Family Happenings

It’s 32 and sunny with a light dusting of snow on the ground that fell through the night.  My husband just left to run (literally) to the car dealership about a mile and a half away to pick up my van.  It’s fixed: again.  This time they are charging us, which really isn’t fair since there were NO problems with it before they took the engine out to replace something-or-other-engine related 2 weeks ago. Since then two things have gone wrong and needed fixed.  Whatever.  Phil respectfully argued the point with them and they blamed it on the age of the vehicle. Riiiiight.

Anyway.  He didn’t ask ME to drive him there in his car since we’re ALL about ‘fair’ in this family, and I had to get up at 6:45 on a Saturday morning to get Bekah and her friend to the high school to catch the bus to their ISSMA choir competition.  Also, last night after we tried out a new Mexican restaurant near our house, we needed to run to Old Navy to get a nice outfit for Bekah to wear to the competition since her standard uniform for life is jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt.  Phil had us drop him home first.  Meaning I had to take Alisha and Rebekah clothes shopping myself.  I say, share the pain.  However, he did not agree.  So…he is running this morning.  Not because I made him, because he just knows.

Wow…our family is exciting, no?  We also pulled off one of our normal family dinners by leaving not enough time for an actual sit-down restaurant meal when Marissa needed to be dropped off at church for a youth outreach.  They were going to Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago to hand out hats, gloves, blankets, and sandwiches to the homeless.  We ordered our food, then she and Phil inhaled it, then he left to take her to the church while the other girls and I finished our meal.  What was funny about the scenario this time (yes, this is not the first time this has happened) was that it’s a new restaurant, and as soon as they stood up to leave, the wait-staff noticing we still had a lot of food on our table, rushed over, “Is everything ok, sir?  Is there something wrong with your meals?”  They were quite concerned.  I had to laugh at them since they looked devastated.  We explained and then it was fine.

Update: Phil made it home.  He’s mad about the cost of the car repair, but he survived his frigid jog.

Back to the shopping.  Bekah chose a really cute outfit for her choir competition today.  I’d give you a link, but the skirt is not on the Old Navy site.  Which is weird since it was yesterday.  Alisha got a cute shirt, and I got a fleece top that goes with my fleece pj pants for $2.99. Score!  Old Navy stuff is too often trendy, and doesn’t hold up well, but it’s cheap and cheap is what I’m all about these days.

While I’m on the topic of money, we have an opportunity to live it up tonight!  All 3 girls are going to sleepover at one of the youth leaders homes.  But we will not be doing anything other than going to church and back home to catch up on dvr’d episodes (so, so sad that Chuck is over 😦   See, with the dinner out last night, the shopping at Old Navy, the money Bekah needed for lunch at ISSMA today, the van repair, and the money needed to give the girls for dinner and a movie tonight, there is none left for us.  Opportunity or not, it’s all about the bottom line sometimes.  In full disclosure, I spent quite a lot of money this week myself on things I wanted and didn’t need.

Blame it on the coupons and the jeans!  I got the Ulta coupon for 20% off in the mail.  Not that one that excludes 90% of the products in the store, but the one good on almost everything.  I’ve developed a love for Benefit Cosmetics eye shadow and over the past 6 months or so when I get this great coupon, I’ve expanded my collection (for the super curious, I have get figgy, strut, and birthday suit.)  You remember this story about choosing my new eyeshadow color while blinded?  Yeah, that was spending spree #1.  I’ve also fallen in love, yes, love, with a brand of jeans.   When I, the one with a ridiculously horrible self-body image, and low self-esteem can look in the mirror and say, “Man, my butt looks good!”  you buy those jeans.  Cost is really not an issue at this point.  I’ll share my secret with you since a friend told me about them, and I’m all about sharing the love.  The brand is Hydraulic and I get mine at Macy’s (my favorites are the Lilly Slim Straight which aren’t even on their website.)  I’m not sure if they have them in skinny person sizes since I’m not skinny and mine come from the “women’s” section.  They start at 14w and go up.  And they are the bomb.  The bomb I tell you!  I bought two more pairs this week (on sale of course!) since now that I’ve found the unicorn of denim I’m so afraid they will be gone or discontinued or what have you.  This was spending spree #2.

