Friday, June 24, 2016

Catching Up On Rest

I just visited the Five Minute Friday blog and learned that the word for this week is REST..... Rather appropriate considering what I planned to post about this week. (Although I am PRETTY sure that it will be longer than a Five Minute blog entry.)

Last Sunday was not only Father's Day; it was also my sweet hubby and my 23rd anniversary. Knowing that it was a doubly special day I knew that I needed to plan something extra special. Glenn had been talking for at least a year or more about his desire to visit the Museum of Appalachia located in Clinton, Tennessee. He has always enjoyed seeing the way things used to be here in the Appalachian mountains and is even working to help set up a Pioneer Village right here where we live.

The tough part was going to be getting Glenn to actually take the day off and just rest. He is a VERY hard worker and often over-stretches himself. He loves to help community and church groups, as well as the local schools with any project that he feels in beneficial. All of this piles stress on top of the stress that he already feels and takes up much of what should be free time.

I decided the best way to get him to just give up a day was to conspire with our two children. Our son NEVER wants to go anywhere with us. He has reached that age of early adulthood where he has begun to find his own interests and therefore his own recreational things. On Friday night we told Glenn that we had decided to go the frugal route for Father's Day this year. We cooked him a meal, including cake and presented him with a single card and his "gift": an air popper for popcorn, some corn, and seasonings. (He loves popcorn, but usually burns it in the microwave.) I followed that up with a simple request. "Keenan wants us to go somewhere with him tomorrow. You know that he NEVER asks us to go anywhere with him, so I really think we should go." Needless, to say, Glenn agreed.

That night he tried several times to get one of us to let out the secret location, but all he got in answer to his question, "Where are we going?" was a single word, "Distance".

The next day we set out bright and early with Glenn posting this on Facebook: " My family is whisking me off to some unknown destination...Should I be happy or worried??? Hey, I still love them!!! "

We had prepared 4 cards, each with a clue inside. Glenn was given one every 30 minutes. When he got the first one he started posting the clues on Facebook as well and friends back home started trying to guess the secret destination.

Kari, my daughter, had prepared the clues and had really gotten creative:

You are in for a mountain of fun!

You won't be the only 10 I see on our anniversary!

This town is a great CANDIDATE for a road trip!

You won't be sawing any logs today, but you will be seeing them!

By the time we got just outside of Clinton, Glenn finally figured it out. He was having just as much fun with the clues as we thought he would have with the trip.

The day was a great one for us all and a much needed rest. Viewing log cabins is not really up Keenan's alley, but I truly think that he got into the whole experience too.

By the end of the day, we had all decided that we definitely need to do something like this again. Rest is one of those things that we can all use more of and it is even better when we get that rest together as a family!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Five Minute Friday- Want

Time again for another Five Minute Friday.  For more information about the Five Minute Friday be sure to click on the link to the right.

This week's word prompt is- WANT.

Right now in my life I want one thing- rest. I have just finished teaching my third week of Summer Boost Camp at the local elementary school. This involves a full day of activities 8:30 to 2:30 daily, with kids ranging from rising 1st grade to rising 5th grade. It is constant teaching, one group in- then out to allow another one to enter the room. Three more weeks of this remain ahead of me.

To top it off, this week has also been our church's vacation bible school. I am the resident craft teacher. Every night I have had groups of 12 to 14 little kids, many of whom could not follow my simplified instructions or who managed to drop their finished creation, sending beads or gravel tumbling out all over the floor- thus requiring us to take more time to recreate the original piece. Don't get me wrong. I really enjoy working at VBS and I love doing God's work, but it can get very stressful and definitely very tiring!

I come home from school, rest for a few minutes, then jump back into the car and head to church for the nightly program. All of this constant activity has really worn me out! 

I WANT to sleep in late tomorrow. 

I WANT to enjoy a leisurely breakfast when I do decide to leave my bed- preferably some wonderful pancakes or waffles. 

I WANT a day to just stay in my jammies and do what I WANT to do.....

What I am going to do instead is get up bright and early tomorrow morning and go geocaching with my daughter. She saw online that it is geocaching day or something like that and that there is a special button you can earn for finding caches that day. The tired mommy in me wants to say, "Don't you know I am too tired to go traipsing around looking for tiny little boxes with strips of paper inside?" The sentimental mommy in me knows that this may be one of the things that we won't get to do together much longer. She is growing up and will soon be geocaching with friends, boyfriends, and- one day- her own little family. 

So, tomorrow morning when I WANT to stay tucked under my covers I will get up, shower, and put on some nice sturdy shoes- preparing myself for a day full of looking (and hopefully finding MOST of the caches we look for).

Oh well, there is always NEXT WEEKEND to look forward to, right?

Uh oh- I almost forgot..... next weekend is Father's Day!........ SIGH.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Five Minute Friday- haven

Time once again for the Five Minute Friday. This week's word is "haven".

