Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Stop Shouting Please

Day 18 and I have missed several days. However, I am not the least bit concerned about it. I have written several days and even written decently on a few of these. I hope today can be one of those decent days because I have found so much poetry in my day today. I have heard from God today in a gentle loving way. There has been much drama in my life from various places in the last few to several weeks. This week has so far been blessedly free of drama. The freedom from drama has given me an opportunity to step back and see the people and emotions behind all of the drama. In seeing the people, I see the pain. 

When Adam sinned, humanity became broken and so did the world. This broken world full of broken people is painful. In our pain, we often lash out. We want to understand why, but that rarely happens. Then with our pain and our lack of answers we try to move forward. In our path forward we encounter people on paths of their own dealing with their own pain. Sometimes our pain and their pain are at odds with each other. Then we start shouting. We want people to hear our pain. We want people to acknowledge what we have been through as valid. Unfortunately, in our shouting we miss their pain and their story. 

So a little less shouting and a little more listening might go a long way. Sit quietly and listen. Things might end up better that way.  

As I sat and listened today, I heard several stories. A podcast about an explosive topic was not explosive, but simply listening and validating. An episode of Murder, She Wrote again dealt with a painful and confrontational subject with listening and understanding. (And of course a murder mystery that Jessica Fletcher solved.) And a video that my son, who is very interested in curse words, found is one of the greatest moments in acting because of the pain and frustration expressed in just a few words. All of these people are dealing with pain and anguish over topics that many people find reasons to shout about. 

But shouting doesn't get us anywhere. So stop shouting and start listening. Listen to people. Hear their pain. Have the courage to sit with it and with them. We will get so much farther that way. The world will be better because sharing pain and grief lightens the load. A lighter and more beautiful world is better for everyone. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Stress Levels Matter

Last night, I finally got the book review posted, so I didn't write on here. This is one of the tips I've learned these last few weeks. Don't pressure myself to do something that is not important to anyone, but myself. That's helped my energy levels. I have been drinking a more water and eaten a little less. That's helped my energy and the way my pants fit. All good things! (Anyone else hear that in Olaf's voice? My daughter is a Frozen addict.)

But did those tiny changes make that much of a difference? I'm not sure. It doesn't seem like that should make so much of a difference. So I started thinking about what else it could be. Less stress. I have had less stress in the last week or so. I have consciously decided to stop worrying about some things and other things have been resolved. So my stress level has gone down quite a bit. I didn't even consciously realize the physical toll the stress was taking on me. That's a big deal. I'm going to have to keep thinking about that for a while.

I have spent more time that needed playing games on Facebook and listening to podcasts, but I'm not going to beat myself up for it. I did accomplish things and my kids are with Nana for the night. Drew and I went out for some ice cream. So spending a couple hours on Facebook games and binging on true crime podcasts is good self care for tonight.

And good self care helps stress levels go down. So whatever your self care looks like, do that because taking care of yourself and managing your stress is a big deal.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Review: A Whole Latte Murder by Caroline Fardig

A Whole Latte MurderA Whole Latte Murder by Caroline Fardig
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I stayed up until 1 am to finish this book and only gave it 3 stars. That might seem a little contradictory and that is a pretty good summary of the book. There are parts of the book that I am completely in love with and there are parts of the book that I detest. The plot is great. The murderer is super evil and not wholly unexpected. Some of the characters are amazing! And some I want to strangle.

The amount of hate I have for some parts of the book makes me think that the author is a genius to get me so emotionally invested in a cozy mystery.

I'm going to get into detail in the next part, so be warned this next part has spoilers.


What I hate ..... Juliet, Pete, the hatred toward Ryder, the constant love quadrangle, and the term "Red Headed She Devil."
I hate how Juliet pushes Ryder away and then gets upset when he acts distant. I hate how Juliet gets injured and then gets upset when people worry about her. I hate the relationship that she and Pete pretend they don't have. They make out and admit they want to be together and then decide the time isn't right, so they push one another to date other people. I hate that Pete is made to be this epic person and just comes off so unsure of everything. He can't make a decision about if he should date, who he should date, how he should treat people, who he should be friends with, etc. I get Ryder isn't liked by everyone and has this dark place that worries people, but seriously everyone hates him and Juliet together? They have their own agendas. It isn't like they are unbiased observers. Show me more of why Ryder is a bad person before you start crucifying him. Juliet needs to stop dating. She doesn't need a man to be valid. She says stuff like that, but doesn't actually do that. It isn't enough to have her pining for Pete, and confused about Ryder, but now she has to be involved with a 3rd guy. It is ridiculous. Please don't introduce any more guys. I hate the term "Red Headed She Devil". Can she please just be angry?

What I love .... Ryder, Stafford, the tie in to book one, and the psychopath killer.
Ryder's character is getting deeper and darker. He is chasing after Amanda's killer, who is a psychopath, and the rest of the world be damned. This is a character that is worth reading about, even if all the other people in the book are awful. I do love the character of Stafford. I think he is being misused because he is a horrid pairing for Juliet. I want to see how things develop for him, but I honestly don't have much hope that things will end happily for him. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it when an author can tie up loose ends from a previous book. I don't mind having loose ends in a book, especially when they serve to further the plot of the entire series. So the fact that this murderer is Amanda's murderer makes me so happy. (Not the murder, but the plot ties.) It gives me so much hope that all the stuff that I hate in this book will get better in the next one. The killer is totally evil, a bit of a mastermind (not quite Moriarty though), and someone you want to see dead, which makes his escape a genius move for the series.

