Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jenga Fun

Willem came to visit me for the night! And, because we don't have a competitive bone in our bodies, we had a relaxed, calm game of Jenga... (wink, wink)

Enjoy the sequence of pictures :)




As you can see, we aren't having any fun at all.

Let me just say...

...that we have the best dog in the world!

I mean it. He's the best dog in the world.

After his first swim
Leif's Christmas gift from my mom. He was so proud of that thing!

Raven's Rocks on the AT


Near Pandapas Pond
You wouldn't believe how many times this week he's comforted me and checked on me. When we haven't been together for a few hours or more he needs a cuddle, just as much as I do too. He'll walk up and nuzzle his nose into my legs, if I'm standing. If I'm sitting, he'll come by and rest his head on my lap. And, if invited, he'll place his front paws and chest across my legs, while I'm sitting, and nuzzles into me. He'll stay there for minutes, sometimes fifteen or twenty, if I'm willing.

Sometimes he comes up and gives me a hug, almost like a human would. It blows my mind!

Fetching at Cascades
He loves the water and a good hike. And he's gentle with other dogs, but loves a good romp. His training is really shining through.

Leif always checks to see if I'm with him outside or inside. And if he hears a sound from me upstairs, he's quick to come up and make sure I'm okay. Outside he knows his limits and sticks close, even if we're not paying too much attention.
Christmas wrappings

A better companion I never could find. Jim's a dog whisperer, that's for sure. I'll take the credit for teaching him to sit, lie down, swim (Well, I coaxed him in and gave him his confidence!) and fetch, but Jim taught him how to heel, stay, and stick around.

It's camping time!
We can't even begin to imagine our lives without him. He's certainly our first baby.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

News from Honduras

Jim's sent me two emails, so far. Below I have included a few excerpts from his emails. Jim's a really good writer, sometimes called "Mr. Rhetoric" by loving family because he corrects some of us a fair amount. I often say that he should be the English teacher and not me. These emails crack me up because he is trying to write them on a friend's phone. Neither of us are very good at texting and it takes us a long time, so his emails have been short, with lots of abbreviations. I've tweaked these quotes a bit, so they are easier to read and don't have any of the autocorrect words.

"We work hard then eat well and we even play some bball before bed. The docs are great."

"We went to eat at the local mall. Ask me about what I ate when I come home. Just wait & ask!"

I'm looking forward to hearing just what it was that he ate :) This sums up about all that I know about his trip so far. 


My students were testing today, which meant I had to climb the stairs to the lab a few times today. My head is going strong and my neck is sore, but the day is done :)

Thank you to Mike and Tino for walking Leif during the past couple days! He's been loving it, and I've been so grateful to have a tired boy around. Today Mike even took him for a swim. He's worn out and I am thrilled.

Lindsay made a lasagna dinner, so Mike and Lindsay will be swinging by in a bit to have dinner with me! They are too kind :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

National Players!

Willem, my brother, has always enjoyed acting and performing. His first audience, other than our family, were the drivers who happened to pass by our home in Savannah, Georgia. Willem would wear his Peter Pan costume and fight off Captain Hook on the brick steps of our house. Passersby would slow down and observe this young child in his play.

Before he could string together a sentence in communication, Willem could regurgitate an entire book, without missing a word. He would listen to books on tape and memorize the words. You know those books and tapes that would make a sound to let you know to turn the page? Yep, he would speak the entire book and even make the page turning sound before he could even talk. The boy's got an amazing memory and ability to remember quotes from movies, books, you name it! It's as if he has a film running in his head.

One year he played Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. While I was driving him home one day, he asked me if he could recite the monologue from the trial to me. Well, this monologue went on and on and on; I was so impressed that he could memorize something so complex. When he was done reciting it I asked him how long it took him to memorize it. His answer- one bus ride! What?

Willem graduated from college in December. He was a theater major and, since graduating, has been auditioning and applying for auditions. He did have a short stint as a body double with the Virginia Opera, but he's been looking for something more long-term. Well, he made it BIG!

