Monday, April 4, 2016

monday's memory: the one with the return home

ok, it's been awhile. so i'm just jumping back in. and i'm going to use my normal "monday memory" slot to catch up on what's been happening in our lives the past couple of years.

so.

i worked at an amazing inclusive preschool for 4 years. i learned SO.MUCH there about myself, about managing others, about children with needs far beyond what i would have imagined, and about dealing with the drama of working with a staff of 80% females! 

for awhile i could seriously imagine myself doing this forever.

and then it happened.

i realized, as i taught music to the children (ages 6 weeks to 7 years) how much i LOVED and MISSED teaching music.

and so i began daring to dream a little. it was as if God was whispering in my ear to hope.

i had always kept my application current with my former school system, but nothing seemed to materialize. i had applied in other systems as well, but nothing piqued my interest.

and then a friend who taught at the very elementary school i had passed many times on the way to teach piano lessons told me their music teacher was leaving.  it was an elementary school in the one of the most affluent counties, with a great population to work with, unlimited resources and parents who were highly involved.

i interviewed. i realized about midway through the interview that i didn't want to work here. as much as the school was amazing and i would be working with a wonderful group of people...i just did not want that job.

{release}

my current boss called me into her office in the midst of this and told me that i would be able to teach in a classroom in the fall if i wanted.  the open room was the 4 year old room, and i knew it would be challenging but great. and it was what i had truly wanted to do for a couple of years. i accepted, knowing that if i found out anything from the school system i would be able to tell her in plenty of time for her to put a deserving assistant teacher in that role.

{security}

and yet, i felt like i heard the Holy Spirit whispering "keep dreaming..."

in may i attended a conference at a church nearby, and was really encouraged by several of the messages.  but on my way home one night i found myself talking to God...really baring my soul to Him.

i told Him that i knew He placed the desire and talents within me to want to teach middle school, and that He knew my heart was to teach in my former system again. i had been searching daily and there were NO middle school positions, so i was so frustrated so i literally asked Him to release me from this deep desire or to let it materialize.

i wasn't despairing. but i was weary.

and two days later i received a message from a former assistant principal of mine that there was a potential opening in her {middle} school that was 10 minutes away from my house.

through her communication i finally leaped the last hurdle with my application and got the green light for interviews.  the music dept head for the system was incredibly impressed by my credentials and told me that she would be thrilled to have me back.

and i interviewed at the school. and it was fine. and while i was in the interview i got a voice mail from the principal of the school down the road, the one only 3 minutes from my house, the one connected to the greenway that i had literally walked dozens of times and prayed over the school and the people in it.

{talk about sowing into your future!}

and she interviewed me over the phone on a saturday while she was on vacation. and by the end of our conversation she told me i would have an email by day's end on monday with an offer.

i've been there since august.
and no, not every day has been wonderful. not every student has come to me and showered me with praise about what an amazing teacher i am.
[who am i kidding...i teach middle schoolers. they give me major attitude on a daily basis!]

but i am where i belong.
i am doing what i am supposed to be doing.
and i am thrilled.

over a 3 month period, God literally let me have a chance to do the things i thought i wanted. and continued to encourage me to dream bigger.

i'm so glad i took His challenge.




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Sunday, April 3, 2016

emi: the day we said goodbye

it's been nearly two years, but it affected me far beyond what i could have imagined.
and it is the reason my voice went silent for awhile on this blog.
and since she was so much a part of my life, i feel i have to finish her story here.

shortly after moving into our house in march of 2014 we realized that emi was ill.
and after a few trips to the vet the worst was confirmed.
she had cancer.
and if we chose to treat it we *might* get six months to a year more.

we chose to make her as comfortable as possible.
we asked a friend to do a photoshoot with her
we took her on one last trip around nashville to visit the place where i first saw her and the home where we first became a family of three

and we loved on her as much as possible.
and i prayed over her every day, begging that it wouldn't be so.


she found me. she chose me, and she rescued me as much as i rescued her.

and on a sunday morning, more the middle of the night, she slipped away from us.
we both were sleeping in the den with her as we couldn't bear to let her spend her nights alone
and we both petted her and kissed her as she took her last breath assuring her through our sobs that we loved her.


i still visit her little grave in our backyard a couple of times a month. i still find myself saying hello to her when i drive in after work. i still smile when a patch of good sunlight hits "her" spot just right.

and although a little over a year later a kitten came into our lives and our hearts
our emi will always be special

to you, darling girl.







