As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him--you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2: 4-5

Sunday, July 29, 2012

t+ +

The ABCs of MeR
Rick Springfield Baby!
Oh, how I loved this man.  Not in a real, mature love kind of way, of course.  More in the "Oh my gosh, Rick Springfield, eeeeeeeeeeek!" kind of way.  You know, when you paper your entire bedroom wall with pull out posters from Tiger  Beat and lay on your bed listening to the album gazing into his eyes.  When you and your best friend, Amy Collins, create a secret sign off code for your origami folded notes---RSLA (Rick Springfield Lovers Always).  When you buy a scrapbook from Walmart and fill it with every picture/article/mention of him, and caption each with "So Fine!"  And you plan to name your first born son Richard Lewis, because it was his birth name.

 And when you go to buy his latest album, you choose the record of course, because on the back is a big dreamy picture of him. 
And when he comes out with the lamest movie ever, "Hard to Hold," you and said best friend see it four times because in the scene depicted below, he is NAKED for a split second and the chance to see that tushy is worth the $4.00 and sitting through the rest of the movie.
 And you even talk your mom into taking you over the mountain to Birmingham to wait in line on a hard sidewalk at 4 in the morning so you can get tickets to his concert.  And when you finally go to his concert, you are so far away....and so in awe of being in the same room that all you can do is stand and stare.  And the second time you have tickets to see him, after you have moved away your senior year in high school, you are so excited you can't sleep for weeks.  Then, when on the way back to Alabama, your mom's car dies on the on-ramp to I-20 and you can't go, you fall into a deep depression and stay locked in your room for the weekend.
Ah, youth. 

This is Rick Springfield now.  Man.  He got old.
Depression, alcohol, spousal abuse have all factored in his life.
He's tried many a comeback, all without success.
Last I heard/read, he was taking part in the Rick Springfield Music cruises, no doubt thrilling many a forty year old woman.

I still think he looks good, in a scruffy kind of way.  I still get all stupid happy listening to his songs.  And I still think "Hard to Hold" was possibly the worst movie among a genre of bad movies.

RSLA Baby!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

The ABCs of Me

That's me.

Quiet.  Reserved.  Introverted.

Not snobby.  Not unfriendly.  Not unhappy.

Just quiet.

Inside my own head.

Watching.  Observing.  Learning.

And thinking.  Always thinking.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The ABCs of Me
Processed Food

I am a food addict.  Some people, many people, don't understand.  Want to lose weight?  Just stop eating.  Choose healthy food.  Put down the donut.  It will still be there when you've lost the weight.  Just because it tastes good doesn't mean you have to eat it.  A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.  Willpower.  You just have to have willpower.  And if you have a normal relationship with food, these are true.  Easy.

But I don't.  And I haven't for a long time.  Even when I have dieted before, I still obsessed over it.  Always planning what I would eat next.  Always making sure that I had my "staples" in supply.  Always sure to have something that tasted like "real" food but was low in calories.  Always sure to have food on hand that was "healthy," "low fat," or "good for you."

And I lost the weight, only to gain it back when the diet was over and I was able to indulge in my favorites again.

 After my last flying leap off of the diet wagon, I decided to take a little break from worrying what I ate.  Just relax about it all, but notice what and how I was eating.  And I realized that I ate as an addict drinks, smokes, or takes drugs.  Tired?  Eat. That will give me energy.  Angry?  Eat.  That will show 'em.  Lonely or Bored? Eat.  It will give me something to do and fill me up.  And once I started, it was almost as if I was driven to eat more.  My body craved that cracker, that cookie, that cupcake.

So I started researching food addiction and found that white flour and white sugar, as well as many of the chemicals and additives that are put into processed food do indeed cause a true addiction.  In the twelve step program of Overeaters Anonymouns, one of the strategies is to totally give up white flour and white sugar.  Then I stumbled across a website about Real Food and eating only food that was unprocessed and natural.  In other words,
*lean meat
*whole grains
*nuts and seeds
*low fat dairy
*fresh fruit
*fresh vegetables

So I thought I would give it a try.  I went to the store and the farmers market and stocked up on chicken and turkey, low fat cheese, skim milk, and a rainbow of produce.  And the first week?  It was rough.  I had headaches.  I was tired.  I got the shakes.  I was weak.  And man, was I hungry.  I also lost 7 pounds.  I wasn't dieting, just eating when I was truly hungry and eating only real food.

