Thankfulness Challenge, Uncategorized

Day 42 of Thankfulness – Quiet Evenings

Today was a busy, busy day.  I woke up to a disaster in my living room because I had stripped the couch cushions to wash the covers and they weren’t quite dry when I went to bed last night.  So, I had naked couch cushions strewn around my living room (sounds a little rated R) among the rest of the things we usually have strewn around our living room.  I knew we were planning to get our Christmas tree today, so I had to get stuff picked up, furniture moved to make space for a tree and not go crazy doing it all.  My back is sore, my legs hurt and I’m pretty tired, but we did it!

Christmas Tree 2015

It wasn’t necessarily smooth.  I began to realize, as I moved furniture, just how dirty parts of our house are (anything covered up from view).  Under the couches, the window sills hidden behind furniture, the nooks and crannies.  But, we accomplished quite a bit getting the house tree ready!

Only one string of lights was functional, so I had to run out and get more.  We can’t locate the wire hangars for bulbs and we have quite a few that do not have them (I know I had a whole bag full last year).  I stepped on an ornament and broke it.  The dog kept stealing them to try to chew them up.  And we aren’t done putting them up yet, but it looks quite pretty as is.

Tonight we played Yahtzee (last night we played Uno, I am loving the game playing we are doing as a family).  We had tickets to a basketball game at the University, but with my back hurting and all that we had done today, a quiet night was what I wanted.  I put away some laundry to clear a basket for more.  I also organized my scrapbooking paper in a crate (a new way of organizing it).  The Elf on the Shelf has a small, homemade gift to give my DD tomorrow (I had forgotten that she got small gifts last year until she said something about it yesterday – I told her the elf was probably waiting until we had a tree).  It is a bookmark (we read almost two chapters together tonight before she went to bed), some stickers to make a card for someone else “to spread the cheer” as the elf’s note says, and another little Christmas tag I made for scrapbooking many years ago that could also function as a bookmark.  She will probably not be really excited about it, but it was the best I could do under short notice.  Last year I would have the elf bring her stuff she hadn’t seen since the prior year thinking that she would have forgotten and she would say “oh, look what the elf found in the garage.”  She is a smarty pants.  But, hopefully she will like the pretty bookmark and making a card.

I have a lot to do this coming week.  Christmas gifts for teachers and other school workers and colleagues at work.  Final exams and all the grading needing to be DONE!  Obviously, some elf gifts would be good to have on hand.  And we need to do some holiday activities since we’ve been a little remiss this year in doing anything like seeing lights or Santa or anything Christmassy really.  But, for tonight, I got to have a quiet night with family fun and a beautiful tree.  For that, I am thankful.


Thankfulness Challenge, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Reflect

I’m once again participating in Five Minute Friday over at


This week’s prompt is REFLECT:

Although this is a natural time of the year to begin looking forward – to the new year, to a new semester and to new goals, it is also a time to REFLECT on the past – the past year, the past semester and my past goals.  I am often very hard on myself when I reflect.  I tend to focus on the things that didn’t happen, the things that didn’t go well, the things that were not achieved.  I need to make sure that I also include all the things that DID happen, the things that DID go well and the things that DID get achieved.

This past year has been a hard one.  This semester began almost immediately after losing my mom.  And prior to that, the summer was spent dealing with her illness, her inability to find good care, and her constant pain and suffering.  Almost right after the semester began, we discovered that my daughter’s heart is not working as well as it once was.  So, reflecting on that, I am happy that I made it through this semester without too much loss of time or teaching.  I am happy that I DID get to do some fun things with my daughter.  I am happy that I DID achieve some goals I had for staying up with grading better (not great, but better).  I am happy that our Speech and Debate team had a great semester and I was able to be an active part of that.

When I reflect on the last half of this year, I am both sad and satisfied.  I am both disappointed and hopeful.  I am both anxious and confident.  I am both reflective and forward-looking.

Mostly, I am extremely excited about a new year of opportunities!


That’s it.  What about you?  Reflect!

Thankfulness Challenge, Tuesday Truth

Tuesday Truth – Thankfulness Challenge Edition

I have not done a Tuesday Truth post in a while, but I thought I would bring it back today.  Just to mix things up a bit on the blog.  I am going to combine it with a Thankfulness Challenge post just in case I don’t get back for another post later today.

Tuesday Truth

I have a couple of truths today.

pumpkin spice

My first truth is that coffee is the elixir of the gods.  For those who do not know what elixir means (I had to look it up to make sure I was using it correctly), according to Merriam Webster’s Medical Dictionary, it is: “a sweetened liquid usually containing alcohol that is used in medication either for its medicinal ingredients or as a flavoring”.  I am currently using Coffee Mate Pumpkin Spice creamer, so my coffee is definitely sweetened and although it doesn’t contain alcohol, it is definitely medicinal for me.  I am extremely thankful for coffee and the truth is, I have thought about giving it up, but it is one of my few serious vices.  So, I’m keeping it and I’m enjoying it.

Second, life is short.  Sometimes shorter than we would consider.  A colleague at my University (whom I did not know, but one of my students had as an instructor this semester) passed away yesterday.  She was younger than me.  This is somewhat jolting.  The reason for her death has not been disclosed yet, but someone that young passing away totally unexpectedly is always a shock to the system.  So, as we approach a new year, I am thankful for my life and my health and I hope that it last a good long while.


Thankfulness Challenge, Uncategorized

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 36

Today’s thankfulness is both past and present.  Today, I am thankful for the stability in my life.


