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Happy to be Hodgepodging

Confession time.  It’s been twenty days since my last post.  Sheesh.  What is up with me?  Oh wait…it’s summer vacation, which has meant no lesson planning so less need to pull out the laptop, which ultimately means less blogging.

Anyhoo…

I’m going to remedy that as one of my personal goals.  There’s no better place to start than with Joyce’s Hodgepodge!  So, here we go!

1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

I think learning to relax and working to live go hand-in-hand for me.  Last school year, I began finding balance, but as a teacher, it’s difficult not to bring work home.  My goal is that, despite the heavy load that will be on my shoulders this year, I will leave work, for the most part, in my classroom so that I can reset when I’m home.

I’m pretty good at finding God’s blessings in life.  I find myself needing to see these things to offset the bad stuff in the world.

2.  How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

I would probably put it in my purse, where I’ve still got my birthday money.  I’m saving for a new purse…my current one has frayed handles.

3.  Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet…which ‘trip’ have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

Gosh, but most of these don’t fit my recent experiences at all!  If I had to choose one, I’d go with guilt trip.  I know I want to write lesson plans for the first couple of weeks of school to get ahead so I can focus my energy on other smaller tasks; however, I’m desperately holding onto what’s left of my summer vacation.  Thus, I found myself enjoying a three-hour nap yesterday afternoon.  Other than my fantastic leg workout, it was not a productive day.

4.  If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

What a hard question!  I guess the one that hits home for me right now is running.  I am not a runner by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m rather slow (although I did 200 meters in 1:07 on Sunday).  I don’t have the stamina.  I’ve signed up for my first 5k, the Color Run.  I’ll be doing it with my sister in late October.  I’m excited because this has been a goal of mine for a long time, but I really need to start training for it…consistently.

Becoming a runner would help me stay in shape and would help me relieve the stress I carry home daily from work.

5.  As July draws to a close, let’s take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you…been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

I’ve been swimming, sort-of, seen a summer blockbuster, completely unplugged, watched a heck of a lot of soccer (TEAM USA), and read six or seven books.  I’ve got two more weeks of vacation left.  I see no reason to change things up at the moment.

6.  The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What’s your question?

What is your opinion about the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling?

Hearing the answer to this question will tell me a lot about a candidate.  I vote according to my morals.  I realize there’s more to being president than that, but how one follows the Bible’s teachings tells a lot about the person’s heart condition and potential for decision-making.

7.  What’s your most listened to song so far this summer?

I don’t have one!  I listen to Christian radio when I’m in the car or at the gym (it’s a Christian gym and plays mostly Christian music).  Whatever is the most popular on those stations is what I’ve been listening to!

8.  My Random Thought

If I had to create a collage that summed up my summer vacation, this picture would be front and center…lots of reading…lots of time with my fur babies..bliss overload.

By the way, that’s Game of Thrones.  Yes, I’m late to the party.  The Mr. brought it home after a co-worker learned that I’m a Reading/English teacher.  I was hooked from the first few pages!

A funny thing happened a few days ago.  Rooster, whose room is a mini disaster area, walked out one day with a book in hand.  It happened to be the second book in this series.  Which dark corner he found it in,  and how long it had been there, is unknown.  We got a good laugh from it.

Summers Are For…

…enjoying three or four-hour lunches with friends…

Nearly five years ago…way back at the end of July 2010, God helped me secure my first teaching position at a private school in town.  That is where I met Jane, who was also beginning her teaching career.

We quickly developed a strong bond, united by our love for Jesus, our devotion to our family, and the angst of being first-year teachers.

I went back and re-read my blog post from that day and word, but I put myself in my feels (as the teenagers and my good friend, Megan [who is a good friend of mine and much closer to being a teenager than I am]) would say.

I’d forgotten that Chicky was still at home, counting down the days until I took her to college for the first time.  It was a month of new beginnings.  She took my first-day-of-teaching picture…

The first day of school was filled with nerves, but I insisted that Jane and I capture the special morning with pictures.

Green room…the size of a large walk-in closet…no kidding.

Jane had her room all ready as well and a smile to match mine.

We took our first picture together.  We would eventually perfect the art of selfies, as evidenced by the first picture in this post and the one you’ll see at the end.

My classroom

I’m not sure that I would have made it through that first year without Jane, who was one door down from me in the single hallway that constituted the upper grades of our small school.