Maybe I'm supposed to be more horrified that Ryder ran off after the murder instead of tending to Juliet. I'm not and maybe that's because I'm so in love with Ryder. At first, I expected him to have back up coming, so he ran off after the murderer and back up would get Juliet. He had no way to know that there were more people hidden in the other room. But then I find out he didn't have back up coming. So I'm a little more horrified, but still not bothered to the amount I probably should be.

I think I'm looking forward to book 4, but a part of me is worried that there will be more of what I hate and less of what I love.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 13, 2016


I have missed 2 days, one on purpose and one on accident. Tuesday night I stayed up way too late to finish a book. A review on that is coming soon. I actually thought I had the review written and saved in my memo app on my phone. I guess I didn't save it, so the review will take a bit longer. Grr... But anyway, since I stayed up way too late on Tuesday, I went to sleep super early on Wednesday.

In the last two days, I have had more water to drink. Today I didn't get home until about 6:30 pm because I had 2 meetings, but I was not exhausted. I still played with the kids, got homework done, and was ready for bed.

I have been listening to a few podcasts and thinking about what to write. I haven't gotten much. I do feel like today was a success because I had a long day and still feel pretty good. Maybe I'm winning this war on tired.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tiny Steps

And I missed another day, but 29 is close enough for me.
I have had a good light lunch for a few days now. My pants already fit a smidge better. Today I chose water for dinner instead of soda. Those are tiny baby steps. I have a plan of how to organize a few things in my classroom which should help. Again it is a tiny step, but tiny is better than nothing.
I will have a series of tiny steps that will lead me to good changes and hopefully more energy. I will celebrate my tiny steps and my good changes. I will not beat myself up for off days.
I can do this.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Goals.... Can I Get There?

I see ways that I am hurting my 'stop being so tired all the time' cause, but I'm not doing much to change that.  I won't make excuses.  It is a lack of self control and I'm not very proud of that. I did make one change this week.  I have stopped pushing myself so hard to finish a book in 10 days or less. I never set out to make that a goal, but somehow it became one. And that is a whole lot of completely unnecessary stress. The books will be there when I have time.
So this week I haven't stayed up late reading or felt guilty about not reading. That is a step forward. I have still found reasons to stay up too late. Being stricter about my bedtime is one more step in the right direction.
Another step in the right direction is to be healthier. I will get morr energy if I take care of myself better. That's a rather obvious statement, but the action part of that is much harder than the saying part of that. Healthier takes time and/or money. I don't have lots of either one. But some small changes can make a big difference. Those small changes don't have to be expensive or time consuming either. Something like not eating spoonfuls of cookie dough from the tub I bought from a fundraiser. (Again obvious, but hard to do.) Also drink more water. Make water my first choice drink.
No one is going to better my life. I need to take control for myself. So I have some small and attainable goals in front of me.
Lord, help me do this.

Friday, October 7, 2016

In Need of Energy

Crap! I missed yesterday. So out of  31 days, I got through 5. That's not much. That makes me feel a little like a failure. I was so excited to get back to this. I can't say that I've been planning, probably because I'm such a pantser, but I still felt like I was putting some good content out there. Writing is good for me and putting space in my life for writing is a good thing.

Space in my life for good things has been hard. I don't want to complain or speak negatively about anyone, but I have been overworked the last little while. That isn't terribly surprising. I'm a teacher and basically every teacher is overworked. I had previously been able to find space and still teach to my personal standards. The last couple years that has been hard. I can see a light, but some of the things that would make it better can't happen right now for various technological reasons. So the light is there, but it is still far away. Another part of the space issue I'm having is my own laziness. I'm not sure how to better energize myself to be a good wife, a good mother, a good teacher, and a good person. This time of my life is exhausting. I'm sure there are plenty of parents out there who remember these years with small children and full time jobs. I know I'm not unique and I know my children will become more independent soooner than I'm ready for and that will provide me with more space. Of course I'm sure that will come with a separate set of issues. But right now, I have an issue of energy and I think I need to "fix" this issue or learn from it in order to move on to the next phase better.

So I know I need to do something, but I have no clue what.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

When You Make Yourself Tired

It is easy to blame other people and other things for being tired, but sometimes you need to look in the mirror. Today, I need to look in the mirror. It is 9:45 and I'm just now starting to type this. Lily went to sleep pretty well, but I sat rocking her for a while longer and looking at Facebook. I eventually turned my phone off and went to talk to Drew. Then I headed to bed with my laptop. I turned in it on and played games on Facebook. Then I finally started typing.

Not only do Facebook games keep me up later than is necessary, but also binge watching NCIS or Murder, She Wrote on Netflix. I have stayed up too late reading books and listening to podcasts or audio books. There are so many good books, podcasts, and TV shows that I want to fit just a few more in before I go to sleep. At times it really seems almost like an obsession. Just one more and I'll be satisfied. Just 10 more minutes and I'll get closer to the ending of this playlist or book.

