Sunday, February 27, 2011

making my priorities match

This is about a week, or maybe even more, late. Perhaps it has even been alluded to in the past, I'm not even sure anymore.

I'm at a funny point where I want to make my priorities match.

Which priorities?

The ones inside my head and the ones that show up in my actions.

It's strange to me how disparate they seem, most of the time.

For example, I might say that being an active leader at church is important to me. But then I will decide to go out of town every weekend for three months in a row, and not actually go to church or fulfill any leadership responsibilities during that time. Yet to anyone I visit while I am out of town, I will still tell them that being a leader at my church is important to me. These two things don't quite match -- I say one thing, yet do another.

The same thing happens frequently to sweet hubby. I tell him that spending time with him is important to me, but when I have the chance to spend time with him, we both sit on our computers with the TV on and don't talk to one another. It would be much more accurate for me to say that I enjoy spending time on the computer and watching TV while he is in the room. I should turn off the computer, or simply put it away, and turn off the TV, and cuddle up with sweet hubby. That's one way that I could make my priorities match. I should make my actions match my words.

This extends to the financial area, as well, but I think I've already written plenty about that recently. My financial choices should better reflect what my professed priorities are. And I am slowly trying to put this into effect. It is a hard change to make, as it requires planning ahead and a level of commitment that I have never been able to achieve, financially (although I think I'm pretty good at almost all other types of commitment). I'm two for two in the tithing arena for 2011, which seems like a solid start and something I'm capable of maintaining. I just have to remember that even when I am out of town, I can always drop a check by the church or mail in a payment. Too bad I'm not in Germany, where a tithe is taken out of the pay check and delivered directly to the church as if it were taxes to the government. That system truly seems to support the idea of giving from the top, not from the leftovers.

This spring seems to be about refocusing for me. I've been taking a look at the different commitments I've made over the past few years (most of which are still ongoing) and have been trying to figure out which things it is time to let go of. I have 90% decided that I won't lead a Bible study group next year, or that if I do, I will request a co-leader so that I won't feel guilty for missing now and then. I would like to move back down to being an active member at just one church, instead of two, or to be able to choose a different second church that allows me to do more service and be a member of a different type of community (like a Spanish speaking worship service, or something like that, rather than the college church). I'd like to make a bigger effort to make healthy choices, both for exercise and for eating, and I'd REALLY like to see sweet hubby do the same. I'd like for us to make a bigger effort to get the house into better order, too, since we spend so much time here, and since using this house as a place to grow friendships really is something I would like to make into a bigger actual priority, rather than one I just talk about.

Ahhh, priorities. They are so easy to talk about, and so hard to match.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

hard things

In my life, there are a few things that are decidedly *not* pink. In fact, they are downright blue.

So I'm going to get them off my chest here, and then move forward, hopefully.

1. One of my best friends is suffering from a deep depression. She is finally on medication, which is helping her face suicidal thoughts, or avoid them, and she is in counseling. However, the medication she is on is freeing her mind to think about and remember lots of details of sexual abuse that she suffered as a child, giving her horrible nightmares, and might be having that side-effect oft mentioned, "may cause an increase in suicidal thoughts," which is not so great, when that's what she is taking it to combat. I'm very glad that my friend is loved and supported by those of us around us, and feels comfortable talking to us about what she is experiencing, and leaning on us for support. I'm not glad to know the exact details of what she has experienced and the demons that are haunting her, because knowing these sorts of details lead me to have nightmares of my own. Also, some of the other friends who are supporting her have demons of their own that they are already trying to combat, and adding extra demons on top is not making it any easier for them. It is hard for me to know that my friend, someone I care about so deeply, is suffering so much, and that she wants my help and support, and that I don't know what she needs or how to best give it to her. I don't know the best ways to lift her up, and I'm afraid sometimes that what I might say or do might pull her downwards, even if that is not my intention.

2. An old family friend (meaning, a friend of the family from a long time ago, not old age-wise) was in a terrible accident on Sunday and passed away yesterday. I hadn't seen her or the rest of her family in years and years, and only heard about the accident from a friend. After church, she was jay-walking back to her car with her family, and a car ran into her. The car stopped with her on the wind-shield. After several broken bones and brain damage, she didn't make it. One of her sons was also in the accident, but will survive, and her other son was running behind them and saw the whole thing happen.

This shouldn't be so hard for me to process, since I hadn't seen this family in so long. But the idea of life being stolen right out from under someone has got me worried. I know that it is in God's hands to decide where and when we join His kingdom, but even so, I live as if tomorrow is a guarantee. It's not. And while it shouldn't bother me to think of it as a gift that I can't predict, it does.

It's something I will definitely have to work on.

