Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Thankful Days: Day 30

This is the first time in at least a couple of weeks I've blogged two days in a row.   Most of my other 30 Days posts had multiple days worth of thankfulness in them.  But, seeing as today is the last day of November, I figured I should post today, and not tomorrow!

Join up with us at Dawn's Good Life.  It's encouraging.

Thankful Thing #30:
Movement and Butterflies.

Statement:  More and more I can feel the little Peanut moving!
Interpretation of my actual thoughts: He's alive, after all!

Seriously, though, the last few days have resulted in a significant increase of me feeling him moving around in there, which is exciting and extremely bizarre all at the same time.  I know now that, over the last several weeks, some of what I thought might be movement probably wasn't, and that some of it was actually him moving.

I mean, if this isn't him moving around a lot, then there is seriously something funky going on with me.  :)

What a bizzare feeling, a little baby moving, don't you think?  Butterflies doesn't quite explain it.  It's not quite bubbles either.  Or even poking or prodding.  It's just.... weird.

But so cool.

Husband has been trying really hard to feel it, but it's too unpredictable just yet.  Even when his hand is on my belly and I feel baby move, he can't.  He says it's because the Peanut loves me more already.  I'm pretty sure that it's just because Peanut really isn't that big yet, but it's happening to me, so I feel it.  But sometimes I tell Husband he's probably right.  I mean, who wouldn't love me more? :) 

(Lest you think I'm serious, I'm not.  Of course Husband is as equally loveable as I am.)

Speaking of hands on the belly, I just have one word.


This is private property, folks.  Perhaps, with permission, I might let someone touch the belly.  But don't dare just walk up and touch it, unless you're looking for some drama.  My sister-in-law told me that my belly was going to be public property within a few weeks.  Husband looked at her and said quite frankly, "well, then in a few weeks, Beth has free reign to start hitting people."  LOVE that man.  :)

Anyway, I'm thankful for movement.  It makes me feel funny and a little mushy, which is not my normal me.  It's been all I can do to not stop class and say "hang on, baby's moving!"  So far I've persevered and not made any movement announcements, lol, but I can make no promises for the future.

Here's to the Peanut! 

I'll probably do a pregnancy update this week, just for those of you who like to see the belly.  Strange people that you are. :)

And to many more reasons to be thankful, even though we may not blog about them as often.  And a special thanks to Dawn for hosting this thankful linky all month long.  Love you D!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 29

Linking up just two more times (providing I remember to do so tomorrow!) to celebrate thankfullness during the month of November.  Head over to Dawn's Good Life to join in!

Thankful Thing #28:
Making Time for Quiet Time

Last week I had the chance to spend time with one of my dearest friends, Liz, and share about our lives over a cup of coffee.  She and I have known each other for quite a while, and even lived together for a year before Husband and I got married.  We pretty much are able to share everything with each other, particularly all things spiritual.  Over coffee, I shared that I haven't been very spiritually disciplined recently, while Liz shared that she, on the other hand, had been getting up early (a huge deal for her!) and having a quiet time each morning.  As she told me slightly bluntly, if I wanted to be having quiet times, then I needed to do it.  As we've said before, "don't talk about it, be about it."

So last week I started having more regular quiet times.  I wasn't sure what would happen this week, with school back in session.  It's not easy to get up earlier than I do already.  But for the last two days, I've gotten up early and come downstairs for a quiet time.  They haven't been super long, but they've been good.  God's shown up, like He always does, and I'm learning to be still, something I realize I have never done.

Thankful Thing #2:
Making Time for Quiet Time While Sitting Here

Honestly, isn't a nice morning quiet time better when you're sitting in a semi-darkened room that glows with the twinkling lights of the Christmast tree?  It's quiet in the early morning, and restful.  And the twinkling lights create a soft and warm and welcoming environment.  A chance to bask, and be still, and listen, before the chaos of the day starts. 

I love my whole house when it's decorated for Christmas (and I'm sure I'll show pictures soon!), but the tree is my absolute favorite part.  It makes me happy.  And sitting here in the quiet morning, with the lights a-sparkling, is becoming my favorite favorite part of the day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

30 Thankful Days: Day 27

Coming into the last few days with Dawn at Dawn's Good Life, where we've been counting our way thankfully through the month of November.  Join us for the last few days!

Thankful Thing #26
A Clothes Dryer

Sometime at the beginning of the summer, our clothes dryer stopped working.  It would run and run and run, but never get hot.  We were busy, broke, and I didn't mind channeling my inner-Spaniard and line-drying all our clothes, so for whatever reason, we didn't look into fixing it.  We figured it would take more money to repair than would be worth it, so we would save for a new one. 

I washed everything in small-ish loads.  We hung things on the door, the furnace, the water heater, the clothes horse, and everywhere else possible in the laundry room.  I bought fabric softener (a first) to attempt to de-crunch our towels.  Laundry couldn't be done in a day, because I had to wait for things to air-dry before I washed the next load.  Thus, it usually took two or three days to finish, and then only if I were really diligent and washed the first load early in the morning and hung it right up.

I did this every week, all summer.  And didn't mind. 

Then school started.  And I started to mind, a little.  I was more busy, and it was more challenging to get the clothes done in a reasonable amount of time.    And then I started to mind a lot.

A few weeks ago, I declared I was finished.  I wanted a dryer, and I didn't care if we bought it for cheap off Craig's List.  Never mind brand new, just let me be able to do everything in a day.  Let the crunchiness of my clothes go away.  Let me be able to wash my quilts.