A part of my obsession to try to finish it instead of sleeping is because there isn't tons of time to myself. So it is a bit selfish and maybe a smidge of my introversion. Other than that, I'm not sure why I'm willing to give up sleep when I know I'm tired. There will be more time in the coming days, so I don't need to fit it all in today. At least that's what I tell myself. Maybe I should start listening myself.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Two Year Olds Don't Sleep

A part of my tired problem is that two year olds don't sleep. At least my two year old doesn't. She doesn't like going to sleep. She doesn't like sleeping in. She doesn't like sleeping all night.
Every night it seems like she needs a different routine. I try to start it the same way, but she doesn't sit still. I go to plan B, C, or D. Sometimes one of those work well. Sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes Drew has to walk her. Sometimes that's not good enough. Eventually she will finally go to sleep.
But most nights she wakes up once or twice. She slept better as a newborn. Some nights she needs a diaper change halfway through the night. Sometimes she is hungry. Sometimes she is cold. Sometimes she is hot. Every so often she rolls out of bed. And rarely she has a bad dream.
In the morning, she is an early riser by nature and isn't a hard sleeper. So if Ike walks down the hallway at the wrong time or if I make too much noise getting ready, she wakes up.
I remember Ben going through this phase and I remember hating it then. Some things never change. I still hate it. Maybe some day soon she will sleep better. Until then I'll probably just keep complaining that two year olds don't sleep.

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

Since Drew was sick, I spent the night on the couch. Ordinarily it is a comfortable couch, but I think I chose the most uncomfortable pillow in the house.  So it was not a good night's sleep. I anticipated a rough day, but it was smoother than expected and I got more done than expected.
Then I came home.
The couple hours between arriving home and getting dinner are tough. The kids are hungry and rowdy. But I have to get homework and a bit of housework done. It is a struggle to balance, but then some days you just have to laugh. Tonight was one of those nights.  
Homework was going well. Ben was nearly done with his reading. Then all that was left was a bit of math practice. Lily was in the bathroom using entirely too much water to wash her hands. I heard her cough and thought she had taken too largeof a drink of water. Then I heard her vomit.  I ran into the bathroom and she was mildly upset. She told me she put soap in her mouth. My immediate reaction was to tell her to keep vomiting. Almost on cue, she did. I put her in the bathtub and told her to keep vomiting until it was all gone. She did and I thanked God that our bodies work this way to protect themselves. I hosed her off in her clothes and the  bathed her for lots of clean. I added a load of laundry to my to do list. Then I went back to finish the homework. 
This was not how I anticipated spending my evening, but sometimes we don't get a choice. And I decided to laugh and thank God. Now I'm ready for sleep. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sick and Tired

So I really thought my post today would be about Lily screaming for a good 15 minutes at about 5:30 am. She wanted to leave her room and see Daddy. I told her no because she needed to go back to sleep and so did I. However, a bit after that, I heard Drew get up and shortly there after get sick.
That changed the whole day. Today was homecoming at church. So there was special music, that we both were a part of. It was also our turn to greet people before the service. There was a lunch after service. We weren't planning on going to that and we were going to my father in law's house. So I didn't fix any food to contribute. That was a rough sketch of the day.
So the special music went on without him. The greeting was a bit rough because I was late and I think I left early. We didn't go eat with my father in law becuase we don't need to make him sick. We did stay and eat lunch there even though I didn't bring food.
I could have felt guilty and overwhelmed about various points in the day. But I didn't. I changed plans at the last minute and just went with it. That was freeing. I didn't get caught up in my head and there was space to allow other things to happen.
Like hearing the encouragement from a church member and the compliments as well. Like enjoying time with church families and my kids. Like hearing, really hearing, a podcast and a YouTube video
So maybe I'm one step closer to conquering this tired thing. Get out of my head and roll with life.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

31 Days of Tired: Worry about Failure

Wow! It is October already and October means 31 days challenge. I wasn't planning on doing this, but sitting here tonight I thought I should do this to get me back in the habit of blogging. I had not considered a topic until just a couple minutes ago. I'm not sure it is a good topic, but I'm going for it anyway. 

In the last little while, I have found myself tired in just about every way possible, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I've tried various things and just can't seem to get out of the funk. So I'll just blog about it for 31 days and see what happens.
Today there was a folk art festival that my art club attended. I say mine becuase I am the sponsor, which has nothing to do with my art ability.  The plan was simple, face painting. A few students, some paint, and some kids. Simple, but maybe too simple. So I was up for 2 and half hours in the middle of the night worrying about all the ways this could fail and all the ways I am currently failing. I got up this morning and did a bunch of chores around the house trying to make up for all those failures I had been going over the night before. That led to some yelling and crying and eventually asking for help. 
It was a long day. I sat down for about 30 minutes in 6 hours, skipped lunch, and got a bit of a sunburn. So tonight I'm totally worn out! 
However, that isn't the end of the story. The end is that asking for help worked. My stress went down and I was able to have fun. The festival was great!  My students were great. The kids and parents were happy. I really can't ask for much more.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Book Review: The Lafayette Sword by Eric Giacometti

The Lafayette SwordThe Lafayette Sword by Eric Giacometti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second in the series with Dectective Antoine Marcas. Again he has found himself chasing a murderer and defending Freemasonry. There is plenty of action and conspiracy. There is also lots of history and nearly too much violence. The ending surprised me and I was strangely satisfied with it. The violence in parts was alnost too much for me to read, but it stopped just before too much. The historical aspects of Nicholas Flamel, the Inquisition, and the connections between France and the United States at its founding were well told and compelling. The villian seemed to be a mastermind that was outplayed at the last minute and the sketchy organization was actually doing the right thing.
This is a great follow up to the first one and continues to turn conspiracies on their ears. I enjoyed the ride through 2 continents and 700 years.

