Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012...The Year of Chubby

According to that fancy placemat they use at the Asian Buffet and Chen's 2012 will be the Year of the Dragon.  Where do I fit in?  I was born in the Year of the Ox. [I'm guessing an ox is better than being born in the Year of the Rat or the Pig.  Who wants to be called a rat or pig?]  I always laugh at how incompatible some people really are [you do it too so don't try to act like I'm the crazy one] according to the year they were born.   Who knew that a monkey and a sheep couldn't marry?  Honestly, I just really would like to know exactly how you make an egg roll and how do you cut those tiny jello squares so neatly?  The world may never know....

I'm guessing I should give the obligatory "this is gonna be an awesome year" blog but I'm not feeling that one at all.  Not that I don't think that the next year will be amazing but there is something deeper that is beckoning me to speak [and no, it isn't the amazing sweet 16 birthday dinner we had tonight].  You ever just feel that tug on your heart and your mind that is so strong that ignoring it is impossible? That is how I feel.  I find myself constantly questioning my purpose on this Earth [yes, entertaining the masses is a given] and I keep hearing these same words to my favorite song...."I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us" my head, on my lips, in my heart.  I know that He is speaking directly to me. I promised God, at MFuge, that I would listen to Him because for most of my life I listened with a "but". [Not that kind of butt either.]  I listened as long as it wasn't going to be uncomfortable or push me out of  my comfort zone.  For all of my "think outside the box" stuff I like to try in my classroom I am extremely uncomfortable in new situations.  I would describe me as awkward. [Some of you that have known me for a long time are now thinking, "Well duh"]  But, He is pushing me, to be bolder about sharing my faith.As the book of James (2:26) says, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

I have to be more steadfast in studying my Bible.  I have a confession - some of it I don't "get".  That is hard for me to say, especially to Craig, because I have always felt like reading was something that gave me the edge in the smarts department. [I ain't super smart but if I don't know the answer I sure know where to find it!!]  Craig studies his Bible - he knows what's there and how to interpret or "read between the lines" where I flounder [funny 'cause I really hate fish] at some of the things in the good book.  I love to read - always have - but reading has always been difficult for me.  Not the fluency part [let me throw some of my reading specialist stuff atcha] but the comprehension.  I have to read and study to make sure I understand because I don't retain knowledge [random facts - yes].  I'm a visual learner - draw me a picture or 'splain it in Missy terms and I'm good.  The Bible is full of analogies and these read between the lines ideas and sometimes the message isn't getting to me if I just read it - and I give up too easy.  I love Sunday worship, for many reasons, but mostly because Brother Chip explains all the parts of the scripture we are reading - the history, the Greek, the hidden meanings, everything - and I've filled up a small notebook in the last 6 months or so.   I am amazed at how much I've learned and then I can go back and fill in the blanks. [There are alot in that crazy, mixed up head of mine.]

I say all of this to say that I have to be more diligent and more focused when it comes to reading and studying my Bible as I enter 2012 [The Year of the Dragon for those of you with the attention span of gnats .  I have four children that are looking for my guidance in this area - how can I guide them if I don't understand the directions?  I want to be bold in my witness and not just quote scripture. 
Come be the fire inside of me
Come be the flame upon my heart
Come be the fire inside of me
Until You and I are One
You won't relent until you have it heart is yours.

Part of this starts with making some drastic changes in my schedule so that I get to bed early enough to get up early and focus on time with God. [Which means no more impromptu blogging at 3:08am.]  The other part begins with letting go of  the regrets and worry and moving forward.  I think I've started doing this, in a lot of ways, and so far, its going well.  I'm not worrying so much about what someone might think [or not think] about me and I'm attempting to shed the fear and anxiety that has plagued me for a long time.  I blogged earlier about being free...truly free...and I'm more free than ever...but I have to keep moving forward.  It's not about me at all...ever...but about what God's purpose in my life is and about listening.

So, as the final day of 2011 looms large, I desire your prayers.  I have a special request that involves something that has been laid on my heart.  It is school related so I won't share the exact details, but just know that your prayers are appreciated. [FYI - I am perfectly happy being the dorky yet creative science teacher and other employment is not on my radar.  This is something that I want to do to outside of my regular duties as a teacher.]  

