Sunny Side of the Street

One girls quest to stay on the right side of the street.

Priorities and Perspective

It’s amazing to me that I can completely ignore this space for 7 months and return to find it’s still here.  I think in all that time I’ve logged in maybe twice.  It’s not for lack of fodder, that’s for sure!  Life continues on whether I write about it or not.  I do miss it though and would really love to get back into writing at least a weekly post, but even that commitment seems huge right now.

The other day I had a conversation with a friend about over committing.  I’ve learned a great lesson these past months.  Really, as with most lessons, it’s a cumulative sort of thing that takes years and years of learning some things and unlearning others.  What I’ve come to understand is that you can choose to do a few things well, or a lot of things either mediocre or even poorly.  That’s what I’ve been doing lately.  Making the choice to do my best with the few.  It was something God was clearly working out in me without my even realizing what was happening.  I’ve pared the things in my life down to a few things that I’m pouring my all into and they are going very well.  The other stuff has gone by the wayside.  Not forgotten, but just not a big priority anymore.  Obviously The Sunny Side was one of those things!  Media in general has been one of those things.

For the numerous friends and family I keep in touch with through the internet, mostly facebook, I feel like I’ve failed you.  At least as far as the definition of a friend goes.  You’ve all been in my thoughts and I’ve prayed for you as you’ve come to mind, but keeping the lines of communication going were more than I could manage, and for that I apologize.  It took a year of therapy, medication, lots of prayer and reprioritizing to understand that if I over commit myself, even with the mental lists and expectations of myself no one but me knows about, I start to break down.  And then I’m no good to anyone!

In general I think I’ve finally learned balance.  It’s taken YEARS for me to feel like I’ve gotten to a good place where balance in life is concerned!  It’s a good feeling though :)  I’m not saying I’ve arrived completely, until I’m in heaven, that will never be the case.  The scales tip at times and things are busy beyond my control, but it’s how I handle it that’s made all the difference.  For instance, these past 2 weeks have just been crazy-busy.  The kid’s schedules, Phil working a lot, me working a lot!  It was just normal life stuff on overload.  The thing I kept in mind through it all was that it wouldn’t last forever.  This was NOT going to be how my life was ALL THE TIME.  And here I am, making good on that thought.  Fall break and I’m finally able to sit and write something with some clarity.  Of course there are 18,000 other things I could be doing, but right now this is what I NEED to be doing.

The other thing I’ve found perspective in is that when I keep my “world” small and relatively close I’m a LOT less likely to get overwhelmed or stressed.  In limiting the amount of information I take in, and focusing on what I can directly have an affect on, I feel as though I AM making a difference and doing well.  I say all of this with the basic knowledge that what Jesus says in John 15:5, “Without Me you can do nothing,” is complete truth.  Without Him none of this balance would be found!  It was orchestrated by Him, with His strength, and for His glory.  That truth is the foundation for any good thing that has come or will come from my life…it’s ALL about HIM!

Let me explain what I mean when I say keeping my “world small” or being effective in my “sphere of influence.”  I may overuse quotation marks, but those are the things that I’ve heard others say or I’ve read.  I’m a big reader, but I hate clichés or catch-phrases.  This is how it works out for me (the disclaimer being God may work it out in your life in a different way altogether.)  First I’m a Christ-follower.  That means that it all starts with my relationship with Him.  From there my next priority is my family (husband first, THEN the kids…get that in the right order or you will pay for it at some point ;)  After that it’s what and whom I choose to invest what energy I have left in.  For me that is mostly my job, teaching kids and working with their families, and being an active part of a local church.  After all that, there is very little for anything else.  Truly.  If I extend myself beyond that on a regular basis, I start to lose it.  The connectivity we have in this day and age is a blessing and a curse depending how you use it.  If I spend any amount of time on facebook, I’m going to read about disasters and sad things across the world that people are praying for and concerned about.  That’s a blessing in that people in need are being prayed for in their situations!  The curse comes in that if I read all those things and feel I have to personally pray in detail for each and every one, it will overwhelm me.  Again, this is what I’ve found that I need to do to keep my sanity.  I limit my information intake, and in doing so have become way more effective in praying for and serving the people I physically come in contact with.

I’m blessed that I have good friends who will notice when I’m getting stressed and ask me how I’m doing.  Just knowing someone else cares enough to notice gives me the wherewithal to check myself and make adjustments if needed.  As I said, it has taken YEARS to get to this place!  Stay encouraged if you’re trying to find balance in your life!  It can and will happen if you follow God’s leading and surround yourself with a good support system of people who love God and love you.

And by all means, don’t read this and think I’ve got it all together.  Because I don’t!  I’m a hot mess in general.  To say I’ve found balance in my life means you may come across me in the grocery store looking like I just rolled out of bed (even if it was 16 hours ago) with a list, as opposed to wandering the store aimlessly with no idea what I need to buy.  You might think calling THAT balance is a pretty big exaggeration, but again, for me it’s progress!   And that’s the goal is it not?




