* Cees’ Oddball Challenge

OK, I should “win” Cee’s blogging challenge because I’m already an oddball, even without a photograph.  Or you could say I am a divergent thinker with ADD.  Or you could say I have a split personality.  I mean, how on earth did this photo happen?  Seriously, folks, I did not photoshop it or alter it in any way.  My dearest widower will confirm that he took the photo as I kept saying, “Push the button!  Push the button!”  Of course, iPhone buttons can’t be pushed, so perhaps that explains it.  After watching 2 episodes of “People of Earth,” I might consider this my alien abduction experience.  It reminds me of the old double exposure days of film-in-a camera.  Yikes.

me 1.JPG

Wait, wait, wait!  I do remember what happened!  Wow.  It’s all so clear now.  We were trying to film a fourth of July family video for one of my students.   The four of us were playing a board game and I pulled out my camera, not really asking anyone if we could make a quick video.  I set the camera on video, handed the phone to my teaching widower, and as he fumbled with it, I admit my voice got higher and louder as I said, “Push the button!  Push the button!”  (As a former Brit, I was thinking, “Push the bloody button!”)  He said something odd about pans and I snatched the phone back.  It was on Pano setting and he did push the bloody button after all.  The photo above is me, thinking, “Push the bloody button!”  And yes, we did get a video made after we stopped laughing hysterically at pans and Pano[rama].

* Clutter: another lesson in belief

“I am not a hoarder!  In fact, I am quite organized.”  I can see your eyebrows rising in disbelief.  Yeah, we have an uncontrolled junk room, tons of closets stuffed to the brim, and every drawer and shelf in the house is packed.  But that clutter is not hanging over my head, as of a day ago.  My dearest friend, who shared her “A-student” story, has inspired me to ignore the whispers of “clutterer.”  Those shelves and shelves of teaching supplies?  Their days are numbered.  Today I filled up 2 bags of clothes for the thrift shop.  Whee!

In the past, in a far away land, my cleaning binge radar was firmly fixed on my dearest teaching widower’s clutter.  In fact, my own stacks seemed to disappear as I grunted and glared at his piles of paper, pounds of erasers shavings (he writes by HAND), and random books, paper clips, dead staples, and wine-stained napkins.  My displaced clutter-righteousness had no bounds, kinda like my own messes.  Poor guy.  But NO MORE!

junk 2

 

The New Me does not need to focus on my dearest widower’s writing detritus.  I don’t need to accomplish a clutter-free environment today or tomorrow or within a month.  I don’t feel intimidated by what needs to be done.  I want to do a little every day.  How obvious, you say.  It’s not rocket science.  But until I heard the A-Student story, I was crushed under the weight of clutter.

With my confident belief and God’s grace, along with a dearest friend to whom I can be accountable, the era of clutter in this house is over.  I am so excited!  In fact, this will be my “before” photo:

junk 3

* Got an attitude?

How fun!  Another week of Cee’s Share Your World, one of my favorite blogging challenges.  I don’t know how she does it, but Cee not only blogs multiple times every day, sharing terrific photos, she also comes up with some cool questions.  Here are the latest.  I hope my snake-like attitude tonight doesn’t pop up in every answer!

What is something that people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?  I have erased many topics on this one, mostly because I don’t want to offend someone who adores whatever.  I DO get the point of them but simply don’t care much about celebrity culture and current fashion trends.  I don’t spend much time on social media, either, because it’s not a priority.  If I have any time that isn’t scheduled, I’d prefer to read.

What quirky things do people do where you are from?  I guess I’m from North Carolina now, so bickering about basketball and football allegiances is huge in this area.  The Tar Heels and Blue Devils are major rivals; be careful what kind of bumper sticker you have when driving through Chapel Hill or Durham!

What are some things you wish you could unlearn?  There are some social non-graces I’d like to undo or simply relearn.  I’m not a good listener unless I work at it.  My “filter” is often compromised and I say the first thing that comes to mind.  Ouch.  I work hard at not being critical, but I was raised with such harshness and cruelty that my deep-inside default is often negative.  Like tonight.

Who is someone that you miss having in your life?  No one comes to mind.  My dearest teaching widower (aka psychologist) says I have an attachment disorder.  I’m OK with that because I’d rather read.  Yep, I’m a bit grouchy this evening.  This critter and I got into it today.  I mean, seriously?  Get off the BIRD feeder, you rascal.

