Friday, February 22, 2013

feeling productive

Through a series of interesting events, I found myself with nothing on the schedule for today. It was strange to realize that I had all of this free time to spend as I wish.

Not going to lie... I was seriously tempted to go back to bed and sleep the day away.

Instead, I went to my favorite little coffee shop with my laptop and busted out the last of my lessons for my PTLS (Planning, Teaching, Learning Sample), created a pre-test about the iron curtain, and scooted over to the library to pick up some books for content research on the Cold War.

I'm kind of proud of all the work I got done before 3pm!

There are still more things on my list, but it feels good to power through some of the more daunting tasks.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

pushing forward

Yesterday was a rough day for me. The stress of my program and trying to get some projects together played off of a lack of sleep and it got ugly. It was hard to focus in class. It was hard to connect to the passion I have for teaching.

In a word, it was really discouraging.

Today I woke up feeling similar and I had to work hard to make positive choices. I purposely dressed up for class and put on makeup. I stopped for some tea. Then I met with my adviser to finalize my plans for my ESOL student teaching portfolio.

It helped a bit and when I got home I managed to get some work done. I also registered for my certification exam.

I'm still not feeling 100% back on board, but I have to believe that this is just one of those things people deal with while they are nearing completion of a big goal. I just have to trust that this disconnect I am feeling is due to stress.

I took on so much this semester, but I'll make it through.

Friday, February 15, 2013

You really do need to floss

This is your friendly reminder to make sure you are not only brushing your teeth, but FLOSSING them regularly as well. I was at the dentist today (for compliments on my smile and a cleaning, of course) and heard the "you need to floss more" lecture several times from other rooms. While it can be entertaining to hear the excuses, I remember all too well what it feels like to be on the receiving end of those lectures and the consequences of not flossing regularly.

I know what you're thinking...

But if you think you don't have time to floss (5 minutes maximum each night) then you are in for a rude awakening when you have to sit in the dentist chair for hours with your mouth numb while they do a deep cleaning.... or a root canal... or a filling... or various other unpleasant treatments. 

Also, not many people know this, but if you floss regularly your gums will look healthier and the dental hygienist doesn't have to stab you with that sharp pick thing at each visit. It's only used when they feel they need to check for periodontal disease... which you can easily prevent through flossing. I would think most people would prefer less stabbings in their lives.

If you are still not convinced, I have a challenge for you. When you brush your teeth tonight give your mouth a quick floss and then smell the dental floss. If you are not completely grossed out by the nasty smell then I will never ask you to floss again. For the rest of you, I'm willing to bet the smell will be enough to motivate you into establishing a habit.

Keep in mind that water flossers are not as expensive as they once were. They are a great option for those of us who feel incredibly awkward trying to get to those back teeth with that tiny string wrapped around our fingers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent and other new-ish adventures

For those who were not aware, today is Ash Wednesday - the beginning of the Lenten season.

Over the last several years this day has not held much significance for me. I did not really pay much attention to lent or anything having to do with church. The truth is, even though I spent a lot of my younger days involved in church- teaching Sunday school, participating in weekly bible study, attending youth group, going on mission trips -  I hit a spiritual dry spell once I moved out on my own. I met people with radically different beliefs, sometimes none at all. I experienced new situations and feelings and I found myself really questioning my beliefs for the first time. The new life I wanted to live, and the people I had come to care for and wish to be accepted  by, did not fit within the beliefs I brought with me into this new phase of my life. So, I distanced myself from the church and rationalized my choices until I didn't feel guilty about them.

This year is different though.

You see, this year Steve and I are really embracing Lent and all that it means as candidates for confirmation within the Catholic church.

To keep an incredibly long story slightly more brief, I have felt a tug back to the church since leaving Savannah. In dealing with my issues I realized I wanted to get back that spiritual relationship I threw away when I started college. It felt like a really important piece to the puzzle once I began receiving physical and emotional healing of my various ailments. Unfortunately, none of the churches I visited felt right... they didn't feel like home the way it did back in middle and high school. I would come home angry and upset after the services and Steve didn't even want to attend with me because he felt so uncomfortable. 

The anger and discomfort wasn't even due to dealing with our baggage. That would have been understandable. Many times I just wholeheartedly disagreed with what the preacher had to say!

After seeing me come home so many times disappointed, Steve suggested the Catholic church. I was hesitant for many reasons... not the least of which being the experiences of friends of mine who are Catholic dealing with their own issues within the church. In the spirit of open mindedness, we tried it out and we were surprised by how much we didn't hate it.

We began the process of inquiry back in August and have been attending RCIA classes. We met with one of the deacons of the church to discuss our questions and anxieties about joining the church. We have been reading the Catechism and studying the teachings of the church. I have had coffee dates with my conversion sponsor once a week lasting hours on end due to my many many questions on theological issues present in the church. There have been debates and tears and all sorts of awkward moments since we jumped in at the deep end in August.

At the end of the day, with the help of some friends, Steve and I have come to the conclusion that the Catholic church is the place for us to rebuild our spiritual relationships and raise our family. So, now that we have the basic information and understandings of the church, we will go through some rites this weekend before entering into the final weeks of classes and getting confirmed at the Easter vigil mass. Catholic Lent is a bit different than what I have experienced in the past. The no meat on Fridays thing kind of threw me if we're being honest. But, we've got plans to attend a fish fry or two and I've been pinning recipes so we will survive.

Steve has chosen to give up meat on Wednesdays as well for his Lenten sacrifice. I have chosen to give up ice cream and replace my slightly trashy chick lit/ brain candy reading with some books on theology of the body borrowed from my sponsor. 

If you don't mind, please be praying for us as we go through this transition. We know not everyone will feel supportive of this choice, but it is what we feel is best for our family.

In thanks to the many Catholic bloggers who have offered some interesting perspectives over the last few months, I'm going to link to a favorite blog's "Little Holy Days" linkup. Maybe something over there will strike your fancy.

In other news: classes are going well. I'm completely overwhelmed most days, but I think that comes with the whole "last semester of classes" thing. Again, I will survive.