My haven would have to be my "scrap room". About 20 years ago I discovered scrapbooking and fell in love! I had TONS of photos of my then infant son. I began accumulating stickers, paper, scissors, and every new scrap tool that I thought I might need.

At the time, the only place I had to work was on the kitchen table. Supplies would come out when I found myself with a few moments and then get stored away in boxes until some more time became available.

As my scrap "stash" grew, my husband, being the wonderful man that he is, allowed me to move into his office. We shared the little L shaped desk, with me working on my scrapbook albums when he was not working on schoolwork.

About 7 years ago we found ourselves with the money to go ahead and add on a new master suite. This allowed us to move my son into our old bedroom and my daughter into my son's room. There was little discussion about what would become of the now extra room- it was Momma's! Invariably, when my husband or one of my children was looking for me the answer would be, "She is in her room."

Over the years my hobbies have gone from scrapbooking to sewing to crocheting to Bible art journaling. One thing that hasn't changed is the variety of materials that I have accumulated: paper, glue, markers, colored pencils: you name it- I have it. I have weeded through supplies several times and given or sold many, keeping the things that I know I can use the most.

This stash has created a large storage issue. What once was a peaceful haven for me has lost a bit of its glimmer. I still creep away to "my room" to work, as my computer is located there, but I find myself doing more bill paying and Facebook checks than crafting. Supplies are stacked and crammed in corners and the closet. It is difficult to find what I need when I want it and I don't spend nearly as much time there as I would like.

I hope to remedy that in the near future. I want to dedicate some sweat and organizational hours to rearranging my room into the haven that it once was. God has blessed me with a loving husband who allows me space and time to do things that I love and has given me talents that I can use to interact with others around me. When my haven (and my scrap time) was at its maximum I had a group of friends who met on a monthly basis to scrapbook, laugh, and have a good time. I would love to be able to do that again. The friendship and fellowship that took place at those get-togethers were some of the best things about my month. I NEED to renew my haven and renew my personal time!

If you enjoy these Five Minute Friday posts and would like to join in or just see what it is all about, please click on the link to the right. I would love to have you join in on the fun!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Five Minute Friday- Cheer

When I saw the word for Five Minute Friday, it brought a smile to my face. One of the things that my family has always tried to do is to find the "little things" that can bring cheer to someone else. We also try to appreciate the "little things" that are done to help bring cheer into our own life.

As an example, my son, who graduated from college in December has developed an enthusiastic appreciation for typewriters. Though he owns a Macbook and a cell phone, he has become enthralled with the idea of owning and using a good old fashioned typewriter.

He had looked at several second-hand stores and had actually located one or two that he could try out. Each of them had their flaw: keys stuck, small pieces fell out, or keys were actually missing. Then, on a recent visit to my mom and dad's house I remembered that I had owned an old typewriter. I asked Dad if he happened to know what had happened to it. He said, "It's in the cabinet downstairs." We took a quick trip to the basement and sure enough found the typewriter, right where he had stored it. I carried it to my car and took it home to surprise Keenan.

When I arrived home I used my cell phone to call inside and ask if he could come carry something in for me. When I opened the back door of the car and he saw the typewriter he smiled from ear to ear. After a brief explanation about the typewriter's origin, Keenan took it inside. Over the course of the next hour or two he managed to slip away for a few minutes at a time to clean it and try it out. I could tell that this gift had really been able to bring a little unexpected cheer to his day.

Who would have thought that an old typewriter could bring such delight to a twenty something young man who had grown up loving computers and technology?

Sometimes we need to remember that it doesn't have to be expensive or extravagant... we just need to do SOMETHING to brighten the lives of those around us and help bring them a little bit of cheer. It is those LITTLE THINGS that help make life so wonderful: the hand picked wild flower in the hand of a small child, the card made by hand with a youngster's backwards letters and squiggly handwriting, the candy bar and soda left on a co-worker's desk just because. These are the things that make life so wonderful!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five Minute Friday.... Expect

A lot of people have been asking me, "So.... is retirement what you expected?" I respond with something rather bland like, "To be honest, it has not really sunk in yet." Then I go back to what I was doing and, in my own quiet moments I ponder the question.

If I had to honestly answer the question, I would have to say that I have not REALLY retired yet. (That becomes official on July 1. That is when the school's fiscal year ends, so I am on contract and paid until that point. Because of that, it is the marker that I am using for actual retirement.) To complicate matters even more, I am working 6 weeks of summer school, beginning next Monday. It adds a bit to my retirement and it keeps the school system from having to train someone else for the reading program.

I may not technically be retired, but I have to say that retirement is just as wonderful (so far) as I expected. I expected to be able to sleep in without setting an alarm and I am so happy that my body clock is already adjusting to that. I am able to stay up a bit later with family and sleep in a bit later each morning. 

I expected less stress and, (so far) that is happening. My biggest stress has been trying to decide what to cook each night and what to crochet or craft next.