It seems weird to identify stability as part of my life, but I realized tonight that it truly is.  Despite the fact that I have a DD who is chronically ill and the past three years have been swept up in dealing with the gradual decline and loss of my parents, my life is pretty stable.  I have lived in the same place for six years.  I have had one of my current jobs for eight years. My years follow a pattern – with the semesters, the same or similar tournaments to travel to, similar summers, etc.

So, why did this suddenly become apparent to me?  Well, our neighbor came over tonight for dinner.  They are having to move because they can’t afford the place next door (they have been there for about a year and a half).  They have not had steady jobs since arriving here a year and a half ago.  Prior to that, they have lived in five or six different places since their son was born (who is just slightly older than our DD).  Prior to that, he lived a life of drug use and crazy behavior in high school.  Although my life has been far from perfect, it has been stable.

I am so thankful for my job and my family and the place we live and our ability to hold those things stable.  Despite the instability in my parents’ health and my DD’s health over the past six years, the rest of my life has been stable.  And without that, I don’t know that I would have been able to get through all the other things…

Thankfulness Challenge, Uncategorized

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 33

Well, I’ve missed a couple of days yet again.  I feel like my days this semester are really poorly arranged.  I definitely need to consider this going into next semester.  I like fewer, longer days rather than four days a week that have kind of a crazy schedule.  This will be especially important as I found out I have a third class at my second campus next semester, so three classes at both campuses plus national travel for Speech and Debate.  I am currently working on a list of things I need to do to stay sane, keep a grip on my life and not get so stressed out.  Here’s to the new year and hopefully a less chaotic life in 2016.  But, let’s get to the thankfulness…


Today, I am thankful for dental insurance.  I HATE the dentist.  I mean really, really hate it.  I like our dentist a lot – he’s a great guy.  But the dentist as a concept, I hate.  I’ve had a really bad experience in the past with dentists and it has left me fearful, dreading each visit and I am not a flosser.   But, this week, I had a tooth break off and it exposed a silver filling that is quite sharp.  So, I had to make an emergency visit to the dentist this morning and will have to return for a crown next week.  Turns out that I have another tooth that is cracked and on its way to the same breakage (I guess the silver fillings cause this to happen as teeth age).  So, I have to get two crowns.  The quote for the two crowns with insurance is only $150!  Without insurance, it would have been somewhere around $1500!

So, today, I am thankful to have dental insurance.  It would make it so much worse if I had to pay $1500 for my misery of visiting the dentist.  Instead, I’m getting off cheap for $150 and will not have to scrape my tongue against the sharp filling.


Thankfulness Challenge, Uncategorized

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 30

I can’t believe November is done today and in one month 2016 will be over.  So quick…lots to be thankful for though.


Today I am thankful for seasons.  Right now, we are soaking in Fall colors and wading through fallen leaves around here.  A Winter storm is moving in on Thursday that is supposed to be pretty windy and rainy.  But, it is still Fall.  And although we won’t get any snow here in our city, a short drive up the road about 10 miles will get us to a place that does get it during the Winter months.  We have mild, sometimes wet Springs and hot, hot Summers.  And I love them all.

I lived in So Cal for 10 years after graduating college and the biggest thing I missed was the seasons.  In So Cal, it is pretty much Spring all the time.  The Summer will get hot inland, but then it goes back to Spring.  Sure, there may be a cold day here and there, but most of the time, Christmas is met with 60s or 70s and sunny weather.  It just isn’t a year without some seasonal changes.  I want to change out my clothes, wear different shoes and feel like there is some rhythm to life.

The colors around here are beautiful right now.  Here is a picture from some years ago:

Fall Drive 2007 003

Soon, though, the leaves will be gone – already we have a bare tree in our front yard.  Most of the leaves falling off last night.

I am feeling ready for Christmas with the weather changes.  I am feeling in the rhythm of life.  And I am feeling the loss, but also recognizing that after a dormant Winter those empty spaces will burst forth with new buds, green leaves and a renewal!

Thankfulness Challenge, Uncategorized

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 29

I can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day of November!  I really don’t know where time goes.  But, it goes.  It goes very fast…Today, I’m thankful for our home, which is coming a bit out of spite…


Today, I’m thankful for our home.  It hasn’t been shown much love in the last seven years that we’ve been here.  We aren’t the cleanest of people.  We don’t do maintenance much.  And I’ve become convinced that we should not be homeowners (although we do own a home in So Cal that we rent out, but a management company deals with the maintenance and such down there – we rent here because of that house in So Cal).  My husband would like to buy a home up here.  He is convinced we would take better care of a home that we owned, but I’m not convinced.  So, I’ve been trying to embrace the home we have and show others that it can be nice.  So, today’s post is going to focus on some of the things I am thankful for in our home.

First, I love that we are in a neighborhood where there are kids my DD’s age to play with.  Rarely does a day go buy that if she wants to play with someone she can’t find someone.  And I feel safe letting her outside without direct supervision because we all check on them intermittently; we live on a circle, so we don’t get much traffic; and, the childless neighbors are all very nice to the kids.

Second, I kind of appreciate that our carpet is old and dirty because we seem to constantly be spilling stuff or when the dog was a puppy she would have accidents.  I feel like we aren’t ruining something really nice when life happens.  Of course I would love to have nice, new, clean carpeting, but realistically, it wouldn’t last long.

Third, I love all the natural light our house gets.  We have two big windows in the living room and the sliding glass door.  All of the bedrooms have windows that get light at some point during the day.  We also have high windows in the stair area that gives the stairs and hallway good light.

Finally, I love that we have nice yard areas.  I wish that we took better care of the backyard and could make it nice.  But, it is nice to have plenty of space for the dog and trees and such in our yard.

So, that’s it – my thankful list for our current home.  We won’t be here forever (or maybe even for long), but I’m really going to try to embrace the home we have for all it is while we are here.