Sunday, November 18, 2018

It's That Time of Year...

I haven't fallen off the face of planet...just in case you were worried since I haven't written in a while. Unfortunately, we are at a time right now (aka "the Holidays") where there is an overabundance of things to do and simply not enough time to get them done.

Here's something that I've been able to mark off my list this last week...
My tree is up...two whole weeks before Thanksgiving. Patting myself on the back for this one.

Now I can officially say that my holiday decorations are both Fall AND Christmas!

And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am so thankful all three of my children are old enough to lend a hand with putting the tree up. What normally takes me almost three hours to do on my own, took an hour-and-a-half: from getting it out of storage to applying the last strand of tinsel.

Now on to checking off those yearly pictures. After all, we'll be sending out Christmas cards in a few weeks. Better get a move on.

It probably didn't help that I chose one of the windiest, coldest days of the season to take outdoor photos...
My oldest was quite warm, as was my daughter...
But this little guy?
We had to redo because all he could do was shiver. That does not look good in pictures, let me tell ya'!

So between shoots we waited over a week, two cold fronts, and six straight days of rain before we could head back outdoors.

Now all we need is a good "together" photo...
Oh, wait! I seem to be missing a child.

Don't worry. We'll get her in there the next time the weather decides to cooperate.

How's your holiday season warming up?

Simply Gettin' In the Spirit of the SeasonS,

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Voting Day...

I have high hopes for today. Not for the fact that this is General Election Day, although I did go out and do my civic duty today...

...and got the sticker to prove it, which I am wearing proudly.  No, today I have high hopes for the reason that I have the day off AND it's election day.

For some strange reason, I've always been interested in politics. Now don't panic...I'm not about to start a new trend on this site by ranting and raving about the political climate of today.

Ain't nobody got time for that, and I'm sure everyone is very, VERY tired of political cartoons, commercials, flyers, and rhetoric by this point.

Yet when it comes to a highly anticipated election day, I find myself extremely antsy. It's the great count down until 7 pm when the polling places close and results start pouring in. And while I wait I flip from news channel to news channel only to hear that they really don't have any new information.

It was during the Presdiential Election of 2016, my husband banned me from watching the returns, and I really couldn't blame him. I was about to climb the walls with pent up energy. Instead I channeled that energy into cleaning out my closet...and when I say clean, I mean C.L.E.A.N.

Gone were clothes that hadn't been worn in over a year, shoes that had seen better days, purses that needed a new home, jewelry I'd been hording and never worn...the result was a beautiful site.

Fast forward two years and another election day is upon us. For today, my high hopes aren't really centered around who gets elected and who doesn't. It's not even on who stays in office or who gets voted out.

*Cue the patriotic music*

No, I have high hopes that I'll get to enjoy a cup of coffee in bed, still in my PJ's...that those three loads of laundry that are piled high in the clean laundry basket will actually get folded...that my living room will finally get straightened and vacuumed...that I can take a nap without worrying about whether or not my things for school are ready to go...

They may say "Get out and vote today!" when all I aspire to do is just get to the keurig for another cup of coffee. Yup....it's just me with all these high, high hopes.

Simply Enjoying a Break,

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Just a Chore...

Laundry: it's the bane of my existance...and if you're not quite sure what bane actually means, Google defines it as "a cause of great distress or annoyance." The only time I really ever stress about it is when it occurs to me that it's been three days since I did a load; and annoyance? Totally fits.

When you live in a house of five people, you can't really afford to miss a day of throwing in at least one load...or you'll be stuck doing seven loads on a Saturday. You know, the one day where NOT working would be greatly appreciated.

I'm speaking from personal experience...and it wasn't three days I'd missed but five. After adding the seventh load into the dryer I was so proud of me for not doing this...
This past summer I started teaching my older two how to start their own loads of laundry. It was a step-up from the job of just folding and putting their clothes away, and they were actually pretty enthusiastic about pouring in the detergent and adding the fabric softener. Even moving the load from the washer into the dryer didn't seem so daunting. But tell them to go fold their clothes once they're dry?