I have not forgotten about my resolutions [Did I mark out eat sushi?] and I will be giving you 100 days of Step Away, absolutely free of charge, in the first 100 days of 2012 [Which should be named The Year of Chubby] and more pics of the Shorties. 
As always, life as a Short is good :)
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

What Ifs....

One of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems is entitled the Whatifs. When I taught 5th grade this poem was a wonderful way to teach rhyming and couplets.  I would let each student write their own "whatif" then create a "whatif" to hang on our Po-E-Tree [Get it?  A tree with poems on it! Clever I know.]  This is my version....

(from Shel Silverstein)
Last night while I lay sleeping here
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:

(from me)
What if I lost a ton of weight?
What if celery was one thing I always ate?
What if Sundrop went belly up?
What if I just tried to pour water in my cup?
What if Molly learns to drive her new stickshift car?
What if teaching her makes Craig end up in a bar?
What if high school girls were not so mean and full of drama?
Of course, with some of them, look no further than their mama.
What if I could afford a really nice road bike to train for the tri?
It would be super cool if hundred dollar bills fell from the sky.
What if Gabe really does have all the answers to life's biggest questions?
What if we really followed all of his 5 year old suggestions?
What if I happen to win the powerball lottery?
I have more luck getting hit by a falling tree.
What if my Christmas decorations magically put themselves away?
That's about as likely as waking up in the Bahamas on Friday.
What if Cooper grows to be 7 ft 5 in tall?
Can you say scholarship UNC or even DOOK to play basketball?
What if Emma ends up working in a tattoo parlor?
I guess she'll be making money and not living in squalor.
What if I get motivated and get my rear back to the Y?
Then running that Cooper River Bridge would be as easy as pie!
What if I write a book and it becomes an overnight smash hit?
I could quit my job, stay home and blog, and live off my wit.

(from Shel Silverstein)
Everything seems well and then....
The nighttime Whatifs strike again.

I am glad that I follow a God that doesn't leave anything to the Whatifs. In my Bible study yesterday I read from Proverbs the following verse:
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
I needed to read that ~ now I have my New Year's resolution :)
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

To Be Content

One of my favorite verses from the Bible is Phillipians 4:13 ~ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  This morning as I started my new devotional [from my favorite coach ♥] I had the opportunity to read some more in Phillipians.  I noticed that at some point I'd made some notes about being content in everything.  Phillipians 4:12 says this: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or living in want.  WOW....thank you God for always finding my toes and stepping firmly on them.  I so needed to read that this morning.

In the spirit of ringing in the new year with resolutions [I'll get to that in the more sarcastic part of today's blog] I want to be find true contentment in every situation.  I have focused alot these past couple of months on trying very hard not to complain [I said I tried and am continuing to try] and worry about petty things.  I have truly been much happier ~ honestly.  I think this has been most evident in my job.  Yes, I have complained about petty things ~ I am not going to lie ~ yet I have tried very hard to keep it to myself.  I love working there and being around the kids.  I love teaching and being a dork in front of them [which comes very naturally].  I enjoy the time spent with colleagues and laughing with my friends.  I think it's always been easy to find contentment at home because our house is so filled with laughter how could anyone not be happy?  Actually, if I am telling the truth, contentment found was always there just hanging in the background, waiting for me to say, "Hello! Come join me!"

I believe a lot of learning to be content comes from figuring out it ain't about us.  I've noticed that a lot of people these days are all about themselves [and I quote 'cause I sure didn't say this], "I don't care about you....Imma do me."  As if you could be someone else.  ME ME ME ME ME ME....blah, blah, blah.  It's not about me or you.  Being content isn't about not caring for others or having it all or showing off your wealth [or in alot of cases, your debt].  It is about looking upward and knowing that in EVERY circumstance, God takes care of us and deserves way more than we'll ever give him.  I know that this is an area I need to work on more and more so that is a resolution for the new year.

