Monday, February 28, 2011

This is not a how-to on friendship

In college, I never would've considered myself  a solitary person.  I had a core groups of friends, and we spent a lot of time together.  Most of our interactions were unspoken, regular occurrences.  Some of them were planned outings (though they were rarely planned by me--if ever).

That, of course, changed in my mid-to-late twenties (and into my 30s).  I don't dislike people, really, but I rarely invite people to hang out and would spend much of my time alone if others did not extend invitations.  In fact, Chris makes fun of me because I'm always resistant to the idea of vacation.  I guess I'm just too used to certain routines.

I don't like talking on the phone, and in person, won't talk if I don't have something to say.  I rarely make small talk, and the act in itself makes me uncomfortable.  Of course, these actions are often interpreted as rude even when I'm not trying to be hateful.

It should go without saying that these things have cost me friendships.  Mostly, I think that's sad, but it's not behavior I withhold for some and inflict on others. 

Of course, some things aren't a matter of personality.

In the past, I was a little over-willing to share my personal feelings.  I thought that honesty was the best policy so OF COURSE you shared what you were going through with your friends.  I have realized, however, that it's not a policy that is iron-clad.  Sometimes I don't share because I don't trust people.  Sometimes it's because it's a need-to-know sort of thing and other times it's simply because my feelings have been treated flippantly in the past.  Nothing hurts worse than to be dealing with a situation that may never go away and to have a "friend" tell you that you need to build a bridge, get over it and concern yourself with her problem which is obviously a much bigger deal.  That's not to say that her problem wasn't a much bigger deal in her mind, but that particular sentiment really hurt me.  Essentially, what had happened to me wasn't traumatic.  It was just a fact of life that could be pushed aside.

So if you've read this far, you're probably wondering why I'm bothering to share any of this information.  Well, I'm glad you asked.  It's to let you know that I don't abandon people.  Generally, my level of interaction doesn't change even if another person's does, but, as stated above, hospitality has never been my strongest suit.  I make my best effort to listen to my friends, even when I don't have a response.  And, if the conversation did not begin with my problems, it's rarely going to end on that note if we've been talking about something you're going through.

I believe in prayer.  I always follow through with it when it's requested, and sometimes when it isn't.  I even believe in encouragement when I have something genuine to say.

But I won't belittle you with worthless small talk just so we can feel like we met our friendship quota for the day.  And if you feel like that makes me a bad friend, I guess that's where life leaves us.

PS.  If you want to participate in Prayer Monday, click here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Prayer Monday--2/28/11


Not a lot to say today.

Prayer Requests
1.  That God would heal my body so it would work the way it's meant to.

2.  My Favorite

3.  That God would prepare the hearts of the women who will be attending Women's Bible study.  As our opening day approaches, I always get a little nervous.

4.  I've been dealing with a bit of anomosity from a few fellow congregants.  I don't want to get into details or disgrace anyone, but I do want to make sure I'm doing the things God has called me to do.  After that, I want to be able to disregard the opinions of others.  I have a real problem concerning myself with the opinions of others when I know what they think is none of my business.  What matters is what God is thinking of me.

5.  We're trying to close on our loan at the bank, but it's requiring a lot of extra time from Chris (to complete projects the bank has declared MUST be done).  We'd like to be finished by the end of the week.  Pray for us.

Prayer
Father, a few women have committed themselves to praying on a daily basis--both for themselves and the requests of others.  I pray that Your will would be clear to them.  Please reveal Yourself this week.  Touch the hearts of those who are making these requests and meet our need for You.

Amen.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Teacher Blogs: Oversharing and the Internet

Several bloggies I follow participate in Joyce's Wednesday Hodgepodge.  This isn't something I have done in the past, but there was a question on today's hodgepodge that garnered quite a bit of attention from me today:

7. Did you hear about the high school English teacher recently suspended for some things she wrote on her personal blog? You can read the story here but in a nutshell she vented a lot of frustration onto her blog. She didn't mention individual students by name but she did make some harsh comments about kids in general and their parents.

What are your thoughts-if you're a parent is your child's teacher online and are you a 'friend' or 'follower' there? If you're a teacher are you on facebook and do you accept or friend students there? How about their parents? If you're a student are you friends with your current or former teachers online? Do any of them have blogs you read? If you're a teacher or a parent do you ever use your blog as a place to vent your frustrations with our educational system? So much to discuss....

First of all, allow me to say that I think it's easy for so many of us to take the moral high ground after an event like this has taken place.  While many of us (I'm a high school teacher) may not have taken our comments to the extent Natalie Munroe did, few of us can wave the non-guilty flag when it comes to venting in any sort of venue--public or non-public.

Personally, I'm not sure what's so over the top about getting frustrated with students because they are, in her personal belief, "rude, disengaged, lazy whiners."  Would I have chosen those words?  Not today.  But there are days when they would seem to be the most fitting.  Many of my students are lazy.  This isn't something I've never said to them, but it must be a taboo word.  Fact is many of us in the educational sphere are struggling with students who carry around a sense of entitlement so large they can barely get through the door.  And it's difficult to make demands when the parents of these children are dogging their every footstep and demanding teachers let up and relax.  And sometimes it's hard to change things in your classroom because a child has very little expectation at home.

But parents?  That's a whole 'nother issue.

Please understand that I am not defending her word choice.  I am defending her right to a personal opinion and the feeling in general.  I've been there.  And also note that I think her random comments for student reviews are a little on the harsh side.  Granted, I haven't lived her week and am unsure as to what she had to endure before those statements were made.  I've had students who definitely made my classroom life miserable and their absences changed the entire tenor of conversation.  On the days they were present, it was probably good that I had a 15 minute drive home.

