This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


Leave a comment

Midsummer pause

There’s no real break in the action, and technically, it’s nowhere close to “mid” summer. Actually, we don’t even hit REAL summer for another week or so. But it feels like school has been out forever and this is the first moment there has been to sit down and reflect.

I still can’t give you much about my job. With 10 days to go, I’ve been invited to apply for the job I already hold (though on a part time basis now), with a description I practically wrote, and that literally NOBODY else given the posting will be interested in. I’m rather hopeful about my chances.

Besides the insanely long and drawn out process of figuring out what will happen with Hamma Library and my job, other things are going on in the world. So many other things. My little corner of chaos is so insignificant. I am so saddened by the continued deep divisions in our world. Our country continues to dig deeper into our polarized habits. We constantly discount the experiences and opinions of anyone we disagree with, often without even thinking about what the person is actually saying. You voted for Trump? You must be a racist, rich, conservative with no empathy for your fellow man. What? You’re upset by what Trump’s tweets? You have GOT to be some kind of bleeding heart liberal snowflake. End of conversation.

Like, really, END OF CONVERSATION. Anything said afterwards is just platitudes if we’re lucky, and more likely vitriol. We are so ruled by social media. I heard someone describe how we get information today as “through a fire hose.” So very true. It’s so much faster and with way more force than we could ever actually absorb. Then, because we cannot accept the input in that form, we pick and choose what to accept according to the dreaded “confirmation bias.” It’s a real thing. A real, really powerful thing. Anyone who tells you they have NO bias should terrify you.

I don’t know what the answer is. I keep researching more about how our brains work, how we are unable to avoid bias etc. I’m unable to find a way to gather news myself that doesn’t leave me even more terrified about our future. Yeah, there’s no doubt that I land on the liberal side of the spectrum, but I’m nowhere near the most liberal person you know. I know some folks who are about as far from center on the conservative side and they seem so very rational. So ready to get things done. Why is it then, that the only thing we hear from politicians is the extreme? Nothing is ever going to get done this way. EVER. If you listen to the Republicans, then the Democrats are just blocking progress. If you listen to the Democrats, than the Republicans are turning back the clock. In the meanwhile the “forgotten folks” is becoming a larger and larger class. I’m feeling pretty damn forgotten today. I hope we can rally the troops like those “forgotten folks” of 2016.

Nothing I’ve said can’t be found on the Internet in a million other places. There are hundreds of thousands of other Americans who feel this way. Why are we only whispering on the Internet? Probably because we’re the folks who don’t want to argue with our neighbors on Facebook. We aren’t willing to be labeled in anyway for our social media usage. (Okay, if you actually follow me, you probably would label me, and I can live with that.) We’re going to have to speak up, or the polarization is going to get worse, not better.

My children know. They know that there are these incredibly split sides. They obviously parrot a lot of what they hear their dad and I say, but they do think on their own. They ask questions that make me proud. I pray every single night that they never lose that! When did the rest of us lose that? When did we pick a side and just go with it? These aren’t sports teams, folks. Undying loyalty is extremely dangerous.

So, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Not exactly earth shattering, as I’m sure there are thousands of us thinking the same things these days. We are all dealing with it in different ways. Some have become unexpected activists, making phone calls and rallying their friends. Some have completely tuned out, just ignoring the news and avoiding any Facebook post with a political bent. But there are some of us who are listening, but doing very little. I feel a bit like a watched pot. I’ll still boil, and the boil IS coming, but it’s just gonna seem like forever before the bubbles roll.

PhotoGrid_1497659563228Meanwhile, summer rolls on. I take a child to work most days, the other two stay home and do chores and watch many hours of TV. I sit outside until dusk, then hurry everyone to bed before it’s obscenely late. I worry about school supply lists and summer bridge homework. We grill. Man, I love to grill. I’m a privileged member of a privileged society. So, there’s that, too. It’s a good life full of blessings, but I want to find more, not less, ways to spread those blessings around.

