Friday, September 3, 2010

It's Tree-Lookin' Time!

When I first started teaching, I had a student, "T", that I just wanted to starngle the minute he stepped through the door.  He had wiggle worms in his pants and couldn't sit down and still to save his life.  Being a product of the educational system that I am, I started trying to figure out what I was going to have to do to reach this kid.  Turns out, all I had to do was go plant trees with him one afternoon.   One of my first SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience for those non Ag Ed readers) visits ended up being his and I spent a very cold afternoon riding a one man tree-setter behind his grandfather while he, his mom and sister watched.  I have to admit it was fun and the best benefit was that after that point in time, I rarely had problems out of said student.  In fact, by the time he graduated we were pretty close and he has remained one of my favorite students that I have ever taught.  Together we completed (for him) proficiency applications in Forestry Management, which earned him recognition as a State Winner his Senior year.  He was on and then helped me train my forestry team while he was in college and still comes by to visit whenever he's home for a few days. 

I will never forget the day T's mother told me what T had told his elementary school teacher that his father did for a living.  "He's a Tree Looker"  I'm sure I gave her a very puzzled expression before she explained that the dad was a forester and as far as young T knew, all he did was ride around and look at trees, hence the job title. 

I relay all of this because each fall, when I begin getting ready for the FFA Forestry contest, I find myself becoming a "tree-looker".  I have been known to slam on the breaks and do a u-turn to hunt down a Turkey Oak sample in the tree line along the side of the road or to stalk around all the different parking lots in town to get samples of harder to find trees on our approved species list.  I've bought seedlings and saplings to plant around campus of trees that aren't on the list and have walked around with a tree key in my hand trying to figure out if the tree I was looking at was what I thought it was.

Last fall, I cornered Eric into going with me to collect leaves and wish I had a camera to take pictures of him climbing a Hickory tree to get a branch with the nuts still on.  I'm not quite sure who I'm going to take with me this year, but I know it's time to start collecting leaves all over the place! 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In the Business

{Warning: This is a Cheap, Shameless Plug and as such, please dis-regard as anything other than that if you're not interested! Please indulge me! }

For the past going on 8 years, I have been busting my tail as an Ag Teacher. Honestly, I love it and can't see myself doing very many other things... maybe a house wife, but since I'm a sort of missing the husband part, that one is out of the question for now. I love that I have the freedom to be in the classroom or take the kids outside and get dirty. I love working with the FFA program and I love my students (most days). What I hate is that the paycheck doesn't always cover my wants as fully as I would like... and my hectic schedule doesn't really lend itself to finding a second job to supplement my income, so... I've thought, and thought, and finally done something about it!

About a month ago, I decided that I would give the Pampered Chef a spin. I absolutely love their products and decided that being able to schedule shows around my crazy ag teacher hours would be the kind of job I might could handle!

I'm pretty excited that I earned three of the four bonuses offered to New Consultants in their first 30 days and have gotten really good responses from friends and co-workers who are just as crazy about Pampered Chef products as I am! On top of that, I have gotten a whole lot of amazing kitchen products! So much that I am gonna have to start cooking more!

One of the best bonuses that I earned was a 90 day subscription for my personal Pampered Chef Website where I can take orders and book shows. If you're interested in checking it out, the address is:

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Geriatric-Sitting, Yellow Dogs, Torential Down Pours, and Weaning Calves

I am quite positive that none of these things make a bit of sense to you readers out there, but that would about sum up my last week.

Anyone who knows my family knows that my Grandparents live with my parents. For a while, when my parents would need to be gone, I could stay at my house and just check on the grands, but lately, they are getting more and more where they need someone at night- just in case. So, when my parents hauled Eric out to Arkansas on Saturday, I moved in with the grands for 4 nights. (In case you've never heard me say it, my mom is a straight up saint... I couldn't do it!) From rescuing the 4 wheeler from the garden to the multiple daily phone calls to find out when I was coming home to finding Daddy's gator had been hijacked by Poppa... It was a busy couple of days.