Since I’ve got some awesome new jeans, I needed awesome boots to wear with said jeans.  This is a problem since my favorite tall, black boots have seen better days.  They’re Anne Klein, but they were hand-me-downs which I’ve been wearing for the past 6 years or so.  I’ve been looking to replace them and haven’t found anything I like.  I did find these which are nice and the same shape and style as mine, but mine have neat, white stitching on them, and I still like them better.  And for that price?  I’d better love the new ones!  I decided to try a shoe repair store.  One place told me to just get some new ones, that they were beyond hope.  Another store told me, “40 dollar. I mae lie new.”  A cute, little, older Asian man owns the shop.  He is now supposedly working miracles on my boots.  We shall see.  That was spending spree #3.  So, as you can see, the money has run through my fingers like sand at the seashore this week.  I’m curious…

What do you consider a “spending spree” or what is your weakness when it comes to shopping?


Past My Bedtime

It’s late.  When I decide to write when it’s late and I’m tired…? Well, let’s just say I can barely converse with my family when I’m tired.  Case in point: after running to the grocery store with the girls after school to get the needed ingredients so I could actually make a real dinner (as opposed to cereal and milk) we got home and realized the dog was out of food.  I called Phil at work to find out what kind of food we get for the dog, since that’s “his” job.  He told me we discussed it last evening.  I have no recollection of that discussion.  Nor of us speaking at all.  In my defense, yesterday was long.

I really just wanted to give you all a quick update.  My dad was released from the hospital today and both things they were concerned about (his heart and gall bladder) are fine.  They’ll continue to watch him and do some tests, but he’s home and resting.

I saw the eye guy today.  It was like yesterday…only way more intense.  If you’re at all squeamish about eye stuff, you might want to stop reading now.  My eyes had to be dilated again, and besides the normal tests you have done at the eye doctor, I got my corneas measured.  Wonder how they do that?  Oh, let me tell you!  They numb your eyes with drops (very weird feeling) and then take something that looks like a digital thermometer and place it right on your eyeball.  Yes, that’s right…ON your eyeball.  Then it beeps for a few seconds and they do the other eye.  I was extra special today since I got to have it done not once, but twice!  Special.  I guess the doctor wanted to make sure the readings were what he thought they were.  The outcome is that the weird pulsing in my eye has no real explanation.  He did say that there are some things he sees that could become a problem later in life (he mentioned glaucoma) and wants to see me again in 6 months.  All in all it wasn’t that bad.  The eye stuff, while annoying and slightly uncomfortable never hurts, so I’m cool with that.  The whole driving with dilated eyes thing again was the worst part.  Such is life when you’re the head of transportation in the family.

Wow…look at that. Past my bedtime and I managed to string some words together!  Rest well, my friends.

The Awesome

Today has been simply awesome.  And since sarcasm doesn’t translate very well into written word, I’ll just tell it to you plain…today was not AT ALL awesome.  Today was long and hard and I’m tired.  So much for keeping the Sunny Side positive, eh?  I’ll get to the positives by the end of this post, I promise.  But for now, let me walk you through my day.

My stomach was feeling a little off today and by the time recess rolled around I was literally laying on the floor in the play area praying a wild group of preschoolers would just run me over and put me out of my misery.  Alas, all that happened was much running and therefore time-outs because the running leads to bumping into others which leads to bloody noses and bumped heads.  You get the picture.  When the K teacher came for recess she informed me that one of her students was losing his breakfast all over her classroom this morning and another had a fever.  Great.  I’m hoping whatever germ has afflicted me is NOT the same stomach bug germ that’s going around.  The one clue that all is not right with me is that I only had one cup of coffee this morning.  My thermos and travel mug went completely untouched at work.  What a waste of precious caffeine!  I thought it best to not push things and stuck with tea and water.

