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!!