I Don't Do Sympathy

8:07 a.m. Thing 1 approaches

Thing 1: "Both of my legs feel like they're broken."

Teacher: "Well, it's a good thing you only need to be sitting at your desk right now."

10:23 a.m. Thing 1 returns

Thing 1: "My head and ears hurt."

Teacher: "Okay. I'm glad your legs are better!"


It's Friday, But Sunday's Coming!

This is another often-googled phrase that lands folks on my blog. "It's Friday but Sunday's coming" is a speech that Tony Campolo has made very well-known (I assume he also wrote it). The gist of it is that while this world is dark and evil, we have a hope of resurrection. It begins with the cross -- on Friday when Jesus died. But, oh, HALLELUJAH! Sunday is, indeed, coming.

Google points folks to my blog because I titled this post "It's Friday but Sunday's Coming" last year about this time when Baby Levi was born. I so needed to be reminded of the promise of a resurrection, as well as a precious punkin' baby. I still do, I suppose. I can certainly always stand to be reminded of my eternal hope, and to kiss a baby head never hurts, either.


This Is New...

At LEAST once a day I walk with great purpose into a room, pause for a moment, and either think to myself or say outloud, "Now, why did I come in here...?" This is not new for me. However, I do think that today is the first time that the realization of why I was there is that I was going to bring the item that was right next to me in the previous room into the current room. Alas, said item is still in previous room while I am lost as a goose in current room. Now I have to walk BACK to previous room, remember to get item, then return to the 2nd-time current room, still remembering why I am there. Old age does not bode well for me.


Like a Fine-Tuned Machine

Today wouldn't have won me any educator awards, but it certainly went more smoothly than many days prior to spring break. We got things done, had time to spare, even took a little stretch-break mid-afternoon 'lest I fall asleep standing up after a fitful night of not-really sleeping. We ended the day at a breezy recess. All in all, very do-able.

My after-school meeting was canceled, I got to many items on my "to-do" list, and was actually on my way out the door on time. For the first time in... ever, I think! One last glance at the plan book showed me that the wheels of my day fell off long ago and I didn't even know it -- my class was supposed to go check books out of the library early this afternoon. It isn't our usual day, but there is a field trip tomorrow, so we rescheduled for today. It's only written in inch-high letters in the plan book that I've been looking at all day.

A good day -- so close, yet so far...


News From Lake Wobegon...

  • I craved a CARROT!! Yes, indeed, since I have no access to any local news media, you will have to suffer through this tidbit of information. I just wanted something light and a little bit crunchy and sweet and... Hey! a carrot sounds so good. Yes, I know, it was the craziest thought I've ever had. I know some of you think I'm some health-freak that craves sprouts and fruit all day, but NO, I crave popcorn and chips and salsa, and Hot Tamales candy if it's a REAL bad day. Never anything that grows. So, this was big news. If I EVER crave tuna (NOT happenin') I'm calling CNN. Or the AMA.
  • I had a service person call to tell me what time they would be there! Yes, I had the 12-5 slot, so I was all settled in for the day when he called to say he would be there at 1:30. I could have crawled through the phone to hug the man. Of course, by the time he showed up at 3:20, my enthusiasm had waned. The fact that he also has the wrong equipment to do my job pretty much seals the deal.
  • Lion King! Oh, my word!! Amazing! I can't even begin to describe! Troy's dad took most of the family (my poor nephew got sick and had to miss! Bummer!) to see the broadway production of the Lion King while it was in Austin. PHENOMENAL. The sets. The costumes. The TALENT. Amazing. Indescribable. Wow.
  • I got nothing accomplished on spring break other than play with my kids. No yard work. No organizational prowess. No sewing. No reading. No writing. Playing. Lots of playing. It was grand.


How Great The Father's Love

Another VERY popular Google search that lands people at my blog is "how great the Father's love". It usually lands folks at this post, which I need to read again on a daily basis.