On top of that, Monday was the first day back to school and I'm gonna have to admit that I was not prepared. To tell the truth, I was more unprepared this year than I ever feel like I have been. I usually spend the weekend before school starts in my classroom cleaning and putting up my "special" bulletin board. But, this year, I spent the weekend doing a Pampered Chef Kitchen Show and Chauffering the grands to and from Church... needless to say, that bulletin board is still blank. (Don't worry, the idea is still there, I'll surprise the kids one of these days)

As I pulled out of my driveway one morning this week however, I fell in behind the school bus that I used to ride. The same lady is still driving that bus, which made me get a little sentimental. I can remember many mornings waiting at the end of my drive way (and I mean mine, not mom's) for the bus to pick us up after eating Breakfast at Granny's kitchen table. I can remember getting off that bus and running to the house to eat raisen bran and watch the Dukes of Hazard with my brother and cousin. And I can remember how wonderful it was when I was finally old enough to be able to drive myself to school... even if it was in the Isuzu Pup that Carrie was so embarrassed to ride in!

This week was also full of rain... might have had something to do with dog days, but not quite sure. (What exactly are Dog Days???) I think I was told correctly that we got 7 inches of rain at the school on Tuesday or Wednesday (The days are all running together) and I can believe it. The entire football field parking lot was at least ankle deep in water and we had to bus the kids over from the middle school to the ag building. (Is that crazy or what?) Thank goodness for my absolutely amazing Chiefland FFA Golf Umbrella... it kept me from drowning even though my feet were soggy!

Finally, this afternoon, Mom, Daddy and I rounded up the cows and weaned calves. As Daddy headed to the Market with those sweet babies, I thought about how the beginning of the school year is kinda like "weaning-time" especially for those little ones at the Elementary School. As I write this, I can still hear those mama cows calling to those babies who are off to a new adventure.

Its been a long hot summer, and I can say without a doubt that I am so ready for cooler weather, football, pumpkins and a regular school routine. This last week was so crazy, that I can't wait to see what this next week brings!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


(Note: I ramble a were warned)

Its so hot around my place that I don't know what to do... I get a shower and feel like I have to towel off three times before I manage to get dressed... (I know, that might be a bit too much info, but the point I'm making is that without AC... well, its hot) yet even with the heat, there's something sweet around my little house these days... and its not the smell of 4 o'clocks blooming.

I was sitting in the living room the other evening with my mom, favorite Aunt (I can say that on here since none of my 8 Aunts read my blog) and brother Eric and I was thinking about how good life is these days. Ok, so my financial situation isn't exactly where I would like it to be, but hey, my wants and desires are finally coming to terms with my income... a lesson it only took me way to long to learn. And, I'm not exactly over run with romantic suitors... but you know, I'm not exactly sure that's a top priority right now either. I look around and see some home repairs that I need to work on once the paychecks start coming back in, but other than that... well, my life right now is... if not good... extremely laid back. And that horrible birthday that I was dreading so much... well, 30's actually been pretty good to me... I seem to feel more comfortable in my own skin these days... which is a good feeling. And work... well, God takes better care of those things than we ever could... no complaints there!

For those of you who don't know, my precious Eric is moving out to Arkansas in about a week. Rusty and Lisa have helped him figure out how he can go to school and rodeo for Rusty (who finally got a real job as a college professor!?!?!). Now you might ask why he's my precious Eric... well, he's the best roommate I've ever had... it was great... I did laundry and he fixed things... we neither one watched scarry movies... never had bathroom issues... and he would eat anything I took a notion to cook... how much better of a roommate could you ask for? He's also precious because for the past few years, it's been the two of us who took care of things, helped the parents, did most of the "farm-work" that our other brothers used to handle... since both of them got married and moved away! I'd have to say, he and I are pretty dang tight... so, to say that I'll miss him is putting it a bit mildly! (I'll probably shed a few tears, but you know that's just me, so it doesn't really count) But at the same time, I am so excited for him! What a great opportunity... one that he did a lot of praying about before he decided to take the plunge.

