Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello World

When I was a little girl, I used to ask my mom to do things, "Kickly, Kickly."  You know, quickly, quickly.

And I decided the only way to jumpstart myself back into blogging was to do so kickly, kickly.

So, this is not a real post.  It's a quick one to say, hello, world.  I am still here!  And I've had blog posts in my head for the last month, but no free time to get to it.  Well, that's really not true.  I could have found five minutes here or there, but I never took it.

But I'm getting myself into some healthy habits (not New Years resolutions, because I've already been starting them), and I think semi-regular blogging needs to be one of them, because it helps me process. 

Here are a few of the healthy habits I'm working on:

1. Praying for my husband and our marriage (and other things) in my prayer journal daily.
2. Working out at the gym two times a week and getting on our home treadmill at least once more.
3. 5 minute maintenance at home each night to keep things in order.
4. Time and task prioritizing so I have more free time, or, at least, more meaningful time.

So that's it for my kickly, kickly post.

More to come soon.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Best Coffee Ever - And Company

You would have laughed at me if you'd just seen me, friends


I have spent the last 15 minutes trying to get a good photo of myself holding a cup of coffee, using my cell phone camera, which for some reason, has a fuzzy film on it I couldn't get off.  I then made it worse by scratching at it, although for a minute it did make it a little less fuzzy.... but that moment was short lived. 

Upon realizing that 15 minutes had gone by and I had no good pictures to show you, I decided it was so funny I'd just upload the ridiculous and fuzzy pictures I took.  And then I just realized that, because I had to get a new phone last week (my old one broke), I don't have this one set up to send my pictures to my email, and I don't have the converter that makes your small memory card fit into the memory card slot on the computer.

Sigh.

All I wanted to do was show you my favorite cup of coffee ever.  Wait, this is a blog, right?  And, while I know that a picture is worth a 1000 words, I should be able to paint you a word picture.....we'll, I'll try.


It's the season I wait for all year long.  It brings me joy, puts me in a good mood no matter what else is going on in my life, and, I think, is God's personal gift to me, Beth.  I love the decorations each year, the sweet and spicy aromas that waft my way, the warm, fuzzy feeling I get.

I am, of course, talking about the Gingerbread Latte season at Starbucks.  You knew that, right?

I kid you not.  With a Gingerbread Latte in hand, nothing can stop me.  I'm unflappable, un-phaseable, un-depressable.  I hoard (not an exaggeration) any gift cards given to me the rest of the year and never spend any money at Starbucks until sometime in November, when the signs switch from orange and brown with the words Pumpkin Spice to elaborate drawings of coffee cups topped with whipped cream and the words Holiday Favorites are written in golds and reds.  I then go through those gift cards at what might seem an excessive rate, but really isn't, as I know I want to make them last until the new year.

A student brought me my first Gingerbread Latte of the season the week they came out, not long ago.  In the middle of a meeting, I glanced up and saw out the window that she was standing there, latte in hand.  No words of explanation needed, I quickly and quietly left the room, thanked her profusely, and almost reverantly sipped my first delicious sip.  Contentment.

I've postponed writing about it, because I've wanted to find the perfect day and have the perfect photo to accompany my post, but today I decided that you, my friends, need to know that I am happy.

This morning I went in for a Venti (a big splurge - but it's the last day of school before Thanksgiving Break), and the card scanner would not read my giftcard.  She tried three times.  I offered to let her try another card. Instead, like an angel or a Christmas elf, she replied, "Oh, it's fine. Just enjoy."

The barista then read the label on the cup wrong and made a Creme Brulee Latte (cbl) instead of a Gingerbread Latte (gbl).  Taking an extra minute, she made me a new latte and put it in the cutest Christmas cup ever.

Whether it's the fact that it's Friday and it's the day before a break, the fact that the coffee was free, or the fact that she made it extra special, this Gingerbread Latte is without a doubt ...

... the best cup of coffee ever.

May your day be merry!


Disclaimer: I know I'm a little out of control.  Like me anyway.  I do think God gave me the Gingerbread Latte as a gift, but the season I love more than the GBL is, truly, Christmas.  More to come on that after Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

5 Minutes in Which I Catch Up

Days go by without my blogging, but that doesn't mean I haven't had things to say or created posts in my head.  I just haven't done it.

So tonight I'm going to put into practice a new practice - the "do it for at least 5 minutes" system - because hey, 5 minutes is better than no minutes.

Let's begin.  It's 9:08.

It's finally gotten cold, which makes me happy, and we have even had our first two snows.  I use the word snows sort of loosely, since neither one resulted in much snow on the ground or a two-hour delay (it's true, teachers love delays just like students).  The first storm was bigger than the last, and I do have some pictures to show (but I fear that would cut into my 5 minutes).  It brought a huge smile to my face - I LOVE snow.  The second snow, today's wasn't much of anything, but still, I LOVE snow.  Did I mention that yet?

I have a firm policy that Christmas decorations can't go up before Thanksgiving, but I do confess, I saw that the neighbor's have started putting theirs up, and I am feeling a little wishful that next week were already here.

School has been good, but nuts.  This week (and last) Student Council has been partnerning in a food drive with a local organization.  Tomorrow night we're having our first annual dodgeball tournament  - we have 15 teams signed up and hope to have a lot of spectators.  It's going to be crazy, but ridiculously fun.  We're also selling cotton candy tomorrow.  I have no idea how to make cotton candy, but we rented the machine.  Hopefully it works.

There has been some hard stuff for me recently, particularly pertaining to how I feel about church and some struggles I'm having with feeling alone, but that will have to wait until another post, because the clock has just struck 5 minutes.

It's 9:12. 

Stay tuned for another 5 minute post where I continue catching up.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Seasons

Perhaps one of nature's constants is the changing of the seasons. Each year spring blooms into summer, summer morphs into fall, fall withers into winter, winter melts into spring.  Of course, where I live, our seasons are often jumbled together - it might be winter and summer in the same week.  And, of course, we could then get into the argument about whether or not global warming is messing up the climate and destroying the seasons.... but that conversation would just irk me and ruin my blog post. 


"What's your favorite season?" people often ask. 

