Saturday, December 28, 2013

14 for 2014

2014 is right around the bend. I'm starting my 2014 goals today, because as Jon Acuff would say "January 1st is for suckers."

To Do in 2014:
1) Ask for help and stop believing I am an inconvenience.
2) Eat more vegetables.
3) Be more outgoing and less afraid.
4) Pray more.
5) Go to the gym for at least 5 hours a week.
6) Delegate more tasks.
7) Rest more often.
8) Listen to God better.
9) Get to work by 8:00am.
10) Read fewer Buzzfeed articles.
11) Write everyday, even if it's just 100 words.
12) Convince a man to fall in love with me (it's okay for you to chuckle at that one).
13) Journal at least twice a week.
14) Write a letter to my great-grandpa at least once a month.

 Remember, some beats none.
Action always beats intention.

What are your goals for 2014?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Shutting yourself in during Christmas Break

You guys. Christmas break has been full of so much lazy. I am catching up on all my sleep from the past three months. After four days, I finally took a shower today. While washing my hair, I was thinking Is this what it feels like for contestants on Survivor once they leave the show? Because you wouldn't think scented shampoo could feel so nice.

I was going to go to work for a little bit today and then go to the gym after, but I was working on painting the ceramic nativity set I still haven't finished from 2012, and then time sort of got away from me. Once it became dark outside (at 4:30) I said, "Nope, not going!" My reasoning is that I am really saving gas, because for the past two days I have gone no where. I stepped out of my house once for like twenty seconds to take out the garbage.

Also, I finally discovered where I can watch the third season of Downton Abbey on-line for free, so I've been doing that. And I've also been doing things like organizing my living room and sticking my nose in my Christmas tree for a few minutes every evening just so I can feel the full nostalgia and magic of the season.

What have you been up to?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holidays are hard when you are single

The holidays are hard when you're single. You've been stuck at the kids table for 12 years too long. You're left dangling on the roof as you attempt to hang your own Christmas lights.You're mailing people Christmas cards of you and your rabbit wearing matching Santa hats.

This is how I cope:

1) Make up stories about your future boyfriend. You might say to yourself "I've been waiting a good long time, when is he gonna show up?" Your negative attitude immediately thinks your future  love is out spending cozy Christmas time with some other chick--that he's having a great time without you hauling another girl's Christmas tree to her house while you struggle to shove that five foot shrub in the back of your Toyota Corolla.

Change that story. He's not kissing some other girl under the mistletoe. He's working extra hours to save up for your dream house. Because when you come along, he wants to give you the best. He's wishing every girl were you, but they're not. He's spending Christmas with his parents and younger cousins. He's running a toy drive gathering Legos and stuffed animals for little kids in need. He's writing a Christmas card to his older brother serving in Afghanistan.

2) Don't watch any ABC Family Christmas movies, unless it's Holidays in Handcuffs. What you see on TV is fiction. People don't fall in love two days before Christmas. Nobody falls down at an ice-skating rink and gets helped up by a hunky stranger in a cable-knit sweater. A soldier is not going to follow the trails of your hand-crafted Christmas card, wander into your home town, and offer to help at your father's saw mill. 
This movie is a load of croc. Release by Hallmark, though, not ABC.

Haven't seen this one, but I can tell from the title it is full of lies.
3) Know that you are needed. This isn't even pretend. Someone else needs you this holiday season. We don't always get to choose who needs us. I mean, I wouldn't mind a six-foot-three, brown eyed, dimple faced man who NEEDED help wrapping presents for 150 underprivileged children at his non-profit, but sometimes we are most needed by the people we overlook. So go out and help somebody. It will make your heart happy.

4) Become the life of the party. Learn a few magic tricks. Dress up as an elf. Tell a good story. Don't let couples (or babies) run the show. I've been rehearsing an entire routine for this Christmas Eve at my aunt's house. I'm starting out with a few card tricks, will move into fire juggling, tell a made-up story of how I served on jury duty and had to decide the verdict for a drug cartel leader, and then I will probably end with a short dance number from the Nutcracker.

5) Drink a lot of wine or peppermint schnapps, unless you are a recovering alcoholic. I support sobriety. But if you want to drink a second/third glass, wear a fur hat, and try to get your ex-boyfriend's cousin to dance with you at a Christmas party, I won't stop you. Sometimes the sheer hilarity of our situations help us get through.

6) Give unsolicited advice to the people of Craigslist. Create an email account (something like Dr J or Ann Flanders) and then message away! Encourage those posting in "missed connections" to man up and talk to the Albany Taco Bell cashier, or to ask the girl with the heart tattoo on her ring finger if you can take her to lunch. Or visit the personal ads and offer spelling and grammatical corrections. Just find something to take your mind off not having anyone to cuddle up and watch Christmas movies with. Because, I mean, I have a rabbit, so I'm fine.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


He was a piece of fiction. Stories and ideas that never came true.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sending Hope in a GiveBackPack

I had an awesome opportunity to combine teaching and love letter writing last week. One unique organization, The World Needs More Love Letters, founded by my friend Hannah Brencher, partnered up with another organization, STATE bags for a mission to give U.S. kids living in impoverished communities some hope.
 I just so happened to be finishing up a unit on letter writing with my third, fourth, and fifth grade students. Then this perfect opportunity arose. I showed my students both the More Love Letters website and a video from the STATE bags website. After I told them that the letters they would be writing would end up in a GiveBackPack to be given to a kid having a rough time, they were all game.

The kids practiced their letter writing skills, and then I gave them some fun stationery to write their final copies on. One student--fittingly named Hope--turned out to be a natural. I almost teared up at all the encouraging words written by a nine year old. I told her she probably could have a career working with More Love Letters.

What I loved the most was that after all of our letters got put in their envelopes, we circled up as a class and prayed over the letters and the kids that would receive them. I would never get to do that part in public school. I was reminded how blessed I am to work in a Christian school where my faith does not have to fit within boundaries. What excited me more was the fact that ALL of the kids wanted to say a prayer. Not one, not two, but ALL.

It was really cool to see God evident in their lives and to see the kids doing something that mattered for God. I have no doubt that the children who receive the letters written by my students will be blessed and that God will answer the prayers that were said for them.

I think this project was one of the best things I've ever done as a teacher.

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