The last two weeks have been much better.  The cravings are gone.  The headaches are gone.  I have more energy and no more dips in my blood sugar.  I eat and feel satisfied.  Not bloated and miserable.  Just satisfied.  I am careful to not eat bread more than once a day, and then only whole grain.  I notice that I do have my "hunger" responses to my feelings, but I acknowledge them as just that, and if I do eat, I eat an apple or watermelon or some carrots.
My "staples" now?

I will is not easy.  Fresh produce is more expensive than junk food.  It is easier to grab a value meal at the drive thru on the way home from practice than come home and prepare a salad or cook some chicken.  But this summer, anyways, it is worth the extra time and money.  And what is it that they say about a habit? That it takes 21 days to form a new one?
Maybe, just maybe, this will be one habit that sticks!

Monday, July 2, 2012

The ABCs of Me
(or lack thereof)
It is, or shall I say it has become, my life mission to become organized.  Every break from school, every long weekend, every summer, I say to myself and to anyone who will listen, "I am going to get my life together and become organized."  And they usually say something like, "Oh, I need to do that too, but we are going to the beach." 
I long for a closet that looks like this.  In my life with this closet there will be no more standing in my underwear on Sunday morning crying because I can't find the white cami to go under the dress I was going to wear.  Or searching for the other silver sandal.  Or the ranting and raving that I know that my half slip just went through the laundry and now poof! it's gone!

Or a laundry room that looks like this.  One that smells like dryer sheets and there is nothing on the floor.  Where everyone has their own little section where their clean folded clothes go.  I've even designed this in my head and I may have even told Daryl about it, hoping he would jump on my organizational bandwagon and knock down a wall or two to build me the laundry room of my dreams that will make my laundry life magically easier.  I would always be caught up on the laundry!  Good bye to Mt. Laundry at the end of the bed!  No one in our house would ever have to dig in the sock basket again!
 And the playroom would be a happy, spacious, organized place where the children would play happily for hours at a time.  They wouldn't feel the need to bring every single toy to the living room, set up Barbie housekeeping on the steps (even though between them they own three Barbie houses).  I would never again step on a lego or a Barbie chair.
And of course, if my home were organized, I would have more time to organize our lives with cool color coded calendars.  And maybe even have one of those nifty family binders that seem to be all the rage among mothers these days.

 And then there would be my classroom.  My classroom starts out every year very organized.  Everything has it's place, every activity a procedure.  Color coded baskets abound.

And then real life sets in.  And the twenty six year olds come in every day.  And most days, they are absolutely delightful.  But some days, well, they are six.  And I don't feel like staying an hour after school to re-do all of the things that they have undone during our learning that day.  Or there is cheer practice and soccer game and the little girls have to be picked up because Daryl has to work after work.  So I start a pile, or shove a book, or stick it in a closet.  And by the end of the year, I have a year's worth of papers to file (a twenty year summer activity now), a classroom to organize as I put it away, and I vow to do better next year.  I spend the summer googling (or now Pinteresting) classroom organizational ideas and begin my year with lofty plans.

And it's the same at home.  I will get one area beautifully organized, but then the children (or my husband) happen, and it's the end of the day, and quite honestly, I'd rather sit in the living room with my family and play on the computer and watch reality TV than clean.  So, I guess I could say that it's my own choice that I remain unorganized and hassled.  That I'm too lazy.  That I am living out the consequences of my choices.

But do you know what?  Despite my chronic disorganization, I am an awesome teacher.  Notices go out on time, the children's records are kept (tho not always filed immediately), and every child in my classroom feels important and loved.  And despite the fact that my children know to expect me to lose my keys at least once a day, never have my phone, and if they want anything washed for the next day, they have to do it themselves, I think I am a good mother.  My children are honest, kind, compassionate, smart, and love the Lord. 

So, I will continue on my quest to become organized, knowing that it will probably remaind just out of my reach until my kids are grown and gone, and then when it's just Daryl and me to manage, will it even matter?  Now, off to plan our menu for the next week.
If I could only find a pencil.....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The ABCs of Me