I love them all.  I did write a post on why I do love fall, and you can read it here, but truly, I love seasons.  I love the crispness and colors of fall, the spirit and snow of winter, the thawing and newness of spring, and the warmth and fun of summer.

And I love how, each year, they come, and they go.

People are always telling me that this stage of my life is just a season, and that the season will change.  I'm not sure I really believe them anymore. I mean, I do believe that the particular circumstances of the season will change, but the season itself?  I don't see an end in sight.

Busyness is my life.  Sure, you could say it's because I choose to do too many things.  Trust me, though, I have already cut some things out and still am runnning to an end nowhere in sight.

The next season (kids, perhaps?  No annoucement being made, just a logical thought) surely will not be any less busy.  I will still have my job, and I will still want to be a teacher who is invested in her students.  I can't spend every free minute of the day working, not engaging, just so I can go home "empty handed."  I don't think I want to quit Student Council, because I think it's something that, not only do I do well, but that I love.  I would lose one of my favorite parts of teaching if I let it go.  I won't get to be a stay-at-home-mom, not when my kids are little, and not when they are at school.  Instead of taking things out of my busy life, I'll be adding more.

I hear you now.  Kids are worth it, and it is different, because they're you're kids, and you love them, and it changes everything.  And while I don't totally get it, I get it a little.  I do want kids, and I'm ready-ish for that new type of busy season.

I just keep thinking that there isn't really an end in sight.  I'm looking, but I can't see a season where there is a little more time to do other things, to rest, to read, to go on hikes, to exercise.  Perhaps it was my naivety and wishful thinking that led me to believe that all these women who have gone before me and keep telling me that "it's just a season," meant that the season of busyness would change.  Perhaps they really just meant that the circumstances in the busyness will change.

I think I'm having a bit of a 28-year-old-crisis.  I love what I do, and I don't want to not do it, I just want there to be a little more time in the day or the week.  I want to not be behind all the time.  I want to not feel guilty when I blow off work and do something for me.  I want to be healthy. 

Enough.  Please hear me - I do love what I do, and the problem probably comes from the fact that I refuse to do these things less than the best I can.  If I could cut out grading, then I would be golden, but alas, that's a pretty major part of teaching.  The only other thing that could go would be time spent investing in kids, and I refuse to do that, too, because that is what I actually love about my job. 

So season, although you appear to be a very, very, very long one, bring it on.  Perhaps my seasons are all jumbled together, much like in the Colorado way, with a little bit of winter and spring and summer and fall all at once, and I just need to learn to look for the differences in each day, or week, or month, or year.

Well, here's to living the seasons, whatever they may be.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Day Off

Good morning!  Can you just wait a moment while I run to the kitchen and get my cup of coffee?  I turned the pot on about 20 minutes ago, but haven't gotten up yet to actually enjoy my morning beverage.  I'll be right back.

That's better.  I've got my favorite brew in hand - a homemade cup of Einstein's Hazelnut Coffee..... mmmmm delicious.  I've been drinking cup after cup of tea recentely (I have a nasty cough), but I just needed a cup of goodness this morning.

Today I have a day off. 

It's not like a day off, it is a day off. 

We worked parent-teacher conferences the last two nights, and since they can't pay us for it, we get the next day off.  Hence, no going to school for me today.  However, I apparently don't know how to take a day off.  I made my to-do list for this weekend, at least half of which I hope to accomplish today.... it includes grading all the work for my online class I got behind on when I was grading all the work for my IRL classes before PT conferences (I don't have any more abbreviations, or I'd throw them in just to be funny), grading workbooks, planning the next week of online curriculum and getting it uploaded, doing laundry and putting away the piles that are still out in the basket from last week, cleaning the living room, kitchen, dining room, birdcage, master bathroom, master bedroom, guestroom (and, in all that cleaning, hoping to freshen up the house from the "dog" smell we have now), walk the dog and walk the horse. 

But I'm also drinking my favorite coffee, wearing my favorite sweatpants.  And later, I'm going to spend the evening with some of my favorite friends at small group.  And walking the dog and horse (not simultaneously, of course), is fun for me and fun for them.  And I hope to see my parents and sister sometime this weekend.

And having the chance to stay home instead of go into work truly makes it, regardless of what I am doing here, a day off.

Love it.

Here are a few pictures I'm dying to show you!

A double rainbow (the top is very faint) we saw on our drive to Wyoming to see Husband's family.


The first leg of Grandma Harriett's retirement / birthday party - she's the one dressed like a prisoner.  The theme of the party was her parole, as she retired from working at the Wyoming State Penn.  It was quite a fun night - after this stage, the party continued with close family friends and their kids and kids' friends (all now in their 20s) talking, laughing, singing (oh yes, singing), and more.


Here's a picture of our little snuggle bug - she seriously loves to cuddle, although she still wants to play a lot of the time!  We decided to name her Ginger, but call her Ginny for short.


And I'm in love with fall (although it's a little warm again today) and wrote a post about it here, but wanted to show you my mantle.  I love it.  It's a little busy, I know, but it's beautiful to me.


Happy Friday!  May your day be like a day off, too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Has Arrived

I love fall.

Don't get me wrong - I also love summer, winter, and spring.  Each season claims something incredibly wonderful - winter brings snow days and Christmas and hot chocolate, spring brings flowers and newness and color, summer brings sunshine and outdoors and vacation. 

But fall, oh, I love fall.

Fall brings beautiful colors. 



When I first moved here, I missed the vibrant reds and oranges and yellows found in the fall colors of the East Coast.  I've learned that there is almost nothing more beautiful than a sea of dark evergreen and golden yellow as the aspen groves mingle among the pine trees.  And scrub oaks, while ordinarily nothing special, turn a brilliant red for a pop of sensational color every so often.

Fall brings crisper weather.

I do love sunshine and outdoors and summer fun, but after months of being hot, I love to put on a pair of jeans and a sweater.  To go outdoors and feel my cheeks get a little pink from the cold.  To go outside and watch a football game without being hot or cold, but just perfect.  And since this is truly the land of sunshine (sorry Florida, you're not really the sunshine state), crispness is usually accompanied by the sunshine, and it's lovely.

