You care for everyone and wear your heart on your sleeve even if it causes you stress. I admire that about you.
Kind of a weird post tonight. First I’m typing on my Kindle so this will be short. Second, I’m not writing anything about my life or journey really. All I’ll say is sometimes I feel like we all need guidance or help with some area of our lives and don’t always get an immediate answer (that’s where I am right now). So I figured I would try to see how many people actually read this jumble that I write.
If you do, and you have a scripture or book passage or quote that brings you guidance or comfort, I encourage you to share it in a comment here. Not only am I hoping to get some good things for my own personal benefit, but I’m hoping to share them on my blog as well. Maybe if one of them really hits me, it’ll even become a topic in a later post!
FYI, my favorite is the serenity prayer, though it’s not seeming very applicable to my situation at the moment.
Let me know your favorites, even if they aren’t religious!
This news is epic everyone! After so many weeks and months of worry, I can officially say this is possibly the best news that I have had all summer!
What is it you ask? Well, according to some doctors, my grandma’s cancer has decreased in its strength. By that, I mean that the lymphoma appears to be completely gone thanks to the treatments that she has been dealing with all summer.
Funny thing is, this news couldn’t just come by itself, could it? Nope, had to be mixed in there with some not-so-good news about the other types of cancer that are also lurking in her body. Like, come on, can this girl not get a break? And by girl, I don’t mean me!
But congratulations to my grandma for beating a cancer yet again! She’s seriously the strongest and most amazing woman I have ever met (sorry Mom, you come in close second).
In other news, this is also one more summer down, as of 9AM tomorrow morning, I am officially back to work and starting a new school year as a full-time teacher. I’m not sure where this summer has gone, but I can tell you my brain is already craving the next one. (I know, patience.)
I feel like I accomplished a lot this summer, but I also feel like I didn’t have nearly enough time to do all that I wanted to. Here’s a list of some of the top things I did actually get done though, and why I feel like they were so important in this journey that is my life.
- I made the switch to reusable straws– After reading all of the horrible things about straws taking forever to biodegrade (if they do at all), I decided I couldn’t see myself using plastic straws anymore. So I started shopping and ended up being gifted some steel straws! I am in the process of making a carrying case for them so that I can take them with me wherever I go. In the meantime, unless I am going through a drive-through and CANNOT drink without a straw, I have been ditching those things at the door! No more straws at restaurants for me. Though I’ve now noticed, I’m a bit more paranoid about whether the cup is entirely clean or not (Ew!)
Shout out here to Greene Turtle for being the first restaurant I know of to ask customers if they would like straws or not! Most places just throw them in front of you and probably trash them once you leave, whether you’ve opened them or not!
- I visited the zoo for the first time since I was in first grade– This honestly felt like one of the best days I had all summer, but it wasn’t because I went and did something crazy like go to the zoo. And it wasn’t because half of the zoo was closed for construction. This was the best adventure ever because it reminded me just how much I love photography and taking pictures of nature. Animals are one of my favorite subjects, and I just love the idea of being able to photograph animals that I cannot see in my own backyard! Additionally, this seems like one of the only times ever that my sister and husband went with me on some sort of summer excursion!
- I got used to riding my new motorcycle– You might think that riding a motorcycle is like riding a bicycle, but you’d be wrong! Going from the old Virago I learned to ride on to my brand new Vulcan was not necessarily a challenge but made me nervous all the same! The best part: I ended up loving the Vulcan even more than the Virago! All’s well that ends well!
- I watched my husband be driven to the hospital in an ambulance… and then decided to let him do it again if he really felt like he had to– Most of my friends know this story already, but my husband is a huge daredevil. He decided to learn to ride the track on a motorcycle and ended up doing laps in the rain. While he wasn’t the only one to slip on the wet pavement, he was the only one to bump his head hard enough to scare the s*** out of me. Thankfully, all’s good now, except that he scares me because he wants to go back and try it again!
- I ran at least three times a week, every week unless the humidity was enough to murder my lungs– Now that Zoey is older, there’s just no way to get away from exercise. Take this week for example; if it hasn’t been raining, it’s been so humid that you sweat just by looking out the door (almost true, honest!) But Zoey; she DOES. NOT. CARE. So if I don’t jog with her, I at least have to walk her or throw a tennis ball for what feels like hours on end. Otherwise, she’ll throw a princess fit and bark at me until I exercise her. Talk about some motivation to stay in shape…
- I read a lot more books than normal, a lot faster than I have in years– No joke, I have not read a book in a single day since the Harry Potter series came out. Not until the end of this summer anyway. I got back into reading Amish novels and forgot how much I love them! For anyone who hasn’t tried, I suggest looking into it. They have an interesting cultural background, but their connection to God is so amazingly strong as well. (This sort of kills two birds with one stone for me- good knowledge of religion can be found in most of these novels, but I also hate to read nonfiction, so I figure this works out best!)
- I visited family even when it wasn’t necessary– For the longest time this summer, I’ve been seeing my grandma at least once per week. I haven’t done that in a long time. I haven’t felt comfortable enough to do that in a long time. Now that it seems more important than ever, I’m realizing that it should never be less of a priority than I have made it recently. Hopefully I can be a good family member and keep up with it even when the school year gets the best of me!
- I spent days with my best summer friend (aka Mom) exploring all kinds of things– We honestly walked around a local town last week where we basically went to two stores. We “shopped” for about 2 hours and only went to two stores! But we walked that town anyway… it wasn’t our fault that all of the main street stores were closed down or that most of the buildings themselves were vacant. (It was quite sad though.)
- I found the best cafe/bakery ever!– I will never lose weight if I keep going there, but it has become my favorite breakfast place, probably because the breakfast is so bad for you but so darn good!