Willem as Ajax, in Ajax
He's been selected to be a part of the National Players! From what I've read and heard from my dad and from him, he'll be traveling all over the country and to some military bases abroad!!! They will be performing two plays: Romeo & Juliet and Animal Farm! Each actor will have a part in each play. And, the best part is that he'll be reporting in July and will be touring with them through May! He'll have a full-time gig! WOOOOHOOO!

We couldn't be more proud.


I haven't received any news from Jim yet; I'm sure they are having a great experience! As far as my health, I had a coughing fit last night and so that brought a lot of pressure to my head. Sleeping was harder last night and today the headache was stronger. 

Thank you to Tino for walking Leif today! He's been restless for some activity! :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Honduras Bound!

Leif and I just saw Jim off for his trip to Honduras! I'm so excited for him to have this opportunity again. He had such a rich experience last year and is even more excited about getting everything he can out of this trip.  You can bet that pictures will be posted upon his return!

As my mom always says, though, it's always hardest to be the one left behind...

But I must say, he certainly out-did himself during these last few days and I feel so surrounded by his warmth and love. The house has been cleaned, the carpets washed, the bed made, and the laundry and dishes done. He also gave me a list of friends to call from VCOM, if I needed help with Leif. Even the secretary there wanted him to give me her information, so she could help if I need anything. Not only that, but he made two pizzas (from scratch) for me to eat for meals this week. And, last but not least, he picked some flowers for me during his last few minutes at home! I'm humbled by his love & care.

Perhaps next time I'll be able to tag along! Until then, Leif and I will cuddle and chill.

Keep him in your thoughts this week.


Thank you to Aunt Carla, Uncle Sam, Alex, and Logan for their generosity and gift card to Olive Garden! That was our date on our last night together :)

Health update (sorry, some of you have been asking!): I'm doing pretty well. I still have soreness in my neck and I still have the headache. Some days my headache gets very light and I'm so grateful for that. My neck was more painful than usual on some days this week. I'm following the doctor's orders, taking my meds, and taking it very easy. It's a slow recovery, what can I say?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'll Fly Away

Miles away today, people gathered to celebrate the life of an amazing man.

I didn't know him well, but my sister did. Phoebe's someone who can come into your life and magnificently change it for the better. This man was one of the few who could return this gift to her. For her birthday one year he surprised her with a cake. And he loved to tell jokes, just as much as Phoebe loves to laugh. His jokes now live on in many, especially Phoebe. They had a mutual love for each other.

At the service, Dad and a few students performed "I'll Fly Away." These lyrics paired with the melody and harmony say what empty, futile sentiments cannot during this time....

Some bright morning, when this life is over I'll fly away
To a land on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away...

I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away.
When I die hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away.

When the shadows of this life have gone, I'll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I'll fly, I'll fly away

I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away.
When I die hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away.

Just a few more weary days and then, I'll fly away
To a land where joys will never end, I'll fly away

I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away.
When I die hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Day Trip to Staunton

Things I loved about Sunday:
- time spent with my parents
- conversations and catch-up about family, perhaps there was a little teasing in jest, too!
- yummy Shenandoah Pizza for lunch
- an INCREDIBLE show (Much Ado About Nothing at Blackfriar's Playhouse... I mean really, can they get any more talented? If you haven't been, you should check them out!)
- walking around the beautiful city of Staunton, Virginia
- a gorgeous, spring-like day
- walking through the glass-blowing store, Sunspots
- getting a DELICIOUS pork tenderloin from my dad (the grill-master) and a beautiful gift from my mom

I'm so sorry I didn't have our camera to snap a few pictures! My dad had his flip-video, so perhaps one day I can load the video. But it was a wonderful day. It was also just too short, but it was a taste of summer and what's to come...

Since then I've been a bit exhausted and have tried to take it easy at school and at home. It's amazing what can truly wear me out these days. A Wrinkle in Time continues to be a blessing for me and my students and I am so fortunate to work with such supportive people!

Someone told me that we only have 44 more days of school... I think I can make it :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

An Irish Prayer

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends, A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.


I had another doctor's appointment today with my family doctor. My INR was at a 2.1! Yay, I'm still within the normal range! And we joked that this year I'm only allowed to wear green, not eat green (since most leafy greens contain Vitamin K, which counteracts the Coumadin/Warfarin).

