The Comfort of Normality

We recently had surgery on our little eight-month old Golden Retriever. She had bone fragments in her elbows. Surgery went well, and she’s recovering beautifully. However, her recovery includes crate rest. This is such a difficult thing for us! Our spunky, bouncy, loving puppy is not currently allowed to jump, run, or play. Ugh! But on Monday, she smiled.

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On Settling Down (and not being boring).

So it’s summer, and that means I have some time “off of work” (even though we teachers still do plenty of reading and planning throughout our “off” time). However, it also means I get to do that work while binge watching Netflix! My choice for this summer is Jane the Virgin. It’s not at all what I expected (which is a good thing). It’s cute, cheesey, captivating, relatable (surprisingly, considering the main plot), and includes everything from family matters to mystery to sci-fi to romance. So, on a side note, I’m highly recommending it.

Anyway, I recently watched an episode in which Jane and her new husband (in a minor but poignant scene) prove to one another–and I think to themselves mostly–that settling down and starting a life together has not made them boring. It’s comical and cute, but I think speaks to a real issue that can creep into the heads of those settling down–be it by yourself or with a partner. In the moment that I watched that scene, I immediately felt uplifted, that I too could be “not boring.”

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For the Holiday Stress.

It’s incredible that in the midst of celebrating family, friends, and all we are blessed with–especially the birth of our savior, Jesus–we often find ourselves weighed down by the stress of plans, finances, and deadlines. Even as we were hanging Christmas lights, I ended up breaking a bulb, we bought an extension cord that was too short, and the little errors sometimes seemed to be bigger deals than the joyous occasion that makes us want to decorate in the first place.

The point. So as I struggle today to remain clear-headed and calm, I decided just to make a list of the things that I’m thankful for in this moment. As I did, the heaviness seemed to dissipate as my annoyances and worries were out-shined by the love and joy in my life. Below is my list (and yes, some of it is cliche, but those are often the things I need to be reminded of the  most because they are so easily taken for granted). In my description of each thing, I chose to leave out any negative details (like the fact that my cat likes to make a lot of noise in the middle of the night and wake me up) to help myself focus on the positive.

The challenge.I encourage you to make a list of your own; it might just turn your day around.

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Teens Affected by the Election.

As I was driving to work this morning, I was nervous. I teach 14-16 year old students who are curious and quite willing, or rather compelled, to say whatever it is that they are thinking. This sometimes includes rude remarks, inappropriate comments, ill-timed jokes, and unrelated questions. I was nervous what types of questions and comments I would be hearing today in my classroom. I was nervous they would call each other names, make assumptions about each other and their families and the people who make up this country, lose faith in the democratic process, and write off the decisions that the people made. I was nervous they would be discouraged and jaded by yesterday.

Rather than avoiding these discussions and hoping that my students would figure it all out on their own before the age of 18, I decided to meet it head-on. I started each class today by asking if anyone had questions about the events that took place yesterday. What happened was a series of small moments when I got to look at the quiet faces of these kids (who are rarely quiet); they care and they understand the seriousness of the situation. Today was not a discussion of who voted for whom or why either of the candidates are the way they are; it was a discussion of “What now?”

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