Husband started emailing people on Craig's List, and then suddenly he had a brilliant thought.  If it were just the heating element that were broken, he might be able to replace it himself.  On Wednesday, he drove the part down to an appliance repair store, where they confirmed it's brokenness.  He purchased a new one (for a fraction of the cost of a dryer!), installed it, and gave it a test run.  It worked!

But I didn't believe it until I tried it.....

And it works!  I've now washed and DRIED both the comforter that has been on our bed all fall AND the comforter that Ginny adopted as her "bed" a while ago.  Hers was REALLY dirty.  And now, it's fresh, clean, and DRY.

So excited to do laundry.

At least, for today.

Thankful Thing #27:
My Mom.

My mom is amazing.

Seriously, amazing.  I couldn't even begin to explain how amazing she is, and I'm not even really going to try today.  I'm just going to tell you about the way she helped me today.

We all agreed it's time I start to wear maternity clothes.  I'm getting quite the belly, and things are not starting to fit right.  Someone told me to go to Old Navy, because they have cute maternity clothes.  We went.  They don't anymore (not in stores).  I cried. 

Perhaps my tears were Mom's first clue that I'm a bit "crazy" about this whole what-I-look-like thing, so she decided we absolutely needed to get me clothes that I would feel good in, and we headed to JC Penney.  You know, thinking that it, as a large but reasonably priced department store, would have some cute maternity clothes, right?


Their selection was slim.  Frumpy.  Not my style.  But she helped me pick out a few things and I went to try them on.

And I cried.  (Umm, yes, my hormones might have been being a bit out of sorts today).

I felt fat. And I have a confession.

I do not think pregnant women are cute. 

I mean, there are some that are more cute than others, but I still don't think they're cute. 

Thus, I'm not cute.

Cue confession #2.

I have some body image issues.  I usually do really well with them.  God and my mom helped me work through the worst of them during college, and I rarely think about them or have them affect me.  But now I'm pregnant, and gaining weight, and getting quite the belly. 

And something about trying on maternity clothes just made me feel fat.  And not cute.  And I cried.  (It was almost as bad as the time we went bathing suit shopping after eating at Outback.)

But Mom kept affirming me and telling me I needed to get some pieces that I could feel good in.  And so, even though she has tons to do to get ready for school this week (she's a choir teacher who has a concert on Friday), she took me to Target to find a few more things so I could have some mix-and-match outfits.  She scoured their also very small maternity section and kept bringing me pieces she thought I might like, kept affirming me, and kept telling me what worked and didn't.    I didn't cry at Target, but the tears were just there, lurking behind my eyes.

Several outfit combos later and a fair amount of money, we were done.  We have some things I think I actually like, and some things I think will grow on me (no pun intended, lol).  On our way out of the store, Mom bought me a Decaf Gingerbread Latte to take home with me, because she knew that I needed that, too.  A little bit of my always-happy drink makes things much better, and she wanted me to feel better.

And I do, a little.  I'm tired.  It's draining, feeling fat and ugly and crying in department store fitting rooms.

But I feel really glad, and extremely thankful, for a mom who gets me, gets what I need, and still, even after all this time, does what it takes to take care of me.

All I can say is, it's a good thing this little boy is going to have her for a grandma.  He's spoiled.

Note.  I am not even beginning to do justice to this post, to the emotion of the shopping trip, or to the absolute heart and amazingness of my mom, but I'm tired.  And emotional.   But I wanted to acknolwedge how much I love my mom and how thankful I am for her, so I'm writing anyway.

Friday, November 25, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 25

On this Friday, often called "Black," I take the opportunity to be thankful for all the things that are wonderful and worth pausing to remember.  Join me as I link up with my friend Dawn on the final stretch of 30 Thankful Days.

Pictures to be added when I get batteries for my camera or get pictures from my sister. :)

Thankful Thing #22:
A Week Where I Don't Have to Be on the Computer
This is the longest I haven't posted during these 30 Thankful Days, but it's because I haven't been on my computer.  During the regular school week, I'm online every day.  A lot of my lesson plans are on my computer, I get about a bazillion work emails a day, and when I come home, I have to do some work for online class.  So I'm on the computer often.  I check Facebook (I don't FB stalk much, though), I email some, and I read blogs or blog (in addition to all the other "real work" stuff I do on the computer).
But this week, I haven't turned on the computer at all.  Today, in fact, was the first day I did so.  Monday I did school work, but I graded physical papers.  Tuesday I cleaned the house.  Wednesday I hung out with a friend and helped my mom do some pre-cooking.  And yesterday we celebrated friends and family with delicious food.   And while I do have online work to do this weekend, there wasn't a routine that required me to get on the computer.

And I love it.  (Back to reality coming soon, sigh.)

Thankful Thing #23:
A Clean House.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE a clean and organized house.  My camera batteries are dead, and I have no others, or else I would show you how almost every room in my house was deep cleaned this week.  It's awesome.  I dusted on and around and under.  I cleaned tubs and toilets and mirrors.  I did the laundry AND put it all away.  I scrubbed and scraped and vacuumed everywhere.  I put all "the stuff" where it goes, instead of somewhere "convenient." 

It's lovely.

It brings me peace of mind, joy, happiness.  A place to feel comfortable, safe, and as if, indeed, it is my sanctuary.  I was just thinking the other day that it's been a while since I thought about home as a sanctuary, and I want to be mindful of that, especially as we think about bringing the peanut home in less than 5 months. 

I will soon (within a few days, if not today) be putting up my Christmas decorations, which I will surely post, because those make me happy happy happy.  Those PLUS a clean house - well, I may take next week off, too, just to bask in my delight at my home.

Thankful Thing # 24:
Traditions and Thanksgiving Itself.
I LOVE Thanksgiving.