I do expect that I will get a teeny bit "bored" from time to time, so I am preparing myself for the idea that I may have to take a part time job doing something. I am, after all, still young enough for a second career and still healthy enough to make the most of it. 

I once read a quote that said, "Expect nothing and appreciate everything." I think that kind of sums up my expectations for retirement. I hope to appreciate every minute of free time or family time that I am given!

This post is my attempt at participating in the online "Five Minute Friday" writing group. I discovered it quite a while back, but I never seemed to have the time to commit to participating. Now I do! 

For more information about the group, you can click on the Five Minute Friday button on the right. I would love for some of you to join us!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Settling In

Friday came and, with it, I retired. I don't really feel a lot different. My body is still on the school clock, waking up this morning bright and early at 5 AM. (I am hoping that will change.) I still find myself checking email to see if I have anything that needs my immediate attention and I still have those school related pins that keep popping up on my Pinterest feed. The fact that I am actually retired has not really set in yet.

The last week was an eventful one. My students spoiled me rotten. With the last day of school for students being Thursday, the gifts and cards started rolling in on Tuesday. I managed to hold the tears back until Thursday itself. When my students were sitting in my classroom awaiting that final, "Students are dimissed," it began to sink in. This was IT. My last group of students, my last "last day", and my last official day as a teacher. That is when the tears began... 

Then my sweet daughter and hubby showed up at the door with a gift bag and the tears poured! They brought me a crown and a sign, declaring me queen for the day. (The bear was a gift from a student.)

Friday was even harder for me. I went in as late as I would allow myself- (keep in mind that I am known for arriving at school at least an hour before my students). First stop- the office, to turn in my keys. The tears started again and they continued off and on for most of the day.

At lunch my middle school team surprised me with something I have been longing for: a Cracker Barrel rocking chair. 

It has been really difficult to think of leaving these guys. They have been my family for years now. If you want to see a real TEAM in action, we were that. The whole district knew us as a team. We planned together, ate together, laughed together, and cried together. I love them and I will miss them. I have already warned them that I will be returning, with food in hand, to sit down for lunch and hear the latest gossip.

As far as plans for retirement go, I tell people that there are 4 things on my "to do" list: read more, cook more, crochet more, and clean more. This week I have attempted to get started. I have swept, mopped, scrubbed, and reorganized 2 bathrooms and started on another couple of rooms. I am into chapter 6 or so of a freebie book that I downloaded ages ago to my Kindle, I have had a warm supper on the table each of the last 3 days, and I have been catching up on the last of my crochet orders. I have even been able to experience an afternoon nap each of the last 2 days. I think I can get used to this... LOL!

Over the next week I hope to come up with a plan that will allow me to regularly update this blog. I am muddling things over in my mind and trying to decide how best to use this as a platform for all of the things that I want to do: share my family, my faith, and my fun stuff with everyone. I will keep you updated. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Where Has Time Gone?

Has it really been months since I have been on here? I know I have said it before, but life has really been putting a weight on me..... (So much for my word of the year- BALANCE....) BUT... I am hoping that this is about to change.

Here I sit, May 8, 2016- only 4 days left in my teaching career. After 31 years in the classroom, I have decided that it is officially time for me to wrap up that section of my life and enter the next stage. I am actually retiring!

Here in Kentucky, teachers can retire as early as year 27 and many of them do. I stuck it out, primarily because I was concerned about money. Would I have enough in retirement to make it through each month? Would my family's needs be met? Year 30 came last year and I kept telling myself that I needed to hang on until I was 55. (That is the other milestone that Kentucky uses to determine retirement eligibility.)

Then the school year started. Changes within the system started. Around September, the yearly student angst started. By October or November I was praying, asking God for guidance. I just didn't seem as happy in the classroom anymore. I felt that I had accomplished things that I wanted to accomplish. I had taught thousands of students across a three county area, touched many lives, imparted wisdom, set examples, and stood by to cheer on my students as they succeeded. Many of my students were now parents and some of them were even stepping into classrooms alongside me. My own family was growing older, with my son graduating from college and my daughter in her second year of undergraduate school. I had discovered a new love for crocheting and was finding it difficult to make time for some of the small orders that were coming in. It just seemed right....

I find myself a bit melancholy at the thought of leaving. I have made strong friendships with the 5 teachers who formed the middle school team at my school. For the past several years we have encouraged one another, cried with one another, laughed with one another, and been through a lot. We have shared births and deaths, successes and failures, and much, much change. I have no doubt that I will be returning to visit them often (with food in hand) to catch up on the recent gossip and continue to encourage them.

I am also more than a bit happy. I am looking forward to being the teacher who VISITS the school and leaves when she wants to, not when the bell rings at the end of the day. I have a lot of plans and I look forward to following through on many of them.

I know that life will continue to throw its curve-balls in my direction- that is normal. Without it, life would get boring. I think that retirement will have me better prepared to deal with those curve-balls.

I do not know all of God's plans for me in the coming years, but I know that he will make them evident to me, if I will only take the time to listen and watch.

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.