Saturday, October 31

Living good stories

This week we celebrated Halloween at school. As part of that celebration, we had a Halloween dance on Thursday night. We spent most of the afternoon decorating so that the room looked creepy. We had one of the teachers who DJs on the weekend bring his equipment and DJ the dance. We had parents donate food and drinks. The dance turned out great. All of the students seemed to be having a good time, but i kept noticing something: even though they were hanging out with their friends, dancing, eating, and drinking, the students kept checking their cell phones about every five minutes. The thought that kept running through my head was "Really? You can't get off your phone for the two hours that the dance lasts?"

I was thinking about this at the dance and even into today when i read a line in the book i'm reading that said:

Most Americans aren't living very good stories. It's not our fault, I don't think. We are suckered into it. We are brainwashed, I think.

And i think that's the problem. We're to the point where we're getting so caught up in the things we have that we forget to experience the life we're living.
  • We worry about who could have called or texted us because what if something more exciting is happening somewhere else that we could be a part of? Not that we'd actually leave wherever we are or whatever to do it to go to that more exciting thing. It's so much better to experience it through another person's texts, right?
  • We worry about our ipods being charged because we need to have songs constantly playing. I'm more and more amazed at the number of students who claim they "can't work without having their ipod on." They complain that it's too quiet. Really?
  • We worry about checking and responding to all of the emails we receive when half of the people who email us aren't people or companies we would bother talking to in person for more than a minute or two.
And, yes, i understand the irony of this post since i'm typing it on my laptop to post on my blog on the internet for people (some of whom i've never actually met) to read, but i do think that there are good things that can come from the technology around us. But we have to use it carefully. I love having a blog and being able to read what other people are thinking and writing about. I love connecting with people i wouldn't have a chance to connect with otherwise, but i do try to keep it in check, which i haven't been doing a good job of lately. It's just so easy to sit in front of the television or computer and space out. Before you know it, you've gone an hour or two without thinking about anything other than whatever's on the screen. It's easy to text people instead of calling them because then you don't have to make excuses to get off the phone if the conversation is going too long. It's easy to do a lot of things, but that doesn't always make it better.

So this week i'm going to work on actually living my life. I'm going to turn off the television and finish the book i'm reading. I'm going to spend time talking to people , or better yet actually seeing people, instead of texting them. I'm going to read and respond to the important emails and delete the ones that aren't worth my time. I'm going to read the blogs i'm interested in, but skip over the ones i'm reading just to get them off of my list. I'm going to think about the story i want to be telling with my life and work on making it a better one.

Wednesday, October 28

Success is...

There are many days when I wake up and head out into the world, pursuing a destination that I have yet to define—and I am certain I’m not the only one.

Will our lives change if we define success for ourselves? Will new opportunities arise? Will we associate with different people? Will we be happier? Will the sun shine brighter?

I am almost certain the answer is yes to all of the above—and I am eager to map out my own definition.

Taken from this blog.

After reading this earlier today, i was inspired to write out my own definition of success, but i think i'll take a day or two to think about it before making an attempt.

Saturday, October 24

A good fall break. I spent time with my husband and my cats. I finished reading one book and started another. I baked, cleaned, did laundry, all of which made me feel very much like a housewife. In the process of changing my email address, i managed to reconnect with a friend from high school and my student-teaching teacher.

"You get the feeling that's all God really wants from us, to live inside a body he made and enjoy the story and bond with us through experiences." -from A Million Miles in a Thousand Year: What I Learned from Editing my Life by Donald Miller

Baking with pumpkin

Yesterday i made pumpkin cookies, which are a family recipe that we make every year. The debate with the pumpkin cookies is always whether you like them with raisins or chocolate chips or both. I am like them with raisins because i don't think that pumpkin and chocolate go together. You'll have to make them using the recipe below and see which one you like.

Because i only made one batch of the cookies, i had a bunch of pumpkin left over so i was thrilled when i found a recipe for pumpkin bread on one of the blogs i read. The recipe is actually for chocolate chip pumpkin bread, but i left the chocolate chips out. The only thing i didn't love about the recipe was that it didn't tell you how much bread it made (two loaves) or how long to cook the loaves (mine took an hour and five minutes). The bread is really good though.

I'll probably make another batch of either the cookies or the bread or both so i can bring them into school for the halloween dance and party that we're having because they both turned out really well.

Pumpkin Cookies
Cream together 1 cup shortening and 2 cups flour.

Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla and beat well.

Add 2 teaspoons baking soda, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 4 cups flour.

Then comes the pumpkin! Add 1 cup of Libby's canned pumpkin (make sure it's the pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie mix because we've made that mistake before and the cookies don't turn out to well...)

Last, but not least, add 1 cup raisins or 1 cup chocolate chips (or a mix of both if you want).

Drop the cookies by teaspoon onto a greased cookie and bake for 7 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, October 11


And we've been married for a month today!

October goal update

  1. Finish writing thank you notes. Check!
  2. Put away the rest of the wedding gifts. Returned two things we didn't need today. So we're working on it.
  3. Get my clothes for colder weather out and put my clothes for warm weather away. Check!
  4. Work out at least twice a week (I've gotta start somewhere right?) I only worked out once last week, but i started the week of right by working out today.
  5. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. I haven't made it to eight glasses everyday, but i'm definitely drinking a lot more water than i usually do.
Other than that, i'm busy with school. I had two days of parent/teacher conferences, an observation of one of my classes by the principal, a visit from a state senator, and an early morning where the student government cooked breakfast last week. Whew! This week should be a bit more calm, though still busy. I'm having the first meeting of the art club that i'm starting and the student government is going to cook breakfast again since they want to do it once a week. But the week after that is fall break, which means two days of relaxing for me! Yay!

Thursday, October 8


The point of this post was to use google, type "unfortunately" and then your name, and see what comes up. Why not try this yourself and discover what is "unfortunate" about you?

Unfortunately, Gretchen is off-screen far too much in this book.

Unfortunately, Gretchen is still at large and the mayhem has not yet ended

Unfortunately, Gretchen herself eventually had a stroke, and had to go into hospital, in the same ward as Nancy had been.

Unfortunately, Gretchen loves Tony, a 20-something white-power hooligan who hangs out in arcades to pick up impressionable high school girls...

Unfortunately, Gretchen was caught just outside the church, while Sara continued to escape.

Unfortunately, Gretchen provides broad tips that she believe have led to happiness in her life.

This post idea taken from here.

Saturday, October 3

Goals for October

  1. Finish writing thank you notes.
  2. Put away the rest of the wedding gifts
  3. Get my clothes for colder weather out and put my clothes for warm weather away
  4. Work out at least twice a week (I've gotta start somewhere right?)
  5. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. (So maybe this one is a myth that's been disproved by scientific research. So what? It'll still get me to drink more water. And i can keep track of it with my handy, dandy water tracking app on my Ipod touch. I love having apps for things you totally don't need an app for...)
I figure five goals are enough to start with for my first attempt at setting monthly goals. Any more of them an i won't be able to keep track. I'll let you know how things go this month when we get closer to the end of the month.

Thursday, October 1

I love...

Being married. Reading blogs. Finding new projects. Finding new recipes. Cooking. Baking. Knitting. Scrapbooking. Pictures of people i love. Pedicures. Manicures. Massages. Red wine. Comfy blue jeans. Cozy sweaters. Flip flops. Teaching. My students. Reading aloud. Being read aloud to. Sunny days. Starry nights. Hors d'oeuvres. Yoga. The smell of fall. The smell of flowers. The Target one dollar section. Excuses to get dressed up. Pretty dresses. Feeling pretty. Cuddling with kittens. Candles. Road trips. Reading an engrossing book. Best friends. Sunrises. Sunsets. India. Michigan. Portland. Scarves. Mittens. Cupcakes. Experiencing new things. Going on adventures. Smiles. Shopping at Fresh Market. Dancing. Laughing. Bruschetta. Garlic bread. Italian food. Farmers' Markets. Bookstores. Thrift stores. Fluffy down comforters. Spending the day in bed. Naps. Learning new things. Musicals. Brunch. Words. Well-crafted sentences. The smell of toothpaste. The midwest. Chai lattes. Cinammon sugar toast. Good listeners. Illegally picking tulips. When you can just hang out with someone and not have to talk. Proper grammar and correct punctuation. Finding the word you want. The smell of lilacs. Yellow roses. Yellow curry. Taking long, hot baths. Old friends. Getting flowers. Giving flowers. Board games. Organizing. Yogokiss. Love.

What things comfort you, calm you, inspire you, delight you, and make your heart go pitter-patter?

The idea for this post (and a bunch of the loved items) borrowed from here.