Today we ran a few errands after the appointment and those completely exhausted me. I now have a killer headache. But one thing happened while we were shopping that brought me such joy! You see, there is this one guy at our local Walmart and he always works in the produce section. I love it when he's there because he has one of the most beautiful whistles I've ever heard. Not only that, but he whistles classical music with such accurate precision that he brings smiles to the faces of the most serious, frantic shoppers. 

Well, today he was whistling none other than "O' Danny Boy!" And if that doesn't put you in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, then I don't know what will! Even if we move and/or stop shopping at Walmart later in our lives, I will always remember this gentleman, his incredible whistling, and the soothing feeling of hearing his music in an unexpected location, whenever I am in a produce section.

And tomorrow'll be a great day because we are heading to Staunton to meet up with my parents for lunch and then to see "Much Ado About Nothing" at Blackfriar's Playhouse! Very excited!

Thank you to Wanda for the delicious spaghetti and apple pie! YUM. 

Thank you to Kim (Jim's mom) for the yummy cookies & gifts delivered by John (J's dad) yesterday, as he passed through our area!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Alaska 2011
The symbolism of this picture strikes me today. One continuous line stretches across each stone, tying together the separate pieces into a complete sequence. No matter the size, the stones move the line along with slight adjustments and bends along the way. Each stone needed to be laid before the next could follow and none can be removed without disrupting the entire product. Beautiful and serene, and yet, it's really all just sand and stones...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Beauty: Spring & Banff Film Festival

What a gorgeous day! Too beautiful to spend inside with parent conferences, that's for sure! Spring is certainly here, as far as the daffodils are concerned, and the stalks of some bulbs are sneaking out of the ground. One flowering tree at school is completely confused and each bud has flowered. I don't have the heart to whisper that winter is not officially over, but perhaps the tree is wiser than me.

The beauty helped me take my mind off the MASSIVE bill from the hospital. Ay yi yi! Some phone calls are going to be made before that's all over...

But I also found this video, by way of a friend, and I'm bummed that this event is going on here in Blacksburg TONIGHT and I'm not there. Next year I'll be there! This Banff Infernational Film Festival teaser video, from the Banff International Film Festival, contains views and feats that are just spectacular! The actual film festival must be amazing and I can't believe/am embarrassed that I haven't actually looked this up before.

Click here: Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival for more information. Perhaps it's still possible for you to see the one in your area!

For a few, brief minutes I found myself on those mountains, scaling those cliffs, and kayaking those rivers, too. But honestly, I'm happy to be watching them and not actually in some of those choppy waters!!! I'm a dare devil, but I certainly have my limits.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Forward!

It's always hard to get used to skipping an hour. Our internal clocks just can't quite adjust and it's hard to get up while it's still dark. The students seemed a bit more drowsy today, too. And it's a Monday.

Even still, today wasn't a droll Monday for us...

Remember our campfire area?
Our landlord and the grounds guy, Travis, decided to mulch some of the areas around our property that don't grow much grass. One of those areas just happened to be our backyard! And, since we have a fire pit in our yard, they decided that we should have some gravel, instead of mulch, in case of a wayfaring spark landing in the mulch. Therefore, Travis spent the entire day hauling small boulders from the woods with a wheelbarrow and over to our yard.

On this Monday I came home to a new and improved, beautiful backyard! It may be difficult to see, but there is a ring of boulders encircling some gravel (more is coming later...the circle is not quite complete). He also added boulders to our little pathway to the back porch, that Jim started last year.

How exciting! It pays to be good friends with the grounds person! He comes by often with his pup, Mack, to talk to us (mostly Jim, since I'm often still at school) and to let the boys socialize.

We hope something added a spring to your step today, too!

Thank you to Regina for a tilapia dinner today! We've really appreciated all of the meals over the past few weeks. We're humbled by your generosity.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Int'l Day of Awesomeness!

Well, who woulda thunk it?!

Today is the day of awesomeness! 

