"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Card

Below are the picks that I currently have that I like enough to possibly use on our Christmas card.  I had wanted to get my sis to take pics of me and Jude this past weekend, but that didn't happen.  After getting my first Christmas card in the mail yesterday (thanks friend- you're baby is beautiful!) I am feeling the pressure to get them going!

I had wanted to put one pic of Jude by himself and one of the two of us.  So my question for YOU is

1) should I just go ahead and do wait till this weekend to get a better pic of me and Jude?


2) Which do you like of Jude- choice a, b, or c?

Thanks friends!

Choice A:  Out of the seat, but a cute smile.  Good shot of tree.

Choice B: Cute close up.

Choice C: Sitting incorrectly.  A laughing picture.  Tree shot not as good.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ice Juice

There are currently 2 things in life with which I am obsessed- iced tea and Naked juice smoothies.  Ice Tea is a lifelong addiction.  It's genetic, and I come from a long line of iced tea drinkers.  Naked juice is new, but happens to work well with my attempts at a raw food diet.  At 2, Jude has attempted to discover both.

He doesn't really get ice tea.  I don't even give him juice except when he's really lucky.  However, one time I broke down and gave him some of my juice smoothie mixed with ice and a whoooollllle lot of water.  He coined the term 'ice juice'.  He now asks for ice juice all the time and it cracks me up.  He thinks he's big stuff when he gets it though.

Mom tip- Due to my raw food diet, I buy mostly Naked juice, but I have also bought general organic veggie+fruit juices from the grocery store (Kroger or the Cupboard here).  There are something like 15 veggies and fruits in it.  It has several servings per glass.  Because Jude has never been given much apple juice, he isn't aware that juice should be sweet.  Why is this a tip?  Because when he does get juice, he's getting TRUE no sugar added juice loaded with fruits and veggies.  And he loves it.  This juice shouldn't replace eating true veggies and fruits obviously, but it's a heck of a lot better than Motts apple juice!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful... for when time stands still

Hey Jude,

This evening I went out to eat with a friend.  I picked you up from your sitter a little before 9, but you had already been asleep.  Of course, you didn't stay asleep once I got you in the car.  I tried to put you to bed when we got home.  It seemed like the right thing to do.  Little boys aren't supposed to be running around after 9:00.

Going to bed broke your heart.  I guess you've enjoyed having me home the past few days, and were sad I was gone this evening.  I couldn't stand watching your heart break.  I know I am probably a pushover mom in some people's opinions, but I think your feelings are important.  And I am so thankful I took the time.

We spent the next 15 minutes with you snuggled on top of my chest just the way you did when you were a baby.  I remembered what it was like even now to get a hug from my mom when I'm sad, and I was glad I could offer you the same thing.  I'm thankful that during those 15 minutes, time stood still.  It was one of those serene moments in which I could live forever.  Your head on my shoulder.  Your arm drooped lazily over my side.  You sweet baby breath.  It was perfect.  You may not remember this, but I will.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Hymn- It basically says it all

For The Beauty Of The Earth 

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth        
Over and around us lies,     
Lord of all, to thee we raise         
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above, 
Pleasures pure and undefiled, 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For each perfect gift of thine,

To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine, 
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven, 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
This our grateful hymn of praise. 

kuyakevin.blogspot.com- image
For thy Church which evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore 
Her pure sacrifice of love, 
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
This our grateful hymn of praise.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Photo day 10- Nature

I am stumped on day 9: person who inspires me.  But I have an idea.  In the meantime, I decided to skip that day and move on to Day 10, which is nature.  That was easier for me.  And to be honest, as obsessed as I am with fall and winter, I could camp out here.  Maybe I will.

This is dried thistle.  My dried thistle which sits on the window ledge in my bathroom.  It has been my favorite flower since sometime in college.  I like that it's purple.  I like that its unconventional.  I like all that it symbolizes to me.  It's a prairie flower, and by nature hardy.  It manages to survive cold winters, dry spells, and scorching heat.  It's beautiful, but also difficult to get ahold of.  It's been through a lot, and it takes a more adventurous person to appreciate it for what it is.

My life has been one that has made me hardy and somewhat of a survivor.  And while I certainly think my life is beautiful for what it is, it has also left me with some prickly spots.  Just like a thistle.  So today I'm thankful for all the people in my life who appreciate me for who I am.  They are willing to look beyond the areas of pain that make it so easy to pigeonhole me, to the person that I really am.  Because none of those prickles have ever defined me, just like the thistle.  And I'm also thankful that God has a reason for every prickle, every draught, every cold winter, every scorching summer that I'm asked to survive.  I'm thankful that He brings forth brilliant colors and healing through it all, just like he does with the thistle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 8: Favorite Color

Favorite Color:  Something Impossible for me to nail down.  I love all colors.  But here is something I find very invigorating.  This is the night stand in my guest room, which has a lot of teal and orange.