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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

broken

yesterday i broke an important thing. 
i am really blessed to have several of my grandmothers kitchen items. one of my favorites was a sugar bowl. it was kept in our spice cabinet and made me smile every time i opened the door and saw it. beautiful, simple, and classic. 
and yesterday i wanted to read a package of seasoning mix and moved it for less than a minute and when i went to put it back i bumped the shelf and it just fell out of my hand. 
i sobbed. 
i scooped up the cat and closed her in a room to keep her away from getting cut, i put a band aid on my bleeding toe, i went back to the kitchen and looked at all the sugar everywhere and the pieces of the beloved sugar bowl. 
and i sobbed some more. 
and eventually i started cleaning it up. 
my husband told me to keep the pieces to see if we can salvage it.
several people have mentioned making something out of it.
and those are great suggestions. they really are. but my goodness my heart hurts. 
i have so many memories of my childhood that i would rather forget.
so many moments that i remember through the lens of hurt and loneliness.
it was NOT a bad childhood especially in the grand scheme of things. i was loved in the best way that people knew how to love. no one meant me harm, no one set out to purposefully hurt me. 
but my grandmother loved me in the purest way of anyone. and the pieces of her that i still own make me happy because THOSE memories i will cherish forever. 
so yes, i am keeping these shattered pieces and will be putting them together somehow.
but i won’t feel bad that a broken sugar bowl is still making me cry.

Friday, May 30, 2014

swagbucks update: signing bonus!

you guys know that i am cheap by now, right? ;-) well, one of the ways we are able to live as generously as we desire to is by using swagbucks gift cards not only for the things we want for "fun" (think target runs and amazon movie purchases as well as my weekly or so trip to starbucks) but also for birthday and christmas gift money. last year we used swagbucks gift cards for approximately 65% of our holiday gift spending. when you have an extended family as large as ours to buy for that is HUGE!

clearly swagbucks is something i love. i understand that it's not for everyone, but for those of you who would like to try it i'm writing this post to let you know thati  have exciting news and a great opportunity for all of you to earn bonus SB -- enough to get a free $5 gift card!  

any of my readers who signs up for swagbucks.com through my link here between now and june 30th is eligible to get a 500 SB bonus! that is basically a free $5 gift card JUST for signing up through me. in order to get the bonus automatically*, you must also earn 1500 SB by July 14th. note that since this is an exclusive offer, you must sign up through this link and earn 1500 SB in order to get your 500 SB bonus. if you sign up elsewhere, or only do one of the two steps, the bonus unfortunately will not be available to you.  

so how do you get that 500 SB bonus? simple: you can earn SB from any of the earning activities found on the homepage or top bar of swagbucks.com (shop, search, watch, play, answer, discover, daily crave, NOSO & daily poll). i am also ALWAYS available by email to give you more tips on how to earn. i actually have a pretty effective system that you can use with whatever time you have, whether it be one hour a day or ten! if you haven't started earning with Swagbucks yet, now is a great time to sign up and check out all the different ways to earn Bucks -- all so you can get a bunch of free gift cards.  

* Please note that it may take up to 14 business days to credit your account once you have earned 1500 SB. 
**ALL links in this post have been linked so that you will receive the signing bonus...so don't worry about clicking on the wrong one! :-)

coming {very} soon: a few recipes that i've been making during the last few months of silence. also, more "only in lora's life" moments, more silly lists, more memories, and a couple of serious thoughts. maybe ;-)

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

thursday's ten or so: lora's real life in text

here's a few snippets from actual texts i've either received or sent over the past few weeks...taken completely out of context and with no explanation. because, you know. why not?

ohmygoshaldihadfrozenFRIEDPICKLES

     i did NOT sign up for rabies

currently following a truck that has the bumper sticker "some days all i want is to be a missing person". dark. but thought you would appreciate it.

we'll be creepy but healthy!

     apparently i was on the jumbotron while texting you that. oops.

