Gathering Graces 1/20/2019

*My body was telling me it needed some extra rest this morning.  So I headed back to bed around 7:30 a.m.  When Paul came in to tell me he was heading to church, I knew I would not be joining him.  I knew I needed to stay home and rest.  I was right.  I am glad I stayed home.
*The movie Solo recently came available for viewing on Netflix.  I asked Paul if he would like to watch it this afternoon.  He was all in, so we took a couple of hours to watch it.  It was a fun telling of the early years of Han Solo, and how he met Chewbacca, how he acquired The Milliennium Falcon, and many other things.  It was a fun, entertaining movie.
*Family dinner was at Bill’s house at 6 p.m.  When we arrived, Bill had the table set, and we gathered in the living room to visit for a while.  We talked about books, and sports and other topics.  We moved into the kitchen and sat at the table.  Bill prepared a delicious Ginger and Carrot Soup and a Pot Roast for dinner, along with the 10 grain muffins.  It was all delicious.  He also cracked open the bottle of 14 Hands Rose Wine we had gifted him on his birthday, so we all got to enjoy it with our dinner.  Conversation continued around the table, as we talked about personality tests, (Who knows what I am these days....ENFP, ENFJ???  I may have to take the Myers-Briggs test again and find out.), the football game, (Oh, is there some kind of playoff game tonight???), Wildcat basketball now and then, and upcoming schedules for family dinners in February. 
*The snow was still falling as we left Bill’s house and headed for home.  I talked to Zoe a little bit when I got home, and she was looking forward to a day off tomorrow, as is Paul.  Except both Paul and I spend some of our day in the dentist’s chair tomorrow.  Paul is getting a tooth implant, and I am getting my permanent crown.


Gathering Graces 1/19/2019

*Today I was a bit down.  One of the first things I saw that came up on Facebook this morning reminded me that is would have been Mom’s 88th birthday today.  It was an odd day.  My back and neck were giving me troubles.  I tried to nap, and ended up having strange dreams.  I wrapped myself in Dad’s old “Pert” sweatshirt, and thought about Mom and Dad, and realized how much I miss having them both here. 


Gathering Graces 1/18/2019

*The morning was spent finishing The Gentleman in Moscow.  I was so glad I finished it before our discussion at book group.  It was such a fascinating book.  I love reading books where I learn a little about the history of the time.  This was set in post-Revolution Russia.  The author, Amor Towles, also wrote a book called Rules of Civility that I am getting from the library to read.
*I put together a salad similar to the salad Travis and Molly prepared for our Chinese Dinner on Christmas Eve.  Except I added whatever vegetables I had in the fridge, but added the same dressing.  It was so colorful and delicious.
*My salad paired well with the Teriyaki Chicken and Rice Nancy served for lunch at book group.  Our meals never disappoint as we all bring food to add to our lunch each month.  It was a wonderful discussion of the book.  We all LOVE it.  It was also fun catching up with everyone after the holidays.
*During the evening I was “transported to China” as I taught five different students. I had one delightful boy named Taurus who had all kinds of questions to ask me about the pictures of the snow and winter that I show the students, many of which are from my yard, and have family members in them.  He liked learning about my family and my pets.  He also showed me a picture of his cute dog.


