December 31, 2010

Resolution #3

OK, now that I've shared my first and second resolutions, I bring you, dear computer, my third and final resolution.  This is a New Year's resolution I hear people make time and time again, but its a goal I've actually NEVER set for myself.  As I set forth to improve my physical and emotional health, it just makes sense that I would also work on improving my spiritual health.  Back in September, as I mentioned when babbling about my first resolution, Chris and I fasted and prayed in preparation for our church to begin a sermon series called Radical, based on the book by David Platt. 

 This book (and our pastor's teaching on it) challenged me in a way that I'd not been challenged before.  It hurt...it cut deep into my soul...but it changed me.  I hope it changed me for the better.  Anyway, at the end of that series, Jack (our pastor) challenged us to get deeper into God's Word.  He suggested that we might want to try reading through the Bible in order to develop a routine daily quiet time.  As a result of that challenge, here is resolution #3:

I WILL READ THROUGH THE BIBLE AND SPEND TIME ALONE WITH GOD IN ORDER TO KNOW HIM MORE AND, AS A RESULT, KNOW MYSELF MORE.

Let me add a disclaimer here...In no way, shape, or form am I only making this commitment because Jack suggested it or "everybody else is doing it."  I am doing this because, for a long time, I've felt far from God.  I know Him, I love Him, but I don't spend time with Him like I need to. And Lord knows, if you don't spend time with someone, you can't know them very well.  Back when Chris was a pastor, he used to compare it to our relationship...If he only spent about an hour a week with me, we wouldn't know each other very well at all!  What kind of relationship would we have?  Probably not the best that we could be.

Anyway, I spotted these books on my shelf (collecting dust, of course) and decided to get them off the shelf and onto my bedside table.  The One Year Bible is just that...a Bible that is printed for the sole purpose of reading through Scripture in one year.  There's an Old and New Testament reading each day and if you follow along, you'll get through the entire Bible in one year.  Time With God is a New Testament but is laid out for daily (M-F) readings...no specific dates or anything.  Each day's reading has a portion of NT Scripture, an OT Scripture that directly relates to the NT passage, and a commentary/reflection to go along with it.  Back when I used to use these resources, I truly enjoyed them.  I truly desire to restore my spiritual health to its former state before the end of 2011.  We'll see what happens!

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December 30, 2010

Resolution #2

(not my actual resolutions)
OK, so earlier today (yesterday, rather, since it is now 1:08 am and I CAN'T SLEEP -- arggghhh!!) I wrote about my first New Year's Resolution for 2011.  What comes after 1?  2!!  Yes, blog, where there's a #1, there's a #2.  (That sounds like a potty joke, doesn't it?  Oh well.  Hey, its late and I'm a little "punchy.")

So anyway...as I was thinking about myself and things I would like need to change about myself and my life, my mind automatically wandered to my family.  Before anyone gets all "whuck??" on me, just hear (read?) me out.  I adore my family.  I think that fact is pretty clear from what I write here.  Dude, I tell this computer how much I love my husband way more often than I tell my actual husband.  And this is where the problem lies.  I want my marriage to be the best it can be.  I know it'll never be perfect (because God knows *I* am not perfect, and neither is the hubs, but don't tell him!), but it could be better.  There's always room for improvement.  I don't want to have a so-so marriage, and I don't want the two of us to be strangers who are basically just co-parenting a couple of really awesome kids.

My second resolution, therefore, is this: 
SPEND MORE QUALITY TIME WITH CHRIS, ANDREW & HANNAH SO THEY KNOW HOW VERY MUCH THEY ARE LOVED.

I have a very specific plan in mind to get this point across to Chris, but I'm not sharing it with you.  As far as the kids go, however, this is my plan:  No Facebook, no blogging, nor any other superfluous computer usage until after they have gone to bed.  No TV either!  To avoid depriving Chris of the attention *he* needs, I will limit myself to one hour per week night of computer usage.  That way the kids and Chris get my full attention when I arrive home from a long day at school.  Its just not fair for me to plop down, tired as I may be, and zone out in front of the TV or computer and be "there but not there", if you know what I mean.  I know too many people whose parents came home from work and just zoned out instead of playing with or talking to them, and it hurt them deeply...still hurts them to this day.  I don't want to be that parent.  On the weekends, I will allow myself one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening (again, after they have gone to bed) of computer time so as to give them and me a mental break but not cross the line into depriving them of my love and attention.

Hannah is a special kind of kid, and her love language is definitely "quality time."  I need to be with her, snuggling or playing with her, so that she knows how much I adore her.  She desperately needs that.  Andrew loves gifts, but he also just loves when I sit with him and play a two-player video game with him or look at a book with him.  He talks my ear off, sometimes, but one of these days he won't tell me ANYTHING and I'll be begging him to talk to me, so I am going to appreciate and soak up every minute I can while it lasts.  I would also like to implement weekly "dates" with my kiddos one-on-one, even if its just me and Hannah going to the grocery alone, or Andrew & me, hanging out and playing in the backyard.  They both need and deserve individual attention.  When they constantly have to fight to be heard, life is not a lot of fun.  I want more fun in my life...doesn't everyone?

