant "universal," and in the song, they say, "one holy church." So, it just meant that all of us who believe these things are one body of believers. I was okay with that.
I am more than okay with all of it, actually. There is nothing in the creed that opposes what I had been taught all my life in Baptist, Pentecostal, Christian, and Methodist churches, and I really truly believe all of it.
But doesn't it leave some things out? Hmm...
What about all those things that people have argued over for centuries? The rules? You know...can women be preachers, do we sprinkle or dunk, and what on earth does the Book of Revelation mean anyway??? All those things that have divided believers for years and driven people away from God's love.
Now, I know, I know...the creed is a man-made thing. Early believers in the second century recited it as a confession at baptism, and it has evolved over time. It doesn't come from the Bible, chapter and verse. BUT, doesn't it describe everything a Christian is commanded to believe? Isn't it scripturally sound? Maybe, in its simplicity, it is enough.
I guess what I'm saying is this: It is important to know the essentials of what you believe. Know what is absolutely fundamental. Learn it and live it. Cling to it. Everything else? I'll stick with the words of Augustine that John Wesley liked to quote "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love."
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Here is how I'm doing:
1. Go to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. Not yet.
2. Try Zumba Not yet.
3. Cook every day! And freeze things too. YES!
4. Clean out all the closets and get rid of things that don't fit/aren't worn. Mine is done! Kids are done!
5. Get rid of 25 "things" that I don't want/like/need/use anymore. I've done more than 25, but I have lost count! One huge storage bin of books and magazines to half price books, removed one old item of clothing for every new one I purchased, and cleaned out the kids' downstairs toy bins. Much more to go! Today I did the toy room. WOW!
6. Cut out soda all together. None yesterday or today! Still doing without! Yay, I guess! I'd really like a big fountain Diet Coke about right now.
7. Blog everyday. Tried yesterday but couldn't log on. Two out of three days....not so bad! Does another update count?????
8. Read my Bible everyday. Yes, but not as much as I would like.
9. Deep clean every room. No deep cleaning, just decluttering at this point. Upstairs is CLEAN!!!
10. Take care of dental and doctor appointments I've been putting off. One down, several to go!Appointments have been made for my GI doctor, kids checkups, dentist for me, John, and Audrey...all next week.
I think this is good progress for four days of break. I've managed to sneak quite a bit of resting in there, too. Next week is a committed to some doctor/dental appointments and one-on-one time with Audrey. She's been at Mom and Dad's and is coming home tomorrow. I have missed her soooo much. She's such a fun kid!
I still have gobs of school work to do, and I guess I'll do that next week but I just haven't even had any interest in it so far. Oh, well...I have two more weeks left to get to it!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Here is how I'm doing:
1. Go to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. Not yet.
2. Try Zumba Not yet.
3. Cook every day! And freeze things too. YES!
4. Clean out all the closets and get rid of things that don't fit/aren't worn. Mine is done! Kids next!
5. Get rid of 25 "things" that I don't want/like/need/use anymore. I've done more than 25, but I have lost count! One huge storage bin of books and magazines to half price books, removed one old item of clothing for every new one I purchased, and cleaned out the kids' downstairs toy bins. Much more to go!
6. Cut out soda all together. None yesterday or today!
7. Blog everyday. Tried yesterday but couldn't log on. Two out of three days....not so bad!
8. Read my Bible everyday. Yes, but not as much as I would like.
9. Deep clean every room. No deep cleaning, just decluttering at this point.
10. Take care of dental and doctor appointments I've been putting off. One down, several to go!
All things considered, this is decent progress for three days of break. I need to remember to keep this break balanced...work some, play some, rest some! I need to celebrate the little things so that I am encouraged to accomplish the big ones.
One thing that I have tried to focus on is simplifying. Our family does not need all this "stuff." It doesn't make us happy. It smothers us. Our home would be so much happier if we didn't have so much unnecessary stuff to distract us. That's my priority right now...creating and maintaining a happy, healthy home.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Here is a list of the things I hope to accomplish over the break:
1. Go to the gym 3 to 4 times a week.
2. Try Zumba
3. Cook every day! And freeze things too.
4. Clean out all the closets and get rid of things that don't fit/aren't worn.
5. Get rid of 25 "things" that I don't want/like/need/use anymore.
6. Cut out soda all together.
7. Blog everyday.
8. Read my Bible everyday.
9. Deep clean every room.
10. Take care of dental and doctor appointments I've been putting off.
It is time to take care of my family and myself. I invest soooooo much energy in other people all week long during the school year, I feel that my family is neglected in the process. Now, during my three week at home retreat, I will tend to our needs and focus all of my efforts on making my home a happy, healthy, well-functioning place.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
We managed this through very careful budgeting and planning. We have eating out very little this month, which is HUGE for us. I really enjoy cooking if I have a plan, so it is working out for me.
