These are just a few of the things that I found interesting or inspiring this week.
- I love most of what You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out posts, and this week’s offering is no exception. They are gorgeous photos and I am in awe almost every single week.
- I read this piece from Roseanne Cash on Thanksgiving Day. So lovely. So just poignant.
- I love this post on how to have great ideas. Particularly insightful? You need to have a lot of bad ideas.
- Susannah Conway is offering up her Unraveling the Year Ahead workbook. Take advantage of this. I know I am.
- Vivienne McMaster guest posted for Rachel Cole this week about being worth of love. It’s a great piece. One I need to remember.
- Jennifer Louden posted this week about the difference between self-improvement and wanting more for yourself. It’s great stuff. Made me stop and think and gave me a different perspective.
- There was another gorgeous post from You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out.
- …and then there was this post from her as well.
- This post from Quinn Creative reinforced what I believe. It’s good to have some validation.
- Coming from Kate at Your Courageous Life, another reminder that I’ve got to make time over the break to do my Desire Map Work.
What inspired you this week?
So I got a day behind, which was not surprising to me. Fridays are hectic and hard for me because there’s work and then I’m heading south to get home and I want to spend time with my sweet, lovely husband and not on a keyboard. It’s always a balance – trying to figure out how to balance spending time working on my writing and my posting with spending time with my family and the people who are important to me. Right now I’m managing to write simply because Sweet Husband is still asleep. I’ve given myself an hour. I get an hour to get caught up and then I have to get back to spending time with my family.
All of that to get to yesterday’s prompt from Kat McNally -
Today’s prompt and image come from my dear friend and sister wordsmith, Alana Lawson, whose friendship, support and inspiration continues to be one of the most precious things in my life.
“True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by.”— E.S. Bouton
There are so many “precious things” that are presented to us each day; discoveries and treasures found in simple moments, memories we wish to store in our hearts and keep with us forever.
What precious things have you gathered in 2013?
Which memories from this year do you wish to keep with you always?
She is right that there are so many precious things. I have a box full of them. In no particular order:
- Ringing in the new year with just Sweet Husband. It was a quieter NYE than he is used to and one that he doesn’t want to repeat, but it was lovely to me to have us do the First Footer as well as a whole host of other traditions. Just the two of us. It was sweet and lovely and special.
- Mardi Gras in New Orleans with friends. Mardi Gras is something special. I would have never guessed it before I moved here, but I love it. Sweet Husband and I love to go to our local parades – the ones in Biloxi and Gulfport (right around the corner from our house) and we really love the ones in New Orleans. It’s not party atmosphere, although that helps quite a bit; it’s the spending time together and enjoying each other.
- Photo workshops in New Orleans. I love American Photo Safari. They’re offering a few new workshops this year, and I need to save my fives so I can get over there to take them.
- Watching Sweet Husband officiate a wedding. Friends got married on the beach down here, and it was a lovely, beautiful ceremony. Unfortunately the marriage has encountered difficulties and may not last, but that reminds me that in order to make this thing work – particularly now that we are apart most of the week – we must remain ever-vigilant. Rough times come and they will go as long as we continue to talk to each other and love each other through them. Our commitment to each other has to be stronger than our commitments to anything or anyone else.
- St. Patrick’s Day at our place with the Wimberly’s and the Penton’s. It’s become a tradition (2 years in a row now), although since both the Wimberly’s and the Pentons will have babies for this coming year’s St. Patrick’s Day, who knows what will become of this year.
- Our anniversary trip to the beach. The weather wasn’t particularly great beach weather – we drove in to a rain storm and wound up grabbing Whataburger to have in our hotel room. While it was beautiful on the beach, the wind made it chilly in the morning. It didn’t stop us, though, from getting on the beach and occasionally in the water. It was lovely to get away, and it reminded me that it is important for Sweet Husband and I to spend time together.
- Getting a new camera. I love it…and I’m determined in the new year to learn how to use it better. Sweet Husband and I discussed how to pay for it because it was a large expenditure. We decided that I would quit eating lunch out. And that’s what I did. And when I still had about $400 to pay on it, he finished paying it off for me. Part of why I love him. He’s such a very good man.
- The Sner’s Memorial Day visit. We went to Missouri to visit with the GrandSner and it was an incredibly rough visit for me. Not because of my GrandSner. Not because of those members of my family that are there and doing the work with GrandSner all the time. But because of the more caustic members of the family. It hurt me and I was furious and I allowed them to ruin that visit for me. So much so that I told Sweet Husband I needed another visit soon to replace the foul taste that one left in my mouth and he said OK.
