Tuesday, June 03, 2014

change is on the horizon

So a few months ago, I was thirsty for change. 
Change is coming and our wide open summer just got a whole lot shorter.
The biggest of all changes, I got a full time job!
This is bittersweet.
Sweet because it means more income, no more night classes and benefits.
It is bitter because it means no more volunteering at the kids school, Mondays with Jeff, and days home alone to clean, organize, relax.
So after 8 years I am going back to work full time, kind of excited, kind of nervous, kind of sad, kind of happy.
So this new job cuts two weeks off of my summer, I have to attend New Teacher Orientation and Teacher workdays.
I also have to attend an AP conference so that is another week off of summer, this means I will be working all of August.  I decided to take a graduate plant class being offered so I can get that out of the way so that takes a bit out of 3 more weeks of the summer, so I am now left with the month of July.
I like to be busy and since school has ended I have been a little lost without my regular routine so it is good, but it is hard too.
This is the kids last week of school and my last week of freedom, my last week I will ever be home alone.
Life is definitely going to be busy in the future, but it is what we all need.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

feeling a little lost

I feel a little lost right now, well really lost.
I have no idea what direction to go.
I don't even what to pray for, what to ask for, what to hope for.
I am empty, lost, blank.

I wish I had a magic eight ball right now. 
Wait, let me rephrase, I wish I had a magic eight ball that would be able to answer my questions truthfully not just randomly like how the eight ball works.

Or maybe I would just like a message in the clouds, you know a billboard with a definite message.

Better yet, a map, or a timeline that could give me some insight for the journey ahead.  A way to show me that here is where things change, here is where you should go, some kind of direction.  It would sure be nice to know if I was on the right path and not wandering in the wilderness.

I have no idea what to do.
I am ready to go back to work full time, or at least I think I am.

I am ready for change, but what am I suppose to do?
Maybe this is where I am suppose to be for a bit longer and I shouldn't follow the first path I come to.

I applied for a job a few months ago, I didn't get it, didn't even get interviewed, I was a little disappointed, but I was a little intimidated by the job if I am honest.

I just applied for another job this week.  I made a list of the pros and cons and the pros out weigh the cons, but I don't know if I really want this job either.  My finances would like it, but would I love it? 

I applied for another job today, one that I applied for last year and also didn't get nor did I get an interview.  I don't think I have a chance since I don't have a doctorate, but what the heck, what if this is what I am suppose to do?  But then again, maybe it isn't.  This job is the job that I really wanted a year ago, heck the job I wanted five years ago, the job I would really like, but I don't want to be disappointed so I am trying to hold it at arm's length away.  Then again, maybe this job isn't as great at I think it is, maybe it is a case of the green grass.

I have a job in my head that I would really like to do, but as of right now it doesn't exist.  I would love to be a science educator, write and create curriculum, work at a nature center type of place, a job that I saw an ad for when I was 9 months pregnant with Lance and never seen again unfortunately.  Well actually there are a lot of jobs I think I would love, an event planner, a caterer, a microbiologist, a gardener, but how do I know what to pursue or even how to begin down those paths.

I just don't know what to do, what to want, what to hope for, what to pray for.
I want a job that I love, not dread going to every morning. 
I want to do what is best for my family, what will allow me to be there for my kids.
I want something different than what is happening now.
I don't want to get my hopes up and get crushed again. 
I especially don't want to be stuck doing something I hate, that is no way to live.

I just want a little glimpse of the future.
Am I to stay, continue doing what I am doing and business at our store will continue to improve and I won't have to go back to work full time ever? (highly unlikely)
Am I to work full time at a high school like I did before the kids?
Am I to work full time in a totally different capacity?  middle school? at a grocery store?
Do I apply for a job in the school system that I use to work for even though the school maybe 30 minutes away and I really don't want to commute?