International Day of Awesomeness

Today is the International Day of Awesomeness! This day gives us the opportunity to celebrate every person, place, thing, or idea in the world that is awesome. As the official tag line points out, “No one’s perfect, but everyone can be awesome.”
A man named Kevin Lawver declared the need for an International Day of Awesomeness in 2007. He was working with an intern named Freddie Maneiro who suggested that the office should celebrate Lawver’s awesomeness. Lawver replied that there should be an International Day of Awesomeness. He posted the idea to Twitter and the rest is history.
The International Day of Awesomeness occurs every year on March 10th, which also happens to be Chuck Norris’ birthday. To celebrate the occasion, check out the official website for this holiday, organize a group of friends and perform feats of awesomeness, and have an awesome day! (

Okay, so how did we celebrate? We, without knowing it was this holiday, planned to get a coffee table! This might now sound exciting to you, but it's awesome for us! Each time we get a new piece of furniture we feel we are climbing the rung away from college life into adulthood ;)

Now it sits in our living room/loft area and we love it. It's oak, it's simple, and it was cheap! We try to buy furniture only if it's quality and we can see it lasting with us for the rest of our lives.  I'm sure it will be a prized possession for years to come.

We ran some errands- always awesome to conquer some of them! Well, awesome after the fact...

We also went to the dog park with a friend and let the dogs wear themselves out. It was a beautiful day to be outside and chatting. Now we sit inside, snacking on a late lunch and enjoying the fact that our dogs are tuckered out.

Who knows what we'll get into next?! Whatever it is will be low-key, just like the rest of the day. But I think I'll keep this day in mind for the coming years :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fantasy: an escape!

Last year I attended the annual conference sponsored by The Reading and Writing Project at the Teacher's College  of Columbia University. Every year it's held in New York City and I was so fortunate to have the support from my school and the chance to go with my mom and her coworkers. While at this conference I went to a presentation that inspired and moved me. It moved me so much that I made the next unit I taught fantasy.

Below you'll find the notes I made while in the presentation:

Presenter: Mary Ehrenworth
Session Title: Epic Books, Epic Readers: Coming of Age as a Reader of Fantasy
When you introduce a genre study it is important that you tell your students: what, why and what it will look like.
Why fantasy?
    1. Unleashes imagination
    2. Coming of age- How to be better? Events and issues that can be found in our everyday lives.
    3. So beautiful (worlds, escape from reality, characters, discoveries, etc)
    4. Preteens yearn to be extraordinary or more than they are. They yearn to transcend the ordinariness of their lives. We all yearn to do this. Fantasy allows this to happen through escaping into a story and its world.
    5. Fantasy can be used to lure children into life-long readers
    6. Vocabulary is advanced in fantasies (Tier III vocab) For example: hungry vs. ravenous (fantasy)
    7. Realistic fiction can often be inappropriate, as far as the content, but the reading level may match that of the student. Fantasy does not get inappropriate.
    8. Fantasies have complicated plots with cause and effect. People may die, but they are not inappropriate (Golden Compass- people die)
Fantasy Unit: Three components: volume, density, and complex comprehension

What’s been discovered is when kids WANT to read --------> they READ!!! (Example: Harry Potter series)

That was just a very small section of my notes, but the list has stuck with me for almost a year now. And the novel that we started? Yup, it's a fantasy novel; we're reading A Wrinkle in Time. What a classic, brilliant children's novel!

As I've been reading the novel during the past two days, I've realized that I've begun a journey with my students. Each day we are traveling into this story, into this world, and we are escaping from reality, as it says in number three above. No matter what's been going in in our lives, we get to escape for at least 30, sometimes 50 minutes of our day. It's not just the kids who really need to escape this year, it's me too. In those minutes, I finally get to forget my pain and recovery period and become active again.

And just as preteens yearn to be extraordinary and more than they are, this year I want it more than ever, too. In reading we can transcend the ordinariness and become magically cured for a time.

Fortunately, I teach three classes for 90 minutes each and so I get to escape during all of my class periods. There's no place I'd rather be than in the Murry family kitchen and watching/listening to Charles Wallace, a five year old, be the mother or father figural archetype! (I was so excited when some of the students pointed that out today!)

A Wrinkle in Time take me away! 


The headache continues to run strong, even though I sit in a swivel chair in the front of the room. The students are amazing and so are the teachers and aids who swoop in to take care of all of the walking and prompting tasks!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Much Better + Mere & Sean!

