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2017 New Year’s Day Thoughts

Happy New Year!

I hope that you were able to ring in 2017 with a loved one…or two or three.

I actually watched the ball drop by myself…nearly in the dark after the bulb in my lamp blew.

The Mr. had gone to bed early because he had to work first thing in the morning (a rare event), and Chicky had hit the hay as well in anticipation of her drive home.

Oh, to be sure, the day had been filled with a bit of fun.

I celebrated Gambit’s Gotcha Day.

Five years ago, on New Year’s Eve, this precious baby, who was homeless at the time, followed me around the neighborhood while I took Molly on a walk.

He acted like he belonged to me.

He was skinny; his ribs were showing through.  He didn’t have a collar.  He followed me right into the garage when I got home.  The Mr. and Rooster quickly fell in love with him, and after feeding him at least three bowls of food, we set up a place for him to sleep in the garage.  Rooster and the Mr. checked on him frequently; it was a frigid night.

We took him to the vet the next day to see if he was chipped.  He wasn’t.  We let him into the back yard to see how he’d fare with the other dogs, and they all got along marvelously.  After a tick bath, we let him sleep in the house that night and found him, the next morning, snuggled against Rooster in bed.

We were in love, and after one quick drive to the animal shelter to get him checked again for a chip, we made the decision to keep him.

This dog has brought so much joy to our lives.  He is incredibly affectionate and very loyal.

Late in the day, Chicky suggested that we go bowling.  We’d never done that on New Year’s Eve before, but we wanted something to do, so off we went.

I was not about to be left out of the fun and told the Mr. as much.  I will admit that I was a little intimidated though.

The guy at the desk found me the lightest adult ball in the place, and when it was my turn, the Mr. carried it for me as I lined up.

I am able to put a little weight on my foot now, so I balanced with my crutches on my left side.

It wasn’t pretty, y’all, but I managed to get the ball down the lane.

It took me a few trips to discover that I could rest my boot behind me for leverage.

Y’all, my first ball went STRAIGHT down the lane!  I knocked down six pins but would have probably knocked them all down had I been able to put more power behind my throw.

The next trip down, I knocked down two more!  I was thrilled!  My family was shocked, as was a sweet friend who I bumped into (hey, Jenny!) who was bowling in the lane beside me.

So it was with Chicky and the Mr.’s help, I bowled two games.

I broke 60 both times, although my second game was uglier than my first.  There were a lot of gutter balls as I tried to adjust for my leg being in the way.  The hubby gave me some good pointers about turning my left foot in the direction I planned to throw and keeping my wrist straight so I wouldn’t throw a hook shot every time.

Still, I was pleased.

I’m learning that life isn’t always about winning.  It’s about #findingjoyinthejourney.

After our second game, we went home.  Chicky got me set up with a bucket of warm water and Epsom salt.  I had a knot on my ankle from the swelling, and boy was it sore!  This getting up and acting like things are normal is tough on my body right now.

I settled into my recliner and watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  Freeform has been having a Harry Potter marathon, which I can totally dig.

I did manage to sleep really well.  Thankfully, my sleep quality is slowly improving as I figure out more comfortable ways to rest.

And so I find myself on my own for a bit while the Mr. works and Chicky begins her drive home (with a side trip to her grandparents’ house to help put away their decorations).


So, what do I hope for in 2017?  I’m not sure that I want to make any resolutions.

I know, though, that number one on my list is to walk normally again.  This is going to to be a painful process once I begin physical therapy in two or three weeks.

I am also praying that I’ll eventually be pain-free again.  I’m experiencing some side effects from the nerve block I gave approval to before my surgery.  For the record, if something like this happens to you, don’t get the nerve block.  The burning feeling is horrible.  It feels like I have a sunburn whenever I remove my sock.  The numbness is also aggravating.  I’m massaging my foot regularly, which has helped a lot.  I have read that the burning will go away, but it will take time.

Looks almost normal when I haven't walked much on it! Gives me hope that one day this will be what I see on a regular basis again!

Looks almost normal when I haven’t walked much on it! Gives me hope that one day this will be what I see on a regular basis again!

I’m also hoping that the pain from skin sensitivity on the inside of my ankle will go away.  I don’t know if one of the pins is too close to the surface of the skin, and that’s what’s causing the discomfort.  It’s one of the questions I plan on asking when I return to the doctor mid-month.

Look how nicely the incision is healing!

Look how nicely the incision is healing!

During 2017, I want to continue growing closer to the Lord.  Part of that plan includes a new Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study I’m going to participate in.  It starts on the 23rd of this month and will run for six weeks.  I received my book in the mail a few days ago.