We prayed together often, commiserated with one another when our plans went awry, and bounced ideas off of each other in an effort to help our students…most of whom we shared because I taught English and taught social studies (we both still teach those same subjects).

Our days also included much laughter.

I’ll never forget the day she knocked on my door.  She NEVER did that while I was in the middle of class, so I stepped out.  “What’s up?” I asked.

“I just wanted to tell you that the elastic in my pants broke,” she replied, bending over in laughter.

I shook my head in amusement and went back to class, smiling at our conversation.  How she remedied the situation remains a secret.  ;)

Our afternoon breaks were filled with music that I liked to play loudly from my room.

may have danced, a time or two, down the hallway during breaks in teaching, much to Jane’s amusement.

I also might have gotten busted by another teacher.

*Ahem*

Jane encouraged me while I worked my way through the alternative educator preparation program at a local college.  It was difficult coursework, and every time I started new classes, I cried because I was overwhelmed.  Jane would go into Mama-mode and offer suggestions.  She’d gone through the program the year before, so she truly empathized.

The next summer, in 2011, I changed schools to the one I’m currently teaching at.  Not seeing Jane every day has been hard because we’ve always been close.

We don’t get to see each other in person often.  Thank heavens for Facebook and Instagram.

That is why we treasure our school breaks and always try to schedule lunches together.  I usually block out the day because I know that we will spend hours catching up…reminiscing…venting…reflecting…learning from each other.

Truly, she inspires me.  She teaches five preps.  That’s five different classes, folks.  She’s as energetic and enthusiastic as I am, which is probably why we get along so well.

She had planned to retire at the end of this past school year and had even cleaned out her classroom.  Her plans fell through.  I guess God has decided that she still has things to accomplish at her school, so she’ll be back at it in August (although she’s already begun lesson planning…gah!).

Thus we shall commence with haphazard texts, frequent “likes” and comments on each others’ social media posts, and sporadic phone calls.  This teaching business leaves little time and energy for personal indulgences.

I love Jane dearly and will continue to cherish the time…the long lunches…we spend together.

“I don’t like to be wrong.”

The Mr. and I go out to dinner three or four nights a week.

Don’t be hatin’.  It’s just our lifestyle now that we have adult children.

We haven’t been out much the last couple of weeks because the Mr.’s job has been keeping him extremely busy, so it was a treat to run to Chili’s for a quick bite last night.

We chatted about this and that, and at one point, the Mr. and I began a grammar discussion.  Apparently, there had been an issue with periods and quotation marks at his job.

Somewhere in the conversation, I told him that the period almost always goes inside quotation marks.

He told me that no they don’t.

Thus, we began a debate about this punctuation rule.  I insisted that nearly always (there are exceptions to every rule), periods go inside.

He told me that I had told him not too long ago that they went outside and that he had told his office that I had said so.

Oh boy.  Now, not only only was his information incorrect, but my reputation was on the line.

I promised him that I would never have told him such a thing…that he must have misunderstood me.

Being funny and sarcastic, as we usually are, I told him that I didn’t realize I had to differentiate instruction for him.

If you’re a teacher, you understand what I mean.  If you’re not, I’ll explain.  Differentiation is where a teacher instructs students according to their learning styles, presenting information in different formats.

We also have an “I do,” “We do,” You do” thing in teaching, releasing responsibility slowly to students.

The Mr. gave me the stank eye to my comment.

heehee

We have a rule in our family that when we are eating, we stay off of our phones.  Well, my guy reached for his phone.

“Whatcha doing?” I asked.  “Looking up grammar rules?”

He nodded.

I got out my phone and did the same thing.

Turns out that I was right.

Let me just pause and explain that this RARELY happens.  My guys are usually much smarter than me…or at least they think quicker on their feet, so I usually lose arguments.

THUS, it was well within my right to gloat.

A lot.

Plus, we still had the issue of him giving his co-workers erroneous information.

I laughingly told him that he was an idiot but that I loved him.  I stressed that last point.

To his credit, he composed a text message to his guys admitting he was wrong…was in fact an idiot…and that the period goes inside the quotation mark.

Bless his heart.

Still, I laughed.

And laughed.

And laughed.

He was not amused and “magically” was ready to leave the restaurant.

On the way home, he stewed before finally saying, “I don’t like to be wrong.”

Now hold on a second.  Did you catch that?  Let me type it again…

“I don’t like to be wrong.”