Years ago I was laughed at by some friends when I said I consider Thanksgiving to be the beginning of Christmas.  I mean, isn't it?  It's a day marked be set aside for choosing thankfulness, and Christmas is the season for the same thing, to remember and choose thankfulness and joy as we celebrate the miracle of God's love for us. 
As long as I can remember, my grandparents came over and my mom and grandma would cook, while my grandpa, dad, sister and I would set up the tree and decorate.  I've started to help Mom do some of the cooking, and Sister has taken over the outside lights with Dad, but Sister, Husband, Grandpa, and I still do the tree.

This year we did the tree and decorations on Wednesday, since there were going to be 12 of us over for dinner on Thursday.  Husband has officially taken over as the tree man.  He set it up, did the lights, and "fluffed" the branches so well that our fake Christmas tree looks the absolute best it ever has.  I helped Mom a lot with the food ,and then Sister and I did the ornaments - Grandpa helped a bit.  He's old (96) - it's good for him to do a few ornaments, but we'd rather him not be reaching up high on the tree.

I spent half the morning at the house helping with the final details, and then our "famiy" all came over.    My immediate family - Husband, Mom, Dad, Sister, and Grandpa.  Husband's mom and mom's friend from Nebraska, Husband's sister.  Our close family friends Christina and her son Christian, and Christina's sister Bev.  They pretty much belong to us.

We ate.  Turkey.  Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus Casserole, Vegetable Casserole, two kind of Stuffing, Broccoli with yummy sauce, Cranberries.  Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Pie, Apple Pie.  Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  There was Pumpkin Ale, Moscato, Pinot Noir, Coffee... (and water for me).  It was a delicous feast - we were belly-full and laughter-full.

And then we did my favorite Thanksgiving tradition.

Thankful Thing #25:
A Muppet Christmas Carol

If you haven't seen this movie, you should.  It's probably one of the best versions of the Christmas Carol out there, complete with the added bonus of Muppet humor.  Michael Caine as Scrooge is AMAZING.  We have every song memorized.  We know almost all the lines.  Husband has the uncanny ability to quote the Muppets and sound JUST like them. 
It makes us QUITE happy.  And it fits the sentiment of Thanksgiving and Christmas just perfectly, I think.

I'll leave you with the lyrics to my favorite song, sung by my favorite Ghost - the Ghost of Christmas Present.
With a thankful heart, with an endless joyWith a growing family, every girl and boy
Will be nephew and niece to me (Nephew and niece to me)
Will bring love, hope and peace to me (Love, hope and peace to me)
Yes and every night will end, and every day will start
With a greatful prayer and a thankful heart
With an open smile and with open doorsI will bid you welcome, what is mine is yours
With a glass raised to toast your health (With a glass raised to toast your health)
And a promise to share the wealth (Promise to share the wealth)
I will sail a friendly course, file a friendly chart
On A sea of love and a thankful heart
Life is like a jouney, who knows when it ends?
Yes and if you need to know the measure of a man
You simply count his friends
Stop and look around you, the glory that you see
Is born again each day, don't let is slip away
How precious life can be
With a thankful heart that is wide awake
I do make this promise, every breath I take
Will be used now to sing your praise (Used now to sing your praise)
And to beg you to share my days (Beg you to share my days)
With a loving guarantee that even if we part
I will hold you close in a thankful heart

I will hold you close in a thankful heart

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 21

Thankful Thing #19:

Husband passed his test!  He is now a licensed Journeyman Electrician!  It is so exciting to see him feeling a sense of accomplishment and being proud of himself - as he should be!

He called a few hours after I wrote my post Friday to tell me the news, and even though Student Council and I were hustling and bustling around on a big project (see Thing #20), I stopped to answer the phone and was so excited and proud of him I nearly cried.

While this license means a few more dollars an hour, it more importantly represents Husband's hard work, perseverance, and growth over the last few years.  I'm so proud to be the wife of a Journeyman.  :)

Thankful Thing #20:
A Student Council who Cares.

For the last month or so, Student Council has been working their behinds off planning the annual food drive we do the two weeks before Thanksgiving Break in conjunction with a city-wide food drive.

We've participated in Harvest of Love for as long as I have been at our school, and some years have been more successful than others.  A few years ago we had a Council that was determined to do it right, and because of their creativity and fresh ideas, we went from raising 8,000 lbs of food the previous year to 80,000.  It was amazing.  Since then, we've usually pulled in 30 - 40,000 lbs of food each year.  The economy has been hard.  Those Councils weren't as passionate.  We didn't come up with new ideas.  Whatever the reason, we hadn't been able to hit that 80,000 lbs again.

Until this year. 

I'm pretty passionate about this topic.  I'm wealthy, by all standards, but Husband and I sometimes eat cereal for dinner for a week to save money.  I haven't had to make the choices many families make - we've always paid our mortgage, our utilities, had food.  But many families have to choose.  And many, many kids in our city go without food often.   And that should never happen.

So I talked to my Executive Council (the five kids who pretty much run the Council).  We did this amazing activity together ( to catch a glimpse of what the choices people face are.  We brainstormed.  And they agreed they that cared.  That they wanted to do this right. 

So they talked to Student Council.  We all did the activity.  We talked for a long time about WHY we would want to do this right.  We had a speaker from the food bank.  They understood that if they weren't passionate about it, then the rest of our school wouldn't be, either.  That if we are more excited and put more thought and preparation into Homecoming than into this, then we have our priorities seriously mixed up. 

And we planned.  We made videos, like this one. 

We went to each homeroom and we did the playspent activity with them.  We taught our students about why we were doing this.  We had a neon dance, a dodgeball tournament, a Senior Sibling Day, boys vs girls competitions, themed spirit days with matching dress up and food items, and more. 