- I learned how to wash a washer and clean out the drum of a dryer– This is going to sound so dumb of a 26-year-old, but I never realized just how dirty the inside of a washer could get. Thanks to my mom for showing me how to actually clean one!
- I returned again to my blog– Thank God! I always lose sight of my passion to write, but every summer I seem to find it again.
- I started a Christmas list in July– I’m super excited for some of the things that I want, but even better, I already know some of the things I plan to give!
- I had people over for dinner at the house for the first time… even if those people were my parents and sister– The biggest part of this is that I enjoyed it and they said they did too! Doesn’t matter how clean your house is or how big it is! It was fun.
Hope you all enjoyed your summer as much as I did. Back to work for me tomorrow, but praying you guys have some freedom left before that day comes!
It’s been what seems like years since I’ve lived in my parents home, though it’s not been that long. Their little rancher is nestled between two other houses on what was once a cow pasture. We often like to joke that even though we are surrounded by Hallowed ground, the only ones to probably have died in their yard were some cows. But that’s not the point here…
If you travel to the other end of my parents’ road, you find a development nestled between farm country and the small town we always called home. In that development is where my grandmother lives now that grandpa has passed. Since it is summer here and we are a dog-loving family, Mom and I often park at Grandma’s to take the dogs for a long walk through the development. (There’s no sidewalk where my parents or I live, and I’m grateful for the wilderness and isolation that surrounds us sometimes. Walking dogs is not necessarily one of those times.)
Today we walked through the neighborhood like any normal summer day. Though Mom started off by trying to walk my big girl Zoey and I walked the three smaller dogs, we quickly switched back to our normal ways (me with my two dogs, and mom with her’s). We were almost done walking when we started to hear barking. Right beside us there were these two dogs fenced in a backyard that would not stop yapping their jaws at us. Imagine this: a farmer’s fence for horses (three slats and some poles to hold them up) but made of white plastic, much shorter (about 4 feet high), and with no wire or mesh to keep dogs from getting through in between the slats. Behind the fence were these two dogs and a pool, which ironically, was surrounded by an 8-10 foot fence. As we continued to approach, just trying to pass quickly, things got a little haywire. So many things happened at once, I don’t know where to begin…
Mom’s dogs got scared and yappy, so she walked them to the other side of the road. My two decided to be the barkers and protectors, so trying to pull them across the street was a losing battle. There’s nothing like trying to fight with a muscular 60 pound giant and a 20 pound mini terrier. So I decided to move them slowly along the sidewalk on the same side as these other two massive dogs. In all of the mayhem, all I can tell you is that they were massive, much more muscular and strong than even my Zoey is. They were colored brown and black and reminded me of a mix between a bulldog and a boxer, though bigger. Fatter. But muscular. And scary.
The larger dog was clearly just barking for the heck of barking at people who were too close to his fence. He/she didn’t seem to have the energy or the motivation to try much harder than walking along the fence line and letting out some vicious-sounding barks. The smaller dog acted rabid, like it was out for blood. Within seconds, it had its front legs up on the top rung of the fence. It’s back feet quickly followed up to the second rung. In my mind, I just kept praying the dog wouldn’t jump over… or fall over for that matter. A loose dog with my two dogs would have been horrible, maybe deadly.
As I continued to move along the sidewalk, the smaller of the beasts kept running alongside me, climbing up the fence, and then (thankfully) back down again. It took what felt like five hours (but was probably only a few seconds) for it to start slinging spit and snot, it was that upset.
Then there comes the lady who I thought would save the day. The owner popped her head out the back door. I figured no person living in a quiet neighborhood would want their dogs barking their heads off at some poor stranger who was just trying to enjoy a peaceful walk. I myself would never want my dogs making more noise than necessary. Plus, after the second time her beast jumped onto the fence, I thought her brain would kick into paranoid mode and try to come and get the giant thing off the fence and into the house. Sometimes humans are disappointing…
The reality of the situation is that I kept moving and her dogs kept snarling. She stood at the door watching. I finally yelled to her asking if she planned to come get her dogs. Her response was, “They’re in my f***** yard and I don’t have to f***** do anything with them. It’s your problem.” Boy was that the wrong response…
Now before I explain this second part of my story, let me just say that never in my life would I ever want to kill any being. Besides maybe a mosquito or an annoying fly, I tend to get pretty upset about death. Like the time I hit a squirrel with my car because it ran out in front of me… I called my mom bawling my eyes out. Or the time when my husband and I were dating and he told me about how he hit a deer? I about got sick with terror. I cannot even stand to see the carcasses of ANY animal on the side of ANY road without feeling kind of sad for them. Sometimes I even send them a mental “I’m sorry.” So I am a complete animal lover. I mean, I don’t want to cuddle up with a gator or a snake, but I’m all for animals, especially dogs. So this lady not wanting to take care of her own dogs or try to help me prevent injury for them or my own? It didn’t sit well with me.
I responded. Simply. Loudly. Firmly. And I told that lady, “Fine don’t come get them, but if it jumps the fence, it’s dead.”
(I honestly just got shivers thinking that thought again as I was typing it…)
Let me explain this though. I have a massive 60 pound giant schnauzer, who’s breed is known for their strength, their aggressiveness, and their protectiveness of their owners above all else. Now I’ve never seen Zoey use her aggression on anybody except her brother in our own home (go figure), but I knew it was a possibility that if a strange dog started attacking her, she was easily going to start attacking back. Then there’s Jasper, my 20 pounder. He’s more scared of the world than most dogs I’ve ever met. But Jasper and I quickly bonded when I rescued him from a very bad situation and gave him a steady, constant home filled with love. So while his bark sounds like a chihuahua choking on a french fry, I’m not above realizing that he would do anything to protect me. Again, he’s never ripped into any dog, but he is not scared of standing by my side, almost stalking me at the dog park, just to make sure no one else comes too close.