And then the conversation stopped…

Until I said, “That’s been it the whole time, hasn’t it?”

And then he realized what he’d said.

He’d been busted and tried at amend what he’d said by adding, “I don’t like to be wrong when you’ve told me something.”

Oh no, buddy.  Too late now.

I’m telling you that I laughed so hard that my stomach hurt.  It was the best ab workout I’d had all summer.

I thought my dinner was going to come back up because I was laughing so hard.  Tears were flowing.

My poor guy.

As I told him when we got home, before he bolted to his man cave, “It’s so rare that I’m right about something, I need to revel in it a while.”

I guess when you’re married to a teacher…especially an English teacher…you’re bound to get busted now and then for grammar.

Last night was my guy’s turn.

Back Away from the Weights

Yesterday, I headed to the gym determined…

That’s my “Don’t mess with me” face.

:)

I had some things on my mind but knew I needed to head to the gym and not use my preoccupied state as an excuse to skip…

Even if it was leg day.

#truth

I did a couple of rounds on the leg press machine and decided I needed to go up in weight, so I started looking for the ten pounders.

It took me a few minutes because, as I said, I had things on my mind.  I was also trying to listen to World Cup stuff on the radio.  It’s safe to say that I wasn’t all there (not that I’m ever all there).

I finally found the weight I needed, so I started to take one off of the bar.

That’s when I heard a guy laughingly say, “So now you’re taking my weights?”

It took me a second to register what he meant…because I am slow that way…and a little blonde.

That’s when I realized that the bar I thought was holding weights for the gym was actually the chest press bar that SOMEONE WAS USING.

I have never, ever done this before.

I was mortified.

I quickly apologized and explained that I was distracted and not operating on all cylinders.  He assured me I could have the weights, adding insult to injury.  I walked away and found the plates I needed somewhere else.

Sigh.

This is my life.

But it gets better.

After finishing up on the leg press machine, I started removing the plates from it.

And then I discovered another consequence of my distracted mind.

On one side, I’d loaded a 25 pounder.

The right side…a 35 pounder.

So now my legs are going to be uneven.

Need I remind you that this is my life.

For real.

July 4th Hodgepodge

Not surprisingly, with the 4th around the corner, this week’s questions follow the holiday’s theme.  Join up with Joyce after posting answers to the questions on your own blog.  I look forward to meeting some new friends when I visit some of you!  Now, on to the questions!

1.  On Saturday July 4th America celebrates her Independence. (If you’re not American,  feel free to answer in terms of a national holiday in your own country) What is your favorite thing about the day? Your favorite food on the 4th? Do you fly a flag at your house? Fireworks-yay or nay? Any special plans this year?

My favorite thing about this day is the reminder of the sacrifices that were made early in our country’s founding and all of the years after that to maintain our independence.  I am grateful for the bravery and selflessness of the men and women who have served our country.  I don’t really have a favorite food tied into the 4th of July.  I’m a vegan and just eat whatever.  I don’t fly a flag here either.  Oh, and regarding fireworks, I’m really just meh.  My dogs don’t like them, so I’m more of a nay person right now.  I’m also not much of a parade person.  I guess I just prefer to celebrate the holiday privately.

2.  What’s something you recently got for free?

I recently purchased an iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner.  I bought it online from Best Buy, and included in my purchase was a free (I kind of think the price of the Roomba sort of paid for it) replenishment kit.

Here’s a short video of the Roomba in action…

Poor Pele.  I have to crate him when I leave because he’s regressed to his puppy chewing days.  I also turn the Roomba on when I leave.  To maximize the floor area, I have to put the dog beds somewhere…

Here’s the after video…areas that typically collect massive amounts of dog hair…

By the way, if you’re curious if it really works, check this out.

I used to spend at least 45 minutes a week vacuuming.  That is one of the downsides of having three dogs.  “Rosie,” as I’ve named her, does her thing and returns to the docking station to recharge.  I love her!  The dogs…not so much.

3.  The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, or Mount Rushmore…how many on the list have you seen? What is your favorite historical American monument, and why? 

I’ve seen the Washington Monument but wouldn’t be opposed to seeing the others on this list!  I don’t go sightseeing very often, but a trip my family took to D.C. many years ago had us visiting all of the tourist sites there.  What stood out were the Lincoln Memorial (so enormous, much like the man’s legacy) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (I’ll never forget the reverence of the changing of the guard).