3. I don't even remember what 3 was. But there was one, to start with.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

the weekend

Oh, how I love me a weekend. This one is great, so far.

I had an all day meeting at school on Friday, and a productive all day meeting, and it was great. I like those kinds of meetings, where a small group of us are given a task and a specific job to do and then left on our own to get it done. And we did. This was the last of a series of 5 or 6 meetings where we were working on this task, and we finished out work. It was nice. And it is so refreshing to work in a setting where each person's opinion was valued, counted, and used. And in a relaxing setting, where it is OK to leave the room to go to the bathroom and lunch can be ordered in and not eaten in 10 minutes while reminding lovely little children that they need to eat instead of mixing their foods, slinging their food across the cafeteria, or trying to play "gotcha" under the table. If you are a mother, I'm sure you do plenty of this at your own house, but on a much, much smaller scale and on a much looser time schedule.

All in all, with the flu included, I only taught for two of five real school days this week. I had a great sub on Monday and Friday and a pretty poor sub on Tuesday. I spent Wednesday re-doing everything that was supposed to have been done on Tuesday, and was able to do the Wednesday stuff on Thursday, and threw in a little bit of a review day on Friday with the sub. Not quite everything that needed to be finished got finished, but that happens to me sometimes, too. We'll take care of it on Tuesday, since Monday is an in-service day.

And today, OH, today. I woke up at the beach. I will go to bed at the beach. I will drink wine, and I will be happy.

I *am* happy. There is truly something magical about this place. Magical, I tell you. Somehow, upon arrival, the stress just melts away, time seems endless, and all thoughts of reality just vaporize.

This was the best resolution I think I have ever made, and perhaps will ever make again in my life. This weekend trip is part of my New Year's goals -- a trip to the beach at least once a month. It was hard to schedule, and kept getting moved back a little farther and a little farther, but here we are, in February, completing the second month's due. And loving it. And so thankful for this place, this beauty, this gorgeous sunrise, and the sunset that will come later.

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's 1:45 on Monday

And I am *not* at the Valentine's celebration at school.

That's ok, though.

I'm in bed, with the flu, STILL.

That sweet kitty of mine is snuggled under the covers with me, too, and I don't care who thinks that is gross -- it is the warmest thing on the planet, and soft as could be....And she's an indoor cat, so not that dirty either.

I admit, I'm kind of freaking out about whether my kids learned anything at all today, whether my sub was able to use the computer and projector, whether my kids behaved (and that is a BIG concern, since they typically have trouble with that)....

And how much of a mess I left on Friday afternoon for my sub to walk into this morning....Hopefully that will teach me a lesson about leaving the room nicer, just in case in the future.

If I weren't so daggum sleepy and sore from so much coughing, I might try to go back tomorrow....
But instead, I'll have one more day of rest before returning to the fast pace of 3rd grade.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

thank you, to the flu

The flu has graced my body with its presence.

Thank you, flu.

Thank you for making me feel like crap.

Thank you for making me drop out of the race this morning, less than halfway through, in tears and hacking up a lung, because apparently this isn't just a little first-thing-in-the-morning phlegm. (Sorry, I'm sure you wanted to read that.)

Thank you for making me miss the free 7 habits workshop that sweet hubby and I were supposed to attend together.

Thank you for sweet hubby driving me to the doctor's care, filling out paperwork, trying to eat lunch, then trading it for a rest at home for 15 min. before driving me back to doctor's care and sitting with me in the little room for about an hour while they eliminated strep from the diagnosis (I've been on amoxycilan (sp.) for 5 days, so it was very unlikely that would be the diagnosis in any case.), then stuck a q-tip up my nose for a flu test, and took chest x-rays.

Thank you for sweet hubby stopping at walgreens to fill my prescriptions and taking me home, fixing me a fruit smoothie with honey instead of sugar, and not making noise in the house so I could sleep it off for a few hours.

Thank you for my team teacher, Susan, who answered my phone call, gave me some phone numbers of potential subs, and reminded me of what I did and didn't need to plan for this week, what with Valentine's day and Fossil Frank coming on Tuesday.

Thank you for one of my student's parents, who subs a lot at the school and decided that she would like to learn Spanish just because and has gotten good enough over the past few years to do a day or two here or there of subbing IN SPANISH. Thank you for being available and willing to take my crazy kids for Valentine's day *and* this Friday when I have a meeting all day at school.

Thank you for the NP who decided to tell me that under no circumstances am I to return to school until Wednesday, and only then if I am feeling 100%. Thank you for making the decision for me, since on my own I was unlikely to slow down for that long.

Thank you for the school technology system, which allows me to access all of my files saved on my G drive at school from online, and therefore gives me access to my lesson plans and smartboard presentations and a whole host of resources that make amending my plans for a sub so easy to do from home.

