Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Figuring things out

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go."
Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message
Since at times during this school year I've been a bit down (and really who doesn't have those times occasionally!?!), I have made a flip book of inspirational sayings and scripture passages that is propped up on my desk. Each morning I turn it and read a fresh page. This is the quote that met me this morning, and it amazed me at how applicable it is concerning my thoughts today.
Sometimes I find it hard to trust anyone other than myself. This is not because I don't value other people and their influence in my life, but sometimes it is just important for things to be done "my way". Trusting my friends, my coworkers, is something that I daily remind myself is important. As a boss, I remind myself to choose my battles and examine what is truly important to me before confronting someone who hasn't done the work exactly as I have asked...
I am also constantly evaluating where I am and what I'm doing with my life. This is not because I'm unhappy in Marion, but because I feel that I need to be open to change and the direction God wants me to go in. Trusting God that I am where I am supposed to be, and in the relationships I should be are things that contribute to my decisions. I've never "heard" God's voice as some people claim, but I do know that I've had doors opened for me, and it is in those instances that I think that God is leading.
Even though I know that God should be in control of my decisions, it is incredibly difficult for me to give up control. My "wants" are too often confused with my "needs", and depending on the circumstances my patience sometimes wears thin.
Lord, help me to trust in you, and be open to the directions you are guiding me. Help me to discern the things that should be of importance, and those that I should just let go. Give me the wisdom and words so that my interactions with others can be meaningful. Let me be quiet and still, so that I notice the changes you are trying to make in my life.

Monday, March 26, 2007

More You Tube

For those of you who are fans of the show "The Office" you'll enjoy this video. The video is a cartoon parody of the White House as the Office. Tony Blair is Dwight, Condi is Pam, Bush is the great Michael Scott, and Cheney is Jim. Funny stuff! :)


Friday, March 23, 2007

The End is Near

My days of bliss are drawing to an end...yes, in the next few days my spring break will end. My break has been jam-packed with activities, but I've enjoyed every minute of it. I still have Sat. and Sun. before I head back, but on Monday I start my "normal" activities again.

Wed. I had my dreaded neurologist appointment. It went okay, I suppose, but I was pretty grouchy with the dr. after he made me wait for over an hour in an examination room before he decided to show up (this after making me move my appt. to an earlier time so that it would be more convenient to him!). He's given me two prescriptions: Indomethacin (for chronic pain, should give me a 10 day break from headaches) and Nortriptyline (for headache prevention). I'm not wild about being back on drugs, but I suppose I should give this dr. a fair shot and at least try to do what he is recommending. Between my gritchiness over him being late and inconsiderate, he also heard about how much I distrust doctors who just want to put me on medication, which in turn causes more problems. I'm hoping he heard everything I was saying...

Afterwards, I headed back for Marion and went to Paige and Taylor's "friend" party in the park. Their birthday is on Monday, so I'll end up giving them their gifts then. I only stayed for part of the party, since it was really for little girls! :) I headed out to Julie and Quinn's, and we worked on our garden a bit more. Really, a whole lot more! Quinn has a friend who was getting rid of several railroad ties, so we went and moved the ones we wanted onto a trailer, and moved the others into a neat pile so that they were easier to use later. We took them back to Julie and Quinn's and then moved them to form a 9x18 garden annex for our lettuce, spinach, herbs, garlic and winter onions.

Thursday I spent most of the day at home. It was nice to be able to nap a little in the morning, plus catch up with Heidi and Tim by phone and also chat with Ruth Kreider. Ruth and I had a great conversation about the definition of "home" and what it means to each of us. She has been asked to write an article for a German women's group on what it means to be a person in a strange land. Lots of things to think about for me...possibly will become the foundation of a future blog post... In the afternoon I went out to Julie and Quinn's and finished getting things in the gardens: broccoli, cauliflower, gladiolas, etc... We still have lots of stuff to plant, but we need to wait a couple more weeks so that nothing is killed by frost.

Today I ran to Hillsboro with Julie to pick up some needed supplies for our project of the day. Our project for today was to begin the process of turning the chicken house into our garden shed. Another one of Quinn's friends, Dick, has donated one of his old buildings to our cause, and so we went to his land to begin jacking up the building to ready it to move to Julie and Quinn's. Moving a building is something I never anticipated learning how to do! After getting a portion of it off the concrete that anchors it, we headed back to Julie and Quinn's. The actually moving of the new building will most likely happen tomorrow as we have to wait for Dick to clean all of his junk out of it. Once we were back we took down the chicken pen, and then levered the current chicken building up on cylindrical tubes so that we could roll it to a different location. We then built a new, temporary, fence around the building to keep the chickens safe at night. A lot of work for something that will be coming down again tomorrow.

Here are some of the pictures of the baby chicks. They are already starting to get their new feathers, and are losing their "cute", "baby" fuzz look. It will be several months before they can start laying, and then they will only be pullet eggs. In the meantime, the chickens that they are destined to replace have decided to start laying again. It's almost as if they know, and now need to prove their worth. I've really been benefiting from this, Julie and Quinn have sent me home with 3 dozen eggs (2 of which I shared with Mom and Dad); and there are several dozen more that they tried to send me home with today. I'll have to start cooking and baking more, I guess. Something I hate to do! ;)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Spring Fever

I'm off! Not off on some exciting trip, but off--completely off from school, and nearly all of my obligations. What a relief! I've needed this break, and I intend to enjoy every minute of it!