Yep... there's a lot of changes going on in my little world... but inspite of it all, I am feeling like things are going my way... Should I break out in a chorus of "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning?"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Lovin!

One of the reasons I tell people that I went into teaching was so that I could have the summers off. Of course, I get a few looks when I say this, but truely, summer time is when I recharge my batteries and get excited about another year of teaching.

There are a few things about summer that I absolutely love... and the heat isnt one of them! So, here is my list of 10 reasons why I am loving this summer so much!

1. Lunch Dates: I am always so jealous during the school year when my best friends can just up and go to lunch in the middle of the week. Unfortunately on a school schedule, 30 minutes is not enough time to really enjoy lunch with the girls, so we have to make up for it in the summer!

2. No Alarm Clocks: I have a firm summer rule that the alarm isnt turned on in my house. That means I sleep until... I wake up! This has been slightly interupted this summer because I've been working with Daddy (another post soon to come... hopefully) but even on those days, I just wait for someone to call and tell me its time to get up! (I know, I'm lazy and pathetic...)
During the school year, I somehow manage to get to work on time, but absolutely love the summer and weekends when I can wake up at 7, and lay there staring at the ceiling, or roll over and go back to sleep without worrying about what time I'll wake up again.

On this point... before everyone thinks I am the most absolutely worthless person in the summer... my definition of sleeping in is about.... 8:30. So, I don't sleep the day away, but I have to make up for my next point.

3. No Bed Times: Summer is all about no set schedule for me. I may go to bed at 10pm one night and at 3am the next. I have been known to bring in the dawn reading a book that I just can't put down.

4. Naps during the Hottest part of the day: I can remember as a child when during the summer everyone would come in to Granny's at lunch time to eat and then after filling their bellies, flop down on one of her couches and take a nap. Now as a child, I was never interested in this daily ritual, but as an adult, well... I can see how it has some appeal! Especially when it's hovering at 100 outside! And for those of you who think this is just sleeping the day away, I offer this defense- Have you seen what time it gets dark in the summer? You've got plenty of day light left after a brief siesta... so, why not?

5. Fresh vegetables!: The months of May and June bring a sweet change to our meal menus around our place. Fresh okra, squash, tomatoes, egg plant, and a multitude of other crops... did I mention watermelon and sweet corn?... seem to start bursting out of the "therapy garden" and find their way onto our table and those of our friends and loved ones. Can I just say... if only they would learn how to put themselves in jars?

6. Books, Books, Books!!!: I can't say this one enough. I am such a reader! I absolutely love a good book, and have been know to read a bad one if thats all that I can find. I am so proud that my niece has inherited this trait from me (for a while we thought she wasn't going to be the reader, but she earned the 3rd grade reading award and the school-wide reading award this year for reading the most books for AR... I know, I'm bragging... I'll quit now) but I can safely report that the two of us have spent several wonderful afternoons this summer curled up on the couches at my house with books! She has developed such a reading personality and I love being able to talk to her about the books we're reading. (On a side note, Bay hates to go shopping, but the mention of a trip to the book store will get her in the car like greased lightning!)

7. Rain, Rain Every Day: I know... do we really love this? But seriously, I love the fact that in the midst of such a hot scorching summer, every day it cools off at least for a little bit. One minor problem with this is when it rains for 15 minutes and then is not only hot, but so muggy that you can't breathe... on second thoughts... maybe this isn't one of the reasons I love summer...

8. Bible Study: This is the second summer that I have participated in a Ladies Summer Bible Study Group and I absolutely love it! (Thanks, Annie!) For someone who goes as much as I do during the school year, summers can make you stop and think about things you shouldn't be focusing on... in my case, these Bible studies have been great for keeping my mind on track and my hands busy with good thoughts and deeds!

9. Mowing the Grass: Now I know, anyone who has driven by my house in the last month will think I am flat out lying about this one... but really! Yesterday afternoon, mom and dad went to pick up the lawn mower that has been in the shop for about... oh... a month! (My yard looks like a jungle!) And before I could get it stolen away to mow my yard, I got put on hold... until Daddy gets one more thing done to it, I have to wait! I absolutely love mowing the yard, especially with the zero-turn mower! And there's something satisfying about the finished product... which will stay mowed for oh about... a week!