* antique shoe- from my Grandma's house
* Bayous of Louisiana- flea market in Hot Springs, AR
* Egret glass thing (technical term)- flea market in Hot Springs as well
* Red Ryder book- Recycled Books, Denton

Sunset this evening, Crossroads, Texas

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 7: Something Funny

A couple years ago (probably more like 5), Urban Outfitters had a book in the store on Church Signs Across America.  Anyway else remember this gem?  It was hilarious.  We all know the generic ones.  My favorite cheezeball slogan was "God answers knee-mail".  Presh.

This summer I saw a classic one at the Baptist church on Scripture street.  It said, "I Know a Place Hotter than Texas."  Ha freakin ha baby.  Of course, living through the hell that is a Texas summer (pun intended), I found that one slightly effective.

But this sign near my house on 720 might take the cake.  I mean really, "We're not all in the cemetary."  What is that even supposed to mean?  Is it because it's this teeny tiny white clapboard church that looks like it's for old people?  Is it because there is a little cemetary behind the church?  Is it because Halloween just passed?  I seriously have no idea, but thank you sweet Methodist church for the quality laugh.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stepping out Saturday (Sunday)

This is my first Steppin Out.  I don't know that I will keep this up much, but the weather and the morning light were agreeable, so why not.  I love Harpers Happenings blog anyway.

On Me:

Shoes: Levity (got em at DSW.  For my birthday.)
Tights: Not sure.  They are old.  Rocked them through most of my pregancy even.
Tunic Dress: Forever 21 (myfavestoreever)
Sweater: H&M (new fave)  Also, the belt came with the sweater.
Polka Dot bracelet:  Had since college.
Silver Bangle: Mardel (haha).  It has Galations 5:22-23 on it.  I wear it every day because with a job like teaching, and with being a single mom, it has been so stinking helpful for me to have that to remind myself to breathe and be Christ like.
Gold pendant A necklace:  Vintage.  Given to me by my Grandma.  Best present ever.

Thankful.... for Freedom of Religion

This morning I sat down and finally picked up this month's issue of "The Voice of the Martyrs".  This particular issue I was really interested because they were focusing on all the countries in North Africa, which happens to be the part of the world I am most interested in visiting.   I heard about this magazine from a wonderful friend, ex coworker, and blogger Kate.  If you are looking for a great blog to read, highly recommend.

This magazine is (free) and fantastic.  I am always blown away by the stories and interviews.  It's completely challenging to my own relationship with Christ because I realize how often I risk nothing.  It's really easy to robotically say 'well obviously if I were tortured, I would still choose Christ'.  And then you think about how often you could have said more about your relationship with Christ, but didn't.  Personally, I wonder how I would respond.  I do think there's an amazing strength that comes when the need to stand arises.  However, in America, it is too easy to be complacent.  I don't feel any pressure to be as blatant as I could be, which is terrible.  And I always get so caught up in the fact that 'I'm not that good of a Christian.  I don't want people to think I'm a hypocrite."  So I just say very little.  Not impressive.

Interestingly enough, I started this as a way to show I'm thankful I don't have to worry about dying for my faith.  You know what though, I'm not sure how thankful I am for that.  Sometimes I think it'd be good for me to have a little more fire under my rear to share.  That day may come one day.  But for now, I am thankful that today I am going to take Jude to church and hang out with friends from church and read my Bible and none of those things will be done in secret.

And if you are interested, click the picture at the top.  It will link you to persecuted.com.  You can get this magazine for free about every month I think.  It's challenging, and these people certainly need our prayers.  I for one am thankful to Kate for blogging about it awhile back :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Photo Day6.... Books

This is my Book To Do List (that I've bought so far.  I actually have lots of books I want to buy and read posted to pinterest also.)  I am currently working on "The Princess Bride" because I just finished "The God Who Is There, which was part of the Schaeffer Trilogy book you see.  I felt I needed something light.  After I finish Bride, I plan on moving back to Schaeffer to finish off Escape to Reason and He is There and He is Not Silent.

I've technically read halfway through The Time Traveler's Wife.  I'm determined to finish it, but honestly, it just can't capture my attention.  The only thing I really enjoy about it honestly is that it takes place in Chicago and there are numerous references to old punk bands.  I don't know that I would recommend it, but the cover picture and colors are really pretty I think.  They've had good marketing, which is half the reason I buy books.

