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.