The next step is to pay off debt using the "Debt Snowball" technique. We owe similar amounts on the van and our credit card. Our plan is to tackle the credit card since we are quite close to the end of our loan term on the van any way. According to our plan, we'll be finished with this step by March 2011!!! How exciting!!
Taking control of this situation has alleviated so much stress. I regret so much that we have owned this book for six or more years and never heeded the advice. We have wasted thousands of dollars and failed to be good stewards of our resources. I am glad that we are finally on the right track!!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
After the great flood, God promised “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. 22 As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night” (Genesis 8:21-22).
Thank God for the promise that the seasons will continue to change, for the assurance that we will experience the glory of spring's new flowers, the intensity of summer's sunshine, the beauty of fall's colors, and the cleansing snow of winter. Even if the seasons do not change on my timeline, I know that God's plan is so much greater!
Friday, September 17, 2010
This verse means a lot to me as a mother and as a Christian. Paul calls us God's "dearly loved children." If we think about our relationship with God as a parent-child relationship, then this makes perfect sense! As parents, we know that our children are seldom perfect, even though we've modeled the expectations we have for them. If you watch my kids in a restaurant, please know that I've never taught them to behave that way!!! Sometimes I wonder whose children these are because MY children would never act like animals. But, I keep correcting them, sometimes gently, other times with less patience, and slowly but surely, they change.
God demonstrated for us perfect love, grace, and mercy. We, his dearly loved children, continually mess up. We don't love others the way we should, we are selfish, we are mean. None of this is consistent with God's teaching. Our actions defy all of the goodness He wants to see us show. Whose children are we? Where on earth did we learn to behave in such a way? But, like a patient father, He keeps on loving us, forgiving us, correcting us, and giving it another go.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Philippians 2:1-2, New Living Translation
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Hope to see my Frankfort friends at First UMC tonight for Wonderful Wednesday!!! If you aren't in Frankfort, find a church to visit tonight. Have fellowship with other Christ-followers. Love one another, and work together with one mind and purpose: to know Him more!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
It is hard for me to write this morning. My heart is heavy with worries and my mind is feeling fuzzy from lack of focus. So, I turned to the Psalms. That's what I do when I get all bogged down. I love Third Day's song, "Your Love Oh Lord." It comes from Psalm 36. That's what I read this morning. Here's my favorite part:
"5 Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. 7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. 8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. 9 For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.
10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts.
11 Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. 12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again (New Living Translation)."
Even when I am feeling low, when I feel discouraged, when I feel persecuted, when I am afraid, I can cling to God's unfailing love. What a spectacular promise!!!
Monday, September 13, 2010
Most of my deep thoughts occur while I'm drying my hair in the mornings. Now, my hair is pretty short, so that doesn't leave a lot of time for deep thinking, so sometimes my ponderings don't get fully worked out. Also, it's really early (i.e. before coffee) when I'm doing this thinking, so sometimes it doesn't always make sense later. This morning, I was reflecting on the awesomeness that is the whole Kroger card coupon phenomenon, and it occurred to me that God's grace is kind of like coupons, but a whole lot better.
Coupons are awesome. You get to save money on things you were planning to buy anyway. However, they can be kind of tricky to use. You have to pay close attention. They expire, for one thing, so you have to use them while they are still good. They aren't universal, either. If you like Kraft dressing, but have a coupon for Hidden Valley Ranch, you have to decide if it is worth it to save money on a product you don't prefer. Some people don't even think they are worth the effort and time you spend in clipping, organizing, and planning for their use. Amazingly, some people don't even use coupons! Those folks think it makes you look cheap to use them. Mind blowing, I know.
I know by now, you are thinking, "Where is she going with this? It doesn't seem at all that coupons are anything like grace!" Bear with me!
If used correctly, coupons are essentially free money. You didn't have to do any work to earn that $1.00 taken off your grocery bill just for submitting a little slip of paper. That's one way coupons are like grace. It's free! You don't have to do anything to earn it. You just have to claim it!
Now, I also said I thought about how much better grace is than a coupon. For example, God's grace never expires. You never have to take a lesser kind of grace just because that's all that is offered. God's grace isn't limited to certain "brands" of sin because it is good for all of them!
Here is one final thought on this topic. I said there were some people who felt like coupons weren't worth their time, or they didn't want to use them because they didn't want to appear cheap. Hmm...can't you think of some people that don't really have time for God? They don't need Him or his grace because they like to think their works are sufficient to balance out their sins. Or, they don't want to appear weak by claiming redemption through God's grace.
Maybe that analogy worked for you, and maybe it didn't. The bottom line is this. If you were going through the checkout line at the grocery store and found that the person in front of you had already paid your bill, would you say, "No thanks, I really don't need your generosity." I think not!!! God is offering you a huge voucher to cover all of your sins. It is free of charge, and the value is immeasurable. All you have to do is claim it!