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Tiny Talk Tuesday: Snow Storm Edition

I’m finally getting the opportunity to post a legit Tiny Talk Tuesday!  You have a snow storm and nasty cold to thank for that.  I wish I could say I felt better, but I feel worse.  And despite the chiropractor swearing to me that I’ll feel better for it, round two at his office just has me moving an icepack from one part of my back to the other.  Good times.

I’ve been jotting down the funny things my students say on scraps of paper and sticky notes for about three years now.  All of these are in one folder, in a giant jumbled up mess.  Hopefully I don’t repeat any from before.

G- “I’m allergic to clowns.”  “I’m allergic to cries.” “I’m allergic to colored drinks.” (for the record, this kid is not allergic to anything…just stuff he doesn’t like.)

S- “I’m boring in your class.” (translation- I’m bored)

Overheard this conversation in the kitchen center one day:  T- “I live in China and I speak Spanish.”  J- “China is next to my neighbors house.”

We were reviewing who Dr. Seuss was the week of his birthday, and my new student had this to say (with very expressive hand I might add), “Dr. Seuss thoughts of things and wrote lots for childrens. Then he got old and died and they buried him in the incentitary.”  I asked him what the incentitary is and he told me, “It’s where they bury people.”  Got it…cemetary.

L- “I’m going to read ALL of the Dr. Goose books!” (Seuss)

D- “Crocodiles are only real in another state!”

W- “George Washington is a leprechaun and tricky…like Obama in a costume.”  There’s a back story that you need to hear with this one.  A month or so ago, we received a package at the school from A Beka. Since we use their curriculum it was nothing unusual except that when we opened it, we found a framed print of George Washington.  No note, no invoice, nothing.  After letting George sit in the office for another month our director got the bright idea to hang it in the Kindergarten teacher’s room while we were at recess.  It was a funny surprise for her and the kids.  The prank has morphed from that into George being “decked out” in various ways and left in an ususpecting staff member’s office or teacher’s classroom.  This was what George looked like when he made it to my room!  Although the comment about Obama makes no sense at all.

W- “I can eat Polish at home.” Me- “What Polish foods do you eat?” W- “Ketchup and mustard.”

J- “When I grow up I can be two things: a doctor and a cheerleader.  But I think I have to be like, 30, to be a cheerleader.”

S- “I’m not talking to the flag today because my voice will run away.” (one of the many excuses I hear not to have to say the pledge.)

B- “It’s a bulldozer.”  Me- “I thought that’s a dump truck.”  B- “It is a dump truck.  I just call it a bulldozer in French.”

I was explaining that mule is another word for donkey, since mule was one of the two-vowel words in their reading books.  S said, “Mule is how you say horse in Spanish.” 

Hope you got a laugh or at least a smile out of those.  It’s time for dinner and since we’re snowed in, and I feel like garbage…it’s cereal night!  Happy Tuesday :)

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Life By The Numbers

Since January 13th my life has pretty much revolved around numbers.  And for the most part, I’m not good with numbers.  It all started when I joined a Biggest Loser challenge. It’s been a great thing for me.  I know I’m eating healthier, exercising more, and in general feeling much better.  But the numbers!  They’re killing me!  First off, there’s the counting of the calories.  Up until this last week when I totally rebelled and didn’t keep track of my foods for a few days, I was religious in tracking every bite and sip that passed my lips.  After weeks of weighing and measuring food, I’ve gotten pretty good at eyeballing a 4oz serving of chicken.

The most discouraging numbers are the ones on the scale.  Now, I have no shame in telling you how much I weigh.  Some people gasp in shock when weight loss comes up in conversation and I openly share my weight.  It’s just a number.  That’s not the number that bothers me so much.  It’s the inconsistency in the numbers!  When I started way back in January, I was at 207.2lbs.  Now, if its first thing in the morning and all I’ve got on is my birthday suit, I’m at 194.7.  However, if it’s afternoon, and I’m fully clothed, I’m back up to 198.4.  Then, there’s the Saturday morning weigh-in after Zumba.  For the past 3 weeks I haven’t moved more than an ounce up or down from 197.4.  See, that’s a LOT of numbers.  And frankly, I’m sick of them.  I’ll be transitioning from watching numbers to “food pairing”.  I’m not quite sure how this works, but the nutritionist I’ll be meeting with says it’s much better than counting calories. I’m pretty sure she’s not going to talk about “pairing” vanilla ice cream with brownies.