- Fourth of July on the beach with Sweet Husband’s parents. It was a wonderful way to spend the day. We had a few fireworks of our own but really, we just sat in awe of all the big money spent by others.
- My friend Kristi’s visit. I haven’t seen her since I left Kentucky, and she’d been talking about coming forever. We had so much fun hitting the beach and New Orleans.
- The Great Tupelo Road Trip with Darcee. So much fun! In fact, I need to send her a message and see when she wants to plan something again. I’m ready for some time with girl friends.
- Sweet Husband’s reaction to my losing my job. Even though up until that point I’d handled paying most of our bills, he worries about money. I know this. And when I told him I was relieved, he said, “Let’s go celebrate then! Let’s send this of in style!” We had a few moments as my unemployment stretched on and he wanted me to do something – anything – to get some money coming in, but generally he was very supportive of where I was heading.
- My trip from Reno back home. The Sner and her husband gave Sweet Husband and I their 1992 Jeep, which necessitated a trip to Reno so I could drive it home. I got to spend time with the Sner, my best friend Amber (whom I haven’t seen since my wedding), my best friend Shannon, and my best friend Cari. These are the women who have known me the longest and who sustain me. I needed them.
- Finding a new job.
- The Seafood festival with Sweet Husband.
- Thanksgiving with the family.
- A bonfire with friends.
- The Black Friday Races with Friends.
- Decorating the Christmas tree.
I sometimes forget, but it’s an incredibly blessed life I live. What are some of your incredible moments from the year?
Today’s Kickin’ It Old Skool post asks us to post our very first blog post. Wow. Talk about reaching waaaaaaaay back into the waaaaaay back time machine. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of the way back time machine available for me. Which is not to say that there’s not a lot in the archives.
I’ve been “blogging” since 2002. This site started mainly as a way to keep in touch with friends and far-flung family once I’d scampered off to Mississippi for the summers. Then it morphed into a place to house all manner of things – photos, recipes, teaching resources. I made a choice, a few years ago, though, to start taking some of that stuff down. It was personal and painful and just didn’t need to be there anymore.
Currently as far back as you can go is 2011, although if you click around, you’ll go to some much older photographs and such. But that’s about it. I had thought that maybe I’d left up my “diary” entries from Hurricane Katrina, my first major hurricane, and the one which had a terrible impact on the state of Mississippi and contrary to what the media portrays, made a direct landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, essentially leveling and wiping it out, which was not what happened in New Orleans. Not to minimize the scope of the tragedy in New Orleans. But New Orleans wasn’t Katrina; New Orleans was a man-made tragedy. It appears, though, that I haven’t, and I’m OK with that. I’ve re-read them a few times. Bad writing, filled with fear and emotion incredibly raw. I don’t particularly need to go back there.
So. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m looking forward
Today, for Reverb13, Kat McNally gives us this as our prompt
What was the greatest risk you took in 2013? What was the outcome?
And Project Reverb offers up these questions for pondering
Challenge: Did you take on a new challenge? What was it? Is there are challenge you deliberately avoided? What do you want to do to challenge yourself in 2014?
So nice the way these two go together today. I’d have to say that the biggest risk and the greatest challenge that I’ve taken on this year was stepping back into the classroom. I wasn’t sure at all about doing it. I’ve been out of the public schools since 2011, and while that doesn’t seem like a long time, it is. And really, I’ve been away from full-time classroom teaching since 2004.
As I began my interviews, I knew that I was going to have to do demonstration lessons if things got that far, and I was absolutely panicked about it. I knew that I was going to be rusting and I knew that things were going to be difficult going in, but the truth of the matter was that I didn’t really know if I could really do it or not…and that’s probably because I have never really known if I could do it or not.
Suffering from what I believe to be imposter syndrome (no official diagnosis – is there one for that? Or do we all just think that’s what we have and go on?), I’ve never thought that I was a very good teacher. At times I worked hard at it, but I also always thought that I made the students work a whole helluva lot harder than I did, that I in fact, did very little teaching. (I hear that’s what “they” want you to do, that’s how it’s supposed to be done)
At the time that I decided to head back into the classroom, I don’t think I really had much choice. I needed a job. Education presented itself. And back to it I went.
It hasn’t been too bad, all things considered. I work with really rough kids. Every day they challenge me. Every day I leave feeling like a little bit of a failure. Every day I feel, as one of my darlings so apt put it, like “a really pitiful teacher.” (said when I kept hounding him to get online and do his webquest)
I dread Mondays, but it’s not the sickening dread that I used to have. I dread it because I’m not sure what the students are going to throw at me or what the mood of the building is going to be like – what politics are going to be working and at play. I think, though, that I am doing a decent job. And that’s enough…and much better than where I was.