And we raised about 80,000 lbs of food again.  Our goal was 70,000.  We didn't think we could double our normal, but we were wrong.  Because we cared, others cared.  Several of my students went above and beyond and did things on their own.   We saw and felt generosity that surpassed previous years.  One autistic boy went door to door in his neighborhood and got his neighbors to give him their change.  He collected $150. 

80,000 lbs of food.   According to the way the food bank can run things, that means that our school contributed to providing 560,000 meals.  560,000 people can eat because of my students. 

I am so proud of them.  And so excited to be a part of a group of teenagers who care.  I told you they did.

Thankful Thing #21:

And, with the people we fed in Thankful Thing #20 on my mind and heart, I am thankful for food.
Yes, sometimes we eat cereal for lunch and dinner for a few days.  But we have a pantry full of food.  We waste food sometimes.  We get take-out at least once a week.  We're rich with food.

I remember talking to my friend Brooke a while back about the idea that so often, we eat as if we're never going to eat again.  We stuff ourselves to the point of feeling sick, because we paid for it, it's on our plates, or for whatever other reason.  We don't enjoy, don't savor.  We just eat and keep eating.

What if I were to remember that, at this point in my life, I am fortunate enough to not have to worry about my next meal?  What if I were to only eat what I really need, and to savor each bite?  What if I were to be thankful, instead of wasteful?

Just thinking "out loud." 

I know I'm blessed.  I have lots of choices when it comes to what I eat.  I don't have to pick from whatever canned veggies people felt like donating.   On Thursday, I'll be eating all my Thanksgiving favorites, instead of scraping together a dinner with what I can find. 

I don't feel guilty.

But I do feel thankful.  And I want to try to remember that each and every time I eat something.

Friday, November 18, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 18

Here we are, over half way through the month, less than a week away from Thanksgiving.  (woohoo!)  Celebrate all that you have to be thankful about with my friend Dawn and others over at Dawn's Good Life

Thankful Thing #16:

Okay, I know I posted that I was thankful for Fridays last Friday, but really, my thankfulness for Fridays is a renewable source each week.  And this Friday is different.  This Friday is special.

This Friday means we get a week off from school for Thanksgiving Break.  Hallelujiah, can I get an Amen?

We don't get many days off first semester.  We get Labor Day - but we were only in school for a few weeks at that point.  We get a day off in October - but we had to work the two previous evenings for parent-teacher conferences.  We get any snow days that might occur (one this year!).

And then finally the week of Thanksgiving comes around, and there is a whole week, just for us.  Afterwards, we have a mad rush to the end - two weeks of classes and one week of final exams - and then another break. 

But this break, this break is necessary.  We're all tired, we're a bit cranky, but more importantly, we're ready for a break.  We need that break.

And I'm excited - I LOVE Thanksgiving.  But I will tell you about that another day soon.

So thank you thank you thank you, Friday.

Thankful Things #17 & #18:
Opportunity and Husband's Perseverance.

Husband loves his Peppermint Mocha almost as much as I love the GBL... but not quite.

Today Husband takes the exam to receive his license as a Journeyman Electrician.  This has been a long road, and I'm praying that he passes today on the first shot.  He needs the boost, I think.  Husband has been in the field for 7 or 8 years, but is not licensed yet.  He started in Residential, took the Wireman's test a few times, but could never quite pass.  School was never easy for Husband - he just didn't learn how to learn or study, and we're pretty sure he has ADD and never learned the tools to work with that. 

A little over 4 years ago, the best thing ever happened to Husband - he got laid off from the residential job.  And then got hired at a commercial company, which immediately enrolled him into a four year trade school. 

Husband went to class once a week for four hours nearly every week for four years.  He's switched companies a couple of times due to lay-offs and economic struggles, but he stayed at that school, learned to study, learned to take tests, learned to be a student.  And in May, he graduated with Honors.  We were quite proud.

Today he takes the BIG test.  It's hard.  Full of code, calculations, and other stuff I don't understand.  He's been studying for weeks.  Taking practice exams online.  Working on the things he doesn't do as well.

Either way, this test marks an opportunity for us. 

A chance for Husband to see his hard work pay off (I hope!!), or a chance for him to learn that sometimes failure is a way to grow even more.  A chance for him to remember that he isn't doing this to get more money, to provide for his family, or to move up in the ranks (although those are all good things), but that for now, God has called him to be an electrician and serve Him in that way, and a license gives Husband more opportunity to do that, whenever he earns it.

I'm really proud of my husband.  If he fails today, I'm still going to be super proud, because the man I met more than 6 years ago would never have spent quiet, solitary hours in a room alone studying and practice tests for the last two weeks.  He's worked so hard.  He's persevered.  

And of course, if (when, he would say) he passes today, we're going to have a BIG celebration.  Nevermind budget concerns - this deserves a party! 

I'm thankful, truly thankful, for the opportunity this test brings to us, but mostly, I'm thankful for the man I married, for the ways he's grown and changed even in the last couple of years, and for his perseverance. 

He's amazing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 15

I'm going at about an every other day average here, with my 30 Thankful Days, but honestly, if you consider how often I blog, that's pretty darn fantastic!   Join in with Dawn and others to share what we're thankful for and learn from each other how to express our gratitude.

Thankful thing #14 and #15.
My Job.
and My Students.

I LOVE my job.  Truly love it.  I think I like it about 90% of the time, if not more.  No, I don't love getting up early since school starts at 7:20 am, but I do love being out by 3.  And no, I don't love grading, but it's a necessary evil if I want my students to learn. 

What I really love are my students.  They are amazing. 

Don't doubt this next generation, friends. 

