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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Possible Changes in 2012

2012 will bring change.  I'm writing this post so that a year from now, I can look back and see where God has taken us.  Here are some things that may - or may not - change in 2012.  They are things that right now, I can see changing - but as we know - "In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  (Proverbs 16:9).  Looking forward to God-directed steps.

First - I am seriously considering an extended Facebook break.  It is my way of communicating with many people.  However.  It wastes a lot of time, upsets me some of the time and takes me away from things that my time would be better served at.  I have yet to commit to this in my head and heart - but it's up for consideration at this point.

Second - My health.  I'm tired of talking about it.  Tired of making grand plans that never succeed.  We all know, myself better than anyone, how unhappy I am with my health right now.  It, too, has deprived me of happiness.  Maybe it's time for this to make a change for the better.  Maybe less time on Facebook and more time on my health.  No lofty commitments right now, no goals - just something I want to begin to put more focus to and see where it takes me.

Third - We may be moving. We have begun making calls and inquiring about what to do next.  We have contacted realtors here and in Ann Arbor,  My son needs us to do this and right now, that is a priority.  Honestly I don't know if it's possible - but we have at least begun to research it.  Our biggest problem is our house has lost over half it's value, we have nothing set aside to move with. We may have to short sale our home and lose major money.  We will most likely rent in Ann Arbor and finding a 3 bedroom, pet friendly home within 10 miles of Pioneer to rent - that we can actually afford - well - it's not likely.  Buying is an option but my concern is if we have to short sale our home here, that destroys your credit meaning no mortgages for a couple of years.  It's going to take a God move to make it happen - but we feel it is what is best for the long term health and happiness of our youngest.  I would like to move there for Jon - but also to get closer to family.  My brother lives in Brighton and works in Ann Arbor.  It would be really nice to live close to him for a change.  That has not happened since I left home when he was 12.

Well - that's the big 3 for now.  Unfortunately need to run and don't have time to add another one.  Maybe I'll add later.  We'll see what the future holds!

Friday, December 30, 2011

You say goodbye, I say hello

It's almost New Year's Eve.  I haven't written a blog post in...well...forever.  So - here goes nothing.

2011.  Let's recap:

1.  Elyse graduated high school and entered college.  Bittersweet.  So proud of her for all she has accomplished.  Yet - saying goodbye - is the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life.  Quite frankly - it's quite sucky.  Sorry for using that term - but there is no better way to say it.  Love having her home on her breaks now but boy do I miss her when she's not here. She is doing brilliantly at school - finding out who she is and loving life.  She calls Minneapolis home now.  I remember those days.  It's quite odd being the parent.  It hurts when she calls someplace else home - yet - at the same time - it's those words that make me see she is exactly where she needs to be.

2.  Jon turned 15.  He went from playing premier travel soccer since the age of 5 to quitting soccer all together.  He finished a very difficult 8th grade year at an impossible school (at no fault of his own) and moved on to be a freshman at a school that actually strives to see him succeed.  He isn't playing high school soccer and that is a shock.  He's trying out for football next year.  He's grown several inches and gained several pounds.  He's turning into a man right in front of my eyes.  Much change in his life.  I am proud of him.  It's not always easy for him - and he is doing good.  He is brave, courageous and a compassionate young man. 

3.  Marty quit coaching soccer.  Best.  Decision.  Ever.  We are done - DONE - dealing with all the politics that travel soccer has involved over the years.  Done with - well - a lot.  HUGE relief.  Huge stressor gone in our lives.  Did I say what a great decision this was?  The best.  At times, it's hard to believe how much soccer controlled our lives.  Now that we are free of it's death grip - we are better for it.  Still teaching up at Pioneer.  Another good thing.  Deepening some friendships up there slowly but surely.  It's a good thing.

4.  I started working full time.  Teaching Special Education.  Not having the best couple of months physically.  I haven't shared it with many people but the truth of the matter is right now I'm dealing with some health issues.  I've been having these sudden spells where the room spins violently, my head feels like someone has tasered it and my ears feel like I'm being held under water.  It lasts 30 seconds to a minute and goes away.  It started in November and continues.  I finally saw a Dr. this past week.  She has ordered some tests.  We'll see what happens.  My thyroid is out of whack and causing more weight gain.  Not fun.  Never thought I would see the weight I'm at now. Embarrassing, humiliating, debilitating, depressing.

Overall, I see 2011 as a tough one.  I can't honestly look back and see much more than struggle.  Struggle financially, struggle health wise, struggle emotionally.  Both kids have struggled.  It has been hard.  I have failed to see God's hands at times - yet at others - I feel his comfort.  I have had to lean heavily on him so many times this year.  He is faithful.  He is always faithful.