Sat. Julie and I headed for Newton on a shopping run. After buying the normal needed supplies--cat food/dog food/groceries--we made a stop off and bought 30 baby chicks. We bought pullets, so hopefully they will all be female as promised. They were so sweet, chirping all the way home to Marion. Sometime this week we will be moving the old chicken house to the corner of Julie and Quinn's garden, converting it to our garden shed, and then moving in a larger building for the growing chicken population. It will be several months before they lay, so we have a bit of time to get it all done. Julie and Quinn sent me home with 3 dozen good, brown, farm fresh (and free-range!) eggs to share with my parents and then also stock my own refrigerator. I'll be set for awhile. Quinn had stayed at home all day and finished up rota tilling the garden plot, with Adam helping by dragging it to smooth it all out.

Sunday I went to church and heard a good sermon on love-eros, philia, and agape. Lots for me to think about. After church I headed for Hesston and spent the day with my parents. I helped dad fertilize the lawn, while mom finished up the preparations for the good raclette meal. Afterwards we were all stuffed and took the afternoon to commune with our mattresses. The highpoint of Sunday afternoons for me is always the nap I allow myself! After naps we all went out to the garden and planted onions and gladiolas. Mom and Dad also took some time to show me the photos from their recent trip to Switzerland and Germany. They had a fantastic time!

This morning I allowed myself to sleep in-although I really didn't sleep that late. Instead, I spent time just laying in bed listening to the sounds wafting in my open window. I've been suffering from a nasty sinus infection, and I was overjoyed to find myself mostly healed this morning! I'm still a little stuffed up, but it is nothing compared to the pain I was feeling just a few days ago. Today I spent time just picking up some stuff around the house, although tomorrow I need to tackle some deep cleaning. At about 1:00 I headed out to Julie and Quinn's house. Julie and I started on the garden, cutting potatoes that we planted, planting more onions, and a row of radishes. We'll have to wait for several more weeks before we can plant the rest of the garden: tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, banana peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, herbs, garlic, zucchini squash, cucumbers, and a bunch of other stuff I've forgotten. I'm pretty sure we're going to have to end up selling stuff on the road by the end of it all, we've got a lot of it! This evening I led yoga class, Carolan is gone on vacation. It went pretty well, although my timing was off, and I didn't have enough to fill the time. We ended up just doing some poses on our own, and attempting some that we don't normally do. It was ok too, since it was just a smaller group. Afterwards, I headed to Ed Wheeler's house to discuss some church activity ideas I had. He is especially interested in the "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" idea that we do at Whitestone occasionally. We'll see how it all works out.

Tonight I've spent the evening outside next to my chiminea. The evening is a bit cool, but if I huddle close to the chiminea I can keep pretty warm. Between my Pandora station, the crackle of the fire, the smoke wafting on the air, the taste of a good beer on my lips--I can't think of anything better for my spring break. I'm not sure that this isn't what my heaven will consist of when I finally make it there! The only thing better would be a private stage at Winfield with my favorite artists playing nonstop!

Tomorrow I hope to get a little more done on my house, and just spend my time going at a slower pace than what I normally do. I hope that all of you make some time to do the same in the near future!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Childhood Memories

Well, one of the downsides of living in the same small town you lived in when you were a child, is that you see the familiar landmarks of your childhood memories as they change and disappear. One of those major landmarks (at least for me) is being torn down this week. The Marion public swimming pool is slowly, but surely, being torn apart and taken out of the space that it has occupied for decades. Sometime next school year there will be a new indoor pool and gym complex occupying the same spot. While I'm excited about the new pool and gym facilities, it is also hard for me to see the old pool as it is demolished. Our family spent so many summer evenings together at Family Swim time; it was the place I first learned how to swim, where my first official swimming lessons took place, and where I took my fateful dive off the 10 foot board. As painful as that dive ended up being, it is almost as painful watching the pool being taken apart chunk by chunk and disappearing. Silly, I know!

Monday, March 12, 2007

S-t-r-e-t-c-h like a Cat

Imagine a cat curled up in a ball, sleeping in the sun that streams through the open window. Now watch that cat awaken, yawn, and stretch out with long, long legs and torso.

Yesterday, I allowed myself to be lazy. I slept off and on throughout the day, rarely getting up and out of bed. My cat, Manje, spent most of the day with me, and I had several opportunities to watch Manje stretch herself out. Cats know the wisdom of stretching, and watching her teaches me one of God's simple lessons. I must always be looking for ways to stretch myself---to stretch my mind with a stimulating conversation, a challenging problem, or a new idea; stretching my spirit with prayer, meditation, and reading; stretching my body with nutritious food, good exercise and yoga...

We must always change,
renew, rejuvenate ourselves;
otherwise we harden.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, March 05, 2007

Strength Enough

God gives us always strength enough,
and sense enough,
for everything he wants us to do.
-John Ruskin
I've been praying for strength recently. We're going into the last few months of school, and all the turmoil that goes with them. I'm going to need whatever strength God can give me! Today we started the state testing for math, and it was a mad rush throughout the day, and the feeling of constantly putting out fires. It's a feeling I usually try to avoid, as I like to be prepared before things actually start happening, but it's not always possible to be as prepared as I would like. Since testing involves working with a number of other teachers and paras and their schedules, I cannot always require them to work on my (preplanned) schedule, nor can I plan ahead for sickness and people being home. Needless to say, I'm tired, and I was ready to unwind with yoga class tonight.
I'm counting on God to provide strength for me in these last few months of school, as we go through what seems to be endless testing for No Child Left Behind (and No Teacher Left Standing!), and then the district testing on top of that, plus all of the "fun" field trips and learning experiences that make up the end of the year. I'm going to need a lot of strength (and patience), because I'm already feeling pretty frustrated with the fact that we've practically stopped teaching at this point. Between district and state testing, and the aforementioned "fun" activities, we might as well pack up our classrooms and put away the text books. Pretty sad, huh?