What do you love?

I have many locations and items that I love in and about my home and the small ranch we operate.

Lately though, my favorite place has been my bed.

My bed is where I enjoy wearing my winter pajamas for at least a few weeks each year. This seems to be the most acceptable place to do that.

My bed acquired a new look a Christmas or two ago when the comforter and sheets changed to an alpine theme and some shams and a couple of throw pillows made it really uptown. The comforter is just the right amount of warmth and the sheets are comfy, but not too silky.

My bed helps me accomplish at least one goal each day. I like starting the day knowing that the simple act of pulling up the covers will allow me something to look forward to as I crawl into them that night.

My bed is often adorned with a quilt or afghan, reminding me of the time and love of each stitch, by hands now in heaven. We continue to feel that warmth each night.

My bed is where I read excellent books and have conversations with my husband. It is where I pray and where I find the rest that allows me to accomplish what I need to each day.

What is your favorite place in your home? We would love for you to tell us about it.

Bravery

What do you think of when you read that word?

Possibly the Ukrainian people rising up in an effort to maintain their freedom.

The young activist taking an unpopular stand for the belief he holds.

The state Senators who decided that, as a group of united women, they have the ability to create needed change.

I have thought about all of these this past week, but today it was my friend Ashlee.

Ashlee and I have worked in the afterschool world in different cities and known each other for about eight years. Today, I learned she has the autoimmune disease alopecia areata, which is when your immune system attacks your hair follicles. To encourage others to share their story during this awareness month, Ashlee posted a picture of herself without a wig or covering. I already knew she was an incredibly strong and caring person, and today she was my new definition of bravery.

If We Lived in the Same Neighborhood

I recently watched the Live2Lead conference and was introduced to Jamie Kern Lima, Co-founder of IT cosmetics and the first female CEO of L’Oreal. Her speech really spoke to me as she shared how you can go from being underestimated to unstoppable. As I am reading her book, I now need to add her to my list of famous people who would be good friends if we lived in the same neighborhood.

Some of the other people on this list are the following:

Meg Ryan – She would enjoy a summer day on our ranch, with a drink on the pool deck and a lot of laughter from regular conversation.

Joanna Gaines – She would show me how to cook and would help fix my kitchen floor. And after that I would help her gather seed heads from my native flowers for her to try in her garden.

The Wahlberg Brothers – Donnie, Mark, and Paul would come over to grill. I know they would be impressed with our homegrown beef and would make plans to visit the next time we butchered. I would have to remind them about foul language in front of the boys.

Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze – Rachel would help me find many items to sell to help with the debt snowball. Dave would be turning a wrench on some motor in the shop while telling the boys what not to do when buying their first vehicle.

Laura Vanderkam and Gretchen Rubin – We would discuss teacher schedules and burnout and how to help teachers adapt their calendars to fit their lives instead of the other way around.

So many incredible people in this world I could be friends with if only we lived in the same neighborhood.

I am striving to complete the Slice of Life challenge with a blog post a day for the month of March.

Technology Ups and Downs

Success #1 He was so excited when the phone powered up with the correct time and date of proof it still had some life left in it.

Success #2 After some googling (when did that become a word?), I found a help sheet of instructions that were actually helpful.

Success #3 Upon following the directions on the helpful help sheet, the phone connected to the computer!

Sweet victory was in our grasp!

Disappointment #1 An update was needed on the phone. No worries. How long could that take?

Disappointment #2 88 hours! How could this internet have ever met the definition of ‘high speed’? Anything slower would have to be literally carried by a tortoise!

Success #4 The connection was a little faster (think carrier pigeon). After about an hour, we were down to 17 minutes. Then the file was finalizing and then . . .

Doom! The connection was lost with the phone. The download needed to start over. With over 30% of our internet gone for the month, we just could not make another attempt. And besides, it is now bedtime.

Until next time, unless, of course,there are more downs with technology, with which this never sees the eye of a reader. Here’s hoping for Success #5 for the blog posting!

This March I am attempting the Slice of Life challenge with teachers across the globe. Hope this one gets me back on the wagon!

Homework Woes

I don’t know which problems to do.

I didn’t get the notes from the board.

I have no idea what I am doing.

I can’t find a pencil.

Where is my calculator?

Now I need an eraser.

That is not a parallelogram.

That is not how you find the area of the parallelogram.

I did say one half.

How am I supposed to know!

I am just too stupid to do math!

Ok. That formula is A=bh.

