Thursday, December 31

TBR Challenge

In the spirit of my resolution to read more this year, I will be taking part in the TBR challenge.

Here's how it works:

Pick 12 books – one for each month of the year - that you’ve been wanting to read (that have been on your -“To Be Read” list) for 6 months or longer, but haven’t gotten around to. OPTIONAL: Create a list of 12 “Alternates” (books you could substitute for your challenge books, given that a particular one doesn’t grab you at the time) Then, starting January 1, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31. )

1. The ENTIRE Bible (specifically the New International Version)
2. Bride Island by Alexandra Enders
3. A Version of the Truth by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
4. The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle
5. Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs
6. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
7. Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters by William Austen-Leight and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh
8. Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors
9. Water by Bapsi Sidhwa
10. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
11. Three Junes by Julia Glass
12. Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald

And my alternatives are:

1. The Preservationist by David Maine
2. Pieces of my Sister's Life by Elizabeth Joy Arnold
3. Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli
4. Little House on Rocky Ridge by Roger Lea MacBride
5. Little Farn in the Ozarks by Roger Lea MacBride
6. At Weddings and Wakes by Alice McDermott
7. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
8. Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss
9. Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan
10. The Lost Stories of Louisa May Alcott
11. Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker
12. In Search of our Mothers' Gardens by Alice Walker

Tuesday, December 22

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential. -Ellen Goodman

In the spirit of the above quote, my opportunities to explore my potential this year include:

1. Read (and record and reflect on the books i read)
2. Read the Bible. That's right. The WHOLE thing. (Inspired by this guy who read the Bible a number of times through for a book he was writing, even though he's agnostic. If he can make it through multiple times, i should be able to make it through once this year.)
3. Write letters. I became a pen pal when i was in college and have continued to do it over the years though the people i'm writing to changes. It's amazing how much it changes your perspective to sit down and actually write out what you're thinking to someone you care about. While it's hard for me to take the time to do it each week, writing a letter always puts things in perspective for me.
4. Spend ten minutes a day moving my body. I'll be the first to admit that i'm absolutely horrible at sticking to a workout routine. I know that i feel so much better when i do work out, but i have a hard time actually doing it consistently. So instead of giving myself lots of specifics, this year i've decided to commit to ten minutes a day. If that happens to turn into more than ten minutes, that's wonderful, but i know that that's a time commitment i can keep.
5. Commit to following my bliss, meaning that i'm going to stop doing things because i feel like i should but because i want to.

Sunday, December 20

The decision to pledge your life to someone is a leap of faith. You grab each other's hand and jump, hoping you'll manage to navigate together whatever life hurls at you. It's crucial to be good to each other, to feel supported and endorsed. -from Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress

Wednesday, December 16

...and having him at that table in that kitchen was really the first time I understood that we were about to give this thing our best effort, despite not having a plan and despite the fact that neither of us had wanted a relationship when we met, much less a long-distance one. We would give it our best shot, because the way we were together demanded it. And so we did. - Taken from this blog

It's been a while since i've thought about the beginning of our relationship, but this reminded me so much of us because that's exactly how we were. We went through huge debates about whether or not we would start a relationship because we were apart and it would have to be long distance. We supposedly made up our minds several times and then changed our minds again. And again. And again.

We finally came to a decision, yet again, that we were not going to start a relationship. And then i got a call in the next day or two that his mom had passed away and that decision didn't matter anymore. I called him and told him i'd do whatever he needed me to do because that was the only thing i could think to do. And during that time, we both realized how much we meant to each other and from that point on we realized that we'd been in a relationship the whole time we'd been debating about it and that we were going to do what we could to make it work. And so we did.

Tuesday, December 15


One of my students committed suicide last night. And though i wasn't particularly close to him, it's still a disturbing situation.
  • He was an alcoholic. He was drunk when he killed himself.
  • He tried to guilt the friends he was with into staying with him last night. He told them that if they left he would kill himself. So now those friends are dealing with the guilt he put on them.
  • He hung himself. His dad was the one that found him.
  • He has an eight month old daughter with another one of my students.
  • He had one class to finish before earning his high school diploma.
During second period this morning, the principal called the staff down to her office one by one and told us that he had killed himself last night. We were going to meet as a school to tell the students, but they received texts about it before we could have the meeting. So these students, who obviously thought that it wasn't true, were talking about it and turned to me and said "It's not true is it?" And i had to be the one to tell them that, yes, it was true.

I really don't know what else to say about this other than i've been thinking about him, his daughter, his parents, and the rest of the students all day. I've been praying about it because i don't know what else to do. I ask that if you are one of the few people who still read this, that you pray for everyone that is involved.

Monday, December 7

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!

  • We had snow of the ground when i woke up this morning.
  • I've been listening to Christmas music since before Thanksgiving. Yes, i'm one of those people. But i haven't made it all the way through the Messiah yet this year so i have that to look forward to.
  • We bought a Kitchenaid mixer!!! It's purple, well technically bosenberry, but i've never been more excited to bake.
  • I bought sparkly supplies at Michael's today to remake our wreath since i've had that one for two years now.
  • We decorated our apartment for Christmas today. We put out our nativities, put up Christmas lights, and got out our tiny tree. We have plans to buy a tree sometime this week!
  • And there are only eight days left of school, not that i'm counting or anything;)

Friday, December 4

Movies I want to watch before Christmas

  • A Muppet Christmas Carol
  • Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
  • The Holiday
  • Love Actually
  • Meet Me in St. Louis (where "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is originally from)
  • White Christmas
  • It's a Wonderful Life
The only problem is not all of these have made the transition from VHS to DVD. I guess now is the time to work on that!

Thursday, December 3

December goals

I didn't do too well with my November goals, so instead of reviewing them and looking at all of the things i didn't accomplish i'm going to look ahead to my goals for this month!

December goals
  1. Work out at least three times a week.
  2. Put away the rest of the wedding gifts.
  3. Reorganize scrapbooking stuff.
  4. Print out wedding pictures for our families!
  5. Celebrate Christmas and the new year by mailing Christmas cards, decorating, baking cookies, spending time with family, and whatever else we feel like doing to celebrate!

Wednesday, December 2

A beautiful description of advent

Advent is the preparation for the coming of Christ. It is a return to simplicity so that we can focus, be penitent, and prepare ourselves for His coming. If you knew He were coming here again on December 25th, how would you spend your time? This is the mindset we are to have during Advent. We are supposed to be actually removing distractions instead of adding to them.

It is in stark contrast to how we normally behave during the month of December. Hearing him say it out loud was a reality check. I know I tend to whip myself into a frenzy this month. All the rushing around, stretching yourself in all different directions, attending too many parties, buying and shopping all the time. It's ok, and even appropriate to step back, take a breath and always remember who and what event you are anticipating. I think it's easy to forget that we are not celebrating ourselves, or the deep discounts at the mall, but something far more meaningful and important.

I hope this helps someone else, like it did for me.

-Taken from this blog

Tuesday, December 1


Finally, we must draw on the strength of our values – for the challenges that we face may have changed, but the things that we believe in must not. That is why we must promote our values by living them at home – which is why I have prohibited torture and will close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. And we must make it clear to every man, woman and child around the world who lives under the dark cloud of tyranny that America will speak out on behalf of their human rights, and tend to the light of freedom, and justice, and opportunity, and respect for the dignity of all peoples. That is who we are. That is the moral source of America’s authority. -President Obama December 1, 2009