If you're seeking the scripture reference, it's I John 3:1: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

I love that word "lavished" -- that God has given without measure His love to us.

Some people, I believe, are looking for the song, "How Deep the Father's Love". Which is one of my all-time favorites and you only THINK you've heard it until you hear my friend Anne sing it -- you will believe with all of your heart you are at the foot of His throne with an angel singing behind you.

This version is, I believe, Sarah Sadler. Sarah DID write the song (again, I THINK) so she is certainly entitled to sing it -- and this one is nothing to sneeze at! Enjoy:


Fitness Friday #9: Healthy Eating

Okay, JUST as I was sitting down to write this post, I can hear the dog "cleaning up" in the kitchen, but she is REALLY licking/ smacking at something. I know I wasn't QUITE that messy while I was cooking, so I go to inspect what she is so interested in. I don't see anything on the floor... she USUALLY doesn't get on counters... EXCEPT I notice that a HUGE piece of venison that was still sitting out waiting to be cooked seems to be missing from the counters and the paper towel it was sitting on is a little frayed at the edges, maybe a little chewed? So, eating an ENTIRE RAW venison steak is probably NOT healthy eating, but, trust me, I've seen what my dog will eat -- you don't want to model your eating after her!

Okay, so healthy eating. I'm not a soy and afalfa sprouts kind of person. I cut calories and fat where I won't miss them, and add fiber when I can, but I am married to a VERY meat-and-potatoes person with one unbelievably picky child. I'm also not going to cook myself a meal and another meal for my family. I want my family to eat healthy, but not so strange that we are impossible to serve.

Let me say, though, that I could eat the same thing for the next 3 years and it won't bother me in the least. I have been eating peanut butter on whole wheat bread for breakfast for over two years now -- occasionally I'll put a banana with it just for kicks -- and I have no intentions of stopping anytime soon. I like it, it's filling, it's healthy. Bam! Enough for me. Hubby, on the other hand, will fall in LOVE with some meal or food, eat it three times, then declare that he is tired of it, and won't eat it for another 6-9 months. Whatever. If you are along these lines of ADD about your menu, I do NOT have that kind of variety in my arsenal.

Some of my current favorite items:

Roxanne put me onto these things and I LOVE them. MOST yummy (even my 11 year old says so) and 5 grams of fiber in an ounce!! This with a wedge of The Laughing Cow cheese is a filling snack!

I LOVE THIS STUFF!!! Butter is what I miss most when I'm really trying to be cautious with calories and fat. But what is popcorn without it? (The answer -- STYROFOAM!) So, I pop myself a 100-calorie Orville Redenbacher bag, and squirt this stuff all over it! I also use this for a grilled ham sandwich, and on top of some of my cooked veggies. Most yummy.

Now that the weather is warming up, there are so many more fruits as options! Grapes, mangoes, pineapples, honeydew -- there are just all kinds of yummy things out there. I'm not much of a raw veggie eater -- unless I drown it in ranch dressing, which somewhat defeats the purpose, I guess. For fruits, my grocery store has fresh containers of ready-to-eat fruits. Originally, they are OUTRAGEOUSLY priced, but are frequently "Reduced to Sell" since they won't be so fresh if they don't get off the shelf. I buy every one that is reduced and serve fruit salad for dinner and have some fresh fruit with my lunch the next day!

I'm aware, too, that sometimes eating healthy is costly -- why is the 75% less sugar cereal 75% more expensive? I try to still be frugal by shopping sales and comparing prices, but it can be difficult. Case in point: meat -- the lowest fat meat is the most expensive (lean hamburger meat or chicken breasts).

Be on the lookout for low fat, high fiber stuff in your store. Read LOTS of labels -- grocery shopping is quite an endeavor for me!

I know this post assumes you eat at home as much as I do -- and I know that few people actually do. It really is possible to eat healthy eating out, but you have to be careful. (Unfortunately, it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to eat healthy Mexican food -- bummer!) Next week I will post about healthy choices when you eat out.