The bottom book is one I've looked for for years, ever since I was 18 and took a random history class at the local community college.  My professor referenced this book.  It basically talks about how 4 basic generations have cycled through American history.  The way it cycled made sense. I don't remember all of them.  1 was like the generation that does what they are supposed to.  The GI generation being the most obvious.  Then there were the rebellious generations like the 20s and the 60s.  I don't remember what else, but it sounded fascinating and I picked it up literally for like 97 cents on amazon.

Anyway, to tie this to Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for reading.  For the escape in to other worlds.  For the challenge to my current thinking.  For the inspiration it gives me.  For the way it changes the way I see myself.  For the freedom it gives me to break away from things that held me back.  For the way it is through reading the Bible that I grow closer to God.  For the times each day I get to read to my sweet class.  For the way it goes so perfectly with snuggling with a toddler or in your favorite chair or in your bed.  For the way it goes perfectly with coffee and cold nights and snowy mornings.  There is no pastime more closely associated with comfort to me.  I love reading.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thankful.... for pretty mornings

Here are my attempts at photographing the morning sky.  I actually have enjoyed the morning sky ever since the time change (and I can actually see it).  It's one of the perks of living on the outskirts of town, as a pass several cow and horse farms on a regular basis.

I'm mainly thankful that every day is new.  Especially this year.  For whatever reason, this year is proving to be a lot harder for me than a lot of years.  I never thought that I would say that after last year, but here I am, saying that.  All that to say, I am thankful each day is a new day and a new opportunity to start again and try to make it better.  I'm thankful for hope, because without that, I wouldn't have made it through the past year and a half.  I'm looking forward to several new mornings, and I'm especially looking forward to the morning when I feel like I've emerged from the desert that is life post divorce, single parent, difficult class...  I'm thankful for each new sunrise that reminds me I'm one day closer, and that God will make all things glorious is His time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful.... for Fall

I love fall.  It is my favorite season.  I love Thanksgiving.  It's my favorite holiday.  I wish I lived up North so I could have a 'real fall'.  I try to be thankful for the bits of yellow, orange, and red we do get in Denton.  It's a heck of a lot more than we got in Louisiana!  But still.

Today my goal was to photograph leaves.  This is the best of the ones I got on the way to work today.  Taken on FishTrap road in Aubrey.  There are some really nice fall trees up here right now.

Don't you wish you could just sit under this tree with a good cup of coffee, a good book, read and escape.  I do.  I could use a good relaxing day like that.  7 work days until Thanksgiving break!  Now that's something to celebrate and be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Photo challenge: Happiness

Today's photo challenge is happiness.  I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with something creative.  Unfortuntately, today is one of those days where my brain is on overload of interventions, student data, how far behind I am on the scope and sequence, how far I have to go to get my kids on level, etc, etc, etc.  Creativity is not high on my scale today.  I don't have it in me.  But here are my attempts.

Happiness is..... coffee in the morning.  And this new holiday flavor of coffee mate I got.

Happiness is..... pulling out my ridiculous pair of socks from high school that I will.not.let.die.  They are completely comforting puff balls of marshmallowy excellence.  I'm sure they don't make them anymore.  If they did, I might buy more.  Sweatshirts, leggings, big Catholic school socks, feet propped up= comfort= happiness.
(side note- I totally impulse bought leg warmers at H&M this weekend.  I have been excited for the cold front to come through so I could wear them.  As I pulled these bad boys on this afternoon, I realized they had quite a bit in common with my leg warmers.  Perhaps they aren't so ridiculous after all?  I think I'm going to have my sister take a totally wacky indie fashion photo, stick it on pinterest, and see what happens :)

Happiness is..... breakfast at dinner.  Coffee, eggs, apples, love.

Happiness is.... laughing because your toddler has helped himself to your dinner.

Happiness is..... taking 'comfort food' to a whole new level of lounging on the table.  Go on Jude, enjoy yourself.

Please note how clean my plate is.  I ate hardly any of it.

Happiness is.... beating your mom to her own food.  He actually completely ate the eggs on the first plate.  I had to go back and make a whole new couple eggs.  Rascal.

Also, today I'm thankful for being able to go to bed!  Seriously.  I'm that tired.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 2: Smile

Smile- Boy if this picture of Jude's smile doesn't show his personality, I don't know what does.  Megan is way in to my camera.  She babysat for me Saturday night.  I found this beauty when I uploaded my raspberry photos yesterday.  The day 2 gratitude photo challenge was a smile.  I'm sorry, but this was just too perfect to pass up!

