Saturday, December 31, 2011

My husband got a job!

This is pretty much what I've been
thinking since I heard the news!!!
This summer, my husband Andrew started going back to school to get a master's degree in computer science.  He's been taking classes and working at a gourmet food and wine store.  While he's been enjoying the discount he gets at the store he's working at, he's been hoping to find a job in his field so that he can get some experience while he goes to school.  

Well, a friend of ours has been working for a company that times races and mentioned that the company was looking for someone who had some IT experience, but was still willing to learn.  Andrew met with the head of the IT department and received an official job offer a few days ago!!!  It's part time for now, but may end up turning into something full time.  We're both thrilled about it!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Still not enough devotion

Remember when I first started blogging here?  I explained the title of the blog and the quote it came from.  It seems I still don't have enough devotion to follow through on posting, but I'm not going to beat myself up for it.  I will post when I have the time and inspiration to because that's when it will be worth reading, even if that's not on a regular basis.
Image from here

My goal in blogging was never to be the best at it (because I definitely have a ton of competition out there), but simply to contribute to the blogging community which I love so much.  I find so much joy reading the thoughts that people put out there and commenting on other's posts that I want to bring that same joy to those who read my blog.  So I will keep doing what I'm doing in the new year!  Thanks to those of you who read and comment here.  I truly enjoy each and every word of what you have to say!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Prompt 9

When were you most scared this year?

I was most scared this year when I was trying to get Andrew to deal with his depression.  I have experienced my own depression, but I didn't appreciate how hard it is to be the one who's living with the person who's depressed.  (I actually called my college roommate to talk about this because she was the one who had to live with me when I was depressed.)

I knew he was feeling al sorts of emotions, but I wasn't able to do anything to help other than tell him that I was there and supporting him.  I actually had a really hard time trying to figure out how much to push him to deal with the depression.  It was hard to be the only one he was comfortable talking to and I knew that I had to get him to talk to someone who actually knew how to help him, because as much as I wanted to I just wasn't able to.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Prompt 8

Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.

Here are a few of the things that make me different:

  • I'm loyal to a fault.  I don't like to give up on people.
  • I love reading aloud.  That's part of what makes me a good English teacher.
  • I love the smell of clean laundry.
  • Whenever I think about being green, I think about saving the polar bears.
  • I like pretty much anything sparkly.
  • I get  really excited by little things.
  • I love it when someone takes the time to really know and understand me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Prompt 7

What do you hope to remember?

  • Andrew playing with Schmoo and getting really into it
  • Spending the day with Pete
  • Laughing at things Butterball and Olly did
  • Celebrating Ashlee's birthday and seeing her happiness
  • Having Barb see our house for the first time
  • Replacing the disposal with David (and then being the one to figure out what was wrong with it!)
  • Watching Andrew plan the gardens out and get really into it
  • Helping Sarah wedding plan
  • Visiting Andrew's family in Michigan
  • Buying sparkle reindeer and remembering how well Andrew knows me
  • Lots of little moments when Andrew and I got to spend time together

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Prompt 6

Image from here
Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? 

The last thing I made was a prayer shawl that I knitted for a ministry at church.  I have really enjoyed making it because I've been spending time knitting each week with a group of women from my church.  Its been fun to spend time with them.  Having that time once a week helps me to make time for crafting, but I'm really excited to have some time off of school when I can (hopefully) spend some time scrapbooking, which I haven't don't for a while.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Prompt 5

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

Image from here
Since I just posted about the loss of my grandma, you already know whom I let go of this year.  Instead, I'll talk about what I let go of, which was the belief that I can control the things around me.  I am always trying to do this, but obviously it is just not possible because too much is out of my control.  With everything that happened this year from Andrew's job searching to Andrew's going back to school to daily events that I had to deal with at school, I was constantly being reminded that I was not in control.  That's a hard lesson to learn (and relearn) but a good one because I definitely don't know what I'm doing enough to be in control.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Prompt 4

Wonder.  How did you cultivate a sense of wonder this year?

The way that I've kept wonder in my life is by thinking about God's timing.  With all of the challenging things that happened this year, there have been definite times when I was able to see what God was doing - or if not to at least trust that He knows what He's doing.

The main example of this?  My grandma moved from her condo into a retirement community this year.  I had helped with the move, but had not gone to see her on my own until the last day of school.  We had decided that I would come over and we would spend the afternoon together and have dinner together.

I spent the afternoon with her - teaching her how to use her DVD player so she could watch The King's Speech later that night and even having a conversation with Andrew on speakerphone -  and then we went out to dinner together.  We talked about her life growing up, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet which we'd both read, and a whole bunch of other things.  Then I took her home, gave her a hug, and told her I loved her.  She passed away the next day.

The sense of wonder in that comes from the fact that God had to know what he was doing in terms of timing.  Obviously I'm sad that my grandma is no longer with us, but I'm so amazingly grateful that I got to spend her last full day with her.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Prompt 3

What books did you read this year?

This year I read a lot of books.  I mean a lot.  I had been keeping track of the books I read using the virtual bookshelf from Living Social until I received this message from them.