So What did you choose?

Okay, I KNOW you have been just giddy with anticipation over what the outcome of my exercise dilemma was at 4:45 Tuesday morning! So, I looked at the clock. 4:49. I stretched out, happily thinking that a) I would actually get a good spot in my exercise class and b) I wouldn't have to rush to get there on time.

I'll just lay here and wait for the alarm (set for 5, remember?) Evidently, that moment relaxed me enough. I woke up -- no alarm -- looked at the clock. 5:43. Why isn't my alarm going off?? I found out that some "helpful" child didn't want me wasting electricity the day before. So instead of turning my radio OFF, they turned it all the way DOWN. So my alarm WAS going off, but not even my wonder-dog could hear it. *sigh* So now, the ONLY 50 minutes that I slept between 3:30 and 6:30 a.m. caused me to completely miss my class. I was not amused. AND it's not like I could just thank the Lord that I finally got to sleep and roll over and sleep more, because I had a breakfast meeting at 7:30. I was a wreck and a zombie. And not very happy. I tried to go, really I did. The Lord had other plans. I should be thankful!

This morning -- much better: I woke up at 5, having slept better last night than I have all week! I had a fabulous workout, in a "I-wonder-if-I-will-pass-out-or-throw-up-first" kind of fabulous. I came home and took a shower, then crawled back in bed with Troy just to warm up. The next thing I knew it was 9 a.m. and the birds were singing! So, evidently, it IS possible to take a nap at 7 a.m.!


Take Some Control!

Since I didn't post a Fitness Friday last week, I thought I could make my "Works for Me Wednesday" make up for it!

This is a tiny little tip that is a no-brainer for most of us. But I think it helps financially as well as portion-control. My kids are getting to the age that spring break gave me a panic attack about how I'm going to feed them for a week since they seem to eat non-stop after school until they go to bed. So, on my last week's grocery trip, I invested in a few more pre-packaged snack-type things than I usually do: applesauce, peanut-butter cracker, etc. I also got a HUGE bag of some really good (i.e., high dollar) trail mix. Wanting that bag to actually last until, you know, SPRING BREAK, I opened it and used a 1/3 c. scoop to scoop some into a zippered snack bag. I divided the WHOLE 3 pound bag into 1/3 c. snack bags and put all of the smaller bags into one gallon-size bag with a friendly reminder from mom to only have one per day (like I did to the peanut-butter crackers, etc.)
Not only does it help make those things last longer, but the kids (or grown-ups!) don't sit down for mindless eating and eat half the bag before they realize it.
Merci cuts up her salad veggies when she gets home from the store so that she will have a bag full of ready-to-eat salad veggies to toss together instead of eating a bag full of chips while trying to decide what would be healthy to eat! (Put the tomatoes in their own separate bag). What a great idea!
With a little planning ahead and thought (while you aren't STARVING), you can not only stretch your grocery dollar, but have ready-to-eat healthy food in it's own package waiting for you! It works for me!

To see other Works for Me Wednesday tips go here. To read more Fitness Friday healthy-living ideas, check back on Fridays!
(You'll have to wait a little longer to see what I decided! :-)

What Would You Do?

WHOSE idea is this, anyway? This whole time-change when it's PITCH black at 7 a.m.?? Hello? As a mom and teacher, I should be thankful that we have spring break to recover from this, but it is driving me crazy. AND -- WHY am I waking up at 5 a.m.? I wasn't waking up at 4 a.m. LAST week? What's up with that?