And any free time I find, I read about Lutheran theologians. You know, because who isn’t fascinated by these old, dead, white guys?¯\_(ツ)_/¯

download

And lastly, I don’t want to close without acknowledging my friends in the LGBTQ+ community. I stand with you, friends. It’s Pride Week and I hope you feel celebrated! I’m still sad that such a celebration is even necessary and I look forward when being LGBTQ+ is just shrugged off like being a redhead, or a left hander. Different, but not so much. Just a different spot on the spectrum of human, of Child of God! My siblings in Christ, I love you, I see you, and I’m proud to be your ally.

 


Leave a comment

Baseball, cookouts, and parades!

I could keep writing about my job, but you don’t really want to hear any of that, do you? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Nothing new. Nothing to report. I’ll update when there’s something to share.

Instead, let me tell you how awesome our weekend was. Someday when I’m old and my children don’t bring my grandchildren around often enough, when I complain about the poor quality of music on the radio, when I’m just crotchety, THIS will be the weekend I’ll look back on and smile. Memorial Day Weekend 2017 was definitely a high point for this whole family adventure.

Friday was an unexpected day off for me, and a planned vacation day for my husband, so we ran some errands and generally tried to prepare for the weekend. We ended the day with the most delicious steaks on the grill, and gin and tonics on the patio.

Saturday morning I used the leftover ribeyes to make steak and eggs for everyone. Nothing like a massive dose of protein to fuel the troops for the day, right? The middle kid headed off to work on the parade float with his scout troop. We leisurely prepared for the afternoon and evening festivities. The littlest kid had a baseball game to kick off the season, complete with team pictures. Then we spent the evening at a neighbor’s cookout and then sipping beers around their fire pit while the kids from the neighborhood ran around and acted like a pack of kids loose on a summer night.

Sunday we took the dog for her first boarding adventure, then headed up to Cleveland to see the Indians play. We could not have had a better time. The kids were all well behaved, thoroughly enjoyed the game, and even the weather cooperated. At the end, Daddy took the littlest kid for a run around the bases! It’s hard to know which of them was most excited about that. The Indians won, 10-1! GO TRIBE!

Monday the weather was, again, PERFECT, and it’s time for the big Worthington Memorial Day Parade! This is truly one of my very favorite events of the year. Besides just being a wonderful way to remember the fallen heroes who make our cookouts and ballgames possible, I get to enjoy it on my own. Silly? Maybe, but I love it. All three kids and their dad march with scouts, so I get to wander the parade route looking for friends, taking pictures, and enjoying the scene. I love my town, and I love seeing so many different friends come out for the community event. I’m not scared to talk to strangers, either, so I did strike a few of those conversations, too. When it’s over, we meet at the Dairy Queen for ice cream. Can’t beat it!

After the parade, we headed to another favorite neighborhood family’s backyard for yet another cookout.

PhotoGrid_1496176226265Today, I’m back at work. Back to wondering how we’ll figure out the details of the summer. Back to wondering if I’ll have a job past June 30th. Today I’m harassing kids to do chores, thinking about dinner, looking for moments to throw in another load of laundry or empty the dishwasher. This weekend was glorious and I hope I can keep it’s feeling of family connectedness, community belonging, and pride in remembering why our nation is a wonderful place to live. I wish I could just wrap the whole thing up in a box to take out and hold when life gets too crazy. Maybe that’s a little of what I’m doing here.

 

Edited, Friday, May 12

Capital University announced yesterday that  Dr. Rachel Rubin, current director of Bexley Public Library, will be the new Director of Libraries and Information Services. She is supremely qualified and I’m sure will do great things for Capital’s Libraries!