Sure, there are more and more problems, and the world is a scary place, and many teens are entitled, selfish, self-centered, and un-aware.  But give them a chance.  Who are their role models?  Snookie?  "The Situation?"  Puh-lease.  Do you blame them for being entitled, selfish, and un-aware?  I don't. 

In fact, I've learned, that when given the chance, teens will almost always rise to the occasion.  They want to be somebody, to do something big and good, to make a difference.  They want to listen, but they need to be listened to first.  They want to help, but sometimes they have to be helped first.  They want to care, but they need to be cared about first.

And I love doing that.  I love listening, helping, caring.  I love teaching them that the world is bigger than they are (Spanish teacher and Leadership teacher), but that can truly make a difference in whatever ways they can dream.  I don't mind holding them accountable when they need to be held accountable - that's part of the job, too - and being a little "mean" sometimes.  But when you're strict but it's obvious it's because you care, they tend to get it... eventually.

Coming to work is almost never a drag to me.  I'm always behind because I always have students in my room, but I don't mind.  They learn from me, and I learn from them. 

And they're so funny.  They care about me, too.  About teachers, I mean.  If given the chance to care, they care.  I have a whole slew of high school boys and girls who are seriously invested in my life and my son.  They want to know everything.  They want to be involved.  They want to be a part of what I know.

Because, you see, they want to be a part of anything they can be, and they hope it's good.  They don't want to be left on the outside, looking in.  They want to be active, involved, together.  Sometimes the only people that will "take" them are the ones who encourage them down a path that might not be so good - but the need to be involved, to be a part of something, is great.  And so they go.  But give them the chance to go another way?  To be involved somewhere else?  To have people?  They'll get there, eventually. 

Somebody has to give them the chance first.  Somebody has to believe in them, to trust in them, to provide them with the opportunity.  But they want to be good, to do amazing things, to be important for good reasons. 

Don't doubt them, friends.

And so, I love my students.  Even the "bad" ones.

And I love my job.  Because getting to be with and interact with and teach and learn from these amazing young people is so worthwhile.  Because not a day goes by where I don't laugh and laugh and laugh at something that's been said.  Because watching students have a moment where they "click" with something - be it something we're learning in Spanish, be it a life lesson, be it a leadership strategy - makes every other piece - the grading, the meetings, the politics- all completely worth it.

I hope you like your job and the people with whom you work even half as much as I do.... because if you do, you're probably pretty content!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 13

This month I'm joining my friend Dawn for 30 Thankful Days.  Many I know have taken the challenge to be intentional about being thankful for 30 days, be it via a blog or via Facebook, and each time I read their posts or statuses, I am reminded of all for which there is to be thankful. 

It's interesting, though.  Right now I'm in my comfy's on the couch, doing some online work.  Husband and I stayed home today.  We did laundry and actually put it away, we cleaned a little, I got some grading done, he cleaned the horse pen out at my parents.  We relaxed, I actually cooked a meal.  I read a book, he played video games.  He's gone to youth group now, and I'll finish up with my online work.  And I thought, well, I didn't blog yesterday about my thankful thing, so I have two to do to catch up.

And suddenly I felt pressure.  Pressure to come up with something great to write about, worried that my post won't be as good as they could be, because I don't have any fun pictures to include or any inspiration at the moment.

And then I'm reminded.  That's not the point, now, is it?   What I am thankful for today doesn't have to be deep and meaningful, or funny and light-hearted, or accompanied by pictures. 

The point is to be intentional about choosing thankfulness, every day.  And not just for these 30 days, but every day, for always.

So here are my honest, normal, nothing-amazing-but-wonderful-to-me thankful things.

Thankful Thing #12:

And of course, that's clip art.  My belly looks nothing like that, clearly.

I now own three pairs of Danskin leggings, and I wear them all the time when I'm at home.  They are the most comfortable things on the planet, I think.  I never thought of myself as a legging person, but a few months ago I bought a pair and now I own three.  I don't suspect I'll be one of those pregnant women who wears leggings as pants in public, but I'm quite content to wear them as my comfy pants at home.  Like right now.  :)

Thankful Thing #13:

Last year, Husband came home and announced he'd signed us up for Direct TV, which was funny/annoying, because we'd been talking about canceling our cable... not signing us up for something with a contract.  But what was done was done, and so, while it wasn't quite what I'd expected, I went with it.

And now, I'm so thankful.  Because Direct TV comes automatically with DVR, which we'd never had before, and I can record everything I want to and watch it on my own time, when I am free, when I need to be brainless, when I need background noise for grading.  It's lovely.  Particularly as the holiday season approaches, because I love love love watching silly holiday movies all about Christmas miracles and magic and love (which, by the way, drive Husband crazy).  DVR is my favorite.

So, as promised, nothing ground-breaking, exciting, or even all that interesting.

But as I'm currently wearing my Danskin leggings and watching a show I DVR-ed as I work, I'd say I'm pretty happy.

And thankful.

Friday, November 11, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 11

Linking up with my friend Dawn and others at Dawn's Good Life to celebrate the things we are thankful for this month.  Head on over there to read and to share your own thoughts, too.

Wednesday and Thursday were both pretty fast-moving days with little to no time to blog, so today I'm going to be thankful for three things.

Thankful Thing #9:

I am particularly thankful that today is Friday.  This, for some reason, felt like a long and full week, even though it by far was not one of the busiest weeks I've had recently.  Granted, we are in the middle of our major food drive, and this year's StuCo is being AMAZING and working so hard to get things done, and we did have a massive dodgeball tournament last night, and today we have our Veteran's Day assembly.... but it really hasn't been that busy.  Still, I woke up very tired this morning, starting to feel a little like I'm getting a cold, and with a large pile of papers to grade that I neglected during the course of the week.  I'm so thankful for Friday, and so thankful that tonight I have some freedom in what I choose to do (stay home, go to the football game, whatever!) and that this weekend, minus a breakfast date tomorrow morning and something in the evening, the majority of the weekend is mine to rest, read, and get all those papers graded.  I'm not saying I had a bad or even a hugely busy week, but I'm tired. 

