Thankfulness…

I have witnessed over the years various formations via degrees of social media outlets the “Thirty Days of Thankfulness.” I have enjoyed reading the various posts on occasion, and decided that I would try to do my own variation over the next few days. So, here is my first installment:

1) I am eternally grateful for the grace and mercy of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I am always humbled by His love for me.

2) I adore my husband. He is my absolute best friend( not because he gets my silly jokes, although that helps), but because he listens to my crazy rantings on a daily basis, calms my fears when my anxiety is at an all-time high, and appreciates my love for Pearl Jam, and all things circa 1985-1999. He is my lobster. If you don’t get this allusion…stop what you’re doing and watch all the Friends episodes you can. You can thank me later.

3) My family is great; we have had our ups and downs, but what family hasn’t? I know they have always been there for me and will continue to do so. Plus, I will forever be eternally grateful for their love and patience during my really awkward tween years. Thank you, Mom, for talking me out of that second perm….

4) My nephews and niece are pretty much amazing creatures. They are full of energy, questions, and laughter. I love watching them in action!

5) I love my job. Oh sure, there are days where I wish I could crawl underneath my bed and remain there for hours, even days, but most of the time, my days are filled with great colleagues, inquisitive, fun-loving students, and a challenging, complex subject that I truly enjoy teaching. I couldn’t ask for more…..except maybe a grading machine, an intravenous caffeine drip, or a mute button that works on students….. (that would be awesome!!!)

Stay tuned for installment two…..

~L

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A Little Rest and Relaxation

“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” -Maya Angelou

I am a terrible blogger; yep, I admit it. It is something I really enjoy doing, but I don’t seem to make a priority. I am hoping that this is going to change soon. In my defense, this past school year has been CRAZY, and I’m hoping to shed some light on this in an upcoming post or two.

Secondly, since my last update, Clint and I have been on an intense, all-consuming, powerful, emotional roller-coaster with our fertility issues. Ten months have passed, and it is still a very, very raw subject, but with each passing day, we are healing.

So, as you can see, we have had more than our fair share to juggle, and dear reader, I must admit, we did not juggle it well. We failed. We hit rock bottom. We passed GO, and did NOT collect two hundred dollars. Not only did we have those two issues to juggle(crazy work schedules and crazy hormones), but we had major house repairs too. We needed a vacation…..STAT.

Fast-forward nine months later, and our wish was finally granted. We made plans to spend a long weekend in a quiet cabin; I have spent the past two days napping, reading( I was able to complete an ENTIRE novel, not just a chapter), writing, watching television, eating great food, and most importantly, TALKING to my husband. We have loved being able to catch up on each other’s lives, reminisce about days gone by, and daydream about the future. My daydream, of course, included some great shopping, and I’m even more thankful that my husband indulged me. It’s been heaven. I love that man. So, as I sit in front of the fire in our cabin, glass of Cabernet in hand, I think back to the Maya Angelou quote. Taking time to escape from the world and reality is important; in fact, it is essential. It’s similar to a bottle of a delicious, red wine, a basket full of dark chocolate, a great pair of heels, and a handbag to match…no, it is better than all of those things…it is priceless. Yep, priceless.

A Simple Kindness…

As I am sitting here in my living room on this gorgeous MLK holiday, watching the Presidential Inauguration, I am reminded of the text Why We Can’t Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I have read this text many times, and have even taught it to several of my Pre-AP classes, but each time that I read it, I am astounded by the prolific and eloquent writing style of King. He had such a kind and gentle spirit, and this showed in all of his writings. A few weeks ago, in preparation for teaching the text, I stumbled across a section that I had overlooked many times. In this excerpt, he talks about showing love on a daily basis. This love can take on many forms, and if we, as Americans, were to do that, imagine how less visible the idea of “hate” would be. He mentions that this is a choice that we all make, but what a simple, kind truth it is. This concept really made me stop and think, and I wanted to mention a few of the ways people have shown me kindness this past week:

1) My sweet husband-gosh I love that man! He has been such a trooper as we have battled our infertility issues. This past week I was such a bear..I don’t mean a cute, cuddly bear; I mean a vicious, evil bear. The kind of animal that you want to run away from; believe me when I say, if I could have run away from myself, I would have (thank you hormones!). But, my patient husband was there for me every step of the way-helping me to calm down, helping me to take time to rest, and eventually helping me to see the error of my ways. He even stopped on his way home from work one night and brought me chocolate chip cookies. I am telling you he is a keeper!

2) My amazing friends and family-you know who you are. I can’t tell you how much Clint and I appreciate all of the texts, phone calls, emails, and cards that we have received. Your prayers and words of kindness and encouragement do not go unnoticed. We love each and every one of you!

3) My nurses-In a word, these women are amazing! They are so incredibly patient with me, and they take time to explain all the medicine and procedures so that I fully understand. A few months ago, Clint and I were at a local grocery store, and I ran into one of my nurses. She stopped her shopping and came over to give me a hug and ask how I was doing. Her simple act of kindness and reassurance made me feel so at ease. I LOVE my nurses!

As you can see, a simple act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life. As is fitting, I will close with a fitting quote:

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle… (or) Einstein’s Theory of Relativity … (or) the Second Theory of Thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. ~MLK

The Struggle is Real…..

I realized that I am once and for all a terrible blogger, but I am hoping that with this new year, I can at least update my blog MAYBE bi-monthly… but who am I kidding? After many months of being on a hiatus, I was challenged by my students to write more, so I thought this was the perfect venue.This past week, I asked my kids what New Year’s resolutions they had made. I received some pretty hysterical responses, but one response really amazed me. This student said, “I just want to be a better person.” Wow! What a profound statement…what if we all tried to better ourselves in 2013. There are so many areas in my life where I know I can make drastic improvments: health, anger, time management,etc., but for me, the area where I would like to see the most improvement by 2014 is contentment. I want to find peace in my daily life.