10. Water: Whether its the pool at my sil's house, or a day at the beach, or just soaking in the tub at the end of the day, there's something about being in water that makes you love summer! (This might be why I don't mind the rain!) Either way, if it's wet... it sounds good to me!

I hope you all are enjoying your summer as much as I am enjoying mine!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Reflections on Turning 30... just a few days late!

I've been meaning to sit down and write this ever since my best friends outed my real age to the entire internet! For the past few months, I have thought a lot about who I am and where I've been and where I still want to go. And all I have been haunted by Tim McGraw's "My Next 30 Years" with all its sage wisdom! So, here goes... what I know now...

1. If you have three true friends, consider yourself blessed!

I wasn't blessed with sisters, but I don't think I could be closer to a real sister than I am to my "southern sisters". True friends are there no matter what. And sometimes, its not the being right there, but the knowing how much or how little to be there that makes them so special. As women, we have all experienced our ups and downs... heartaches, disappointments, joys, triumphs... you name it, we've survived it. And as we get more mature, we realize that sometimes its what's left unsaid that means the most. Sometimes, its that "tough-love" that only someone who really knows you can administer and get away with. Either way... God gave me such a blessing when he put those women in my life and at 30 I can appreciate how important it is to buckle them close to my soul!

2. It truely is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

I know you're probably thinking I'm crazy with this one, but having had my heart broken, I can say with all certainty, that I am better for having loved and stronger for having lost him than I would have been before. Love isn't easy for me, obviously, since I'm still single, but I can say this. I know at 30, (and I sure didn't know at 20) that Mr. Right will make you fell like a million bucks, while Mr. Wrong will make you fell as worthless as a 3 dollar bill. And Mr. Right Now... well chances are, he's really Mr. Wrong in disguise! True love wants whats best for someone, even if it isn't you. And realizing that is probably the hardest lesson of all.

3. You can't ever go back.

Whether its an old love or a place or time, once its gone, its gone. As much as I love being 26 (yes, that was my favorite year) I can't go back, and part of me never would want to. Who wants to go through the pain as well as the pleasure? Once something has moved on, you can't undo who it makes you as a person or how it shapes you thinking for the next one. I can go back to the same places, and even sometimes with the same people, but to get back that one magical moment... well, that's what memory is for!

4. Gus said it all... "The older the violin, the sweeter the music"

I couldn't resist the temptation to make a LD reference... especially since its true. Experience is something you only gain with age. I think there are two types of people in this world... those who peak early and those who, like a fine wine, only get better with age. I hope that I fall into the second category! And since you can only be young once, its better to improve than stay immature indefinately. After all, age is just a number and its not the years that matter, its the state of mind!

5. Live in the present.

If you keep waiting for what comes next, you'll miss some pretty good stuff. And if you can't see your way out of the past to enjoy what you have now, well... that's a pity. So, get out the good china, forget a hope chest... make yourself content now! And when an opportunity arises, don't think about it for so long that you miss out on something imperfectly amazing while you're waiting for the perfect dream that never comes!

I could keep on... but the fact is, until you're comfortable with yourself, it won't matter what age you are, you'll never be happy. So, here's what I wish for all my friends. That you find the contentment that comes with knowing you have really lived your life! And even if it took a few tears to get past the idea of turning 30, the reality is that its just another day, and I'm still the same me!

Monday, May 24, 2010


Bayley's third grade class participted in the Bonnie Plant's Mega Cabbage Contest. Bayley's mega cabbage got named Meggie and was treated like royalty during the couple of months it took to grow. According to Bayley, Meggie needed lots of water and had to be "fed" at least once a week.

The morning of the weighin, Bayley cut meggie off the stalk and after a quick clean up, headed to the co-op to weigh her in. The results was over 16 lbs of cabbage!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Phenominal Women

I thank God every day that I'm not a man!