Then there’s this thing that I laid in my pocket. It’s funny really; I hadn’t been carrying it with me, but my mom and I got started talking about this missing college girl yesterday. During our conversation, mom told me that my grandmother was really worried about me running on my own. Mom assured her at the time that I always run with my dogs, but when I heard about her concern, I thought maybe I better follow my husband’s directions and actually be prepared to protect myself should I fall into the same type of fate this poor college girl has.
I thank God right now that the dog never made it across the fence. Because even though I threatened to react if it had acted upon me or my little family, I know now in my heart that I’m not sure I could have let my dogs attack it or that I could have pulled the trigger.* I’ve spent most of the day contemplating this situation I ended up in and realizing that had anything more happened, no good outcome would have occurred. I’ve also felt like crying and having a complete meltdown at the realization that any of us (canine or human) could have been hurt. And while most people might not believe me, I was just as concerned for those two giant things in that backyard as I was for my own. Because I’m an animal lover.
We did manage to get away before the dogs climbed the fence. My dogs immediately went back to their walk as soon as they knew we had passed danger. We paired back up with my mom and her pups to continue our walk home. But it just didn’t sit right with me. I just kept imagining that same situation happening with somebody else. Like another older person walking their smaller, less menacing dog. I kept seeing in my mind the dog climbing that fence and reaching the other side. I kept picturing someone like my mom or my sister with their small dogs unable to do much when faced with an attack of that kind. And more than that, I kept seeing that dog in the middle of the road, hit by traffic or attacking some poor child who was walking on their way to school.
Maybe my mind had taken over at this point, but I feel like all of those thoughts and all of that fear were pushing me to do something more. So I did the only thing I thought I could do and tried to get the owner some education. I called our county’s dog warden and left a message on his machine. I explained the entire incident and told him that while I didn’t have any charges to file or anything like that, I was concerned that the fence was so horribly low for such large dogs. I didn’t know if there was some kind of law about that or not, but I know that I had an 8 foot fence before I even thought of bringing Zoey into our home. I also didn’t know if there was something that could be said to the owner about the dangers that could have easily become realities in those few minutes.
The warden finally called me back about an hour later, and all I learned was that the dog has to physically escape it’s barrier and touch public property before the police or the warden or anybody else can really do anything. To some extents, I get that. I don’t like people telling me when my lawn needs mowed or where I can park my cars on my own property, but this made me even more distraught.
We have so many laws and rules in this world that don’t make a ton of sense. We work hard for our money, but have to give to welfare and social security, when I probably will never see a lick of money from either of those places. By the time I’m old enough for social security, it’s probably not going to be a thing. But I do it anyway because it is a law. What I don’t understand is why so many things are laws that don’t improve the lives of many… or any at all. I could go through a whole list of them that are in my mind right now, but my point is this: What is the point of having laws when the laws simply lay out what to do after an incident occurs? The warden even told me to keep his number handy and call him back if the dog ever makes it over the fence. He didn’t offer to talk to the lady or educate her on the laws or the dangers that could occur. He didn’t suggest anything else for me to do either.
I get it; as a government employee, you can only do what the government instructs, but I tried so hard to make sure that nothing happened, to keep my anxiety in check, and to protect my family without (hopefully) hurting anyone else. Yet here I sit knowing that, besides never walking that road again, there’s nothing I can do to help protect her animals or mine. And more fearful than that is the thought that I’ve never been so close to protecting myself with force as I almost came today.
Please, if you are a dog owner, or an animal owner at all, please try to protect your dogs not only from the attack of other people’s animals but from attacking on their own as well. There’s nothing scarier than realizing that I would have had to make a quick second decision about how to save a bunch of dogs because of lack of action on the part of one woman. And while maybe some of you do not tend to care for your animals as much as I do (since I treat mine like my children), I still beg of you to take them indoors or have complete training and control over them whenever they are outside barking, being disruptive, or even trying to climb fences! Without laws there to guide us, we have to come together as a society and make these ideas work together as a group without the influence of government forcing us to do what we should already know is right.
To the woman who cussed me out today, I hope you know that I had control of my dogs and that your’s were my main concern. Because nothing comes between my dogs and me, not on their part or on my own. And I wasn’t trying to be bitchy if that’s how I sounded, I was fearful.
*Yes, I have followed all of my state’s laws and carry a pistol with me for protection. It’s sad that in this day and age, I feel the need to protect myself in this way, but I’ve never once used it. And while many gun activists and enthusiasts will say I am stupid for saying so, I don’t even carry it loaded. There’s a magazine if I need it, but I’d have to take off the safety and cock the thing before I could actually fire. I NEVER intend to use this weapon unless I am truly in fear for my life, so any gun comments can just stay to yourselves. Thanks!
After an amazing weekend with my husband and sister at the zoo, at home, etc. I have to sit here today and stop denying the fact that summer is just about over. There is no way I am ready to head back to work, but here it comes. 7 days. 7 more days of freedom.
I wonder how many other teachers detest going back to work but are equally excited to start a new year and teach new students all at the same time? That’d be me over here!
I’m also wondering how many teachers actually spend their own money on school supplies. I’ve gotten to the point that, unless the product is for me specifically, I’m not purchasing anything for my classroom. Now, that’s not to say my kids want for anything. I teach at a private school where the parents have plenty of money to afford tuition and supplies. Should the time ever come when that circumstance changes, I’m sure I’d rethink things when it comes to spending my money.