Want to know more? Read Romans 3:22-26.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
On September 11, 2001, after a long day at school watching an unprecedented tragedy unfold on TV and trying to help my sixth graders make some sense of the whole thing, I came home and pulled out my Bible. It literally fell open to Psalm 46. Today, I found where I had marked that passage with a big star. I studied that for a while. Here is the Contemporary English Version of that passage.
God Is Our Mighty Fortress
1God is our mighty fortress, always ready to help in times of trouble. 2And so, we won't be afraid! Let the earth tremble and the mountains tumble into the deepest sea. 3Let the ocean roar and foam, and its raging waves shake the mountains. 4A river and its streams bring joy to the city, which is the sacred home of God Most High. 5God is in that city, and it won't be shaken. He will help it at dawn. 6Nations rage! Kingdoms fall! But at the voice of God the earth itself melts. 7The LORD All-Powerful is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress. 8Come! See the fearsome things the LORD has done on earth. 9God brings wars to an end all over the world. He breaks the arrows, shatters the spears, and burns the shields. [a] 10Our God says, "Calm down, and learn that I am God! All nations on earth will honor me." 11The LORD All-Powerful is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress.
I remember reading it over and over. In the midst of fear and uncertainty, it provided me a much needed reminder of God's power. Verse 10 is one of my all time favorites. In the NIV, it says "Be still and know that I am God." The New King James Version italicizes "am" which makes it seem like God is reminding you who is in control, just in case you were wondering. The Message says, "Step out of the traffic!"
At the time, that really helped me calm my questioning heart. I didn't know why any of this was happening, and I sure didn't know what would happen next. I wanted answers I could give my students and myself; I wanted desperately to help heal the hurt. But I couldn't. All I could do was be still and know that God is God. He is All Powerful! He was in the midst of the devestation and heartbreak in New York City. He was present in Washington and Pennsylvania. And though these events were certainly not of God, He could still be our fortress. We would find comfort in Him if we sought it.
Nine years later, our nation is still healing from the events of that day. Families were destroyed, and many innocent lives were lost. We questioned, "Why?" How could God allow this to happen? I could never construct a coherent answer to why, but I could find peace in the midst of it all. It still helps me to think about the words of the psalmist. "God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1,NIV)." . He wants us to turn our hearts to Him. He yearns for relationship with us. He offers us peace and freedom. The Lord Almighty is with us!
Friday, September 10, 2010
If you know me very well, or if you've read my blog much, you are well aware of my inferiority complex. I'm so worried that I am NOT good enough, NOT smart enough, and that people aren't going to like me. My lack of self-confidence extends to nearly every aspect of my life...work, marriage, parenting, friendships, you name it...I know how very inadequate I am and one of my biggest worries is that I'll get caught. Someone is going to find out that I am not really as smart as they originally thought I was. I'm going to get busted for being not nearly good enough.
Feeling inferior is a huge stumbling block in my service to God. I worry that my Bible study lessons lack substance. The questions I'm asking aren't good enough, or they are too personal, or no one wants to talk about the topics I've chosen. I'm hesitant and apologetic and ineffective. I often doubt myself, and so I don't step up to the service that I feel called to do.
Today, when I was doing my morning devotions, my scripture was from the first chapter of 1Timothy. Inferior me was especially drawn to verse 12: "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him" (NLT).
Take that, inferiority complex! Jesus thinks I am qualified to do His work. In fact, he has created me to do just that. He has given me special gifts and talents to use in His service. Paul goes on to talk about what a terrible person he had been before he came to salvation, and how easily his past could have prevented him from serving God. Instead of looking at his failings as an excuse, he claimed God's mercy and grace and used his past as his primary qualification as a servant of Christ.
So, if Jesus has redeemed me and appointed ME to do His work, what do I have to feel inferior about? I'm good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, HE loves me!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Isaiah 58 (THE MESSAGE)
Your Prayers Won't Get Off the Ground
1-3 "Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what's wrong with their lives, face my family Jacob with their sins!
They're busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they're a nation of right-living people—
law-abiding, God-honoring. They ask me, 'What's the right thing to do?'
and love having me on their side. But they also complain, 'Why do we fast and you don't look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don't even notice?'
OUCH!!!!! I am afraid that I resemble that a little more than I would like. I am busy, busy, busy! And it's all good stuff I'm doing. I'm doing the right thing, serving in the church. But am I doing it for the right reasons? Am I doing it out of vanity, to preserve my reputation as a good Christian girl? Are my good works sincere, motivated by my love for God and His people? Or are they just the thing to do?
I have to examine myself, my deeds, my motivations. I have to pray and listen. If I read the passage right, I probably ought to fast. Ouch again!
But it wasn't all OUCH this morning. There was a defite AAHHH this morning, and here it is If I dedicate myself to knowing God, to loving Him, to being in relationship with Him, if I allow Him to guide my paths, and if I worship and serve him with a pure heart, here's what will happen (still from The Message, bold print still mine):
9-12"If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people's sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past."
