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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

 After the topsy turvy upheaval of my life, i find that things are now quite quiet. However, I find I am struggling with a problem I haven't had to face in a long time- acute loneliness. It usually hits sometime after dinner. I am sitting quietly, awaiting bedtime and bam! the aloneless starts to seep under mys skin. It is times like these when I really miss my mom. I miss having another adult to call and to have call me. I even miss my soon-to-be ex hanging around, when he was healthy, he was another person, another mind to connect with. 

The hardest part has been falling asleep. My body is tired, I am perfectly comfortable in bed, fan blowing, and I just can't drift off into dreamland. Last night, I finally got up at around 11, after trying to sleep for over an hour, and took a melatonin and went down to the couch. That seemed to help, and I was alseep within 20 minutes or so. I do hate having to rely on a pill to go to sleep, though, especially when my body is quite tired. I guess, though, taking a melatonin is preferable to that silent, creeping loneliness. It is such an ache, grabbing a slow squeezing control of one's chest. Getting through the evening is the tough part. During the daily hours, something can always been done. There is work, or sitting outside, or entertaining Alec, who "doesn't like being on his own," as he frequently tells me.

Projects around the house have been keeping me somewhat busy. I am trying to pace myself, so what could be done in a day is being completed slowly a little at a time. Mainly this is just to protect my own energy. Laying the floor in the dining room a week and a half ago, completely wiped me out and left me with very sore leg muscles. I don't care to feel that way again soon, so doing things slowly seems to be the trick to not completly exhausting myself.

Social media actually helps a bit, too.Just putting something out there and getting a response helps. Now there are the people who make me cringe every time I see their posts, and that can drag me down a bit (why do I follow them? Well, you know, ,keep your friends close and your enemies closer, they say. While I wouldn't say they are really enemies, they are people who just get my shoulders crunching up and my mouth skewing into an unpleasant angle. I keep them around for soul growth. I figure when their lame-o popular posts stop bugging me, I will have definitive proof of my growth as a human. 

My eyes have been on and off imflammed, and I think I am going to have to face the fact that I just cannot handle contacts anymore. It makes me SO sad, because glasses make my eyes tired and they are inconvenient, especially when dong active things like hiking or wading. I will just have to invest in strudy prescription sunglasses, I guess. Makes me sad. Plus I really like wearing green or hazel contacts to brighten my face a bit. But nope. My eyes are making everything difficult. Photophobia and cringing when the light hits, makes accomplishing ANYTHING very difficult. I left work early because of it yesterday. I just pray my eyes are calmer today. Frozen/cool compresses help ease the pain a bit, but that isn't practical at work with a classroom full of kids. 

By the way, I am working in the library for summer school, and I really just don't like it that much. I like getting to meet all the kids, but I think I prefer actually being in a classroom. My schedule is full, so I am not really bored, so that is a bonus, but it just isn't as satisfying as having one or two groups of students to work with all day. If I do elementary summer school in the future, I think I want a 4/5 classroom to work with.I just love leading classes. It is what I was meant to do. The middle school classes are nice, too. I think that is my frustration with my current job. It isn't that coteaching is bad, or that my coteachers are bad. It is just not where my strength and desire lies. I want to be leading a class independently. While I do also long for my own classroom (that's a huge draw to being a teacher-having that space, it is leading the class itself that I love). I get so frustrated because I can't have that where I am (at least not full time). So I will just keep searching, which sucks, because I want a home-but I want the right home.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

What Does it Mean to Be Mighty?


 



Lately, I have been thinking a lot. In truth, now that I am the only adult in the home, the quietness , though it is rarely ever quiet, leaves a lot of thinking time.

Tonight I sit by the white-orange logs in the firepit where the larger logs burn with a heat and mesmerizing chemical magic which fails for words. An artist would be able to capture it perhaps-an an artist's eye could determine whether the logs burn white or orange, but my untrained eyes, can't distinguish. It is both to me. 


A breeze is brushing the treetops and the stronger gusts bring a shower of maple seeds-helicopters- raining down on me. The moon is just the slightest smidgen shy of full.

It's been weird. A peace invades the house, my house, my castle. I do what I want when I want (as long as it involves kids). I sleep on the couch without excuses, my room smells, not of tobacco, but of cats and me. I don't resent anyone lying on the couch while I work, and I don't have the easy ability to slip out the door and into the car alone anymore. 


