Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hodge Podge

It's about 11 PM, and everyone in my house, including the dog, is asleep, except me. I just have too much going on in my head. Really, a hodge podge of stuff... thus the title of this little entry. I started out by typing my packing list for my upcoming trip. Yes, typing it. I always make a packing list and generally go through several drafts. That sounds high maintenance, I know, but I'm only high maintenance for me. I try not to levy my burdensome quirks on others.

Anyway, preparing for this trip only serves to remind me that it's been quite a while since I was away from my little family, and never both of them at once for this length of time. I'll miss kissing them both goodnight and snuggling in both physically and metaphorically to this cozy little life we've built for ourselves. Instead, I'll be in a cabin with ten seventh grade girls on a trip with 113 seventh grade students - fun and wild and adventurous but not quite cozy.

Also on my mind? The stories of the three books I've been reading as of late are swirling around in my mind mixing their plots and characters in strange and intriguing ways. Also in the mix are the three different books that are in different stages of being written by me. And then there's the personal stuff - my sister's son who has been ill and for whom I've been praying for constantly, my need to get in better shape, a half a dozen dreams I have for the future of my family, all the ways I've erred as of late, and so on. Doesn't it sound like I lack focus? I don't really. There's just always a lot going on in my head. My husband, Chris, is often amused when I track backwards from a seemingly random thought and follow the train from caboose to engine

This reminds me of a little scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (Yes, I'm a Potter nerd!) Harry, Hermione, and Ron are all talking about Harry's recent first kiss and all the stuff that might have been going through Cho Chang's mind when he kissed her, and Ron said, " One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode.” To which Hermione replied, "Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have." So, I wonder what we'd have to use to measure my emotional range?

Somehow I'm going to have to quiet all these thoughts and find some rest myself tonight. I thought maybe writing about them would help, but it seems to me that it's even more jumbled than before. So, I'll choose between my two tried and true ways to calm my brain - praying myself to sleep or a little game I play. I've been playing this game for years and it actually works quite well. Hmmm, déjà vu... have I written about this before? It's a little alphabet game. I choose a category, and I go through the alphabet listing things having that are relevant to that topic. (Christmas - advent, Bethlehem, Claus, and so on; home - armoire, buffet, candlestick, etc.)

Guess we'll see how it goes....

Monday, March 18, 2013


I remember a time when I felt that my thoughts were so private. I fiercely guarded my secrets. Some I still do. But lately, hardly a day goes by when I don’t berate myself for over-sharing. When did that start happening?

I’m really hard on myself. Ask my husband. Ask my mom. Really, I should cut myself some slack, lay off a bit. I know the things that I’ve raked myself over the coals about my entire life. Over-sharing was never a problem. Until recently.

I blame Facebook.

No, really, I do. I am one of those people who checks in a few times a day and actually enjoys other people’s mundane reports on what they’re doing. However, often I find that there are plenty of people who seem to be having the most glorious day of their lives and know just how to turn a phrase when briefly describing their latest undertaking, even if all they’re doing is hanging out with family or running an errand. Adventure seems to pursue them on every wind.

And, yes, I do it, too. I think my life is beautiful and funny and crazy and, well, LIFE. And it’s fun to report the little amusing anecdotes and oddities and even the little things that are so blandly normal that just make me feel human. It’s even nice to be able to put a “have you ever” moment out there and receive a half a dozen responses indicating that you’re not the only one to have gone through something so hard or tragic or just weird.

Yet still, somewhere in there, I began to notice myself over-sharing. And not just on Facebook; it bled into my everyday life – standing at the coffee maker at work just waiting for that last drip so I can grab a mugful and hurry back to my to-do list and I babble to a passing acquaintance a little too much about my recent struggle with… whatever. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking in status updates.

But, Facebook isn’t the only problem.

I have a theory that some of this over-sharing also started when I stopped writing… and I mean really writing. I used to write all the time – journals, blogs, plays, short stories, attempts at a book or two, and so on. A few years ago, I stopped writing in my journal, something I had previously done since the age of 12. I also stopped writing here. I’m naturally a communicative person. I love to talk. Once again, just ask my husband or my mom. However, for most of my life, a lot of my communication came out in the form of writing. And I just stopped. All those excess thoughts, feelings, opinions, dreams, ideas, stories, ponderings, and just words had to come out somewhere. If you were the “somewhere” it got spilled (and sometimes spewed), I’m sorry.