CINNAMON!

autocorrecting my prayer isn't cool, phone.

why do you think toto was so insistent on blessing the rains down in africa?

        go punch her

hope you're not sequestered

my crazy runs deep

do you have those moments where you think "if anyone read this conversation they would seriously question my sanity"? yeah. guess i've just presented you all with evidence ;-) anything random in your messages that you'd like to share? :-)





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Monday, April 7, 2014

monday's memory: the one with the signing of lots of papers

exactly one month ago
nearly 4 years (3 years and 11 months) after finding out i was losing my home
we signed papers and became homeowners

anthony for the first time
myself given a second chance
the loan is not in my name. we aren't yet done rebuilding my credit from the horrid hit it took way back then. but my name is on the deed

i feel like it's come full circle. that i am being given back in buckets what was taken from me. so grateful that redemption is a part of my journey. so thankful to have a place that's really OURS. and the timing of this and so much more is not escaping me. 

i'll show you photos of the inside once we get unpacked. so in approximately 6 months ;-)

but here we are in front of our adorable house!

and here is anthony giving emi her first tour of our new digs. thankfully, she approves because we aren't leaving here for awhile!


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Friday, March 28, 2014

3.28.14

it's my birthday, and i want to write
i want to spill out words all over the page to tell everyone how amazing, how hard, how blessed, how difficult, and how wonderful life has been since the last time i wrote in this place
and at the same time, i feel like it would be ridiculous to
that year (almost) is done
and i feel like even though we did so much living during that time
if i couldn't find the time to chronicle it then, well...there's really no reason to write about it now.

so here's the very short version of life since last july: it happened
i laughed (a lot), cried (not as much) and the majority of the time was amazing.
truly.
i am very blessed to live this life.

i'm not saying i'll never tell you anything from the past few months...in fact there are some posts aching to be written about recent events. but i will have no regrets if i don't get every word out. after all, i was living my life...

but this blog is a part of that life. which is why i'm here.

i do hope that this post will launch me back into blogging. i miss it. i miss the connection across the screen and the way there is really community between posts. i plan to begin the rounds again, visiting blogs i love and have missed almost as much as i've missed writing here. i plan to write here, the good, bad, ugly and beautiful that i have always spilled out in my little corner of the interwebs.

but i know that life, it happens.
i know that i won't be here as much as i'd like. even if i'm here daily.
i know i won't comment on every post that moves me, even when i desire to.

but i'm not done here. by any stretch of the imagination. so if any of you are still reading this little blog, i'm back...in some capacity at least.

i miss you all, and can't wait to visit your lovely blogs soon :-)

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

so there IS a reason (or two)

i've spent much of the last few months frustrated. with myself, my body, my lack of energy or motivation to do anything at all.  

i've stayed busy, accepting babysitting jobs here and there and teaching a few piano lessons all while working 40+ hours a week. that's true. and i've attempted to make time for friends and family time in all that, but sadly have failed to do that as much as i wanted to.

and i have been tired. and i have been sick for what seems like an extreme amount over the last 10 months or so, but the last couple of months have been especially vicious.

and i've been sooooo frustrated. by being sick and tired. and being tired. and being sick.

so when a mere week after being out of work with a stomach bug that i won't detail here i woke up with a fever of 102.8 (which is pretty high for someone whose norm is 97.5) i was mad. my throat ached, but so did my whole body, and i was freezing. so i was a bit unclear whether i was dealing with strep, flu or the plague, but i knew whatever it was i was not a fan.

and i couldn't leave the bed, until my husband came home after lunch and insisted i call my doctor so that i could go there instead of a walk-in clinic.  he drove me mainly because i was in no condition to drive.

the nurse practitioner who saw me couldn't tell me exactly what was going on because both the flu and strep tests came back negative.  however, she visually diagnosed strep, put me on an antibiotic to deal with that, and told me that this was clearly a mean illness of some sort because "i've never laid eyes on you, but you look like you feel awful".

i did.

and that feeling (and fever) didn't go away for several days, and even when it did, i.was.exhausted.

anthony insisted i call the doctor, who responded "if you still feel this way on tuesday, come in for a mono test".