There are so many blessings in being a woman. I know, you're probably thinking I've lost it, but really... think about all the things that are special about womanhood.

We get to wear beautiful clothes and not be made fun of for them. In fact, where men are ridiculed for and over abundant sense of style, we are applauded for the same trait. Not only do we get to wear those beautiful things... we get to dress daughters and nieces up in things just as cute. (Have you noticed how pitiful the selection of little boys clothing is these days?)

We get to choose what we do... we can have the career of our dreams or stay home and raise a beautiful family... or find a rich man who will dote on us and treat us like gold and never have to work again (which sounds absolutely lovely in theory but probably would be extremely boring for me personally in real life)

We get to have crazy, insane, amazing relationships with our mothers, aunts, cousins and girlfriends. Men don't understand these relationships but they are the butter on our daily bread and sometimes the only things that keep us sane!

We don't get considered a wimp if we weasel out of the heavy lifting. But we do get lots of points with guys when we can take care of ourselves (Note: For some reason, my friend's husband thinks I can change a tire... I need to correct this false assumption... I know the theoretical basics of changing a tire, however the practice of such is still foreign to me.)

We are soft, we are strong, we are fearless, we are comfort, we are tenderness, we are determination, we are women! And I think... because we are so many of these things without being too much of any one of these things... we are phenominal!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How Crazy is the Truth!

In honor of my friend Aleta, who is a self-professed freak magnet, I have to share this story... even if it does make me worried about my genetic make-up!

My Aunt recieved a card in the mail the other day. Since it wasn't a holiday, she was a little surprised. Inside the card was a picture of an elderly man (80 years old) holding two small little girl. The card read like this...

Dear Jane, Congratualtions! You have new cousins! What do you think? Love, Norman

My Aunt was in shock! You see, Norman is an only child and he never married and both of his parents have passed away. He's a bit of an "odd-duck". My aunt very diplomatically inquired about the maternity of the two babies and got this response.

Norman had hunted down a doctor in California who would attempt to use invitro fertilization to help him have children. He then selected a surrogate mother (I am just curious about how that one worked) to carry the children, and 9 months later, he is the proud father of twin girls, Nora and Norma at 80 years old!

I just don't have words!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bridges & Beaches

So, It's Spring Break... and I need to get away.... I'll let the pictures tell the rest!
One side note... I know that my friends hate bridges, but I have to admit... I LOVE THEM! Especially the Skyway!

On a side note.... Check out the handsome man I found while I was eating dinner.... I gave him my number, but he hasn't called yet... I am so disappointed! (lol, just kidding, but I seriously couldn't pass up taking a picture of a real live pirate!)

What a great day! I just wish I could have stayed longer!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Busy, Busy Bees

I feel like I've done nothing but run for the past three weeks! It's been straight from one fire to the next until I feel like I'm almost out of water... and it's still February!

The past two weeks, especially this past weekend and this week have been crazy! We had our revival at church starting Friday night and running through Sunday night. On top of that, Saturday morning, I met friends for breakfast at Akins before going on a quick grocery trip to get the final ingredients for my contributions to Marnie's shower food! BTW... Cream Cheese is a life saver!!

After breakfast, it was a quick trip home to get all my food ready and get a shower before running back to Trenton to get a shower gift (I know, I know... talk about procrastination!) before heading north of Bell to set up for the shower. Heather's home was absolutely beautiful and was decorated in the wedding colors perfectly! Carrie's Cake was awesome, and all the rest of the food was pretty amazing as well! My contribution was a three super easy dips which all have a cream cheese base...

Caramel Fruit Dip: Spread a container of Mazzerotti's (sp?) caramel apple dip over a block of cream cheese, serve with Apple Slice or other fruit.

Buffalo Chicken Dip: Layer Cream Cheese and Canned chicken mixed with wing sauce. Top with shredded cheese and bake until bubbly, serve with tortilla chips... YUM!