 

squirrel with tude

* TToT

How little time I take to be thankful!  I’m better than I used to be, but this Ten Things of Thankful blogging challenge is good for my soul and spirit.  Here we go:

  1.  The kiddos are here, 8 of them tonight, playing on various devices and eating endlessly.  I’m grateful for their humor (“I’m just teasing, Aunt Katharine”), their enjoyment of one another, and all the Beatles’ songs we’ve heard tonight.  One niece has perfect pitch, which is truly amazing to a tone-deaf person like myself.
  2.  We are far over the year’s average of rainfall, which keeps all the plants growing so deer can snack on the yard.
  3.  The rain also brings mold, so we are FINALLY getting our house pressure washed.   The mold must be worse than I thought, because my dearest teaching widower suggested the washing.  That leads me to #4:
  4.  I call it The Dead Man Theory, as my dearest widower could step over a dead man on the kitchen floor and not notice.  The good news is that he has never once been critical of my multiple stacks of paperwork.  I have not been as generous towards his debris.
  5.  I’ve been given some awesome chocolate this week.  Ooh, pure pleasure.
  6.  We had a fabulous women’s event last night at church.  Designer desserts, candles flickering, a jazz trio humming.  Wow.
  7.  I still have more chocolate to eat!!
  8.  My foot is healing well.  It could have gone south, but that compression boot and tons of prayer did the trick.
  9.   I’ve run out of things so…
  10.  I saved the best for last.  Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I am married to the best father I’ve ever met.  He is gentle, patient, wise, and unselfish.  Wait!  Another one!
  11.  Speaking of patient, my dearest widower stopped the car so I could take a photo of a most beautiful sunset.  Sadly, my iPhone doesn’t capture the gorgeous colors, but who gets tired of admiring sunsets?                                                                                                           sunset.JPG

* Sharing my world

Cee’s weekly Share Your World challenge comes courtesy of Ribbonr.com this week.  So glad I don’t have to think of these every week!  Here are the fun questions.

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?  Stay married and faithful.  I don’t take any credit for this.  When my dearest teaching widower met me, I was a total basket case.  I suffered from severe depression and anxiety, not to mention serious character flaws.  Instead of social skills, I had social anxiety and the mouth of a sailor. Without my husband’s tender love and the grace of God, we would not be together.

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?  I have been reading lawyer and criminal thrillers for the past year.  I have a bunch to review!  I also love science fiction, but that genre seems more difficult to write; I often ditch a book after a few chapters.

How often do you people watch?  Not so much.  I guess it goes back to my social weaknesses.  I bird watch, tree watch, flower watch. cloud watch, and deer watch (grrrr).

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?  Algebra!  I’m sharpening my skills as I prepare to teach middle school next year.  I’m much better than I thought, which is a relief (and which isn’t saying toooo much).  However, knowing a subject is not the same as teaching it.  I really need more tools in my math repertoire.  I’m taking an excellent online course to help in that arena:  Teaching Mathematics With Technology.  It’s not too late to join!

Friday Institute

* What did one elevator say to the other?*

Cee’s Share Your World Challenge is a cool way to start your blogging week.  Here are this week’s questions and my responses.  Feel free to join in the fun!

Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator doors work faster?  As kids, my sister and I were in perpetual competition over who could get to the elevator button first.  Now, she and I find ourselves redirecting kids who are similarly obsessed.  It DOES matter who pushes the button first!  I am still intrigued by elevator buttons, but have been depressed to discover (pun intended) that jabbing the button repeatedly doesn’t make the doors open or close any faster.  Maybe your elevators are better than mine.  Now I’m stuck on elevator memories….

Do you plan out things usually or do you do them more spontaneously (for example if you are visiting a big city you don’t know?)  Our daughter-in-law does all the heavy lifting on family trips, partly so that we will actually DO something.  When my dearest teaching widower and I go alone, we veg out.  Sure, for a trip to a major city, we want to see some highlights, like the Smithsonian or Holocaust Museum, but otherwise, we drift along.

Golden Gate bridge

My copilot makes sure we keep moving!

Describe yourself in at least four uplifting words.  Um.  (That doesn’t count.)  Patient, positive, funny (see answer to joke below), & divergent.

If you had a choice, which would be your preference: salt water beaches, freshwater lakes, ocean cruise, hot tub, ski resort or desert?   My dearest widower always says he wants to get to heaven before me so he can stake out a place at the beach or mountains.  He’s afraid we’ll get stuck in the middle.  And sometime I should blog about our ski trip, which was insane.  OK, back to the question.   I love deserts, but if I want company, I’d better take the beach.

Thank you, Cee, for your fun challenges!

*  I think I’m coming down with something. 