Besides the numbers, I’ve decided to revisit a bit of my youth and start seeing a chiropractor.  All through my teenage years I saw a chiropractor for a myriad of things.  If you’re at all familiar with chiropractic care, what they do pretty much affects everything.  I’ve seen chiropractors do amazing things for people’s health.  The other thing is through a friend’s referral, I got a free consultation appointment.  And free is always good!  The doc took all kinds of x-rays and ran me through a bunch of balance tests (which I totally failed for the record.)  Today I met with him for my free adjustment and to go over my x-rays and his findings.  The doc I’m seeing is super nice and talks fast.  He said he was surprised at how much degeneration he saw on my x-rays (that’s not a good thing) but said it can be helped and doesn’t think it’s time to put me out to pasture (that’s a good thing.)  The adjustment was about what I’d expect…lot’s of popping and cracking.  It made me smile inside when he’d push on my spine and say, “That was a nice pop right there!”  I say “smile inside” because the whole time he was working on my back my face was smashed into that paper cover they put on the table, and I don’t think it was physically possible for me to smile.  And by smashed I mean when I got in my car and looked in the mirror I still had red marks on my forehead.  Besides that, it didn’t exactly feel good.  It didn’t hurt either, but when someone (I don’t care if they are a doctor) grabs your head and says to relax, but looks like they’re about to twist your neck like Jack Bauer would, it’s uncomfortable.  There’s a lot of trust involved.  Since I’m here to type this,  you can be assured I am alive and well.  Ok, alive…not so much well.

I feel like someone beat the crap out of me (pardon my French.)  I’m guessing it was not so much the adjustment, but the massage that followed up the electic-shock-pad thingy and ice.  The ice and shock thingy was fine.  I mean, I got to lay there for 20 minutes in silence.  The massage was what wrecked me.   I was told to go in this room, undress from the waist up and lay face down (ummm…a given!) on the table.  I waited for the nurse to bring me a gown or a paper sheet or something!  No, she just came back and looked surprised that I hadn’t closed the door yet.  Her parting words were, “Cameron will knock before he comes in.”  Huh? What?  He? As in a guy?!?   I stood there a minute thinking really hard and second guessing if she actually said I needed to remove any clothing.  In the end I did as I was told and despite being a bit awkward for me, Cameron massaged every kink and knot out of my shoulders and neck, in the process telling me that his wife is a teacher too and teachers have the most problems with their shoulders and necks.  Ok then.  I prefer silence in awkward situations, thanks anyway.  The good news is with my face smashed in yet another table, and my sinuses completely plugged up, I couldn’t have kept the conversation going had I been crazy enough to want to.  The grand finale was trying to hear and understand through my clogged ears why this guy was talking about taping me up.  I was very confused.  He meant it.  I now have some kind of tape across the back of my neck and shoulders, and down onto my back.  It’s weird.  And itchy.  All I heard was “if you shower pat it dry” and something about “two to five days”.   Alrighty then.

Through this harrowing tale I’ve failed to mention I went to bed last night with a tickle in my throat, only to spend the night tossing and turning because I couldn’t breathe through my nose.  I woke up feeling pretty bad.  I have caught Alisha’s cold.  By the end of the day I felt even worse.  Right now my sinuses are completely plugged, my ears hurt, my head hurts, my throat is scratchy and my entire back, neck, and shoulders ache.  In other words, whaaaaaaaaa!

I’ll be taking some Nyquil very soon.  And praying very, very hard that this snow storm they’re predicting actually happens and we have a snow day.  Please, please, Lord, let it be so!




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I’m always hesitant to write when I’ve had a rough week.  I fear my inner Eeyore will take over and drag you all down with me.  It’s not that this week was horrible, just very, very trying.  In all sorts of ways.  Bottom line is it’s Friday again, I made it through another week, and I am tired.  I just want to sleep.  For a long, long time.  If I could…which I doubt (there is in fact a little, black rain cloud about my head right now.)  (And if you’re not a Winnie-the-Pooh fan, all of that just went right over your head…with that little, black cloud.)

So…in an effort to get something (anything) written, I’m going to go all random on you.  Let’s hope I can keep my thoughts cohesive enough to get through…let’s say…5 random thoughts.

1. Biggest Loser-   I’ve really enjoyed being part of the biggest loser challenge with my friend, and have gotten to meet some great people in the process.  As far as the whole weight loss thing, it’s happening, but at the rate an iceberg melts in Antarctica.  I’ve been journaling every bite and calorie using  It’s a great app, but really depressing when you “eat your emotions” (Albanese double, dipped chocolate covered peanuts) and still stick to documenting every bite you eat.  Especially when you complete your entries for the day and submit it.  It always tells you, “If every day were like today, you’d weigh _________ in 3 weeks.”  Encouraging on a day when you stay on track.  Not so much when you don’t.  Today I’m in a special kind of quandary.  I haven’t logged anything since Wednesday night.  Which means I have to remember what I ate all day yesterday and today.  I might just call yesterday a wash as it was the hardest day this week.