You would have thought I had asked them to go get me the moon.

Now there are some weeks where, when I do find a spare minute, laundry is the LAST thing I want to do. There are more important things like games of Yatzee with the family...
And let's throw in a few wins for Mommy...
...and all that's left to say is, "Laundry? What laundry?"

"Oh, you mean the load forgotten in the dryer?"

It's ok. It'll still be there when the game's done, or dinner's cooked, or I've enjoyed another cup of coffee...anything else I can find to fill in that blank.

Have a household chore you hate doing? Do share.

Simply Heading to the Dryer Now,

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Mission Accomplished...

Cue the victory music 'cause I feel like pumping my fists in the air!

Woohoo, Y'all! I made it through last week, including the weekend...which was no small feat, mind you. And in the process, I may have eaten a few too many gummy worms.

Well, hello there...
Where did you come from, My Secret Little Stash?

Oh, rriiiiggghhhttt...Walmart. Duh!

Probably should get rid of those since we've decided (for the fifth week in a row) that this will be the week we really do go back to eating right.

You're probably thinking by now that I may have survived the week, but I lost my sanity in the process...and I will probably have to agree with you.

But really, when you make it through your first nine weeks of school, get your report cards all printed and handed out (under a new program which had to be learned over the last few weeks), send off a box in the mail of almost 3,000 Box Tops (I counted every one!), AND start a new campaign for MORE Box Tops and Coke Codes, ...you would have come home from school on Friday, changed into your pj's, and conked out, too.

That's not including the weekend which included practicing and playing for our church choir, an offertory, and a few specials. Suprisingly I still was able to do small things like get a few loads of laundry done, dinner on the table, and class lectures prepared.

I should get a cape 'cause I'm feeling pretty super right now!

Really, I had no way of sharing all this fantabulous news of survival with you because I wasn't sure I would survive...and now that I have, I can barely keep my eyes open.

So now we start another Monday, and I'm seriously praying that this week will be just a tad less crazy than last week. After all, I only have a few marbles left.

Feeling like your losing your marbles? Come hang with me...we can lose them together!

Simply Going Cookoo,

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Counting the Ways...

Today is rather special day for my Dear Hubby and me. Twelve years ago today we vowed to love and cherish each other until death do us part.
I have to admit that by the start of 2006, I really thought that at the age of 25 I was doomed to spinsterhood. I had been praying and fasting for months for the Lord's leading in my life, if He wanted me to go teach at another school, teach English in another country, move into my own apartment (still living at home), buy a sports car (seriously, I considered this nice yellow mustang)....really, something....anything. I felt like I was at a pivotal point in my life.

Little did I know just how pivotal that year would be.

In March, my Dear Hubby (then just an aquaintance) and I started e-mailing and talking on the phone. In May he flew out to meet me for the first time and spend Memorial Day weekend with my family. By mid-June we were engaged...and married in October.
In twelve years, we've moved five times in two states; mourned the loss of a baby at ten weeks, a mom with Lou Gehrig's disease at 57, a dear Nanny, and a beloved Grandpa. We've rejoiced at the births of three healthy children, survived a category two hurricane, a major career change a few years later, and the five agonzing days our youngest newborn lay in the NICU. We've even learned to cope with the health "hurdles" the Lord has sent our way. Still we find ourselves more blessed today than the day we were married.

I can even venture to say I love him more today than I did the day we said "I Do". He was an answer to a prayer of  someone who thought the Lord had forgotten her. I wasn't truly forgotten...the time just wasn't right. We both were being groomed for just the right moment to meet.

It was worth the wait.
Happy 12th Anniversary, My Love!

Simply Blessed,

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Stepping Back in Time...

Best. School Day. Ever!

Remember going on field trips when you were in school? I've found that in teaching high school we rarely get good opportunities for highly educational trips. But this last Friday, we hit the jackpot.

Besides the mountain of paperwork I've found myself inundated with over the last few weeks, I've also been teaching a few history classes on the Civil War.