Finally, I’m wondering what everyone is hoping to change or improve this year in their classrooms. For me? Here’s a short list:
- I have to go through a teacher training program this year (since last year I was considered a substitute). I’m just praying that I can handle all of the formative lesson plans and essays that I have to do on top of everything else that comes with being a teacher of over 100 kids. Then I realize that I shoved my head into a Masters Degree program during my first full year of teaching; this should be easy! Still, I’m praying that it won’t detract from my ability to improve things with my students.
- I’m hoping to have more of a presence online and incorporate the use of computers into my room a little bit more. While I say this now, I know that I detest computer usage in the classroom because it is impossible to watch all 30 students and make sure they are using it appropriately at all times. So this is a hope, but not necessarily a reality. I’ve put a lot of work into it though and hope that the results will be of a positive nature.
Over the summer, I spent time learning how to use our EChalk website platform in order to better serve my students. Last year I would post our class notes to the webpage so that any absent student could get the notes immediately after class. This turned out to be a negative, because students who were present in class stopped taking notes and started being lazy and not paying much attention at all! This year’s changes bring forth more directions and instructions for absentee students to help them gain the knowledge in their own way. I have embedded videos, given vocabulary lists (undefined), and pointed them to more quick-check questions for each lesson that I plan to teach. I’m excited to see where this change will go!
- I’m going to improve my classroom management. Sure, there are those perfect classes that don’t need any more managing than I am already able to give. Yet there is always at least one group who I feel I have no control of. As a young teacher, I’m hoping this is not my personal fault but my lack of experience. For the new teacher training I’m doing, I’ve been paired up with a mentor from my school who will help me to become better at whatever I feel I need to work on. I immediately told her classroom management, and she has been sending me good resources ever since! Plus I learned a few techniques last spring that I am going to start off with on day one of school. Hopefully that will help as well!
So what are your back-to-school plans this year? Are there any big changes coming your way? I’m always curious to know what you think about the things I write, especially the teaching things. So if you have experience, please share!
Oh Lord guide us. Show us Thy Will and Way in everything.
This is the quote that comes along with the devotional I read for yesterday. Though it’s a day old now, I feel like it’s no less important to me at this moment. It seems like every year around this time I go through the same stages. There’s excitement that I get my student rosters and get to go back to being a bit more social than I am during the summer. Then there’s the anxiety and nerves; what am I forgetting to do? What if this group of kids is practically uncontrollable? What if, like so many jobs before this one, something goes wrong and I cannot bare to work under the current circumstances and need to make drastic life changes again? What did I do with my whole summer and why did I waste so much time? This list goes on and on…
I don’t think I’d be struggling so much with this right now, except a few things are colliding together this year. First, there’s the normal end-of-summer emotions (see above). Then there’s this horrid drenching downpour that has not ended in the past five days. Even when it’s not raining around here, the clouds and sky are so dreary that it just puts you in a mood. I have an older cousin who has to use a special lamp to give himself a certain amount of sun each day. Sometimes I feel like I have this same issue (sorry, I don’t remember what it’s called) because the lack of sun after a day or two is so depressing to me that I just get into a funk. Right now I’m in a big funk. Finally, there’s the fact that I did a lot of physical work and tasks this weekend and slept horribly. We all know how humans are on barely any sleep; if you aren’t sure, let me just say that I am the worst person in the world to console or talk to or try to get to accomplish anything when I am tired. My anxiety lashes out and I’m just useless.
I am in a major funk.
Sometimes I feel like I am overreacting to everything around me. Take the other night for example. My husband and I were making dinner. Normally we cannot be in the kitchen together at the same time because we each have our own method of madness and they clash horribly. However, he was making something on the stove and asked if I’d mix up some chicken salad. I said sure, an easy enough task right? Once I had it mixed up, I covered it and put it on the counter to wait a few more minutes until he was done with the cooking portion of the meal. As I’m sitting in my living room, I hear a spoon clacking against the glass bowl I had used to put the salad into. I called to him and asked if anything was wrong. He simply said, “The salad is too chunky.” Any normal person would probably be responding with a simply “oh okay” or an “I’m sorry”, but I’m no normal person. I am the person with anxiety who is currently in a major funk. What seems like the easiest task in the world has now been done incorrectly (by me) and I am not too happy about it. So I take a deep breath and let it pass.
The week has been going like this, including its fair share of stupid, silly examples of things that are irking me. While it seems like many of them revolve around my husband, I can assuredly say that he is not the main problem in any of these circumstances. It’s more like… the husband or the dog or the other dog… the other day I was upset at my phone because the battery ran dead too fast for my liking. It’s quite ridiculous. I see now that the problem is more than likely just me.
So I try to step back. I try to remember that years of dealing with my anxiety has led me to a point where I have plenty of strategies to combat this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know the triggers (or at least most of them) and I can do a pretty good job of either avoiding them or meeting them head on. Right now, I’m just trying to step back.
Yet sooner or later everything just gets to be too much. It’s nearing the end of July and school mode is here. Then there’s the tiredness and the anxiety. Then there’s the simple every day communication that sometimes just doesn’t go as planned (again, see above). Sometimes it just feels like I’m not where I’m supposed to be in life and that I’m not doing something that I should be accomplishing. Now I’m not talking about chores or tasks, I’m talking more about the thing that is missing in my life that would help me to get rid of this funk. I’m not naive, and I know my anxiety will never be cured. We’ve been there and done that with those thoughts. It’s not happening. I feel like I’ve mostly come to terms with that, but right now it just feels like there’s this big black shadow lingering that I need to try to get rid of. This funk.