* Winter, southern style

Winter storm Helena is still breathing light snowflakes on us we settle back to survey the “damage.”  Here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, schools in the area closed early yesterday in anticipation of an afternoon snow event.  I got stuck in the apocalyptic traffic snarls as parents snatched their kids from school and frantically shopped for enough bread and water to feed a Gulag of prisoners.  Why do southern folks eat like prisoners when it snows?  Grocery store shelves remained adequately stocked with everything except those two items.  Well, the sugar snap peas were also gone.  Bummer.  I headed for the chocolate aisle and smiled.  I must be the only one eating chocolate today.

traffic.JPG

You know that a forecast of a quarter of an inch of snow terrifies folks around here, so imagine our reaction to a potential 6 to 9 inches!  Horror!  The governor’s inaugural event was canceled and streets were brined.  The proactive salting of streets only started in the last decade here.  I’m not sure how effective that measure is, because in our locale, any winter event seems to start with rain, as the temperatures are loathe to drop below freezing.  Even the clouds fight desperately to hold their loads of moisture.  Yesterday they leaked rain and then sleet, possibly washing away all that brine, and it was near midnight when snow forced its way through.

My dearest widower and I stared through the curtains last night as the snow pinwheeled like blossoms under the streetlight.  No way were we getting 6-9 inches.  Maybe 2?  Should I have bought bread and water?  Nah, I ate some chocolate and prayed that no one would lose their power.

Here’s the view from our front porch this morning.  I parked at the edge of the driveway this year, ready to flee, because my dearest widower was in PT for a year after shoveling the driveway in our last icy debacle.

snowday 1.7.2017.JPG

I haven’t ventured onto the snow yet, worried about that treacherous layer of ice under the fluffy snow.  I see that a snowplow has barreled through, ruining a perfectly good sledding hill.  Oh well, you notice that no kids are around?  They’re probably too weak to crawl out; that bread and water diet is a killer.

 

* 1000 posts!

1000-posts

WordPress made my day!  Who knew?  It was a surprising milestone.  Women and words, right?   When I return home after hanging out with friends, my dearest widower asks facetiously, “Did you run out of words?”  He knows we didn’t.  He is also hoping I did, so that he can get on with his work at the moment.  Don’t get me wrong.  My dearest widower is a terrific listener, but he has this squeamishness about him that I’ve been trying to correct for about 47 years.  For some reason, he doesn’t like to hear school stories about vomit, mucus-related events, toileting, and lice.  Seriously?  Those are the funniest stories of ALL!  My first post was about toilets!

* Re-treats!

What a  terrific weekend!  I spent it at a retreat with an amazing group of women from Grace Church, all empowered by the Holy Spirit!  No photos of us because of confidentiality, but the rationale of our Victory Weekend motivation is to raise up healthy leaders, even as our church is under construction.

avila

Here’s a non-confidential photo at the Avila Retreat Center.  It’s a peaceful setting where all religious denominations are welcomed.  Great southern hospitality!

 

When I got home, my dearest teaching widower had some treats waiting.  What a precious man!  My favorites: carrot cake and pomegranates.  Yum!

We will have the kiddos for Halloween trick-or-treating tomorrow.  Last year, my famous last words were, “Stay with me!” I’ll let you know what this year brings.

spider.JPG

Our neighbors anxiously await the trick-or-treaters.  We’ll see if they regret that!

* A Legacy

Lizzi has written a powerful message on legacy, as she and her family bid farewell to their Nana.  I can’t adequately capture Lizzi’s passionate writing, so please head over to her blog and read for yourself.

Lizzi concludes her post with these questions: What would you like to be remembered for? Have you ever wondered about life, whilst commemorating its passing? Who makes you thankful to be alive and learning? 

My dearest teaching widower and I are nearing the statistically likelihood of our deaths, although we’ve all learned that age is no protection from the inevitable.  Before I was saved, I simultaneously wanted to die and thought I would live forever.  I no longer fear or long for death.  Well, I admit there are hard times when I cry out, “Jesus, beam me up!”

I want to be remembered as a lover.  A lover of Jesus, first.  A lover of my husband.  A lover of my relatives and my church family.  A lover of thousands of students.

my-dearest-widower-va

I do wonder about my eternal life and especially the new earth.  Will dogs and cats be able to speak?  Will I be able to stay next to Jesus while I also explore the galaxies with my dearest widower?  Can I re-negotiate the marriage deal then?  I never want to be away from my dearest widower.  Will there be toilets and will we need them?

Who makes me thankful to be alive and learning?   God.  If not for his intervention, I would have died in infancy and many times after that.  I’ve experienced a multitude of brushes with death, and here I am, by his grace.

If you do not have this faith, I sound stupid.  I used to tell a therapist (who did not have this faith, either), that religion was a just crutch for the weak.  I mocked anyone who believed in God.  The name of Jesus made me sick.  How could God allow the destruction of my soul?  Where was he during all those dreadful years?  Now I acknowledge my weaknesses and ask, “How could God have redeemed my soul and saved me from death?  Why me?”   Now I know where he was and see what he was doing.  It makes me want to shout for joy!