Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

I sit here on the eve of a new year.

2013 is almost over. It has been 12 months of ups and downs, things that went the way I hoped and things that didn't, blessings and hurdles that I had to overcome.

It is a time to look back on all of things that God allowed me to experience and to set goals for the upcoming year.

In the past I have made resolutions, promises to myself- some of them went fairly well, some of them were forgotten within weeks, and some of them proved to be a larger issue than I cared to deal with at that particular time.

This year I am keeping things fairly simple:

1. Try to lose those pounds that I have managed to put BACK ON since I lost it a few years ago.

I am not specifying a particular number. I think it is more of a personal comfort level. When my pants stop feeling so snug, I will know that I have reached my goal. I am not sure yet what I will do in order to shed those pounds, but my vow to myself is that I will keep on trying until I find SOMETHING that works for me.

2. Attempt to reclaim a sense of balance to my life.
In recent months I have found myself overwhelmed with the lack of personal time. I am finding myself doing more and more things that are related to my job: grading papers, attending meetings, writing lesson plans, researching units.... you name it and I have done.... often on the weekends or evenings when I could be spending time with my family. It has been literally MONTHS since I have enjoyed scrapbooking. That has always been my personal form of therapy. Whenever work or life got too overwhelming, I could escape to my little craft room and enjoy an hour or so with paper, glue, and photos. Allowing those creative energies to flow somehow also allowed the pent up anxiety and stress to escape my body. Without that, the stress has somehow managed to stay inside me.... creating a feeling of total imbalance.

I really want to work to find a good balance between work related duties and life. I want to enjoy my time with family and friends and I also want to have time for myself.

3. Share more of myself with others.

I have always been one of those people who enjoyed doing the "little things" to brighten the day for others. At Christmas this year I spent lots of time making handcrafted gifts for those around me. Each one was carefully planned and prepared with the recipient in mind. When I hear someone say they need something or they would like something, if I have the capability to help provide that thing, I try to step forward to fill the gap.

This year, I would like to extend that giving beyond my own little circle. I want to seek out ways that I can use the talents that God has given me to help make the lives of others a bit better. I already have a couple of projects in mind and I am anxious to get started. I know that these things won't be earth shattering in size and scope, but I also know that they will help meet a need for someone somewhere. I also know that by giving of myself, I will become a happier person. H. Jackson Brown said, "The happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more." I think that is true.

Those are my goals for 2014- In 12 months, I will sit down and examine the year. Hopefully, I will be able to speak of the successes that I have had with these efforts. Between now and then, I will try to keep you updated on my progress.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Birthday to ME!

Yesterday it happened....... after a year of reality checks, contemplating, and dreading........ I turned

I don't really feel fifty. My own mother said, "How old are you?" and when I told her she said, "No, you can't be."

I once heard a quote from Mark Twain who said, "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." I have decided that it really doesn't matter how old I am. I intend to live life to its fullest, as long as I am able.

My daughter and I were talking this morning about hair color. I was joking that I turned fifty yesterday and this morning the grey hairs started peeking through my hair color. She said that I should just, "live with it" and allow my hair to turn grey. I don't think so. I'm not ready for that.... I think I will keep coloring it, for now. I know that there will come a time when there is too much grey to cover, and when that time comes, I will have to learn to live with it.

I know that my bones will begin to ache, my energy level will begin to decline, and my ability to do things that I want to will be diminished, but for now.....

50 is just a number......

Happy Birthday to ME!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Back to Work

Well, here it is...... Monday morning, after a 5 day break from teaching.

I have enjoyed every minute of the time that I have had. I did not grade one paper, write one lesson plan, or hear from one disappointed student or angry parent.

Instead, the last five days have been spent just lying on the couch watching television, reading an e-book on my Kindle, cooking with family, talking with family, eating with family, and shopping with family.  It has really been FANTASTIC!

I wish I could be as happy about returning to work as those little dwarfs were in the Disney movie.....

Dopey always seemed to have a smile on his face.... even when they headed out to a busy day with their picks to dig in the mines. I may not have Grumpy's permanent scowl this morning, but I just can't bring myself to sing, "It's back to school I go."

I really don't think that my family understands. On Saturday, my daughter and I decided to tackle a few of the after Thanksgiving sales. While traveling from store to store in the car we talked about what to get for this person or that person and the conversation eventually rolled around to me. "I don't know what to get you," she said, "and don't say TIME. You say that every year." My response was, "That's because THAT is really what I want."

She can't really understand what it is like to be at work from 7 until 5 on an almost daily basis and then carry a bag full of papers home when I do leave the building. Sunday afternoons are usually spent writing lesson plans for the coming week, and, on the occasional day off, it is becoming more and more common to be asked to come in for some type of professional meeting.

Don't get me wrong..... I am very thankful to have a job that brings home a substantial paycheck on a regular basis. BUT..... I wish that job wasn't such a full time job. This is year 29 for me, and, over the years, I have seen things change. I always took home papers to grade. I always had a lesson plan rolling around in my head. I always met students and parents out in "the real world". In recent years, however, the demands on my personal time have increased. New computer programs that we are expected to learn and utilize, new trainings that we must attend, and new curriculum that we must educate ourselves about. Add to that the internet and its increased presence in education and our daily lives, and it's all enough to make me want to just flip the pause button so I can have a few minutes to breathe.

I keep telling myself that I will master the ability to have time for both my job and myself..... but I haven't figured it out quite yet....