I am absolutely thankful for the ornery boy smiling in this photo.  He is my gift from God in ways that I can't even wrap my mind around.  He was definitely never planned, but God in His sovereignty used him to motivate me to get out of my marriage and file for divorce.  I'm so thankful to have him, because he defied so many odds.  Scientifically, it was pretty unexpected for him to come at all.  Plus, having him marked the first time I ever told Michael no, the first time I ever stood my ground.  I often wonder what my life would be like if I'd ever given in to Michael and not had him.  There are no words to describe the gratitude I have that I didn't give in to him, the gratitude I have to God for giving me the strength to stand, the gratitude I have for having this hilarious, adorable, loving, wonderful embodiment of all that is grace and God's goodness in my life.

James 1:17- every good and perfect gift is from above....

Side note:  The other day Megan was over and playing around with Jude.  She playfully smacked him on the bottom to which Jude replied, "Noooo... that's mine!!!!"


Thankful... for a pencil sharpener

As a teacher, I have to tell you that pencil sharpeners are a thing of fury and delight.  I personally have had issues buying electric pencil sharpers that go slower than the manual one in my classroom.  My manual classroom sharpener is the MOST ghetto pencil sharpener on the planet.  See below:

1.  It has no pencil cover!
2.  Pencil shavings go allllllllll over the place.  I'm sure the custodians love me.
3.  The handle is covered with pencil lead and stains your hands anytime you use it.
4.  After 20+ pencils have been sharpened, I am left with blisters on my thumb and pointer finger.  No bueno.

So, this weekend I finally bought a new pencil sharpener.  I got one from Target and it was $20, which is pretty dang cheap for an electric sharpener to be honest.  Let me tell you, this thing is pretty awesome. I sharpened NEW pencils in 20 seconds flat.  I-am-not-kidding!!!!  And already sharpened pencils?  A mere 10 seconds.  

Oh, I am sooooo in love!!!!  Today I am thankful for you Monsieur Sharpener.  You have made my life whole again.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful... for Raspberries

If there is one food filled with memories for me, it would have to be raspberries.  I cannot eat a single one without thinking of my grandma.  She made the best raspberry-pineapple jam in the world.  I really meant to learn how to make it before she died, but I didn't do it.  One of my many regrets.  There's nothing in this world quite like her raspberry-pineapple jam combined with my mom's thanksgiving biscuits...

My grandparents lived on an old farm in Ohio practically their entire married life, which spanned 50+ years.  Growing up, it was one of my favorite places to go.  I was fascinated by being in an old farmhouse and thinking about all the kids who'd run in one door and out the other.  I fell in love with the wild farm cats and their incessant litters of kittens.  I could romp through the woods for hours imagining I was Huck Finn.  Most importantly, I could go pick raspberries off the bush and eat insane amounts of them.  I would spend hours picking raspberries if I could.  It's amazing my lips aren't permanently stained.

You know how some places just seemed truly magical when you were a kid?  That's how Grandma and Grandpa's farm was for me.  I still love raspberries in any way, shape, or form.  I still eat them and remember all of those wonderful days of summer berry picking.

I am so thankful that I was blessed with so many good memories.  I am so thankful for the relationship I had with my Grandma for the first 26 years of my life.  Despite the distance, she made sure she had a strong relationship with us.  I always loved knowing she loved us and wanted to spend time with us.  As I've grown older and can reflect on the people who've impacted my life, one thing stands out to me about my Grandma.  She had an incredible amount of grace.  She really did her best to make people feel loved and welcome no matter what was going on in their life or hers.  I pray that God will mold me in to someone that gracious as well.


So I've already started doing this in the sense that I've been blogging about things I'm thankful for.  Howevs, I am going to try to do this because it's photographic- and I have this awesome camera that I don't know how to use- so this will make me practice, right?  Right.  Get excited!

Thankful.... for Aunt Mega

Today I'm thankful for my sister, for about a million reasons.  Here are some faves:

* She watches Jude for me all the time so I can go hang out with friends.  She never complains about how long I'm gone.  She's even watched him over night so I could go to a baby shower in Austin.
* She has a beautiful dog Kyah.
* She is not afraid to be honest with me if I need her to.
* She believes in the Red Raiders.
* She is the best shopping partner in the world.
* She dvrd a ton of Jersey Shore episodes for me.  (don't judge)
* She is my bachelor watching buddy.
* She put up with all of my ridiculous overly creative productions of insanity when we were kids.  I mean what was I thinking all the time?  She must have thought I was a total weirdo, but she still loved me.
* She makes me laugh, a lot!  In fact, there are a lot of things she's said over the years I can recall and still laugh about.
* And the most important- she is the only person in the world with whom I can look at and start cracking up for no observable reason, but she gets it, and I get it, and that's all that matters.