So, I have a question for you. Yesterday (Tuesday) I didn't wake up at 5 a.m. -- my alarm was actually set for 5, though. I woke WIDE awake at 3:30 a.m. I turned on the fan and used the bathroom. I lay in bed. I re-arranged closets in my head. I lay on my right side, then stomach, then left side, then back again (I did this little gymnastics routine about a dozen times) trying to get comfy and settled. I probably sighed a lot, too. My alarm was set for 5 because I go to a 5:30 a.m. bicycle class at my gym that I really enjoy -- as much as anyone can enjoy an exercise class at 5:30 a.m. Most of all, I like walking out of the gym at 6:30 a.m. having gotten in a great workout and being done for the day. Yes, I want to go through spring break (I go on Tu/ Th, my work days) and Tuesday I also had a 7:30 a.m. breakfast meeting with some church people.

So, at 4:45 a.m. I am still tossing and turning and debating my exercise class. It's not like I was sleeping, anway, so I should get up and go, right? But I am certainly not well rested, so maybe I should continue this not-so-restful laying in bed, right? I had the breakfast meeting (which meant I couldn't sleep in for long anyway) then I had told the kids I would pick up some friends to come over, but not a terribly crazy day ahead of me.

Which would you choose:
a) You aren't sleeping anyway -- at least get a good workout!
b) You had better rest while you can!
c) Going to a 5:30 a.m. exercise class is beyond the realm of my imagination.


The Cleft of the Rock

I probably get a dozen hits a day from someone googling (still love that verb!) "the cleft of the rock". Some, I guess, are looking for the scripture reference (Exodus 33:22) and several are looking for "Cleft of the Rock Ministries" -- which don't have a website, or I would refer you there. Sorry. But it makes me think, again and again, why I chose the name for my blog that I did.

I confess that there wasn't just a tremendous amount of thought that went behind it -- but when I thought of "The Cleft of the Rock", it completely fit. I love that in Exodus, when God places Moses in the cleft of the rock, Moses was having a one-on-one conversation with God. And, at this point, Moses basically said to God, "I need to be REALLY sure of you -- let me see your glory!"

God told him,
"I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."

I am precisely where God has placed me, and I have a front-row seat for His glory. The cleft of the rock --it fits.


Life With My 'Tween

I'm sure on command from her father, the 'Tween entered the laundry room with a hand full of detritus from the car to throw away. As a bystander busy with the sorting and folding of laundry, I had a front-row seat as she held the objects over an empty trash can, somewhat shaking them to and fro, looking expectantly at me.

"Yes?" I questioned, very much afraid of what the answer may be. "I'm waiting for someone to put a trash bag in the trash can," was the precise reply I was afraid of and received.

I gasped excitedly: "Does that WORK???" I grabbed some dryer lint, shook it over the empty trash can, and waited for the trash bag fairy to do her stuff.

When no trash bag magically appeared in the trash can, I suggested the 'Tween try a more conventional method of actually placing a trash bag in there herself. She was less than amused. I, however, am still cracking up.


Not On My Radar

Last night, after my mental health day, Troy took Ashley for a soccer evaluation, but left the TV turned on to the news. I was cooking dinner and listening, as is my practice. When the news went off, "Inside Edition" came on and since I had raw meat hands, I didn't go do anything about it.

I decided that the following is a partial list of subjects that, not only do I not care about, but I am annoyed when they take up air space around me:
  • How much Rosie hates Donald
  • How much Donald hates Rosie
  • Anything "American Idol" (I know, I'm treading on thin ice with this one)
  • What kind of flowers were at Anna Nicole Smith's funeral and precisely what kind of pharmaceuticals were in her room at the time of her death
  • The identity of the sixth man to claim paternity of Anna Nicole Smith's child
  • The follicular arrangement OR undergarment shortcomings of Britney Spears

I realize that each of these items represent a child of God, a soul on this earth, and I should care. But, I don't. Denise is on a mission to be Britney's only real friend in the world who will tell her she is making poor choices, and I support her with all of my being. But, besides my own, I have 2 little souls under my own roof I am trying to nurture, as well as one other big soul I am called to be a "help-meet" for! Then there are the 22 little souls in room 24 that, God love them, take up much of my prayer time. So, I am full. I am full of subjects to concern myself with. If the above list calls out to you as a mission project, go with God. I know those folks need Him.