After work all I wanted to do was go lay down, but I had an eye doctor appointment.  Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I’ve been having some eye weirdness going on and felt it prudent to get it checked out.  Long story short: I have to see the next level of eye doctor (an opthamologist) and ended up with crazy dilated eyes for hours.  Four and a half hours later and I’m still seeing things fuzzy.  Also, if I get an “extremely bad headache” I’m to go to the ER because that would be considered and emergency.  Ok then.  Not sure what’s up with my eye, but I’m not worried.  I’ll keep you posted though.  Here comes the positive spin…get ready for it…

What can you possibly do when your eyes are dilated and it happens to be a sunny day in NWI?  Well, continue with your errands of course!  I went to the teacher supply store where a nice young man had to read the labels on packages for me, and to Ulta where I trust the blurry, young lady grabbed the correct shade of eyeshadow for me since you know, I couldn’t SEE.  And here’s the best part: I still had to pick the kids up from school (navigating the school pick up line is tough with 20/20 eyesight on a cloudy day!)  and get us all to the dentist for our annual cleanings.  Oh yeah…the fun never stops.  As I was sitting in the dentist’ chair thinking (still with my sunglasses on) about what a crappy day it was and, “Dear Lord, please don’t let my gag reflex kick in…my stomach it’s still not feeling so hot.”  I realized that this was actually not a bad place to be!  I sat there letting my eyes rest for 35 minutes.  I didn’t have to think, just open, close, and swish when told.  See, the positive.  Between the four of us, there are 6 cavities. Not sure how to put a positive spin on that.

Here’s some more positives for you.  I made it.  The kids ate (thanks Chik fil a) and we got home safely.  I am typing this from the comfort of my bed and in my fleece pjs.  God is good!  I did not toss my cookies at the dentist or anywhere else, and while I feel like someone has sucked all the energy out of my body, my fingers and brain are still working just fine.  I’m looking forward to a trip to the kitchen for some tea and toast as soon as I get some energy back.

As a side note, my dad called last night and is in the hospital with chest pain.  Prayers would be greatly appreciated.  I’m going to keep fighting to see the positive in things, even if it takes me typing a million words to do it!

To go out on an even better note, I remember this clip from Brian Regan. Hilarious!


Millions of Words

Apparently yesterday’s writing and posting of a new blog post after so many months of not opened a veritable floodgate of words that have been stored in my head.  I’m having trouble pinning them down into groups that make sense.  Speaking of pinning and groups, have you been on Pinterest yet?  If you tend to be at all obsessive as I am, I would avoid it. I knew what it was, and for months I avoided it, then while on vacation visiting a friend in Philadelphia I caved.  Now it’s my new favorite time sucker and mind numbing waste of time.  You can see my boards here if you so desire.  In defense of Pinterest, I have gotten quite a few ideas that I’ve used in my classroom.  And many more that are pipe dreams.

During my hiatus from writing I didn’t exactly use all my time wisely.  I think the distance from social media helped me to be more mentally in the moment when I was with my family or friends, but in my down time I was as foolish as ever.  Besides Pinterest I got hooked on the show “In Plain Sight” on Netflix.  It’s just so easy to watch episode after episode!  I’m sad to say that the character Mary Shannon is as sarcastic as I am.  The stuff she says (minus the bad words and taking of the Lord’s name in vain) is what I think a lot of the time.  So, so sad.  By nature I’m cynical, untrusting, and sarcasm is a love language to me.  Thank God He’s working on that nature!  In hindsight I probably shouldn’t like that show as much as I do, but hey…if nothing else I can learn how not to be.

Which brings me to something I also wanted to write about…the point of this here blog.  Because of my glass-half-empty, Eeyore personality, I have to daily fight to see the positive.  As a child of God and Christ follower one would think it would come easier to me.  Not really.  The fact that I can see the positive at all is a testament to God’s goodness to me.  That’s why I named this blog the Sunny Side.  Also because I’m an old soul (older than my years on earth anyway) and I love the song.  I’ve thought a lot about this perceived character flaw of mine.  I’ve been dealing with chronic depression for pretty much my whole life, and while I don’t think I’ve let it define me, I do think it affects everything.  Recently while reading 2 Corinthians 12 about Paul’s thorn, I think I better understand some things about myself.  Verses 7-10 in the ESV version (which seems to be the popular version to use these days) says,

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I see my character flaw as a weakness and used to see it as a “bad” thing I needed to get rid of in order to live life to the fullest.  Recently I’ve come to the understanding that it is indeed a weakness, but not necessarily a bad thing.  If God’s glory can best be shown through me as I rely on Him to daily help me live  with chronic depression and a negative attitude, well then, I’ll take it.   That’s my goal. To bring Him glory.  I fail at this often, and have learned the power of apology (given and received.)