Fall brings muddy dirt roads and much needed moisture.

After a dry, almost rainless summer, you know fall has finally arrived when the clouds roll in one day, the fog is heavy, and finally, finally, the dusty roads out at my parents' house are no longer dusty, but even a little muddy.  When the grass has droplets of water and the air smells like rain. 

Fall brings special occasions.

Fall starts a series of my favorite occasions - college football games with family, high school football games where Husband and I cheer on the kids I spend so much time with.  My birthday comes towards the end of October - and while I'm not a huge birthday person, I still love celebrating the possibilities of what the next year may hold.  Thanksgiving, a family favorite, with good food, the Christmas tree, and the first watching of A Muppet Christmas Carol.  The holiday season, with decorations everywhere, goodwill towards others, time with friends and family, a respite from work, a chance to celebrate the best Gift ever.  And, of course, the arrival of the Gingerbread Latte, my personal gift from God.  (Seriously, if you know me at all, a Gingerbread Latte makes everything better.)

I love Fall.

And it has finally arrived. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stephanie's Ponytail

Have you ever read this story?
I hadn't, but my little sister read it to me the other day.  When I say little, I mean younger.  She's 22 years old and doing her student teaching this year.  She's just finished up a rotation in first grade, and it's been a really good experience for her, I think.

See, Sister went into this year pretty much freaking out about whether or not she was going to be able to be a teacher.  She wasn't sure she was grown up enough, or if she was brave enough, or if she could balance classroom management and good interaction with kids.  We of course, knew she could, but she needed to know herself.

So on Sunday I was at her house hanging out with her and saw "Stephanie's Ponytail" on the floor.  As it was a children's book I'd never read, I asked her if I could look at it.  Her response, "No..... But I'll read it to you!"  And so she took the book, sat on the floor "criss cross apple sauce" style (umm.... Indian style, from my days of elementary school) and read me the story.

And she was fantastic.  As she read it, she interjected little anecdotes about what had happened as she'd actually read it to the group of 1st graders - where they had laughed hysterically, when they clued in to the repetition of some of the lines and started saying them with her.  At one point, when even all the little boys in the story had ponytails "coming right out the top" of their heads, her little Haitian boy Djimmy grabbed the top of his head and said, "But I have no hair!" 

My point is this.  My sister is awesome, and, despite her own misgivings, is clearly going to be an incredible teacher.  Here's to you, future elementary-school teacher of the year.  You're the bestest.
Sister giving the best toast ever at our wedding a few years ago - already proving that she does a great job in front of a group of people.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's in a Name?

Apparently, quite a bit of thinking, debating, discarding.......

Meet the newest member of our family.  We just got her yesterday from the Humane Society, and are already quite in love with her.  She's a 7 month-ish old pitbull-beagle (peagle?!), super sweet, calm, and has already interacted with about 30 of my high school kids since we're in Homecoming week and we had to set up for our Luau last night.  (Then she went home with Husband before all the hundreds of students showed up.)



Anyway, we're struggling to find her name.  We've rejected bazillions.  Okay, that was a slight exagerration, but at least a dozen have been thought of and discarded.

Who do you think she looks like?

Today I'm linking up with Emily and others at Chatting at the Sky, for Tuesdays Unwrapped.  I'm celebrating the cutest little peagle in the world, who is currently asleep at home, waiting for me to get there and take her for a walk at lunchtime.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Picture This: Coffee Company 9/24

Picture this:

Who: 20 - 30 high school boys and girls, myself, and Husband

When: Tonight and Tomorrow

What: sleeping over in the school, playing Sardines, having a dance party, cooking breakfast, and working on pre-Homecoming decoration stuff. 

That's right, StuCo is having a lock-in tonight.  We'll get together here tonight, play a bunch of fun games, be silly, and eventually, go to sleep (boys in one room with Husband, girls in the other with me).  Tomorrow morning we'll get up and cook breakfast: pancakes, bacon, cereal, and fruit are on the menu.  Once we've cleaned up, we'll head to the cafeteria where we'll start painting, building, and doing other preparation tasks for next week's Homecoming Dance.  The more we do tomorrow, the less we do next Saturday, when we're here again (minus the sleepover).

Wish us luck!  (Especially Husband - this is his first lock -in. :)

And, for those of you who had trouble "picturing this," I will try to get some real pictures today and tomorrow and share them with you all next week!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Coffee Company 9/17

Hi Company Girls!

I was thinking of writing a new post for today, but I decided I really just wanted you to read what I wrote yesterday.  Last time I wrote about all the plates I have spinning, and was relatively stressed.  The last few weeks I haven't had time to blog, but came to a realization yesterday, and want you to hear about it.

"I haven't much time to blog these days, it seems, even though blogging is quite therapeutic and, often, gives me perspective. It opens my eyes to my life, to the world, to God. It even often brings me clarity and furthers my relationship with the One.


Yet, just like my paper-and-pen journal, my blog-well dries up in times of busyness or avoidance or stress....."

Click here for the rest of the story, and to see a gorgeous photo that Husband took.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Ink-Well

I haven't much time to blog these days, it seems, even though blogging is quite therapeutic and, often, gives me perspective.  It opens my eyes to my life, to the world, to God.  It even often brings me clarity and furthers my relationship with the One.

Yet, just like my paper-and-pen journal, my blog-well dries up in times of busyness or avoidance or stress.  I've been doing a really neat challenge with my friend Carly, called 24-in-24, where several women are striving to spend an hour a day with our Lord for 24 days.  I knew that an hour a day wasn't going to happen, but as she wrote us the other day, it's our heart and our pursuit that matters.  "God isn't concerned with our perfection as much as our pursuit," she said.  And so I have, although not nearly for an hour, been spending time with Him, reading, praying, writing, for some time each day.  Yet I find that I'm a little stiffled, dry, and, to be honest, not connected like I'm hoping to be. 

I have always known that when my figurative ink-well is dry, often so is my spirit.  It runs low because of stress, or busyness, or disappointment, or hardship.  Yet I am convinced that, if I push through the dryness, with the help of my Maker and of my people, the other side will be quite beautiful.  And so, I'm back to blog, although I don't really have the time, nor anything much worth writing about, nor anyone who really reads me. 