I absolutely love that part!!! What better motivation to get my head in the game???
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Tonight, we are studying about finding contentment. Our song is "Satisfaction." The scripture we will study is Philippians 4:4-13. I have been thinking about those verses a LOT lately, especially in light of our quest for Financial Peace. I have actually been studying that scripture for a while. Here's one part that I especially like...
10I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
I don't really know what it is like to be in need. I know very well what it is like to be in want. In lust. In greed. In envy. But not need. I haven't yet learned the secret of being content,but I'm working on it. I am striving to find joy in the plenty that I have, and not yearn for things I want but certainly do not need.
I remember learning Philippians 4:13 when I was a little girl, and reciting it often when things got tough. I used it out of context, though. I clung to it when I had a test that was going to be hard, or when a friend hurt my feelings. I would spout it when I was going into a competition that I really wanted to win, or when I was facing what I deemed a "crisis" in my young life. I didn't really think of it the way Paul intended it. Jesus is not a safety net, a band-aid, or an emergency response team.
Christ is the source of all my strength.He is the very essence of my ability to do anything.
Let me remember that today and everyday. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. Through Him, all is possible.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Anyway, as you can tell, the WHY NOT challenge was a bust. Whatever...I'm not going to beat myself up about it.
Now, John and I are undertaking a new challenge together. We've decided to tighten up our finances using the Dave Ramsey method. We have his book, The Financial Peace Planner, and would like to take his Financial Peace University course, but that's not in the cards for the time being. Instead, we're following his advice on our own.
The first "baby step" is to establish a $1000 emergency fund. We were halfway there anyway, so we decided to aim for the end of the month to have this in place. This weekend, we counted our change...and found $115 in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Cha-ching! I had a stash of money from my dad ($100)...my fun money is how I regard it. Alas, it is not fair to squirrel it away for selfish purposes, so that goes in the bank, too. Add to that our YMCA membership ($66/month), my Sun Tan City membership ($20/month), our Sonic habit ($5-10 a week), and the bottomless pit of eating out, and you can probably see that we'll have NO trouble saving that money.
For two smart people, we sure have been awfully stupid with our money!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
The prompt, from Writing Fix: Where did they buy that clothing? Write about someone, real or fictional, who is either a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a sheep in wolf’s clothing.
Surprise, surprise...I departed from the prompt. Now, bear in mind I promised to write, not that I would crank out Nobel worthy stuff. But.....here it is!
Her carefully tailored designer suit accentuated her assets perfectly. After all the work she had put in to building a body like this, she relished the attention it earned her. She entered the bar during happy hour when she knew it would be crowded with important, attractive, and, of course, wealthy businessmen. The click of her heels commanded attention as she walked across the room and found a seat at the bar. She tucked her sleek brown hair behind her ear with a well manicured hand and quickly swept the room with her eyes, determined to see if she was being noticed. And, of course, she was. But instead of returning her admirer’s glance with a smoldering bat of her eye, she blanched. Her devotee wasn’t the attorney in Armani nursing a bourbon at the bar. Nor was it the bartender, who was too young and too poor for her tastes, but nonetheless mysterious and steamy hot . Instead, she had garnered the attention of the freckly-faced, four-eyed loser who worked as a teller at the bank across the street from her office.
She tried to look away before their eyes met, but it was too late. His gaze had been fixed on her since she entered the room, certainly long enough that he recognized even the slightest movement. She managed a weak grin, then looked away, fiddling with her bracelet. A teller, she thought, finding the notion abolutely apalling. Does he think that I’d give him a moment of my time? With a body like this, I can do better. Much better. She turned her attentions away from the teller and focused on the lawyer. Maybe she could will him to look at her.
The young man who had been studying her chuckled to himself and took a sip of his cocktail. That pretentious snob, he thought. She thought I was flirting with her. I wonder if anyone will tell her that her skirt is tucked into the back of her pantyhose?
Saturday, July 10, 2010
My first challenge is a little lame, but worthwhile nonetheless. This week, I challenge myself to write in response to a prompt every day, and then craft that writing into something blog-worthy. I plan to use the prompt generator at Writing Fix. However, if one of my readers has a suggestion for a prompt or a source for inspiration, I'll try my best!!!
So, in summary...expect one blog post daily (may have trouble posting from West Liberty, but I can defintely post from MSU) that is a somewhat processed piece of writing.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
When I started this blog, it was never my intention to drone on and on about the realities of my boring life. It really was intended to jump start my creativity, to get me writing again. It morphed into a summary of what I did today, which is a major no-no in my class. It seldom went beyond that. I longed to come up with some creative slant, like Julie Powell did with her Julia Child project. Still, the ideas weren't coming, and neither were my posts. I have been a very unfaithful blogger. And yet a few of you read my mindless drivel!