Too often, I become so disenchanted and so disheartened by my station in life and that is SO wrong. I am hoping that this year, I will learn to solely rely on God and have Him provide me with all the contentment and peace that I need. This has really become a huge stumbling block for me, as Clint and I have struggled with our infertility issues. Please pray that this year we will find peace and ultimate comfort.

Wishing you all a very Blessed and Peaceful New Year,

LJ

A Reflection of the Past Five Months….

Wow, I can’t believe that it has been five months already! And what a crazy five months that it has been, but I have learned SO much in these past few months. I have learned what true grace looks like. I have learned what it means to be absolutely, mentally wrecked and still survive, and finally, I have learned that I am NOT in control. Tough lessons to learn, but priceless nonetheless. Let me shed some light on these ramblings:

1) As I mentioned five months earlier, I was starting a new adventure, yep, that’s right, grad school three nights a week. The only reason that I agreed to such INSANE terms was because I was taking the last two of my grad school courses, Praise the Lord! I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I tried to think optimistically. How bad could it really be? It was worse that I EVER imagined. I had no life. It was work, UAH, home, work, UAH, home. Saturdays were spent at the library or the coffee shop instead of at home with my husband. Weekends were devoted to writing papers or pouring over research instead of spending time with friends and loved ones. I really felt like I was going to have a mental breakdown before the end of September. I was at my the end of my rope when Clint sat me down one day and just prayed for me. I love that man. It was so simple and sweet, but it was exactly what I needed. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone, and now I can proudly say that I am DONE with all of the classes. I am waiting to start the internship in a few short weeks…graduation is SO close.

2) As many of you know, our struggle with infertility has not gone well. We were not successful this summer and so after many late-night talks and many tears shed, we decided to wait until the new year to begin again. I was not in a good place this fall and with my schedule, it would not have been wise to add another factor into the mix. So, please pray that this spring we will be successful. We are constantly in prayer and know that God is in charge.

3) Lastly, these past five months have shown me that I am NOT in control. I think this fact was so pointedly shown to me at the end of August. It was my birthday; I was turning 31 and what should have been a happy day, was not. I woke up and just cried. I remember thinking, “What are you doing?” “Why are you crying?” “Clint is going to think you have lost your mind!” I was drowning in my own self-pity, and my own “I’m not” stew. You know what I am talking about…”I’m not pregnant, I’m not 20 pounds thinner, I’m not this or I’m not that…” Instead I should be saying, I AM healthy, I AM a wife to a great man, I am in a job that I LOVE, I am blessed. So all these crazy ramblings are to say that I am blessed because I am not in control. I have a great family and amazing friends and students that show me daily what grace is, and whenever I start to drown in my “I’m not” pool, I am reminded that there is Someone who has great plans for me. I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings. As is fitting, I will leave you with a quote that sums up my thoughts.

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Love to all!

Moving….

Let me preface this post by stating that I can’t remember a time in my life when I have been this tired, so if something does not make sense, please forgive me. Today, I moved classrooms for the second time in three years.  The last time that I moved, I thought that I had thrown away a good portion of the “junk” that I don’t use anymore. I realized today that my collection of junk has tripled in size. Four of my dear colleagues helped me move this afternoon. I am so grateful for these women and their ability to see the positive side in every situation. I have never laughed so hard or enjoyed moving so much. What a blessing! So, now that the hard part is over with, I can focus on organizing the room and getting ready for a great school year. But first, I am going to enjoy getting some rest!

Ramblings….

Has your heart ever been so heavy that you felt as though you would explode? Well, that is how I feel right now! And, I know that when I get like this the only thing that will help it is for me to ramble to someone or write it down. So, here goes nothing:

1) Fertility meds are killing me. No, that is not right…the ENTIRE process is killing me. My husband and I began the process for the second time about five months ago. I feel very blessed that we are in the hands of an amazing doctor and his very patient staff, but it is still a very grueling process. I am happy one minute, and downright agitated the next. Perhaps the worst part is having to wait. I hate that. I have never been a very patient person and so this has definitely been a test for me. Please continue to pray for us. Pray that God would bring us a sense of peace amidst the craziness.

2) School…ah school. Well, school has pretty much started for me. I had workshops for four days last week. This week I am working in a program that aides migrant and at-risk students. Four of my co-workers and I will be working with approximately thirty students to try to get them prepared for the upcoming school year. It is an enjoyable week, but I could really use the extra five days to work on things at home. Plus, I found out last week that I am having to move classrooms..AGAIN. I was a bit upset at first (ie. fertility meds), but then I realized that I am actually going to be happier in the new room. Someone remind me of that tomorrow when I am actually moving….  Also, I am taking my last two grad school classes this fall. That may not sound like it would be a terrible thing, and it really isn’t, but I just hate that I am going to be away from my husband for THREE nights starting August 17. Sheesh.

3) Lastly, I believe I am just in mourning. I am mourning the loss of summer and the freedom that I was able to experience. I loved lunching with some of my best friends and then heading home to enjoy a nice nap on the couch. I loved curling up in the chair with a great book or magazine and getting lost in the story. I SO loved cooking dinner for C, and being home when he came home. I loved being me. I feel like when the school year starts and the craziness begins that I lose that part of myself…and I hate it. I feel like a lose a connection with people that I love dearly.So, as I sit here and shed a few more tears, I ask that you pray for me. The next few weeks are going to be really hard; just know that I would give anything to be sharing a meal with you or even a midday phone call.

So, as is custom, I will leave with you a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.

Love to all!