Wednesday, September 30, 2009
But by letting it out at night, I compromise my ability to work during the day.
I have tried to be a responsible adult and get to bed a decent hour regularly. Andrew and I have, for the most part, established a routine that guarantees a good night's sleep.
And being well rested, I can get up and go about my day successfully. I am more alert and energetic at work, which is a job I love. I enjoy life more when I sleep well.
But there is a restlessness within me because I am not writing. I have often blogged about my love for writing (cause where else is it more appropriate to share such love?). As I go throughout my day, I often wonder why I haven't sat down and produced anything. Thoughts flow in and out of my head all day, but nothing gets written down.
Then at night, I lay in bed, and the words start flowing together in wonderful prose. I read the words to myself in my head and I enjoy the stories I tell. I am persuaded by my own essays and I am touched by own soliloquies. But yet, there is no pen to paper.
Every now and then, I've created a document that so desperately needs to be written down that the words even start editing themselves to better prepare it for paper.
But by this point in the night, I should be in dream land.
If I were to actually write it down, that would require, at the very least, sitting up in bed to write it in the journal I keep nearby. And at minimum, it would engage my mind so much that sleeping any time soon would certainly be compromised. If I take to typing, I can absolutely forget about sleeping that night, as words pour out despite hurting and tired shoulders.
And it gets me thinking, is it worth it? Is it worth the exhaustion to get the words out of my head? Even if the farthest place they go is simply on the journal next to me.
Should I sacrifice my rest for my creativity? Or rather, should I sacrifice my creativity for my rest?
It makes me think of John Nash and his brilliance. The scene of his life that is most heart-breaking is him sitting on a rocking chair with a comatose expression, unable to access the genius inside of him. But it's for his good, right?
Not that I think I'm anywhere close to being a brilliant writer, but is sleep my anti-psychosis drug? Is it suppressing my genius? If it is, is it worth it??
If I am going to be restless even with a full night's sleep, am I doing something wrong? How can it be made right? Writing blogs certainly isn't going to pay the bills, and it isn't going to help fulfill my desire to teach students...
Thursday, September 24, 2009
the rush of cool air
the comfort of an old hooded sweatshirt
the sound of the band playing at a football game
drinking hot apple cider
shopping for halloween costumes
pulling out the scarves and sweaters
taking pictures before the homecoming dance
the color of the sky in the early evening
the start of new shows and returning favorites
the fun of celebrating birthdays
the race to the World Series
taking walks in the cool of the evening
watching the trees slowly change to red and orange
kicking off new programs at church
re-establishing the routine of school
what's your favorite part?
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
You see, when we rescued her, she was so undernourished that we thought she was only 6 weeks old when she was actually 3 months old. And I didn't know anything about feeding a cat so I accidentally underfed her for the first few days. In my guilt and pity, I decided to always make sure she had more than enough food. We "free fed" her by overloading her bowl with food and leaving it out for her. When we saw it was getting low, we'd load it up again and let her have at it.
Flash forward a year. I notice how much she has grown and that she is an actual CAT now. So we switch from kitty food to adult cat food. But because of all the vacations and traveling (which I know I still haven't blogged about... sorry), it was just easier to have somebody stop by every few days and load up her bowl, so we kept up the free feeding habit. But I noticed she kept growing and I could no longer easily feel her ribs...
When our traveling was done, just before school started, we took her to the vet. He weighed her and then, as polite as possible, suggested a feeding plan. I wasn't surprised, but I did feel the conviction of being a bad mommy. We have since put her on the regulated food plan, which is still more than enough to eat, but just in small portions so she can't just eat when she's bored (which proves eating habits are LEARNED and not just genetic!).
She has been on the plan for a month and in that month, the conflicted feelings have overcome me. Am I a bad mother? Should I lessen her food more? Have I allowed her to become lazy?
Those are the predominant feelings.
But then, I thought "Isn't she beautiful no matter her weight?" "Should I really be concerned as long as she is happy" and all the other thoughts on self-image and confidence that we are forced to consider in our culture.