Anyway, here's my idea. It isn't original. I was actually reading an old issue of Self magazine (November 2009), and found an article by Ugly Betty's Becki Newton, where she spent a week doing things she had always wanted to do, but had not had the courage to try. It was her "Week of Why Nots."
That's what I'm going to do...sort of. I am going to undertake a weekly "Why Not?" challenge and document my progress on my blog. I have a list of some ideas, but I need some help from the few of you who are reading. I need ideas, I need encouragement. I need to know you are reading so I won't give up. I need accountability.
Here's a list of ideas that I've come up with so far. Remember, what ever it is, I will do it every day for a week....
- Eat a vegan diet
- Try a different exercise class each day
- Eat no processed foods
- Read a book each day (start to finish!!!)
- Go without make up (even to work!)
- Say only positive things
- Chronicle the week in pictures, not words
- Watch no TV
- No Facebook for a week
- Do something charitable every day
- Spend only cash-no plastic
- Cook every meal we eat
- Other things??? Spiritual, physical, intellectual, environmental???? I am open to ideas.
I am trying to figure out when to start on this and which challenge to take first. Next week, I will be attending an Advanced Placement institute and staying with my parents...so the food ideas will be out until after that. I don't know...give me your feed back!
The reality that I am struggling with most today is the fact that I have let my body deteriorate so badly. I am FAT. I mean, I've always, with the exception of my bout with Crohn's disease, been a chunky girl. But I was usually at least moderately in shape. I walked, swam, worked out...whatever. Now, I'm a big old tub of lard. I am disgusting. I have gained 50 pounds in the last year. Granted, I had lost 45 the year before due to the aforementioned Crohn's disease spell, but still...you would think that having a taste of thin would make me more apt to stay thin, not eat my way through four dress sizes, and counting.
I know the skinny people of the world probably think, big deal, go on a diet. And in my head, I know that . I've been a Weight Watcher, I know what to eat and how to change my behaviors to get the desired results. But I can think of ten thousand excuses to just keep going the direction I'm going. Effort, time, fear of failure, fear of success, love of food, you name it. I just keep fighting the same old demons, letting it get the best of me.
That's today's reality.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tomorrow, John and I are off on our anniversary trip. We'll visit the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Hopefully, the relaxing atmosphere and beautiful surroundings will inspire some sort of greatness in my writing.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The boys are, well, boys. Still working on the potty training. Sam threatened to kill his preschool teacher last week. He's having a rough time. Jack is swimming, more or less, and he is obsessed with Buzz Lightyear.
Tomorrow is my birthday. Hooray. Next week is our tenth wedding anniversary. It's hard for me to imagine that ten years have passed, but look at all we've accomplished. We've owned three homes, had three children, joined three churches (seriously, three must be a big deal for us...), survived a bad bout with Crohn's disease and subsequent colon surgery, advanced in our jobs, done some very minor traveling, and had a lot of very happy times. Hopefully, the best is still to come.
We're taking a quick weekend trip back to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC over the Fourth of July holiday. That's where we honeymooned...it is beautiful, relaxing, and has awesome food. Now, there's a spa that wasn't there ten years ago. I think we're both a LOT more stressed than we were back then, so the spa is a definite plus.
I've been reading, but don't have any reviews to publish...I finished PUSH by Sapphire (the novel on which the movie Precious was based), am in the midst of Reading Lolita in Tehran and Nickel and Dimed in America. Reading Lolita is kind of strenuous, so I alternate. I finished Adam and Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund and need to get a review ready for Kentucky Monthly. I might have read some more stuff in there, but I don't really remember...I'd have to look!
Well, I have one baby asleep, one who needs holding, and one who wants to watch a movie with me, and I've exhausted my fountain of updates for one night. Hopefully, I'll get some rest and come back from vacation ready to write some awesome stuff. Yeah, right!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
- I woke up totally pissed at John for something he did to me in a dream. Yes, in my subconcious. I guess it just seemed real.
- I went off on the technology director in our district because he got all snarky with me about when I can give his technology assessment. AS IF I CARE. I teach English, people. And, while my kids were in the library taking a test, he hooks up a TV for a video conference with some French kids, who are all laughing and babbling... and turned it all the way up. I lost it!!!!
- I sent a snarky, condescending reply to an e-mail sent to the entire staff from our Algebra I teacher. He is so full of himself. He sent this big diatribe about his end-of-course assessment and how imporantant it is and how we need to excuse his students from our classes to take it, blah, blah. Like my test and my content isn't important, you know? At the bottom he had this dumb quote that read, "Remember what we can still become not what we should have became." WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Grammatical error aside, it sounds like a deep thought from Jack Handy. I corrected his grammar. I never do things like that.
- I almost ate part of a Twix bar I dropped on the floor. I also cursed out loud in front of my students (not that they listen) when I dropped the candy bar, which, by the way, was purchased with money I pilfered from Audrey's change purse. I am a bad teacher and a bad mother. Sue me.