2. Exercise  We bought an elliptical.  It was exciting the first week we had it.  I used it 3 times before my bursitis started acting up.    I’m not so excited about it any more.  It just taunts me as I do laundry.   The thing is a good workout, I’ll give you that!  I will get back into a routine.  I went to Zumba for the first time last Saturday, and we also had a competition for biggest loser.  There was lots of running, squats, lunges, and other forms of self-imposed torture masqueraded as “fun.”  No, it really was a lot of fun.  However, the reality of it is after not having worked out in months, I did two hours of exercise on Saturday morning.  I could move without pain by Wednesday.  So, what will I do now? Get up tomorrow morning and go to Zumba again.  No competition this week though, so I might be able to manage the elliptical next week.  I did end up having to get a cortisone shot in my hip.  It definitely helped!

3. Downton Abbey- Love that show.  Our dvr was not recording it correctly, and I missed the last half hour, of the second to last episode of this season.  There’s no where I’ve been able to find to watch it online, and I feel a great sense of loss that I missed those 30 minutes.  I know I missed some very important things since the last episode of the season starts off with Downton a whole year later!  What?!?  I miss 30 minutes and it equals a whole year?!?  What the heck??  Then they had the nerve to end the whole season the way they did.  I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who’s still catching up, but…what?!?!?! Why?!?!?!  And if you’ve not yet watched Downton Abbey at all, then you can’t possibly understand why I care about a stupid show so much.  I would say to you…man, are you missing out!

4. New Students-  I’m not sure what phenomenon occurs that makes parents want to enroll their children into a class that has already been going on since August, but it’s happened again.   If you’re moving, I get that, but just to all of a sudden decide, I want my kid in that school?  I don’t get it.  Anyway, both the Kindergarten class and my class got new students in the past week.  Both are boys.  The new guy in my Pre-K is really sweet, and is doing a great job fitting in.  I daily have to remind myself, “There are 16 now, not 15.  16, not 15.”  When I make copies, when I count out projects, or snack cups…it’s mentally taxing.

Ok, so I only made it to 4. I actually fell asleep. No lie.  My phone alert just woke me up to let me know Alisha needs to be at the school in half an hour for a planetarium show.   Then…I’m going back to sleep!


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Permission to Fail

It’s almost 6:30 and I’m contemplating going to bed.  It hit me all of a sudden today.  That wall.  I don’t really feel like I’ve been going and going and going…   I guess in some ways I have.  Since I started the Biggest Loser Challenge 3 weeks ago I’ve been religiously counting my daily calories.  With the help of, it’s not too hard.  The hard part was the first two weeks and adjusting to my new eating habits.  I feel like I’ve got that down, so now it’s time to add in phase 2: exercise.

Since I know myself SO well, and I know I tend to be an all or nothing personality, I purposed to go about this in a balanced manner.  I haven’t run or worked out in any way, shape, or form in months.  I figured a walk off the pounds dvd from the library might be a good way to ease back into things.  I’m LOL at that now.  After work yesterday I did the 30 minute express video.  It was a 2 mile walk with interval resistance training with a stretchy band.   I felt good while I was doing it!  I felt good afterwords.  So good in fact, that I decided to do some planks.  And try to do a push-up.  That’s right. Just one.  I’m told if I keep trying every day, eventually I’ll be strong enough to do, maybe 2.  So far I’ve managed about 1/2 a push-up.  That’s where you get in a push-up position, start to bend your arms and go down, then realize if you continue in that downward motion your chest will hit the floor, but you won’t be able to get back up.  Thus, you only go half way down.  It’s safer that way really.   I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

I was doing so well yesterday, and now today just feels like one big fail.  Yesterday my morning Bible study time was inspired!  Today I had trouble focusing and staying awake.  Yesterday I was full of energy!  Today I’m fighting to stay vertical.  What happened??  Nothing notable that I can tell.  The other big fail today is that in all my “trying to change my life” thoughts, I also decided to try a new method of keeping the house clean.  Or at least our family’s version of clean.  For the most part if it’s not sticky or visibly disgusting, we leave it alone.  Meaning my house gets a good cleaning maybe once every other month.  No lie.  I’m speaking truth here.  That may be gross to you, but it’s just reality for us.  We keep things picked up, but I’m talking about sweeping, mopping, dusting…that kind of stuff.  It’s gotten to the point where I feel like I need to be a grown up about this.  I have a plan.  If I clean one room a day, the whole house should stay clean enough that if anyone drops by, I can let them in the door.  This sounded like a good plan.  I even cleaned the bathroom after my workout yesterday (all that energy, don’t you know.)  Today was supposed to be kitchen cleaning day.  Shoot.  The only thing I did in the kitchen when I got home from work today was put down my lunch bag, and make some coffee and a pb&j sandwich (totally blew my calories for the day!)