What better way to have a key battle come to life then by simply taking a step back in time.

We headed off to Franklin, Tennessee, to Carnton, a beautiful antebellum home that was converted into a field hospital for confederate soldiers during the Battle of Franklin near the end of the war...
An upclose view showed where we entered the house for our tour...
Our guide explained to us that this was actually the back of the house. We never went out the front to see just how different it was.

A unique feature found in this home is the numerous blood stains on the floor from the wounded who had been brought in. My students were fascinated in finding the spots throughout the house! At one time there were over 300 soldiers who had been cared for, some up to six months past the battle.

For those who did not survive, they were buried alongside others from the state they represented.
The second place we visited was called Carter House, situated right in the center of where the blue and the gray engaged in hand-to-hand combat. This home had been used by Union officers as they prepared for the 25,000 Confederate soldiers marching their way to Nashville in a line that stretched over two miles.

The most outstanding feature?
The bullet holes in the sides of the buildings.

Our tour guide here painted a vivid picture of the 24 civilians, twelve of whom were children, who hundled in the basement as the battle raged overhead. One child later wrote in her diary that the sounds of battle were so loud they could not even hear themselves scream.

So not only did we get a chance to get out of the classroom for the day,we took a step back way back in time.

Simply Loving My Job,

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lessons from Mary....

Prayer by George Frederic Watts

Have you ever realized how many different Marys there are in the Bible? There's Mary the Mother of Jesus, Mary who had a sister named Martha, Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James...Paul even mentions a Mary in the conclusion to his epistle to the believers in Rome.

Over the last few months I've been doing some studying on a couple of these Marys for a project I'm slowly working on, singularly focusing on their perspective when faced with difficult situations in their lives. In reasearching the Mary who is normally paired with her sister, Martha, I noticed a  common theme in each of the three times she appears in Scripture.

Take for instance her first appearance in Luke 10:38, where we find Jesus entering into the house of Martha. And she had a sister called Mary which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His words. You remember how Martha was cumbered about much serving and in frustration came to the Lord and asked, Dost thou not care that my sister hath let me alone to serve?

Surely the Lord would tell Mary her place was with her sister serving all of those who were there with Him.

Martha, Martha...our Lord begins...thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

The next time we see Mary and her sister is in John 11:1 when their brother, Lazarus, was sick. They quickly send word to Jesus in hopes that He would come immediately and heal him. But Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus (vs. 5)...and because He loved them, He abode two days still in the same place where He was. While Jesus tarried, Lazarus died, and Mary and Martha grieved for their loss.

Even before the Lord came into the city, He was met by Martha who stated: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Overcome with grief, her tone is filled with unspoken accusation. Yet when Mary comes to where the Lord was she fell down at His feet (vs. 32)...and in falling at His feet, the Lord saw her weeping and those who came with her. He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.(Vs. 33)

In the very next chapter, Lazarus, recently raised from the dead, is sitting at supper with Jesus while his sister, Martha, is once again serving. And where do we find Mary? Annointing the feet of Jesus with a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly...and wiping His feet with her hair (vs 3). At this time we are just days away from His crucifixion.

Think for a moment: in all three instances Mary is found at the feet of Jesus. Whether it be listening to His words, grappling with grief and understanding, or worshipping Him for who He is...Mary had choosen that good part by simply being at His feet.

Over the last few weeks I've been reminded of the importance of being at Jesus' feet. Sometimes it's because I've needed instruction, while other times it's because I've sought comfort and rest. More often than not I find myself just kneeling, humbled by who God is, how much He loves me, and how undeserving I am of His love.

It seems that was Mary's favorite place to be. The result? Scripture records: Many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him. (John 11:45)...I'd say that's some testimony for a woman who made only three appearances in the Bible. Where? At the feet of Jesus.

Needing some perspective in your life? Follow Mary's example and fall at His feet. While you're there, you'll find help AND comfort AND grace...just like she did.

Simply Seeking Him,