- I have screamed at various students for various reasons that really only normally merit an eye roll or condemning look. today, they get full-on scalding and teacher venom.
- If this kid sitting next to me asks me how to spell one more thing, I'm going after him, too.
On days like these, I should just be left alone in bed with my curtains drawn and a Lifetime movie marathon on television.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Loved 'em both. I especially enjoyed getting to know the narrators, both women in very strange situations, and I loved the fact that I couldn't predict the endings. Beautiful works!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
BTW... The caption I picked, "The Tale of the Magical Cracker." I can't wait to find a few minutes to write that!
Monday, April 5, 2010
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell....a memoir about the year-long attempt to cook and blog her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I liked it, I guess. I thought she used the f-word a little much. It didn't rock my world or anything, but it did make me think...where do people come up with these ideas?
Rainwater by Sandra Brown. I love me some Sandra Brown. You can usually count on some steamy scenes and lots of trash. Not in Rainwater. It was a tender tale about a depression-era single mom of an autistic child. No graphic sex. Not one single f-bomb that I recall. Whew. What a shocker! I loved it. Nothing revolutionary, but it was a good read.
Currently re-reading The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, both with my classes. Loving Mango Street! I'm planning to get in on The Magician's Apprentice by Ann Patchett soon. Oh, and I'm reading a book called The Second Oldest Profession: An Informal History of Moonshining in America by Jess Carr. For real.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
- Leisurely sipping a few cups of coffee in my bathrobe.
- A long lunch with one of my favorite people.
- A walk or other workout.
- Genealogy research.
- A nap.
- Some writing.
Hmm...where to start? So many choices, so little time.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Today, I am taking Audrey to the opthamologist and, of course, Target. We're getting geared up for a short family trip to the redneck mecca that is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We'll leave tomorrow after A's dentist appointment. The boys are so pumped up because the hotel has an indoor pool. That was really their main (only) criteria. As much as John hates Pigeon Forge-- he has serious post-traumatic stress induced by horrible family vacations from his childhood where he wanted to play putt-putt but all they did was shop-- it was his suggestion. I prefer to vacation in more urban environments. I was thinking Nashville or Indianapolis. In the end, we went with Pigeon Forge because Dollywood is opening this weekend.
So, readers, you'll be treated with new pictures soon. You know, the ones where everyone but me looks like they are having fun, and I just really look like I need a drink. Can't wait!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
- Stillborn male (prolapsed cord) 27 May 1916 (Never mentioned before)
- Denzil -12 Sept 1917 (I knew him. He died in 1992.)
- Lenville -12 Oct 1919- 11 April 1921 (This was while they were gone from Elliot County to Ohio. I had never heard him mentioned, but his birth/death was recorded in a family Bible. )
- Geneva- 19 June 1922 (Mamaw)
- Vernal -25 July 1924 (Stillborn, premature birth, never mentioned)
- Guy Wendell -8 July 1925 (He passed away a year or two ago.)
- Loretta- 6 Oct 1928 (My favorite great aunt...with a mouth like a sailor.)
- JB and Fred (TWINS...HELLO!!! Could someone have mentioned this sooner???) 8 Nov 1930. JB (aka Jasper, Jack, or Jacques) was Mom's favorite uncle. A seriously flamboyant fellow...passed away in 2002. Fred....who knows??? I just know he was born.
- Willard- 19 Oct 1932 (birth records)- 11 Nov 1935 (in the family Bible, but never mentioned)
- Stillborn male -30 March 1935 (never mentioned)
- Annette- May 1936
My mother has still not mentioned this to my grandmother, but we're hoping that she'll be able to talk a little about it. I had hoped to find the cemetery where the babies were buried according to the death records, but my father doubts that is possible. They had tried to find it in the past, but it was in a very rural area and had been over taken with weeds.
My dad shared an interesting story about his grandmother's death. He found her dead when he was five or six years old. They had all been to the garden to pick beans and when they returned, she was lying on the porch. She had been in the porch swing and had a heart attack.
I am just fascinated with all of this. I really want to find out more. I'm hoping to be able to locate more pictures and attach names to the faces. I think that will help me settle some of the stories brewing in my brain! In the meantime, here is a picture of my great-grandparents, Oscar and Ina.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
On my mother's maternal side, the Clevengers, there wasn't a whole lot of documented research. I began digging through online databases of birth, death, and census records. Those are pretty fascinating to examine. There were boxes you could check if someone was deaf, dumb, blind, idiot, or insane. The casualness of that language amazes me. We live in such a politically correct society that there are special terms for everything!
Anyway, I found record that indicate that my grandmother had several (at the very least four, possibly six or more!!!) brothers that were born but never reached adulthood. This is in addition to the six children that did survive. Some of these mystery siblings were stillborn, others died in childhood, others, I can't quite figure out. As close as I am to my grandmother, and as many "family history projects" I did with her growing up, I had never heard of these people. I talked with my mother about it, and she does recall the mention of one, and a family Bible she has shows a couple more, but there are still more to unravel.
