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?




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 :)

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!





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!


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.

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!


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!