Another hope for 2017 is that I find my way through some of the frustrations I’m having with teaching.  This profession is so challenging, and I just don’t understand some of the mandates that people from on high impose upon those of us working in the trenches.  Kids are seen as numbers, not individuals, and that angers me.  Accountability is a loose word randomly thrown around at convenience.  For a girl who sees things in black and white, this just rubs me the wrong way.

I want 2017 to be about simplification.  One thing the Mr. and I have come to recognize during these weeks of my injury is how messy things are.  As soon as I’m better, I plan on helping us purge some of the crap we’ve acquired over the years.

That doesn’t mean that I’m going to rid myself of yarn.  Some lines will not be crossed.  Ha!

Aside from these things, I’m just going to take things one step at a time.  I’ve learned that the best-laid plans sometimes don’t work out.  As a person who needs order in my life, this is challenging.  Yet, 2016 taught me that God really is in the details…that He always works things out in the most PERFECT way possible.

So it is my prayer that I will trust Him even more as I seek to follow His lead.

I hope you have a wonderful day as you celebrate the promise of an unwritten year.


Reflections from 2015

I’ve quit setting New Year’s resolutions because I feel as though they become empty promises to myself.

I prefer to reflect routinely on things and purposefully make immediate changes to improve things…or purposely accept things that cannot be changed and try to move on.

So, let’s see.  2015 was an interesting year.  I spent the first few months angry about my VAM score (my teacher evaluation).  I consider that score a mixed blessing, though, because I decided to quit killing myself by working all the time and start balancing my life more.  As a result, I began working less from home and stopped working on the weekends.

In March, my mom had a brain aneurysm that nearly took her life.  We reconnected, and I talked to her fairly regularly for a while as she gave me reports on her health after she left the hospital.  Unfortunately, this good will hasn’t completely lasted.  We’re still having some problems…the same problems we’ve had for years…and I’m finding myself frustrated and hurt, as I’ve spent most of my adult life.  I have to find a way to work through this.  I am by no means a great daughter.  I’ll readily admit to this.  Yet, I am a person who desires to be treated fairly…loved equally.

One amazing thing that happened over the course of the last half of the year was that I began a serious journey to become more fit.  I’ve talked about this on my blog, but it bears repeating in my reflection.  I was called “thick” by a student last year, and this hurt my heart so much.  Just like my VAM score, I used it as motivation to get better and started out by lifting weights. at the gym  When school started, getting to the gym proved to be challenging, so I transitioned to working out at home with my first Beachbody program, Piyo.  The focus on exercise and diet has completely changed me, and I am more fit than I’ve been in fifteen years.  I went down one pants size and have more endurance than ever before.  I’m more confident and happy.

Overall, I think that 2015 was about balance.  I’ve learned to balance most parts of my life.

Warrior 3 – One of my favorite Piyo positions

I’m not a workaholic like I once was.  I know part of this comes from having more experience with this being my sixth year teaching.  However, with my frustration at the education system as it exists, I decided that doing as much as I can during actual at-work hours was okay.  With the exception of one night a week at home lesson planning, I do everything else at school.

This has meant that I’ve had to quit being so anal about things.  I’ve learned how to leave grading on my desk.  I’ve learned that it’s okay to tell students that I haven’t gotten to something yet because I’m choosing to be a regular person outside of school.  Surprisingly, they understand.  I have learned not to over-commit to things because I’m still in the baby phase of balancing out my life; old habits are lurking in dark corners ready to take over again should I stop being vigilant.

2015 was a year in which I became even more self-aware.  I am a solitary person.  I am not a very sociable person.  I am awkward when I get in group settings, which is probably why I don’t have a lot of close friends.  It’s been a hard realization to see others draw closer to each other, but I am slowly learning to accept it and not feel jealous.  I treasure my time with my husband, children, and fur babies, and that’s okay.  I’m a homebody and fiercely independent and do not need to apologize for it.

My self-awareness extends to my walk with Christ, which always needs improvement.  This past summer, the First5 app got released.  It’s done by the Proverbs 31 ministry and is simply fantastic.  Every morning, before I even get out of bed, I read my devotion and watch the Weekend Wrap-Up videos.  Starting my day in God’s Word and praying have refocused my life.  No, my renewed focused hasn’t made my life perfect, but spending time talking to my Father, who knows me best, has reminded me that I exist for His glory, not to meet man’s expectations.

The new year should be interesting.  There are changes afoot in my world…changes I’ll slowly blog about as they come to fruition.  Such is the way when one gets older.  My plans are just to take things one day at a time and praise God for whatever comes my way.  He has ordained my life, and He will be glorified through everything He allows into it.

New Years 2016

So, it’s been almost a week since I caught you up on what was happening around here on Christmas.