4.  When it comes to the news are you more ostrich (stick my head in the sand) or hog (they have room to take a whole lot in)? How much attention have you given the recent news reports regarding ISIS and the acts of terror they’ve perpetrated against those who do not share their beliefs or support their cause?

Truth be told, I’m completely over the news.  For the most part, each station is biased, and most news stories are overblown.  I think I’m on information overload, and I just can’t handle much more.  Plus, the news is pretty depressing, so I prefer not to fill my head with negativity.

Regarding ISIS, I don’t know a lot about what’s going on, just the basics.  I truly feel badly about the mass killings that are happening.  It’s senseless.

5.  We’re talking plain ice cream…vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry? Choose one.

Let’s talk dairy-free for the lactose intolerant.  Of that, I’ll partake of chocolate please.

6.  Share a song you love containing the word ‘stars’ in the lyrics or title?

I really like the song All Star by Smash Mouth, and I often use this in class videos.  It’s upbeat and always puts a smile on my face.

7.  Describe and/or say goodbye to June with an acrostic

Juggling
Unscheduled
Naps with
Everything else

Because that’s what teachers do in the summer.  We sleep.  A lot.  Preferably while snuggling our fur babies.

Gambit

8.  My Random Thought

With all of the stuff going on with our Supreme Court decisions, I still managed to buy something patriotic this week…

Who can resist a Kohl’s sale and minions?  This is my new night shirt.  I smile every time I see myself wearing it.  :)

Audacity

According to Dictionary.com, one of the definitions for the the word audacity is “boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.”

With all of the big things in recent headlines, this word is one that is coming to mind more and more often lately.

I’m not going to lie.  I’ve been pretty upset.  The health care and marriage decisions rendered by the Supreme Court have left me disillusioned.

I lack the gift of debate, not having a quick wit and all, and I’ve also struggled with trying not to offend people with my views.

However…

One thing I learned from this past school year is that it is okay to be a dissenting voice, and it is actually imperative that dissenters speak up.

And so I am going to have the audacity to say a few things…get some stuff off of my chest.

As you’re probably aware if you know me personally or have read my blog more than once, I am a Christian.

This doesn’t mean I think I’m perfect.  Far be it from that, I am probably way too harsh on myself.  I am a sinner who is grateful for the redeeming blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Anything good that people might see in me comes from my gracious heavenly Father.

The plumb line that guides my life is the Bible, God’s never-changing Word.  The Bible doesn’t change with the times; it doesn’t evolve through cultural changes and suddenly become irrelevant when societal norms begin to expand.  The Bible wouldn’t be much of a standard if the measuring bar kept moving around, now would it?

So we come to the heart of my post…this whole same-sex marriage thing.

The Bible very clearly states that marriage is to be between a man and a woman.  Most people will agree that homosexual behavior isn’t exactly endorsed in the Bible.  There are multiple verses that say this.

What supporters of same-sex marriage fail to mention is that the Bible lumps homosexuality in the same boat with adulterers, fornicators, and thieves.  So, it’s not that homosexuality is the worst sin.  It’s just one of many.  The other things just aren’t making the news right now.

The emotional battles I’m facing right now involve two things:  1)  Five people deciding for an entire nation how marriage should be defined, and 2) Supporters of this law calling into question dissenters’ character and even calling them hateful and ignorant.

Honestly, issue number two from above is what’s hurting and confusing me the most.

To read that we who oppose the same-sex marriage law are in the growing minority is a fallacy.  I can’t help but wonder, though, if we conservatives haven’t perpetuated this myth because, out of concern for looking “judgmental,” we haven’t spoken out enough, thus leading people to think there aren’t more who us who oppose it.

This has played out in numerous election results (case in point – who’s sitting in the Oval Office).  It’s kind of hard to stand out if you don’t go out and make your voice heard by voting.

I also take issue with those who would call us hateful.  If you take a close look at the ground we are standing on, it’s not quicksand that changes at a whim.  It’s the solid foundation of the Bible, which has never changed.

Why would people call us hateful or ignorant when we choose to stand on conviction.  Why would people tune out the part where we are constantly saying “hate the sin, love the sinner.”  That is THE message that has been broadcast loud and clear, yet it is ignored.

People who support same-sex marriage get mad because they say we on the other side don’t want equality, yet these same people refuse to give us due respect for our opinions.  How does that demonstrate equality?  Truth be told, it’s not about equality.  It’s about morality.  Big difference.