So thank the good Lord for Fridays.

Thankful Thing #10:
Where I live.

I just love living here.  It's beautiful and makes me happy.  This morning these were the views I was blessed to see on my drive to work- forgive the not great quality of the pictures - for some, I was pulled over in the parking lot at Starbucks (getting my Friday Gingerbread Latte!!!!!) and for some, I stopped in a turn lane while no one was behind me. 

Oh, lovely place I live.

Thankful Thing #11:
BGD Day.

Wednesday, you may have read, was BGD Day, or as I was calling it, Boy, Girl, or Dead Day.  Husband and I headed over to the doctor's office for the first appointment of the day and met with the ultrasound tech to have our "Fetal Anatomay Survey."   I was pretty nervous, because I am crazy, but Husband was calm and happy and just a faithful stable presence.

You may have guessed it, but Baby C was not dead.  Right away the tech showed me the heartbeat to allay my fears.  My sense of relief was intense, although almost immediately followed by "so what is wrong with him/her?"  We had a laugh about that, because the tech (who was so nice and friendly) was telling us just moments before that many women (including herself, when she was pregnant) go through those same emotions.  It was ironic how quickly I switched gears, but this fear was much less great than the previous. 

Baby C was facing my back most of the time, so we never got a great shot of the profile, but she was able to clearly tell two things from the very-detailed and thorough ultrasound:

Thing 1: Baby C, so far, looks wonderful, is growing in all the right ways in all the right places, and appears to be very healthy.  Yeay!  When the doctor looked at all the data afterword, she was very encouraging also. 

Thing 2:

Husband is very excited. I found this picture of him (it's actually when he climbed his 1st 14-er this summer) and thought it was just perfect. 

I'm excited, too.  I had decided on Tuesday that he was probably a boy, so I wasn't too surprised.  I have always sort of imagined me as having girls, since I just have one sister and my two closest cousins are also girls, but I think I'll figure the boy thing out.  Eventually.

I'm really thankful that my son (oh my goodness) is healthy, alive, and growing.  I'm thankful for a doctor who told me I can come in any time I want to listen to the heartbeat.  I'm thankful for a husband who supports me through all my crazy and loves me and our son (still weird!) more than most anything.

Oh, thankfulness abounds.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 8

Head on over to Dawn's Good Life to read about what others are thankful for today, and to share your thoughts as well. It's pretty encouraging to read what people are choosing to be thankful for - a good reminder of the choice we actually have!

Thankful Thing #8:


That's right.  Today, I'm thankful for tomorrow.

I could go into the deeper meaning of that statement, if I wanted, and talk about how wonderful it is that there's always tomorrow, a new day, a fresh start, a chance to do things the way you wanted to do them today.  And I am sincerely thankful for that kind of tomorrow.... I've journaled many times about how amazing new mornings are, how refreshing for the soul.

But today, I'm literally thankful for tomorrow, November 9th.

Because I have a doctor's appointment, and I've been dying to go for the last two weeks. 

And this isn't just a regular doctor's appointment.  This is a check-to-make-sure-baby-is-doing-okay-and-is-healthy appointment and a find-out-if-Baby C-is-a-girl-or-a-boy appointment. 


Last night the doctor's office called to say that my doctor had something come up for our scheduled time tomorrow afternoon and that they had rescheduled me for an 8:30 am appointment.  Well, as a teacher, that doesn't really work for me.  It's not exactly a job where you can say, "I have an appointment - I'll work an extra hour later today to make up for it."  So when I called back, the receptionist told me that the next available appointment wasn't until late next week.

"I'll be there at 8:30," I said.  I may be much more calm now and less convinced that something is definitely wrong, but I'm not about to wait another week to hear that little baby's heartbeat.  I need to know everything is okay, and I need to know soon.  Call me crazy, I don't care.  So I've found someone to cover my class at that time, and off to the doctor I'll go tomorrow morning at 8:30.

I wrote in my journal this thought this morning: 

"I've been joking that tomorrow is 'BGD Day' - Boy, Girl, or Dead Day.  I realize that's awful, but it's like if, in my head, I think that by acknowledging it, if it were to be true, it would hurt less.  Which I know is false.  But still, it's easier to say that.  I know I'm not always gracious when people talk to me about baby-things - partly because I don't like being the center of attention in that way, and partly because I feel worried that things won't work out, and I don't want to be too involved or have others too involved.  I know I need to work on that, because the last thing I want people to think is that I'm not excited, because I am.  I'm just also a bit of a not job.  I need to not allow my fear and worry to steal my joy."

So, today, while I'm a little nervous for tomorrow, I'm also very, very thankful that it's here (nearly) and that we'll get to see the little peanut again, and hear his/her heartbeat, and know who he/she is.

Now I just need to remember to live today fully, too, instead of just waiting on tomorrow.

Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 7

Perhaps you've been thinking about how Thanksgiving is right around the corner and begun to plan your menu (I know my mom and I have started!) - but let's take a minute to think about what we're giving thanks for first!  Join me at my friend Dawn's blog to share the things for which we're thankful.

Thankful Thing #7:


I just had a former student come into my room for a few minutes to chat.  Within moments we were laughing hysterically and, perhaps, so loudly that the class next door could hear us.  It reminded me that laughter is indeed something to be thankful for.