People irritate me. I try to explain my feelings-the joyous peace, the occasional crush of loneliness. Others say, "I could see. I could see you were hiding your pain. I knew you were unhappy." It is frustrating. Of course. It is so easy on the outside, isn't it? But I know me. I know my easy ability to wash away the pain, to forgive the past, to see what is so wonderful. Happy posts about flowers and candlelit baths were REAL. They weren't put on for show. The date night selfies were done in fun, not show. The companionship of sitting by the fire, watching a favorite tv show together, that was real. In truth, bad things are rarely bad all the time. If they were, they would end so much sooner. Bad, awful, hurtful things are interspersed with good moments, with laughter, with understanding,, and intimacies. People on the outside don't see that. They don't want to see that. They see the evil, the bad. The bad, I so easily forgot, I had to start keeping a diary to remember what had happened.

And that's fine. It isn't their burden. But it feels as if my cross to bear is the inability to be honest about the pain. About the loneliness. About how hard it is to be the only adult in the house-even when it is easier to not live with someone unstable and unhappy. Nothing is simple. And were people to come over, I would probably make polite conversation, and wait, and watch the clock, wanting my hours back to myself. Companionship is not to have any warm body, but to have the right warm body. Oh, don't get me wrong. There is noone on my mind. And that is difficult, too. My INFPness lives to dream of romance, to get lost in a crush, but there is no one now. Everyone I meet is married or young. And damn, if that isn't dull.

And I thought I could be so happy alone. My own bed. Noone to care that I am gross sometimes, or let the bathroom trash sit way too long. And I am. But my toes tickle for the touch of someone else-don't read into that-I don't have a toe fetish-, my toes are actually just tickling right now. They are propped on the edge of the firepit, probably falling asleep. And it is like some animal urgency, this desire to have someone. I don't really understand it. I am 47. I do not want more children. Why does my mind scan the world for a partner NOW? But alas, the world is made for couples, it is normal to want someone to do something with, I suppose. Restaurants, nights out, travel. The world was made for two.


And I make my stupid jokes, and then I worry that people pity me. And I do hate pity. I want to be adored and babied and yet, I want to be strong and admired. The truth is, even as I write these thoughts-it isn't so bad. I don't feel so sad. I don't cry. I worry. I worry so much about this person who is falling apart and won't let me help. I worry for my four year old who misses his dad. And I feel the sickening disgust that so many of my thoughts are financial. Am I really so cold and removed and calculating as that? Everything is filtered through loss and gain. And then I remind myself that idealism only goes so far. It is okay to think about practical matters. It is okay to fight for the best life possible. All those hurtful words thrown at me-cold, calculating- don't matter. If it is cold to want the best life and stability for my kids, then toss me in a glass of lemonade, because I do. If it is calculating to do what is within my power to keep my kids in a stable home, then I guess that is what I am. There is no shame in caring for their well-being. 

So to be mighty. What is that? Is it being honest and open? Is it carrying on in silence, striving towards the future with grim determination? Is it something in-between? 

According to the Century Dictionary, mighty means:

     Possessed of or endowed with might; having much ability, strength, or power; eminently         strong, powerful, or great: as, a mighty conqueror; a mighty intellect; a man mighty in         argument


I think to be mighty is being honest with oneself, doing the tasks for the sake of those who need me, and just letting the waves wash over and around me. If you don't fight reality, you don't sink. If you go with the flow, eventually the water will part around you, and you just rise and fall with the swell of waves. So I am mighty. I am sad. I am tender. Nostalgia is all around me in this sad house, and yet each morning, I wake up with a smile, and joy for how incredibly amazing this journey continues to be. I snuggle in my soft bed at night in peace, not with tears, but with a feeling of strength and pride. And as much as I long for people to understand exactly what I feel, I know they can only see what the filter of their own experience allows. I am mighty when I am sad, and I am mighty when I move forward. Mightiness doesn't dissipate because I am real and because I feel. Mightiness reigns because I move towards the future, because I know I will survive. There is no self-pity, no surrender. There is just determination to keep on going, to keep on feeling, to keep on pushing towards destiny and seeking God's purpose. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Quintessentially, Unapologetically Me


                                                 Arno Smit on Unsplash


I have been rather quiet on this blog lately. There are several reasons for that which I will get to in a moment. But first let me say, Hello! Spring is in bloom here in my neck of the woods and life is bursting out with vibrant color. This. is. heaven.


I have been quiet on this blog for several reasons. 