Today was a much better day. I sat for almost all of the classes, other than a few instructional times, and I had the support of an instructional assistant who predicted my every move before I even knew what I wanted to do. My headache is running strong right now, but it's not because we didn't take every precaution. This'll be how I feel in the afternoons for a while, I suppose.

The students have still been AMAZING! It helps that we started a novel...

And it's hump day, so I only have two more days to go!

But there's something much more important to share... my lovely friend, Meredith got married this weekend! They eloped on Friday by Lake Anna! Our friend, Lucy, was the photographer and caught this beautiful moment. Our wedding was her first one ever and she did such a wonderful job. Since then her business has really taken off. Here is a sneak peek from Lucy O Photography! :)
Such joy! - Lucy O Photo
Check out that smile! She's so beautiful and such an awesome person, musician, and friend. We're just so thrilled for Sean and Meredith and look forward to many adventures with them during years to come!

Thank you to Jen for the yummy spinach & bacon quiche dinner!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tougher Day, Wonderful Students

Even before I started back I knew that the first two days were going to be the toughest. The students had started a biography project last week and it was continuing into the beginning of this week. I decided that the projects needed to have a cut-off date and today was the day.

I found myself moving around a lot more throughout the day, when I really should have been staying put and letting the students come to me. I already broke one of my goals. The students were really well behaved, got their work done, and kept busy. I have been so proud of them since I've been back.

One of my students came up to me at the end of class and said, "Mrs. ____, are you feeling okay? You were walking around a lot today."

"I know, I really shouldn't have been. My headache is pounding right now. You need to remind me to sit down, if you see me walking around too much. Please, I do need your help!"

"Well I didn't feel comfortable commanding you to SIT DOWN, but I did notice that you were moving and walking more today" (Too cute!)

"Yes, well you have my permission to tell me tomorrow. I do need the reminders."

"Okay, I will!"

Love it.

This morning was rough, with some uncomfortable stomach stuff and then a strong headache to start off the day, but I made it. My head is pounding right now and I'm exhausted, but the project is over and I'm hoping for a calmer day tomorrow. You have to have endurance to make it through the school day and right now my body's just trying to keep up with what's inside. Fortunately the kids are responding well to me being back in the room and my school, even though in SOL testing, has worked and pulled in order to make sure I have back-up in the room.

And the best thing about tomorrow is that we are starting a new novel! I love reading novels with my students. We get into such a great rhythm of word studies, projects in their Reader's Journals, discussions, and reading, that the days fly by. I think that sitting and reading a novel will definitely cut-down on my movement around the classroom. That's what I'm hoping, at least!

I was prepared to be exhausted and tired at the end of each day. I am basically having my first days of school all over again, except this time the students know my expectations and routines. It's nice to have a first day of school, when a look is all you need to get a student back on track. My students never cease to amaze me and I hope they keep up this GREAT work!

Monday, March 5, 2012

First Day Back!

My first class came in and got to work with me hardly opening my mouth. Students from that class and others approached to give me a hug and other than saying, "Gentle, gentle" before they hugged me, I was surprised to turn around and see a classroom at work without my prompting. The next two classes were similar, but they are always a little noisier after lunch anyway.

In each class I showed them the diagrams below and talked about what happened and where I was during the last 2.5 weeks. I joked that I wished I could have shown them a nice tan from a tropical vacation, but that's definitely not where I'd been.

Next, we talked about the modifications we'd have to make within the classroom. One routine I've worked hard to employ all year had to be completely reversed today and it killed me. I ask the students to raise their hand and I will come to them, rather than have a stampede of students coming toward me all day long. Well, now they have to come to me in a seat somewhere in the classroom.... it's already proven to be a hard adjustment for them, but even more so for me!

Even though we didn't get the snow day, we still had a good day. Tomorrow may be completely different, but today's behind us.

The doctor's appointment went well, too! My INR is at a 2.6 and my hemoglobin level is good. The doctor was thrilled with my INR. He also showed me some light exercises I can do to keep my muscles in my neck from atrophying during this sore and stiff time. I'll go back again on March 17th at 9 AM.