I'm back to blog (as I continue my efforts to do 24-in-24 in my journal and here), because I know that the dryness will not continue as I continue my pursuit of the One.

And when the dryness is gone, this is what will be found.

Photo taken by Husband in Rocky Mountain National Park

Friday, August 27, 2010

Coffee Company 8/27: Spinning Plates

Catching up today with my Company Girls.  I've missed you!
I know that if you've read me at all (or if you know me IRL), you know I'm always busy.  In fact, I don't even really like to say the word busy, because it's kind of lost it's meaning.  Saying I'm super busy right now is almost meaningless.  But regardless, I'm...

...Pretty sure this is me.


Okay, not really, but it's a pretty good analogy of how I'm feeling.

The new school year has begun (we're at the end of the 2nd week), and while I have not yet dropped a plate (that I know of), they are spinning fast and I'm working hard to keep them in the air.

What, you ask, are my plates, this year?

1. My three in-person Spanish 2 classes and my one in-person Spanish 3 class.  Planning, grading, interacting.

2. My one online Spanish 2 class. Planning, creating content from scratch each week (audio, video, assignments, lessons, etc.).  Grading, interacting.  Yes, we do have to have interactions even with online school - I have a "Class Live" session each week where we all simultaneously log in and video, audio, or text chat and I explain things through a "whiteboard" we can all see.  And we email A LOT.

3. My one don't-get-paid-for-it-but-still-have-to-plan-it-and-grade-it Independent Study Spanish 4 class with three students.  Never have taught Spanish 4, so I'm creating that curriculum as I go, and they come in during my planning period every other day for a real class.

4. My Student Council class, which involves planning of leadership lessons and activities, getting ready for our big leadership retreat next weekend, and, of course, coordinating and attending the events we put on at the school and help at.  I used to have a co-sponsor, and we did all the work together, but this year I'm on my own.  It's going great, by the way - I love the kids - but it is a lot to think of.

5. Youth group sponsor.  I had taken a year and a half off to do grad school, but got sucked back in when our youth pastor starting doing small groups, which I really resonate with.  That means Sunday nights, when I would love to just rest and gear up for the next week, I go to church and interact.

6. Club sponsor for a group called Friends of Rachel, planning and attending meetings.

7. Needing to keep my house in some sort of order.

8. Would love to find time to be healthy, exercise, cook.  (see my post at http://www.theskinnybs.blogspot.com/) to know read my failure at this.

9. Need to spend time with my family, as my parents are dealing with some really hard stuff.

10. Still taking care of my horse after he had impaled himself in May - it's going better, but he needs to be walked at least every other day.

11. Being in a small group where we're reading Francis Chan's "The Forgotten God" and doing life together.

12. Discipling two high school students from church, separately.

13. Spending time with the students I've had in previous years who hang out in my room at lunch and during all breaks because they need me and love me.

14. Oh, and it might be nice to see my husband once in a while.

I'm hoping that once I get into a better routine, I will find a little balance..... but for now....

Here's to not dropping any plates!

What is on your plate in this season? 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Love - Hate

Rarely do I entertain a love-hate relationship with anything - I'm more of a one-way-or-the-other kind of a gal (and I'm hard pressed to think of many things I hate...... it's more like I just feel strongly about them).

But today I recognized one significant love-hate relationship in my life.

I love-hate the first day of school.

I love it, you see, because after the summer, I'm ready to start teaching again.  I love teaching.  I love the first day because I see a lot of my super-cool high schoolers as they come up and are excited to see me, no matter whether or not they love Spanish.  I love it because soon, we'll get into the groove and really have a class-bond and be having fun while learning.

I hate it, you know, because on the first day kids stare at each other and you with this sort of dead-still tired from summer-I don't really like school look.  There is this weird silence and awkwardness accompanied by some sneaky whispers of the few people who know each other.  And I hate it when you don't know any of your students, because then the rapport isn't there and they aren't quite ready to embrace my kooky-ness just yet.... and all of my classes are new-to-me-students this year.

But I love it, because tomorrow we'll jump into things.  We'll start to get to know each other and laugh and be silly and be serious and work and play.  It'll be good. 

Oh, and I hate how exhausting the first day is!  Whew, I'm tired.  Thank the Lord for a comfy bed and hopefully a good night of sleep tonight.

What do you love-hate

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Getting Going

I keep thinking today is Monday... I guess that's because my schedule has been all screwed up. Last week I went to our state Student Council camp, which was four intense, jam-packed, emotionally charged, laughter and tear-filled awesome days.  They were so packed, though, that each day felt like at least two days.  I felt like I was at camp for at least 7 or 8 days, then.  Saturday, then, my sister and I went up to a huge music festival called Heavenfest (nearly 100 bands, outdoors, noon to midnight).  Fun, but not a normal schedule thing.  And then yesterday, the real Monday, I went to a water park with our junior high and high school youth groups, spending the day riding the attractions and lounging along the lazy river.

So today feels like Monday.  But it's an okay Monday, I think.

I do have two meetings at school this week, but my main focus is going to be getting my house ready for the school year, because if I start out with it in disarray or dirty, it will be a bad thing.  I mean, a bad thing.  So rather than consider how bad, I'm going to get to cleaning and organzing.  Not in that order, probably.  I've made a list - which rooms I'll do which days - so I just need to get off the blog and go get started.

But first, this week I also want to jump start the other parts of my schedule that are super important - time with my Maker, and time getting exercise.  If I don't start those off on the right foot, it will be hard to get started later.  All summer I've thought, "surely I can get those things under control since I have more flexibility in my life during the summer"- but I guess I do better with some structure in my schedule, because I haven't gotten them figured out yet.

So here's to a schedule this week - may I stick to it and start with a happy house (which makes me happy and sane) and healthy habits.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kind of Irked

Okay, so, yesterday this thing popped up on my blog that said my background, from Cutest Blog on the Block, would be disappearing today.

And it did.

And I'm a little irked.  (in my book, irked is somewhere between annoyed and mad)

Because I'd spent a while coordinating things to go with that background, and thought it looked "me"-ish.  Not too girly, not too boring, not too busy. 