So I found myself trying to get some exercise today (strategy #1) and that didn’t work because the weather was still sucky and now I was outside in it. Plus the dogs were begging to go along, so I took them… Zoey doesn’t always like to walk on a leash like a proper girl, so that wasn’t much fun. Strategy #2 was to just buck it up and get the stuff done. So I took a list of the things that were bugging me and I just started knocking them out. Though now I feel more tired than I was before and no more happy to know that those tasks ended up leading to more tasks (go figure). Strategy #3 is to talk it out, but sometimes it’s impossible to just tell someone else how you are feeling and have them comprehend it like you feel you need them to. So we went, we tried, we lost that one…
Welcome to Strategy #4, where I read and I write and I try to stay away from anything and everything that will make me more tired or more upset. Let’s face it, a piece of paper and pen or this blog is not able to talk back. So unless my brain conjures an issue, this time should remain fairly peaceful.
~~A pause here to encourage anyone struggling with anxiety to try some of these strategies!!!~~
Which is how I ended up reading today’s devotional and reviewing yesterday’s. Though today doesn’t come with a direct scripture or any special quote, I still find yesterday’s pretty significant. Oh Lord, guide us. Show us Thy Will and Way in everything. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that this is a thing. I’ve been a Christian for a very long time, but sometimes it is so difficult to remember that God is really in control here. While my body might feel like crap and my mind might seem to be in an even worse place, I need to try to remember this. That God has a Will and a Way. That He is trying to do what is going to be right for my life in the end. He knows for sure that I’ve been here and gone through similar before. He also knows that even in times of these difficulties, I always end up finding the light at the end of the tunnel. The only real problem here is that I hate being in the tunnel and just waiting for the light to come around. I can’t stand it that I have no control over certain things, and even my mind likes to take its own little field trips to anxiety land sometimes. (I also hate how this might be making me sound crazy, but what am I going to do? I need to be honest here or this post is not going to make me feel any better.)
God has a Will and a Way. I need to remember this.
Also in the devotional book God Calling by A.J. Russell is today’s little blurb:
I am your Lord. Lord of your lives. Controller of your days, your present and your future. Leave all plans to Me. Only act as I bid you.
You have entered now, both of you, upon the God-guided life. Think what that means. God-taught, God-guided.
Is anything too wonderful for such a life? Do you begin to see how wonderful life with Me can be?
Do you see that no evil can befall you?
Let’s just say that as much as I want to believe no evil is in my life right now, I’m having a hard time seeing it. I’m having a hard time feeling as though the sadness and destruction in not only my life but our world right now is not somehow evil.
Yet I do recall times when I felt like this before. I remember feeling like there was no hope for us or our lives would be changed for the worse forever when the war against Iraq started after 9/11. I remember thinking that it would be like World War II all over again. While it hasn’t been some fun happy thing, I can at least say that I watched as God guided us through some of those terrible war times without having it result in quite as much evil as my mind had originally concocted.
I recall being engaged to a man that I was not meant for and trying so hard to please and to fit in when I wasn’t supposed to… though I didn’t know it until the whole thing was over, I was led to a better place in my life. To realize the horrible mistakes I could have made or the realizations that I may never have… I have to believe that God had His Way with that one.
I think I’m getting it now; I’m getting to a place of peace and to a place of realization. That even though I may still be in this funk later, I am okay with it for right now. I am just going to put everything to God and do some praying and just hope that the funk goes away soon. Even if it’s only here for one simple reason, I am going to try to believe that it is here for a very important but small reason. While I may never see directly what that reason is or understand why this time in my life had to happen, I’m going to try my hardest to just let it be. To not fight it, to not anguish over it, and to try not to really make it any worse with my anxiety.
To anyone who is still reading up to this point, I thank you so much for listening to my rambling. I’m sorry this post was more for my benefit than anyone else’s. If you did read this far though, know that it means the world to me that someone was willing to try to put themselves in my shoes for a few minutes here. Like I said, it’s not always the anxiety that is all the trouble in my life, sometimes it’s just trying to get someone else to understand those feelings.
So here’s to getting out of that funk and to hoping none of you are currently in one. If you are, feel free to reach out because I’m sure that if I can’t help you with your own problems, we can just be together. In our funk. But never alone.
It’s been pretty easy to get around to see my grandma lately, mostly just because it’s summertime. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when school goes back to session, but I’ll do my best!
Anyway, the reason for this post today is because I showed up at grandma’s house yesterday while my mom was there. They were talking about the “olden” days and how things were so different when they grew up. I came home last night and was thinking; I don’t want to lose these memories and facts about my family. So I decided to write them down here. While I won’t go into detail about names or locations, I do want to get these facts down so that I don’t forget them. In the meantime, hopefully you will enjoy some stories from when times were a bit easier and people believed in family and church as the core of a community.
My grandma grew up on a farm with a large family. I think she was one of the younger siblings, though there were so many I cannot even name them all! Being a girl, it was her job to help her mom with cooking and cleaning. She remembers using cast iron for only two main things in her life. (Yes, we were talking about cleaning cast iron pans, so the topic came up.) One was that her mom had a huge cast iron pan that was about the size of a griddle. She would prepare to make fried potatoes (like home fries) on it, but would mix up a dough combination that would be added to the potatoes. While grandma never made this meal for her own household, she said fried potatoes and dough was one of her favorite meals. Times really must have been simpler then…
I’m not sure how well I would have survived during that time though. I’d like to think that if I was surrounded by these chores daily, I would just have grown up used to them. However, when grandma had to go with her mom up to the attic where the meats were hung and hold the pan while her mom sliced off slabs of meat for dinner, I think I would have been less than thrilled. Grandma says she hated having to stand there with the heat and the smells, just waiting for the container to get heavier so they could go back downstairs.