But sometimes I do wonder if my frustration with NCLB, my aggravation with enabling parents, my suggestions to preservice teachers,  my inbred need to defend myself or my random rant to rude teenagers will outweigh my love for my job and my desire to do it well (too many posts to connect to two small statements).  I do try to use discretion when I write about my job, because I do believe in privacy; however, apparently (or at least that was my impression of this article) anonymity is no longer good enough.  Although I wonder:  if general statements are found distasteful, does that automatically mean the statement-maker should lose his/her job?  Like the article stated, it's murky water.  Plus, it has implications that go way beyond the educational world.

As I was mulling over this topic, I noticed that a few people commented that issues like this are the very reason they homeschool their children.  I've heard it before.  I've even heard people go as far as to say that they homeschool simply because of the problems in the educational system.

Pardon the frankness of my opinion, but I think that's asinine.  Educational institutions may be peppered with their fair share of issues (as is evidenced by this issue in general), but I wonder how that's different from so many other fields and institutions that also have problems.  I've never heard of a United States citizen changing his/her citizenship because our country has problems.  Most people find a way to stick it out in the workplace despite the issues that exist and every church I've ever known of has been riddled with its own set of difficulties.

The difference?  I've never heard of someone "home-churching" their children because the church has problems.

Before you start commenting and complaining that I'm anti-homeschool, keep reading.  I'm not against you homeschooling your children.  I've known families who did it because it was a better fit for the family or the child.  I've known people who homeschooled because they wanted to have more curriculum options or more control over the types of things their children were learning.  I've even heard of parents homeschooling because the school district in which they lived was not up to par and they could do a better job.  If someone believes in any of these reasons, go for it.  But don't use a catch-all to support your homeschooling reasons--particularly if that catch-all applies to a hundred other institutions and establishments.

And please, dear heavens, don't use one teacher as an example for the rest of us.  Frustrated or not, so many of us are still trying to make a difference.  Hopefully, our blogs/facebook pages reflect those feelings as well as the frustrated ones. 

But sometimes I think the positive statements don't have quite the same impact.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fat Tuesday

Typically, Taylor over at The Lumberjack's Wife would post regarding Fat Tuesday and all participants would weigh in (literally and figuratively).  Unfortunately, Taylor's computer is still not working.

BUT I WILL NOT BE DETERRED.

Actually, that's a lie.  Had I gained weight or stayed the same, I probably would be deterred.  Hm.  I might have been deterred if I had something more interesting to say today, too.

But, no.  My life is boring people.  I do things like polyuerethane doors and let the dog outside.  Occasionally I get really exciting and use the microfiber mop to clean my floors or I *shock* shave my legs.  But things have to get pretty spicy around here for something like that to happen (I should probably post a picture of my legs to prove my point.  I've never been a regular shaver.  I just hate it.  Thankfully, all the water issues gave me an excuse).

What was my point?

Right.  Weight.  Not sure how shaving relates to weight loss.  Except if I shaved my legs maybe I would lose another pound or two?  It's something I'll take under advisement.

And while I'm considering it, I'd be glad to share my weight loss for the week:  -3 lbs. 

It probably doesn't sound like much to some of you, but with PCOS, I'm elated.  Normally, I'd be lucky to show a 0.5 lb loss.  Three lbs means I hit the weight loss jackpot.

I haven't been doing anything special.  I weigh every morning, because it's unlikely I'm going to develop anorexia at this stage in my life (Seriously.  If I haven't given up food to this point, why would I start now?  And forget bulimia entirely.  The idea of throwing up...or um...pooping my life away doesn't even sound kinda fun).  My weight in the morning helps me gage what I eat throughout the day and it helps me make more conscientious choices.

Bad news, though.  It's still Tuesday and I'm still fat.  So we have to take the wins as they come.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prayer Monday--2/21/2011


It never fails.  Start something, commit yourself to it and it will become difficult.  At least, that's the way things work for me.  It's been a difficult prayer week here. 

It's not so hard to pray over food, and not in that we're-getting-reading-to-eat-obligatory way.  I mean pray over food in the dear-Heavenly-Father-please-don't-let-me-eat-that way.  I've become mildly more conscientious of what I'm eating so we're going to call that a prayer success.

But there are a lot of requests I'm still waiting for.  Have you ever kept seeking and kept knocking and felt like you were going to wear the door out before anyone answered?  That's where I am right now.

This morning, the scripture in church was out of Ephesians:  "So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants" (Ephesians 5:15-17, The Message).

Prayer is a precursor to step-watching and head-using (my own terms.  You're welcome).  That makes it all the more necessary that we intercede for each other and for ourselves on a daily basis.  Of course, that thought was compounded because I kept reading (yes, when I should've been paying attention.  But put a book in my hands and I'm a hopeless case).  So following is the scripture I wanted to leave with you for today:

"Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own.
Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all
over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace,
faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need
them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same
way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your
brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that
no one falls behind or drops out" (Ephesians 6:13-18).

My Requests
1. I'm asking that God will heal my body so it functions the way it's meant to work.

2. My Favorite.

3. Women's Bible Study begins the first week in March. I'm praying that God will bring the women He has prepared for this season.  So far, I think 10 women are signed up.  Please pray for their hearts.

4. I'm praying for a deeper desire for God and less interest in what others think or the life circumstances they are living that may be different from mine. I don't want to spend my life living in comparison.

5.  Kate will probably mention this, but her uncle is still hospitalized and in need of prayers for healing.

My Praises
1.  My friend, Rin, came through her surgery better than anticipated.  Thank you for your prayers.

2.  I bought a scale on Thursday and have been more aware of my weight and what I have been eating since then.  I don't want to share a gain/loss yet because I don't officially track weight until Thursday.  But I'll keep you updated.

