Saturday, August 9, 2014

Garden pictures and Test - August 9, 2014

I haven't figured out how to fix my problems with Picassa and Blogger. It's frustrating! In the meantime, I've decided to see what happens if I just upload pictures from my hard drive.

Here are just a few current pictures of my gardens.

This is a Bumblebee Moth! I had never heard of such a thing. We had 2 of them flying around and feeding off the butterfly bush and the salvia.

Friday, January 17, 2014

1st week of classes

Hooray - the first week of classes is over and everything went really well. I think I'm going to like being Professor Jenkins! Hee Hee! (That still sounds so funny to me!) Teaching on a collegiate level is something that's been in the back of my mind for a long time. It's exciting that I'm now here.

My class roll keeps changing, but it looks like I'm going to have about 65 students. That's a lot of young faces staring back at me and feverishly writing whatever I say. I'm learning that I'll have to adjust my teaching style a little bit. When I do workshops and conferences, I have the leniency to share stories as they come to mind. Now, I have so much specific content that has be addressed, that I'll have to limit the number of "extras" that I share. I do plan to still make the class fun for the students and of course, that includes "real life" stories; I'll just have to cut back a little.

This week, we started the semester by talking about professionalism -- what is a profession and who is a professional. Let's just say that I'm pretty sure I made an impression today....... : )

Teaching this class is definitely taking a lot out of me. I have to walk 10-12 minutes from my car to the classroom - twice a day. Then, I stand for an hour. My office is in a completely different part of the building on the 3rd floor. I am BEYOND EXHAUSTED when I get finished. My legs are swollen and I feel like I'm walking on needles. Luckily, I pull a bag instead of carrying one, but my arms are so tired it's hard to raise them. I have literally come home and gone right to sleep after each class. I sure hope this doesn't last, because I'm just miserable for the rest of the day. I want to enjoy this experience and not dread it!

All in all, it's been a great week and I'm super honored and excited by the opportunity. I am blessed!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Good Riddance 2013!!

So, that may sound a little harsh, but let's face it --- it's not like 2013 and I were BFF's! It was a really difficult year for me and I am very glad it's over!!!

That's pretty odd when you really think about it. It's not like when the clock struck midnight on Dec 31, that suddenly all was right again. Nothing changed.....There wasn't any sappy music playing that somehow transported me to a different time or place. Nope - 12:01, 12:02, 12:03,  and so on were just like 11:59. So, why am I so grateful that the year is over? Why do I expect that it will be any different in 2014? I don't know. Just hopeful, I guess. I  like the idea of "new" and "starting fresh." I remain hopeful that this year will be better than the last. It almost HAS to be -- can't be much worse. (Of course it could, but I refuse to think about that!!)

Let's talk about 2013. It was rough!! It's not that I lead a charmed life and have never had challenges. That's ridiculous. You can't get to be 45 without experiencing bumps in the road. It's just that this past year seemed so much harder on my heart and soul. If you've read my blog much at all, you know I've had 2 major and work.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in November 2012 and spent all of 2013 learning more about this condition and the impact it has on me personally. At times the pain has been almost unbearable and at others, just a mild discomfort. The brain fog has been very frustrating!! Probably the worst has been the sheer exhaustion and depression. It has really worn on me as I've tried to figure out what works and what doesn't. I honestly never know how I'm going to feel from moment to moment and I really hate that. I am extremely fortunate that both my husband and my doctor listen to me and take this condition seriously. Their support, plus the increase in my medication, has really helped me!

We all know about my work situation. No need to belabor it here. I had a job that I loved - so much so, that I never really thought of it as a job. Well, the winds of change came and that was no longer where I was supposed to be. I don't have the words (and you don't have the time!) to share my emotions and all that I have gone through. Most people wouldn't understand, but then most people have never had that kind of work experience. Suffice it to say, that it is still with me. I have tried very hard to completely move on, but I'm not there yet. You know how they say that it can take years to fully deal with a death? Well, this is the same thing.

My heart and soul have been shredded and stomped on so many times this year. It's changed how I view the world, and I'm not really ok with that. I now see things in a much more negative and cynical light. I tried to be positive in other situations throughout the year, and they ended the same way. Doors have been shut and friendships have ended. At times, the loneliness and sadness have taken my breath away. Other times, I thought I'd end up with serious dehydration from all of the tears I cried. I've struggled with the Why's and How's, even though I know there aren't any answers - certainly not any satisfying ones.