This has really sparked something inside me. I am just fascinated by the idea that babies just sort of came and went. Now, I know this was the 1910's, 20's, and 30's, but still....it amazes me. They were home births, possibly with a midwife, or even unaided. I just want to know what happened. Were they ill? Was there some kind of birth defect? Prematurity? My mind swirls with the possibilities. And how did she, my great grandmother, Ina, feel about this? Did she mourn every baby or was she secretly relieved that there wasn't going to be another mouth to feed? I have some pictures of her, and she's such a stout, stern looking woman. My grandmother is still alive and probably can tell me some things, but her mental state isn't always stable. I want to seive through more pictures, visit the family home place and cemeteries this spring and investigate further. I feel like there's a story to tell...finally!
Monday, March 15, 2010
- Audrey puked on the way out the door this morning. I thought she was faking. John accused her of gagging herself. Turns out, she has strep. We're parents of the year.
- Spring break is coming soon. But not soon enough! We have to slog through the next four days before we are rewarded with the freedom of break.
- My plans for my first day of Spring Break---a colonoscopy. Beat that.
- I've embarked on a research project of my mother's family, the DeHarts. So far, I have learned some interesting things. We have Baptist ministers and moonshiners in the lineage. Woohoo! Details to come!
Monday, March 8, 2010
We were conversing about some people we know who have in essence, no real responsibilities. One had been to the chiropractor in the middle of the workday. One has a job that has no real positive impact on the world yet is paid a ridiculous amount of money. One has time in his/her life to workout, take long lunches, and a whole bunch of other stuff that might be a little too personal for me to share on this public forum.
"WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE DO ALL DAY? They have time to see a chiropractor, a therapist, go to the gym, tan, shop, freakin' eat LUNCH???? I go to work at 7 in the morning, leave at 5 in the evening, run home, fix dinner, clean it up, do the night time ritual, and fall into bed. I practically have to be on my deathbed before I go to a doctor, forget the chiropractor!!!!!"
John kind of looked at me funny. I guess I said it with a little more fire than I realized. Then, he high fived me. He's learning to just agree after ten years of similar outbursts.
Now, I'm really and truly not complaining about my life. I love it. Honest. But sometimes I wish I had a little more leisure time and a lot fewer demands on my time. I would love to linger over lunch rather than gulp down my Lean Cuisine in 20 minutes. I loathe doctor's appointments because they require me to ask the dragon lady for a sub, and then prepare for a sub only to come back to find that the sub did nothing I asked and left my room trashed. Last time I went to the chiropractor (umm...November???) I had to leave in the middle of my treatment to go pick up my kids. And the gym? Yes, I have driven past it. That's about it.
On the flip side, I started thinking about the reality of what I actually DO accomplish with my day. I read these magazine articles about women who come home after a long day at the office and work out for 120 minutes a day, then prepare yummy healthy meals that even their children enjoy. Others do fantastic volunteer work in their communities. Some work two jobs and raise these awesome children with fantastic values who go to Harvard. Some make homemade laundry detergent and granola and organic baby food and cloth diaper their children.
I feel like such a slacker. Such an impostor. I don't have enought time in my life to do anything more than work and shabbily tend to my children. Yet, what time I DO have I don't spend well. Sigh.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Jack and I explore around and find nothing, so back to the recliner I go. Audrey is freaking out because she can hear this terrible noise and she knows that a cat is IN THE HOUSE, which is not good, since she is terrified of anything bearing fur. I reassure her that there is no cat in the house, and then, all of a sudden, SOMETHING bangs up against the HVAC return vent. SOMETHING is in there.
"Okay, kids, grab your shoes and coats. We're going to the car," I pronounce bravely. My mind is not so calm. Holy cow! What the heck is in there? A skunk? A racoon? And where's John? Why won't he answer his phone?
My kids are absolutely silent in the car as we wait patiently for John to arrive home. He does, half an hour later. When he sees us bundled up and waiting in the van, I reveal that we have a critter somewhere in the duct work. He and I venture back in the house, John with a shovel in hand (?!?) and are greeted by a lovely aroma. At first, I think skunk. But, as I am able to tolerate it for more than ten seconds, I realize that it is not skunk. It is, in fact, cat pee.
The smell is overpowering. We don't know where this animal is, and we know that there is no way Audrey Gilbert will sleep in this house tonight. We pack up the essentials and head west to the Holiday Inn Express for a fun filled mini-vacation. The kids love it. I am stressed to the max and crabby beyond description. A Wal-Mart run to grab a few forgotten essentials soothes me somewhat, but still, I am thinking, "THIS is my life? For real?"