And I realized that self-image concerns can only go so far. For instance, they really shouldn't apply to a cat. I could be wrong, but I doubt she really cares that I call her fat cat. But also, I realized that they shouldn't get in the way of the overall health. Yes, I should love her no matter what and I will always think she's beautiful. But the fact is, she would feel a lot better if she lost some weight. She can't even enjoy playing anymore. She stops after just a few minutes and just lays down.
I wonder if we realize our concerns about self-image go too far.
I believe it's essential that everybody learns to love their inner-self. I believe that we should be looking at the qualities that make a person unique - their personality, sense of humor, intelligence, problem-solving skills, etc. I believe that people that are within a healthy weight range should absolutely believe they are healthy and beautiful. I believe growing boys and girls should be encouraged to keep growing. I believe anorexic models should not be promoted as ideal but instead fed a hamburger. I believe we should never call somebody ugly or insult them.
But I also believe that when we tell somebody they are perfect just the way they are when they are overweight (or underweight), we are denying them a better life. They are not their healthiest.
I am not my healthiest. I am denying myself a better life. I can't play too long without getting tired. I sit out way too much. I just need a doctor at a check up to politely suggest a diet plan. To simply suggest "these are good foods and good portions." I need to make more of an effort to push myself to play just a few minutes longer. Because I'm really not perfect just the way I am, physically speaking. If I lost some fat, gained some muscle, worked on endurance and ate the right kinds of food, I could actually experience health in a way my self-image could never give me.
And I bet I'd feel a lot better about the way I looked in the mirror if I wasn't sweating and panting from walking up the 2 flights of stairs to get to it.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
but until my brain (and pictures) are all sorted out, I thought I'd leave you with some random snippets of thoughts. I'd love your feedback.
*Sleeping 8 hrs and being awake 16 somehow doesn't work when those 8 hrs are not 11pm-7am (+/- an hour)
*I can watch episodes from my favorite childhood sitcoms anytime and enjoy them as much as current favorite sitcoms.
*I've mostly adjusted to living 700 miles away from friends/family, but when a friend is hurting the distance breaks my heart.
*It's REALLY hard not to judge the students that I work with even though I know that's the last thing I should do.
*When I'm swimming, I think to myself "This is so great. Why don't I do this every day?" and then the next day I look at the pool and think "eh, it's just alright." and then don't go. I actually do this with A LOT of things, but swimming came to mind tonight (cause I just went).
*I am starting to get a sense that there are some big changes in store. Mostly cause I'm starting to get really comfortable with too many things in my life (apartment, career, marriage, friends, church, etc.)
*When I witness something that is done really well, I get an envious sense of motivation to want to do that just as well (writing, singing, dancing, photography, teaching, etc), even though it might be unrealistic.
*I get bothered when people use their maiden names on Facebook as middle names. There is an option to use your Maiden name in the search so old friends can find you, so it's not necessary in the username.
*I set out a to-do list for my summer and I am quite proud of the progress I am making on it.
*I feel like I'm fishing for comments when I mention my "readership" on blogs, but seriously, there's maybe like 5 people that read this, and sometimes that's really discouraging. I don't mean to fish, I just honestly want to reflect on the fact that it's just hard as a writer to always wonder if I even have an audience. And if I don't, is what I'm saying worth saying? It's the whole "does the tree still make a noise when it falls down in an empty forest" question...
Ok those are my random thoughts. It would be great for some feedback on those (ok so that's fishing, lol). Because the worst part about not having an audience is not having people in the world who think like you or add on to your thoughts... so chime in please! Add your own random thoughts.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
This week is Beach Camp - our annual youth camp in Galveston, TX. I have sophomores.
Next week, I leave for vacation with my family - Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Phoenix (and everywhere in between).
Then, we'll fly straight from Phoenix to St. Louis, where we'll spend the week with our nieces (one of whom I haven't met yet!) and then take the train to KC to see Roommates.