My Mental Health Day

I did not go to Room 24 today. I took a mental health day today. Yes, at 8 a.m. this morning, we had scarcely more than 30 hours to go until the official beginning of spring break. Yes, I felt a wee bit guilty for about 36 seconds. Yes, I stayed at school until 6 p.m. on Tuesday getting ready for today. But what a wonderful day.

I went to TWO exercise classes. I walked my children TO and FROM school. I wandered the aisles at Target without a list or watch. I had lunch with my honey. He needed to go to Wal-Mart. Even Wal-Mart is fun on a mental health day. I napped in the sunshine like a kitty. I organized a kitchen cabinet. All because I wanted to. I only did what I wanted to today. It was GLO-REE-US.

So tomorrow it is back to Room 24 and all the drama that entails. But today was my mental health day -- so I think I can face it.


I Wish I Had Written It...

I will warn you that this post is VERY "chick-intensive", but if you are a chick, you'll laugh. That's a promise.

It reminds me of the time I was standing in my kitchen in 4 inches of water (and this wasn't even the flood incident) calling my local plumber who answered the phone thusly: "It's a great day at Mr. Rooter. How may I help you?" I advised perky Miss Rooter that if her business gave her the potential to be speaking to someone standing in 4 inches of water in their kitchen, they may want to re-think the whole: "It's a great day at Mr. Rooter" thing. Because it was NOT a great day where I was, and I really didn't want to talk to anyone who was having a great day.


You Might Be a Redneck...

Antique Mommy tells of Tuna, a quaint little small town where her in-laws live and everyone knows your name. Bankers are happy for your business and you can get some therapy with a make-over.

My little town is Tuna in disguise. Oh, we're big enough for our bank tellers to not really care when you show up, and we have our fair share of stoplights. Sometimes it even takes 12 whole minutes to drive "clear across town". But we are Tuna at heart.

I've always suspected it. While, sadly, this is the largest town I've ever held permanent residence in, it's really just a Tuna, but without all of the courtesy. What really drove this point home for me was the news tonight.

Our LEAD STORY on the local news is that ... (drumroll, please) we are getting 7-11 stores. Wake the kids, phone the neighbors, we're getting 7-11's.

That said, can I hear it for an Icee and a Big Gulp?


In the Know... Or not

The last week has found me responding to others' comments like so:

"Britney did what??? No, I haven't heard anything about that."

"Now, why is Hillary demanding that Barak return a campaign donation? No, I haven't heard anything about that."

"Seriously? The humidity here yesterday was 8%??? That's CRAZY! No, I didn't see any news yesterday."

People, I used to know what was happening in the world. Granted, none of the above listed information is last week's 9/11 by any means, but I used to watch the news at least once a week. I used to listen to the radio (which included news) on a regular basis. I have evidently moved into an information vacuum (but I still CANNOT get away from THIS!)

Here is what I do know:
  • When the kids have to be at the Bible Bowl lock-in, and what they have to bring.
  • When my local development officer has another out-of-town trip scheduled
  • When Jump-Rope-for-Heart donations are due
  • When Room 24 has to be at an all-school assembly
  • When book orders are due -- in Room 24, as well as Ashley's class
  • When Ashley has to be evaluated for soccer
  • When I'm getting my haircut
  • When the kids are getting their haircut
  • When the kids have to be at church for various and sundry LTC practices
  • The next time Troy sings at church
  • How many HOURS until spring break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've only got so much brain power and room in there.


Fitness Friday #8: How Do I Love My Heart-Rate Monitor, Let me Count the Ways ...

After a brief hiatus, Fitness Friday is back, better late than never!