And of course, my favorite!
Pepper Jelly: Spread a jar of pepper jelly over a block of cream cheese. Serve with crackers (It's unbelieveable, even if the pepper jelly isn't my recipe!) ( like the pretzel flip crackers that are half pretzel, half town house cracker)

After we got everything cleaned up and packed up from the shower, I headed home to relax for about half an hour before I headed to revial. I went early, because we are working on a picture directory and we were putting together the first set of pictures. Dale did such a good job building the display boards and the pictures look great too!

Sunday after morning services, we had a pot-luck dinner at the American Legion Hall between Trenton and Bell. There was tons of food which was all delicious! My contribution was a Spinach Salad that my Aunt Myrtle gave me the recipe for. It's super easy and as Eric says "off the chain" good!

Here's the recipe for that...

1 bag spinach
1 pkg bacon- fried and crumbled
2 cans mandarin oranges (drained)
1/2 cup toasted almonds

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup oil (I use olive)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar

Shake well and pour over the other ingredients right before serving.

The only problem is that this salad doesn't keep well... but when you've got a crowd, it's amazing!

I did actually make time to read a book that Carrie gave me to read "The Wedding Machine" and boy did it make me think of "The Sisters". I probably should have used that time to do something else, but oh well, it was nice to just zone out into another world!

Monday it was back to the grindstone... and Since it's National FFA Week... we've got all kinds of things going on... I am thinking about running away soon! All I can think is if I can make it to spring break, I can really just disappear for a couple of days and catch up on all this sleep I've been missing!

On a side note: Week Three has ended and we are still on track! I personally have not purchased fast food for breakfast or lunch and I have either been cooking supper or just skipping it which has led to losing 7 pounds over the past two weeks... see... something good has come of this! Now if I can just keep it up!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Week two... and still chugging along...

So, back to the February challenge... So far, so good! I must admit that on Friday, I had to let the lunch bunch judges weigh in on whether or not I had cheated... Ethan brought me lunch from McDonalds... which is border-line cheating. Kaylin determined that it was not a cheat since I didn't pay for it or go get it myself... (she's such an enabler!!) Bri just raised her eyebrows and shrugged...

Saturday however, on my day at the State Fair (notice, this is one of those occasions when I was allowed by the rules of the challenge to eat whatever, and wherever I wanted) I indulged myself in some serious fair food! Kyle and I split a cinnamon bun that was coated in icing, followed it up with a glass of Netterfield's lemonade (my favorite!) and a few of Clay's bbq pork rinds. Will purchased a yard of kettle corn and we worked on that as we browsed Cracker Country. Our last stop of the day was at the Pickle Barrel Sirloin tip booth where we enjoyed mashed potatoes, steak tips, mushrooms and a sweet tea. Talk about stuffed (I promise I skipped supper that night!)

And as to why we were at the state Fair... Our poultry teams (which I coach) competed in the practice contest (practice because it isn't the state contest) placed 2nd and 8th overall. The high school and middle school were all in the same stack, so if you seperated out the middle school by themselves, they placed 2nd out of all the middle school teams. The more exciting news is that the Sr. Dairy team claimed a state championship! I am so excited for those 4 girls because they have worked really hard over the past 6 years to get to that point!

On Monday, I was off work and headed into Gainesville to do a little shopping- grocery and other. I didn't even stop to eat while I was there. (This was huge, because my favorite place to eat is McAlister's and I drove right by it.) I made sure that when I bought groceries that afternoon that I bought enough lunchmeat for sandwiches during the week. (I miss calculated since we have almost eaten all the sandwich meat in two days)

Anyways... so far, so good... my pocketbook feels a little less drained!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunday Love

I hate Valentine's day. Always have. The fact of the matter is that all it boils down to is a day for single people to have their singleness thrown back into their faces as the whole world seems to "couple-up" even if just for the day. And the sad part is that we focus on having someone to say I love you to on that day more than any other. So, I typically boy-cott this extremely over-commercialized, romance driven holiday with a vengence. The only exception being that my cousin and I would always get each other something so that even if we were single, we didn't look like total losers.