Prayer for this week
Father,
This may seem a strange medium for prayer to some, but we know that you are capable of working all things for good to those who are called according to your purpose.  I just ask that you guide our hearts and minds this week.  Draw us into a closer communion with You and drive us to prayer.  Bring each of our prayer requests into one another's remembrance so that we can pray and support one another.

This week, I am praying in particular for the hearts of the women who are joining Women's Bible Study.  I just ask that you prepare each participant so You can accomplish Your Will in each life.  Please continue to draw the women you have prepared for this season.

I also lift up personal and important requests to you, God.  Hear my heart.

I ask these things in Your name.  Amen.


Ok, Ladies.  Feel free to link up, leave a comment or whatever works for you.  And feel welcome to leave an encouraging comment/scripture for fellow participants. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's Been A Day

And I spent most of it cleaning up things around here on the blog.  I think I finally found a layout I like.  I created a (simple) header, but one I think suits me.

Yellow is my favorite color so I like that there are touches of it all over the blog.  Mostly, I'm excited to create a button for my blog (because it's something I never thought I would be able to do).  If you're a follower (and you have room on your blog), would you mind posting it?  I'd be honored if you would.

Otherwise, leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the changes.  It definitely occupied my day and took my mind off of some things and I'm pretty proud of what I accomplished.  Also, don't be afraid to leave suggestions.  As I learn more about this business, I'd be glad to incorporate new things :)

Blog Updates

I'm trying to find a way to make this blog a little more user friendly. 

Feel free to leave comments about a few of the changes.  The background is probably going to change as soon as I can find something I'm really married to and I'm working on making my own header (which is going to take a significant amount of time).

If you are a first-timer, welcome!  I know nothing about blog design, but I'm doing it anyway :)  Isn't that how all great projects start?

PS.  If anyone knows how to get my sidebar back in the "Home" tab, feel free to comment.  Or, if you can see my sidebar after pressing the "Home" tab, please let me know.

Friday, February 18, 2011

University of Illinois--Champaign/Urbana

Today, over at Kelly's Korner, she's hosting "Show Us Your Life:  Show Us Your Alma Mater."  Since alma mater can refer to any school you attended OR one from which you graduated, I chose the former.

I am a blue and orange girl at heart.  I only attended U of I for a year (hated the weather), but I know all the words to the fight song and I still update myself on their football and basketball teams even while I'm not a sports fan.

I transfered to U of I from a small community college.  Unfortunately, this was one of those schools that would've been easier to attend had I started as a freshman.  By the time I transferred, most people had determined their friend groups and Greek life was a pretty big deal.  I wasn't Greek and found it difficult to make friends given that I was only going to be there for two years.

But I got a great education.  My professors were on all ends of the spectrum--from suit and tie to tie-dye.  My major at the time was Advertising and I certainly learned a lot about looking at life through a hundred different lenses.  In fact, when I transferred to a university closer to home, I received ALL of my credits because the professor in charge said the education I received at U of I was heads and tails above the advertising department at this school.

It was the first place I learned about really taking care of myself and compromising with a roommate.  I cried because I missed home, but I had something that was uniquely mine.  The weather in Champaign is frightful.  I swear it snows up from the ground, but when the weather is nice, you'll never see a more beautiful campus.  The campus is also extremely pedestrian friendly.  I loved that aspect of it.  The quad was gorgeous and there were a ton of groups to get involved in (including a great chapter of InterVarsity).

It was an experience.  There were arguments about Chief Illiniwek.

I always thought it was mildly interesting that the students fighting to rid the university of him were white kids...particularly given that they felt he was insulting to Native American students.  Truthfully, U of I used the Chief in an honorable way.  The dances the mascot learned were actually taught by a Native American man and they were traditional Native American dances.

There was the cafeteria guy who knew exactly what kind of sandwich I wanted.

And there was the literature class I really didn't need to take, but wound up in anyway.  I actually believe that my blind professor and his regular mockery of the TA was one reason I ended up going back to school to major in English.  They had such great banter about the books we were reading.  It reminded me how much I loved to read.

I'm grateful for the experience.  I learned a lot--and not just in the classroom.  Mostly, I learned that we hate all things Michigan ;)

Go Illini!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Need for a Prison Break

A Susan G. Komen commercial just came on the television and now I'm bawling like a baby.  Cancer in any form strikes such a chord of intimidation in my heart.  It hurts me to see people who have to overcome so much and those who don't ever get that opportunity because they are taken before the fight even began.

But that's what life is about isn't it?  I hope you'll pardon my move away from funny today, but I'm not feeling particularly amusing.  I'm feeling disappointed.  I'm feeling sad that there's so much hurt in the world.  I'm feeling upset that there are people who ever have to overcome and others who will never understand what it means to barely make it through.

Like so many other people today, I'm struggling.  My cousin, Armanda, posted about her difficulties with fear yesterday.  Her post made me wonder:  how many of us deal with that same emotion as a response to a hundred different stimuli?

I almost typed "some of us" here, but I guess I need to come clean and tell the truth.  The truth is I.  I am often terrified. 

Mostly, what terrifies me is that God won't.  Let me make something clear.  I know He CAN.  But if I were to get down to the heart and soul of everything that freaks me out, I would tell you that I'm not sure He WILL.

I want Him to.  Desperately.  I ask and keep on asking just like the scripture says.  I pray to keep from being overcome with a deep seated fear that He has actually said no and I've missed it.  I occupy myself with other prayer requests and activities.  Shoot.  I have a whole pile of grading that can attest to that fact.

I know, in scripture, that fear is equated with slavery.  I'm not doubting that there is a bit of a shackle situation going on right now.  And manacles are uncomfortable.  It's not a situation I wallow in because I'm good with it.  I'm not really.  But I don't know how to be.