Gathering Graces 1/17/2019

*As I sat at home most of the day on this gray and drizzly day, I enjoyed hot beverages, and continued to read A Gentleman in Moscow, so I have it completed by noon tomorrow, when our book group meets.  I have not read this type of book in a long time, and I am so enjoying the writing.  I love learning the history, the characterizations, and the style of the writing.  It keeps reminding me a bit of reading Les Miserable by Victor Hugo.  I can’t wait to see how it ends, and then discuss it with my group.
*My drama group is growing at KMS.  I added two new students yesterday, and today I gained two more.  They are so fun to work with.  They want to perform, and do skits, and be different characters, and learn all about how you do that better.  And at the beginning of each class, I ask the students to tell me about some of their favorite things.  Today I had one of the girls, who has been there since the beginning last week, say she enjoyed visiting San Diego because he brother was in the military and they got to visit him on the base.  I asked if he had gone to high school here, and she said yes.  Come to find out, she is the younger sister of two of my former Gear Up students.  I guess I never caught her last name before.  So Sadie Lawson, Anthony DeBaldo and Morgan DeBaldo......I had no idea Zoie was part of your family until today!!!  Thanks for sharing her with me on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons!!
*When I had arrived at KMS, it was rainy, and kind of trying to snow.  Two hours later, as I left the building, the world had turned white and we had received about an half an inch of snow in those two hours.  I was not expecting that much snow falling down.  The room we do drama in does not have a window so I had no idea it had been snowing. It was beautiful!!
*I have loved the rhythm Paul and I have create when we are both home, and it is time to get ready for dinner.  We both pitch in.  And our meals are pretty simple.  Some protein, a salad, and a cooked vegetable.  Yesterday I had taken a frozen roast and some frozen beef broth I had saved from a previous pot roast I had prepared out of the freezer.  I thawed the broth enough so it could be released from its container, and put the broth and the roast in the Crockpot, and covered the meat with Kosher salt and black pepper.  I turned it on high, and hoped it would be cooked by around 6 p.m.  When I arrived home, Paul took the meat our of the Crockpot and started slicing, determining it was done.  I took the last of our brocolli and steamed it in the microwave.  We had some Bok Choy from a previous dinner that I chopped up and added some salt, pepper and Mirin.  It was delicious!!  A simple and delicious meal ready to go in about 15 minutes or less.


Gathering Graces 1/16/2019

*After cleaning up the house this morning, I drove out to Kingston and had a wonderful time having lunch with my dear friend Carolyn Meade.  We were suppose to get together before Christmas, but she was a little under the weather.  So she texted me on Monday and asked if Wednesday would work for lunch, and I said YES!!  We had a nice time catching up, and sharing about our holidays.  And the Prime Rib French Dip sandwich I ate for lunch was excellent!!
*When I returned home, I prepped for my drama kids, and headed over to KMS around 2:30.  I had two more students join today, and it was fun.  But new students always change the dynamic of a group, and that certainly happened today.  I look forward to continue working with these students.
*I hosted our P.E.O. meeting tonight, and it was wonderful to have my house full of these wonderful ladies.  Our chapter is called Idaho Chapter M, and this chapter has been in this community for 100 years this April.  We are celebrating our anniversary this spring.  Chapter M was founded here in Kellogg in April of 1919. And the international P.E.O. organization is celebrating 150 years!!   It is wonderful to be part of such a wonderful legacy of women who believe in the education of women here in our community, our state, our nation and our world.  If you think you would like to be a part of this wonderful group of women, let me know.  I would love to talk to you more about it, and see if it would be the right fit for you!!


Gathering Graces 1/15/2019

*Something is out of whack in my upper back and neck area, and it is causing me to have really bad headaches.  When I was sitting in my classroom I was having some back issues.  Then I went to standing, and that helped that problem.  I am becoming very aware of how and where I sit and stand throughout the day.  Hopefully this will help me from having so much pain.  It did feel good to soak in a warm bath with Epsom Salt and Tea Tree Oil.  And I have been stretching more and moving around more throughout the day.  I hope this all helps.
*I spent the afternoon at KHS helping some of the seniors get on track for college.  Sometimes they just need a bit of a “road map” to point them in the right direction, and then they are fine.  If they have completed and submitted their FAFSA, if they have completed their application process, and set up their web account and college email, then they are right where they should be.  Then they need to make a list of scholarships they want to apply for, have letters of recommendations from three to four people to submit with their scholarship applications, and write up small informational paragraphs about themselves that they can cut and paste into most of the applications they will be filling out.  But now the ball is in their court.  They have to sit down and get those things done.  The ones who do usually end up getting the scholarships.
*We are now a totally carpet free environment in our home.  Paul has taken up all the carpet off the stairs heading down to the basement, and now comes the decision on what we are going to do to the stairs to make them look better.  Paul is looking at a few different options.
*The photo I posted of Sadie and Benjamin above cracks me up.  This is rather unusual for them to be sitting side by side one another.  But I was in the right place with my camera by my side when Benjamin jumped up and sat next to Sadie, and it looks like they both posed for me at the same time. 