We'll fly home from KC on July 6th. Over a period of 21 days, I'll sleep in 11 different beds.
*I get really exhausted when I overextend myself and time spent with friends and family isn't exactly "quality time" when I'm that way, so pray that I make the most of it.
*Pray I don't get sunburned or any other injury that would marr the trips.
*Pray that I get along with everybody.
*Pray the traveling goes smoothly. I'll be on 3 different planes, a train, a rental van, taxis, shuttles, friends' cars, families' cars, etc.
*Pray for all the ministry that will be done directly (camp) and indirectly (vacation)
*Pray that Andrew and I will get along (see 1st bullet)
*Pray for my sister's wedding (in Vegas - no joke)
*Pray that my camera battery will not give out at extremely important moments
*Pray that my nieces will shower me with love and not ignore me (like the older one did last time!)
*Pray that kitty is okay for 3 weeks without us and that we're ok 3 weeks without her.
*Pray that I thoroughly enjoy myself and recognize God's blessing in my life this summer.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Most storylines follow a simple pattern - make a mess and then clean it up. However, Austen makes a highly detailed mess that is both complex and a bit mundane upon first read. For instance, in "Persuasion", Austen spends many chapters discussing a character that seems to have no other purpose than to provide a friendship to Anne. Her backstory is detailed and seemingly unnecessary in the context of the situation.
Many times when reading an Austen book, I drudge through the beginning and middle wondering what I am reading and why it is interesting. Her social commentary is spot on, of course, but as far as a storyline goes, it seems to sort of drag on and go on all sorts of rabbit trails. I get the idea that it's a love story, but I don't see it anywhere for a long time. It's more a story of life than of love.
Then suddenly, through the course of the last few chapters (never just one), there is a big reveal. Suddenly even the mundane details of the first part of the book make so much more sense. All the characters, situations, moments of dialogue piece together a wonderfully complex love story. A story that would have no depth without the details.
A story that reminds me that love isn't a simple plot - boy meets girl, boy likes girl, conflict of some sort, boy marries girl. That simple plot is what I unfortunately was used to in love stories, so I must be forgiven for getting impatient with Austen. However, true love stories really are that drawn out. A love story that only involved 5 characters is not a true love story. The really good ones may involve hundreds of people - which is evident in discussions overheard at weddings. "I was there when they met" "I helped him plan the proposal" "I helped her get over her first heartache before she met him" etc.
Then I realized, that's exactly the reason I love the CBS TV show, "How I Met Your Mother." It has currently finished 4 seasons and hopefully has several more. The overall theme, as guessed from the title, is an older man in 2030 telling his kids how he met their mother. This is the narration over the modern day scenes of NYC as the main character, Ted, goes through all the necessary moments to get where he needs to be to meet the titular mother.
The beautifully realistic part is that this deeply complex love story between him and the mother of his children cannot simply be started when they met. It has to go way back to when he met a woman named Robin, through the ups and downs of his best friends' relationship, the new jobs of him and his friends, and even further back to college days. Some episodes don't appear to have anything to do with Ted at all, but somehow, each of these highly detailed episodes is piecing together a story.
And along the way, the pieces start fitting together. The audience realizes that every moment - the mundane, the scary, the painful, the happy - all are necessary to build the best love story ever told (at least to these kids).
A love story any simpler or less populated with characters would be a shame.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
but I just can't find the energy or time to sit down and just write.
However, school is out (today was last day!), and I have a feeling things will change just a bit.
My summer will be crazy busy, but there will be some weeks where I have nothing to do but sit and write. Wouldn't that be nice?
I even put it on my to-do list to write more.
So faithful audience, just be patient and stick with me. Hopefully, I will not leave you disappointed.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
well... not entirely. I'm hoping to compile a list of all the fun things I did the past two weeks and it's going to looooong (adding in the productive things I DID get done)....
but in general, I wasted way too much time. Whether it was sleeping in, goofing off online, watching tv, etc... I could have gotten WAY more done.