This year however, the black day fell on a Sunday. I love the fact that I had something else to focus on all day... because who should really be our valentine? I mean, who gave his life because he loved us? And thankfully, the focus of the day wasn't on who had a sweetheart with them, but on how many people we had at services (total side track here, but this is about the fourth or fifth week since the beginning of the year that we've had over 120 people attend our services) and where we were going to have them all sit.

After services that night, we had a "valentine's party" at the preacher's house. After a great meal that included all different kinds of goodies, the kids were herded into a bedroom to play while the adults settled down in the living room for some friendly valentine's games. Between the "lovebird" game and the purse scavenger hunt, the whole room was rolling with laughter! I was quite impressed with some of my church family's answers and determination to get to hold the prized singing monkeys! But I think James won the night with his "eyes on the prize" competitiveness! (Bless Jennifer's heart)

We have been blessed with a church family that is not only growing in number, but one that is growing spiritually. I can remember times when I was the only person there between the age of 20 and 30. Now... there's actually a group of people my own age. But the best part is that they are concerned with spiritual things, like spending time with other christians and studying the Bible together. The concept of loving your brethren is one that has been redefined for me in the last year. What a better way to spend your valentine's day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seeing Ghosts

Yesterday, when I stoppped at my favorite hometown grocery store I saw a ghost.

Now, before you get scared and stop shopping there, let me assure you that this ghost was living and breathing. He was just a ghost from my past. My ghost (who shall remain nameless) has haunted my life for years. And quite frankly, when I turned that corner and saw him, I almost turned right around and walked out. But, putting on my brave face and telling my churning stomach to act right, I walked right on in like a big girl. Shoot, I even managed to have a some-what normal conversation with the ghost. And considering that the last time I spoke to this ghost, we were not on friendly terms, I think that's pretty good.

We all carry ghosts around with us. Every person we meet along the way becomes a "ghost" to us in some way or the other. We carry with us the way they make us feel, the memories we make together, and even the way we feel about them. Sometimes, those ghosts are friendly ones, like Casper, who whisper comfort to us from our memories. Sometimes, they haunt us because of the bad decisions and pain that surrounds our memories of them. The thing is, you never really get rid of them. There's a residue that you can't (or at least I can't) just vaccuum out of your life.

This particular ghost is one that it took a verrrry looonng time to lay to rest. And the impact that he had on my life was extremely hard for me to sort through and face. Not only did I have to accept responsibility for what I did, but really look at him with the rose colored glasses off and accept what he was. All I know for sure is that it took a lot of prayer and time to heal all that drama. Prayer not just for me, but for the ghost as well. In fact, I still pray for this ghost, because, while I am in no way remotely interested in resurrecting his place in my life, I still hope deep down that he can change. And, honestly, when you really love someone, you will always want what's best for them.

When I got into the car, I felt a peace about the whole thing. I had faced the ghost. And facing the ghost made me realize how much God loves and helps us when we ask him to. Which is why, today, I'm feeling just a little bit less haunted!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Reporting on Week One

It is now the 9th day of February, and I can successfully report that the No-Eating-Out challenge is right on track. As I reported before, I did give myself just enough wiggle room to handle the weekend trips that are impossible to avoid and the late night at work, but I can report that I have survived the last week no worse for wear. Actually, my wallet and waistline are probably a little better off than they were a week ago.

On the cooking front... I have been eating at home, but not really cooking meals... lots of chicken salad sandwiches and salads. I have broken out the crock pot and have cooked chicken and stew beef which have found thier way into multiple meals.

I almost had a break-down on Monday, as I found myself trying to figure out what in the world to take for lunch... luckily, Lacee and Hailey pulled their weight for the lunch-bunch and provided a satisfying meal of spaghetti and "cracky pudding" (dessert which consists of pudding, graham crackers and chocolate icing)

On a totally other note... During the middle of one of my classes today, Dallas ran in holding his thumb, which was bleeding! Luckily, he just sliced the tip off instead of cutting off the bone... but still... talk about causing a comotion! After getting it cleaned out and bandaged up, he showed back up around lunch time to the delight of all his students who wanted to see his "war-wound"! Thank goodness it wasn't bad!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wishing Life Away

When I rolled over this morning to check the alarm clock beside my bed I thought to myself, "Ugh, I don't want to get up... why can't it be the weekend?" And just as quickly, I though of the words to that old country song "Driving my life away."