I feel like I am just wandering and don't know what direction to go and I hate it.
I am wandering in the wilderness and don't know which direction to take and it is hard.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

out and about just without the car

This week the fast for the 7 experiment is waste.  It is hard to focus on waste and being "green" in just one week.  It is also hard when you already incorporate simple earth friendly practices in your normal routine such as recycling.  I have plans to make a worm compost bin, but haven't had a chance yet, but I still wanted to do something meaningful in these first couple of days so we decided to not drive anywhere today.  There were many temptations to hop in the car and go somewhere, but we didn't.  Neither car left the driveway today, heck neither car was even turned on.  Even though our cars never went anywhere, we didn't stay at home all day.  We went to church, the grocery store, the park, and 7-11 for Slurpee's, all on our bicycles.  We estimated that we rode about 6 miles today, that doesn't seem far, but my body feels like we rode 16.  Fortunately it was a gorgeous day and the perfect day to get out on a bike, I just wish our city was a little flatter without so many hills, I probably could go farther and longer.  No matter what, we did it, and realized it isn't that hard, even when you are out of shape like I am. 
This afternoon while riding, Jeff and I realized how our house is in a great location, we can ride our bicycles to the swimming pool, the grocery store, our favorite pizza place, a nice restaurant, a deli/gourmet food store, the post office, a Mexican restaurant, several churches, the kids' school, my mom's house, a park, and to the trail system that can get us a lot of other places (though there is a HUGE hill returning from the trails and the kids haven't tried that yet).  We left off quite a few other places like Walgreens, Starbucks, another grocery store, a shopping center, and more restaurants because we hadn't ventured to the next shopping center over with the kids on bikes.  I realized how good we have it, some people that live out in the surrounding counties don't have anywhere they can walk or ride to or no where safe because the main roads are all highways. 
Today was really good and fun and I hope that this spring and summer we can do a lot more riding and get more and more people doing the same, it is good for your body, good for the environment,  and good for your wallet. 
I joke and say that I am slowly becoming a hippie, but it is true, I really do feel like I am being called to live my life differently, simpler and "greener."  I have a lot of resistance, but the pull is there, I am little scared, but curious of what the future holds, what does this simple life look like for us?  Is this the change I have been yearning for?  Who knows, but today was good, it was nice to ride around and get exercise and make the world a better place.

Friday, April 11, 2014

media fast

This past week for the 7 fast, it was media.  I didn't completely cut out all media, especially when I was sick in bed, but I did cut out twitter, facebook, instagram, most Internet, tv, and iPhone games and apps.  I thought it was going to be really hard, but it wasn't.  I read a lot of books, granted they were chick lit, but I read 1 book in a little over one day, if I could keep up this pace I would have my huge stack read in no time.
Most importantly I learned that social media is NOT good for me.  I am a curious person, I like to know everything about everything.  I also hate feeling like I am missing out or NOT knowing something that everyone else does.  I hate being the last to know something.  My fear of missing out on something or everyone knowing something that I don't has lead me to be a bit of a social media addict.  I feel like I should be constantly checking in, in fears that I am missing something, it didn't help that Facebook noticed I hadn't been on and would send me daily emails trying to tell me all that I was missing.  Ahhhh, they know my weakness!  Other than the tempting e-mail staying away wasn't that hard. 
I also realized that social media especially Facebook isn't always good for me because I fall victim to comparison.  I have a tendency to compare myself to others and easily believe that other grass is a whole lot greener than mine.  This is quite silly, I know, but I can't stop.  People, for the most part, put there best side of them out there on social media, their well crafted, best self, not always there true self and comparing my life with someone's best spin is like comparing apples to oranges and yes silly.  In order for me to be happier and more content, I need to live my life not in comparison to others and this is a whole lot easier away from social media, especially Facebook. 
So I am standing at a crossroads, do I shut down the account or do I just strictly limit it? 
I love being able to easily communicate and share photos with friends and family across the country, but I need to stay away.  I should probably continue to reduce my friends down, but it is hard.  I feel like Facebook, in a way is like opening Pandora's box.  Right now I am trying to stay away as much as possible, it just isn't good and yes I am missing out, but I am also learning that sometimes that isn't a bad thing.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

