May 29, 2011

something new

It's been a long time in the making, but I finally have two new pages added to my blog.

I'm often asked what books I'd recommend, so I decided to make it easy on both you and me by adding a page of recommended books. These are all books I've personally read and can vouch for, and I'm sure the contents of the page will change as I read more books.

I also decided to add a recommended movies tab just for fun. I watch a ton of movies (and I own a ton ... it's a problem I'm working on!), and I love talking about them. So if you're looking for a movie to watch, click on over to my movies tab and take a look ... and feel free to leave a comment, too!

May 28, 2011

reading is fun!

It's a good thing I like reading! These are the nine (yes, nine!) books currently awaiting my review. (And another book is on its way from Amazon Vine.) The top three all have to be reviewed in the next two weeks. My goal was to have all my book review books read prior to family vacation at the beginning of June and only take my Kindle with me. Now, it looks like I'll be carting the books along and leaving the Kindle behind!

May 27, 2011

surviving yearbook

I have lived and breathed yearbook for the past four days. From Monday morning at 9:30 through Thursday evening at 6:15, I put in 41 hours and 45 minutes. (Yes, I kept a log.) And now ... drum roll, please ... all 84 pages have been submitted! I've discovered that when I need to work so intensively on a project, I need some things to help me out. Here's what got me through this time:

Dance Dance Revolution for Wii--This functioned as a great stress reliever; trust me, when I was fighting with the ridiculousness that passes for text wrap in our design program, I needed a way to work off my frustration!

An excellent, dedicated student editor--I don't know if I would have survived without Michelle. I certainly wouldn't have been able to submit everything a whole 24-hours early. She even spent hours working on the index, which is an incredibly tedious project. Plus, we get along really well, which doesn't always happen with editors and advisers. I wish I could clone her and keep her as editor forever!

Odd working hours--I am so much more productive at night. I've known this for a long time, but when you have to be at work at 8 a.m. or earlier, it's pretty much impossible to stay up late to accomplish anything. Thus the beauty of this week: I set my own hours! Each night, I worked until midnight or later and then slept in the next morning. The first day was rough--I worked 12 hours, which I'm absolutely not used to--but after that, my body adjusted beautifully. I'm not looking forward to going back to a normal schedule next week.

Lots of snacks and drinks--Yeah, I ate all the goldfish pretzels and animal crackers. I didn't drink the whole 12-pack, though!

Music--Upbeat for the sleepy times (this included lots of boy band music--because I still love me some "Bye, Bye, Bye"--"happy" country, Mike Tompkins videos, and a new fav, Anthem Lights), and cinemix for the "I really need to focus" times.

Antacids--Thanks to all the snacks.

Neck wrap--It's amazing how much this helped when I was feeling the stress in my neck and shoulders. (As a bonus, you can see how ancient the computer in my classroom is. I took my laptop in all week because my desk computer was so maddening. Anybody want to make a donation???)

A way to block facebook and other distracting sites--I used LeechBlock, which allows you to set times of the day to block certain websites. I turned off facebook, Google Reader, and from 8-4. (Remember how I was working odd hours? Well, LeechBlock usually helped for the first 4-6 hours I worked, but after 4, I had to--gasp!--use some self control. I was moderately successful.)

Now that I'm finished for the school year, it doesn't seem so bad, and I'm pretty impressed with everything that Michelle and I accomplished this week. To those of you who are my facebook friends, thanks for putting up with all my frustrated status updates over the last several days. I promise not to talk about yearbook again ... at least until the fall!

May 8, 2011

single thoughts on mother's day

"Happy Mother's Day!" the elderly greeter exclaimed as I walked through the church doors.

Inwardly I cringed; outwardly I smiled as I shook his hand. I continued into the sanctuary and approached the usher.

"Happy Mother's Day," he said as he handed me a bulletin.

I'm not sure I even mustered a smile before walking away.

Several years ago, my mom told me that my uncle, who has never been married, doesn't attend church on Father's Day. The focus on something he doesn't have--and probably never will--is too painful. I got a small glimpse of that pain today.

Still, the sting that I felt at being confused for a mother pales in comparison to the pain many women are going through today. Yes, I want to be a mother, but my greater yearning is to be a wife. (If "Wife's Day" existed, I promise I would not be attending church that day!) As I slipped into my pew this morning, I couldn't help but think about the women I know who are experiencing infertility. On a day that celebrates what they most long to be, how do they handle the pain? How do they react to the well-meaning yet insensitive people around them?

My pensive mood continued throughout the worship time, and I wondered if I'd even hear a word my pastor said once he began preaching. Then the sermon title flashed up on the screen--a continuation of the series Pastor Mike began last week--and I almost burst out laughing. The title? "The Dungeon of Disappointment." I had no trouble paying attention.

This afternoon, I came across a blog post by Wendy Alsup (via Carolyn McCulley) entitled "For Moms, Former Moms, and Wannabe Moms." The whole thing is excellent, but here's the part that especially spoke to me:
God said children are a blessing. But after the fall, we do not all get to experience that blessing. The gospel makes up the difference. While you are disappointed in deep ways and that disappointment is real, you will one day sit with Jesus in heaven profoundly content with his work in you through this disappointment. In heaven, you will have no longing for something you missed. You will not be disappointed. May confidence in that hope sustain you.
You will not be disappointed. Those words are a balm to my soul. Whatever dreams are not coming true for you, whatever pain and disappointment you face in this life, cling to the hope of what is to come!

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