And now it's gone.

And I don't really want to go back to a place that's going to delete my background somtime soon, so......

Any thoughts on what I should do next? 

(I had thought it might be nice to get someone to actually design my blog for me, but that would require money, which doesn't seem like a frugal buy at the moment.)

Any opinions would be appreciated.

Coffee Company: July 23rd

Linking up with the Coffee Company girls today - haven't had too much of a chance to check in, but excited to do so today.


Teachers get summers off, right?  We're supposedly footloose and fancy-free for three months, with not a thing to do on our to-do list. 

(insert dry laugh here.)  Right.

Only recently have I been able to find time to blog again, but if you want to read about what I did in the months of June and the beginning of July, check this post out.

This last week I have, though, been a little more "free."  I have had the opportunity to do a little organizing, get back on the get-fit wagon, work on some much needed stuff for Student Council this year, and even spend some much needed time with Husband. 

This morning, although I have quite a bit of preparation to do for next week (I'll tell you about that in just a minute), I decided to have one of those mornings.

You know the kind I mean.

I am in my comfy new Aeropostale sweats (because hallelujah it got cool enough in my house overnight to actually wear pants, instead of shorts), drinking an incredibly tasty cup of coffee that Husband brewed before he headed off to work this morning, watching a television show or two, and, of course, blogging.

By the way, this mug is th best mug ever.  No, it's not cute, but it's seriously the best mug I have ever had a cup of coffee in, and if you know me at all, you know that is a lot of mugs. 


The rest of the day and weekend?  Well, I need to run into school to get some supplies and then to a few stores to do a bit of shopping.  Tomorrow I'll go to Husband's softball games, to a friends big 4-0 bash, to celebrate my grandpa's 95th birthday, and then home to pack for a week trip to our state Student Council camp.

There I will be the counselor for 27 super-spirited StuCo kids (of the 800 attending), all from different schools around the state.  It will be five days of early to rise, late to bed, talking, laughing, crying, playing, leadership activities, non-stop interaction, no alone time, fall into bed asleep until the alarm goes off, beautiful, wonderful growth, and I am looking forward to it.

Check back in with you next week, I hope!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Good and the Bad


Head over to The Skinny Bs to read about today's effort towards being a healthier person.

And please excuse how terribly pale my legs are.  If you could see my feet, you'd see that there is, in fact, a flip flop tan line..... it's just that I was super pale to begin with.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Going Back to my Roots (Sort of)

There's a little country in me, you see. 

I mean, I'm not a wear-Wranglers-and-big-buckles-and-a-hat all the time kind of a country girl, but I tell you, as much as my heart is a little bit Hispanic, it's also a little bit country.  I went to a horse-back riding camp in 8th grade and then got hooked.  Started taking lessons, bought a hourse, and then began working at a ranch, first just grooming and saddling and blanketing horses and then learning how to train them.  Recently I've been working on becoming a vet, too.  (Not really, but read number 7 on this list to find out why.) 

And in high school I started listening to country music on my way to work because they played more music and did less talking, and I can't stand morning shows with lots of talking.  So it was natural that, in college, when a friend invited me to go country dancing at The Sundance in Fort Collins, CO, I was completely and totally in.  I already knew a bunch of line dances from a local place we went at home, but at the Sundance I learned lots more- and got into the two-step and a whole lot of country swing.  We loved it.  We loved it so much that, one night, when it was so crowded that we couldn't get in, we went to a friend's house, moved all the furniture, and danced in the living room.  And then I graduated and came home, and haven't been country dancing for years.

Until Saturday night.

Saturday my aunt, uncle, mom, dad, sister, husband, and I all went to the rodeo, which was quite fun.  On our way out, we passed by a big tent with a live band, a bar, and of course, a dance floor.  Oooooh I wanted to go dancing so much, but I didn't want to drag anyone else with me.  We made it all the way back to the truck and even started to drive away before I hollered, "I think we really should go dancing!"  So Husband and Sister and I pulled back over, hopped out, and went dancing. 


And it was a ton of fun, and reminded me that I should find time to go more often.

Because once you're a little bit country, you're always a little bit country.

After dancing and back in the truck, tired, happy, and showing off some hat hair.


Linking up with Tuesdays Unwrapped today as I relish old and new memories.  Head over there to check out what others are unwrapping.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Finding Joy

Husband got in at 3:45 this morning from working an overnight, and I was awake.  I was awake because I had been tossing and turning all night because our room would just not cool down and I was too hot.  This morning I woke up and began thinking about all the things I didn't do in the last few weeks because I was so busy preparing for the LIFE Conference.  There was a bill I forgot to pay.  Husband's phone stopped working and of course, we don't have insurance on it and our opportunity to get it ran out two days ago, so we'd have to pay out of pocket for whatever is wrong.  There's a whole bunch of stuff we have to do about the new-to-us truck we just bought, like check it out with a mechanic, which costs money, and see if we can refinance it through a different company for a better deal.  The house is still a disaster.  We owe a lot of money to my parents.  I didn't have time to put any of our Student Council events on the calendar for the year, and I haven't gotten us a place for our first fall retreat, which will be next to impossible now.  The list goes on and on.

But then I remembered two things. 

First, this year God has been challenging me to find joy in all things, to choose to be positive, to change my attitude. 

Second, what I'm freaking out about all has to do with time and money, and my money and time were given to me by God in the first place.  They aren't even really mine.

Let me re-tell you about my morning.

Husband got home at 3:45 this morning, which was two hours earlier than we expected, so he was able to get a few more hours of sleep.  I was awake, which meant I could ask him how his night went- it's always nice to come home to a spouse who wants to talk to you.  It's hot, but it's not humid like it was in Kentucky, and it was much cooler downstairs than in our bedroom, so at least there is a cooler place for me to go.  I checked our checking account, and there is more than enough money to pay the bill I forgot to pay.  My mom has an old phone that still works perfectly that, if we can't get Sprint to help us out on fixing Husband's phone, we can switch his number to it for free.  We have a wonderful truck that will meet our needs and also are able to pay for the mechanic to check it out.  I have a pretty free week, so I can work on cleaning up my house.  I have a house I love.  My parents were able to help us pay for the horse's medical needs and are being generous in our repayment plan.  There is still time to put StuCo events in the calendar, we just may have to be more flexible.  But flexibility is good to learn.  And if I can't find a place for our StuCo retreat, we'll have a lock-in at the school. 