When the Cypress Whispers a book review

I was given a copy of the new book When the Cypress Whispers to read and share.  When I first began the book, I thought it seemed very predictable, but the book took several twists and turns and ended up totally differently than how I expected it to go and that definitely makes a book a good read.  I was also very impressed how the story seamlessly moves through different time periods in the main character, Daphne's life, as well her grandmother's life on the small Greek island, Erikousa, during World War II.  I love historical fiction, learning a little bit of history while enjoying a good story, especially stories from World War II, and this story includes how the community sheltered a Jewish family from the Nazis.  I also loved the relationship between Daphne and her grandmother, it was very believable and definitely reminds me of times spent with my grandmother as a child, unfortunately for me, not one a beautiful Greek island.
Being able to blend, modern times, World War II, and greek mythology into one book seems impossible, but it worked and it made the story seem more magical and yet real all at the same time. The author Yvette Manessis Corporon successfully describes the magical Greek island, a place we would love to be a part of, where everyone knows everyone and there is real community, something that we sometimes lack in the modern world.  There was really a lot to this book, Greek mythology, World War II invasion of the Nazis, family traditions and heritage, as well as finding your voice and passion through the chaos of these modern times.  We all yearn for a simpler time or life and that desire makes When the Cypress Whispers such an enjoyable read.
I can honestly say, I didn't think I was going to enjoy this story, but there was so much to appreciate and learn and remember.  It is hard to fully explain everything that makes this book magical and enjoyable without giving away too much of the storyline.   This is a great read for anyone who wants to little bit of escapism or remember the importance of tradition and heritage in these modern chaotic times.

To wrap it up: this book was better than I expected.  I highly suggest this book if you enjoy historical fiction, especially World War II.  This book is about a woman, Daphne, who is caught between the past, tradition, and her Greek heritage and modern busy life in New York.  Yvette Manessis Corporon does an amazing job describing the tiny Greek island, Erikousa, a place we would all love to escape too, even if you don't care for feta cheese and olives. This book has a little something for everyone and a perfect summer beach read.

Note: I have not been paid for this review, this is my own thoughts on this book.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

7 Fast- Day 3- Clothing- not a big deal

I must be doing this wrong, this isn't hard, not like the food fast and not like the media one will be, am I doing this wrong?
Maybe I should count shoes as 1 clothing item and not use the tunic.  
I don't have many clothes, I have a lot in comparison to someone from a third world country, but not as many as I have had in the past and as many as my mother has, I don't hold onto things, I guess living in a small space will do that to you.
So, this week hasn't been tough so far.
I guess being poor and living in a small space has its advantages.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

7 Fast- clothing and possessions day 1

This week's fast is clothing and food.  It's not the greatest picture but above are the 7 articles of clothing that I am going to mix and match from for the next week.  Today I wore the khaki pants, the white shirt, and the navy sweatshirt.  So far, this isn't a big deal for me considering it the first day and haven't repeated anything yet, let's see how I feel come Monday after I have worn everything at least once.  This week we are doubling up the 7 study and besides clothing, we are giving away or setting aside 7 items a day to give away.  After talking with everyone last night I decided that I would start today off by choosing 7 items from my clothing that I like, but don't really wear and I could donate to a clothing closet in town.  So I have set aside 7 items of clothing that are one the nicer side, ones that I would normally yard sale of e-bay and I am going to donate them in hopes that someone who needs clothes for a professional job could use some nicer clothes.  Today also was the return to all my normal foods, sugar, bread, etc, I have been thinking about what I have been missing out all week and so far, my chick-fil-a breakfast that I had been looking forward to since Monday just wasn't all I had hoped for, it could have been that I was so hungry that I didn't stop and enjoy it, but it was a bit of a let down.  I think there is an application lesson in there: sometimes the things we think we want and don't have and might be envious about, really aren't that wonderful when we do get them. So week 2, so far, so good, but the real lessons are coming.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

when a coating turns into 6 inches

This morning we they were calling for a coating to an inch of snow.
It started snowing about 6:30 am, my classes were cancelled, but the kids school wasn't, so we got up and ready for school.
When we left for school it was snowing.  I volunteering in the school library for an hour when I left school it was still snowing.  At noon, when the snow was suppose to be rain at this point it was still snowing and it was already close to 4 inches.  At one o'clock it was still snowing heavily so I went and picked the kids up early from school because our neighborhood wasn't bad, but my mom's neighborhood was and that is where the bus drops off the kids.  The kids came home and played for a bit and then we went outside to play.  At this point we had six inches of snow.  The weather people totally got this one wrong and no one saw this coming. 
Around 3pm, six inches on the ground

The snow was perfect for snowman making, here is our hopefully last snowman of the season

So we got an unexpected spring snowstorm.  6 inches, we saw a lot of snow this year, not really accumulating, one snow that was 8 or 9 inches and then this one.  Both snowstorms were late, I like my snow Christmas and mid-January, I like late February and March to be spring like. 