I've always been a "worker". I work very hard and put everything I have into a job - big or small. I've been successful and have almost always been a supervisor. I focused on my career long before I paid attention to love. It was how I found my identity. I was "known" by what I did. I took  pride in what I did and the fact that I did it well. All of the sudden, that was gone! Not only gone, but I lost it all in such a violent way. My sense of self and sense of pride took a direct hit. I found myself wondering what my purpose was. I've always known I was supposed to work with children. Even as a little girl, I wanted to be a teacher. That might have changed a little, but no matter what I was doing - it was all related to children and teachers. It was my passion and something I believed God wanted me to do. Now, I'm not. Part of why I left my job, was that I was being told (in words and actions) that my education, experience, beliefs, and passion were wrong and unimportant. After I didn't get the next job, or the next one, or the next one, well...... you can see where my hurting heart and mind went!

Is it any wonder that my mind, body, and soul were all hurting??

In the midst of everything, I have felt God's presence. For a long time after I quit, ALL of the devotions and readings were about rest and healing. I knew He was telling me to just stop and rest in His presence. He has provided for us in every way. Even at my lowest moments, I knew He was in control. I have been able to focus on His word and on spending time with Him. What a blessing! It isn't always easy, though. I have struggled with releasing everything but still wanting "to know"..... What is the plan? Where am I supposed to be? Is this the right door? How can I serve? I say that I give everything to God, but then I start trying to figure out what to do next or how I'm going to pay the bills. Honestly, this is still something that challenges me. I don't have the "Let Go and Let God" thing totally down. Does anyone?

So what have I learned this year?

I've learned that....

- I can't always control my health and sometimes, the harder I try, the more apparent that fact becomes.

- I have to rest when my body says to. That might be for 10 minutes or it might be for a few days.

- Medication is a good thing!

- Stress is a bad thing!

- Most people take care of themselves at all costs, even at the expense of other people.

- You don't have as many friends as you think.

- It's hard to stand on principals and ethics, especially when others don't want you to and you are alone.

- You are not always going to get that apology or any other acknowledgement of wrongdoing.

- God is a loving God and is in full control!

- I LOVE being a housewife!

- I DO have some loving and supportive friends!

- I have an AMAZING husband!!! He is my partner and my rock!

- There is something ahead for me. I don't know what it is, but I know that God is already there. He is using this time to prepare me.

- I can do hard things, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time.

All in all, I think those are some pretty important life lessons and I guess the only real way to learn them is through pain.

So what's in store for 2014? I have no idea! I can say that things are still the same. I've had some good days and some eh days with my health. I've also had a potential door partially open and then close within just a few days. It's a good thing. I wasn't sure I wanted that job and the door clearly shut before I had to make a decision.

Positive changes are coming. I will start teaching a course at Texas Tech this spring. Who knows - this may turn into something wonderful. In the meantime, I purchased new makeup and have an appointment to get a haircut. Women, you know that those 2 things can instantly make you feel like a new person!

I have several blog posts in the works. I have some finished projects ready to share and there are other projects that are waiting to be started.

Going forward, I'm just going to keep praying, resting, and preparing. Sorry Ray Bradbury, but Something Wonderful This Way Comes in this life!!

Peace and Blessings to you all in 2014!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Home Tour - Part 5

Last stop on the Christmas Home Tour!!!!

This is how we displayed our cards this year. I took an old picture frame and hot glued twine across the back. Those little black things you see are actually tiny chalkboards attached to clothespins. For actual cards, we simply slipped them over the twine. For pictures, we pinned them to the twine. We have happily added several more cards, so the display has filled up nicely.
Yes, it's leaning on the floor! I had grand plans to hang it using Command Hooks, but the hooks didn't stick. The frame might - or might not - have come crashing down at least once!
I figured leaning it would be GREAT!!

Santas and angels have taken up residence in the Guest Bedroom.

This tiny tree is for angels.

I love my Santas. This started out as a small collection, but as collections do,
this one has grown quite a bit over the years.  Some are antiques, some came from the Dollar Tree, and some have been given as gifts. I love them all!

And lastly, a quick picture of our back fence. I really didn't do much for the back yard. Guess that may have to be a project for next year!!

And, that's all folks!!! Thanks so much for sticking with me. I love decorating our home for every different holiday/season, but I especially go crazy for Christmas. It's just so much fun!! I hope you have enjoyed it and that you have spread Christmas cheer throughout your home as well.

Merry Christmas!!!
Posted by Picasa

Christmas Home Tour - Part 4

Hooray for making it this far! You're almost to the end.

Part 4 of The Tour starts in our Master Bedroom. This room is very difficult to film,
so I'll apologize up front!

I'm standing in the doorway, looking back towards the bed.
The master bath is on the right.....far out of this shot.

I am a HUGE lover of carousel horses. I've been collecting carousel horse ornaments for at least 15 years and try to get 1 or 2 every year. They are VERY hard to find and I'm always ecstatic when I run across one. I do have a couple of other animals, but I really prefer the horses. They are so majestic!