View all my reviews

I really did almost have to put the book down because of the violence, but every time I got close to putting it down, the violence backed down. So it really gets right up close to that line. The historical parts seemed to be a dark view of the time period, but maybe it was just a dark time period. I enjoyed it even though it is a bit outside my normal cozy mystery genre.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What Forgiveness Looks Like

Photo Credit: Mister G.C.
I have been thinking of writing this post for a week or so, but I just haven't made time for it.  I debated on continuing to make time for the blog.  Yesterday I read a post on Facebook from a friend (Yes, it was a beneficial thing on Facebook.). She hadn't shared one of her new projects yet, but Jesus prompted her to share it.  She added some advice, "Don't hide your talents. Put them out there."

I take that to mean maybe I should still set aside time to do this because maybe this is important.

So in the last week or so, I have come across a couple people who didn't want to talk to me.  One probably didn't see me,  but in the past seemed to be reticent to talk to me.  The other one was obviously visibly angered that I was talking to her. The topic was a common one between us,  but now there is some other problem there.  I have no clue what it is and I'm not going to worry about it.  If it was important, these people would talk to me about it.  As it is,  they aren't talking to me about it. Of course, I did quite a bit of thinking about what could be the problem and what I could have or should have done differently. In one case,  I know what it is.  There wasn't anything that could have been done differently. I hate that it may have caused a problem,  but I know I was following God's call. The other I have an idea or two that could have angered the person, but I don't understand the animosity that was the result.  So my mind is clear until the other person discusses it with me. 
What I am left with is that I don't want to live in such a way that I can't greet someone in public.  I am certain that there are legitimate reasons why people would avoid someone that they know in public.  In my life,  I can't say that there are any legitimate reasons to avoid people. There are most certainly people who I have had an issue with,  but I have done the interior work of forgiveness. I have forgiven that person, so I would feel comfortable chatting with them if I should meet them in public. For me in my life, I feel like this is my litmus test of forgiveness. If I can't chat with them in public,  then I haven't forgiven them. 

As I look at that standard, there are two people that don't pass the litmus test. One of the two,  I would chat with, but not because I have forgiven. I would chat with them out of spite. I am happy with where I am in life and I want that person to know I am happy in spite of the wrench they threw in the system.  So I don't feel like my reason to chat with them counts as forgiveness. The second person I wouldn't want to chat with at all.  So that is obviously not forgiveness.

This litmus test might be something you could use in your life if you are working on forgiveness.
How do you work on forgiveness? How do you know you are successful?

Friday, June 10, 2016

One Word Update: Still

Photo Credit: Herman Frantzen

Another year has come to an end. Not a calendar year, but a school year. Graduation was last night and we said goodbye to another group of seniors. Bulletin boards are empty, boxes are packed, furniture is labeled. I am ready to box up this year and let the moving crew do their job to move me into a new classroom. It has been a difficult year for so many different reasons. I have found myself listening to book after book and podcast after podcast in an effort to quiet the noise in the back of my head. I have enjoyed the stories, but the pace of them has been rather frenetic. I can't say exactly why. I'm not certain what it is that I'm running from. Maybe just the list of things I need to do. Maybe the stress of messing up one of those "to do" items. I know I need to set aside some time to stop, time to just listen.

That is the whole reason I chose the word Still or maybe the word chose me. But I haven't done a good job of making that word a reality. I do have another half a year do to better. Maybe with the end of the school year I will find an opportunity to be still. Somehow being still seems overwhelming. I guess that is the nature of change.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Today Is A Day To Remember

Photo Caption: Me

Today I am drinking my coffee and eating a Dunkin Donut. I have been googling how to use Snapchat and posted my first story. In a little bit,  I will eat a Bojangles biscuit because I am spoiled rotten. Later I will give the dog a bath and Drew will clean the cars. Ben will run up the hill to our house from Nana's house. Sometime today I hope to sit down with my library copy of Murder, She Wrote and my ARC of Nick Thacker's next Harvey Bennett novel. We might get a little time in Nana's pool as well. It is a pretty typical holiday around here.

But today is not a typical holiday. Today is Memorial Day. Today is the day we remember the sacrifices of those who have sacrificed their life for our country, our freedoms, and the freedoms of other people and countries. Today I remember Ben Olds and the rest of the crew that was with him.  I remember Jamie Lowe and the 3 other men that died in the reconnaissance mission with him. But I also remember the families of all these men.  I can't imagine the hole that is left in their lives. 
The only thing I know to do is to pass on their stories, so others know. Their sacrifices will not be forgotten. They will not be forgotten.

Thank you.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Is This Life?

Photo Credit: cea+

This week has been exhausting. There has been good stuff that happened too. My son and husband went to Monday Night Raw this week. It was one of those lifetime memory moments. I was so happy for him that I actually teared up. It was just so special. I got to finish a great book and start another one. And those two things have kept me up late and it was good. I have seen Ben playing and Drew coaching youth soccer games. They both do such a great job! It is a joy to spend my Tuesday and Thursday nights watching them.

However, my daughter is teething and it has been raining all week, which has thrown off my dog's bathroom breaks. Those two things have combined to make sleeping through the night nearly impossible. That hasn't been good. I've also had a cough for about 3 weeks. It was probably a virus that turned into a cold or allergies because I have also had some drainage. That hasn't been good.

The good stuff and the bad stuff have combined to make me exhausted. It is also the end of the school year with testing and special days abounding. So taking a sick day isn't going to happen. I'm getting a half sick day today. I might be calling the doctor as well because coughing for 3 weeks probably isn't a good thing. Then tonight I'm going back to be house manager for the drama musical production tonight and tomorrow.

I keep thinking someday things will slow down. I think I won't be this busy forever. At some point in time this week, I stopped myself. I thought maybe it won't slow down. Maybe life will always be this full and this busy. Maybe it will always be this exhausting. Maybe I should stop praying for God to make this easier and pray for God to help me do this well.