Chicky left around 6:30am on Sunday for her long drive home.  We followed suit about an hour and a half later.  When we got home, the dogs were very happy to see us.  I worked really all day and managed to get completely unpacked.  I put everything away and cleaned the house.  My Roomba had stopped running after it ran over its charging cord, so there was dog hair everywhere.  I also wanted to wash and dry the new set of sheets I’d gotten as a Christmas gift.

It was evening when I finally sat down to relax.

I recently started watching Agents of Shield on Netflix, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it.  It took about three full episodes before I got enough of the characters’ backstories to understand the premise of the show.  Now, I’m hooked.

The next morning, the dogs were more than happy to stay in bed…until about 11, I think.

That’s how we do things around here when we don’t have to work.

I immediately got down to business and did my TurboFire workout.  Then, I decided I needed to get outside and walk.  Molly was the chosen one.  She absolutely loved it and was the perfect walking buddy.

I worked on my Oakwood Poncho after having to tink back 80 rows because I’d followed the wrong chart.  Yeah, I’m stupid like that, although to be fair to me, the charts are not in the same order as the written instructions.

I’m actually happy that I had to re-do the colorwork…for the third time…because my first two attempts weren’t very good.  I’ve finally figured out how to change colors though!

Right side complete!

On Tuesday, I did my workout and then walked Gambit.  You can see, from the look on his face, how much fun he had.

On Wednesday, which was technically my “rest” day from my TurboFire program, I decided to do the “Drench” Piyo video.  Oh my.  This one completely kicks my butt every time I do it.  It’s sooooo hard!

Afterward, I took Molly for a walk…

I don’t know if I’ve told you, but in September, I joined the Harry Potter Running Club on Facebook.  Here’s the IRL website.  This club hosts virtual races, and the entry fees are donated to charity.  There’s a big competition on Facebook among houses for the House Cup, and miles are tracked through the Charity Miles app.  What is so cool about the app is that you select a charity, and various companies donate money every time you log miles.  I always select the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation because the Mr. has had Crohn’s Disease for twenty-eight years (as long as I’ve known him).

In addition to the above activities, there’s been lots of college bowl game watching around here.  Every.  Day.

I am not complaining.  I love college football and am thankful that I have a job that gives me the holidays off so I can watch these games.

I did another DIY project.  We’d recently started finding puddles of water on my laundry room floor when drying clothes, and I decided to replace the flex connection between the dryer and vent.  This fixed the problem.  No more leaks!

On New Year’s Eve, I did the Low HIIT 20 minute workout.  What absolute fun!  This workout is my favorite so far.  It goes by so quickly that you hardly know you’re exercising!  I then went for another walk, on the treadmill at the gym this time because it raining outside.

I ran ALL of those miles on the treadmill, to my shock and delight.  I firmly believe that the workouts I’ve been doing, along with the careful monitoring of my diet, have increased my endurance and made me stronger.

After getting cleaned up, I changed into comfy night clothes, appropriately themed considering that I’d be cheering AGAINST that non-SEC team in Florida that I cannot stand (they lost, by the way, hallelujah!) and the other team in Alabama, which did not lose, so I can have another chance to root against them at the end of the bowl series.

I also spent the day baking two desserts from my Vegan Pie in the Sky cookbook…

One of the best things about vegan baking is that I can lick the spoons, whisks, and bowls…

That brownie crust mixture was heavenly!

Dessert #2

Both desserts had to chill in the fridge for a few hours, so we had to wait until today to try them.

This morning (New Year’s), I didn’t get up until after 10am after turning off my alarm when it went off at 7.  I almost decided to skip my workout.  I wasn’t enamored with the idea of sweating for 40+ minutes, but I pushed through the voices in my head and pulled on my exercise clothes.

It’s funny.  I think so much negativity leaves the body with every sweat droplet that is released.  I felt terrific afterward!  I especially loved seeing the number of calories I burned.  I’m all about those calories, desperate to maintain my smaller size after all of my hard work in recent months.

I wanted to go for a walk, but the rain and cold weather made it un-doable…until later in the day.  As soon as the sky cleared up, I grabbed Pele, who’d been dying for his turn, and did a shorter walk.  He’s older and heavier and just can’t go as far.  He petered out before two miles were up, but I coaxed him home the last quarter mile, earning more miles for Hufflepuff and more money for my charity.  Oh, and by the way, I’ve been turning on my Charity Miles app and putting my phone in my Flipbelt when I do my TurboFire workout…any way to get mileage is acceptable!

Later this evening, I whipped up dinner for the family, including Rooster’s girlfriend, and then we indulged in the dessert I’d prepared yesterday.

The Brownie Bottom Peanut Butter Cheesecake doesn’t really taste like cheesecake, but the consistency is similar, and it is delicious!!!