The kids just came in my room to ask if I was making dinner, took one look at me, said, “Nevermind,” and left.

Today I’m giving myself permission to fail.  Fail at my calorie counting. Fail at my new cleaning schedule.  Failure to exercise.  I’m actually quite ok with that.  See, I know a secret.  I might fail today, but I’m not a failure.  Tomorrow (after a good night’s rest and some much-needed down time) I can get back on track.  That’s the beauty of grace.

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Now I’ve Gone and Done It!

exercise cartoonI don’t make New Years resolutions.  I get really annoyed watching the same people I know, say the same thing every year, and they last all of 2 months before they quit.  Of course they don’t call it quitting, no, it’s more of an “I’ve just changed my mind about this thing” type of quitting.  Besides, I like to go against the crowd.  So, while everyone has been joining the gym, juicing, and trying to better themselves in 2013, I’ve done nothing of the sort.  If anything, I’ve been sitting around more (reading), eating worse (I’m tired of trying to figure out how to eat gluten-free in a house of picky non-gf people), and am back up to drinking too much coffee every day.  However, I’m not one to pass up an opportunity when it presents itself.

It no secret that I’m unhappy with my slow, but steady increase in weight and inches since I stopped running months ago.  It’s not just about the weight.  I don’t feel as good.  I’ve been wanting to find some activity I can do that won’t make my hips and ankle hurt worse than they already do.  I’ve had some ideas of things I could do, but it’s been months of me just not doing anything to make it happen.  A friend told me she’s joining a team of ladies in a Biggest Loser challenge at a local church.  As is typical for me, I scoffed at anything attached to the Biggest Loser name.  I’m not a fan of the show by any stretch of the imagination.  I can’t stand “reality” tv.  Especially that show.   That aside, this friend told me who the other ladies were.  I know them, and they’re a lot of fun.  Then she told me for $35 you get a t-shirt, participation in challenges, prizes, and the thing that clinched it for me…Zumba classes on Saturdays.  The last place I thought about taking a Zumba class was $7 a class.  That’s crazy.  But, the last time I lost a significant amount of weight was when I was part of a step aerobics class.  I need a class atmosphere.  I need other people I know in the trenches with me.  So…I signed on.

Tomorrow is our first weigh-in, complete with measurement taking and a “before” pic.  Lord, have mercy!  It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything like this.  About 13 years to be exact.  I’m a little scared.  But also a little excited.  I need to do this for me, and the fact that I want to is the only reason I think it might work.

Besides the Zumba classes once a week, I have a dear friend who is going to let me use her elliptical while she gives Bekah her weekly piano lesson.  That’s 2 days of moving down.  I stopped at the library today to peruse the fitness DVDs.  I bypassed all the ones that had “steel” in the title, and also the ones for “idiots”.  What I ended up checking out was a 15 minute express dance workout, and two walk away the pounds (or some such title) to try this week.  I figure if I can switch it up enough, I won’t get bored. The video that would probably be the most fun in my  opinion is Richard Simmons classic, “Sweatin’ To the Oldies.”  However, I was just too embarrassed to check it out.  I couldn’t do it.  My goal (and I hate using that word) is to move (not exercise) for at least 15 minutes a day, 6 days a week.  I know…it’s just words, but the way I’m wired, the wording can make all the difference.  I hate the word goal because in my messed up mind, I’ve failed at so many goals I’ve made in life, if I call it a “goal” I’ll quit before I’ve started for fear of failure.  And calling it moving instead of exercise might just get it through my thick skull that it ALL does count.  Those extra steps to the store when I park the car in East Jabip count.  When I forget something downstairs and have to go back down and then back up, those steps count too.  I’ve had friends in the field of fitness tell me that for years.  It all adds up.  I’m hoping to make that my theme as I do this.  I think I need to invest in a pedometer.

The rest of today is going to be spent planning out how I’m going to add all this “movement” and healthier eating into our already crazy-busy life.  The day-to-day of it is what I need to plan out.   What am I going to eat for breakfast?  What kind of snacks?  Chocolate?? What about chocolate?? And coffee…I will NOT give that up.  No matter what.  I’ll try to keep you all posted on my (hopeful, fingers crossed) progress.  I hope we can have a team name.  And that it’s something funny.  I’m all about laughing at myself.

Happy Saturday everyone!


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The Joy of Shopping: IKEA

What day is it?  Seriously…I had to look at my phone to figure it out.  Phil was on vacation the week before Christmas, then the girls and I have been on vacation since.  With no set routine or schedule I’m not quite sure what day it actually is.  I like not knowing. I like not having to wear a watch.  Monday is going to be a rough day.  Back to getting up at 5am and being Mrs. Mongold again, not just Lisa.

