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Light at the End of the Tunnel

Whoever said that teachers are lucky because they get off at 3pm and don’t have to work during the summer clearly was not part of the profession.

Yesterday, when I got home, it was as though I was beginning a second shift.

After spending a few minutes outside with the dogs, I got back to work.  I took a short break for dinner with the Mr. and then resumed.

The extra six or so hours were productive.

I FINISHED my lesson plans for the REST OF THE SCHOOL YEAR!!!

I still have to do my copying for these plans, but y’all…my lesson plans are FINISHED!!!!

I even have substitute plans written and printed for the three days I’m taking off the end of May.

I give God full credit for helping me have a vision for each week.

I am thrilled beyond belief.

This buys me time to work on my end-of-the-year slideshows that I always create for my classes, but that’s the fun stuff.

Oh boy, I’m seeing that summer sunshine at the end of the tunnel.

June 1st cannot get here fast enough!!

Sunday Shenanigans

Oh Sunday, how wonderful art thou.

After a morning of church and lunch, I sat outside and read for a few minutes while the dogs sunned themselves.

That book, by the way, is the fourth in the Lunar Chronicles series, one that I have been hooked on since a student insisted that I read it (I originally owned the first two but then bought the rest of them).  Sooooo good!!!

Gambit tried to catch a lizard.  These critters, along with squirrels, torment my fur baby.

It didn’t take long until the dogs were ready to go in.  Talk about spoiled rotten!

The Mr. and I put together the table that is a part of a new patio set…one he’d ordered a week or two ago from Walmart.  I’m in love with this set!

The Mr. went grocery shopping and came home with some special treats for the dogs.  During Saturday’s phone call with Chicky, she’d told us about these, so the Mr. went hunting for them.

They have peanut butter in them and are frozen.  They pop right out of plastic containers.  All of our dogs went nuts for them!!!

Rooster’s girl came to the house late-afternoon, and we ran out to check out a wedding venue.  It’s one that Chicky’s high school friend got married at…on the water and so lovely…but nobody was there to talk to us about specifics, so “N” will have to go back another day.

Meanwhile, the Mr. was grilling hamburgers, and I’d put potatoes in the oven to roast.  Dinner and the company were a wonderful combination.

After N left, the Mr. and I sat outside, on our new chairs, and enjoyed a few minutes in the rare cool of an early spring evening.  The only thing that would have made this better would have been to have Chicky and Rooster with us.  Ah…empty nest syndrome…you are a beast still to be tamed.  The Moscato helped a little.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already Monday!  Time certainly flies when you’re having a good time!

I hope you had as fantastic of a weekend as I did!

A Perfect Saturday

Saturdays are simply wonderful, don’t you think?

I purposely don’t plan a lot because after a whole week of teaching, I’m exhausted.

The Mr. and I had loosely made some plans, but we had not exactly firmed them up.  As such, when he got up, I asked if he wanted to still go, and he half-heartedly said yes.

We loaded up the towels, sunscreen, and the Yeti cooler he’d purchased last year and headed out.

Our destination?

The beach!

Y’all, we really do have some of the prettiest beaches in the world.  They are light colored and debris-free.

We stopped for ice, gave half of the bag to a nice lady in the parking lot who only needed a little bit for her own adventure with her kids, and headed out.

We found the BEST spot…fairly close to the water…not too close to kids who could kick sand onto our little oasis…not too far from the restrooms.

This is the beach I grew up going to on vacation.

It is home.

It didn’t take me long to settle in.

My new bathing suit…one of four the Mr. bought me for this summer season…fit perfectly.  My new beach body, courtesy of the two Beach Body programs I’ve completed since September, had me wearing the suit confidently.

We were careful and reapplied sunscreen every hour after trips to the water to cool off.

I got in a lot of reading time.  In between chapters, the Mr. and I exchanged small bits of conversation.  The day was so relaxing.

People watching was about as much fun as anything else.  Watching college guys try to pick up four girls seated not too far from us made us chuckle.  Oh, to be young again, eh?  Not really though.  😉

We stayed until 4pm.  I took one last photo of the beach.  So pretty.