2012.  What will it hold?  I want my health to be better.  I want to find joy where there has been pain.  I want to walk through the valley with my head held high and remember God has a bigger and better plan than where I am now.  I want to draw closer to my Father, to my husband, to my children.  I want to get used to this new "norm" of being a parent of a child in college and a parent of a child in high school.  I want to learn to get on my knees first instead of worrying and fretting.  I want to see the mighty move of God in my life - in whatever way He sees fit.  I want to obey quicker, listen closer, respond faster.  I want to hear more, see more, do more.  I want to find a way to see in the darkness where I haven't found my way.  I want to be a happier person - one who does not get so easily dragged down by the tough stuff in my life.  I want to smile more.  I want to change a life for the better - my own but more important - someone else's.  I want to write more.  I want to find purpose more.  I want more than making it through day by day.  I want to LIVE and not just survive.  I want more.

I say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012.  What will the future hold?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Beautiful Things

There are many beautiful things in life.  Sunsets, beaches, turquoise waters.  The first snowfall, a pine grove forest, mountains.  Rays of sunshine in unexpected places, a child's smile.  God has truly made this world a beautiful place if we choose to look in the right direction.

I spent some time recently in a unique classroom.  As my friends know, I've been picking up more and more special education subbing jobs.  I was intimidated at first - unsure of myself, lacking confidence, feeling like I didn't have enough knowledge to reach out to these hurting kids.  What would I do when chaos ensued?  Would I be able to handle it?

I've had cabinets cleared and my head barely missed, I've been kicked at, my hair pulled, "advances" by young boys who just don't understand what they are doing or saying.  I leave most days with a headache and tears.  Every day, I work very hard.  Some days are better than others.  I've had times where kids have screeched the entire day.  I've had many days I've stared into blank and empty eyes.  I've been called some nasty names and I've been called some beautiful ones as well.

When I was younger, I would have thought all of these things would have sent me running in fear or leaving in anger.  But that's not the case.  When you know children are lost inside their own heads - you can take just about anything.  I pray through every day, arrive early to sit at each individual desk and pray if at all possible.  I often walk by a child who seems to live in another reality and whisper a gentle prayer for their complete and total healing.  I don't know that I could make it through some days without being in constant communication with my father.

I see beauty every day I work with one of these amazing children.  I see it when they connect with me - if only for a moment.  I see it in their kind words and their beautiful smiles.  I see it when they are throwing the biggest fit you've ever seen, and a gentle touch on their arm or hand grabs their attention and they suddenly quiet.  I see it when they do a math problem correctly or write a word I can understand.  I see it when they take their magnet letters and after spending an entire day making no sense at all, suddenly write out words in their letters such as "True Love Kisses". 

There are many beautiful things in this world - but these moments I cherish.  I think of this verse - and although it doesn't apply completely - it does remind me of these kids:  I Corinthians 13:12:  We don't yet see things clearly.  We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.  But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!  We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly as He knows us."

They don't see things clearly.  You can tell by looking in their eyes.  They are squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.  But it won't be long!  One day - and one day soon - the weather will clear and the son (intended) will shine bright.  They'll see it then - as clearly as God sees them - and they will know Him directly - as directly as He knows them.

To me - that is a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ticket to Ride

I play this game called Ticket To Ride.  If you've never played it before - you should.  It's addicting.  Basically the idea is to make it from one place to another on a map.  You are given destination tickets and trains. If you fail to make it from point A to point B before you or someone else runs out of trains, you are deducted points.  You play with other people who are also trying to make it to their destinations and sometimes your route gets blocked.

Today I was playing - relaxing - and a thought occurred to me.

Sometimes life is like my Ticket To Ride game.  Sometimes the path from point A to point B is easy, not met with any resistance.  Sometimes you sail right through, nothing gets in your way.  Sometimes, though, the path from point A to point B is not so clear.  Things block your view, circumstances force you to turn a different direction than you were originally intending on going.  Sometimes, you don't make it to your destination at all.

Those times are hard.  Times when you get thrown off the direction you were heading or the direction you were taking your family.  Jobs, kids, illness, money - it can all throw you off track and de-rail your train.  Sometimes we have to take detours to get where we are going.  Sometimes it seems that no matter what direction we turn, something else stands in our way.

But in those times, a verse comes to mind.  Romans 8:28.  Most of us know it - but for those of us who don't - it goes like this:  For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

In all things.  In all circumstances.  In all the stuff of life that threatens to drown and overwhelm us.  When we can't see his mighty hand - it is then that He holds us up - or - sends others to come alongside and be our strength.  All things - loss, bad finances, dead dreams, hurts, struggles, depression, and the list goes - but in all things God is working for the good of those who love Him.

We have been called for a purpose - His purpose - and no matter where the road takes us - no matter what throws us off our intended path - He loves us.  Even though we sometimes can not see where to turn next, when the pain threatens to drown - He is still there - taking us around, over, under - through.