Some days it rears its ugly head and I try to find ways to occupy myself until I can finally go to bed.  Then I pray that tomorrow will be better. 

Maybe it will be.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weighing the Options

I bought a scale.

Like, to weigh on.

Wait...that ends in a preposition.

On which to weigh.

Hm.  Still sounds fat.

But I did it for my best interest.  I know that I'm more likely to eat what I want if I can't track the weight it puts on my body.  I know that's bad for me.  I know my weight is a problem.  No, I do not need reminders from random passers by.

But I won't lie.  Eating well is hard.  It takes preparation.  And food is exempt from my stellar preparation skills.  That means I eat things like cookies or donuts if they are in front of me.  Accessability.  A necessity in so many areas of life.  Frustration in the diet world.

I've made an honest effort to keep most of that stuff out of my house.  I've been pretty successful.  That doesn't mean I never eat that stuff.  I do work, you know.  But I'm working on it.

Since I started reading the book Made to Crave, I've identified a few really unhealthy behaviors in my life.  Look for me to post about that book in the future.  It's an easy read, but it's definitely an uncomfortable read.  No one wants to read that she is at fault for her own weight gain--particularly when you weigh what I do.  Let's be honest.  Due to PCOS, I'm never going to have a week where I lose 7 or 8 pounds.  But I can lose 1 or 2.  I can still move more.  I can still eat better things.

So I'm committing to that.  Here's what I've decided:

1.  I pack my lunch every day.  I'm going to make sure that at least half of what's in my bag consists of veggies or no-sugar-added fruit.

2.  When I finish eating, I"m not going to sit in the teacher's lounge and visit.  That usually ends in greasy handfuls of popcorn or grazing.  I'm going to leave and maybe walk around the hallway until lunch is over.  That will get rid of some of my stir crazy feelings and keep me from eating more.

3.  I'm going to make a concentrated effort to fill out my online Weight Watchers tracker.  I need to.  I'm paying for it.  I just can't seem to remember to do it on a daily basis.

4.  I'm going to weigh every morning.  I know this isn't a good strategy for some people, but if it's at the forefront of my mind, I'm less likely to swing by McDonald's on my way home and get chicken McNuggets.

-----

On another note, I'm really excited about Prayer Monday.  For those of you intimidated by Mr. Linky, take a breath.  All you have to do is post on your own site and then follow the instructions at the bottom of my post.  Take a look at the bottom of this post if you still have questions.

You do not have to be one of my followers to link up so feel free to join.

Especially remember to pray for one another throughout the week.  It doesn't have to be any big 30 minute ordeal.  I generally pray on my way to work (or when I'm in the shower).  And it's the last thing I do before I go to sleep at night.  Don't let the commitment intimidate you.  Instead, encourage yourself to open the lines of communication with your heavenly Father.  I think it's going to be so cool to see how things affects each of us.

I hope you have a fantastic Thursday.  I have a meeting.

Oh, and for all of you who were wondering:  the lumber store is replacing my weird hinges.  They should be in this week.  No worries.  And my stairs are wonderfully covered...with paint.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dear Eminem, I'm not cleaning out my closet, but I'm painting my stairs. Could you rap about that?

Tonight, I painted my stairs.  Why would I go through such a heinous process?  Because I have no pride.

Haha.  Just kidding.  I don't have any pride, but that has little to do with the stairs in this instance.

Favorite and I are trying to close on our loan at the bank.  Last Friday, the appraiser came out and indicated a few things that must be finished before the bank will close.  Here's where it gets weird.  Apparently, because my stairs are a part of my living area, they have to have a covering.

Don't get me wrong.  Favorite and I have every intention of continuing the hardwood on our basement stairs; however, in order to do stairs, we have to buy several very expensive pieces of nosing.  Since we have yet to put up walls in the basement, and since these walls will allow us to buy fewer pieces of nosing, we have yet to worry about the stairs.  We were more worried about trim and doors.

But no.  The stairs have to be covered.  Thankfully, paint counts.  So I've been painting my basement stairs a lovely shade of brown in hopes that we can get the bigger ticket items done quickly (read:  apron for the garage) so we can close on this loan.

On another note, my pantry doors showed up with 2 different colors of hinges.  Bizarre, no?

Be proud of me, though.  I haven't freaked out about this yet, and I'm managing to hold myself in check.  I've reminded myself that we will get everything done and this loan will close.  If you think of it, though, would you pray for Favorite and I during this particular period.  We're working as fast as we can, but these things are time consuming and we are also trying to conserve a modest savings in case of incidentals.

I also have to confess (since we're doing Prayer Monday and all) that I said a word today that I've been trying to avoid.  Honestly, my mouth is hard to control, and I was really disappointed that I let it slip when I'd been doing so well.

But here's to a new day, a new hour or a new minute.

Monday, February 14, 2011

An Update on Prayer Monday

I don't know the best way to make something like this work so I figure we're all open to trial and error.  I've recently been playing with Mister Linky and I think I've figured it out, so following will be the set-up for next Prayer Monday.

1.  I will offer my prayer requests and a prayer for the week.

2.  You are welcome to link up to my blog after you post your prayer requests and a prayer for the week on your blog.  You are also welcome to use this time as accountability (like Armanda mentioned) and share how faithful you've been to pray this week.  Truthfully, you can also use this as an accountability tool for regular Bible study.  I look for many of my prayers to revolve around the women's study we'll be starting at my church at the beginning of March (and don't forget to contact me if you're interested).

You're also welcome to offer shout-outs or mention that you'll be praying for others this week (per Casey's response--and thanks, Case.  I appreciate all the prayer I can get right now).

3. If you don't want to link up with your blog (or you don't have a blog), feel free to leave a comment after the Prayer Monday post.