It's not you.  It's us.
First of all, thank you for your enthusiastic support over the past four years. Your continued engagement with our these applications means a lot to us here at LivingSocial, and we're sad that we haven't been able to dedicate the time and effort you deserve to keep this community alive and thriving.
It's not you. It's us. You see about two years ago we tried a new idea, which has taken our team and company in a new direction. This community needs tools and products that are fully supported and continually improved, and unfortunately, this is something we just can't support right now.
We know your data is important to you. Before we discontinue the service, we gave you 30 days to save it.
They then suggested that I switch my list of books over to Goodreads, which I am loving.  Not only does it let you keep track of books that you have read, are currently reading, and want to read, it also lets you track (and share) your progress as you read books.  As someone who loves to check things off and visuals, this is a great feature!

Now to get to my list of books.  I'll only list my favorites because I have read a bunch this year!

  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
    • I didn't like this one that much while I was reading it, but I haven't stopped thinking about it since.  It's told from the perspective of a dog, and that fact alone makes it awesome enough to read.  Add to that the fact that the dog is obsessed with racing cars, because that's what his owner does for a living, and that he likes to watch races on TV and you have a great book.
  • Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos
    • This is a hilarious book.  The basic plot is that there is a guy who lives in Portland, Oregon and hangs out with Jesus or at least someone he thinks is Jesus until he meets the Apostle Peter who shows him that the Jesus he thought was real is really imaginary.  They then begin a chase to find and confront his imaginary Jesus and, along the way, they meet a lot of other imaginary versions of Jesus, such as King James Jesus and men's retreat Jesus.
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
    • I don't think I need to write about these books.  If you haven't read them, you should.  I really liked these books, though I'm someone who loves a good dystopia book.  I couldn't put these books down.
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
    • This is another book that I wasn't sure I liked while I was reading it.  (Well, actually I listened to this one...)  I had a really hard time getting into this book because it is narrated by death and it is set during the Holocaust.  That's right.  I promise it's not nearly as depressing as it sounds.  The characters in this book are AMAZING.  I seriously loved (or hated depending on which one it was) them all and they stuck with me for months after I finished reading it.
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

    • Of all of the books I read this year, this is the one that's the most important because my grandma and I had a long conversation about it the day before she died.  The book had been on my to read list for a while and she read it with a book group and loved it, which inspired me to read it.  I always think of her when I think of this book.  It's about a Chinese boy growing up in Seattle during World War 2 and deals with the Japanese internment.  There are so many different aspects to this book: the internment camps, racism, jazz, and the huge issue of deciding what is right and wrong.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Prompt 2

Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author Leo Babauta of Zen Habits)

The major thing I do that doesn't contribute to my writing - or anything else productive for that matter - is getting distracted by television and internet.  I spend a lot of time watching TV, reading email/blogs/Facebook on the internet, or doing both at the same time.  I know that I get much more done when I'm not doing these things, but they are what I tend to gravitate towards.

The easiest solution to this would obviously be to turn off the TV and the computer.  I have been doing this more this year for two reasons 1) we started getting the newspaper delivered every day and 2) I started reading more books.  

Image from here
I love getting the newspaper because I feel like I know what's going on in the world. I used to wake up and watch the first fifteen to twenty minutes of The Today Show before I left for work, but now I read the newspaper.  It gives me a chance to start my day without any electronics and also lets me take a few minutes to think about things before I have to deal with students.  

Image from here
I've also been reading more thanks to renewing my library card and regaining access to the library that's by school and by borrowing my mom's Kindle.  I don't have a hard time reading once I've started a book, but now that I have the Kindle, I always have access to a new book.  I'll work on continuing to turn off the electronics and focus on the things that I need to accomplish or that are more important.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Prompt 1

Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

I would have to say that 2011 was a year of growth.  I learned that I need to be able to grow and change, even if I don't always want to.

Image from here

Last year my husband, Andrew, lost his job a few days before Christmas.  It came as a complete shock to both of us.  We were still reveling in spending our first Christmas in our new home with our cats and dog and weren't sure what we were going to do with only one income since we now had a house payment to worry about.  I was able to see what a strong man my husband is as he took a while to deal with the disappointment and then started figuring out what to do.  I saw such a change in him from when he was job searching last, when he moved from Michigan to Indiana to be near me.  He was more confident, more determined, and more motivated than he was before.  He ended up getting a job at Vine and Table, which is a gourmet deli and wine store.  He also made the decision to go back to school for a masters in IT.

You may be asking yourself, what does any of this have to do with you?  And you're right.  It doesn't much.  I wasn't the one who lost my job.  I wasn't the one who decided to go back to school.  But both of those things forced me to realize how terrified I was, and still am, of change.  I love tradition and really enjoy being able to do the same things over and over.  With Andrew's life changing so drastically, I had to accept that change and learn that change can lead to growth, even if I didn't want it to.  I was forced into change and growth and I couldn't be happier because, even though it's difficult, it shows me how strong I am, how strong Andrew is, and how strong we are as a couple.

Since then we've had some other major issues to deal with, but we've taken the approach that if we can get through that time than we can get through whatever else we're forced to deal with.

I'm not exactly sure what I want my word for 2012 to be.  When I wrote about this prompt last year, the word I picked for 2011 was intention.  As I put it then, "I would love to be more intentional with my time and energy, to deliberately think about what I want to do with my minutes because they quickly add up to hours, days, weeks, months, and years."  I think my word for 2012 would have to be something along those same lines, though I feel bad choosing the same word two years in a row.  

Maybe my word for this year will be challenge.  I think it's time that I start to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone, which I did a little bit this year by starting my Mary Kay business, but would like to continue by challenging myself physically, mentally, and creatively.  With my desire for tradition I tend to get set in my ways, so challenge seems like a good word to help me continue the growth I've had this year.