First, my personal life has crumbled down in the past six months, although the stirrings of trouble have been brewing for a few years. I don't want to get into the details, but all I will say is, it is hard to smile and give life advice when you feel guilt over not being able to fix everything in your own life. Now, granted, I realize I cannot be held responsible for everything wrong in a relationship, but I can't help but look at my failings and mistakes and how I might have contributed. But alas, I am my bestest friend, and I will forgive myself for my less than perfect motives. I just want a peaceful, happy life guys.

Second, a sort of authentic honesty has been bubbling up in my chest of late and dang it! it has to come out. Whilst I am writing blogs on being a leader and getting ahead, the truth is--I only ever just wanted a happy house and happy kids. I have failed domestically in so many ways.  One of the main issues is in today's modern world while of course you need to have a perfect kid and a perfect house, it shouldn't really be your focus, unless you are Today's Christian Woman or something. The fact that reading wardrobe planning and puttery decor tricks is how I love to spend my time is sort of shameful in the eyes of the modern female. How can I protest a world which essentially forces us to be men in mascara, without sounding like some aging luddite clinging to a world that has long past? How can I be my own frivolous self and still command respect? So I am on these fan pages for Sarah J Maas books and the hate that quiet, wallflower, homebody Elain (of the ACOTAR world) receives is strong. And as a quiet, wallflower homebody-that hurts me. I try to defend her without making myself a target (social media is brutal), but are we flower loving girly girls really such a waste of space? And how do I balance my need for spending Saturday nights in a bath drinking wine and reading makeup tips with the sometimes overwhelming feelings of jealousy and competition. I want to win. I don't care what it is, I want to be on top.  And thus, I have been trying to sort out exactly what I want to win. If it is queen of the wavy hair, then I want to accept that. Maybe I wasn't mean to be queen of the working world. But oh the shame! It is shameful to not be the best at anything-that is how I feel. So I have these conflicting desires. Do I want love or respect? Do I want to be cute or commanding? And I struggle with leading my readers with my thoughts, because I don't know how to be EVERYTHING.

So I am trying to sort it all out. How to be me, and how to please everyone, and how to be the very best at every possibility out there. So Yeah. That isn't going to work. 

So be patient with me. I am going to arrive at a higher place with a stronger sense of self by the end of this. I might not be the person I was trying to be, but I will be the best me I can be. 

And on that note--what are you chasing? Are your dreams and goals hijacked from someone else or are they truly yours? What four things are you working towards in your life? Are you putting your energy towards those goals, or are you falling down rabbit holes of borrowed dreams? 


And on another note-This video is everything to me: 

Why the Starks Always Get Betrayed

This is me! This is my failure! It was so cool to see my mistakes on the video. I have been expecting everyone to react to things like me. To have motivations like me. Then I end up feeling betrayed when I am...betrayed. But I wasn't careful; I opened the door, but I didn't have my eyes open. I am not advocating for deceit, but maybe a little discretion in some areas is best. I wish I had seen this years ago.


Why The Starks Always Get Betrayed

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

How Short Time Is

 Naara Turner died yesterday. I suppose it has been Naara Toole for quite a while. A few days ago I told my husband an old classmate was going to die (based on photos of her with friends on Facebook, with her seated and wrapped in a blanket). It was such a weird feeling. To lose a classmate is such a reminder of the how fleeting and fragile life is. Our bodies will give out. Whether to illness or old age, one day we each will draw our last breath, and our time of influence-our time to leave an imprint-will be done.

To me, Naara is just a few memories. When she first came to Springfield (from Georgia, I believe), explaining how to pronounce her name. She smiled politely at teachers when they remarked on her lack of a Southern accent. Naara had a big smile and teachers seemed to warm to her quickly. To me, Naara is a cabbage patch kid, a beautiful song. When Nichole Tummons had a Halloween (sleepover?) party, Naara was the other girl (besides me) who wet her pants when Nichole's older sibling knocked on the garage window, scaring us 10-year-olds. I feel somewhat of a solidarity with her as a fellow weak-bladdered gal. I remember trying out for the solo/duet for our Christmas program at North Town Mall. I went up with Debbie Barnes, despite neither of us having a spectacular voice), and we giggled through the audition. Then Naara came forward and sang, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," with such beautiful sincerity (she even closed her eyes at times), I wondered why the rest of us even bothered. I don't know if we performed or not. It might have been snowed out. Naara is the girl who would sneak in her tight jeans to change in the bathroom before school in 5th grade because her mom didn't approve. She is the 6th grader who supported my short romance writing efforts. I would bring in thick Writer's Market books to determine where to send my gems, and Naara would smile and offer to edit them for me before I sent them off. I was first runner-up in the school spelling bee in 6th grade, second to Naara. My disappointment was evident, I am sure, when I congratulated her, and Naara reassured me she wasn't feeling great and maybe couldn't go. Everyone was mad at her that week (we were a petty, petty group of kids), so they congratulated me instead. She did go, of course.