Before we headed home, we ate at a little indoor/outdoor restaurant on the beach.  We’d visited it last year and had enjoyed the food.  My vegetable tacos (salsa, rice and beans, and lettuce) were divine.

As we left, Chicky called.  My heart seriously soared.  I had not talked to her in over a week, much longer than the allotted amount of time.  ❤

When we got home, we had a letter from Rooster waiting in the mail.  He’s doing so well in basic training…really stepping up to the plate.  Missing him is so hard, but hearing that he’s adjusted to a new routine makes things a little easier to bear.  ❤

Saturday was the perfect day.

Clean, You Must


I thought that once my kids moved out, I’d have a clean house.

The following pictures are proof that the opposite is true…

What the heck is happening?

Well, you see, my new routine is that I come home from work, greet the fur babies, work on my Bible study, eat dinner with the hubby, write a letter to Rooster, and maybe watch TV (more often than not, I go to bed and read a bit).

Although I am super-productive at work, the afternoons seem to disappear in the blink of an eye.  Weekends have me doing stuff with the Mr.

I kind of feel bad but know that if need be, I’ll catch up as soon as school lets out.

Still, Yoda’s voice echoes in my head…”Clean, I must.”


A New Set of Wheels

When my boy left for Basic Training, we sold his car, per his request.

For the last two weeks, one half of the garage has sat empty…

Until yesterday morning when the following was delivered…

The Mr. has been reworking the budget in an effort to save a few dollars.  Our priorities are changing, you see, and saving for visits to the kids have taken the top spot.

One decision the Mr. made was to discontinue our lawn service and start taking care of the yard ourselves.  Ahem.  Hence, the purchase.  He also bought an aerator, which I’ll have to put together this weekend.

The Mr. is calling this his “tractor.”

Yeah, buddy.  Whatever rocks your boat.

This is empty nest at its finest, y’all.

Little Things Matter

Dear Rooster,

You’re currently in your second week of Basic Training.  By now, I’m sure you’ve begun to learn a very important lesson.

Little things matter.

In fact, more people notice them than you might have thought before you left.

As this lesson is imparted on you daily, I, too, am seeing this play out in my own life.

As you know, I was recently nominated for a teacher award at my school.  You might remember, because you were still home when I got the news, that I cried when my assistant principal told me that I was in the top five.  I was quite shocked because I’ve never considered myself very special.

The packet for the award has been in-depth; the list of things to be completed, though somewhat short, has required much thought and introspection.

I requested letters of recommendation from colleagues and a former student; I asked four current students to sit for taped interviews that the selection committee will later watch.

What angst I went through.  Who should I ask?  What would they say?  Had I ticked them off so they’d say negative things?

Everyone I asked was more than happy to participate, and as I started receiving letters to add to my packet, I became overwhelmed with emotion.

My fellow teachers who wrote letters were so very kind.  They mentioned specific instances…interactions with students and other staff…that I’d taken no special notice of nor really remembered.

They had noticed.

My former student wrote such a lovely letter.  She’s set to graduate in a few short weeks, and she said that she wants to become a teacher because of me…because of the little things I did for her class the year I taught her.

She had noticed.

A couple of nights ago, I worked on editing the video that had been taken of me teaching a class.  It was awkward, at first, but then I began to see things…the ways that students were helping each other in class…the compliments they were paying to each other when I was helping someone across the room.  I’m fairly certain that I had a role in their behavior, because I’d been modeling it all year.

I noticed.

At the end of the lesson, I saw that the video continued, and to my shock, I saw the student interviews that had been conducted last week.

I felt like a fly on the wall as I listened in.

Rooster, do you know that each student recounted instances where I had spoken words of motivation…when I’d taken a few moments to encourage them to hold their heads high and not judge others.

They spoke of how they’d become readers in my class because of the books I’d pointed them to and the questions I’d asked while I was doing read alouds…seemingly simple questions in my opinion but questions that made them see the world in a different way.