What do you think?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday the 13th

I think Friday the 13th has started creeping into the other days of the week. Monday was a sick day because everyone in the house was sick. Wednesday there was a lockdown at the high school. I think that is obviously stressful for many reasons. Everything turned out fine. Everyone involved was amazingly professional. Thursday the wheel bearing in my car was bad and the soccer game was rained out, as in it started pouring about 2 minutes into the game. So far today has been quiet. I have to say that I'm suspicious of the quiet.

Photo Credit: Frédéric BISSON

With all of the stuff going on this week, it would be easy to become discouraged or angry. It would be easy to write a post to complain about all the bad stuff happening.

But it hasn't been a bad week.

There have been low lights, but there have also been highlights. I have listened to Ben and Lily laughing together as they played. I have listened to Ben laughing shortly after he wakes up. (That's an amazing feat because that little boy is not a morning person.) I have listened to Lily laughing as Ike licks her face all over. I have gotten to cuddle with my husband. (Again amazing feat with two little ones in the house.) We have all sat down together and eaten dinner. We have given hugs and kisses. We got caught in a spring rain storm. I have had deep conversations with my son about his worth. I have had conversations with my daughter about her school day.

It has been a good week. So bring on Friday the 13th. I'm ready for you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

When You Can't Dress Yourself

Not only am I getting older, but I really think my mind is starting to go. I am finding it harder and harder to remember things without writing them down. Sure we all have some issues like that, appointments, meetings or other things out of the ordinary need to be written down. This I'm not particularly worried about because that happens to everyone, young or old. It's when I forget to do the obvious things that I start to get worried. As such today is a day that I'm starting to worry about myself.

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day and a part of Teacher Appreciation Week. As a teacher, I look forward to this because I normally get a special lunch or two. As a parent who is also a teacher, this week stresses me out a little. I feel like I should be an expert gift giver because I see behind the scenes. Not only do I need to get a gift for my son's teacher, but what about his extras teachers? They are normally forgotten about. I know because I'm an extras teacher. So I can't forget about them or the teacher's assistants. They need to be appreciated as well. So my gift giving is now up to 6 people. Finding gifts for them isn't a problem. Wrapping said gifts is a problem. I don't have enough bags for all of those and my wrapping paper is all for Christmas. So I wrap it in tissue paper and tie it with a ribbon. It looks pretty good if I do say so myself. But how to do I say the to and from? It's paper, so I just write on there with a Sharpie. Not the nicest thing ever, but it's 6 gifts, 8 including Lily's teachers. And it's the thought that counts, so I write the names on the paper. But what if Ben or whomever is delivering them can't tell who it is for? I'll just go in to the office first thing in the morning. I can point out where the names are and the gifts can go in their boxes. Maybe it would mean more if Ben delivered them, but that seems like a lot for a first grader to do.

So the gifts are wrapped and the plan is set. Now I just need to put aside an extra 10 minutes in my morning. 

You would think getting up 10 minutes earlier would be the easy solution. But easy solutions are not my specialty. And I also have some kind cold virus thing. My throat is scratchy and I don't feel great. So that extra 10 minutes was important this morning. I decided to save time in the clothes department. I have a new skirt I've been wanting to wear. So I grab the skirt and a solid color t-shirt. Simple and quick. I make lunches, get Ben ready, make my coffee, and we are ready to go. Ben knows we have to be out early, so he gets his shoes on without a fuss. The only thing left is for me to put shoes on, which I remember after I have picked up all my bags. I don't have shoes on because at one point in time this morning I had thought about wearing flip flops or flats or maybe even the new tennis shoes I got. So without socks on and with all of my gear on my shoulders, there only seemed to be one solution, flip flops. Now we are ready and out the door 10 minutes early. Win!

On the drive to school, it starts to sprinkle. Flip flops in the rain isn't the best idea. No biggie I'm going to be inside most of the day. It's okay, not a huge problem. I get out of the car to go inside my son's school to deliver the presents. Then Ben says, "Mom, what's all over your shirt?" I look down and see.... 

Actual Stain

spaghetti stains. Big ones. I know I just washed and dried this shirt. That means I forgot to put the stain remover on the shirt before I washed it. So it's pretty much a guarantee that this shirt is stained for good. But more importantly, I have to wear a spaghetti stained shirt all day. There is no time to go home or to run to the store for a new one. So I'm wearing this one all day. At school, I realize that I forgot to pray with Ben this morning too. We pray every school morning. Of course I also get dressed every morning. 

So on a rainy day, I have no coat, flip flops, a spaghetti stained shirt, and an unprayed for child. It might be time to worry. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mama Said There'd Be days Like This

A field trip, a class party, two meetings, a soccer game on the day before pay day with Aunt Flo coming for a visit.

OH it is so hard being an adult! Too much to do in one day. Can I get an amen?

The field trip was great because I got to see some of my students in whole new light. We got to celebrate things together, like making some really cool art and eating a whole burrito when you were the last kid in line and it's almost time to go. (Yes we really did celebrate that.) I got to create art. No rules of what it is supposed to look like or be like. Just here are some cool pieces of wood and some wood glue, create. I got see some amazing photography and folk art. I got spend time in a museum. It was a chance to breathe. The class party went a bit wonky. I can't make one of the meetings. It might rain out the soccer game. But it's all good because art and I got to meet today.

What made your day great today?