Six inches, we got two good snows this year, I am content and ready to move on to spring, for real now.


Happiness seems to be a theme for me this year and not just because "Happy" by Pharrell Williams is our favorite song.  Speaking of the song "happy" how can you not be happy when listening to and dancing to that song?

So as I have noted before, part of the stuff that I am working through is my comparison to others and always seeing what I don't have instead of what I do.  I can easily fall victim into the the trap of thinking that if we had a bigger house or if I had a full time job and more money that I would be happier.   Part of me knows that these things will not make me happy, but part of me believes it will because there are so many people who live this way and seem happy.

A couple of nights ago we began watching the documentary "Happy" on Netflix.  I was blown away at the scientific explanation on what makes us happy.  50% of our happiness is determined by our genes, some people are genetically happier than others and we all have a happiness setpoint.  40% of our happiness is something we can control through exercise, meditation, showing compassion, giving to others, and other activities that involve giving and being a part of a community, basically being the opposite of self absorbed.  That only leaves 10% of our happiness from our circumstances such as our job, our house, our health, and other material things.

Only 10%.

10%, I am blown away.  That is such a small component of our happiness, yet how many people, myself included try to live or believe that our circumstances determine 90% of our happiness?
Part of me knows that volunteering, loving others, showing compassion, giving to others, making the world a better place, etc is what truly makes us happy, yet I fall for the lie that it is stuff.  People with the big houses, good jobs, nice cars, all seem happy, but are they really?  According to this, they probably aren't, or they aren't based on their stuff, they are happy because of what they do outside of themselves.  The documentary also used the hedonic treadmill as an example of how material things will never bring increase happiness forever because a new material object will initially bring us happiness but there is always something nicer, newer, bigger, and we will return to our original setpoint of happiness over time.

Material things don't bring us happiness.  Where have I heard that before?  Hmmm, the Bible maybe and probably other religious texts.

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.  Ecclesiastes 5:10 

side note:  if the word "vapor" is substituted for "meaningless" which is a better translation, the book of Ecclesiastes has a lot more meaning especially when you consider that vapor is fleeting.

There are many verses that mention how you can't love both material possession/money and God.  It makes sense.  God is love, and loving God is showing love to others and making the world a better place.  The science of happiness even supports the the Christian beliefs of piety and service, serving others is just as satisfying to our nervous system as other pleasures.  I know the truth, now if I can just live this way I probably can be a lot happier.

I love when faith and science support each other instead of contradict.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

7 Fast- Day 4- Temptations everywhere

So I have survived Day 4 of the week food fast, I am halfway through.  Today was a day full of temptation, some were very hard not to given in and others pretty minor.  This morning it was hard having bacon and eggs without muffins or toast, but the real test came after church.  The kids got a hot chocolate and coffee cake treat at Starbucks, then at my mother's house everyone enjoyed pancakes, yet another food on my fasting list.  We got home and I put the finishing touches on the cake for the auction at cub scouts, the real temptation was the icing and cake pieces we cut off of the sides to make a perfect square, I did not give in.  The temptation of cake was followed up by the yeast rolls I made for the cub scout dinner.  The dinner was pretty bad, we were the last ones to get food and so it was slim pickings on most items, but plenty of bread, the one thing I didn't plan on eating.  There was also cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and even more cake.  It was hard to just stick with tiny bit of salad and pork and pass on all my favorites. 

 The amazing thing though was I didn't focus on what I didn't have, I focused on Thursday when I could resume my chocolate and bread.  I didn't feel like I was missing out and I am so thankful.  After the dinner, I came home and had a snack of granola and yogurt, it isn't my favorite, but I am trying to like it more.
My conclusions from today: I was content with my fast and my choices this week, today had some tough moments, I could have cheated and no one would know the difference, but I didn't and I am glad. I am thankful that I could focus on the positives and not on what everyone else had, it probably helped that I wasn't starving too.  So today was easier and I am halfway done.  I can't wait for Thursday morning, after class I am either going to Chick-fil-a or maybe a chocolate chip bagel from Panera, oh the choices, it is ridiculous. 


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