I've seen the wonders of prayer, and I'm relying on it in this season of my life.  Things are too stressful without it.  If you're willing to add something else to your prayer list, keep Favorite and me in your heart.  We're trying to close on our house and the bank is being a bit persnickity about what must be finished before THEY'RE willing to close.  We think we can do a few things with minimal effort, but money is a consideration.  We aren't poor, but I don't want to put us in any uncomfortable positions just to finish.

Thanks, Ladies.  If you have any questions, feel free to click "Contact Me" and email me :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Prayer Monday

Prayer.

It's a complete enigma.  I know I need it.  I do it, but probably not with any sort of regularity.  I'm not sure if it changes my heart or moves the heart of God.  Maybe it's both.  But I know it's a serious deal or scripture would not say "for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations" (Isaiah 56:7).

Does that keep me from getting caught up in music or education in church services?  Please.  Have we met?  I can get distracted in a cardboard box by myself.  It's certainly a possibility that I find ways to avoid the very thing I need the most.

Have I mentioned that I need prayer?  Girls (and my 3 obligatory men...including Dad), it shouldn't be a question...more of a statement really.  But I'm sometimes afraid I spend way too much time in prayer for myself when I know there are so many others with needs much greater than mine.

Taylor over at The Lumberjack's Wife regularly has people post for Fat Tuesday.  So I wonder how many of you would be willing to post for Prayer Monday?  I will post prayer requests and a short prayer for the beginning of the week.  I am going to commit to focused prayer at least twice a day (when I get up and before I go to bed).  Please don't think that means I won't pray in between.  I'm just making a concentrated effort to pray for the day ahead and thank Him for what He's given at the end of the day.

You are welcome to post your prayer requests, offer a short prayer for the week and report on your regular prayer progress.  Like Samuel, maybe a few of us could commit to saying, "I will intercede with the LORD for you" (1 Samuel 7:5).

Instead of waiting until tomorrow, I'll go ahead and post for Prayer Monday.

My Prayer Requests
1.  I'm asking that God will heal my body so it functions the way it's meant to work.

2.  My Favorite.

3.  Women's Bible Study begins the first week in March.  I'm praying that God will bring the women He has prepared for this season.

4.  I'm praying for a deeper desire for God and less interest in what others think or the life circumstances they are living that may be different from mine.  I don't want to be flippant, but I need to keep from getting consumed.

5.  My friend, Rin, is having surgery on her back.

Prayer for this week
Father, I have no idea who's going to be participating in Prayer Monday, but I know You laid it on my heart to focus my heart on prayer.  I'm asking that You guide us this week.  Make Your Will clear and make your heart known.  Break our hearts with things that break Yours.  Give us words to speak that will guide others to You.  Give us hearts that desire You and Your Word.

I ask these things in your name.  Amen.

Feel free to contribute.  I'll be looking forward to partnering with you in prayer.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I Need A Cover Up

HEY, KELLY'S KORNER...

My skin is albino and my hair is curly.  Beauty products are obviously a necessity in my life.

But because of my odd skin color, and my horrible skin composition, I have to be really careful about what I use on a regular basis.

Skin Care Routine
I have to admit that sometimes I get a little lazy and forget to wash my face.  *Collective Gasp from the audience*  I read somewhere that little acts like that actually age your face 2 weeks.  So instead of my mere 30 years, I'm like 60.  The days add up when you're a rebel.

I also have really sensitive skin.  Not only is it sensitive, but due to the joy that is PCOS, I get adult acne, AND, in my late 20s, noticed that it was getting drier.  So what do you use for such specialty skin?

1.  I wash my face with Cetaphil and occasionally mix up that routine with the three steps in ProActive.  I can't use ProActive every day because it irritates my already sensitive skin.  Cetaphil is a mild alternative that still gets my skin clean without drying it out.  Generally, I use a little scrubber sponge with the Cetaphil.

2.  Moisturizer.  It's a must ladies.  Skin that is oily benefits from moisturizer because your skin will overproduce oil in an attempt to balance itself.  I'm a big believer in MK moisturizer and I use it religiously.  Occasionally, if my skin is really dry, I'll also use the MK Intense Moisturizing Creme.  Makes a huge difference in the way my skin looks and the way my make-up goes on.

3.  Eye Make-Up Remover.  Please tell me that you are not taking your eye makeup off with soap and water.  Vaseline?  Even worse.  Your eye lashes need to be conditioned JUST LIKE YOUR HAIR.  So you need something that will take care of your makeup AND offer that conditioning.  I use Mary Kay's eye makeup remover religiously, too.  It's awesome.  And my eyelashes look great :)

Adding Color
Is now the time I should tell you that I love makeup and Sephora might be my mecca?  Seriously.  I see bright and shiny lights every time the black and white sign comes into view.  So here are a few of my favorite things.

Foundation.  I have tried just about every foundation known to man.  I have problems finding one that works because HELLO?  Sensitive skin that is the color of paper.  In fact, I had a lady at the Clinique counter make fun of me when I asked for foundation in the color albino.  ANYWAY...I like Bare Minerals, but I can't use it with any consistency.  After a while, it starts to dry my skin.  Then I found a foundation I LOVE.  It's the Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet +.  There's great coverage, but it doesn't clog my pores.  In addition, I found a color that matches my skin tone but doesn't make people wave and say, "Hi, Casper.  Heard your last movie was a flop."  Occasionally, I will add the Bare Minerals mineral veil over my foundation.  But sometimes that's more effort than the day deserves ;) 

Concealer.  I don't use it.  I don't like it.

Foundation Primers.  Ew.  I have yet to find one that doesn't make my makeup peel off in what looks like kleenex residue.  It's gross. 