So totally uninspired with this one.  I have thought of so many things to write about, but none of them inspired me to really write, and I had pictures of none of least no interesting pictures.
Let's see....I could write about....
Nose spray-I have been addicted to Afrin nose spray for 25 years.  Yeah....gross.  I know it's bad for me.  I know it probably causes cancer.  I gave up my Diet Coke addiction...let. it. go.
North Clemson Avenue--the apartment in which I lived for the last two and a half years of college.  Lots of good times.  Lots of bad choices.  Lots of good memories.  Lots of things I'd rather forget.  Lots of  "What were you thinking?"
Night time--I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I love the feeling of being snug in my bed, all my kids in their beds where they belong, the warmth of my hubby next to me, the dreams.  I hate the fact that I suffer from periodic insomnia where I just can't sleep.  And the more I think about not sleeping, the worse it gets.  Full moon (don't laugh and roll your's true...ask any teacher), the night before I have to get up early, the night before school starts, napping during the day.
and....that's all I've got.
Told ya.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The ABCs of Me
Everyone has a turning point in his or her life.  Be it painful or joyful, there is usually something that happens that will forever be known as the marker for "before" and "after."  Maybe it's as simple as having children or getting married, graduating college or getting that first job.  For me it was my first husband, Michael.
I could say that it was the divorce.  But to be honest, it wasn't just the divorce that scarred me, that made me forever changed.  It was the whole marriage from whirlwind beginning to unbelievably painful end.  Looking back, I can see the person I was change from the moment we met.  And while I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, I wouldn't change one moment.
I met him when I was 24.  I was two years out of college, living with a friend, enjoying teaching in my first classroom.  I was in the process of finding out who I was and what I wanted out of life.  I was in the throes of an eating disorder, making bad choices at every turn, and finding my validation through both.  He arrived on the back of a motorcycle, full of charm, and I was proverbial "toast."
Our marriage lasted seven years.  Outside of the unusual circumstances of our split, it was not foundationally a good marriage.  There were communication issues and trust issues, compounded by a lack of spiritual foundation.  On top of that were the huge issues of cheating (on our marriage and the federal government), pathological lying, and serious differences in child rearing.   Oh yeah, and going to prison.  Looking back, there was so much deceit that it would be comical that I didn't notice if it weren't so tragic.
After the divorce, I was left a single mother, job, no child support.  By the grace of God and my wonderfully supportive parents, we did not end up on the street.  We lived in government subsidized housing, became the needy family for a Catholic church, and relied on others for our basic needs.  We were all left emotionally damaged, and even more so when he one day disappeared.
That was eleven years ago.  Since then, I have remarried and rebuilt my life.  God sent us an amazing man in my husband, Daryl, and we have built our life on a mutual faith in Jesus Christ.  My son has gotten back in touch with Michael, and they are forging a new relationship, with Josh as an adult.  I have yet to meet with him face to face, but have emailed him.
It is easy to forgive him when I don't have to deal with him, see him.  Now that seeing him is a very real possibility, I realize that I have not totally forgiven him, and certainly not forgotten.  I fear this future encounter probably more than anything I have in a while, but know that this too....just as the seven years of my first marriage and the eleven years in between...will be used for my good, and God's glory.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The ABCs of Me

Laundry is the bane of my existence.  Of all the jobs that I do around the house, laundry is the one that I enjoy the least.  And given my penchant for housekeeping, that is saying something.  Give me a toilet to clean, a shower to scrub, trash to take out.   Just don't make me do laundry.
But that's the cruel part about it.  You have to do it.  If you don't, it multiplies and overtakes your bedroom, and your kitchen table, and the hallway leading to the laundry room.  Then your husband starts looking for underwear and asking you if you have seen it (duh...of course, I's on the floor!) and then eventually goes to Walmart and buys some more.  Then you end up looking for matching socks in the wee hours of the morning on a school day and you end up going to Walmart to buy some more.  All because you hate doing laundry.
And actually, it's not the actual washing I mind.  I don't mind picking up all of the dirty laundry scattered in bathrooms and living rooms and hallways and cars and stairwells.  I don't mind putting it all in the washing machine.  Or transferring it to the dryer.  Or even getting it out and putting it in the basket from the dryer.  It's the folding and putting away part.
 I wish I could say it's because I have five children.  But I can't because a. the big kids pretty much do their own laundry, and b.  it was like this when I only had three children.  In fact, the big kids ffondly remember sliding down the "mountain" of clothes at the end of my bed when we lived in the apartment.  And I have a picture of Josh as a baby playing in a huge pile of clothes, too, come to think of it.
I wish I could say it's genetic, but I can't.  Even when my mother worked outside the home, she would get up at 5:00 am and put a load of laundry in the washer, go to work, come home, transfer it to the dryer, make dinner, and then after dinner put it all away.  To this day, she does at least a load a day, and if it's not done drying by bedtime, she stays up. 
I wish I could say it's because I don't have an efficient laundry room.  Which, in my defense, I don't.  It's all cramped with no counters and there is barely room to turn around since we added the freezer.  What I really need is this:

and in the middle, one of these

Ah, who am I kidding?  This probably wouldn't make a difference either.  I wouldn't like to do laundry any more, but at least there would be a place to put it all, out of the way!