As far as challenges I did NOT accept, that would be to make things work at my previous job. I was given that option at the end of July. I was put on an “Improvement Plan” and given a set of guidelines that outlined my continued employment and the expectations for my role.
While I signed off on the document, there were two things about it – one, I knew that the higher ups at the company were not going to allow me to be successful, and two, I didn’t want to be successful. Shortly after I signed that document, I read a post from Danielle LaPorte about how if you want to do the things you desire most, if you want to make change…then you have to quit doing the things you don’t want to do.
So that’s what I did. I still went to work. I still did my job. I stopped putting in 12 days. I quit focusing so intently on what needed to be done there. I stopped worrying about it. I did what I needed to do to get through each day, and then I began trying to make forward movement in other places. It was absolutely the very right decision.
Today’s prompt from the Kickin’ It Old Skool Blogathon is 10 Things About Me. This feels a little bit like the meme that went around facebook a few weeks ago where you were assigned a number and had to tell a bunch of random information about yourself, but there’s always more to reveal
- I’m a HUGE Kansas City Royals baseball fan. Because I was 9 in 1985 and the Royals won the World Series. I used to listen to games on the radio with my grandpa, and to be honest, I still prefer to listen to games on the radio. The Royals break my heart every single year, but they’ve been my team for almost all my life. I can’t quit them. *sigh*
- My grandmother used to make mustard pickles when I was little, and I loved them. I have searched for a recipe that looks like them, but I can’t find one that reminds me of what I remember.
- I’m nigh on to obsessed with the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
- I worked at a wholesale firearms distributor when I was in college.
- I’m terrified of heights.
- I’m deathly allergic to rodents. Like anaphylactic shock allergic. Which is funny because when I was a kid, I had hamsters. Wasn’t allergic then. Only developed as an adult. Put me in a house with a hamster or a gerbil or a rabbit or mouse and within minutes I’m coughing and wheezing, with my eyes starting to swell. If I’m not out of the house and popping benadryl immediately, my throat strts to swell closed.
- I drove across the country for the first time by myself when I was 16 and had my license for less than a month. I’ve been driving long distances ever since. I think it’s in my blood; my mother was a truck driver.
- Also in my blood must be teaching. I denied I was going to be a teacher. Refused. Because my grandmother and most of her sisters and a whole bunch of cousins had been teachers and they told me from the time I was small that I was going to be a teacher too. Which irked me for some reason. I swore up and down that I wasn’t going to be a teacher, but when I got to college, it was almost an out-of-body experience where I saw my hand writing my major, almost on its own, without my direction: Secondary Education.
- I struggled with math in middle and high school, a phobia set in motion by Coach Brown in 7th grade math class. When I got to college, I had to take a class that I complained about bitterly but wound up being one of the best things ever – Freshman Experience. It was co-taught by a math professor. He and I had long conversations about math. I eventually wound up minoring in math in college and went on to acquire an emphasis in statistics in my doctoral program. Who would have ever thunk it?
- I itch. All the time. It never, ever goes away. *sigh*
Think that’s probably good, yes? How about you?
Today’s photos come courtesy of our Christmas tree – a tiny Christmas angel and Santa’s tiny mug of beer. You’d think that after all the hard work that Santa does, he’d need a huge stein of beer – not some tiny little mug.
Today’s prompt from the Kickin’ It Old Skool Blogathon is all about the weather, which is an interesting topic considering that the weather is about to get interesting in much of the country.
Here the day started a little foggy but warm and extremely humid. The temperature continued to rise throughout the day, and in the ‘burg, we topped out at around 80.
Around 1:00, though, as the pressure in the atmosphere started to change, I could feel it in my head. That’s the way that whatever is wrong with me works. Just a little pain to start and a bit of confusion to begin with. By the time I was driving home to the coast, with the clouds building and intermittent showers, my head was pounding and I was overwhelmingly exhausted. Like almost wanted to pull over and take a nap for 20-30 minutes, which seemed like such a silly thing because it’s only about an hour and a 15 minutes, hour and a half home. There’s
Sweet Husband took me to dinner but I could barely eat, barely stay awake because that’s the way this whole thing works. It’s almost too much to move, which is also the way this whole thing works.
It will be stormy off-and-on through the weekend, and I think I’ll feel like this most of that time. But the sun will shine again. Soon. I hope.
Today’s prompt from Kat McNally, is written by fellow blogger, Jill Salahub, whom I “met” through reverb last year and have been following ever since. Over the course of the past year, Jill prepared for the eventual loss of her sweet companion Dexter.
This past year, we have all experienced so much loss and experienced so much grief — in relationships, through sickness and death, from mental illness or abuse, because of finances, even due to the need for healthy change.