Thank you for my sweet mama and daddy, who, after a quick phone call, put together a bag of saltines, bread, and gingerale to drop off at my house since sweet hubby needed to go do something for a friend for a few hours (pre-planned and totally approved by me, even sick -- I hate to make other people cancel their plans because I feel bad -- he could hang out here, but since I'm basically a vegetable or sleeping today, I'm glad he could keep his commitment) and we didn't have any super-bland foods on hand....

Thank you to sweet Ann, who has volunteered to take over all of my duties at the university church this weekend/week, first setting up for dinner tomorrow night and then leading Bible study for me.

Thank you, self, for making a million pairs of pajama pants in the fall, so that I can wear clean PJs everyday that I am out sick and not have to do laundry in order to do so.

Thank you for sweet friends on facebook, who are expressing support and offering to bring anything and everything I could need to me.

Thank you, flu, for making me feel like crap so that I can better appreciate the people around me for the blessings that they are to me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

When it all becomes too much....

We start yelling, and then crying.

And it is ugly, and hurtful, and really only makes things worse.

Sweet hubby walked in the door and surprised me with the news that he had been mattress-testing.

This after I got the news via facebook that he had bought plane tickets for this summer's trip to Scotland (wahoo! We are really going to Scotland! But did I need to get the news by facebook, rather than when I was sitting in the same room with you? You would have had to wait a few hours more, but we could have celebrated together....)

And I'm already freaking out about the budget. Our budget is bad news. I can pull it together enough to make this trip to Scotland work, but beyond that, I feel like anything else we do needs to be the bare minimum.

It through me for a loop that he had A. bought the tickets, B. been mattress shopping, and C. announced to me, as I was now in a state of shock, that I never try to make the things that are important to him happen.


Where the heck did that come from?

Big mistake on my part....I decided I should fight back. Fight ugly with ugly. And when ugly fights with ugly.....

It only gets uglier.

I left crying on a run (I had been dressed and about to walk out the door when sweet hubby walked in, in the first place).

When I came home, he was gone. More than 30 minutes early for the plans he had for tonight. Obviously avoiding me.

And here I am, sitting here waiting, venting a little, and formulating plans for how we can fix this.

First of all....
Communicate better. Don't tell me every time you can that you want to replace the windows in our house, when really what you want to do is go mattress shopping. Don't tell me that you didn't sleep well but don't know why, when really you think the bed is lumpy on your side. Don't set your expectations so high without knowing a little bit of the back-story.

It's fine and dandy to want a temper-pedic mattress because you've tried one and loved it. It's not fine and dandy to think that you can get one right now, when the people who've had one had to work a whole lot longer and harder to be in a position where they could truly afford to get themselves a beautiful and super comfortable temper-pedic mattress. Take it slow. Just because you see REAL adults with nice things doesn't mean that we are there yet. Yes, I want nice things too. But I want to have all of my things be at least decent before we start upgrading. How did the mattress jump above simple things like a new, non-rusty shower curtain rod?

Guess I'm not done venting yet.

So anyway, while I was running, it occurred to me that we should have a list. And we could do some of that fair-division I researched back in high school, where we each write a list and then designate our own priorities. I think this is similar to good vacation advice: find out what will make the trip for each person before you leave, and then you can make those few things the priorities....

If we know what EACH person in this house thinks are the priorities....Then maybe we can do a better job of satisfying each person.

When sweet angry hubby gets home later, I'll ask him about it....

And hopefully we'll both be cooled down enough to let nice meet nice, instead of more of the uglies.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

planning, planning....

Sometimes I wonder if all this planning is a good thing, or just getting my hopes up higher than they need to be....

Sweet hubby and I want to take a trip to Scotland this summer. I have a couple of friends from when I lived there in 2003/4 that we would like to visit. This would be our first international trip together since married that isn't a trip to visit sweet hubby's family in Chile.

The thing is....I'm excited about the idea, but nervous about the actuality. It has been 7 years since I lived in Scotland (and boy, does that make me feel old). We are not the best at managing our finances....wait...I think that has come up here before, that we are on a spending freeze and trying to cut some of our bills back, and all of those sorts of things....

So we are making contacts with old friends, scouting plane ticket prices, and dreaming our way into a little bit of anxiety. It feels so premature -- we wouldn't be traveling until mid-late summer, and here we are only in February....But the time to buy plane tickets is always much earlier than the intended travel date.

It is definitely something to be looked forward to, but hopefully with less anxiousness and more eagerness.

And magical roommate of mine, I can't wait to see you again -- I credit you with some of my most amazing encounters with God, in the best way possible. You demonstrated faith and provision to me when my world felt like it was falling apart, accepting me even before you met me, and loving me and taking care of me in ways that I will never be able to understand. I am SUPER EXCITED to get to visit you this summer, and will do all that I can to make sure it happens.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

on commitment

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to say yes and what it means to say no.

and I wish people would just say no, instead of saying yes when really they mean no.