Blush.  I prefer cream blushes and stains.  I don't really have a favorite.

Eye Make Up.  Oh, girl.  This is where things get nuts in my house.  I LOVE eyeliner and have become a whole hearted convert to all things Urban Decay.  First of all, their Eye Potion (eye primer) is awesome.  My eyeshadow never looked better.  Secondly, their 24/7 Glide on Pencils are UH-MAZE-ING.  They are easy to use without being super greasy.  Oh, and they dry a few minutes after application.  Go get one.  If you hate it, I'll eat my words.

For eyeshadow, I truly believe in Urban Decay.  Their colors are true and they go on nicely.  But, on a whim, I decided to try the Bare Minerals shadow honestly believing I was going to make a big mess in my bathroom.  In two words?  Worth it.  The color is true.  They blend really nicely and they are easy to use (provided you have a nice set of makeup brushes).

For mascara, I will only use Buxom.  In the name of experiment, I did try the DiorShow and it was awesome.  But I constantly felt like a stripper because my eyelashes were just a little TOO much.  Know what I'm sayin'?

My Hair is a Mess
Hair is a big deal for me.  My hair is fine, but I have a lot of it.  It's also curly and I color it every so often.

Cleanliness.  I prefer sulfate free products because 1.  they preserve color and 2.  they make my hair lighter so the curl isn't weighed down.  My favorite is Prevana, but I'm willing to give others a shot.  In the past, I've also used the orange BedHead (I can't remember the name of it).

Volume.  Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus.  No competitors.

Curl.  I use cremes and mousses because I don't like a lot of crunch in my hair.  Right now I'm a fan of the Brocato line.  Tomorrow, that may change.

Set.  Always Sebastian Shapers Plus.  Always.  It keeps things together without making it so stiff it won't move.

It sounds like a crazy routine in the morning, but I've gotten it down to a science.  And I'll occasionally skip a few steps or add a few depending on what is ahead of me that day.

If you drop in, leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts :)  Oh, and welcome.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mimicking Ophelia

YA'LL.

Seriously.  You.  All.

I must be a walking disaster.  Particularly when it comes to water.

Anyone remember our previous water incident?

Well, it appears to me that anything that goes wrong with us is going to be water related.  Staying hydrated may be a problem.

This morning I woke up and turned the water on in the bathtub to get the water nice and hot before I climbed in.

The water came on.  Then it sputtered.  Then my heart vomited while I realized that the water?  Was running out.  As in period.

Thus began the beautiful morning that caused Favorite to hunt for leaks in our house and busted water pipes.

I called my mom and cried, "I thought this stuff was over when we moved out the trailer."  Mom, sympathetic soul that she is, replied, "Huh.  Welcome to home ownership."

So, diligent home owner that he is, Favorite attempted to educate himself about our water pipes and what lies beneath.

Thankfully, the issue was easily fixed.  Turns out, the pipe coming into our house got a little too cold yesterday evening.  Everything else, as we had hoped, was just fine and dandy.  No busted pipes.  No freezing water pouring out of the taps.  A simple set-up with a heat lamp and we were good.

All due to the prayer we prayed this morning.  Turns out the Carpenter knows a thing or two about plumbing.

I'm breathing a hearty sigh of relief.

And going home to take a shower.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Mom is NOT a Kindergarten Teacher

Several hundred hours later, it's clear to me why Billy Mays had cocaine in his system:  he needed the pick-me-up to get all that Orange Glo off his floors.  Ugh.

It's been a sweet day, Bloggies.  It's been the epitome of ordinary, but I've enjoyed every bit of it.  At breakfast this morning, Favorite and I were blessed to run into two of my colleagues.  We ate with my friend, Morgan and her husband which was a good time.  I've missed time with my friends.  To all of you that used to like me:  this house will be done soon.  When that happens, Casey is going to come over and cook copious amounts of awesome food and we'll hang out.

Keep in mind I haven't checked with Casey.

Hm.  I might just be honing my ability to throw people under the bus.  I get it from my mom.

Speaking of, I have a really funny (HIL-AIR-EE-OUS) story about my mom, but I can't post it on the internet.

She'd hurt me.  Or at the very least, embarrass me in important situations.

But the other day she told me she doesn't always read my blog.  So maybe I can get away with it?

*Scrunches face in order to weight the options*

Hm.  I may need her soon.  She's a cleaning machine.  We like cleaning machines around here.

So I'll pass.  But suffice it to say that even though she has a Kindergarten teacher demeanor, it might be a good thing that she doesn't work with kids on a regular basis.

(If we are "real-life" friends, you can meet me for dinner and I'll relay the whole, dirty mess.  My mom will be thrilled, and I PROMISE you'll laugh.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

3rd Post: Super Bowl Commercial

Big Brother is right.  If I were in the market for a new car, I would probably buy this one just because it's a brilliant piece of advertising.  No sex.  No drugs.  And really, no rock 'n' roll.  But honesty.  Brilliant honesty.

2nd Post--YAY

SNOW DAY :)

*Insert my truly awesome dance moves here*

*Cue cheesy grin*

*Go take a nap*

An Ode to Afraid

Yesterday, I had to return to my classroom because I'd left a very important paper sitting on my desk--my grocery list.  As I opened the doors and walked through the familiar hallway, I saw a group of teenagers standing just in front of the stairwell.  Their job that day?  They had walked around the school praying for students and faculty.

I casually commented, "When you're finished, feel free to pray over my classroom door."  I needed to respond to them--to give them a sense of support since we share a belief in Christ.

Matter-of-factly (and in unison...the way only high school students can), they responded, "We already did."

That thought has been circling in my head all morning. 