After we changed to junior high, I didn't see Naara much. We didn't seem to fall into the same classes anymore. Naara was in theatre and though I longed to be, I was shy. Naara could sing, and I wasn't interested. And that's okay. Naara was more mature than me, falling into different crowds with her brilliant smile, while I still had many years of work to bring myself up on my own. 

Naara brings to mind lessons I wish I had understood decades ago. She is a symbol of power to me: who has it and who doesn't. When I was with Naara's group, I was a hanger-on. My words, no matter how carefully crafted, were never quite right. I could never understand why, when I used the same tone, said the same words, they weren't received in the same light. It wasn't until my late 20s, when I realized, I have an underlying pettiness, a chip on my shoulder, an immaturity, which makes my most sincere responses questioned. It wasn't until my 40s when I realized power within a group also played a strong role. I grew up in a world without role models. I watched the girls I admired closely and strived to be more like them. I watched how they dressed and how they talked. I listened to how they handled themselves with others. I remember sitting in French IV, realizing with shock, that this girl I admired so much (Lynnette Pember), might not get slapped for being bratty. All my life I just assumed every family was somewhat the same, and then --I realized--some people don't get slapped. Some girls may never have had their hair pulled by someone else's frustration. It really blew my mind. I couldn't help but think of this amusing scene in As Good as it Gets. There is a kernel of truth  in it. 



Click the link  --->Good times, noodle salad. <----Click the link

The world's loss of Naara is likely great. Some lights shine brighter than others, and Naara appeared to be such a light. Not perfect, no one is, but a shining light reminding us we can do better. We can be more. We can smile at anyone. Not only are the days we have to create something amazing and long-lasting numbered, but the days we have to brighten someone else's world are finite. The time we are given to change a life is so short. I hope to never take each moment for granted. 


Monday, December 21, 2020

Let's Talk About Health, Baby!

 

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash


Winter is officially here, right? Happy Birthday, fictional character, Feyre Alcheron! Welcome, winter solstice. I wish I were into rituals and had something symbolic and meaningful planned, but alas! I am not big on the preparation that ritualistic symbolism requires. I do admire the romanticism, however.

Do you ever just feel Amy Marchy? Like clearly you were intended to have a staff? Can you guys imagine what life would be like with a housekeeper and maybe a part-time nanny? What could be accomplished? Or a personal assistant who just does all those details?  I can. And it looks pretty nice from right here.

My Simple Weight Loss Plan

So health. I am gaining weight! I can see it in my face, and feel it around my waist and suffer with it with my ongoing heartburn/acid reflux, and esophagus narrowing problems. The thing is, I don't know what I am doing differently. I don't feel like I am eating that much. But number don't lie, and I must be. My old standby-the only weight loss trick that works consistently for me-is counting calories. And there is no trick there, just hard work and discipline. And friends, I think that is the threshold I stand upon now. So back to MyFitnessPal, back to counting candy calories, back to just saying no to that bowl of chips and salsa after dinner. 

Have you tried MyFitnessPal? You must! I use the free version and it is perfect.

I can lose weight on 1500 calories, and lose it faster on 1200. Somewhere in between those will be my target. I can do this.

My Simple Exercise Plan

If you know me, you know I am big proponent of K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple Sweetheart). When planning a vacation, I have a rough itinerary of the must-sees, but believe in leaving a lot of room open for surprise side trips. I will be the first one up and out the door at the hotel, but I am not going be checking the time, herding everyone along (unless something might close). I also believe in ACTIVE vacations. As appealing as lying on a beach with an alcoholic drink appears, the fear of missing out on the WORLD hasn't allowed me to take such a vacation just yet. That and I always have kids around. But why lie on a beach when you can go to an art museum? Or hike to a waterfall? Or drink coffee in a rainy metropolis? Hell, let's just do all of this, beach included. That's the life for me. The truth is, I think I was meant to be an active person. I was an active kid. I loved running and climbing and playing. But whereas other girls funneled their energy into organized sports as puberty hit, I didn't know how. I had no teacher, no experience, and let's be honest, possibly no talent. As I watched other girls seem to flourish, I disappeared into myself behind a wall of shame and self-hatred. The self-hatred kept my weight down throughout high school, but once the babies came, the struggle became quite real. The last time I was really happy with my weight was after my first child was born, and before the others came. I was working out to a video 3x a week, walking the stroller on alternate days, and sticking to three small meals a day. All that work got me to just  under 130 pounds. Perhaps if I hadn't gotten pregnant with Caleb (very much planned), I would have continued to shave off a few more pounds.