Did you know that your body can't tell the difference between real laughter and fake laughter?  So if you're ever in need of a little mood-boost, start laughing.  Your body will get the endorphins either way.  Plus, I've found that usually, you start laughing for real, anyway.

I love it when you start laughing at something, then laugh because of your laugh, then laugh because you're laughing about your laugh.  And when you're laughing so hard your face starts to hurt.  And the tears start coming out your eyes.  It's just good for the soul. 

My sister and my husband are usually the two people who can get me going the most....  and really, no one holds a candle to my sister.  She and I can laugh for hours.  More than once (and even recently) we've heard our mom holler up the stairs (or over the phone) "what's so funny???"  because we are just laughing, laughing, laughing.  We laugh at everything together.  And husband, well, he's pretty darn funny... so I can't help but laugh with him, either.

My sister told me a story the other day where she and her first grade class laughed for a good 15 minutes.  Why?  They had no idea.  Some kid started giggling, and then couldn't explain why, and the whole class, including my sister, joined in, and they just laughed.  They'd start to get under control, and then someone would laugh again and the whole class would be off and running.  Instructional value?  None.  But important for the class to do together?  Absolutely.  Laughter brings people together.

The last time I laughed that hard was a few weeks ago at the State Student Council conference, where we heard this speaker.  This video does not even begin to show you how funny this guy is in person, and how much we were all laughing.  I was literally crying, especially when he did the sections on notes parents send to school to excuse their children.  Unlike in this video, it was one after the other, and man, we were all just roaring! 

And, of course, we've all seen this type of video, but who can resist a laughing baby?

Laughter is, plain and simple, a gift to be enjoyed whenever and as often as possible.  I hope you find something to laugh about today, to truly laugh, a deep, belly-shaking, tear-producing, cheek-hurting laugh, and may it be with someone you are glad to spending time with.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 6

My friend Dawn is hosting a monthly link party for everyone and anyone to share their thankful things each day (or some days, as the case may be).  Head on over and join in!

Honestly, I'm pretty impressed with myself for how frequently I've blogged in the last few weeks, so I'm not letting myself feel too guilty for not posting on Friday or Saturday.  Friday I was at school until nearly midnight because we hosted our annual Night of Neon mostly-techno, yes to glowsticks, all for the food drive dance, and yesterday I read a book, went to a football game, and prepared a children's church lesson, none of which involved the computer.  Of course, I was thankful on Friday AND on Saturday, and I'm thankful today, too.

Thankful Thing #4:

Sleeping In. And sleeping in general.

It seems that as I've gotten older and had more "important" things to do in my life, I cherish my sleep more.  I've always been the person who, once I'm up, I'm up and I'm cheery about it, but I'm finding that I like to sleep more and more.  That initial get out of bed phase takes a bit longer.  So the chance to sleep well, and deeply, is a blessing.  I woke up on Friday morning thinking how much I like to sleep, and our bed (while not perfectly made), is SO comfy.  Behind all those other pillows is large body pillow towards the back - it's my new best sleeping friend.    And on Saturday, as I was able to sleep until 8:30, I was reminded how thankful I am for mornings where I have no actual agenda and can sleep in for a while.  Sleep is a wonderful invention, God.

A side note.  I am not excited about people telling me, "enjoy sleep now while you can."  Yes, people, I get that when the peanut comes, I can kiss sleeping goodbye.  But you sort of ruin my delicious sleeping now by warning of my future. :)

Thankful Thing #4:

My little immediate family. 

This was our Saturday morning (after I finally got up and Husband had gone to the gym).

The dog entertained us for about 15 minutes with antics like these.  First she was sitting on the bed looking out, watching the neighbor come in.  You could see her confusion as the neighbor disappeared into the house on the left - she looked towards where he should be, but of course, that is inside our house.  Then she jumped down and climbed on the window, as you see her here, and stood that way for several minutes, observing.  She's so funny.

Yesterday was the Air Force/Army game and the Nebraska/Northwestern game.  I grew up watching Air Force and Husband, being from Lincoln, is of course a die-hard Huskers fan.  (We've both adopted the other team, also, although I think I am more of a Huskers fan now than he is a Falcon fan.)  Anyway, I was heading to the AFA/Army game with my dad and sister, and Husband was heading to his dad's to watch the Nebraska game.  We just thought we were both so cute in our little jerseys. 

It's the little things, like my dog being super curious, or my husband and I being silly, that make me happy.  I'm sure I'll do a post on Husband himself sometime during these 30 days. 

And... Thankful Thing #6:

Time Spent with my Sister Being Silly.

At the beginning of the game, while we were still warm-ish.

So... Cuba Gooding Jr. was there, but my camera was buried in my pocket, and then it has this weird delay, so..... I tried a bunch to get a picture of him, but I mostly failed.  There's a lady who got a picture of him, though.

See him there?  He's holding his coat over his arms?  Yeah, that's him.

That's him with his back to us as he made his way around again.  He did totally look at us, but I couldn't get the picture fast enough.  Becca and I were just dying.

And he walked up the aisle to our left to get to the press boxes, I assume.... but all I have here are pictures of people taking picutres of Cuba.  :)

Becca, as we waited for pretzels and hot chocolate.

Both of us in line.  Do you like my sunglasses on top of my ear-warmer thing?  I think I'm pretty stylish.

Just a bit cold... and something not happy had happened in the game.

Reversal!  Something exciting!

My turn to be cold.  And yes, that is a Husker's blanket.  It's cozy.

At the end of the game.  Not quite as cute and warm as when we started.