This morning I was contemplating how much time I “wasted” over the break.  There were so many productive, useful things I could’ve gotten done.  But I didn’t.  I spent WAY too much time watching Nikita and Parenthood, and I’m in the middle of reading my 5th novel since the 21st.  The funny thing is that even though I could have used my time in better ways, I’m fine with how it all turned out.  The weeks leading up to Christmas were constant busyness and being sick.  The beginning of break was constant rest and recovery.  Now I really need to find a happy balance between the two.  Break is almost over and I can literally feel the seconds ticking by.  I don’t want to go back to work.  But I love my students and being a teacher.  I don’t want to go back to a schedule that requires a watch.  But I know if I stay too long without a routine, it’s bad for me, and I tend to spiral into depression.

Ahhhhh…the balance of life.  Why is it so hard??

I’ve been invited to go on a trip to one of my favorite places tomorrow. IKEA!!!  I perused the catalog and the website and have mentally redecorated 2 rooms in my home.  Being realistic about things, I’m going to get this for Alisha’s room, this for the living room, and if Phil approves (fingers crossed) new chairs (either these or these) for the dining room.  Maybe.  I guess dropping hundreds on new dining room chairs right after Christmas in not that realistic, but the ones we have desperately need replacing.   I better find out how big of a vehicle we’re taking!

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And so it begins…

new years eveHappy New Year!  When it comes to new beginnings, who doesn’t reflect and think about what they’d like to do differently?  I’m not one who makes resolutions in the sense of writing them down and really working toward the goals.  I think that’s one thing I need to work on this year.  Recently I’ve realized I’m so afraid of failing I keep myself from some good things.

In years past we’ve celebrated New Years Eve with some good family friends and spent some time writing down things we want to let go of from the past year and then throwing those papers in the wood stove.  We also journaled the things we want to see come about in the next year.  It’s been a few years since we’ve been able to be with those friends on New Years Eve and this year I especially missed that tradition.  We had fun with some other friends last night, playing games and watching the ball drop and the tribute to Dick Clark.  It was fun, but I really missed the meaningful moments of reflection.  So, I’m doing that myself this morning.  Mentally at least.  We don’t have a wood stove or a fire-place, and it’s too darn cold to use the fire pit today.  Besides, it’s 3:00 and I’m still in my pajamas!  So, join me as I take a mental walk through 2012 and remember the best things that happened and the things that need to go up in smoke. Keep in mind my memory being what it is, this may be a short walk.

  • I finally got the help I needed to work through some stuff with the help of a Christian counselor.  I’d say one of the best things I did in 2012!
  • After years of being a follower of Jesus Christ and doing my best to live a life that brings Him glory, for the first time I’ve gotten into the routine of a daily time of prayer and Bible study. By far, this is the one thing that made the most difference in my life this past year!  I believe that, in combination with the therapist, is why I can say I’m in a better place than I’ve ever been.  It feels really good to be going into a new year with that mindset.
  • Watching my girls grow up and finding joy in it.  It’s not like when they were little and I’d marvel at their new words, and their funny sayings.  It’s not like when they were so cute and everything was a “first”.  They’re teenagers now, and honestly, there is very little that is “cute” about these years.  It tough.  It’s trial and error.  It’s not at all in my skill set.  But this past year, I’ve found great joy in seeing them become the people God is crafting them to be.  Sometimes it’s a huge thing that is clearly seen, and other times it’s a small, seemingly unimportant detail that actually has huge implications.  We don’t get this parent/teenager thing right all the time, and at times it’s messy and ugly, but I’ve seen forward motion and that’s what I choose to focus on.  I’ve got really, really good kids!  They are amazing and I am so thankful that God has gifted me to be their mom and graced me to do the job.
  • Something I need to let go of and burn up is the guilt of falling off the healthy wagon…again and again.  I had to go gluten-free this year, not out of choice but out of necessity.  I’m thankful I figured out what needed to be done to stop the constant pain, but it meant not being real clear on how to eat.  I also have had a lot of hip and ankle issues and quit running and exercising in general.  Because of a combination of all of that, I now weigh more than I ever have and am back up to the biggest size I’ve ever been.  I want that to change in this next year, and even have a few ideas about how to make that happen, but I’m afraid to start and then fail.  I know, I’m failing already if I don’t even start.  Like I said…I need to burn up the fear and guilt and just move forward.  My plan is to read the book “Failing Forward” and start walking 15 minutes a day.  Not trying to get my heart rate up or get crazy sweaty, or take away time from other stuff (time I really don’t have), but just to walk.  I can do that.  I’m hoping that by being consistent in that I’ll be able to see at least a little change, and that will compel me to make other changes.  I’d also like to start seeing a nutritionist, but that costs money.  I have learned though, with the therapy, that for me sometimes I need an unbiased person to hold me accountable.
  • This next issue is quite the quagmire.  Relationships.  Ugh…just typing that word brings up so many feelings and thoughts.  There are many things I need to let go of, and many things I need to hold tighter to and commit to making them work.  I’m counting on God to lead me in this area, because He is the only one who can.  I feel as though I’ve let so many people down this past year.  I’ve been a terrible friend and been extremely selfish with my time and energy.  As a result, the friendships I do try to keep up have suffered.  The ones that really didn’t matter went by the wayside, and I’m ok with that.  But as I sit here at the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, I know I really need to decide who my “crew” is going to be.  I need a group of people who I can count on.  Who love me for who I am and despite who I am.  People I can call in the middle of a real or perceived crisis and they will drop everything and be there.  I also know it’s going to take me being all those things for them.  I used to have this with a group of friends, but it’s been years.  Those people are now gone from my life, but I miss that camaraderie, that accountability, that friendship, more than anything.  I also believe that for relationships like that to form, it has to be a God thing.  It’s not something we can manufacture or work up ourselves.  I think we just need to be open and transparent and willing to put what it takes into it.  That’s what I plan on doing this year.