This post is for me as much as it's for anyone else.  I needed this reminder.  Maybe you do too.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Tree Skirt

Oh yeah, I made this!!  So excited - it looks awesome under the tree!  I was only able to get one good shot with the low lighting in our house.  Tomorrow I'll get some more for you.  (I'm really annoyed with that little red thing on the blue right in the center bottom of the pic - what IS that anyway??  It's not really on there!!) :)

I'd like to say I came up with this one all on my own - but - I am a great copier - not a great original crafter!  Having said that - the original came from The Crafting Sparrow.  Click on her link for full instructions to make this beautiful creation for yourself.  Thank you Crafting Sparrow for posting this one - it really makes my tree look complete :)

Couple of thoughts for you.  First - it takes a gazillion jillion glue sticks.  I bought a packet of 50 and I think I used at least 35.  Second - cutting out the material - takes a gazillion jillion years.  Not a fun part of the project for Ms. Impatient - which is me.  Third - go to the dollar store and buy a cheapo tree skirt for your base.  Easy please lemon squeezy.  Fourth - it takes several hours to complete.  It took me 3 days of working at least a couple of hours each day.  Fifth and most importantly - look closely at my picture.  Do you see that beautiful blue?  I have no idea what material I bought.  It's really soft like a babies blanket.  Whatever you do - do NOT use that material.  What a pain in the behind!  It rolls up, it's impossible to work with.  It also makes you just want to go to the nearest couch and cuddle up with it which is not conducive to getting a lot done :)  It's beautiful - but not the right material for this project.  I intend on making a second skirt for the real tree and as much as I like it - the blue will not be in my next tree skirt.  Too much work.  Not sure what I'm going to replace it with.  I also think on the next one, I will make bigger strips of material.  Maybe.  Then again, I still have some left that I already cut out, so maybe not.

Anywho - isn't it pretty??  Marty is not happy about the blue.  He is not sure what blue has to do with Christmas.  I think he said something about how it looks like the ocean and I said "EXACTLY!" I'm dreaming of a Caribbean Christmas baby :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Woe is me post

Okay folks, grab a Kleenex and your little violin and start playing for me, would 'ya??

All kidding aside.  This week has been a rough one.  I seriously need to have some fun in life because in the recent months, life has lost it's fun factor.  Not cool, not cool at all.

Do you ever have a day where nothing is wrong, yet nothing is right?  When that day becomes a week, then the week becomes a month and next thing you know, you can't remember the last time you spent a day laughing?

It hit me tonight, that's me!

I was browsing facebook (stupid idea when I'm in one of these "moods") and getting all depressed at what appeared to be all the Christmas fun everyone seems to be having, becoming increasingly jealous and offended that I wasn't invited here or there.  On a side note here - I like Facebook.  I like keeping in touch with family and friends I otherwise don't get to chat with.  On the other hand - I might be changing my Facebook status in the next year to non-existent.  I'm realizing lately I waste a whole lot of time on there, learn things about people I'd rather not know, and get my feelings hurt at least a couple of times a month.  I'm thinking the bad is outweighing the good at this point.

ANYWAY - I realized as I looked at various people's facebook pages that these were once friends - real friends - in the real world - and not just on Facebook.  They were people who's lives I was involved in, people I laughed with, spent time with, knew their kids names and birthdays - but now I'm merely a silent facebook stalker - totally withdrawn from their lives.  I'm not blaming in on Facebook or them by any means - I'm just saying at some point in my life, I've pulled away - from a lot of people.

I know why and there are things I'll never post here or anywhere else.  I'm exhausted emotionally most of the time anymore.  No, no, no, nothing to do with my past nor anything to do with my marriage.  Yet daily life - it can be overwhelming and the thought of heading out to be a part of anyone else's life when I'm just trying to get through my own - well - that's rough.  I'm MAKING myself go to bible study every Monday with ladies I love as it is - but taking that time when I've got things to do at home - well, it's been a commitment quite honestly.

I don't know that I have a point to this post.  I don't know how to change who I've become - the quiet, withdrawn person who isn't having a whole lot of fun in life anymore.  I don't know how to get back to the carefree, less stressed, find joy in the little things me.  It seems that day after day, it's something else to deal with and I don't know how to live above it all. I can hear the Psalmists words "Why are you so downcast within me soul?"  I don't know if I'm depressed necessarily - but tired of dealing with the daily grind.

Is anyone out there hearing me on this one??  Sorry.  I know this is a grumbly post and I know there have been more of them than not lately.  I'm who I am, real, on this page as I am in life.  Maybe that's why I don't have any friends :)

On a separate note - I do have a little Christmas project planned this week - making a tree skirt - and if that turns out as good as I'm praying it will - I'll share some Christmas joy with y'all on that.

Thanks for sticking with me friends.  Maybe this is a send-your-daughter-off-to-college-raise-a-15-year-old-boy-both-of-whom-are-wanting-a-driver's-license-thing. 

Shutting up now.  Thank you for reading this far.

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