Limbo. Merriam Webster says “a place or state of restraint or confinement,” or “a place or state of neglect or oblivion,” and “an intermediate or transitional place or state, a state of uncertainty.” We are definitely in that place. Several times since Easter, references have been made to that prolonged Holy Saturday. There is grief, uncertainty, restraint, but there WILL be rebirth, renewal, growth. Just not yet. Not knowing things is hard. We are in a place of almost, but not yet.

tumblr_inline_o8hdriRDPJ1sb2qo9_500

Every day I think about posting here, and every day I find a reason to keep my thoughts to myself. Turns out, most of my thoughts center around the future, in particular the future of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, it’s library, and how I may or may not fit into that future. I wouldn’t want to share too much of what runs around in my head, mostly because most of it is based on incomplete information gathered from rumors that don’t need to be passed on, or assumptions that may just be incorrect. We’ve been given precious few facts and I’ve got thoughts that shouldn’t be shared about THAT, too.

Every day someone asks me what’s going on with my job, so here’s what I can share. All current positions in Hamma Library will be eliminated June 30th. Our director has secured employment elsewhere (Congrats, Evan!) and so his last day is May 26th. A new Director of Libraries will be hired by Capital University and Hamma will fall under that person’s direction. We expect an announcement concerning that hire any minute. Hamma Library will become a branch of Capital’s Blackmore Library and the new director will then have to decide what to do to keep Hamma running. There will be positions here to do that, but we have no real details on those positions. I will, of course, apply for one of those positions, but without details, I don’t even know for sure that I’m qualified. The other staff whose jobs are being eliminated are examining their possible paths. Some have decided to retire, others are looking for other opportunities, and at least one more is still unsure. We anxiously await the hiring of the new director.

In the meanwhile I’ve spent countless hours examining what I really WANT to happen. I have all sorts of crazy plans with minutia figured out, but none of them are really that important. I have concluded that I’m less concerned with the minutia than the big picture. Here are my wish priorities, with regard to my career future, in this order:

  • To secure employment as a professional librarian utilizing my MLIS
  • To find full-time employment, with benefits to include paid time off, retirement savings, and health insurance that includes vision at a minimum, and possibly tuition benefits for myself and dependents
  • To remain in an academic library setting
  • To remain at Capital/Trinity as a professional librarian with responsibilities including theology reference and research instruction work
  • To pursue an appropriate Master’s degree as a theology subject specialist

I don’t think there is yet any reason to scratch anything from this list. I am still hopeful, maybe even confident, that these are all still completely reasonable expectations.

All that said, I’m looking for other work. Part-time work has been a good fit for our household this far. There are logical reasons not to add too much too quickly as we look at next school year. We’ll have two middle schoolers in two different schools, and one more still in elementary. It could very well be the busiest we’ve ever been! My husband has health insurance through his employer and we’re all covered. We’re making ends meet on what he makes and what I contribute now. In fact, we’ve made up some lost ground by just adding my part-time income. Maybe I shouldn’t be in such a hurry to go full-time.

But I love this place, and I love this work, and I love these students. These particular individual students, but also this kind of student. These people who have chosen to pursue ministry, or theological education, in this modern age. They’re an incredibly diverse bunch of folks, and yet so much alike. I feel called to be here with them, to help them, to be part of the mission of Trinity.

It is not for me to determine the details of this “reunion” between Capital and Trinity. I have no say in the shaping of these institutions. I can only work hard and pray that those making those choices will see my value and hold a place for me.

 


2 Comments

Been a while…

I haven’t really posted since right after the election. I have plenty to say, as usual, but I don’t feel like I have anything unique to add to the conversation, so I’ll keep letting it play out without me for the time being. I’ll just say that the current political climate is making life hard for a lot people I love. If you think that makes me, or those people I love, “special snowflakes” than I don’t want to talk to you about politics at all, as we’re just going to fight right now. And if you understand why things are painful, than we don’t really need to talk, either. We can just nod and smile and know we’re on the same page. I’ll be up to chatting about opinion things someday. Today is too hard.

So, what do I want to write about? Gosh, life is full of interesting stuff, huh? We’re just humming along here at our house. Child #1 has crossed the threshold into the teen years, complete with hormonal changes and orthodontics. She’s a joy and a challenge and that’s just how it is. Child #2 is fully enveloped in Boy Scouts and it keeps him and his friends, not to mention his father, busy all month long, especially the weekend each month that they camp. Year round. Yeah, it was cold last weekend! Child #3 is fully into the elementary years, with big new front teeth, all sorts of newly acquired independence, and a confidence and sweetness that amaze me.