If you're anything like me, you're probably just as guilty of "wishing time away". On Monday, you can't wait for Friday to get here. In August, you can't wait for Christmas break to arrive. We set our mind on making it to a certain date or event and get so focused on that point that we forget to savor all the small moments along the way.

As I groggily headed to the shower to get ready for work, I reminded myself about Matthew 6:34 which warns us about worrying about tomorrow instead of focusing on today because each day has it's own problems without adding tomorrow's to it. And just like each day has its own troubles, each day has its own joys. If we wish away our lives, aren't we wishing away all the small wonders around us as well!

I've hit a super-reflective point in my life... I am nearing a milestone that I'm not too sure I'm happy about. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy to be alive, and I while I have very few regrets about the life I have lived so far, I do sometimes wish I could get back a few of those moments that just seem to have flown away so quickly.

As I drove in to work this morning, I said outloud in my car (yes, I do talk to myself sometimes) "This is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." And for me, that means not wishing the hours away, but enjoying the moments that make each day special and unique!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A little late... My Resolution and my Challenge...

Ok... so I haven't been writing anything lately, but I have definately been reading... so...

Even though it's into February and my christmas tree is still up ( I know... the shame of it... I really did start taking stuff off of it the week after Christmas) And even though I didn't share my resolutions, I did make one big one. Yep... just one... unfortunately that one is a really tall order. I know I've got you wondering what could be that all encompassing so... here it is.


Yep... that's it... really simple right? If only... everytime I say it, I cringe... because when I say it to myself, I hear all the individual things I need to work on. Not just do I need to excercise more, eat less and take better care of my body. I also mean to be spiritually healthier... you know, more focused on what really matters, and keep my priorities in line and feed my soul (aka study and pray). And probably the scariest of all, which is what is really nagging at me these days, I am determined to be financially healtheir by this time next year.

Quite a big order! What if I fail?

I have been trying really hard to do little things that will hopefully help me keep my resolution and feel like I am making some small progress. For example:

* I have started walking instead of driving short distances ( Like from my house to mom's or my classroom to the lunchrooom)

* I have almost completely given up Sweet Tea... (GASP) I know... As a southern girl, this is about sacrilege... and it's not really about not wanting sweet tea as much as reducing the amount of sugar I'm consuming. (Which also means I have also quit drinking almost all the soda I was drinking...)

* The girls in our ladies Bible study group at church are doing an awesome job challenging me to stretch my mind about spiritual things

And the latest Challenge to myself... which I am really scared to actually post because then if I fail, you will all know. But I also feel like posting this will give me some accountability.

As a single person, it's hard to want to cook real meals for one... or at least I have a hard time with this and I hate eating frozen dinners. And don't get me started on how easy it is with the hours I work to end up eating out three meals a day (Average cost of $20/day). This really bad habit that I am afraid is going to derail my entire effort for the year. So... For the month of February I have challenged myself to not eat out (with special emphasis on the work week) and to cook more meals at home. My former roommate/quasi-brother Eric has been helping me with the second part as he has been providing a second mouth to feed when I cook which makes it easier to come up with something. So far... (all three days of the month) I have managed to keep going.

Now I know some of you might think this a little unattainable as a goal, but being the "highly trained" educator that I am(note I am making a joke), I have given myself a little wiggle room so as to make it actually attainable. For example: Saturdays are an exception because unfortunately I will be working/traveling the first two Saturdays of the month and the likely hood that I would pack breakfast and lunch on those days is miniscule. And since my main focus is cutting out spending on breakfast and lunch, I have also given myself a dinner pass for nights when my job require me to work beyond 6pm. (fair I think)

So... hopefully in about a week, I can give you a successful update on how I'm progressing... What I do know is that my grocery list has already gotten longer!