Grandma got married young, which wasn’t uncommon in those days. She also had a lot of kids, being part of a farm family. I believe during her stories yesterday, she told me they had moved four or five times to different farms before they had retired and moved out to the house that I will always think of as their’s. The first house sticks out in my mind best. She said it had a kitchen that opened up to one other room. They used curtains and blankets to separate the big room into a small area for the baby, their bedroom, etc. And while they didn’t have plumbing, in their first house, they didn’t even have their own personal outhouse! It was shared with the landlord who lived in the summer house on the property.
In fact, if my memory is serving me right, it sounded like there was no indoor plumbing for bathrooms until their second or third house. I cannot even imagine raising multiple kids while needing to use an outhouse! I guess maybe it was easier because the kids were still little, but I’m not sure I’m all up for that…
I also found it interesting that Grandma and Grandpa kept some of their earliest items for so long that even I remember seeing them. Grandma said she worked an entire year at the local foundry just to save up enough money to furnish their first home. She only earned about 700 bucks, but it was enough for her to go to the furniture store in town and buy a red living room set and a red and silver metal table that was popular in those times. I remember that table and wish I had bought it at their house sale a few years back. I never thought it held so many memories with it, though I did always think it was cool. Before Grandma moved to a smaller home, we used to use that as one of our tables for holiday meals. I never knew just how old it was.
Yesterday I was also reminded why my mom doesn’t like to eat much meat. I forgot that as a kid she would have to help cut up chickens for the evening meal. Apparently they got chickens from her uncle in a huge bucket that took two adults to carry. While they were already feathered and dead, it was mom and her sisters’ jobs to cut up the chickens into the normal pieces that most people take for granted today. Mom said the sound was awful! And of course they would always have to have fresh fried chicken that very night. I’m not sure I would like to eat chicken either if I were her… and yet Grandma had it so much worse and doesn’t even think anything of it. One of her jobs was to take the girls outside to the chicken coop and kill about 20 chickens at a time. Grandma would cut the heads off and let them run around until they were done moving. Then the girls would help to pluck the feathers out and cut them up to be prepared for cooking. Kudos to my aunts for still liking chicken after all of that!
I’m sure there are many other stories that were told to me by my parents or grandparents that I’m not recalling right now, but I think I’ll end here. My point in writing this post has multiple facets: it’s important to remember where you came from, you shouldn’t take anything for granted, family should always be important to you no matter what. Finally, I am continuously amazed by my grandmother for her strength and courage in everything that she has done in her life. I’m sure if I’d say that to her, she’d tell me that as a girl growing up on a farm, you had to do what you had to do. But she did it all with the strength that many of us wish we had in life these days. To then continue that family legacy and run her own farm alongside her husband for so many years just amazes me. To have that many kids and to be part of so many memories… I only hope one day to have lived as happily as she seems to have lived.
(Note: I am not going to type up a bibliography for this post, though I have referenced many books and songs here. Just know that they are protected under copyright law by their creators and I have no rights to any of these resources. I am only suggesting them as a user/listener myself. If you have any questions about how you can use these resources, please contact the publisher, author, or artist!)
I’ve been getting kind of curious about how everyone else views their Faith and how they bring it into their lives in different ways. I know plenty of people who believe in some form of a God, though it might not be exactly through the same religion. Yet each of these people, regardless of their specific beliefs, come together to prove to me just how strong we all are as faithful people. My friends have numerous jobs in life from teaching to construction work and everything in between. They share their Faith through random acts of kindness, volunteer opportunities, working at their church, and praying for those in need. Some of them like to bake or sew, and they use these types of talents to bring things to the needy.
I feel like we don’t just do these good deeds to help us feel closer to our God, but I also feel that we attend events and participate in groups to help bring us closer to those who share our same beliefs. So my question is, what makes you feel closer to your God?
Here’s the top of my list:
- Attending Church
I haven’t listed these in any specific order, but there are some that I hold closer to my heart for personal reasons. I am also noticing as I view my list that some of these items have no direct connection to church or faith or God, so let me be a bit more specific.
Attending Church is the easiest topic to discuss (which is actually why it is listed first). It’s the one that everyone takes for granted and assumes to be the best way to connect to God. Yet I haven’t always found it as useful as it seems to be in my life now. My attendance has actually allowed me to see others worshiping in different ways. We have Liturgy days at work (Mass for Catholics) and I attend Sunday sermons at my own church (Lutheran). The differences are not as extreme as I used to think that they were. Luckily for me, I get to follow along pretty well with the Catholic Mass while also being able to learn about the differences between our faiths. This has also been a great opportunity for me to watch people younger than myself show their true devotion to God. I have never felt closer to Him than I do when I watch a room full of young kids singing and praying to God. If you’ve never experienced it, try going to a church near you that has a large following and an even larger youth group! I’ve also found that there is a difference for me when I attend Mass vs. when I attend Sunday service. At Mass, I often find myself praying for those around me, the stresses of the day, and being thankful for the amazing feeling that the people in the room have brought to me (whether they know it or not). On Sunday, I am drawn closer to my own personal life in a few ways. First, I am blessed to know that my family has been part of the Lutheran faith for many many years. I also recall the fact that my grandmother has always gone to services alone (or with her children) for over 80 years now. I too attend Sunday services alone most of the time. This allows me to realize not only how my grandmother was so strong in her faith, but reminds me how strong I am in my own. It also gives me the chance to connect even better with those who are around me. I now have a few people who come and sit with me each week at services. I’m unsure whether they feel alone or think I am, but I appreciate their kindness and am reminded that even the simplest acts are important in life.
Through everything that has been going on in my personal life lately, I have also come to find that reading is a great way to seek answer in prayer and get some “advice” from the man upstairs. I recently reached out to my pastor to see what advice or readings he would suggest to me from the Bible, and instead he recommended this book!