Hanging out with my sister almost ALWAYS brings me joy and usually, side-splitting laughter.  It's pretty fun having a best friend who's always gonna be around.  She's the best, and the best days are when we're just silly, like we were most of the game yesterday.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Thankful Days - Day 3

Day 3 of 30 Thankful Days!  If you have a post to share, link up over at Dawn's Good Life.  It's pretty fun  and good for the heart to read about what others are thankful for.

Since I missed Day 1, I decided I'm going to post about TWO things today, both of which bring me great joy and happiness.  Ready?

Thankful "Thing" #1:

Ginny, the best puppy-friend ever.  Yesterday she was pretty excited to stay home with me all day.  She spent most of the day sleeping curled up on the couch or asking me to play, but was completely enthralled when the men from the HOA came to shovel our walkways.

She's VERY curious.  And very active, very involved, and very, very sweet.  She's the best cuddle puppy ever. We pretty much can't imagine what life would be like without her.  She waits patiently for an invitation onto the couch with you (although, if you take too long, she might grunt a little, kind of like the Angry Birds pigs do).  She love love loves it if you invite her onto the bed, because that's a rare treat.  She wants to play with you whenever you're willing, and she loves it when you put your tennis shoes on, because she thinks it might be time to go for a walk.  She loves to run around with the "big dogs" at Mom and Dad's (two Siberian huskies) and play until they are all exhausted.  She loves to lay in the sunshine, but is getting more interested in the snow (although she won't ever like it as much as the big dogs do).  And she loves to be with us, wherever we are.

Someone asked us if we were going to get rid of her when the peanut comes.  Are you kidding?  That would be like losing a family member.  We're convinced she's going to be a GREAT big sister.  She makes us happy.

Thankful Thing #2:

Okay, if you know me at all, or have been reading my blog for a while, you should be able to guess what thing that only comes around this time of year makes me extremely, ridiculously, excitedly, joyously, just plain happy....

The Gingerbread Latte.  In a Christmas cup, no less.

Here's my actual first one this morning:

I loved the cups last year with the little carolers and people, but this cup sums up the truth quite well.  Any day with a GBL is a snow day.  A little bit of heaven.  As I explain to my students or other people who think I'm nuts, it's really truly like God's little personal gift to me, Beth.  Happiness overtakes me with every sip, every whiff of it's delicious aroma.

Mmm.  Deliciousness.  Happiness. 

I know it might be silly to be thankful for a cup of coffee, but that's me.  I really feel like it's a little gift for me each time I drink one.  No matter the mood, a Gingerbread Latte lifts my spirits, reminds me of what's good, that it's all in His hands, and that He cares about me.

And yes, I might be obsessed.  (You can read about my love for GBLs here and here if you really want to grasp the depth of how I feel.  I can measure how long I've been a blogger in how many years I've posted on GBLs, lol.

A quick story, before I go to class.  (We have a 7 period chaotic day today, insted of our normal 4 period block, due to yesterday's snow day.)  It was years ago that my BFF Caroline, my cousin, introduced me to the Gingbread Latte.  Caroline is exactly five months older than I am, to the day, and we grew up seeing each other at least once a year, but usually more often, as our families are close friends (our moms are sisters).  It was like having a built in best friend my entire life, and it hasn't changed a bit.  We're now both 29, and when we get to see each other, we laugh, we cry, we have fun.  Caroline is expecting her first baby in just over a month, and when she called to tell me she was pregnant, she told me I had five months to join her to keep the tradition going.   Mission accomplished.  Within 3 - 4 months of her baby boy joining the family, I'll bring the peanut home, too. 

Wait, this wasn't the point of the story.

Yesterday she texted to me that she'd just ordered her first GBL of the season (we had a laugh, as the barista called her "mamacita.")  This morning I texted her to tell her that I was drinking my first - and immediately had a response saying she was drinking one too.... so we enjoyed a moment of "having GBLs together," despite the many, many states and time zones between us. 

GBL Love.  You just can't contain it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Thankful Days, Day 2 (But 1 for me)

One of my favorite friends, in real life and blog life, Dawn, is sharing something she's thakful for every day this month, and has invited me and you and anyone else to link up with her and share what we're thankful for, too.   Now, if you know me at all, you know I'm not the most faithful daily blogger, but I'm going to do my best.   Joining in on choosing thankfullness sounds like a good idea to me!

Today, I'm thankful for unexpected snow days.

Last week everyone expected us to have a snow day on Wednesday - it was going to be a big, big storm.  But it wasn't.  And we didn't even get a two-hour delay.  Oh, the disappointment abounded.  I had already gone through my normal mental preparation for the probablility that we wouldn't get a day off, so I wasn't as upset.  But my students?  Oh, so sad.

So yesterday, with another storm forecast for today, students hoped again.  This time, though, the storm wasn't predicted to be nearly as bad, so I didn't even entertain the idea of getting a day off.  I was confident we wouldn't, so instead of waking up every few hours wondering if I'd get a call, I slept, like any other normal night.

And at 4:30, the phone rang.  And not with news of a delay, but of a complete and total cancellation.  What surprising joy! 

I slept until 7 (when I would normally be at school), got up, made some coffee, read.  After I blog, I'll spend some time doing some much needed catch-up work, but at a pace I set, with my PJs and comfy-s on, and the dog curled up on the couch beside me.

Oh, unexpected snow day.  I love you.

It's a day to do things I need to do without feeling guilty about doing them, where no one else has any expectations of me, where I am allowed to be as productive or as lazy as I choose to be. 

It's a chance to sleep-in, to breathe, to rest, in the midst of a busy week, a busy life.  A chance to do so without the standard pressures that a normal day requires.  A chance to be.  To be however I want to be.

What I am thankful for today?   The gift of a snow day.

The gift of a day off.
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