Sunday, July 23, 2017

My House and My Heart

In my last post,  I shared how overwhelmed I felt by summer stretched out before me.  Now that the end of summer is in sight, I am pleased with what I have accomplished, but I don't want to get lazy.

I can see clearly down the road!!!

So far Lily has a good start on potty training and some great swimming practice. Ben has done lots of reading, some building, a museum visit, and had started learning ASL. He has been great at ASL! I'm super proud of him. And Lily has mostly stopped fussing about potty training. Yay!
I have managed to clean, sort, and get rid of things.  I have not pulled weeds like I need to,  but I have been stung by 3 yellow jackets, Ben has been stung by 3 wasps, and I have seen lots more scary bugs. So I am hesitant to get out there like I need to. I did get the trees trimmed because I hired a former student who did amazing work!
Things are slowly coming together.  I often feel so overwhelmed by the amount of work to do in and around my house that I don't do it. I know it won't be perfect, so I don't start.  I know I can't get it done in a day,  so I don't start. I know some things won't get fixed until much later, so I don't make small changes. This summer I have begun to overcome that. I am awaking from a paralyzing fear of not being good enough. I am slowly putting things together and I'm proud of myself. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer is Here...

Photo Credit: Dawn Ellner
Several people have asked me if I am glad that the school year is over. I answer yes because that is what is expected, but the answer is actually not quite that easy. I am glad that this year with my crazy schedule is over. I'm glad to wrap up some long standing things on my to do list. I'm glad to have some time off. But I'm not glad that summer is starting. I'm not glad that I am going to be home with my kids this summer. And not because of all the "funny meme" reasons you see out there. I don't feel prepared to keep them busy. I don't think I know to fill their summer days with fun and learning. I have ideas of things to practice and places to go, but will I actually do those things? When I don't have a schedule that says first period, second period, etc., can I keep a real schedule? Basically I'm asking, can I be a good mother this summer?

I don't think I can. I don't think I can keep up fun and learning. I'm feeling overwhelmed with an entire summer in front of me. I know how to teach Spanish to high school kids in chunks of 45 minute time or 90 minute time. An entire day with an 8 year old and a 3 year old? I don't know what I'm doing!

Summer is supposed to be this euphoric ideal full of fantastic adventures. That's a lot to live up to. Again, I guess we'll just do today.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Just Do Today

My father in law passed away the day of my previous post. It has been an unusual few weeks of trying to find a new normal. And in some ways it felt like our world is falling apart. Not because of grief, but because so many things are changing. Things that are completely unrelated to my father in law are changing and I don't know what to think about it all. I don't know what direction God wants us to go. I don't see what the future will hold. Drew and I keep telling each other, "Just do today."

The books I was reading have gone to side. I'm playing the time wasting game on my phone and binge listening to 3 podcasts. I'm having trouble focusing on my books or writing long enough to get anything accomplished. So I haven't posted in a while. I will get back to a routine sometime. Maybe after the school year is over, I can get back to this.

One quick thought to leave you with ... you never know when it will be the last one. I have heard this idea more than once, but it didn't really hit home until recently. We often celebrate the first of something, first steps, first kiss, first day of school, etc. However it is the last of something that goes unnoticed, but probably means more. I was rocking Lily to sleep and thought I probably won't realize when it is the last time I do this. I certainly didn't realize Easter dinner would be the last one with Eddie. So take one day at a time. Stop and enjoy the day. I know it sounds cliché, but actually living this out every day is not easy. It is a challenge to not get caught up in the stresses of the day or the stresses of tomorrow that creep in. It is a challenge to not focus on the future and the problems that might be there.

So I challenge you to focus on today. Just do today. See if it makes things better.

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Photo Credit: Decals for the Wall


Monday, May 8, 2017

Something to Make the Hard Times Better

Three weeks and I haven't posted anything. Life has been busy. I have started this post multiple times and then something comes up and I can't finish it.

These past few weeks have been hard. I want to tell you all the ways it has been hard. I want to tell you all the people who have helped or offered to help. I want to tell you the conversations that I have had. The life changing conversations that I didn't expect to have this early in life. The small comments made that have been so encouraging. The small comments made that got under my skin. I want to tell you about the small quiet moments that have spoken peace into my soul. I want to tell you all the ways I have grown so far. But I'm afraid they are too raw and will be hurtful.

So I will tell you two small stories about my kids and this time. A couple weeks ago when we found out that this was really the end my husband was at the hospital with my father in law. We decided to take the kids to see him one more time. I had to prepare my kids for what was going on, so I started talking. I think God gave me the right words. We got to the parking lot and my son jumped out because he thought he was going to get sick. He didn't, but this proved he is an anxious kid and sometimes that anxiety is manifested physically. He wore his sadness on his face as we walked in to the oncology department. A nurse saw him and asked him why he was sad. His answer was heartbreaking. "My pawpaw's gonna die." Then he started crying again. I hugged him and teared up myself. The nurse was obviously sorry she asked the question and I felt sorry for her too. Daddy came out of PawPaw's room and gave hugs. He gathered up his courage and went in to the room. He chatted with PawPaw and said goodbye.

Lily, being only 3, doesn't really understand this. She just catches on to a few phrases and then repeats those. With luck, she adds her thoughts to the end. One of the things I said in my explanation was to ask if my son remembered how PawPaw lost his hair. That phrase she latched on to. So as we were walking out of the hospital and back to the car, she said, "PawPaw lost his hair and we are going to go find it for him." Both my son and I laughed.

Her laughter and joy and simplicity has made this trying time much better.