Much better.  It's not my time and it's not my money, and when I choose to remember that and to change my attitude, joy abounds.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gotta Start Somewhere

Well, it's true, isn't it? You have to start somewhere.

And my somewhere (here it is, folks, are you ready?) is a not-so-lovely 140 pounds. I mean, it's kind of a big deal to post that, right? I get it, I'm tall-ish, so it's not that bad. The trainer at the gym when I had a free session told me I'm still in the recommended range for percent body fat, but that I'm on the high end of it, and he recommended I lose about 8 pounds of fat. No big deal, right? (Ha!) I completely know I'm not fat, and I'm not really even overweight, but that's not the point of the Skinny B's, at least not for me......

Wanna read the rest of the post or know more about my journey towards being a healthier person?  Head on over to the Skinny B's, a blog my friend Brooke and I created to help motivate ourselves and keep each other accountable towards a healthier lifestyle.

10 Reasons Why I've Been Missing

Linking up this morning with Tuesdays Unwrapped

Today I'm thankful for the gift of a full life, and of the chance to re-connect with friends.

Since my "arrival" into bloggie world last year, I started seeing experiences and things with bloggie vision, you know?  (Oh, I could tell this funny story from work today....That sunrise is incredible....It's weird how they have no-smoking signs all over the place in airplane bathrooms but also have an ashtray.....That sermon or passage really spoke to me....I've re-decorated my kitchen....You know what I mean, bloggie vision.)  Many days go by where I think of at least one thing I could blog about.

Why then, have I been absent for so long, and this time unintentionally?  Well, read on for my top ten reasons.... and catch up with me in the process!

10. The day after my school year ended for the summer, my best friend from college, Brooke, flew up from Texas for a two-week visit.  Her hubby was gone TDY and she had nothing else to do, so she came up.  I set up our guest room in the basement (we got a new mattress for our bedroom and had quite the experience getting the old one and box spring downstairs) and put all sorts of cute little toiletries in the guest bathroom.  She helped me do some of my after-the-chaos-of-the-school-year organization.  We ate good food (a lot of good food), some that we cooked, some that we bought.  We hiked, we went out for exercise.  We spent a lot of time laughing and talking and crying and praying and just being good friends.


9. My house has been a disaster.  The kitchen and dining room are now 99% put back together with just a few things left to do, but wow, have you ever noticed that when one thing is in disarray, everything else goes to pieces, too?  Our house has been disorganized and filthy for a while, so bit by bit, I have been working on cleaning and organizing and putting back and cleaning again.  That's on today's agenda, too.

8. VBX.  Vacation Bible Experience, formerly known as Vacation Bible School.  Many of us were accidentally saying VBS and then tacking the X on the end..... which became a running joke as you have to be careful when you say that.... Anyway, I spent a week leading games at our church's VBX, which was fantastic.  The weather was good, the kids were good, and we had a blast.  God did a lot of cool things, from what I hear, and we had some really great activities and stations and lessons the kids experienced.  Of course, I missed most of the "Jesus stuff" because I was outside running around and playing with water, obstacle courses, and parachutes!

7. Cowboy, my 28-year old horse, sort of controls my life.  A little over a month ago he impaled himself on a fence post, right through his flank. He spent the last two weeks of the school year at the vet clinic, and then came home for us to take care of.  Every day we have to stick a hose down into the wound and let it flush out and then put some medicine on it, and then take him for a walk.  The vet told us the other day that basically, if he survives (he still is at risk for infection until it completely closes up), it will be the worst injury he has ever seen a horse live through.  It's kind of a big deal.... we were out at a big farm and feed supply store a few weeks ago getting some stuff and one of the sales people there was telling me about this horse that had impaled himself on a fence post.... yup, one and the same.  Word travels fast.  Anyway, it's a miracle he's doing well, but it's pretty time consuming.

6.  Yesterday we bought a truck for Husband. It's pretty awesome..... but I can't show a picture right now because he drove it to work and I am at home.  We've been researching and praying about it and doing some price comparing.  We went out on a whim yesterday just to start getting a better idea of what was out there, and ended up getting a 2008 Dodge Ram that only had 32,000 miles on it (John's CR-V had 98,000) and will be paying the same monthly payment we already had.  It's black with a crew cab (gotta have that in case we ever have some kiddos), some sort of bed liner he was all excited about, and all the room for his tools he could ever want.  AND they gave us more money for our trade than we thought they would- in fact, they gave it to us for the price we were planning on selling it ourselves, as we expected dealers would rip us off.  Yeay!

5. I've been reading a lot.  Reading has always been therapeutic for me.  I've read several fun novels from the library and am currently reading Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerich, because God really convicted me a few weeks ago about needing to respect my husband more.  It's been really good and has been changing my heart.... more on this later.

4. I've been spending time outdoors whenever I can.  As a school teacher, I feel like I am inside from August to May from dark to dark.   I've gone running and hiking, walked places I normally would drive, watched softball, and just sat outside.  I suppose I could blog while I'm just sitting outside, but really, I'm not interested in lugging my hot computer out on a hot day.

3. I've been drinking coffee.  Lots of coffee.  This morning I'm drinking a fantastic homemade cup of coffee (I haven't had good coffee in a week, see reason number 1) while I blog.  My mom and I have re-discovered that we love McDonald's Iced Hazelnut Coffee.... it's sooooooo good.  I'd take it over a Starbucks Iced Latte any day, and it's cheaper!  I've met several friends for coffee and sat and talked for hours.  Getting to enjoy coffee is on of my favorite things in life.

2. I've been working on getting fit.  I'm not doing great, but I have been more regular about getting some exercise and eating better for the last few weeks.  Husband and I are all motivated to really take charge in this area- we realize that it's a big part of how we feel about ourselves and that it's connected with how we are doing spiritually, too.  And, at LIFE (see reason 1), Husband got called old a few times and felt out of shape and I was with some super cute just-over-30 moms who inspired me..... so we're determined that when we hit 30, we'll be in good shape, too.