fast forward to tuesday and the myriad of tests they actually ran...and the following day when i got the call.

not only do i have mono that's been hanging around for an undetermined amount of time, but i also am severely anemic.

well, ok then.

lots of things cleared up with just those words. i'm not being lazy, there are actual medical reasons why i cannot bring myself to work out on a consistent basis even though i desperately want to be moving.

i often fall asleep on the couch these days is because i have reasons to be tired!

i've been taking iron for a week now, and anthony told me yesterday that he can already tell a difference. as for me?  yes, i still fall asleep on the couch once in awhile, but its for 20 minutes, not two hours. yes, i'm still exhausted, but exercising isn't out of the question. i finally am starting to get a tiny bit of "me" back, and for that i'm excited. and grateful.

i'm grateful that the tests she ran for more serious things have not materialized as anything (at least not yet--and i don't expect them to). i'm grateful that for the issues i'm dealing with there is a somewhat simple fix. i'm grateful that i have a co-teacher who is understanding that sometimes i just need to sit for a few minutes (usually with one or five children clamoring to be on my lap...and that's ok). i'm grateful that the acute antibodies weren't present in the mono test, so i CAN work...and that none of my students seem to have caught anything from me.  i'm grateful that when my job description changes in a month or so i should be back to feeling normal again. (i've been interim teaching the pre-k class since april 1, but go back to the admin team and add teaching music to all the classes in mid-august).

it could have been worse.
it could have been different.
and without a case of strep from hell, i would never have discovered that these other things were going on.

so with that said...thank God for a case of strep throat.

xoxo

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

...mic check...1...2...

what would i say about the months of silence?
well, nothing. 
what would i tell you about the things i haven't said in those months?
well, plenty

i would say that the payment i get in hugs and smiles and oh yeah illnesses ;-) far outweigh any paycheck i could ever receive

i would say that i never imagined that working in a preschool setting would be so rewarding

i would say that A and i are happier when the house is tidy. i would also say that when one of us is sick, it becomes a lot harder to keep tidy. we definitely work as a team around here, and i adore that

i would say that grown adults who know better can be vindictive and attempt to steal your joy because of their own bitterness all while wearing a sugary smile and proclaiming their love for Jesus
{i could write an entire series on the southern facade that i.desperately.hate. just be real for crying out loud. yanks have that one over southerners hands down}

i would say that only you can let someone steal your joy
{in other words, neener-neener, aforementioned person didn't win ;-) }

i would say that car shopping when you HAVE to car shop isn't as exciting as it seems to be
{moment of silence for lora's amazing passat...it finally died last month. and i have shed more than a couple of tears.}

i would say that fresh flowers in the house brighten my mood immensely. fresh flowers that my husband pick out for me just intensify that!

i would say that i fall more in love with texas each time i visit 
{year 2 for going on a missions trip to a children's home in the hill country. heart partially there}

i would say that getting your garden planted two months {two MONTHS} late just means a longer harvest period
{fingers crossed}

i would say that the God-encounters that you allow yourself to be aware of are more amazing that you could ever come up with by any stretch of your imagination

i would say that i have wanted to come type out long versions of each of these snippets and felt a block of some sort.  so for now they are snippets.  fuller versions on request...or as i have the time to tell them

but really, it doesn't matter what i have to say about the months between january and july.  we did a lot of living during those months.  times spent with great friends, playing board games, crashing on the couch to watch movies, having family over and A *finally* getting his youngest sister and i to watch the LOTR trilogy, taking time for a date night or two, celebrating my birthday and hosting gatherings for each of our best friend's birthdays, A speaking for the first time at our church plant...and there were also tears and hurt, and pain, and stress and confusion and wondering if we had made the right decisions about several things.

and that's life.

the next six months will hold much of the same, and i await it all expectantly.

life without pain means you forget to feel.  because of tears, i feel joy more radically.

i'm not going to make any promises i can't keep. but my desire is to be here, to be real, to live life authentically in this tiny blip in the internet where i get to have my real voice.

so for the good, for the bad, for all the lovely moments in between...here i am.

oh, and if you take the time to be sweet and comment please include what you drive and why you love it. did i mention car shopping is a pain?!


xoxo
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