I have to be honest and say that I do not keep up with the daily readings, but it sits in my living room with some of my other resources just waiting to be picked up and read anytime I feel the need. So far, I’d highly recommend this one!
Strange as it may seem for a person in their late twenties, I have also resorted to using my Teen Study Bible often recently. Not only is this book special because it is the one I used when working towards becoming a member of the church through Confirmation, but it also has some really good resources. There is a section included that points you to the best scriptures when in times of need. Looking for some readings on love, hatred, death, etc? All you have to do is access the glossary and find these topics listed with page numbers and scripture suggestions!
Finally, I have picked up a copy of Beside the Still Waters from a local Amish market. I was skeptical at first, but found that this daily devotional is pretty good as well. This one directs you to a select set of scriptures. Once you read them, the book has a short discussion on the things you have just read. While it takes a bit longer than God Calling, it is well worth the time!
Another way I have felt more connected to God is through my music. My favorite place to listen to music now is YouTube. Not even my Pandora stations cut it anymore. Why you may ask? Simply because I have found some amazing groups and songs on YouTube that do not circulate through my stations, try as I might. For your reference, I’ll give you a list of my top ten favorites, again in no particular order.
And now for the final part of my list: sports. You may think I am crazy to say sports bring me closer to God, but I’m not talking about the NFL or NBA here. Actually, my church has their own softball team. We play other groups from churches around our county once a week over the summer months. While I started this adventure earlier this year simply because I missed playing softball so badly, I have come to realize that it means a lot more to me now than I thought it would. Through our games, I have become closer to others who share my beliefs. We have been able to connect more through these times than through church services, mostly because we are able to communicate with each other and work together as a team. I am forever grateful that this team was brought to my attention. While I am almost the youngest, and the only girl on the team, I am saddened to think that our season ends next week and I will have to wait until next summer to play with this team again! More importantly, I have found it significant that God has led me back to my favorite sport through my faith.
So as I said when I first started this post, I’m just wondering: What brings you closer to your God?
I feel like there aren’t already enough posts about the media hub Netflix (just kidding), so I thought I’d make one more! Today’s post is going to be kind of rushed because I’m getting started so late in the day. For this reason, I’m going to make it simply; a list of the Netflix content that I have seen along with a short synopsis (from my viewpoint) and whether I recommend you watch it or don’t waste your time. To my normal readers, I apologize because this is nowhere near one of my usual posts. They should return sometime this week!
- Breaking Bad
- The Five
- Zumbo’s Just Desserts– I basically watched this one because my cable provider took away the Food Network. Sometimes, especially after a long day at work or a long school year, I just like to have some down time and watch someone cooking tasty treats. Definitely not as good as some of the actual FN shows, but it got the job done!
- Evil Genius– I watched this with my mom one day. It felt weird to watch a show about a real-life event that happened during your lifetime, but it was really interesting. I’m not sure whether to recommend this one or not, simply because not everyone has the local connection that I have (or a mom watching with them who remembers the incident). I suggest reading the synopsis provided by Netflix and deciding for yourself.
- Crossing Lines
- 13 Reasons Why– This shows seems more targeted at teens, but should definitely be watched by everyone! I only started watching it because I had read the book and love seeing the comparison between books and their movies. Then I realized that this is a true issue in life (which has been made a tad overboard in the show) that everyone needs to educate themselves on. What makes this show even better? The “After 13 Reasons” show (which I have yet to watch).
- Anne with an “E”
- Fuller House
- Orange is the New Black
- The Ranch– While this show contains some crude language and may not be as interesting after the end of Part 5, it’s a pretty good sitcom that reminds me somewhat of Home Improvement or Friends. It’s a dramatic comedy that is fun to watch with my husband. I’d recommend if you have a sarcastic side or don’t have any young kids who will be influenced by the poor language.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events– Based on the book series by Lemony Snicket, though I’d rather read the books. I’ve watched at least the first season of this one, but by the time you watch the first dozen episodes, you have a good idea of how every single episode’s plot is going to lay out. I’m having trouble keeping with this one, but I bet it’s good for younger teens. (Note: I’m not recalling bad language, but I could be wrong– check the ratings!)
- When Calls the Heart– This is one of my favorite shows on Netflix, though it’s originally from the Hallmark Channel. If you like the intricacies and slight drama that can be found in older family shows, this one is for you! Compare to The Waltons, Andy Griffith, or Little House on the Prairie. With an old-time setting and an intelligent female lead, I am hooked!
- Imposters– I am currently waiting for Netflix to release the next set of episodes! I’m not sure at this point where the show will lead, but the first season was hilarious and interesting all in one bundle! This is one of those shows that I started watching and my husband quickly joined in. Again, not a Netflix original, but well worth it to watch whether you view it on Bravo or Netflix.
- The Rain
- Nailed It!– Another Food Network type show where horrible bakers are challenged to make two pieces as well as they can. I’d almost venture to say this is less of a cooking show and more of a comedy show. The host can be a bit annoying at times, but watching the bakers make the simplest mistakes and not realize it is hilarious. One of my current favorites to watch with my sister; sister bonding time always makes even funnier jokes out of this show!
- NCIS– My current favorite, though I’ve watched most of the seasons on CBS. I love that I was able to restart watching all of the episodes on Netflix starting with S01E01. Being able to see how the crew changes and follow their personal story-lines a bit better with the second watch is one of my favorite parts. Highly recommended if you enjoy any other crime shows!