That’s it from these here parts.  I hope you brought in the new year with family and friends and are fixing your eyes on Christ as you ring in 2016!  Much love to all of you!






New Years, Knitting, and Football

Happy New Years to all of you!

I thought about posting yesterday…a couple of times throughout the day…but chose instead to vegetate.

I had a swatch to knit up and an OWL proposal to submit.  I’m going to make the Laminaria Shawl.

My yarn is Malabrigo Lace…

The color is Indigo.  I’ll use the pink if I see that I’m running low by the time I hit the edging charts…

The pattern uses Estonian stitches.  Below, is the swatch, which is the 3-into-3 star.  I have notes on my Ravelry project page for how to correctly execute the stitch should you decide to make this shawl.

An OWL is a three-month project that must meet certain requirements.  This term in my Harry Potter knitting group, I’ll be working my magic on a Charms project…one that requires a lace project and a minimum of 800 yards of fiber.  My proposal was accepted today, so I can officially cast on and begin!

I managed to find time to eat the most delicious vegan mac and cheese!!  Oh word, but this stuff is DIVINE!  I’ve been lactose-intolerant since I was seven months pregnant with Rooster.  Being able to eat this comfort food is like having a taste of heaven on earth.  I’m now on a mission to find a good recipe to make at home.

I watched a lot of football and knit a beanie…

I chose Auburn colors…

Watching my team lost in overtime wasn’t fun, but it was par for the course this season.

Meanwhile, I kept knitting…and watching more football.

I might be a teensy bit happy…Go Oregon!

And the following…

Um…no.  The game was a blowout.


And I kept knitting on that beanie…

While watching the other school in Alabama get beat by Ohio State…

While I looked like this…

I finally finished the beanie, but it didn’t fit the Mr., who I’d knit if for.

My head is obviously much more inflated, because it fits me perfectly.

I submitted it for my Flying assignment in my Harry Potter group.  It’s supposed to be an upside-down cauldron.

Be impressed.

Oh, and before I turned out the light, I had to watch a couple of episodes of Downton Abbey.  I love, love, love this show!  It’s so smartly written and makes me tear up frequently!  The one-liners are hilarious too!

Here’s one from my viewing yesterday…

I hope you had a good first day of 2015!

2013 Reflections

It’s hard to believe that this is the last day of 2013, isn’t it?

When I think back to this past year, I am amazed at how many things happened…the gamut of emotions involved…the roller coaster ridden with every high and low.

Teaching monopolized most of my energy and time.

I completed my Reading Endorsement and began ESOL Endorsement coursework (which I will finish when I complete one more class in January).

I went through a very difficult professional experience and learned how low people will stoop to further themselves at the expense of others.  It wasn’t fun being someone else’s punching bag.

I grew professionally…in confidence and relationally…both with students and fellow co-workers as I earned their respect and gained new respect for them in return.

I read 45 books…most of them Young Adult.  It’s wonderful that I can recommend books to my students that I’ve actually read…something that is integral to helping students develop a love for reading.

Click to view a larger image

I moved one child out of my home permanently while the other moved back in, filling the void that had been left by his sibling.

I watched as Chicky began her final season of college soccer and cried when it was cut far too short due to injury.

I witnessed the loss of a beloved family pet and the matriarch of our family…both so sad in nature.  Tears still come quickly to my eyes when I think of the special personalities embodied in each precious soul.

I made a Booga Bag for Mama Dot, per her request. This was her reaction when she opened her gift that Christmas…my favorite photo of her…pure joy!

I joined the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup on Ravelry and began knitting more often…making new online friends in the process.  This was the catalyst I needed to partake of my beloved hobby…something I had denied myself because of “work.”

The Mr. and I joined a small group at church and began to stretch ourselves socially within a Christian context.

Ultimately, 2013 was a year of growth.

When I look back, I see how God stretched me.

He chose not to remove difficult circumstances from my life but, instead, made Himself a very real presence in those difficult days.

He showed me His plan for Chicky’s life when He granted her the dream job she’d longed for…mere days after hurting her knee.

He took a bit longer but still showed grace when I read the book Unglued and healed from the hurt from the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

God allowed my relationship with Chicky to mature; she and I are closer now and quicker to forgive one another.

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions because I don’t like to break promises…especially those made to myself.  However, what I would like to do during 2014 is to continue the growth made during 2013.

Every single thing…every person I meet…every experience I live through is a part of God’s plan.

There is NOTHING that He allows that isn’t for a reason.

I know that my ultimate purpose in life is to bring glory to God.

I pray that I do a better job of that in 2014 but am thankful that the Lord has forgiven my lapses in 2013.

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