This arrangement is very simple, but very meaningful to me. The "blanket" is actually a hand-made tree skirt. It was under my grandparents' tree for years and years. I love the connection to family!
The stars in the wooden basket are also hand-made by the same grandmother and my great-grandmother. I recognize several of the fabrics from different articles of clothing that I (and my loved ones) wore. Everything was crafted with love and now they bring that same love into my home.

 I also keep another major collection in our Master Bedroom......
my collection of Precious Moments.
I started collecting them when I was in High School. My mom has given me several each year ever since. This year, I decided to display the Christmas ones all by themselves.
Their sweet little faces always make me so happy!

These next 2 are the first one's I ever got. Thanks, Mom!!!

Ok, everybody!! you knew I couldn't stop at the bathroom door!! If DH gets a special tree in his bathroom, then I get one in the Master Bath!

I think every girl deserves a little sparkly, purple Christmas tree!!

Thanks for reading! You just have 1 more post to go!!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Home Tour - Part 3

Part 3 starts in our Dining Room.

We have an open concept floorplan and our Family Room, Dining Room, and Kitchen all open up together. The Dining Room faces the front of the home.
It's window is the one you see in our front garden.

This picture is the start of the tablescape. I only have the silver chargers out right now....not the full table. The centerpiece is just a simple mixture of pine branches (fake, of course), a silvery-purple ribbon, and purple ornaments, a gold candle, and a gold charger. The tree has silver,  but the rest of the room has a lot of gold. I am still "old-school" and don't usually blend silver and gold, but it just seemed to work for the table.
 (And you are totally singing the "Silver and Gold" song from Rudolph, aren't you?!?!)

A few years ago, we went to Atlanta to celebrate with my brother and his family. My nephew left cookies and milk for Santa and Santa wrote a thank-you note back to M!! We were all super excited! I HAD to take a picture!

Our TREE!!

Our formal tree is huge and is covered in purple, silver, and white. It's the same theme we've had for the past 6 years and I love it just as much today as I did when I first started shopping for the ornaments.  

I just LOVE having the lights on! It's so beautiful!!

OK -- We have finally made it to the kitchen. Theme = Gingerbread!

It's funny - I don't like the taste of gingerbread and I don't cook, but I love gingerbread decorations. They are so cute and festive! Here's our gingerbread tree. It's a 4' tree that already has lights and berries. It looks more formal, but then the playful decorations make it fun.

3 gingerbread placemats and fun decorations across the bar.

Thanks, Mom, for the "vintage" Christmas cookie cutters!! Yup - they really are vintage. She pulled them out of the basement and sent them straight to me! I just tossed them in a pretty glass trifle dish, added some silver ball ornaments, and presto - a cute display for the kitchen.

Last stop on the third part of this tour, is the Hot Chocolate station. Feel free to help yourself.
The Keurig is just to the right of this picture and the mugs are in the cabinet overhead.
Fix your favorite flavor and add some marshmallows and/or a candy cane.
Enjoy your break and we'll finish the tour tomorrow!

Good Night!
Posted by Picasa

Christmas Home Tour - Part 2

Sorry for the delay in getting the rest of the Home Tour posted. We've just returned from a wonderful few days in Katy, visiting the newest members of the family. We have a very special 3-yr-old boy and twin 7-month-old boys that we got to love on and spoil for several days!! We're back, but just for a quick pit stop at home. We're headed to Perryton to share Christmas Cheer with another set of adorable kiddos. We are blessed!!
So, after that break, we are now back to our regularly scheduled program!! The continuation of our Christmas Home Tour!

Family Room
We have Wally World bookcases that flank our fireplace and tv. We think the black/brown finish of the particle board helps increase the style quotient! Ha Ha!'s a favorite place of mine to decorate and I really went for it this Christmas. I put something holiday-related on every shelf.

I moved my faith candles to the top shelf and placed some pine greenery and Christmas ornaments around the candles. I also wrapped empty boxes and added some of my favorite purple ribbon.

I have a large collection of children's Christmas books and this year I decided to include them in my decorating. I thought it was a really fun touch.

The bookcase to the right of the fireplace holds all of our Department 56 Snow Village pieces. DH put them up this year and he did a creative job. I loved how he put some of the houses facing each other instead of all of them facing out. We dream of having a big platform with lots of other pieces. It will be fun adding to this collection over time.

This is my very favorite house. It reminds me of my Granny's house in Georgetown, KY.

One of our best vacations was when we drove to Pennsylvania and stopped at all kinds of awesome places --- Like the World's Largest Strawberry, and the Roller Skating Hall of Fame. I just opened the AAA book and searched for interesting places, and we'd head that direction. When we saw the World's Largest Ball of Twine figurine, we knew we had to add it to our village!

We'll finish this room with the Nativity. This was one of the first pieces we purchased when
we got married. I love it!

Well, that's all  for this part of the tour. Take a little break and I'll be back soon -- I promise!!!
Posted by Picasa