1. This last week we were in Kentucky at a big youth conference called LIFE.  Every three years our denomination (the Christian and Missionary Alliance) hosts this huge conference for teens.  For the last three ('04, '07, '10), Husband has gone as a youth sponsor with our youth group and I have gone to work with the VIPs as a sort of VIP Coordinator/Hospitality Person/Run-Around-a-Lot-er.  For the last three months, I've been in contact with our VIPs (speakers, musicians, magicians, comedians, missionaries) and taken care of details like hotels, transportation, itineraries, merchandise sales, and more.  This last week I did everything I could to make their lives easier, answered questions, took them around, and basically tried to serve them as they served the 6500 students attending.  It was exhausting.... five hours of sleep a night, non-stop walking and running around, but it was wonderful.  I got to work with, spend time with, and be blessed by people like Francis Chan, Derwin Gray, James Grout, the Logan Martin Band, Corban, Carlos Oscar, John Michael Hinton, Danny Ray, Trace Bundy and his super fun wife Becca, Proxy, David Thompson, Julia and Dusty Reynolds, Hawk Nelson, Kutless, Bradley Hathaway, and more.  Now, I know you know some of those people, and others you've never heard of, but they were all incredible and if you ever get the chance to hear them or see them or meet them, take it!  (And if you want to know who the "unknown" ones are, I'll be happy to tell you.)  

The best thing about LIFE was that God truly showed up.  Everyone's life was changed in some way, every heart was touched.  It was such a privilege to be there, although it was a lot of work getting ready for it and I have literally never been so tired at the end of a week.... which says a lot, for me.

Anyway, hopefully this post marks my more-frequent return to blogland, and I can't wait to start catching up with you all, too.  Truly, I am so thankful for a full life, because despite the tiredness, I know that I am living and being blessed.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Visit

Tonight I'm sitting on the couch next one of my most favorite-ist people in the world ever, my friend Brooke. She and her hubby live in Texas, where Matt is a Instructor Pilot in the Air Force, but he had to go to Alabama for a month for some training, leaving her in a little town that, although she's grown to deal with, she does not love. Of course, the upside to the situation is that it gave her the perfect excuse to come spend almost two weeks here!

Brooke and I on a hike last summer (okay, I lied- we did go on two hikes - one at Garden of the Gods and one to Helen Hunt Falls- but this picture is just of us in my parents' back"yard").

Brooke and I met as RAs in college and just clicked- but unfortunately, I was a senior when we met, so we only got one year of live-in-the-same-place friendship. (Which, she adds as she reads over my shoulder, was wonderful.) Still, we've been decently intentional about seeing each other at least once a year. Usually she comes here because she loves it (although this visit we're having abnormally hot weather) and we can go hiking and be outdoors and see mountains and whatnot.

Anyway, my point is that I am super excited and blessed to get to spend some time with Brooke. We've already gone a good walk, had a couple of delicious meals, laughed a lot, and had some thought-provoking conversations. Today she even helped me reorganize some of the chaos that has been my house (isn't that real friendship?!?).

We've also started a little blog together to chronicle our journey towards becoming healthier people (both physically and spiritually), so feel free to visit at The Skinny Bs - although our design is still in progress, so don't judge. :) I think our goal is mainly to write so we can keep each other accountable and laugh a lot, but you can join in too, if you want.

Well, I suppose it's about time for us to make some brownies- but don't worry - we're making No Pudge Fudge Brownies with fat free yogurt, so we're not breaking our healthier life pact already.

May your summer start off as well as mine has so far (today was my first day!), and may you also have the gift of a lifelong friend who, as Brooke and I say, is for the reals.

P.S. I still want to blog about that really great Psalm I read - I promise it will come soon!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The One Where I Catch Up

Chiming in at the end of the coffee day- but in my book, it's always time for coffee. (Although, right now, I'm actually drinking a nice cold white grape peach and seltzer combo. Delicious and super refreshing!

Anyway, this will be the post where I catch up - it's been a few weeks at least since I've joined you. The end of the school year is always busy, but this one has seemed to be particularly so, making it hard to find time to catch my breath (or blog).

First, do you remember this post, where I told you how Husband and I were going to start a facelift on our kitchen? Or this one, where I showed you some of our progress? (Click on the post to read more about it and see more pictures.)
Or do you recall when the sink leaked under the floor and our kitchen remodel went to a new level, leaving us without a kitchen for over a month? And when the cabinets were in the living room, living us with no space anywhere?

Well, we're nearly done! We've got cabinets, countertops (new! so pretty!), a gorgeous sink, and wood-like floors! All that's left are the details- toe kicks, a few more pulls, etc. Yeay. We added a little extra counter and got a couple bar stools..... I'm in heaven, truly.
Oh, I just looked at the clock, and I really wanted to share a beautiful Psalm I read this morning and how inspired it was, but I have to go get a loaf of yummy crusty bread and take it to my sassy friend Carly's house for a girls' night in dinner. If you feel curious, check back in with me tomorrow and I'll tell you about this inspiring Psalm.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

An Aside

There's something to be said for your house being in order and your mental sanity. Despite pure busyness, the fact that my house is starting to be put back is making me feel a little like I'm already on vacation, even though I'm not.

There's something to be said for leaving your house during daylight hours in the morning and your mental sanity. You can see the leaves budding and blooming on the trees when you drive by, making it again, almost feel like summer vacation, even though it's not.

And there's something to be said for the huge stack of final exams and projects piling up on my desk today (and the next few days), because although I have to grade them first, summer is, in fact, just around the corner.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Receiving

Every other Friday night, Husband and I get together with some of the coolest people from our church to have small group.

It's been interesting for me- I have had issues about whether or not I actualy feel connected and if I truly have a place to belong. I've often felt cared about, but still felt as if something were missing. Most likely it was me being issue-full, but it's how I felt.

The last few months, though, things have started to change, and I've either begun to get over myself or the group dynamic has changed.... or most likely, a bit of both. We've finished telling our personal stories and have now moved into a time of sharing what God is doing in our lives.