This week was a busy week for me. I had committed myself to a variety of different things, which all sort of piled up on top of themselves to happen this week. But somehow I managed to only say yes to the things that I could actually work into my schedule, not overlapping, and move from one commitment to the next, fulfilling my yeses.

I didn't turn my yeses into nos.

I hate it when people turn their yeses into nos, especially at the last minute.

And it has been happening a lot lately, that other people's yeses turn into last minute nos, and I'm tired of it.

I wish that people would take the time to think about what they are saying yes to before they say yes.

If I asked you to sign up for a free dinner on a night that you have no other obligations, and you say Thursday, and then I ask you again after you signed up, and you say, "Yes, Thursday still works for me", and then I send you an email just confirming that Thursday night is on your schedule, and you reply that you are so excited about dinner on Thursday night, and on Thursday afternoon you send me an email saying that you aren't free after all? Yeah, I'm going to be annoyed.

And if you are the fourth person out of a list of six to respond in the same manner, I might be a little more annoyed.

I'll be especially annoyed if inviting you to dinner is just one of the many, many commitments that I have wished didn't happen to pile up in the same week as other things, but since I already agreed to host you, I won't cancel. Because when I say yes, I mean yes. And when I say no, it is after thinking through what it would have meant to say yes.

and if you are one of the two people out of six who said yes, and yes, and yes, and then failed to even let me know that your yes had turned into a no? Even less respect for you.

This doesn't mean that it's never ok to have to back out of a commitment....I just feel like people back out too quickly, too easily, and without good reason. Quite simply, people have been somehow trained that yes does not need to mean yes, and that it's a nicer way of saying no.

The only nice way of saying no is to be upfront and honest about it.

It's actually fairly easy to say, once you are used to it. I am very good at saying no. Here are a few examples: "No, I'm sorry, I don't think I can commit to bringing cookies to church on that Sunday, because it looks like that might be my only free weekend that month and we'll probably end up going out of town. I'll be happy to let you know if our plans change and we'll be here after all, though." Or.... "I'm flattered that you want me to teach Sunday school, but I'm not sure I have the time to honor the commitment if I say yes right now. My Sunday morning attendance has been shaky lately, and I would hate to commit to you and not follow through." Or.... "I'd love to serve on that committee for you, Mrs. Principal, but I'm already doing this, this and this in the afternoons and I think I need to save some time for preparing my lessons and making sure that I'm doing my best in the classroom. Did you consider asking so-and-so?"

You see, saying no is a pretty easy thing to do. And saying no in a way that helps the other person to understand why you are saying no is also pretty easy.

I have pretty clear and simple rules about what I will commit myself to do, and what I won't. I'll commit myself to activities that help me grow friendships, such as a monthly gathering of women in my age group at church. I'll commit myself to anything I pay for -- particularly classes at the local university. If I paid for it, I better be making it a priority -- especially with the current financial situation in this household. If it goes along with my values, I'll consider committing myself to it. I especially consider the time commitment BEFORE I say yes. Because, as you can probably tell, I don't really like it when people turn their yeses into nos, and I REALLY don't like it when I have to do that, myself.

So people, please. Make your yes mean yes and your no mean no. And use both words wisely. They reflect more about your personality and values than you might think.

Friday, February 4, 2011

100 days

100 days of school, celebrated today....

This means 80 more to go. And very few days off in between now and those 80....One of them the date is still to be determined. But that's ok, I don't need to know in order to make spring break plans, or anything....

This has been one long week. Meetings on Monday, followed by a run immediately after arriving home, then straight to lead bible study, and home for supper then bed. Tuesday, after school, got a few things done, then headed home to sit out the fever and aches....Low enough fever to still go to work the next day, but high enough to notice it....Wednesday, collaborative planning craziness with a wacky schedule and bored kids in the special activities (that weren't exactly like what had been planned, after all, and were much less entertaining than originally planned), then a meeting about immersion that could have been lots more organized, followed by getting lessons ready, straight to circle at church, where I got to wedding plan for a friend, and from circle to yoga, so not home until 8:45 for supper and bed....Thursday, after school, after planning/preparing, to the grocery store, for dinner plans involving a group of university church members that I didn't know very well -- all of whom ended up canceling or not showing up at the last minute. Fortunately, I have some close friends in the neighborhood, who showed up to help me eat the ravioli and pumpkin pie. And today, Friday, the 100th day of school this year....After school I left as early as I could manage, had dinner with a couple of friends, and will see a few other friends for a wii dance party at my house tonight.

Tomorrow I will rest. And it will be good.