I can reflect on this now without losing my cool because the house smells okay again, a the cat was caught (and released), and the exterior vent he/she used to enter in has been sealed. All in all, it was just another typical day at the Gilbert house.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Here's what I've had and how I've felt about these products....
- A VitaTop... deep chocolate one, to be exact. HOLY COW THIS IS GOOD!!! You nuke it and it gets all gooey and melty like a brownie. Serious yumminess for a mere 100 calories.
- Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese with Special K Multigrain Crackers. Very tasty and filling. Calorie total: about 125 for a wedge of cheese and 17 crackers. I especially like the crackers (as does Sam!) because they are sweet and salty at the same time.
- 100 Calorie Packs of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. Tasty, but they are two smaller-than-traditional cookies. Good, but makes me wonder how many calories I would have consumed with the whole package of regular Milanos... cause I could totally wipe out a whole box, no problem!
- Jello Dark Chocolate Mousse. YUUUM. Even my kids like this. For 60 calories, it satisfies your chocolate cravings.
- Weight Watchers Smart Ones Veggie Pizza Minis. REALLY good...four of them make a yummy, filling lunch. The crust is a little round bagel like thing, but better than a bagel, as it is crispy and kind of buttery tasting. Anything that is buttery tasting is okay with me. Four mini pizzas equal 270 calories/5 points.
Yesterday was a good(ish) day, food wise, but I didn't exercise last night like I had planned. On the agenda for today, in terms of my new healthy living committment, is a workout with my new Biggest Loser for Wii. I haven't tried it yet, but have heard good things about it. I'm also planning to fix myself a toasted cheesy English muffin along with a salad, rather than the traditional buttery-gooey grilled cheese I'm fixing for the kiddos. I'll round that out with apple slices and fat-free, sugar-free chocolate pudding.
I'm really having to fight the stress today and not give in to temptation to grab something bad from the vending machine. I know that I am a stress eater. I am working on new strategies for that. Excerise is one. Writing is another. Avoiding the negativity pit would really help, and I've been working hard at that.
1. I went to the grocery store and bought a cart full of healthy stuff. No Doritos, Cheetos, or ice cream. All good things! I figure if I do resort to emotional eating, I'll only have good choices to make.
2. I made a plan for the week. I know, this is revolutionary.
3. I got up fifteen minutes early today to give myself some me time before I head out the door. See how I'm spending it??? I am going to hit the Wii Fit for a few minutes before I leave.
I've really been giving a lot of thought to what has gone wrong with me in the last little bit. I know that I am an emotional eater. It doesn't really matter what the emotion is, I can still find a way to engage in some sort of unhealthy eating to forge through. I'm a veteran of Weight Watchers. In my head, I know all of the good tips for combating emotional eating, but some how, I just choose to do the wrong thing instead.
After a lot of soul searching and riding the wave of the guilt trips I subject myself to, I've finally figured out that it isn't about the eating. It is about the emotions. I am letting my feelings rule me. Again, I KNOW better. I let myself get sucked into crankiness, anger, boredom, whatever. I become absorbed by these things. So, in light of my recent self-awareness and commitment to better living (sounds like a magazine, or something Oprah would say, right?), I am going to focus on getting my feelings under control. The eating will follow.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Today, I'm feeling very scattered and unsuccesful. My desk is a total mess. I have way old essays that need to be graded. Audrey has a kindergarten open house tomorrow night, and I think I was supposed to have turned in a form for her two weeks ago. I haven't exercised all week. I have eaten very, very bad things (yummy white chocolate raspberry scone this morning). I have two fun meetings this afternoon that make me slightly sick to my stomach when I think about them. My brain is buzzing and I'm not accomplishing much of anything, really. Hence, this rambly, pointless post.
Really, I need to stop now. The pizza is here!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
It just had to be done. Otherwise, they'll just go from Pullups to Depends. And, really, while women always want to try to change their men, they don't really want to "change" them, right? We are going with the tough love strategy.
In other news:
- I have given up candy for Lent. Now, candy means candy bars, lollipops, hard candy, Starburst, gummies, etc. IT DOES NOT include cookies, cake, brownies, or ice cream. I am not sure this really counts as a sacrifice, nor will it improve my ever expanding waist line, but still...
- Last night I finished I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson . I could relate on many levels. It's the saga of a working mom who struggles with balance. It was witty and honest. So many of the main character's observations were things I have thought about many times. However, there was this whole e-mail emotional affair angle that I just couldn't get into. She never succumbs to the physical tempation, but at the end, she says that is her one regret. REALLY? Not having a physical affair was the regret? I'm thinking she might have been better off regretting her involvement with him at all.
- I have a story brewing in my Writer's Notebook. Not sure how to approach it, as it is a mostly true story, not about me, and I don't want to reveal too much. But it is just too good to keep to myself! There are lots of approaches I could take, many voices that need to be heard, and different outcomes that could be explored. I have to find a way to tell this!