This year, I have been doing some floor exercises pretty regularly. Stretches, (REAL!) pushups, crunches, and some leg/butt exercises. Then a couple weeks ago, I just stopped. Sometimes the carpet needed vacuumed and grossed me out, and sometimes I just didn't sleep well, and wanted to conserve my energy for the day. It is amazing how rapidly a tightening abdomen can disintegrate into softness. Also I had been walking a couple nights a week with my son. We decided to add jogging, he protested on the second time we went out, and we haven't done anything active since. 

So my new plan:


  1. Renew the exercises. I may have to get strict with myself (no getting dressed for work until they are done). 
  2. Continue/amp up the squats I do while waiting for my coffee to brew. I thought my 20-30 squats were great, then my coworker (who is 10 years older!) told me she did 400 squats one day. Umm, Okay. I can do better. 
  3. Go back to walking/jogging. I happen to know my son is getting a new scooter for Christmas, so I can still jog and with a new scooter, he can keep up (and get some exercise time).

I don't think I have caught the Coronavirus, though I have had one bad cold and one minor cold since it all started. Who is to say the colds weren't the virus? I don't know, I never had a fever, cough, or loss of taste or smell. But I do know if I do get a heavy viral load, I am overweight, over 45, and A positive blood type. So I need to get my act together, man. And I teach! I am surrounded by germs. 

I am not a big vitamin person. I think vitamins should mostly come from healthy foods. However, my husband did purchase some vitamin gummies, which taste yummy, so I have been eating a few of them each day.

With these steps in place, I have no reason to think, I won't lose at least one of these chins by spring!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Winter Break is coming!

 


The year is ending! While I enjoyed my share of 2020 memes, let's face it-it ain't the year that's the problem. I can't complain about this year, but I don't want to be too nonchalant about it. Some people have suffered greatly and are suffering still. 

What I am tired of is the politics. So tired of the politics. Listen, if this is all some scheme to take away our freedoms, your bitching over masks isn't going to make a difference. Now, if two years from now, Covid isn't a thing, and we are still wearing the damned masks, then yeah, let's throw a hissy. But now is not the time. 

I have been a bear lately. I hate it when I get down, because my mind spirals to worst case scenarios quickly. Some may have a kernel of truth, and some are just a runaway imagination playing with possibilities. But the thing is, even when the truth is evident, not everyone wants to hear your truth. I can only blame myself, for not being successful enough to quit the day job...but then I think woah! Maybe I am caught up in that capitalist rat race idea that I am just not trying hard enough. On the other hand, maybe I am not. I am not sure. It's kind of hard to step outside of your own paradigm and see things as they truly exist. 

So grumpiness aside, it is nearly time for the end-of-the-year festivities. I have plans!

Plans to reread Anne's House of Dreams (my favorite-around-New-Year's read), maybe the ACOTAR series, and to finish watching this season of Call the Midwife. Those are my grand and glorious plans for my week and a half off. I am super-excited. As you know, since I work both sessions of summer school, the winter break is often my longest break of the year. Although I applied for summer school jobs a couple weeks ago, I haven't heard anything and my insecurities are raging. What if I didn't do a good job last year? What if the person who usually hires me, and also sent me an invitation for Gabe to go reading tutoring, now thinks I am a poor teacher because my kid needs tutoring, and won't hire me? Those are the things running through my head. I was invited to the virtual learning orientation, but haven't got a job. Now I am wondering what I did wrong. Did I ask the wrong questions-did they uncover something about me they didn't like? I was so excited and felt cherished when I received the invitation, and now I feel...like...I...am...falling. I have bills to pay, and I am willing to work, people!


Hope springs anew, of course, and the day is glorious and bright, and while I acknowledge the fear and insecurity, I know there is a plan. The Universe is racing through its cosmic destiny, and I am where I need to be. Being fearfully and wonderfully made, I can rest assured in the knowledge that God's plan cannot be thwarted. And all is well.

And I can't wait.

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