When you take prayer out of schools, disallow prayer before school functions, and remove Bible verses from public buildings, you are most certainly not ensuring that everyone is being treated equally.  You’re pushing an agenda that is more concerned with political correctness than anything else.

Quite honestly, what it boils down to is people not really believing in God’s Word.  You can’t just believe in part of it and throw out the rest.

This fact makes me sad.  However, the Bible makes it very clear that the way is narrow, which means that not all people will choose the right way.  It’s a single lane road in which no service road magically opens up and runs parallel at the whims of societal evolution.

I love the way the movie, Audacity, handled these issues.  It’s a 55-minute movie produced by Living Waters.  I purchased and watched it last night.  It’s a little hokie, I’ll admit, but the message is good and presents the struggle we Christians have when sharing answers from God’s Word to those who are curious.  There are snippets of Ray Comfort’s interviews that delve into the topics of same-sex marriage, adultery, and other sins.

It’s no coincidence at the timing of this movie.

I take comfort that God knows how everything is going to play out…that He knew before He created the world that we would be traveling down this path.

While I’m concerned about His judgement, I am also grateful that He continues to be a God of grace who is always waiting to embrace us back into the fold.

I don’t know about you, but I am going to continue having the audacity to share.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t care for people who choose alternative lifestyles.  In fact, I have an uncle who is gay.  Although I haven’t seen him since I was a little girl, I wouldn’t hesitate to hug him if a reunion came to pass.

Yes, I’ll have the audacity to proclaim God’s truth, but I’ll also have the audacity to love the people He has placed in my life with as much passion and conviction as I always have.

Define Mature

So, it’s summer vacation, and the television is full of reruns, if you don’t count America’s Next Food Network Star, So You Think You Can Dance, and MasterChef…a few of my favorites.

Because of that, I’ve been turning to Netflix and have watched my way through a couple of shows.

Getting bored and loving shows that mix history with drama, I turned on Borgia.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

This show is about Vatican intrigue back in the late 1400’s.

Holy.

Cow.

While the political maneuvering of men trying to become Pope was interesting, what was shocking was the sexual stuff.

I quickly gave up the show.  It was GRAPHIC!

Next, I thought I’d try Spartacus.  I love anything to do with Roman gladiators.

Once again, what got me, besides the vile curse words, was the SEX!

I didn’t even finish the first episode.

So then last night, I thought, “Self, everyone keeps talking about the show Orange is the New Black.  Get with the times, Self, and find out what the buzz is about.”

And then the opening scene.

Nakedness.

Sex.

I knew that this show took place in prison, but c’mon…give me a break.

And there were women.

Oh my eyes.  I just wanted to gouge them out.

After that, I started perusing more carefully and noticed that little thing called a “Rating.”

It would seem that all of the “popular” shows have a MA rating…

For Mature Audience.

Um, okayyyyyyy.

Mature.

That got me to thinking.

Who, exactly, is defining the word “mature?”

Apparently, television producers think that the definition involves lots of sex and every descriptive, disgusting word to describe the act of sex and anything related to it.

Because, of course, one must be “mature” to view such things and put such things into one’s ears.

Excuse me for not getting this concept…especially because I teach teenagers who giggle or laugh raunchily at anything remotely related to sex.  They are most definitely NOT mature young people.

Shouldn’t we define mature as being wise enough to not need such devices to be entertained or to learn some hidden lesson such as valor, loyalty, or perseverance?

I suspect that these producers add in such fillers to divert viewers from poor dialogue or disjointed plots.

They take us for fools, and we play right into their hands.

What I’m seeing is that it takes a MATURE person to go against the grain and turn off this type of garbage and walk away.

I’ve gotta tell you something that popped into my head as I exited from one show.

Society is traveling the same path that led to Sodom and Gomorrah’s downfall.  We just have new formats to promote and display our lewdness.

I am not perfect and do not claim to be; however, what I have seen is 1) the temptation to fall in with the supposed “mature” crowd, 2) the struggle to turn away from it, and 3) the realization that yes, it’s a choice, and one I made because I serve a risen Savior who I could never fathom watching these shows with.

I really wish the label would change from MA to SEX, so that mature people, like those of us making positive choices, wouldn’t be fooled and would know, right away, not to press the Start buttons on our remote controls.

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