This past Friday my beautiful and sassy and hilarious and insanely deep friend Carly got us all thinking about how we receive God. We had this visual of God throwing footballs at us and us being totally non-receptive and the footballs just bouncing off of us, whether it be because we weren't looking or we had a "shield" of pride or insecurity or who knows what. And we got into talking about what "posture" we need to have to really receive God. Our task is to come back in two weeks and hopefully have thought about what that personally means for us.

How do I, then, receive God? What are the reasons I'm not catching the footballs? What would my "posture" of receiving look like?

I don't know quite yet, but I'll be thinking about it.

That same night, my friend Dawn and I were talking about the b-word. You know, busy. It's kind of a ridiculous word, because we're always busy.... but right now, it's like we're super ultra crazy busy. She even wrote a post about it, which you can read here.

I've been thinking about the b-word and the receiving-word in conjunction with each other. Let's face facts. I'm always busy. Some times I'm beyond busy and can barely sleep, let alone blog (like the last two weeks), but most of the time, I'm just regular busy, and I blog when I'm procrastinating from doing something else I should be doing. My life is go-g0-g0, and I don't think it's going to change any time soon- I'm just a busy person. I may never be a woman able to find several hours at one time to sit and listen to God.... but that doesn't mean I can't be in a posture to receive him.

In fact, it means that it is imperative that, whatever it looks like, I do take time to be receiving. The only way to have any purpose in my life, in the midst of the busyness, is to receive.

Still working on what this looks like, but know I'm on the right track.

Monday, May 10, 2010

10 Things on the 10th

Thought this was so fun that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to join in! Blogging with Meredith and others over at Life at 7000 Feet to share 10 things I'm diving into right now.

1. End of the year lesson plans. Our seniors get out this week, but our underclassmen have an uncharacteristic 2 weeks beyond that, so I'm writing rubrics for a new, super-cool, fun, and real-life assessment project to take the place of our normal written final exam. The planning is the hardest part- the projects will be so fun!

2. Working on things for LIFE 2010. LIFE is a big youth conference our denomination puts on every three years. My job is to serve as teh VIP Coordinator- I'm organizing all the bands and speakers' itineraries now and will just hang out with them and do hospitality in July.

3. Trying to eat healthy without a kitchen. Got to the point where I had had too much Taco Bell and needed to cut it out- it's hard to plan healthy meals when we're kitchenless, but I'm sure as heck trying! I just feel better when I'm not full of grease. I know, weird, right?

4. A Puzzle. Husband and I had some time to ourselves last night and didn't want to just watch a movie, so we pulled out a 1000 piece Coca Cola puzzle we got for Christmas and started it (while watching a movie of course). We got the edges all the way done and started on the middle. Good times!

5. Dreaming. Does that count as something I'm diving into? Because I really am diving into dreaming- I'm dreaming about what my house will be like when everything is put back together- I'm dreaming about getting to re-organize things just to put it back together- I'm dreaming of new countertops- I'm dreaming about gardening and plants and flowers and beauty. Someday soon, I hope!

6. Psalm-reading. I had originally intended to read a Psalm a day, but life has been life and I'm not quite at that pace- but it's been really great. God always has something say in the Psalms, you know? I'm finding it life-breathing.

7. Chocolate-covered raisins. I've recently rediscovered that I love chocolate-covered raisins. They're delicious. Ordinarily I hate raisins- at least, I hate them when they're in anything else, but mmmm they're yummy when covered in chocolate.

8. Pandora Radio. I know it's been around for a while, but seriously, it's my new favorite music source. I put in a song or artist I like and then have a whole playlist of music that perfectly fits my mood. If you haven't tried it yet, do it.

9. Exercise. This is towards the bottom of my list- I'm not exactly diving in, but I'm really trying to get back into a semi-regular routine. I love a good run and, since I have an un-natural fear of being the jiggly-arm teacher, lifting weights is a beautiful thing.

10. Being outside. I'm taking every opportunity I can get to be outside- hard to do when daylight hours mostly occur during the school day and when the weatherman predicts snow for the middle of May- but I am trying. I love the sun. Now don't get me wrong, I am a burn-in-two-seconds kind of a girl, so sunscreen it is, but the sunshine just makes me happy.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Tea Day

Hello, Compnay Girls. That's right. I am having a Tea Day. Me, the Queen of Coffee. In fact, I've had tea three days in a row. Peppermint tea, to be specific. It's delicious. I've always liked tea, it's just that I love coffee. But with the kitchen being a non-existent, making coffee is more of a challenge, I'm kind of sick of Starbucks (unbelievable, I know), and to top it off, I have a cold. So tea it is, and truthfully, I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Peppermint tea is refreshing, rejunvenating, and just plain yummy.

We're in a busy season right now, but most of the time, I think it's a good season. The key is to find balance. Last night I spent a little while putting together the basement. Thus far, that's the only part of our house that has been fixed (the drywallers and painters came last week), so I decided to make it a little haven in our house until the rest gets fixed. I vacuumed, dusted the flat surfaces, washed and dried and put the slip covers back on the futon on chair, and rearranged the furniture. Then I got to work on grading. It felt good to something for our house and to have a space that is uncluttered and organized, and then I was able to sit down, focus, and get a good chunk of work done. Like I said, balance.


This morning I was driving to work and heard part of a song (I think it was by Relient K) that resonated with me.

"I've got to get out of here. I don't want to be complacent anymore. I've got to get out of here. Will you be my escape?"

And I thought, you know, I'm not usually a complacent person. But when I'm this busy, it's all about keeping my head above water and I can easily lose my focus. Then, just to be sure I was really understanding the word complacency, I looked it up in the dictionary:

Complaceny (n): Self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers of deficiencies.

Yup, I can become that way. Not necessarily full of self-satisfication, but full of self-sufficiency, unaware that actually, I can do nothing on my own and that because I'm busy and "self-sufficent," I'm slowly drifting away from the One who is there for me and whose strength and plan are perfect.

Today I'm thankful for the reminder that although busyness has set in full force and I'm a circus performer spinning dozens of dishes on long poles, taking a few moments to spend time with the One can keep me from not only from being complacent, but also can keep me going on the the path He has set.
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