It is good to honor those shifts, to fully feel them, so that we can let go of what needs surrendered, and remember what is worthy of our love and gratitude.
What have you lost, what are you grieving?
Watching Jill go through the loss of her Dexter was difficult. I think that any time you open yourself up to loving a sweet animal, you have to prepare yourself for their eventual passing.
I started to write about my own very painful loss this year – the Sweet Peach cat – but then I realized that I’d already done that. When my almost 17 year old companion, the one who was
…with me when I was with Dax. She was with me as I figured out who I was on my own. She was there when I moved to MS alone and forged new relationships. She was with me in Kentucky. She absolutely loved Matt, and she’s been with me through this transition to marriage and yet another new path in my life…
I’m not sure that there’s much more that I can say about her that hasn’t been said there. My sweet girl, that I knew was slipping away from me but I wasn’t ready to admit should have already been gone, is gone.
We did take her home to Gumbo Acres, and she is buried with George Harrison, Stevie Ray Vaughn (Sweet Husband’s family names their pets after musicians), and Granny’s Taylor.
I am still ambivalent about the idea of another cat in our lives. Sweet Husband is a cat person. I’m OK with just the dogs. In the meantime, it’s as if the Blackberry has blossomed in her sister’s absence. My skinny little cat who has always been a skinny little cat is finally – at 12 years old – maturing. I bet the girl who has never weighed more than 7 pounds in her life is now tipping the scale at a solid 10. I suppose we will cross the kitty bridge when we get there.
But I still miss my Sneachy who would occasionally sneak out to bump her head under my chin and demand my attention. (I’d post a photo of her, but if you click on the link about her, you’ll see the best, recent photos of her. She was a beautiful girl)
On this, the third day of Reverb13, Kat McNally offers the following
Each day for 31 days, I sat quietly for a few moments with my eyes closed and my hand on my heart and asked, “Heart: what do you need?”
And then I listened. Sometimes the answer cam in the form of a word. Sometimes an image. Sometimes a sensation.
Try this today. What does your heart have to tell you?
And from Project Reverb, we have
Brave: What was the bravest thing you did in 2013?
Last night after I my meditation ended, I continued to sit on the floor and I asked my heart what it needed. So many things kept coming up, but having just meditated, I was good to let them come – and let them go, waiting for the one that I truly needed to keep coming back and stay.
And of all those things, rest kept coming back to the top, again and again and again. It finally was like a drumbeat in the back of my head, and I guess it must be true. This morning I had difficulty getting up – arms and legs leaden, moving in slow-motion. When I got home from work and my errands, I laid down for a moment and woke up an hour and a half later.
After a week away from work, you’d think that I would have gotten the opportunity to rest, but it was a hectic break, one that was emotionally draining. It wasn’t restful.
I was reading another reverber’s blog last night (I can’t remember who – there are so many of them!) and she said something about wanting time away to sleep as late as her body would let her, days with no real direction other than wherever she decided to go and my soul leapt at that thought. I can’t remember the last time that I had the opportunity to recharge in such a deep manner.
And I need it.
Not sure when I’ll get it, but I need it.
As for bravery, I think that’s ground we’ve covered several times in the past – my fearful nature and how it is often a daily battle to get myself together. But you’d almost never know it. I think, though, the bravest moment of the year for me came that Friday afternoon in August as I sat in my former boss’s office, watched her struggle to keep herself composed, and knew that there wasn’t a thing that I could do to change what was happening to me. I had several choices that I could have made at that moment in time, but my heart told me that the best move was just to let it go. No recriminations, no anger, no blame.
Being brave in that moment was due to having assessed my own responsibilities for the position that I found myself in. I could look at my actions, or lack thereof painful as that is to say, over the last year and a half and know what I had done that contributed to where I was. I also knew what others responsibilities were as well, but knowing that didn’t change the ultimate outcome so there wasn’t any use in making a scene about it. Being brave allowed me to leave with my dignity – and it allowed me to respond to those who were ugly and hateful to me (including my previous boss who sent me a gleeful text about how what goes around comes around and a receptionist who was giddy about karma being a bitch. I always wonder if those people stop and think – if that’s what they believe, then what must they have done to someone else in order to have deserved what happened to them?) with grace and composure.
Being brave in that moment also allowed me to appreciate what a gift I had been given. I knew for a year that I needed to leave that job – that it was killing me and there was no possible way for me to make it work – but I was still there. In the last month I’d gotten serious about finding something else, sending out resume after resume and even having a couple of promising interviews. But that afternoon forced my hand. And it was a wonderful relief.
In what ways have you been brave this year? And what does your heart need right this moment?