Speaking of resolutions....hmmmmmm......let's see....It is about time for all of those TV shows and people on Facebook to give us their resolutions for 2012.  Want to hear mine? [Thought you'd never ask.]  These are in no particular order [other than the one in my head].
1. Lose weight and get back in shape. [Of course for this one to actually work I must actually start it on January 1 and continue it through January 2, 3, 4, etc.  I believe last January my record was an hour or so into the new year.]
2. Train to do more than one triathlon this year. [This one might be the easiest and the hardest at the same time.  Time is such a factor in a family of 6.  See....I'm already making excuses.]
3. Finish the Cooper River Bridge Run in an hour or less. [Stop laughing.]
4. Join a book club.  [I kinda already belong to one on Facebook but right now I don't have a book to read so it's hard to converse about the books.]
5. Lead a women's Bible study. [I am doing that at the moment but I would like to do one at church.]
6. Eat sushi[I don't eat anything that swims in water.]
7. Blog every day. I am going to try, starting January 1, to post 100 blogs in 100 days. [I also want to include more pics ~ I only have thousands on my computer.]
8. Give up drinking diet Sundrop. [This one, by far, trumps all of those above in the hardest to accomplish category.  Addiction is a tough thing. I have to, before my insides turn to stone and my kidneys explode.]
9. Craft, craft, craft. [I am also addicted to craft blogs.  Funny thing I've figured out about them though ~ the majority of the ones I've found are written by Mormon women.  How do I know they are Mormon?  Many of them have subtle references or graphics on their sites with LDS or "the temple". I just found that very bizarre.  In fact, last night, I googled the question, "Why are so many craft blogs written by Mormons?" and I got some interesting answers.  I usually just search on the sites for craft tutorials so it makes no difference to me.  I just thought that was, well, interesting.]
10. [Just because I hate odd numbered list.] Go letterboxing and geocaching more!!!

I can't wait to see what this new year holds.  I've been so blessed how could life, as a Short, get any better?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Believe ♥

I realized last night that I wrote a pretty sarcastic Christmas letter LAST year so I'm guessing another post like that would be no fun.However, not to disappoint, I do have the word BELIEVE sitting on my mantel so I thought I would share some of the things I believe in [starting with IVs of diet Sundrop from vending machines and sarcasm].


....that dreams really do come true [I knew if I put that one first it would really get you].
....teachers should make as much money as doctors, lawyers, and the post master.
....that middle schoolers say some of the most off the wall and crazy things and yet we still love them. the discipline of children when they make the wrong choices [My daddy never hesitated to let me know he believed in it so why should my kids miss out?].
....that petty people deserve each other but should leave the rest of us that don't appreciate their "pettyness" alone.
....that raising children, in the world today, is the most difficult job anyone could ever have. can conquer anything.
....that you should laugh, out loud, every single day.
....everyone needs to find a cause, a charity, an organization to put their time and money into so that others who are less fortunate or in need will know that God's people really do care.
...Skittles should be added as their own unique food group: food that taste like rainbows.
...having a live Christmas tree makes my house smell really "Christmasy".
...that if you are going to talk ugly about  my children then you better bring your big stick and an army 'cause there is going to be a fight.
....Dr. Seuss had it all figured out.
....that no matter how many times you tell [and threaten] Emma to pick up her room she ain't gonna do it.
....that it is impossible to keep the kitchen counter cleaned off.
....if I really, really trained hard I could be an excellent triathlete.
....Facebook should come with a warning that what comes up does not have to come out [in other words, we don't really need to hear about your husband's cheating ways, how you've been throwing up for three days, or about the fact that you hate our President.]
....Christmas is the best time of year. basketball season makes some people super crazy.
....complaining over things that are beyond our control is a waste of time that you could be used to make someone's day easier. Whitney sang, that children are our future. day there will a cure for awful diseases like cancer - God has a plan:) Marilyn said, "Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."
....Craig is my soul mate and that he hung the moon.
....high school football is one of my favorite things to watch and be a part of every fall.
....being a teacher might be the very best job in the world and that I have some of the best co-workers and friends that a person could ever have. Granny was a saint and is keeping all of Heaven stocked with Little Debbie Cakes.
....I belong to the best immediate, extended, and married family to ever walk the face of this Earth.
....that Christmas Vacation should go down as one of the absolute best and most realistic Christmas movies ever ["Save the neck for me Clark."]
....that First Baptist Church of KM has some of the most caring, giving, and loving people in the world as members.
....that we live in this house because God wanted us to know that when He closes doors He always has a plan. mom and dad are the finest folks around and that they are a huge part of my life today and always.
....that reading books can take you on some of the greatest adventures you'll ever know.
....that I might one of the biggest nerds around ~ and that's just the way I like it.
....that I have some of the very best friends in the world and I love them dearly.
....being around women of faith has changed my life.
....that God's voice spoke to me at MFuge and changed my life for the better.
....Tim Tebow will change the game of football in such a powerful way that we cannot even begin to imagine how God will work.
....that anyone that does not believe that there is a God and that He loves us has never witnessed the birth of a child, seen Moraine Lake in Canada, or ever recognized a miracle in their life.
....that sometimes being the bigger person is tough but necessary.
....God sent Molly and Cooper first because He knew how challenging Emma and Gabe would be when they came along :)
....that my sister is one of the strongest and amazing people that I know and I love her.
....that UNC > DOOK.
....the Colts are going to make it back to Super Bowl contention soon...with any "Luck".
....dark chocolate far outweighs any other kind of chocolate.
....bacon really does make anything taste better.
....Friday Night Lights was one of the best TV shows EVER.
....doing something to make someone's life better really makes me feel good.