These are just a handful of the millions of words floating around my brain today.  I hope they make some sort of sense, and most of all point to the One that it’s all about.

The Silence

For a few months now I’ve been in a very weird place.  Usually I’m a pretty social person and I think some switch flipped when we started going to our new church over a year ago.  I realized something about relationships: they develop over something shared.  Be it space, a job, a church, a class, etc.  Typically it’s a physical place.

With the craze of social networks, new kinds of relationships started to form.  Those people I call “friends” despite the fact that I’ve never met them face to face, or even have spoken to them audibly.  The weird happened when I realized that the scales had tipped and I had more online friends (in people I’d never met) than I did friends in real life.  Now when I use the word friend, it’s with this definition in mind: acquaintance someone we know very little.  Although, I will say with everyone sharing so much about themselves on fb these days, it is possible to feel that someone is a good friend (someone we know quite well.)  When I had this realization, without really thinking it through, I started pulling back from all things social network related.  I stopped blogging.  I would read fb updates to keep up on family happenings and such, but didn’t really post many updates myself.  And twitter…I pretty much stopped that all together.

It wasn’t so much a stand I was taking, or even something I felt I needed to share with others via those sites.  It’s just what I needed to do.  What I found was a profound silence.  It stresses me out at times to know about all the happenings.  I feel guilty when I forget to pray for or can’t help with all the causes and stories that you hear.  20 years ago, you knew what you knew about needs and crisis and world happenings via the news or simply word of mouth from friends, and it was manageable.  With today’s internet and information overload I just couldn’t handle it.  I feel for everyone who’s lost a loved one and every diagnosis of cancer and every orphan in Africa, but the fact is I can do very little to help those situations.  I can send up a quick “arrow” prayer (one of those , “Lord…intervene in this situation…amen.”) or I can send a little money their way, but the reality is my brain can only hold so much information and I don’t have tons of extra money.  My heart can only hold so much hurt for others.  And I was overloaded.

Thus my self-imposed sabbatical from blogging.  All the posts I mentally wrote during that time were either complete downers or laced with sarcasm and much venting about stuff.  Not what I want the Sunny Side to be about.  Not what I want ME to be about!

What I heard God speaking to me about in the vacuum that was created from all that silence was that the areas I CAN do something about are the ones He’s placed right in front of me.  In my world that translates to my family, my job (the students and families I am around), my church family, my neighbors, you know…the  people I see.  The people I can look in the eyes.  The friends I’ve made online are important to me, and I think about them often.  There’s Evan in Florida.  I really hope to take the family to Disney again someday and be able to meet this awesome, young man and his family in person.  There’s Shellie in California who I count as a dear friend who I’ve also never met in person, but I have spoken to on the phone a few times.  There’s Sarah in Hawaii, and Kelly and Mike in Utah who I did get to meet on the Music Boat, but first met as online friends with a music connection.  There’s Robbie, who sent the first Christmas card I received two years in a row (way to be on it, Robbie!) who I’ve also never met.  These are people I count among the “good friend” category, and my time away from the internet has left me missing them greatly.

This past week I felt that familiar tug to write again.  To get my words out here (and I have many!)  Again, it was like someone flipped a switch and I just knew the silence was over.  I’ve learned what I needed to learn from this time.  I need to move ahead and try to find a balance between my online world and my real world friendships.  I need both!  Chances are I will be tipping the  scales one way or another every day, but I’m pretty sure that’s just life.

I’m curious…how do you balance things?  It’s something I’ve always struggled with, how to balance life.