P.S. I'll post photos of my art when it is done. Today was just step 1.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Getting better inch by inch

Life as a working mother of 2 young kids is busy. When that job is teaching, the proper adjective would be crazy. (Let's not even go into the other stuff that is going on in life.) It is so easy to just get lost in the stream of things that are going on, to let life live you. I have been guilty of that for much of this school year and probably quite a bit of last school year. Somewhere along the line recently I decided that I wasn't going to let that keep happening. I was going to do something about it. So I'm slowly carving out 5 minutes here and there for enjoyable activities as well as 30 seconds of gratefulness here and there. I'm noticing a difference. I see my life getting better inch by inch.

What am I doing more of?

More reading
More baseball
More walking
More playing with my kids
More enjoying  my kids

So when we are out walking and I see the sun shining on Lily's red hair, I stop. I smile. I tuck that memory away. When Lily uses a new sentence and just sounds so cute, I stop. I smile. I tuck away that memory. Last night when Lily wanted to walk around the track instead of sitting to watch Ben's game. She took my finger and said walk. So I walked. She discovered a stand of pine trees at the top of the hill. She saw and adventure and climbed the tall hill. She got stuck in all the roots and was trying her hardest to figure out how to climb further. I stopped. I smiled. I took a photo and tucked away the memory. I just love my adventurous little girl.

Ben is now 7. He is growing so fast and conquering so many things. First grade has not been easy for him. His writing was behind and general expression of ideas as well. So we have worked so hard with him and he is doing fabulous. His allergies have gotten the best of him this past week. So he went to the doctor Monday and missed school. So yesterday he had extra work to do. Last night he did 2 worksheets that he missed and 4 spelling assignments! He didn't need to do all the spelling assignments, but he was willing to work. So he just kept working for me. What kid does that much work just because you ask him? Mine does. Last night after the game I saw a video of the dolphin in Shedd's Aquarium giving birth. I called Ben over and we watched it again together. He just kept oohing and ahhing over the baby dolphin, talking about how cute it was even when it was just a bit of tail sticking out. Again, I stopped. I smiled. I tucked away the memory. There's more I could say, but I'm not sure I'm ready to publicly share it. Suffice it to say, there are many times in these last few months that have been special. I stop. I smile. I tuck away the memory.

A little bit more good stuff in my day and life looks a little brighter. Actually it looks a lot brighter. So if you need some brightness in your day, look around. Stop. Smile. And tuck away the memory.

Monday, April 11, 2016

I Should be Writing

Photo Credit: Wonderlane

I wrote a post last weekend and had every intention of writing one this weekend. I knew something would come to mind and I would have words to share on here. I've had plenty to share in passionate conversations the last couple nights. And now here I am on Monday morning with the weekend past and the passionate conversation gone. Maybe the late night conversations and early morning wake up calls which contributed to my lack of sleep have also contributed to my lack of wordsmithery this morning.

So I should be writing, but more than that, I should be thinking. I should be capturing thoughts to expand on and stories to share. I should be reserving a space in my mind to start building these posts. Why?

Because I miss this.

I have written very sparsely this school year. In part because of the massive amount of work I had to do. In order to accomplish a textbook-less, paperless classroom, I have had so much work to do. I have more that I need to do, but it is work that requires quiet and therefore is reserved for work days. So for now, I find myself 'done' with all this extra work. I'm settling into a better paced routine. I'm finding extra minutes in my day. Extra minutes to think and extra minutes to write. I've been thinking that I wanted to get back on here regularly, like once a week. Then last week I even had a few ideas floating around my head. I actually thought of things to say! So I was prepared to be writing. I thought I would be writing. And I look at the blank screen and nothing comes to mind. So I'll be back next week with something better, hopefully.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Book Review: Mug Shot by Caroline Fardig

Mug ShotMug Shot by Caroline Fardig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am just so in love with Juliet! This one had me talking to my e-reader. Juliet is not only at her sleuthing again, but she is more brazen than I remembered her being last time. She is putting her health and wealth on the line for this one. And by the end, she finally seems to be making some good decisions for her love life as well.

I was surprised by the victim, surprised by the victim's secrets, surprised by the suspects (not Pete, but the others), and surprised by the ending. This one is just so good! I do have to say I figured out who was the real murderer about 15 pages before Juliet, but the ending is just so fabulous.

This is considered a cozy mystery and follows a rather predictable pattern. If that is going to bother you, you probably shouldn't read this. If you are interested in a fun read with fun characters and a bit of surprise, you should read this. If you like cozy mysteries, this series should be on your list. It is amazing!

View all my reviews

This series is similar to the series by Cleo Coyle. I figured that out because I read, listened to, one of hers recently. Both series are fabulous even if I get them mixed up sometimes. It might not be a good idea to read 3 different cozy mystery series at the same time. (I also just finished a Josie Prescott mystery.) Amazing literature this isn't, but it isn't supposed to be. It is a cozy mystery which is my favorite formulaic genre fiction. I don't care if the characters are eerily similar and the situation is unrealistic. I still love them! And Juliet is developing into a fabulous character. So if you want a fun mystery read, this is a great one to choose!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Family or Career: What is having it all?

Photo Credit: Quinn Dombrowski

The world tells us that we can have it all, family and career. What it really means is that we can have a career and be successful, powerful, rich, and have some family on the side. That isn't having it all because when you keep trying to do both one of them will end up leaving. So we need to decide which one we want.