In general, I keep the private parts of my life off of this blog.  It's public and I don't want to be one of those people who go into sharing overload unless I can give someone else a laugh.  I want to offer encouragement, but occasionally, I need to write to work through circumstances.  But I never want to feel like I'm doing it for sympathy.

That said, I should admit that I'm afraid.  Most of the time, I can lay that fear to the side and accomplish simple tasks, but as I get older, it creeps up on me.  I'm fearful to stay in the same place I've been for the last few years.  It bothers me to know that fear slowly chips away at my ability to believe in a God I really do trust, but struggle to understand.

But yesterday, when those kids said, "We already did," it was a reminder, however flippant, that this show ain't about me.  When I'm scared, I start a cycle of constant concern for me and myself--nothing else.  It's a repetitive and damaging place.

So I'm going to make an effort to put myself in the position those students did.  I want to be able to respond, "I already did," when others need something I can give them.  It's one step in breaking that cycle.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fragmented Thoughts

Lately, there have been no random stories...only fragmented thoughts that refer to the things currently going on in my life.  Tonight is similar.

*  My dad came over tonight to finish putting a closet together.  It was actually kinda nice to have someone around when I got off work.  We ate and I did laundry and put some stuff together for my lunch tomorrow.  Nothing special, but it was kinda nice to not sit here alone.

*  To the student who keeps eyeing me:  Yes, I did say you need to quit mouthing other people.  I believe I said the very same thing to you personally last semester.  Your 130 lbs doesn't scare me.  Neither does your 12 year old face.  Build a bridge and get over it.

*  I have this addiction to the bleu cheese chopped salad at the Outback.  Today, I found a recipe for it and made it myself.  And it's not like that Pasta House salad that never actually tastes like Pasta House salad.  This is JUST LIKE the restaurant version.  Feel free to click the "Contact Me" button and send me a message if you want the recipe :)  UH-MAZE-ING

*  Women's Bible study will be starting soon.  So far, I only have one person signed up.  I'm open to having as many people--young and old--as possible.  Again, feel free to contact me for details.  We'll be studying David:  Seeking a Heart Like His by Beth Moore on Sunday evenings.

*  I just had a couple of books arrive from Amazon and I want to order Made to Crave and read through it.  I have made it my goal to go back and read some of the nonfiction I never did finish:  Rob Bell's Jesus Wants to Save Christians among them.  I'm really going to try to spend some of my free time learning more about Christ.  I always say I'm going to, but, from now on, I'm going to stop worrying about my weight and appearance (with the exception of regular grooming) in order to focus on Christ in my life.  I'll let you know how that works out.

*  I'm thankful for good colleagues.  I feel pretty blessed to have been adopted by the math department, and I've enjoyed redefining my relationship with some of my fellow department members.  It makes for a much more comfortable work environment, and I don't feel like I'm just interrupting them when I have questions.  I still think it's going to be weird if S, S and I end up going to a professional development conference, though.  Something about two guys and one girl that makes that scenario a little uncomfortable.

*  I no longer trust ANY of the weather guys.  Today, the one I trust the most said, "My own opinion is that my confidence in the computer models handling of this storm is just about non-existent."  So I'm still hopeful that I might get a day off to grade and get things together around here.  Here's hoping...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Eclectic

Prepare for no fluidity here.

I can't find my phone.  This wouldn't be a problem, but I know you all are praying for a snow day for me, and I'm not sure how I'm going to know that I'm out when they call me in the morning.  (Yes, I know.  Wishful thinking.)

I need some professional development.  I need someone to teach me how to be a better teacher.  I get how to expect from my students.  I know how to teach them responsibility.  Sometimes I just feel like I fail on the grammar/writing front.

My state's new learning standards freak me out.  Sometimes I think I'm not interpreting them correctly.  Other days I'm afraid I've become dumber.  Some hours I think I previously believed myself more intelligent than I actually am and that's why those standards don't make sense.

Favorite needs to see my previous post and that fun hand-stamped necklace.  Some one give him a heads up.  Thank you :)

Man, I'm selfish.

I like comments.  I especially like comments from new people.  Thanks to those of you who are willing to stop by and visit.  It makes me feel like my words are worthwhile.

I'm done with laundry for today...I don't care that there's a stack on my couch right now.  I'll hang it up tomorrow since I'm not going to have to go to work ;)  (Yeah, yeah, yeah)

We're almost done with the house and I'm REALLY looking forward to finally having a place for everything.  Now I can start thinking about fun things like lamps, tables, pictures and decorative touches.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day to Me?

Except I don't know who Josh and Tara are.  Pretty sure I'd prefer my name and Favorite's name on that necklace.  If you're interested in this for your significant other (or yourself...because I'm pretty sure I have 2 male readers besides my dad), click here.  I understand that the order needs to be placed before February 8th in order to make it in time for your holiday.

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Needs Updates
SNOW!  Guh, guh, guh.
SNOW!  Guh, guh, guh.
SNOW!  Gunh, guh, guh.

And thus concludes my snow dance for the week.

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School Updates
Finally seeing some grading progress.  That makes me feel like less of a loser; however, many of my sophomores are freaking out because they are currently failing my class.  The combination of Shakespeare, the small number of points they have accrued to date and the fact that I still have two papers of theirs to grade have really affected grades in a big way.  Seems to me several of them are putting in less effort than they did last semester and that's just not gonna jive with Julius Caesar.  I think too many of them believed this play would be similar in nature to Romeo and Juliet.  Bless their hearts.  Sometimes  you just have to learn the hard way.

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Reading Updates!
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn--My current read and, so far, a really enjoyable book.

Ordinary People--Interesting, but a little on the boring side.  I think it's worth reading, but I wouldn't have big expectations for a moving piece of literature.