My solution: I must write. And so, write I will. Here. There. And everywhere.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

"Now, back to my adventure with Fatboy Slim...."

The title was spoken by Willow Grace today.

For Christmas I asked for and received Just Dance: Greatest Hits. Several nights a week, we switch on the Wii and dance to our hearts' content - all three of us: Chris, Willow Grace, and myself.. Since then we've added four more Just Dance games.

Willow Grace is like a little sponge. She knows all the singers' names and most of the lyrics to the songs. And now, all her imaginary friends have become the singers off of the game. I frequently hear her say, " Katy Perry and I are having a tea party." OR "C'mon Rihanna! Let's play a game!" And today, it was all about Fatboy Slim. They were having grand adventure in the forest, searching for the golden gum ball machine. She said that when they took the golden gum ball machine off of the chair all of the traps were triggered, and so she had to put it back to stop the traps. What an imagination!

How do I continue to help her cultivate that? How do I make sure that at ten, thirteen, and seventeen she doesn't lose that? I remember vividly being the same way, constantly acting out stories or just playing them out in my head. I'm that way now. I always, always have a story spinning around in my head. I'll be working on encouraging creativity and imagination in us both.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Beginning Again

I’ve always been a writer. It’s just a part of who I am. I’ve been writing since I was a very young girl when I used to make up stories about a character I called Miss Hero. I had a Barbie dressed in a cowgirl outfit, and I planned out all sorts of crazy scenarios with her, wrote them down, and then performed them in a sort of reader’s theater for my parents and their friends.

When I was in 7th grade, I started keeping a journal. My brain felt overloaded, and there were so many things that I just didn’t feel like I could share with others. And I thought, in my limited perspective, that no adult I knew could relate to me and what I was going through. I always knew that I wanted to work with kids, and so I wanted to make sure that I didn’t forget what it felt like to be a teenager. I kept a journal for years, filling about two a year until after I married. And then I started this blog. I was fairly consistent here until a couple years ago, and then a strange thing happened.

I stopped writing. And not just here. I nearly stopped writing altogether, except for work projects and a couple other small projects. For me, that is very, very bad. I need to write. When I don’t, I end up feeling overwhelmed with ideas, information, and possibilities. It affects my thought life, communication with others, and, strangely enough, my confidence in a number of areas. And I’ve found that I end up over-sharing in conversations; all those thoughts have to come out somewhere.

So, it’s time for me to write – blogging, journaling, and writing the book(s) I’ve had swirling around in my head for years.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Friday Afternoons

I know that Friday afternoons are exciting for most people for a variety of reasons. The weekend has arrived with promises of a change of pace and activity. There will be more time for friends and family and sleep. Friday afternoons at a school have a energy all their own. Kids, in general, are naturally geared towards anticipation and excitement. It's almost impossible, at least for me, to be unaffected by their energy. There is a flurry of activity. Students are headed out for sports practices or joining up to crash each other's houses for video game or movie marathons, sleepovers, or birthday parties.

Today, we've just finished up Hobbit Day in the 7th grade. All of the students and some of the teachers, myself included arrived decked out as characters from the book or from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. When someone mentions a dress up day, my ears prick up and my mind races into planning mode. I showed up at Eowyn from LOTR since The Hobbit is lacking in female characters, and I like the idea that she's royalty but also a tough chick who wants to join the men and go off to fight.

Another reason for the anticipation on this particular day is that it's absolutely frigid outside and have been spitting snow at us all day. The weather predictors are saying that we could get a nice little snow overnight, and while we all wish that had come on a school day we still relish the idea of getting to play around in a little winter wonderland tomorrow. We don't get much snow here in Middle Tennessee, so, for us, every little bit counts.

Whatever the weekend brings, I'm hoping and praying for peace, fun, and safety for all my students, friends, and family and for unexpected blessings just around the corner.

(I know I haven't written for this blog for about two years now. In fact, I've done precious little writing, and it's high time for me to start again, and so, here I go....)