One of these students was a gal who didn’t like me at the beginning of the school year.  In fact, she didn’t trust me, and she wasn’t shy about telling me how she felt.

On camera, she spoke of how I’d changed her life…by keeping her on task…by making her read and work when she didn’t feel like it.

These students had noticed the little things.

I just started a new online Bible study, and the first week’s memory verse is from Luke 16:10 – “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

You can be sure that the little things do matter, in our physical and spiritual worlds.

People notice.

God notices.

And just when you think that nobody is watching, remember that they are.

Your life matters.

How you live it matters.

Never get too big for your britches that you forget this lesson, and never get so down on yourself that you don’t think you are contributing anything.

You are.

We are.

Because we are His…children of the King.

I love you.



Dressing for the Season

Oh Spring, how I love thee.

Tis the season for pulling out dresses that have been in hibernation, along with sandals.

Being a Florida girl, I get to celebrate the warm weather a little earlier than my northern friends.

I can’t say that’s a bad thing…from my perspective, that is.

Once Upon a Disappointment

Dear OUAT Writers and Producers,

Once upon a time, I was extremely excited that a television show built around fairy tales had been made.

Sunday nights were, once again, something to be looked forward to with a family-friendly television show airing each week.

Season after season, I followed the adventures of Snow, Charming, Emma, and crew.

I cried at the sad parts and laughed at the silly antics.  Rumple ticked me off, but in a deliciously evil way.

Poor Belle…she just couldn’t seem to find permanent happiness, and Regina…well…she just really wanted to be happy and good but fought that bad nature in herself.

All was going swimmingly well in my life until Sunday night.

Why oh why did the writers and producers have to ruin the show?

What the heck made you think that Red and Dorothy should be more than BFFs?

I was appalled at the last five minutes of the show.

If I’d had a child watching, I would have had some explaining to do.

Why in the world would you cave to the pressures that other shows have felt…the pressure to be politically correct and bend to the LGBT agenda?

You ruined clean, pure children’s tales (ok…I know that Brothers Grimm tales were actually dark and dreadful, but let’s not go there right now) into something that makes a mockery out of childhood innocence.

I’m peeved.

I’m removing this show from my DVR.

This may not matter much to you, but perhaps, if other Christians banded together and expressed their displeasure, you’d listen.

Stop allowing yourself to an avenue for the liberal way of thinking and allow viewers to have something clean to watch on TV.

Until then, I won’t be tuning in.


Your Former #1 Fan,

Fired Up About My TurboFire Results!

Because I have not blogged very consistently since last August, I have lots and lots of blanks to fill in.

As you may know, though, I got back into shape with PiYo, my first Beach Body program last fall.  I lost over seven inches and fourteen pounds.

I jumped immediately into my second program, TurboFire, which is a combination of low and high intensity cardio and kickboxing workouts.

I loved the first video of the series and then hated the second video.  I thought, uh oh.  I couldn’t keep up with the fast moves!  I persisted though, and eventually got used to the names of the different punches and kicks.

I enjoyed it so much that when the first three months were almost finished, I asked the Mr. if I could get the extended program.  He agreed to my request, which allowed me to completed two more months!  It wound up being twenty weeks long.

The reason why I wanted to do this program was because I’d read about how many calories a person can burn, and I knew I wanted to burn off the belly fat that remained after the PiYo.

What was tricky, though, was adjusting to an altered eating pattern.  On PiYo, I limited myself to 1200 calories.  The diet was very strict, and I followed it to the letter.

With TurboFire, I was supposed to increase my calories twice.  The first time I increased, I gained weight, which ticked me off.  I wound up going back down to 1260 calories and was able to maintain my weight despite burning tons of calories.  I didn’t follow the diet as strictly because I wanted things like margaritas and pasta.  I still watched my portions but trimmed back on the number of snacks I was allowing myself.

All in all, I am proud of the results.  I lost a few more inches, mainly in my waist, which was my goal, and wound up two pounds up from what I’d ended with PiYo.  That could be due to muscle weight, water retention, or just natural fluctuation.