If you feel so inclined, we have set up a GoFundMe to help pay medical expenses as well as the final expenses we will be facing. Thank you. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Stomach Gymnastics

Seventeen days have gone by and I haven't posted. I have had a few thoughts, but nothing that I can capture and get on to this screen with any kind of logic or flow. I have been busy and will continue to be busy until the end of the month. Prom is at the end of the month and I'm the Prom Committee sponsor. For the most part, it has been a good experience. But now we are getting down to it and there is so much left to do. I'm stressing out because I just don't know if it will all get done or not.

You know when your stomach starts to do gymnastics as you think about the stuff coming toward you? That is where I am right now. I'm trying really hard to be positive and okay with not perfect. But so far I just keep thinking about the ways I can fail. So I haven't been writing anything because I can't think of anything except all the ways I can fail.

Um... I started this post a week ago and hoped that I could conquer this. I have for a few hours and sometimes even a day. Then it comes back. I'm now on Spring Break and having difficulty sitting still because I feel like there is still so much to do.

So I'll just post this and find a way to sit still.

Friday, March 31, 2017

March is #trypod month

So about a year or so ago I finally downloaded a podcast app and started listening. In typical Andrea fashion, I subscribed to about 40 of them. Some of my original ones have gone and new ones have come, but the number is still about 40. March is #trypod month, as in try this podcast and see what you think. I don't think there is any way I could narrow it down to a handful that I like, so I'll just list all the ones I listen to weekly.

True Crime
Already Gone - She is from Michigan and mostly focuses on Michigan. She has good cases, many of which I have not heard before. And her voice is very soothing.
Casefile - This host is from Australia and has cases from the US, Australia, and the UK.
Criminal - This show mostly has interviews with people who have been convicted or affected by crime. It is mostly kept pretty light and brings an interesting perspective to exactly what a criminal is.
In Sight - The hosts are from Australia and Kansas City. so the cases vary as to which contient they are on. Many of these shows do not overlap their cases.
The Generation Why - Aaron and Justin have been around for a while. I love their common sense looks at these cases and mysteries.
The Trail Went Cold - Many of these are lesser known cases. The host is a big Unsolved Mysteries, so many of the cases were on there originally.
The Vanished - This is dedicated to missing people. She often talks to family members of the missing. This one gives us a close up look at those who are affected by these cases.
Thin Air - This is another missing person podcast. The two hosts of this trade off cases. One week is Jordan and one week is Daniel. They do great research on this one. 
Thinking Sideways - The trio of Devin, Joe, and Steve discuss true crime as well as other mysteries around. The three of them have great chemistry that make listening very enjoyable.
True Crime Garage - True crime with a couple big personalities. They also have a book recommendation every week too!
Twisted Philly - This is obviously based out of Philly, but often extends to the rest of Pennsylvania and sometimes New Jersey. Some true crime, some paranormal, and some cool history. And the host is honest and makes it interesting.
Unexplained - This one is more paranormal than true crime, but the host does a good job of telling us the stories.
Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories - These are true crime stories with parts reenacted by actors. It is an interesting combination of story telling and radio play.

Life Encouragment/ Advice
Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers - This is obviously for teachers. It has good advice that is generally pretty easy to enact.
At Home with Sally and Friends! - This is mostly for mothers and it is really encouraging.
Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram - This is for Christians and helps with daily living out of your faith.

Stories

Lore - True life scary stories from history.
Myths and Legends - Telling the stories of myths and legends from around the world.
Remarkable Lives. Tragic Deaths - Stories of the lives of important or famous people. Part story telling and part voice acting.
Stuff You Missed in History Class - Historical things you may not have heard of, but really should learn about.
The Memory Palace - Historical stories, as in historical facts told in a story format.
The Peripheral - Stories from people's lives that aren't mainstream.
This American Life - Stories about one theme from all over the world.
Who We Are - It started as Career Day, but it is more about people telling how their career became important to their life.

Old Time Radio
Old Time Radio by Misfits Audio Currently playing X-1 episodes.
The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio - Boston Blackie, Richard Diamond, Johnny Dollar, Dragnet, and many more detective stories.
Suspense OTR - Episodes of the radio show Suspense from back in the day.
Westerns OTR - Old radio western shows, like Gunsmoke, Doc Six Gun, etc.

Books
Professional Book Nerds - A podcast about books from Overdrive, a library company.
Sophomore Lit - A podcast talking about literature some people read in high school.
The Baby-Sitters Club Club Two middle aged guys reading The Babysitters Club books and analyzing them for all the literary value in them.
What Should I Read Next- Tell Anne 3 books you like, 1 book you hate and what you are reading lately. She will tell you what you should read next.

Wrestling
The Steve Austin Show - I weirdly like his observations and opinions about the professional wrestling industry.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Stress Doesn't Have to Win

I had a post ready for Monday, but I'm just not sure about it. So I'm going to leave it in drafts awhile longer.

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

This week has been so long and so stressful. I stayed an hour longer at work most days grading because Friday was the end of the quarter. Several other things also happened. The kitchen faucet broke. I forgot to feed Ben breakfast twice this week. 2 library audiobook holds came in this week and 2 ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) came in this week. I also already have 2 library books. Ben and Drew started soccer practice this week too.

So it has been crazy!

However I haven't given in to the stress. I have been stressed and upset, but I haven't given in to it. I noticed that I was getting into a spiral of stress and thinking about how stressed I was and then getting more stressed. I didn't let myself sink into that spiral. I stopped that and came up with something much more productive to tell myself and I moved on. It felt like a victory. I think I am abiding in Christ and I am reaping the benefits of that.