Now, I need to add each area.

Thank you for helping me.

Sorry about the attitude.

Day 1: Daily Difficulties SOL#22

As we started to the car, for what felt like the fifteenth time, I asked one more time about shoes and socks for tonight’s band performance.

In true middle school manner my oldest stated he was just going to wear his tennis shoes, something explicitly explained as not to do in the band newsletter.

As he returned to get his dress boots, I asked my middle, also a middle schooler, if he took his meds and inhaler this morning. And yes, I filled your pill container and noticed it had not been touched this morning.

As he retreated to the house to take care of another daily task, my little, almost 9 year old, chimes in with his woes of life including likely missing out on some of the morning fun and games because we were ‘late’ in being only an hour and twenty minutes early for school. His timetable, which the entire world should follow, states that he should be there at the very start of morning LEAP, our before school program.

With all of us finally in the car, I turned into a lecturing and guilt-giving mom as I discussed real issues others his age are currently facing in our community and world. It is easy to have that conversation with him, but know I also fall into that trap of comparison woes and putting my wants as the most important for everyone else to follow or at least acknowledge.

We compromised with plans for tomorrow – for clothes to all be laid out and afterschool activity bags packed. We will get up a bit earlier tomorrow and hope that our greatest challenges of the day are those we face before we get out the door and will say extra prayers for those with so many more daily difficulties that ours.

I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, a writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers (twowritingteachers.org). I will be writing a blog post about something from my life each day of March.

Something My Future Self Will Thank Me For

Back in October, I set an appointment in my calendar to plant tulips – tulips around my home, tulips at school – I put them everywhere. I had hopes of a beautiful spring full of blooms.

A lot has happened since those beautiful fall days, and as I look at those green leaves emerging, I think of that moment, and I am thankful that I took the time. What should I do today for my July or October self?

The Vultures Return

So many slices this month have included birds. I enjoy many birds on our farm, but vultures are some I just can’t find a place for.

I know vultures are key to the ecosystem as scavengers who are truly cleaners of nature, but they just kind of creep me out.

Vultures are not attractive birds. Our native species with their bright red heads, too small for their bodies, hold their beady eyes, continually scanning for signs of death.

As I drove home today, I noticed the beautiful sunset and the fact that it was still light out! But as I approached the river, I saw them. At least a hundred in seven to ten cauldrons flying those sinister circles, around and around. And more were covering a tree on the hillside as I rounded the corner.

It must be spring because the vultures are back.

Side note: I am interested to see if this large group was the native turkey vulture or the invasive black vulture. I will likely soon see because we have a bent tree that is a vulture hangout below our house.

Ode to my lamp

Thank you to Stephanie Affinito for the inspiration to write to something I am thankful for.

Dear Nightstand Lamp,

When I first saw you in the store, I knew I had to have you. You would serve the same function as my current lamp with your light touch power switch, but you promised so much more.

Your ability to charge my phone without a dedicated cord and cube have been nearly life changing and has reduced my nightly arguments with the boys by a few, as they no longer steal the cords from you.

I love the angles of light you provide and ease at which you turn on, no matter my disarray.

I so enjoy finishing my day each evening and starting each day, too, with you right there by my side.

Work or Play?

Is work ever play? Does play often feel like work?

This weekend included a couple of activities that made me contemplate these questions.

The first was on Saturday as we moved from the last basketball game toward the baseball season. I was reminded how much work is involved for my sons to play their many sports – not only the time spent in the commute and during their games and practices, but the work to purchase the gear and wash the gear and find the gear before each game or practice. Most definitely more work than play from one end.

While already in town looking for new baseball cleats, we decided to get a first load of mulch. While most of this load was headed next door to my MIL, I will bring home and spread about 40 bags to keep up my flowers and another 10 or so on my blackberry patch (I have to try something to combat the summer weeds). Many would see this mulch as major work. While it is physical labor, ‘playing’ in my flower gardens is one of my greatest joys.

This two sides of the coin continued as we ‘worked’ on the farm – moving troughs and feeding hay and grain. It is work, but is also something we typically enjoy.

Then there was the cleaning of the house in order to get ready for next weekend’s birthday party for my youngest. All my boys (husband included) see this as ‘helping Mom get the house cleaned up!’ This statement will make me go through the roof, as if I am the one who dirtied the house!! And all the house work is house work, very difficult to turn into house play. But together it typically goes faster and now we can have our play next weekend, even if it cost us a lot of work today.