Here are my before (the left) and after (the right) photos.

The changes aren’t as drastic as with the PiYo, but I am more toned than before, and my abs started appearing.  I have more work to do and will start my new program in a couple of weeks.

Good health, I’ve continued to find, is not something that happens to me but, the older I get, must be maintained through careful eating habits and a consistent exercise routine.

I feel so much better about myself than I ever have…evidenced by the bikini I wore to the pool yesterday…brand new…that had been hanging from my mirror as incentive.

Not only am I transforming myself on the outside but on the inside as well.  Talk about being fired up!

Making a Run For It

I don’t know about you, but I was a busy gal this weekend.

A few months ago, I’d signed up for two virtual runs…runs that would be taking place the SAME weekend.

The first one, the Umbridge 13k (aka “The Final Inaugural ‘I Must Not Tell Lies’ Dolores Jane Umbridge Run 13k…Or Until It Sinks In”), was sponsored by the Hogwarts Running Club that I’m a part of.

Guys, seriously.  13k.  Like, I had to look that up to see how far it was.

8.1 miles.

The most I’d done was five miles.

Virtual runs are very different from in-person runs in that you do them kind of when you want.  There’s always a “suggested” date, but ultimately, you pay your entry fee, which usually goes toward a charity, get your bling, and then whether or not you actually run is up to you.  It’s you versus your conscience.

The suggested date was the weekend of April 15th (aka Tax Day…when it hurts).  I had planned on splitting up the run into two days, with four miles each, but I procrastinated, and then it rained, and then I had a good hair day, and then it rained some more.


I didn’t really want to run.

Saturday was the day, though.  I slept in and then headed out around 11…still sort-of planning on doing it in two days.

Sometime during my first quarter mile, I decided that I’d go for it, and instead of turning left in my neighborhood to do my usual route, I turned right and went out of my subdivision.

I had an idea of where I wanted to run…past the fire station, up to the light, past an elementary school, and through a neighborhood I’d driven through once or twice.

I kept a close eye on my Garmin watch and wound up doing about five miles before I headed back toward home, passing the fire station again.  I still had a little over two miles to go when I decided to go into the neighborhood across the street from mine.  I have a good friend who lives there, so I’m familiar with the layout.  This was about two hours into my run, and by that time, I was dying of thirst…could literally taste icy water.

It was bad, and I considered calling the Mr. to bring me water.

It was at that point that I happened upon my friend’s house, and her CAR WAS IN THE DRIVEWAY!!!

I rang her doorbell and could barely utter the words, “Water” before she let me in.  She was a gracious host and didn’t bat an eye as I guzzled down two bottles of water without stopping.  Water was dripping down my face and off of my chin even.

Once I had recovered and caught my breath, we chatted a few minutes before I headed out to finish the last two miles.

By the time I got home, I’d put in nearly nine miles!!!  I did them with half-mile intervals of walking and running.

I felt so empowered.  I had not run for a number of weeks.  I guess my most recent workout program had done its job of making me more fit aerobically.  The biggest thing that motivated me was thinking about Rooster.  I figured that if he could do all of that PT in basic training, I could crank out a run.

I passed by soccer fields my children used to practice on. I had a few tears in my eyes. It was a bittersweet moment.

On Sunday, I made sure I was up early enough to do a second run…the Run Dog Run 5k, sponsored by Gone for a Run, another neat running organization.  The suggested date for this run was the 17th.

Now, let me tell you that after eight miles the day before, I knew that three miles would be a piece of cake.

I took Gambit with me, and we set off.  Once again, I did half-mile intervals, and he kept up quite nicely.  He’s still quite young and has a lot of energy.  The weather was a gorgeous 61 degrees.  My time wasn’t great, but that was because I was training Gambit not to trip me, and I did stop a couple of times to take pictures.

Man, did I feel good when I finished, but my hips…not so much.

I still managed to get ready for church…early in fact…and then spend the afternoon at the pool.

Life wasn’t all too bad in these here parts (when I wasn’t crying randomly because something reminded me of Rooster).

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