In any given week, my productively level is off the charts. But actually give me time to get stuff done annnddd nothing. Even if you look at my list of what I've done, you'll see some of it was complete fluff (watching 10 movies, for instance, and TONS of soaps - but good ones, like BH 90210 and the o.c.).
And I hate myself at 2am. I actually hate the person I become and the lifestyle I choose at 2am. This is something I've dealt with all my life - I'm a night person. But during a 9-5 week, I can balance the night person with the day job... when you take out the day job, I just become one of them, the night people... and the only thing that matters is the loneliness and despair of night where the only thing I can do is dwell on my thoughts and clean out my DVR. it's a pathetic existence, but the pattern begins and sucks me in before I can just say no.
I must return to work on Thursday, and honestly I'm a bit upset by the awful timing. But I will be grateful for routine again. Last summer, the only thing that kept me sane was a part-time job... this summer, I have no such luck (purposefully)...
and if this week is a sneak peak into the meek and bleak existence of this summer, I may need to tweak my routines just a bit (did you like the rhyming, lol)... because I can't let myself turn into a night person. she's a monster that keeps me from living life abundantly.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Basically, for many many reasons, I am considering not taking any more grad classes after this semester is over. I'm not trying to be vague. I'm just trying to hold back while simultaneously venting (very hard to do).
I have about 4 classes left to take before I have the degree, and that is a major reason to continue. I truly believe in my ability to get it done.
However, that isn't the question I am struggling with. The question is: "at what cost?"
because grad school is taking a lot of attention away from areas in my life that are way more important to me. Family, Church, School, Personal life, TV, etc. (only half-kidding about the last one, even less so now that I have DVR).
So even though I know I can do it, I just don't know that it's worth doing. The degree it will give me really won't open any doors for me that I particularly care to open. I just want to be in a classroom and the opportunities available to me post-degree are mostly outside of the classroom. Meanwhile, it's actually taking me away from my own classroom by forcing me to concentrate so much time on it.
The answer seems pretty obvious to me when written out like this, but it has taken me quite some time to reason it out in my brain. Meanwhile, my pride is still telling me I can do it all and to go for it. I don't know how to deal with quitting.
Furthermore, I had been planning on continuing at least for another year. And I had put certain decisions off until that time approached. If I quit, those decisions no longer need to be delayed, and that itself is putting a lot of undue stress on the situation.
Could you just tell me what to do? What decisions I need to make? Or at least ship me a crystal ball? Thanks...
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Right now, I'm off-balance.
I'm currently in the process of determining those priorities. Or at least reminding myself of what they already were.
My priorities have to be what God's priorities are for me... what He has called me to do with my life.
And I must get rid of the things that rob me of that.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
My theme for the month.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Never so badly have I wanted to throw in the towel as much I do right now. Because every time I think it gets better, it gets worse. And I rationalize my way out of the feeling, but it persists and comes back the next time.
I admit this to you partially because I want encourage meant to keep fighting, but mostly so that you'll tell me it's okay to quit. It's okay to say it's not worth it.
A couple years ago, our church took a step of faith and started a satellite campus about 20 miles west of our current location. They did this in anticipation of the impending housing boom that was foretold. However, after starting the project, the housing market took a downhill slide and the economic situation made a quick recovery seem bleak, at best. So the church decided to shut the doors on its satellite location until things picked back up. The pastor gave his "Address to the Congregation" after the decision was made and in it, he proclaimed, "We are not quitting. We are not giving up on this area. We were following God's plan when we stepped out in faith, and we are following it now by temporarily closing shop." and explained the simple misuse of resources to have a church where nobody lived yet, and wouldn't live for quite some time. The plan is still there, but in the meantime they are going to use the church resources elsewhere and "build the center" until the time is right to continue that pursuit.
Perhaps that it what is happening to me. The future in this current situation seems bleak at best and I'm wasting very very valuable resources. It's not like I'm throwing everything I worked for away. I'm just putting a peg in it until the timing is right again. Is that the same as quitting?