Don't you love sisterly bonding?  I do!

PS- Mega, I owe you a wine and pinning party!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful... for Toddler quotes

Today I am thankful for toddler quotes.  Because- not kidding- Jude just said 'Paci I want' and it sounded just like Yoda.  I'm not a star wars fan (like at all. do not get it. at all), however, I do appreciate a good yoda styled quote.  Always a good time.  And a random one from a 2 yr old regarding a paci, well that's just awesome.

On a side note, our very creative instructional specialist made an entire powerpoint on English Language Learner Standards with a Star Wars theme.  It was probably one of the 'punniest' things I've seen in a long time.  Probably the best picture though was 'Obi Juan Kenobi' or whatever his name is. If I had that powerpoint I would seriously upload it.  I am definitely thankful I was present for that staff development opportunity.

And last, I am thankful for my bed.  And I can guarantee you I will be in it before 9:00.  It would be totally not cool and totally awesome.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful... for my Texas, my job, and citizenship.

Today I'm thankful for Texas, my job, and citizenship.  Weird combo?  Not really.  I'm thankful for Texas because we are close to the border of Mexico.  Which means that instead of having the same culture as the entire US, we get some variety.  (Ok, I realize that a lot of states have variety.  I'm just saying...)  I'm thankful for the food that variety brings.  I'm thankful for the people I get to meet that are different and yet the same.  I'm thankful for being inspired to work harder and be appreciative of things I never had to work for.

And I'm thankful for my job because I think I have only 2 white kids??  Not sure.  The point is I get to learn about other cultures (hispanic specifically) on a daily basis, and that rocks.  I never thought about it before, because I grew up in New Orleans, and there weren't too many hispanics to begin with.  But I just really enjoy being around this warm group of teachers and parents and kids.  I love how all these parents bring the entiiire family to breakfast in the morning to eat with their kids.  I think that's awesome, and I wish more parents were that involved.  And I'm thankful because I get the opportunity to buy fresh, homade tamales and support one of our 5th graders at the same time.  It's yummy.  It's awesome.

And finally, I'm thankful for citizenship, which is the main thing I never had to work for.  I'm sure there are people who are here illegally and not that nice.  However--- working at my school, I have heard so many stories of people who are here illegally and then end up seperated from their families, even spouses who ARE citizens come under fire and question and have to PROVE their birth certificate isn't fake.  As a single parent, I can't imagine the stress of being afraid my spouse was going to be up and shipped out or wondering if he'd be allowed back or wondering if I were going to be sent back bc of the validity of my certificate, etc, etc, etc.  If someone is here and working and contributing, I'm sorry, but I don't see the big deal.  My soapbox- but to me this = ridiculous.

So basically, I'm thankful for Texas and being able to meet people from Latin American countries because they are inspirational.  They are working their butts off for something I was born into.  I tip my hat and have to confess, I just don't know if I would work as hard.  Maybe I've just had it too easy too long???  Regardless, I'm thankful for Texas, my job, and citizenship.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful for.... Volleyball

Today I'm thankful for volleyball.  (Even though I didn't make the past couple games, I know.)  I'm thankful for the friendships I made with people I see every day at work.  I'm thankful for being able to deepen friendships I already had.  I'm thankful for how it makes me love my Lee family just a little bit more.  I'm thankful that I get to play something I absolutely love, even if my skills are questionable.  I'm thankful we are the reigning champs even if we lost yesterday.  I'm thankful for the VICs where we get to hang out, improve our game, improve our teaching ideas, and just enjoy watching the Rangers... or the Mavs... or whoever.  Last year the volleyball team was one of those important life lines I needed.  This year I'm just thankful that I get to call this awesome group of people my friends.  I love you guys- seriously!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thankful- To Choose Joy

Today I'm thankful for the continuous opportunity to 'choose joy'.  If I had a slogan to live by, it would be that.  Not because I am good at it.  Because I need to be good at it.  I'm the worst person about not seeing the forest for the trees.  At a pumpkin patch with Jude, I got so caught up in capturing the perfect picture, I forgot to just laugh at all the things Jude did.  Even this evening, I found myself caught up in editing pictures and not just enjoying Jude.  And to top it off, I'm a perfectionist.  I get upset with myself when even the smallest things fail.  It's really stupid.

So tonight, to start off the season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I can start over each second.  I'm thankful that maybe I didn't 'choose joy' to start with, but I can 'choose joy' now.  Because it's not the past moments that count, it's this very moment right now.  And now, I choose joy.