I believe that Jesus was sent to save us from our sins.  I believe that God's amazing and abundant blessings should be enjoyed and shared.  I believe that God has huge plans for my life and for the lives of my children.  I believe that prayer is always the answer no matter what the question. 

As always, I believe life as a Short couldn't be any better. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mending Broken Hearts

I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later ~ one of my children would get their heart broken.  [Right now Moo is wishing she were in the fetal position, under a rock, with camo on.]  Yes, that awkward "relationship" [I'm guess that's what it was called] abruptly ended - literally.  One day the boy is blowing up her phone and all, "We should hang out" and the next day eerie silence [that was for dramatic effect of course]

As a mom, [and a girl] you know when something is not quite right.  I didn't want to "hover" and ask a ton of questions [but, of course, I did anyway].  When she was ready to talk she told me all about it.  Basically, he just stopped talking to her.  None of it makes sense [as if men ever do] and she couldn't think of one "thing" that might have caused this sudden end.  My response? [This is fantastic...wait for it...wait for it...] "Yeah, I don't know honey.  Boys are dumb sometimes and maybe he wasn't sure about how he felt." [It is obvious I should stick to teaching atoms and molecules because there is not a future in psychology.] Her biffle put it so eloquently and it made perfect sense, "Maybe God needs for you to focus on something else right now; something He wants for your life." Wow....humbled me. 

Moo has figured out that she's perfectly OK. Yes, her feelings were hurt but, she told me, she's more mad that she spent so much time worrying about this whole awkward relationship.  I told her he still might be her lobster [remember, in a Friends episode, when Phoebe told Rachel that Ross was her lobster?] and, as she knows, God has big plans for her life.  She's going to be fine.  I ♥ her.

I am standing on my soap box today [some of you just did some major eye rollin']. I've held this in long enough and if I don't say something I might say something....get my drift?  I have issues with petty people. Now, we can all be petty at times, but I am talking about folks that just think it's all about them...people that think they should be invited to everything and recognized for everything and blah, blah, blah.  Really?  I believe in having lots of friends and then I also believe in having close friends.  I know that everyone wants to be included and invited and feel part of the group - I get that.  Yet, there are times when realizing that maybe it isn't about you at all is the only option.     

I've had my eyes opened wider to some people that have really shown their true character.  What makes it worse is that my Moo is having to feel the sting of negativity and hostility about some things that are very petty...Like  an adult who threw my daughter under the bus.  Are you serious?  I have prayed for peace for her [and for myself because I've nearly bit a hole through my own tongue trying to hold it] and for these petty folks.  I'm supposing that is all I can do.  I try very hard to NOT be that meddling mother when it comes to the relationships my kids have with other people. And believe it or not, [I know this is so hard to deal with] my kids are not perfect...and Craig and I are not perfect parents [some of you just had your Christmas completely ruined].  I will fuss at them if they are rude or ugly to others. We are not afraid to tell them what we think if there is a negative influence or a person lacking morals but other than that, we simply try to be a sounding board and the voice of reason [some of you just peed your pants on that one].  I know that sometimes we don't see the errors of our ways and we've tried to teach our children tolerance, acceptance, and compassion.  I think Craig and I have done OK. 

I tried to find some verses to share with Moo about this situation:

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phillipians 2:3-4

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:29 - 32

I can't "fix" these people and I have to teach her to stand on her own two feet.    Yesterday, she told me that she's just about "done" with them...I think that just about sums it up then don't you?