We see so many examples on TV, both fictional and non fictional, of people choosing career and losing family. But the media, doesn't focus on that. They don't tell the story that way. They focus on other things, so we don't see the truth. How many times have you heard of a cop, chef, business person, musician lose their family because they are working too many hours? Again in fictional or non-fictional stories. How many times have you heard the story of dad being hard on me because he was a military man or he was a pastor or he was a professor? They aren't defining that man by family terms. They are defining the man by the career.

Maybe it is just an easy story to tell. Maybe fiction writers in books or on TV or in the movies just go to those stories for convenience.

Or maybe they tell those stories because they are the most believable. Those stories are most like us. We don't tell ourselves the truth. We tell ourselves that we are doing okay. We can have a career and family. We tell ourselves that even though others failed, we won't fail. We can do what others can't do.

Let me be one to say, that's a huge lie! You can't have it all, so stop trying.

Actually, redefine what you mean by having it all. Going after a career isn't a bad thing. Dragging other people along, so you can pretend like you have a family while you are going after a career, I think that is a bad thing. Be honest. Do you want to be on top of your career field? Great! Go for it! Do you want a happy healthy beautiful family? Great! Go for it! But don't expect to be on the top of field. Do a job well (because doing a crappy job on purpose isn't cool.) and then go home and do family great!

Redefine what having it all means. Don't listen to what society tells you. They lie a lot. Listen to what God is speaking to your heart. He doesn't lie. Actually he can't lie. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

Monday, March 14, 2016

I Don't Fit In

Throughout large parts of my life, I have been very aware that I don't quite fit in. I am an opinionated introverted Christian sports fan and book lover. That may be a bit simplistic, but it seems like a good summary. Most of the time I am okay with it. I don't want to change myself simply to fit in. I never have wanted to do that. So I don't fit in most places. Normally I am very okay with that. However, there are times when I desperately want people to accept into their group as I am. I don't want to change to fit in, but I do want to fit in. I get frustrated and even angry that I'm not accepted or that some part of me isn't okay.

As a Christian, I know that I am "not of this world." (John 15:19) I can't say there aren't times that I have wanted acceptance in a secular group, classmates, co-workers, etc. It is something that crops up every now and then. That one is an easy one to conquer though. I read the Bible and listen to Jesus' words. I know it isn't me that they are rejecting, but the Holy Spirit living inside of me. I really get that and I'm really okay with that. I just need to remind myself every once in a while that I'm okay with that. In fact in my sermon notes from yesterday, I wrote (twice) "Don't let their rhetoric become yours." Just an emphatic reminder of whose I am.

But then it happens at churches too. Those are the ones that are hard to accept. I know I won't fit into the world, but shouldn't I fit into the church? Shouldn't there be people like me there? Maybe, but maybe not. Churches are still made up of people and people won't be perfected until they are in heaven. So in an imperfect world full of imperfect people, it only makes sense that there are lots of places that I don't fit in. That doesn't make it less frustrating. I know that I'm not going to find people exactly like me, but it would be nice to find someone or even a group that is a little like me. I guess I'll wait for God to bring the right person along and until then I'll just keep praying about it.

And thanks to Lecrae for the courage to keep being me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Book Review: Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy

Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four SeasonsRoots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First thing, I got this from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

So my honest review, this spoke to my heart in a way that I didn't know I needed. The summary didn't seem to fit me. I didn't move into an old farmhouse and didn't have an interest in moving to an old farmhouse. So why would this be for me?

Because it is about so much more than a house!

It is about being a young mother. It is about moving outside of your comfort zone. It is about making connections with your neighbors. It is about making your house a home. It is about accepting where you are and God's plan for you.

"Whoever told me that perfect is only perfect if it lasts?" (Purifoy, 135)

This is just one quote. I had so, so many things underlined. And I feel like there is someone else out there who is going through the same emotions and stressors as me. I am not alone. I genuinely feel so much stronger and ready to face the world and my problems because of this book. I feel ready to face the day and enjoy it. This book spoke to me way deep down in my soul.

If you are stressed out with life and being an adult, this book can help. If you are wondering what in the world God is doing in your life, this book can help. If you just need to know you are not alone, this book can help. So go get it and feel better.

View all my reviews

I just can't emphasize just how special this book is. Maybe everyone comes to this existential crisis when they get to about 35, so maybe my experience isn't unique. But to me, I've never been in a place that I am so sure of myself and so doubtful at the same time. I know there are so many good things I am doing with my life. And I know that all of the stressful stuff that has been going on has a purpose and it will all be okay. Then the other part of me is doubting that I'm putting my energy in the right things. I'm doubting that I'm really headed in the right direction at the right speed. Then this book comes along telling me that I'm not alone and I have time and I'm okay.

Oh this book is so amazing!

Monday, February 15, 2016

The things saving my life right now

Modern Mrs. Darcy posted something a few weeks ago. I thought I would keep a list of things saving me right now as well. What is going on that I need saving from?  Sickness, too much work to do, stress, keeping my son caught up, getting my daughter to the next step in development,  not letting the housework pile on top of me because I have too much to do.  Maybe this is just the regular list of things that happen to young working mothers.  Whatever it is, it is leaving me wanting to cover my head and stay there.  So the idea of having a physical list of things that are holding me together right now is very attractive.  This is my current list:

Frozen soundtrack
Pretty wallpaper for my phone
Alone by Hollyn
The song Jolene and all of its versions
A hot bath
A rag doll
My new Cardinals blanket

So when I feel overwhelmed by my to do list, I pull one of these things off my list, settle down,  and get back to work. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

A few Disney thoughts

I always identified with Belle.....

But then recently I started thinking I might be a little more Elsa than I know.