Looking ahead…

  • I want focus on the positive more than the negative, and surround myself with people who try to do the same
  • I want to do more thanking and less complaining
  • I want to be healthy
  • I want to build deep, meaningful relationships
  • I want to find and keep balance in all things

I encourage you to take some time and reflect.  Ask God to show you the good, the bad, and the ugly, then give it over to Him to work it all out.  I promise you’ll be better off for it. Oh, and let me know how it goes!

Here’s to a great year for all of us! (my coffee cup is raised…clink;)



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Where to Begin?

December is undoubtedly one of the busiest months for me.  Organizing and running the school program has a lot to do with that, but so does my inner Martha (Stewart or the Martha of Bible fame…take your pick.)  While I’ve loosened up immensely in the past few years, there’s always that lingering thought in my brain that I need to make Christmas “special” for all the people I know.  Or even those I don’t know.  I guess I truly embrace the Christmas season and want to give to everyone!  From my co-workers, to the girls’ teachers, to the Salvation Army bell ringer at every Walgreens (even if I have to hit each of the 5 Walgreens in a 15 miles stretch of route 30 looking for that ONE thing.) The problem with this mindset is that it becomes overwhelming.  Add in the fact that I’ve been sick for a month, and you have me on the verge of two things: not giving a crap at all, and melting down completely.  I think I’m doing a little better this time around and can be found swinging between those two extremes at any given moment.  Which in my opinion means balance.  As long as I don’t stay at one end of the spectrum for too long, I’m doing ok.

I made it through the LDKA (Laurel Daycare and Kindergarten Academy) staff Christmas party (hosted at my house.)  And I made it through the LDKA Christmas program exactly one week later.  The thing that nearly did me in was the weekend in between those events.  It was my birthday and one of my best friends had gotten us tickets to see “How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical” in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace.  Unfortunately my friend went down with the flu days before the show and I wasn’t feeling so great myself.  In spite of sickness, tiredness, and rain, we planned on heading into Chicago that morning for the matinée show.  Phil had even found a parking garage through the theater’s website that was nearby.  All was going beautifully!   The musical was SO much fun and the theater was amazing.  Another friend had given us both certificates to go eat at The Cheesecake Factory too!  We were really living it up!  After our meal we walked the few blocks to a fancy cupcake shop called, Sprinkles, where I was able to get a gluten free Red Velvet cupcake (sooooo good!)  We did a little shopping on our walk back to the parking garage and got there right around 10:15pm.  Imagine our shock and surprise to find it CLOSED.  That’s right!  Locked up tight with my van inside. I laughed because of course this would happen to me.  We called Phil and asked him what we should do.  He laughed and told us to call when we had a plan.  The plan we came up with was to walk the 4 blocks to millennium station and take the train to Hammond where Phil would have to pick us up.  We went ahead and started walking in the cold and rain, which is awesome for people who are sick and exhausted.  Along the way I saw a La Quinta sign and just for kicks asked about a room.  At $150 a night I was willing to walk 3 more blocks in the rain.  My friend thought that not the best idea (and she was right) so we got a taxi (a first for me) to the train station and took the train home.  Phil picked us up and till it was all said and done I was in bed by 1:30am.

I was serving in the nursery the next morning, so I took Phil’s car and dropped him at  the train station in Gary so he could go get the van.  I got a text as I was leaving church to go home that I needed to pick him up at the train station.  What?!?  Yes folks, the parking garage was closed on Sundays!  First of all, who has ever thought they had to find out what time a parking garage closed??  In a big city?? On a weekend??  Secondly, to stay closed from 6pm on Saturday and not re-open until Monday morning?!?  We repeated this process Monday morning, except super early, so I could make it to work on time.  Thank the Lord Phil was on vacation this week!  After it was all said and done, they took off all the charges and all we ended up paying for the whole mess, was a tip for the valet who finally brought Phil the van.  Lesson learned…never park in the city.  Always take the train!

