Sunday, January 8, 2017

Number One Blogging Rule

I am doing something that is probably NUMBER ONE on the official "Do Not Do" list for bloggers; I am blogging without a plan or direction or message for this post. Bad bad blogger lady! I just feel like writing and since I haven't talked to you here in a while, here I am. Who knows where this will go?

It is a cold-ish Sunday afternoon here in North Texas. 42 degrees is NOT cold according to most of you, but I will just say that the tiny bit of snow from 2 days ago is still visible in the shady sections of my yard. So there.

My dog, Layla is curled up in a tight ball next to me on the couch and my legs are wrapped in a comfy blanket, stretched out making a bridge to the coffee table. I am so ready for Christmas Break to be over. My preschool closed for 3 weeks and I miss the kids, teachers and challenge. Christmas was wonderful, but staying home all day everyday is not a place I want to go back to.

Starting this "little" job at the preschool one block away from my house has changed my life. Very unexpectedly. You guys, I published a book in February and thought it would change my did not...not at all. But this 2 days a week preschool teaching job has changed me and how I see myself.

I do not know how to explain it and I am not sure that I should try. There are many aspects of this change that I feel inside. I love the challenge of this new adventure. It requires all of me. This is not the kind of position that one can do halfway. At least I know that I can't. Walking into a room with a dozen two year olds and staying there for 5 hours requires planning, resources, energy and lots of love.

I've had good days and bad days. I've had more than one day when my truck drive home was full of tears and self doubt. I have dragged myself into my home, plopped down on the couch and not moved for hours. Other days I have come home and immediately spent the next 4 hours working on plans for my next day with the students. Physically and emotionally this job has drained me. But creatively it has energized me.

I am crazy about researching for lesson plans and new art projects. It fills my thoughts at night when I should be sleeping. Slipping out of bed and down the hall to my desk in the middle of the night has happened more than once. I know, crazy huh? There may or may not be a small stockpile of empty toilet paper rolls in our spare room closet. I know why teachers become hoarders, can happen so easily.

I love the people I get to work with! They are funny, creative and talented women. It has been difficult to make friends in a new state and these women are definitely counted as friends now. Hubs was shocked at how often my phone started binging away with multiple texts from day one at this job. I love that! I like who I am with them. They bring out my best and I feel strong and confident around them. This has changed me.

Another surprisingly simple change has been the act of making my own money. What a difference  it makes after years of "our money". I actually bought a book the other day without one bit of discussion! Ha! My paycheck is very small, but it's mine. :)

Physically, this job has been good for me. Yes, my feet hurt and my back aches, but I have also lost a little bit of weight, yay! Since I am away from home and my couch so many hours a day, snacking is not happening and I am more active. When we go back after the break, our classroom is now up a flight of stairs so I am excited about getting into better shape. At 61 this can only be a good thing!

Maybe that last line is the point of this post. I will be 62 next month. SIXTY-TWO! My identity has been altered once again and my heart is happy to embrace whatever is next for me. Yes, I am still a writer, even an author, but a writer needs to live in order to produce a reason to write. Most writers dream of quitting their day job and giving themselves completely to the craft. But for me, it was a negative experience to be alone too much. Too much introspection led to too much worry and anxiety. 

At the doorstep to 62 I am full of creative ideas, sticky hugs and new friends to add to the old. It's all good for the recovering church lady these days and i am thrilled to be able to report that!

Thanks for reading me...

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Pretty Good Tree Putter Upper

A single uttered word melted away years of feeling inadequate about my Christmas decorating abilities.

As usual I spent the weekend after Thanksgiving not shopping, but decorating for Christmas. Hubs had pulled the huge box that holds our fake tree down from the attic and it waited for me in the garage.

The yellow string that held the box closed was tied too tightly and I gave up untangling it and managed to slowly push and pull it the length of the box. Looking inside at the piled up branches I considered closing the box up again. They are heavy and dusty and make my hands feel awful. Hubs is at work and like most years if we are going to have a tree it will have to be erected by me.

I close the box and go back in the house. I don't really need to do this today. Could always put up a little table tree this year since I am busier than usual. Needing some music I click on Pandora and scroll to the Christmas Music section. Opening the linen closet I grab an old sheet (well they are all old) and spread it out on the family room floor near the corner I have cleared for the tree. I drag the long box from the garage to the family room.

An hour later the branches are sorted on the sheet and the bottom half is in place ready for the other three layers to be added. Humming about a little drummer boy, I struggle to add the branches and connect the lights that are supposedly built-in and "simple to set up". The dark sections require another set of lights after I search the house for the right extension cord.

Next comes the big blue tub full of ornaments. The step ladder helps me start at the top with the littlest decorations and a dust rag to wipe off the stored gold balls. At this point I am remembering the fun tree decorating nights we used to have with the boys. We made hot chocolate, watched Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer while choosing which ornaments go where.

I'm wishing I could do this faster and be done, but cannot make myself do it without care. I just can't. I am decorating less and less every year. The boxes are still full of trinkets, ribbons, greenery and ceramic churches that light up. Not sure why I should be giving myself more work to do in an already busy time of year.

But out come the favorite nativity scenes and the stockings sewn by my mom for each of us. The new string of lights that are battery operated are added to the door wreath and it makes me smile as I step out onto the driveway to see how it looks.

Then two days later my two year old grandson enters the house and walks all the way down the entry way with his eyes huge and finger pointed at the tree at the other end of the house. He goes right up to the Christmas tree and breathes out "Whoa!!" as if it is the grandest thing he's ever seen. My son and I are behind him and I say, "OK that makes it all worth it."

I get on my knees next to Grandson in front of the tree and we have a little talk about looking with our eyes and not our hands. He is still transfixed and nods in agreement.

And I feel like Super Woman. Or at least a pretty good tree putter upper.


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