Thursday, December 29, 2011

Seeking the Good

I was really inspired by this post yesterday. This is a really wonderful blog, written by a fabulous person working through a tremendous amount of grief and learning as a result of losing her young son last year.
These thoughts weren't necessarily about her son at all. They were about her birthday (which was today). She is 35, and determined to make 2012 a year of wonderful things. The tone of her words struck me and I've been pondering myself on what type of year I'd like to make of 2012.
This morning in my scripture study I think I found a verse that sums it up handily:

"SEEK GOOD. . . THAT YE MAY LIVE" (Amos 5:14)

And so that is my quest for this year. I think I've spent much of this past year in hiding. Come what may, I am the master of my ship, I am the captain of my soul. And there are places I want to see, and rivers I long to sail. But I can only do it if I stop hiding on the shores, creeping carefully around what I really want to do, how I really want to live, who I really want to be.
And who is that? I want to laugh again--I want to be joyful again, silly again, and make adventures happen. Perhaps my house might not be as clean, but I want to make more memories for my children and WITH my children this year. I want to start new traditions and rekindle ones that we haven't stuck with. I want to go camping more. I want to run a 10K in under 55 minutes. I want to make time to read good literature again. I want to think about life beyond what I eat, weigh, and wear. Body and Spirit are connected and if I take better care of both of them I will gain a truer joy and a more lasting peace and clarity. This year, I want to make that journey one that is based in love.
A good, full, abundant life isn't just going to happen to me because I am generally a nice person. If I want the life I've seen with my eye of faith then it will take some courage, some action, some sacrifice, and some guts. But, I believe the rewards will be grand.
Seeking the good, both within and without, might not always be easy. And I hope that I can do it without disdain for myself. I hope that I can recognize that there is a great amount of good already in me, my past, my life, and my future. A Good Thing I am seeking this year is true, pure charity--for myself and others. I believe that is a keystone for real progression.
There is a wonderful thought from Mr. Ralph Waldo E. that captures some of my feelings tonight as the new year begins to peek my way. He wrote: “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide on, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”

Whatever you want to do this year, I hope you do it. And when it doesn't happen quickly, I hope we can keep trying. Trying to Seek the Good.

Some other wonderful thoughts about seeking the good.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Let's Take An Inventory, Shall We?

What's in YOUR cupboard?

So, here is what I face every time I enter the threshold of my kitchen.

The cast:
Coconut m&ms
Peanut butter chocolate and mini chips that would work incredibly well in my amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe
4 different types of Breyer's ice cream
Several gingerbread cookies
Bags of hershey's kisses with almonds
Assorted brownie and cake mixes that my kids would love to help me make and then I would dish them very modest portions and sneak half the batch myself just one little nibble at a time. I'm really good at that.

See how hard my life is? Sheesh. Oh to be in my own home with control over purchases. But, just listing and accepting them as my foes helps a bit. So, what toys with your mind and casts their magnetic appeal in your general direction?

Resist. . . resist. . . resist. . .

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Have I mentioned. . .

that I should really stop eating sugar? That I really want to stop eating sugar? That I feel so much better every time I do. . . for the three days that I am able to do it?

Well I should and I do. But, might I also mention:


But there are lots of hard things that are worth doing. Maybe, just maybe, this is one of them. And maybe, just maybe, I'm strong enough to do it. Or, maybe it is is the doing it that I will become strong.

That's deep.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Corner

Twas the day after Christmas,
and all thru my bones.
Was an ache and a tired that
only moms know.

The last three days have been hectic,
with much food to cook.
With children and inlaws,
And dust in each nook.

The good news? I'm learning
to like teaching alot.
My students are funny,
Even when they think they're not.

I'm finding my groove
as a mom that must work.
And most days I can do it
without being a jerk.

And though my heart lingers
for days at my home.
The progress I've made
is the point of this poem.

We have a future ahead
that we hope is quite bright.
A home of our own is
almost in sight.

So, if I can survive the next
several weeks,
I just might survive this
swim up the creek.

Thanks for the good thoughts. More later.

Friday, December 9, 2011

It has been a month.

And I still hate teaching.

I am trying. I pray to love my students. I pray to humbly accept that this is simply something I have to do right now. I try to make it fun. I try to remember what a great language Spanish is. But, still. . . I hate it.

The whining, the moaning, the texting, the innuendo, the language, the apathetic gazes across the room followed by a "what are we doing?" 2 seconds after I explained exactly that. You would think these kids are recovering from hip surgery the way they holler every time I ask them to stand up and participate in a well crafted, engaging learning activity. Almost every time I worry for the future of our great nation, nay the world. Are teenagers all over the world like this??

I drop my kids off in the morning, and toil away trying to convince someone else's kids that Spanish really does have a purpose in their little redneck worlds. Meanwhile someone else is reading to my children and seeing them point out every exciting thing they see. So not fair. A conversation this past week:

Me: (to student) Do you have any questions? Are you going to start the assignment?
Student: Nah, I don't know none of this crap.
Me: (deep breath) No reason to call it crap just because you don't know it.
Close-minded student: It is crap. It ain't American.
Exhausted teacher exits to the right before saying something she would regret

But, what else do I do? What else can I do? I try to laugh. I have a student who hunts deer. . from her living room window. I have a student who wears fatigues every day . . . . the same pair. Air freshener has become a friend in that class. I have a student who perpetually tries to convince me that he has a two year old daughter and another that insists she is having a hard time learning Spanish because she is Puerto Rican. . . so she only speaks Puerto Rican.

It is Friday. I've never loved them so much. Today, even though we've had two quizzes every Friday for the last 15 weeks, my little mini-adults will slump into the room and shout, "What! We are having a quiz today?!?!?" Then they will whine. They will probably cheat. And many of them will fail. And they will think it is my fault. After all, I'm the one teaching them this un-American crap.

If you get to stay home with your children today. . . will you please read to them and give them a hug for me. It ain't easy, I know. But boy are you lucky to be doing something so repetitive, so monotonous, so hard, so messy, and so completely important.

Te prometo. Vale la pena.

Look it up. I'm off duty.