I think Gaston might be the most dangerous of villains,,,,

But Maleficent is the most powerful and intriguing villain.

 I think Frozen might have the best soundtrack....

But Mulan has the best song.

The best prince might just be Naveen...

But Prince Philip is a close second

Agree/ Disagree? Thoughts of your own?

Monday, January 18, 2016

One Word 2016: Still

My One Word for 2015 was Keeping. Honestly it felt like a huge failure. I don't feel like I grew that much. I did keep the hope through two cancer battles. I did keep the faith in people even when I didn't understand what they were doing. But somehow I felt like something was missing. I felt like I should have done more somehow. Then on New Years Eve, we went out to eat. We had planned to go one place, but got there and it was super crowded. We changed our mind at the last minute and went to a different restaurant. While there was good food, I was more excited about the other servers. Two of them were my former students. I wasn't sure how things would turn out from these two. Now I know it turned out fine. They graduated high school and got good jobs. That is something to be proud of and I told them I was proud of them. Maybe I had something to do with that, so maybe just going about my daily life keeping hope and faith is enough.

So on the last day of 2015, I finally felt like my word meant something. God is so amazing. He is really looking out for us.

So for 2016, the word Still has been the only option in my mind. In the last few months I have felt like I'm running 100 miles an hour. I haven't known how to stop and just be silent. I know I need to do it, but I'm so uncomfortable sitting with my own thoughts right now I just can't make myself. So knowing I need to do something but can't make myself do it seems like just the thing that a new year is made for. So this year, I'm going to be reminded to be still. I need to learn to be okay with silence, with just me and God.

My verse for the year is pretty obvious Psalms 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Reading Preview 2016

My goal for 2016 is to read 70 books. I read that many in 2015, but in years prior to that I had only read 30 or so. I am a bit nervous to throw that number out there, but as long as my library's audiobook app can help me out, then I should be fine. From the books I have shelved either physically or digitally, I have listed the ones that I think I'm the most excited to read. My Reading Preview for 2015 was not even close to what I actually read. So this one may or may not be a list of what I actually read.

Books to Finish:
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
Image result for library of souls
I'm working on finishing several series' that I started. I am enjoying this series more than I expected. Can't wait to finish this book and see how it turns out.

Rampart Street by David Fulmer
Image result for rampart street book
This is book #3 in the Storyville series. It was being tossed out by a friend, so I picked it up. The setting is great, but the plot is disjointed so far. We'll see how it all comes together.

The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley
Image result for the dead key
I wouldn't have thought an abandoned bank would be such a great setting. I'm not fond of the main character, but she may grow on me.

No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel
Image result for no one is here except all of us
I'm listening to this one and worrying that it might get painful. A Jewish community during the beginnings of WWII, but so far it isn't the story you would suspect.

Books I'm Waiting On:
Manners & Mutiny (Audiobook) by Gail Carriger
Image result for gail carriger finishing school
I know the book is out, but I've listened to #2 and #3 in audiobook and LOVED it! So I'm trying to hold out for this one in audio book.

From My Shelves:
The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam S. McHugh
Image result for the listening life embracing attentiveness in a world of distraction
Listening more and listening better. I think this will be good for me.

Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin
Image result for go tell it on the mountain james baldwin book
This has been on my shelf for a while and is obviously a classic. So I think it is time to pick this one up.

Bandersnatch: An Invitation to Explore Your Unconventional Soul by Erika Morrison
Image result for bandersnatch an invitation to explore your unconventional soul
Unconventional soul? I think I am that. I want to know more about it.

Charis: God's Scandalous Grace For Us by Preston Sprinkle
Image result for charis god's scandalous grace for us
I can never read enough about God's grace and this one comes highly recommended.

Murder She Wrote: Margaritas and Mayhem by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain
Image result for murder she wrote margaritas and mayhem
I've read several of these, but this one is supposed to be pretty good. And I always like to take a break from heavy reading.

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Image result for the parasol protectorate
I am in love with her Finishing School series, so I'm going to try another one.

Changeless by Gail Carriger
Image result for the parasol protectorate
And I'm going to finish the series too!

From My Kindle:
All Joy And No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior
Image result for all joy and no fun
There are lots of books about parenthood. Hopefully this one is a good one.

Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole by Angie Smith
Image result for mended whole life
The title looks good and I always love reading about the stories of other women.

The Depths by Nick Thacker
Image result for The depths nick thacker
This is the only Thacker fiction book I haven't read. I will fix that this year.

It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell
Image result for it was me all along andie
This one looked interesting. It was recommended on a blog, but a friend didn't like it much. I guess I'll decide for myself.

From My Good Reads Shelves:
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
Image result for creativity inc
Pretty much anything Pixar says about creativity is something I should know about.

Daily Hazards of a Middle Eastern Wife by Soad Nasr
Image result for Daily hazards of middle eastern wife
I hope I can learn what the life of a Middle Eastern wife is like and I hope I can connect with her as well.

The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Image result for the girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making
Highly recommended fantasy novel and a cool title. Just recently came across this one.

The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard
Image result for library of shadows book
Umm... A library, a mystery, some creepy. Sign me up!

The Quaker Café by Brenda Bevan Remmes
Image result for the quaker cafe
Honestly the title and the blue mug on this one makes me want to read it. And it is set in North Carolina. That's cool.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Image result for shadow and bone
Another fantasy series that was recommended on a blog. I like the idea of Russian elements.

Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
Image result for sorcery and cecelia
Another recommendation from a blog. Actually a couple of them. It seems like fun.