Gathering Graces 1/14/2019

*I mentioned last week about receiving a phone call or have a chance meeting or conversation with someone that could potentially change the course of your life.  And how I had received that kind of phone call. Well, here is the rest of the story.  I was asked if I wanted to be appointed to the Kellogg City Council, as one of the members is resigning.  It is so interesting when things like this just come at you, out of the blue. And, I have to admit, I was quite flattered, thinking they thought I would do a good job at this position.  So I took the weekend to think about it.  I sent out a message to family and friends and told them what I had been offered.  I told them to give me their input.  Pray for me.  Give me wisdom.  And that is exactly what happened.  From all over the world, I received wonderful nuggets of wisdom, things for me to ponder, excitement at the possibility, and lots of love.  I read through their comments, and they all helped me make my decision.  But a few comments were things like, “does the idea of it light up your eyes?”, “Do you go to bed at night thinking "yes, I want to do this." and then wake up the next morning thinking "yes, I want to do this.", and “ My rule of thumb at “my age” now is always listen to my gut.  If I have the slightest inkling of doubt it’s a no.  And by now we’ve learned to listen to the little voice that guides us”.  I have very wise people in my life.  Last night I let them know my answer.  And it was “no”.  It ultimately came down to it did not align with the plans Paul and I have moving forward in our lives. And it did not align with my new schedule of teaching for VIPKID during the wee hours of the morning. (I am still trying to get that schedule figured out!!) And by saying “no” to this particular request, I ended up saying “yes” to having more clarity as to what Paul and I do want for our lives.
*Another thing that helped me make this decision was the words from the book I mention a few weeks ago titled Present Over Perfect.  She devotes a whole chapter to learning how to say “no”.  I originally had listened to the book as an audio book.  But there were so many good things in the book, I knew I wanted to have a hard copy to highlight some of her thoughts.  And that is what I have done.  Here are some of the highlighted lines that stuck out to me in the chapter titled, The Word That Changed Everything.
*****But you can’t have yes without no.  Another way to say it: if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to rampant yes-yes-yes-ing.  I said no, without intending to, to rest, to peace, to groundedness, to listening, to deep and slow connection, built over years instead of moments.*****
*****But no became the scalpel I wielded as I remade my life, slicing through the tender tissue of what needed to go and what I wanted to remain.*****
*****Stop. Right now. Remake your life from the inside out. I don’t know a way to remake anything without first taking down the existing structures, and that’s what no does---it puts the brakes on your screaming-fast life and give you a chance to stop and inspect just exactly what you’ve created for yourself, so difficult as it may be*****
*****Bless them  But don’t spend too much time with them.  Draw close to people who honor your no, who cheer you on for telling the truth, who value your growth more than they value their own needs getting met or their own pathologies celebrated*****
*****And don’t worry: no won’t always be the word you use most often.  I hate that for a season, no had to be the answer to almost everything.  But over time, when you rebuild a life that’s the right size and dimension and weight, full of the things you’re called to, emptied to the rest, then you go get to live some yes again.  But for a while, no is what gets you there.”
*For many years part of me would say “yes” to things for validation.  I needed proof that I was okay.  That I could do things well.  Who doesn’t like doing things well and getting praised for it?  Who doesn’t want to prove to the world that they are good at something, and that they can help make the world a better place, especially when struggling with low self esteem? Especially when you feel like a failure?  So you start saying yes, and yes, and yes.  And then comes a time when, unless you start saying “no”, and getting back to who you really are, and rebuilding that life from the inside out, life can be a struggle, frustrating and stressful, instead of what most of us desire....rest, peace, groundedness, listening, and deep connections with others.  That abundant life God promises us each and every day.
*I wish I didn’t feel like I need to have a disclaimer, but I am going to write it anyway.  This is not talking about every decision you make in your life.  Some decisions require saying a tough “yes”, because of financial reasons, or family reasons, or a million other reasons.  What I am talking about is our leisure time.  That time that we can determine how we spend it.  And we CAN make those “yes” or “no” decisions, and have the freedom to do so.  And this is MY story.  And how it worked for me.  But maybe some of these words will also help someone else as they are struggling with a big decision.  If so,,,GREAT!!