That same weekend the girls and I had tickets to see FamilyForce 5’s Christmas pageant.  I tried to give one of the girls’ friends the ticket so I could stay home and rest, but no one could go.  So, Sunday night after all that had happened, I was at a concert from 4:00 until 10:00pm.  I did my lesson plans during the opening act.  It was fun, but then again, by that time I had no voice.  Nothing.  Nada.  Not even a squeak was I able to make.  I was getting sicker.  When I’m in this mode I hit a certain point of mentally telling myself I just have to make it till ___________.  And that point was Friday, when school would be done and over till January 7th.

I’m happy to say I did make it through, but it was rough.  I ended up going to the doctor and found out I had a sinus infection, an ear infection, and an acute upper respiratory infection.  I’m doing a lot better thanks to a LOT of sleep and some strong antibiotics. Phil has been great about helping and is as I type, is out with Marissa finishing up some of the Christmas shopping that I wasn’t able to get done.  It’s like running a special op team! I just wish we had those fancy ear thingys!  Instead, they call me and ask me to call such-and-such a store to make sure something is there.  So far they’ve hit the Lighthouse Mall in Michigan city, and many stores in Merrillville.  I love to shop, but I know the traffic and the lines have got to be crazy!  They’re doing an admirable job of checking items off the list and keeping their cool.

My family and friends who live far away will undoubtedly understand why their Christmas gifts are getting to them closer to the New Year.  And Christmas cards…well, I’m pretty sure they’re going to be something like “Merry New Year’s” cards.  I’m so behind.  On everything.  Right now, I don’t care though.  I’m too sleepy.  Which is fine, because I can just go take a nap!

I have lots more stories to tell!  Believe it or not there is more that has happened these past few weeks.  Maybe nothing as exciting as the parking garage incident, but stories none the less.  With 2 weeks off, I hope to make catching you up on the happenings a priority!

I hope you Christmas preparations are joyful and restful!


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It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas…More or Less

elf legsI’m not sure how many days it is until Christmas, nor do I really care at this point.  All I know is there are 9 days until I’m hosting the school’s staff Christmas party at our house, and there are 18 days until the school Christmas program.  Oh, and somewhere in that time I’ll turn 39.

Yesterday I gave myself an early birthday present :)  I spent a few hours at a local spa getting a massage and a haircut.  It. Was. Amazing.  I’ve had massages before, but they were at a chiropractor’s office, and while they were nice, they were nothing like the “spa” experience I had yesterday.  When I arrived I was shown to my locker where there was a lovely, thick robe, and some massaging sandals waiting for me.  Once I was in the comfy robe I was shown to the relaxation room that had massage chairs and given a glass of lemon water and some cucumbers for my eyes.  After 15 minutes in the massage chair my masseusse Kristy, came and got me for my 90 minute massage. It was wonderful!  After my massage I got a haircut and left feeling the most relaxed I have in months.  It was worth every penny!  I did some shopping (fun but costly) and finished out the day at church.  It was a very, very good day!

I wish I could say I feel that good today, but the day after a massage is not nearly as fun.  All those kinks and knots she worked out are sore today. I’m sure it didn’t help that Alisha and I conspired to get all the Christmas stuff out of the attic while my husband was out this morning.  He’s got the cold Marissa and I had last week, and we really didn’t want him to have to help, but if we tried to do it while he was home…you know.  He’s a guy.  Our attic is not easy to get to.  There’s a 2’x2′ access panel in the ceiling of a closet.  I was the one who climbed a ladder, balanced on the shelf, and climbed up into the attic to hand down all the rubbermaid totes.  Of which there are more than a few!  And it was hot.  And I’m about 30 pounds over what I should be.  And I’m not as nimble as I used to be.  It’s 62 here today and in our house it’s 73.  It felt like it was around 80 up there!  The good news is all the stuff is down.  The bad news is the house was a wreck before we got the stuff down.  Now…?  I’m trying to only look at my computer screen so as not to weep and cover my head with a blanket and take a nice long nap praying the Christmas elves will show up with a cleaning lady.

I’m taking this break to write, down a gallon of water, and eat some Pirate’s Booty (good stuff!!) Now that my heart-rate is back to normal and my temperature is not boiling (hormones suck) I have to resume the cleaning, decorating, laundry washing, lesson planning, and Christmas program preparation that is my Sunday.  Maybe I should ask Santa for one of those fancy massage chairs!

How do you usually spend your Sundays?



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