And, well, quite frankly, who cares if it is?
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sit back and enjoy Story Time.
On the way to Orlando last month, Andrew spots this middle-aged man at the New Orleans terminal (our layover) and instantly judges him in his mind. The flight attendant says the plane is only 2/3 full so we were hoping that meant we would have a row to ourselves, but as the end of the line enters the plane, Andrew spots this man again. This time he looks at me and whispers "I hope he doesnt sit next to us" - just his luck for saying something.
I admitted he looked a bit much - the hat, the scarf, the hair... but before we knew it he was in our row. He was desperate to talk to anybody - the flight attendant, the guy in the row behind him, whoever. He saw us both reading textbooks and asked if we were in school - we answered honestly but went back to reading. So he went back to trying to find others to talk to. A half hour or so goes by and he starts asking us more questions.
He's very intrigued by the fact he's "sitting next to a minister" and has to ask us some questions. He starts in about how the church wouldn't like him and people have condemned him to hell and how that's not right cause he's a nice guy and people are so judgmental. He asks us what we believe about this and that, if we support people like Falwell, etc. He actually talks more than he lets us explain. He asked questions then would talk before giving us a chance to answer.
But we did get to answer quite a few as we talked for like an hour or so. We shared our views about what we hold to be absolute truth but also what we think others have gotten wrong. We share point-blank that we do think he's going to hell (he asked), but not because he's gay and not cause he's Jewish, but because he hasn't accepted Jesus as the one true way (he believes there are many ways). He appreciated our honesty. He really appreciated that we thought certain things were wrong, like the religious right. That love was the true message of God and anybody preaching any different isn't preaching our God. etc.
As the plane descends, we start closing up the convo. He jokingly asked, "I guess now you're going to give me a Bible or something."
So I simply say "only if you want one."
"Really? You have one right here?"
I grab the one in my bag. Andrew bought it for me for my birthday cause he knew I needed a new one. I hadn't written anything in it except "to: Teresa from: Andrew." I thought Andrew had packed it but he didn't, so i grabbed it real quick and threw it in my carry-on. I took my bulletins out and handed it to him. He was shocked and very grateful. He immediately went on to tell us how moved that we would just give him a Bible and that nobody had done that for him. He asks us to sign it, so where it said "to: Teresa" i scratched it out and put "to: Eddie" and added my name to the "from:" Then andrew wrote his email under that and told him to contact us if he ever wants to talk again. Andrew even told him where to start (gospels).
As soon as the seatbelt sign was off, he got up, leaned across Andrew and gave me a big hug. He was so moved. He also gave andrew a hug, which makes me laugh. And I just kept thinking about that scale of -10 and +10 and I doubt that man moved from negative to positive (accepting Christ) but im pretty positive that encounter moved him a few notches towards it.
It was a very interesting start the vacation, to say the least.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
but then i am around my peers and i feel like a dinosaur. im so behind. and when i do get around to trying something new, i sound just like my mother, "why do i need to fill this out? what does this do? this just seems like a waste of time"
but when im at training and hear people say that, i just want to scream, "you have to play with it. explore it. try it and see what it does." i get mad at them for just giving up. their cynicism appalls me because i know how the new piece of technology will just change their world if they'll give it a chance. that at first it seems overwhelming or a waste of time, but after a while of just practicing with it, they'll love it too.
so i need to have the same attitude toward some of the new things that come my way.... but i guess i want to hear testimonials from others who think its useful, why its useful and how it can be used...
the two on my list of trials are:
-twitter. who else is on this? how do YOU use it? is it useful if i dont use my phone? im TenaciousTeresa, find me.
-delicious. does anybody else use this? a coworker (fellow native) showed me this, and it seems like it will rock my world. but i also think itll be a lot cooler if others are on it. please tell me yall use this. im TYakel, find me.
so yeah, im looking for feedback on these. also, feel free to add sites that you frequent that might enhance me technologically.
thanks for keeping me "with it" ;)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Wednesday - Monday.