- The Magicians– I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch this one or not, but I have a student who is addicted and they continued to tell me that if I did nothing else this summer, I had to at least watch the Magicians episodes that are on Netflix. While this is a typical SyFy show, it is pretty interesting. I find parts hard to follow at times, but I think that’s mostly because I was not as intrigued from the get-go. Note: I wouldn’t let any kids watch unless you first check the ratings and maybe watch a few episodes yourself. High-school aged students should be okay, but topics of sexual assault, drinking, and drugs come up often!
I’m out of time for now, so I’ll come back and keep updating this list as I continue to watch shows. If you are curious to see how many shows you’ve watched recently or want to keep track of which episodes you’ve seen, try the TV Time app, available for Iphone or Android at TV Time. I’ve been using this app for months now and love being alerted when shows are new and have upcoming episodes. Just remember that the shows are updated based on their TV channels and not Netflix postings (unless it’s a Netflix original).
I’m borrowing the video below from Reddit. I just happened to come across it today and thought it fit pretty well with the story I feel like telling from a social media post I saw this morning.
If you’re an educator, you may have heard that Target is promoting 15% off for all school supply purchases for educators. I feel like this is a yearly thing and occurs in many different stores all over the country. Heck, some of the stores offer teacher discounts year-round. True, maybe some stores are promoting these discounts because they appreciate all the hard work teachers do. However, many of them could be instituting these policies because they hope teachers will buy more product from them to actually supplement their classrooms and help not only the teacher but the local kids as well! Even more of these stores are doing it to entice teachers to simply enter the store and spend more than what we normally would without a “sale” coming our way. Who can pass up a sale anyway?
But what I really think is interesting is that somehow, someone in this world turned Target’s 15% off discount for teachers into something similar to the link above that I posted from Reddit. How you may ask? Simply because people are trying to get work done and do some good (Target giving 15% for teachers who, whether we like it or not often buy their own supplies for at least part of their school year) and someone else ruins it for everyone.
That person in this situation just happens to be the owner of the Facebook Page called “Teaching in Progress”. I’ve done a bit of snooping on this page just to give you a quick rundown. This page is devoted to teachers sharing posts and quotes and ideas for other educators to use in their own classrooms and lives. Like many of the teacher pages that I follow, this one describes the life of a teacher during summer, gives project ideas to help kids learn their ABCs with fun games, and works to educate others about the reality of the school systems today.
So what’s the big deal? The difference between this teacher’s media page and the ones that I choose to follow comes in the form of one post from yesterday afternoon. It was posted in response to the Target 15% off discount deal. Just so you can enjoy the pleasure of whatever feeling their post might invoke in you, here it is:https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fteachinginprogress%2Fposts%2F1720784981303006&width=500
As you can see, there are many comments and responses to this post. And, as with all of my own personal blog posts, I would like to reiterate that my opinion is only that, an opinion. I am in no way saying that I am right or wrong about my feelings here. But just hear me out, let me tell you my feelings here.
This post is full of it!
That’s basically it. I feel like this is one of the worse things I have ever seen another teacher post on social media. Granted, any human can do much worse than this, but hear me out. I have some very valid reasons for believing this post should not even be in existence.
- It’s rude- Target was not forced to give anyone discounts, so anyone who gets one should be grateful. Target’s #1 mission is to earn money for their owners and employees while also servicing their communities by allowing people to buy food and supplies they need to support their families. It has never bragged about being a cheap alternative to other stores, for being a charity location, or for being a homeless shelter or wish giving service like Make a Wish. So for anyone to complain about something offered to them for no apparent reason is rude and sad.
- If you don’t want it, don’t use it- I do not often buy school supplies for my classroom. In fact, most of my school supply purchases are for my own personal use (either at home or at the office). Yet just because I may not need any more pencils or sticky notes at the moment, doesn’t mean that I am going to go out and complain about a discount that was offered to me. If I don’t wish to buy supplies, I’m just going to… well, not buy them!
- This is the opposite of what we should be teaching our children- I’m slightly scared that someone so outspoken could post something like this on social media. I’m not naive enough to think it doesn’t happen every day, but I often feel like this is what is wrong with the world. Sure, share your opinions and ideas; others love to see your creativity and come up with new ideas alongside of you. But do you not realize that you have a position of authority in this world? In your town? Do you not see that children look up to you as their teacher? Is it apparent to you that, even if you don’t friend your students on your Facebook page, they can still see your posts if thousands of people are sharing them? I feel like this is just teaching our younger generations that it is okay to bitch and complain about every single thing that is handed to you in life whether you really deserve it or not. Maybe this is what is wrong with so much of the world today. Not this post specifically, but the idea that we can be so outspokenly unhappy and rude about things that are offered to us just because they aren’t 100% what we want.
- The reality- Does anyone really think that Target has enough pull to change the entire financial budget of the state and federal governments? Because that’s basically what it would take to make it so that every school in the country has access to all supplies without the need for teachers or parents to contribute to anything the students need during a school year. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to make this a reality, but going back to the facts… Target will NOT be the one to make these changes happen. Sorry Target, I love you, but you aren’t quite that powerful!
In the end, I guess I’m writing just because I am so frustrated by everyone who seems so ungrateful for things these days. While this Target post may be a pretty simplified example, there are many ways I have seen this attitude and ungratefulness in the world.
So my advice to you, or my wish for what you would do having read this post? Go out and do something good for someone else. Instead of complaining because how heavy a door is to hold, make sure you hold it open for yourself and the person behind you. Instead of being mad that your food from a restaurant costs so much, make sure to tip the waiter/waitress a bit extra today.
In the end, doing good, treating others well, and being grateful for what we do have will make the world a better place. Don’t forget to stand up for change, but be sure to do it in a mature and polite manner. Otherwise, people are so much more likely to lash out at you and not actually hear your reasons for supporting your cause.