So there it is.  My first and second resolutions for 2011.  There's one more...But that will have to wait.  Its now 1:38 am and I am going to try to get some sleep.


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December 29, 2010

Resolution #1 for 2011

I haven't really written out any official New Year's resolutions since I was a teenager.  I mean, sure, I always say I'm gonna lose weight, eat right, blah blah blah...but I never do.  This year, however, I have the urge to make (and actually keep!) a few.  Not only do I have the urge to write them, but I also feel the need to write down why I am resolving to do such-and-such.  I guess I'm feeling very introspective and eager for real, lasting change in my life.  Anyway, as I was talking to a dear friend last night, I may have had a mini-epiphany of why I am feeling this urge.

Lately, I have become acutely aware of my family's history of cancer. I believe practically everyone on my mom's side of the family -- except me or my cousins (my generation) -- has been diagnosed with some form of cancer at one time or another.  This scares me.  I've known this and thought about this form time to time over the past several years, but lately its been a nagging thought.  I know what my mother-in-law would say.  She'd say not to think about such horrible things.  "Stinkin' thinkin' " is what she'd call it.  She'd tell me never to verbalize such a fear because verbalizing it gives "power" to the fear and might make it happen.  Maybe she's right, but I feel like I must confront this fear and decide what I can do now to prevent it from becoming a reality later.

This leads me to my first resolution for 2011:
EAT RIGHT & EXERCISE REGULARLY SO I CAN BE HEALTHY AND STICK AROUND TO SEE MY KIDS GROW UP.  

How am I going to do this?  I am going to continue to Zumba twice a week!  I also plan to dig out my Tae Bo DVD (I think I might even have a couple of old VHS tapes!) and work my way through it at least once a week.  Zumba and Tae Bo are fun for me, so they are the two forms of exercise I am most likely to stick with. :)  Also, I am going to hunt down the little 8 lb weights we have lying around here and, instead of snacking or just lying there like a sloth while watching TV with the hubby, I will do some quick reps and get some resistance training in.  Squeeze It In will be a great resource for helping me implement little things here and there to help me tone up and get this ol' body into better shape.  As far as eating better, I am going to go on a modified version of the Daniel Fast.  Last Aug/Sept, Chris and I followed this fast for 21 days with our church and after a few days of "detoxing" I felt better than I had ever felt in my whole life.  I want to feel that way again.

The point is, if I eat better and exercise regularly, I hope my chances of avoiding cancer and stopping the cycle in my family will skyrocket.  I know there's not much of anything that can be done about genetics, but doggone it, I am going to do whatever I can to keep myself healthy and HERE for my husband and kiddos.  Losing weight isn't the main goal, but it just might be a nice by-product.


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December 25, 2010

Best.Christmas.Ever.

I believe we just had the best.Christmas.ever.

It was quiet, there wasn't a lot of "excess"...It was just me, Chris, and the kids...and his brother, who spent the night as he was passing through GA on his way to AL to see his kids.  It was low key and PERFECT.

I kept feeling this twinge of guilt that I wasn't able to give the kids this HUGE Christmas with some awesome, major toys or big surprise from Santa, but you know what?  My kids loved their gifts.  Andrew truly felt the wonder of Christmas this year and it was so much fun to watch.  Hannah was so cute, enjoying her My Little Ponies and baby dolls...she didn't care that most of her gifts came from a yard sale or thrift store.  Andrew didn't care that his 20+ Star Wars action figures came from ebay.  They loved their gifts and played hard with them all.day.long.

We had scrambled eggs, bacon and cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  We talked about Jesus' birth while the kids played with the Little People nativity set Hannah had gotten from Mamaw & Papaw, and then we all watched Toy Story 3 together.  (Hannah then watched it no less than three more times.) We all had a fantastic nap and then woke up to news of snow on the way!  Its been over 100 years since there's been snow in Atlanta on Christmas, and by bedtime it was here.  What a magical day.

Hannah-bear's reaction to her gifts this morning:

video



And Andrew's reaction:
video

Oh, of course we missed being with our parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc...but sometimes less really is more.  Its special.  That's the kind of Christmas we had around here.  If anyone out there is reading this, I sure hope your Christmas was just as wonderful as ours.  As Tiny Tim said, "God bless us, every one!"

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December 20, 2010

Christmas Crazy

So I'm on Christmas break now and things have already been just NUTS.  Saturday started off innocently enough...Chris and Andrew went to go see Tron with a bunch of guys from church and their sons.  I took Hannah on a mommy-date to Kohl's to finish up the Christmas shopping, then we went to lunch together.  I know she's only two and a half, but I really enjoy her company!  She loves the one-on-one time, and I don't blame her.  She came into this world competing with Andrew for our attention, so of course she loves getting us all to herself!  Anyway...so the morning went just wonderfully.  We had such a good time, and so did the guys.  When Chris got home, however, I was in the middle of trying to go through a bunch of receipts and bills that had been paid, but were just sitting waiting to be filed away.  I was almost done when the front of the file cabinet drawer came loose and a bunch of important papers started falling out.  I was trying to keep it all together and finish up what I was doing, the kids were running around alternately playing and fighting (as usual), and Chris was trying to eat some lunch while telling me it was time for the kids' nap.