I am working on a Christmas letter from the Shorts [sarcasm included] so please come back and see what I've cooked up.  As always, life as a Short is awesome.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Family

As you know, Craig and I can be quite "irreverant" at times.  I don't mean like crude and disprestful but more like lacking in class. [Some of you are shaking your head and saying to yourself, "They are ALWAYS like that."]  One of our favorite little Christmas dittys is "Merry Christmas from the Family" [we like the Montgomery Gentry version] and we really like to sing it then talk about family.  Now before some of you check out, let me 'splain....we ♥♥♥LoVe♥♥♥ our families.  We both have the most awesome families and they mean everything to us BUT we also realize we are from 'round here and well, you get the picture.  Here's a little bit of the tune we like:

Brother Ken brought his kids with him
The three from his first wife Lynn
And the two identical twins
From his second wife Mary Nell
Of course he brought his new wife Kaye
Who talks all about AA
Chain smokin' while the stereo plays
Noel, Noel, The first Noel

So this past Saturday we had a get together with the Shorts [really, the mere saying of the last name evokes images doesn't it?] and we met at the Western Sizzlin' [some of you have just now peed your pants].  If you know Craig's story then you know that this particular side of the family has not always been as welcoming as they are now ~ he changed and they changed ~ so it is a tad uncomfortable.  [Well that and the fact that none of us really wanted to eat at the Sizzlin'].  We walked in the front door to be greeted by a rather frail man going back to the buffet [and this is merely speculation on my part] for his third helping of fried chicken and cabbage.  Cooper asked, "Is that a Short?" and I nearly peed my pants.  We continued on to the room where we ate last year [Yes, this is an annual tradition] and walked in the room.  "Are these the Shorts?" asked Emma, loudly.  Again, I nearly lost it, though I could understand her thinking.....Finally, after a scenic tour of the WS, we found who we were looking for and made our way to the empty table.  At that point it was if time stopped with everyone staring and whispering at us.  I can only imagine it went a little like this:

Lord, that is Craig and his family. [While some were sayin', "Who is Craig?] 
He is Ray's son - can't you tell? 
How many kids does he have?  My goodness.  Did he have that many last year? [Yes he did. No,we are not having anymore.  No, I'm not pregnant again.]
Is he younger or older than Kandace?
What are his kids names?  [Dopey, Sleepy, Naughty, and Bully]
Who is that dude with all those kids?  I've never seen him before.
Man, his wife is smokin' hot. [I am sure this was NOT said but I'd like to think it could've been some my life.]

We took our seats and then the questions from Cooper and Emma begin:
Who are these people?  [I have NO clue.]
I don't know anyone - do you?
Where are we eating? [Not here - trust me.]
When are we leaving?
How long do we have to stay? [Well, your daddy and Kandace are talking so my bet is it's gonna be a while.]
Can I just have something to drink?

And, of course, right on cue, Craig left me to mingle.  I had two options: Stare at the people who share my last name but I hardly know or stare at the people who look like they could have my last name and I hardly know on the other side of glass partition.  Choices suck. Several people came over to take our pictures and Craig's niece made a prophetic statement, "They are going to look at those pictures of us and ask who the heck we are in a few years!"  So true....

We spent about three an hour visiting and still never being introduced.  I mean, I had a conversation with a man about coupons [my new obsession] and the best places in town to shop and I wouldn't know him from Adam's house cat [who, incidentally, is probably a Short as well].  As in their relationship, they were together in the same room but still as far away from each other as one could get [mixaphorically speaking]

Incidentally, as we were leaving the Sizzlin', we started hearing banjos [reminded me of that apartment experience that one time I went to the urinal pool to swim] and I told Cooper to run before he heard, "Squeeealll like a pig!"  He didn't get it.  So, to top off a night, with the Shorts at the Western Sizzlin', we heard live bluegrass.  Who needs dessert?  

We bought National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation on Saturday and then watched it....and once, again, thought about our own families. Craig and I are definitely the Griswolds.  [I'm not quite sure who I would peg as Cousin Eddie because the roles change frequently]. For one thing, there is an RV parked in the neighbor's back yard that could rival the one in Clark's driveway. [And that is about all I'll say about that right now....]  When Eddie says, "Save the neck for me Clark" I harken back to a time when I've probably heard those exact words around the dinner table at a holiday.

But the good Lord knew what he was doing when he placed us in this family.  For all of OUR quirks and funnies there are a million reasons why this family is the absolute best [my side and Craig's side too].  

As always, life as a Short is awesome :)