It's now 5:39 PM and I am ready to crash. Time to put up my feet :)


Thank yous!!!

A HUGE thank you to Wanda and Vicki for your help in planning and teaching for the last few weeks! What would I have done without your help and friendship? I can't even imagine. Thank you for the hospital and home visits AND meals, too! You both are such wonderful people and have certainly blessed us with your calm, can-do attitudes! 

Thank you to Liz, Kristin, and Faith for stepping up to the plate, too. You guys rock!

Thank you to Judy for her taxi services to the doctor today and for the many times this year and last year! We appreciate your help in the afternoons!!!!

Thank you to Lynn for dinner tonight! We're excited!

Thank you to everyone who's been praying and thinking about the two of us! We're so fortunate to have so many loving people in our lives. We look forward to giving you big hugs the next time we see each of you! 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hi Ho Hi Ho...

It's off to work I go!

I have to admit that I'm a bit nervous about heading back to school. It's been a full 2.5 weeks and a lot can happen in that amount of time! While I was gone, three students left and I never got to say goodbye. Also in that time they went over my favorite unit! I had been waiting all year to get to poetry and then I got to be there for two days and that's it.

But I know that as soon as I walk in the door the butterflies will dissipate and I'll be back in the swing of things. Honestly, I'm excited to see the students again and I hope they'll forgive me for being gone so long and understand the slight modifications I'll have to make.

Here are some of my goals:

  • I'll try to sit more. Even sitting for a couple minutes will be more than I ever did, so I will try.
  • I'll attempt to delegate passing out papers to the students.
  • I'll be honest and open about how I'm feeling with the students and my coworkers.
  • I'll ask for help when I need it.
  • I'll modify the lesson plans, if need be.
Each of these will be a challenge for me, so wish me luck!

Unless the following amounts to something...

Tonight: Snow likely, mainly after 4am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. West wind between 6 and 9 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of around an inch possible

Monday: Snow, mainly before 1pm. High near 37. Calm wind becoming northwest between 14 and 17 mph. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible

Thank you to Wanda for the delicious baked potato soup for dinner yesterday!

Lab Work: Tomorrow @ 3:45 PM (Checking INR and hemoglobin- based on the results we'll schedule a follow-up appt)
GP Appt.: 3/17 @ 9 AM


Bliss at its best...

Jim snapped this picture of the two of us last night. You can tell there's nothing wrong with Leif's neck! I invited him up on my lap and most of the time he stays for a few short minutes. Well, not this time! He was in it for the long haul.

Love that pup.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

This is Where

I just cannot resist a good, soothing song. As someone who gets songs caught in her head all-the-flippin'-time, this is one song that just won't let me go.

At school I have a time allotted in each class for writing, it's called "Day Book Time." The students have prompts that they can choose to use, or not, and we spend the first minutes of class writing. When I'm done checking in with each student then I, too, get to write. Some days more than others, but I still try to jot something down.

One day this song was in my head and I didn't know the lyrics, so I made my own. If I had my Day Book at home then I would write them for you, but I don't. When this song came on the Pandora station again today I finally took the chance to look up the lyrics. Lo and behold, this song is about winter, a river and, metaphorically, about life. Perfect for this blog and for me.

This is Where, Wailin' Jennys

The wind howls 'cross the ice floes
Send the frozen snow skimming
A river on a river hardened over
It doesn't know the way it's going
Is it north or south or westward
It just glides across the shoreline 'til it's over

You came for me in fast forward
On a claim for something ordered
A way through and past the history that held you
I'd tell my own story through you
Tell it loud to never lose you
A moth caught be the flame it cannot measure

And there we go again, wishing something bolder
Trying to push and pull inside this moment
Trying to mold this life within our hands

This is where the whole world keeps on turning
This is where we come undone...undone
Live Oak- Louisiana
Will they measure me by branches
Count the rings and take my ashes
Mark the ground where I fell and carry on
Or will we bite against the silence
Fill our days with noise and violence
Not recognize our hearts when we are done

There we'll go again wishing something bolder
Trying to push and pull inside this moment
Trying to mold this life within our hands

This is where the whole world keeps on turning
This is where we come undone

We don't know where it's going
Is it north or south or westward
It just glides across the shoreline 'til it's over
Russian River Trail, Alaska

This whole health situation is where I've come completely undone.