But I'm not thrilled. Cause I'm focused on the 1000 things I have to do before I can go on a trip like that...
I didn't even have time to shave...
I'll report back to you next week on how much of a emotional shift I had on the airplane (here's hoping)...
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
1. I used to think "night people" were a special species of people, like werewolves. And I'd be afraid when I'd stay up late that one of them would get me. The irony is that I am one.
2. My earlobes are "attached" which means they are shorter than normal earlobes. Earrings look funny on me.
3. Bad grammar (you're/your, etc) really really really bothers me. I instantly assume a person is drastically less intelligent when they use it.
4. I am a huge sucker for teeny shows, like Hannah Montana and High School Musical.
5. My "bucket list" includes seeing a game in every single Major League Baseball stadium.
6. I played the Alto Saxophone in middle school and was a soloist in Jazz Band. I loved playing and am sometimes tempted to pick it up and try again.
7. My "go-to" menu item is chicken strips - but the dipping sauce always varies depending on the venue. McDs - Sweet and Sour; Steak and Shake - Honey Mustard; Whataburger - Gravy; Wendy's - Ketchup; Dairy Queen - Ranch; Chic-fil-A - honey; frozen nuggets - Barbeque...
8. I have a sister who is 9 years and 10 days older than me.
9. I take pride in my DVDs and Board Games collections, but rarely use either of them.
10. My first kiss took place on the stage of an old junior high building.
11. I played softball, basketball and soccer growing up. I was known for my "sliding" move in all three...
12. Job Titles I've had: umpire, hostess/service assistant/server, activities assistant, computer lab asst, youth ministry intern, paraprofessional, substitute teacher, secretary, teacher, assistant to the youth minister.
13. I got my first speeding ticket 3 weeks after getting my driver's license.
14. I sing in the shower, everyday.
15. I prefer getting new pajama pants to new jeans cause I wear the PJs more often.
16. I love trying new things even though it terrifies me greatly.
17. I get claustrophobic when I drive. I will choose the left lane whenever possible so there's nothing next to me. I hold my breath if the median is within a foot of my car. After long trips, my shoulders hurt from being so tense for so long.
18. I graduated college a semester early. The only time that means anything is on a random list about me.
19. I grew up in the same town as a Six Flags and went every day. I was one of the first people to ride the Batman when it first opened.
20. I was at Busch Stadium when Mark McGwire hit his record-breaking 62nd homerun on September 8, 1998.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
In chronological order (or close enough):
*Finished my 1st semester as a teacher
*Went to St. Louis for a record low of 24 hours
*Earned a free flight from Southwest
*Took an ESL exam and passed
*Got accidentally fired
*Had a superintendent apologize to me for her mistake
*Was a teacher sponsor for a math competition
*Had 2 weeks of Spring Break
*Voted in the Texas Primary
*Experienced the joy of IKEA
*Threw Andrew a surprise party
*Bought my first laptop
*Finished my internship/won awards as an intern
*Voted for the American Idol winner
*Moved to a 2br/2ba apartment with a pool!
*Watched my seniors graduate
*Finished my 1st year as a teacher!
*Got my first pet!
*My first summer on salary
*Got a team of teenagers and adults ready to go on an international mission trip
*Spent 11 days straight without my husband
*Experienced the joy of American Idol Karaoke
*Uploaded my first video onto youtube
*Went to the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, TX
*Went to Austin and saw UT and the capital building
*Had a surprise birthday party
*Experienced public transportation in Ft. Worth and Dallas
*Voted for the first time in a presidential election
*Successfully sponsored a school-wide mock election
*Went to a toga party
*Got cable/dvr for the first time ever
Those are the things I can think of now. I may add later. But it is always refreshing to look back at the new things I tried/experienced and realize that each year really is NEW. It's a chance to try something different and explore the world around me. I get to grow and learn and overcome.
I hope each year, you get to experience the same thing.