I.lost.it.

I said words I haven't said in a long time.  Sure, I've thought them quite frequently, but I was doing well by resisting the urge to say them out loud.  I yelled, I cried, I spazzed out...I had reached my limit.  I was DONE.  Of course, Chris had to ask if I was taking my medication.  Yes, as a matter of fact, I am.

I spent the rest of the day in a bad mood.  I ended up staying home from church yesterday just to get some QUIET.  I desperately needed to be alone. I needed to spend time with God.  Funny how my life falls apart when I abandon my daily quiet time...also funny how I had to stay home from church in order to get the quiet time I needed.  Chris took the kids to church and I stayed home and talked to God.  I got myself sorted out and feel much better now.  I just needed a mommy-size time out.

Today Andrew is having a playdate with his BFF, Avery, and they are so funny to watch.  They fight over the toys one second, then share freely the next.  I am trying not to interfere, to just let them work it out on their own...For four years old, I think they are doing pretty well.


Tomorrow we leave for Alabama to visit Chris' family.  I'm planning on taking extra happy pills with me.

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December 16, 2010

Christmas Vacation

So tomorrow afternoon, at 4 pm, I will officially be on Christmas break (or "winter break" for the PC crowd out there).  I am so excited!  With all the stress from school, IEPs, final exams, failing students, tutoring students, etc., I am just D.O.N.E.  I need a break.  So does my hubby, God love him.  Chris has been dealing with exhaustion and has had some really bad dizzy spells over the past few days.  Its gotten so bad he finally made himself an appointment.  With a doctor.  This is serious, people.  I am hoping they figure out why he's having these dizzy spells so he can maybe get better soon.  I'm thinking maybe an ear infection?  So yeah, he needs a break, but dear Lord, so do I!

Believe me, I know that working is easier than being home with the kids all day, but teaching middle school special ed?  Its HARD, thankless work.  I do NOT sit around eating bon bons all day, no matter what some may think.  We also don't watch soap operas...but believe me, there is plenty of drama.  Working and being a mommy is hard because you don't get to just come home and crash...There's always someone needing you (and you need them, too!) and yes, plenty of housework to be done.  My priorities have shifted and I have learned to let the housework wait while I take time for the kids and myself.  It all gets done eventually...no harm in letting it sit for a day or two.  I'm blessed to have a hubby who lets me take time to go out with the girls every once in a while to be an adult and not just mommy.

Anyway...so tomorrow is the last day of school before the break and I am excited.  I'll be leaving school @ 10:40 to go to the kids' preschool to see their Christmas program.  Andrew is going to be the star (literally!  He's going to be the star of Bethlehem!) and Hannah is going to be a horsey.  This should be good, people.  Pictures and video will follow, you can be sure.  I'm supposed to send a dessert, so I'm sitting here waiting for the break-and-bake cookies to cool (hey, I never said I was Paula Deen) so I can put them on a plate and run upstairs as fast as I can so I don't eat them all.

Speaking of...I think they're ready. Off to bed I go!

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December 4, 2010

Too Much

Whine, whine, whine....I am a big ball of stress these days.  I feel like I'm wound so tight I'm gonna explode at the slightest touch.  I've taken on too much and I know it.  This is my biggest problem:  I can't say no.  Its all school-related stress, and I try *really* hard to leave it there, but it sneaks up on me a lot of the time.  I am teaching a math intervention class for my 6th grade students two days a week, Tuesday and Thursday.  This takes place during my planning period, of course.  On Tuesdays, as soon as the students leave, I meet up with a 4th grade student who needs tutoring as well.  On Thursdays, I go straight from tutoring my 6th graders to a weekly grade level meeting with our principal.  So on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have ZERO planning time.  Also, I am finishing up (two more weeks!) a hospital-homebound tutoring job with a student I've been working with for a couple of months.  Yes, I am getting paid for all this extra work, but still...its a LOT.  By Christmas break, though, I will have finished up with my homebound student and can focus on the tutoring I'm doing during the school day and not worry about the after-school stuff.  Its just all the paperwork that stresses me out.  Being a special education teacher, I am in charge of monitoring IEP's, classroom accommodations, and testing modifications.  I have to make sure everything that needs to be done is being done for each student.  I have to keep copies/records of everything we do.  I have to track testing data to prove that my students are (or aren't) learning anything.  I have to go to special education AND math department meetings.  Its a lot.
Teachers get a bad rap these days, getting blamed for students' lack of success, but getting no credit when the students are successful.  (Well, maybe I'm exaggerating, but its how I feel at this point in time.)  Our pay is getting cut, but we are expected to do more and more each day.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed and just want to explode.
Then I come home to my husband and kids and they make it all right.  Home is a good place to be.  And teaching isn't all bad...Heck, if I can stand the stress for two more weeks, I'll get two weeks off for Christmas!  I'm a lucky girl.

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