This is the first time I've been abruptly and scarily halted, but with it's been such beautiful times of reflection and humility. So as the song says, I'll glide along the shoreline and I probably won't recognize my heart when it's all over.

I'm thankful I've been given this chance.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dreary Day: A Chance to Sit

The rainy, chilly day was almost a friendly reminder that it's alright for me to stay inside, even though I'm feeling a little better. I wouldn't be missing anything by spending just a little more time on our new chair and reading a magazine. Yes, I am feeling like reading again! That must be a sign that my headache is, in fact, lighter. Four weeks of the horrible headache are behind me! I loved just sitting and actually being comfortable.

While I sat inside, Jim headed out for a walk with the boys. It hadn't rained until after he got far out on the trail. Each time the rain lightened I thought, "Oh good!" And then the next wave of hard rain would come again. He came back in high spirits and even went right back out for a workout in the little pavilion next to us.

Two o'clock struck and it was time for me to get out of the house. We swung by Jim's school to drop off one of his assignments, and then we were off to my school to see what the coming week will hold. I got to see the wonderful teachers who have been covering and planning for me and a few other colleagues and my principal. I even saw some students, since it was after school, and they were excited to see me. I heard one of them say, "Oh man, she looks like she's still in pain," as I was walking down the hall and yards away from them.

The truth is that I do still have a headache and I do still have a sore neck. And I twist with my torso, not my neck. They're used to me hopping around the classroom and leaping from place to place to make a point, but I just can't do that for a long while now. We'll make do with what we have.

Jim and I have decided that the best thing for me to do will be to tell them about what happened. And tell them why I was gone and how I'll need to heal for a full recovery. I hope that the relationship I've built with them over the year will help us to smoothly transition to an adapted/modified type of instruction within the classroom. It'll be an adjustment period for all of us.

After a few errands, we've settled down to watch Hugo.

Thank you to Regina for a new supply of DVDs and popcorn and thank you to Donna for some homemade baked goods, jam, and apple butter, and a jar of honey!

Doctor's Visits:
3/5 Lab Work Appt. @ 3:45 PM
Probably another lab visit between these two
3/17 GP Appt. @ 9 AM

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

There's a Spring in my Step!

Hello March!

'ave you ever seen the grass so green or a bluer sky? ...The daffodils are smilin' at the dove.- Bert's lyrics in Jolly Holiday, Mary Poppins

It's 65 degrees outside and I'll take it! I wore a t-shirt today and my Teva flip-flops for the first time this spring. (Sorry, Marianne!)

After phone calls, faxes, driving, and meetings, I'm going back to school on Monday. My principal is thrilled. Longer story, but not worth telling...

We acquired a new, cozy chair for our living room. We both decided we needed another comfy piece of furniture around this place. Lots of staying at home can make you think about such things...

I had my second outing today, other than doctor's visits. And I've spent more of today sitting up and walking around than any other day so far :)

Have I mentioned that I love our new (to us) car?

My head felt and feels lighter today. I hope that's not me getting accustomed to the pain, but I think it may be so. My neck still aches, but I'm careful to turn my body rather than my neck if I need to.

Humility is my new name of the game. I need to take to heart that I WILL have to ask for h-e-l-p more than I ever have before. While it's new for me, it's definitely possible.

Tonight Jim's making tilapia with sauteed vegetables in the dutch oven. YUM!

And we'll spend the evening sitting by our outside fireplace and enjoying the breeze.

Hush! The fire's calling my name....

Cozy, eh?

Don't you just love the dancing bears? Thank you, Mom and Dad! It was our Christmas gift this year. See that adirondack chair? Yup, Jim made it and that's where you can find me on this beautiful evening in March.

Thank you to Susan for dinner yesterday! Thank you to Dave D. for chocolate ice cream! Thank you to my family doctor for your patience with paperwork! And thank you to my coworkers who have continued to work time and a half during my absence (Wanda and Vicki, especially!)!

Prayerfully and thoughtfully thankful today and always.
My 'eart may just start beating like a big brass band...