Never Let Me Go--Ishiguro is weird.  But he's I-have-to-know-what's-going-on-in-this-crazy-book weird.  So worth your time.

A Visit from the Goon Squad--Really good until you get to the horizontal parts of the book.  Seriously--you have to turn the book and read the charts to continue in the book.  And I was really enjoying it until I got to that point.  I'll have to get back to you.

Not sure what's next on the list, but I'm going to have to make time to watch Crimson Tide this week in anticipation of English II's next assignment.  Again, feel free to leave your comments or thoughts.

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And that updates us for this weekend.  I'll make an effort to tell you more interesting stories about Favorite and the recent deer fight later this week.

Or, since some of you are now saying, "Deer fight?"  I'll just tell you now.

Since I bought this car, I've gotten a new hood every single year.  The first year, a garbage truck hit me because he was going the wrong way in a one way.  The second year, I hit a deer on my way to Parent/Teacher conferences.  Last night, Favorite missed three deer but the fourth one nailed us.

Good news?  I'm probably not going to need a new hood.  Just a front fender.

And since Lil' Bro is fond of pointing it out--the only original parts on my car are the back bumper, the tailgate, and the back doors.  Pretty much everything else has been replaced due to these accidents.

But truthfully?  I'm just thankful we have insurance that covers instances like these.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Paranoid: The Education Edition

I have this overwhelming need to defend myself in all circumstances.  It's an obsession.  (Add it to the list of things that I'm already obsessive about.  Oh, and I'm still dreaming about water leaking through my house.  Last night it was raining running down the walls.  I had to call my dad and beg him to help Favorite fix it.  Ugh.  I'm hoping I'll stop dreaming that stuff soon.  But it illustrates my point perfectly.)

Anyway.

Favorite is always telling me that there's no need to defend myself.  If I'm right, I'll be right whether someone says I'm wrong or not.

Which is true in THEORY...but isn't always the route I choose.  Instead, I choose to list reasons why I'm right and the other people in the situation are wrong.  I should probably note that I'm getting better about it.  I may obsess about it in my head, but I've managed in a couple of (really, really important) circumstances to keep my mouth shut and let people believe what they will believe.

But I'm unsuccessful on that front in most cases.

Like today.  Today a student kept telling me that he wished he had a different teacher for English because everyone passed that teacher's class the year before.  (He used a particular student as an example).  I wanted to scream for a couple of reasons:

1.  That teacher holds them to the same standard I do.

2.  The student he used as an example actually passed my class two years ago with a fairly high grade.  IN FACT, it was the highest grade he's earned in English to date.

3.  "I" do not fail my students.  The ones who fail generally do so because of the significant amount of zeroes they rack up in my class.  I don't accept late work; however, I believe this is a good way to teach responsibility to my students.  If they can't turn things in, I don't see that it's my responsibility to pass them.  Isn't that common sense?  Isn't it the student's job to develop responsibility for his/her own work?

4.  I am not unrealistic.  Many of my students really struggle with reading comprehension and writing skills; however, if they turn in all their work, make an effort and talk to me when they struggle, they will not fail.  At least, no student who has done these things in the past has failed--even when the comprehension level in question was at the 4th grade level.

Thank you for allowing me to defend myself.  Did I need to?  Probably not, but it burns my rear end that I'm working as hard as I possibly can to be good at what I do and one lazy, aggravated student will disregard all of my hard work because he doesn't want to work.

Oh, paranoia.  How you continue to follow me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Classroom Update

English, as a subject, lends itself to so many creative projects.

I just wish I could come up with more of them.

Currently, English II is creating a shield for a character of their choice in Julius Caesar.  The project requires them to adequately characterize one person in the play and support that characterization with evidence from the play.  It also requires a fair amount of creativity--pictures, design, representation (symbols), etc.  (If you are interested in this project, feel free to hit "Contact Me" and request the materials.)

In a week or two, we will finish the play and I would like to have another interesting activity for them to do.  I would love to show a film and have the students draw some comparisons between the play and the film, but I'm stumped as to which film I should show.  I don't want to show Julius Caesar, because the movie versions are old and horrible and because I don't want this to be a sit-and-watch-but-don't-do-anything activity.  When the freshmen watch Romeo + Juliet, they at least have to look for examples of anachronism.  I'm toying with the idea of Crimson Tide, but the film is rated "R" and that's always a concern when you're talking about sophomores.

Another person at the school suggested Valkyrie, but that movie just doesn't appeal to me at all (and let's face it.  If I'm going to watch a film twice a day until it's over, I need to enjoy it).  So I'm open to suggestions.  I really just want a movie that supports similar themes.  I realize "Mean Girls" is similar, but it's not one I really want to watch in the classroom--at least, I don't think I do.  Thoughts?

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English I is plugging along in Romeo and Juliet.  We are currently working on a newspaper project that takes quite a bit of time and applies several skills.  They have to cite material, summarize scenes, write journalistically, arrange things in a visually pleasing manner and work together for one ultimate goal.  I really like this project because the students take it seriously and I end up with some awesome stuff in the end.

Typically, I do this project at the end of Act III and require them to write 2 main news stories from the Act.  Again, if you want the information, feel free to contact me.

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Gothicism has long been one of my favorite parts of American Literature.  I also love Poe's Perfect Prose and all the necessity behind his long, meandering description.  It requires the students to pay attention to every description and instead of declaring it "boring," they have to develop explanations. 

After "Hop-Frog," we will read "Rappaccini's Daughter."  I generally have them write a critical review of the story that identifies the gothic elements as well as incorporates personal opinion of the piece, but I'm open to suggestion here, too.  I'd like to actually DO something.  I'd rather see them create--especially since we already write so many papers in this class.  But sometimes I just run out of ideas.  Someone, stimulate the creative part of my brain!