I am cracking up, though, about where we all are in our quest for fitness. Remember the first of the year? Remember the resolve that comes from a) getting plenty of rest after Christmas when everything has died down and b)eating WAY too many holiday cookies? Then, remember the great snow-storm of January "aught-seven"? Then, remember the great snow-storm of February "aught-seven"? And you no longer have resolve for anything except getting warm and staying warm and piling as much insulation onto your body as you possibly can by way of creamy soups, hot desserts, and coffee with more calories than a hot-fudge sundae? Well, spring has sprung (momentarily, anyway) and resolve is beginning again because some folks are thinking of the pool! I am in a glorious break between basketball and baseball -- which means I can go to the gym on Saturdays (I know, it doesn't float everyone's boat, but it makes me happy) and I can take a few moments during the week to actually prepare a healthy meal.

So, moving on:

Have I mentioned my heart-rate monitor? Like 500 times, maybe? 'Cause I LOVE it, I really do. Here's why: I hate to run. Yes, that's pretty much why I love my heart-rate monitor. I hate to run (I try to run, I HAVE run, I will run out of frustration or duress, but I hate it) so I enjoy walking with my dog. However, I find that if I don't pay attention to what I'm doing, I will be off collecting daffodils in my brain (I never actually collect daffodils, but I usually make brilliant speeches or write Nobel-prize worthy articles) and slow to a speed where any Granny could just shoot right past me. Before my heart-rate monitor, I could lie to myself and think, "well, I'm walking, therefore I'm exercising, right?"

Enter my heart-rate monitor. My beloved gave it to me one Christmas, on the condition that I wouldn't TELL anyone that was what he gave me for Christmas (kind of like when my mom wanted decent scales -- yes, bathroom scales -- for her anniversary; I come from a long line of weight-kooks). I had REALLY wanted one, though, and he pulled through!

My monitor has a chest strap that fits right about where the bottom of a sports bra goes and a watch that displays the beats per minute (BPM). When I first got it I was surprised at how little it took to get my heart rate up to 70% of maximum, which is a good training range. I also noticed, though, that when my brain would vacate my body and I would be off picking daffodils or something, my BPM were approximately at TV-watching level. Knowledge is power! So now I have 30-45 minute walks that are actually doing some good now that I can pay attention to my heart rate (w/o having to try the whole "pulse-on-your-neck-while-walking-THEN-there's-multiplication-involved" trick). I know my walks are doing some good because now that I've been watching it for over a year, I have to REALLY kick it into high gear to get my BPM up to about 70% -- my body has accustomed to what I was doing, so I have to constantly focus more to have an effective workout. This evening, I even had to run to initially get my heart-rate up. Bummer.

A side benefit is that I now wear my heart-rate monitor in my RPM (spinning) class. I wasn't worried about not getting my heart rate up high enough in there, nor am I worried about getting it too high, but I find that I give the class a little extra effort when I can see I'm not in any actual danger of passing out (vomiting, maybe, but I should keep breathing just fine). I find that I will challenge myself to go just a little further and get my BPM up just a few beats higher for a short amount of time before I take advantage of a recovery period. So, I think I'm getting a better workout there, too.

AND -- oh, my gracious, I can't believe I almost forgot this -- on the rare day that it rains or is yukky weather (like 22*!) and I go get on the treadmill at the gym, my treadmill reads my chest strap! I can set the treadmill on "fat burn" program and it will alter the incline of the treadmill to keep my heart-rate where I tell it! Isn't technology awesome?

This is the same brand of heart-rate monitor that I have, but it's really a step up. This one has some other features, including calculating how many calories you burned based on your heart-rate. Y'all know I'm DYING for that feature, right? Seriously, I am. Because I take this whole fitness thing to a creepy, mathematical level. You can buy heart-rate monitors at Target, Best Buy, Academy -- basically anywhere that fitness gear and/ or electronics are sold. As I mentioned earlier, they cost about as much as a decent pair of walking shoes. However, I have now had my heart-rate monitor for 15 months and have only changed out a $4 battery. I'm on my third pair of walking shoes in 15 months!

Obviously, you don't HAVE to have one, but I think it can really allow your workouts to work for you in the time that you have.
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