201701301271380793.jpgWe added a family member in December. Hazel McBean Cucksey is a beagle mutt, likely with some terrier in there. She’s a rescue, but she comes to us fully house broken and crate trained. She’s a bit anxious and definitely needs to work on her social skills with other dogs, but she loves all the people and is gentle with kids. She’s loving and submissive, and really is just the right dog for our family.

Me? What’s going on with me? Well, today marks one year since I started working (for pay) in the library at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. In that time, the Seminary and Capital University have decided to “reunite” and what that means for any of us has yet to be established. We’re told now that a staffing model has been established and we’ll be told individually what role we might have after the reunion by the end of March. So, we wait. I would love nothing more than to stay at Trinity, or even Capital or a combination of the two, but it’s time for me to start looking for full-time work. I’ll stick around long enough to find out what role (if any) they envision me playing, but if it isn’t full time, it’s time to start looking elsewhere. My heart would break to leave Trinity. I feel called to be here, to be part of the mission of this institution, to be part of it’s survival and growth into the future, but I can’t make it work without full time wages and some benefits. Despite the tensions created among the staff created by being in the dark about our futures, this is still a wonderful place to come to work everyday. I love seeing the students go from tentative first-years to graduating and moving out into ministry. I love being part of the mission: to form leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world!

But what if I have to leave? Well, there’s a full time job out there for me, I’m sure. Now I have a solid year’s experience as Public Services Librarian on my résumé, and a bunch of folks who would like to be references. That can’t be bad, right?

I hate waiting. Stay tuned.


Leave a comment

A letter to the other Trump supporters

Let me just tell you a few things I’m NOT saying. I’m NOT saying that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, sexist, xenophobe, homophobe, or any other kind of phobe/ist (though, many of you are saying you aren’t and just saying it doesn’t make it so). I’m NOT saying that everyone who voted for Trump is a threat to the safety of any American. I’m NOT saying that Hillary was my first choice for president. If you continue reading and you come away believing I’ve said any of that, you are simply wrong and you have not really listened.

That said, there are a few things I want to say that I’m not seeing in the social media conversation. First, I want to validate the fear of my LGBTQ+ friends, parents raising LGBTQ+ kids, minority friends, parents of minorities, and anyone else who feels afraid today. We aren’t afraid of all the Trump supporters. That’s ridiculous. If you aren’t a threat, you don’t need to say it every time someone posts their fear. If you feel the need to show that you aren’t a threat, GREAT. One simple thing you can do to show it is to wear a safety pin. If you don’t know what I’m talking about with the safety pin, here’s some resources from Huffington Post and The New York Daily News.

So what are we afraid of? That tiny percentage of Americans who are simply horrible. We’re afraid of a tiny percentage who think that Donald Trump’s words (and words ARE important) about Muslims, gays, special needs people, women, and immigrants were not just okay, but great. There are Americans who think it’s not just okay to beat up that effeminate middle schooler, but needs to be done. There are Americans who think that those who have less muscular control of their arms or legs should be made fun of. There are Americans who have long wanted to be able to openly call out those with different ethnic backgrounds in their neighborhoods and schools, to harass them until they feel unsafe and leave, to run them off. If my description of these Americans disgusts you, than you might not be one of them. Chances are NONE of you reading this is one of them. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Not only do they exist, but they have been empowered, emboldened, and ENDORSED. It may not have been your intention when you voted for him, but it is the result nonetheless.

So all those people who feel fear are absolutely justified in feeling that fear. If you still disagree with me about that one fact, you are probably one of the few still denying that white privilege exists, and frankly, I’m not sure that our discussion can go much further. We’re speaking different languages and since that is such a basic tenet of my beliefs about this country,  I’m hard pressed to find common ground. We can certainly disagree about how much of a problem it is, how to fix it, even how it came about, but surely you can agree that it exists.

There are dozens of reports today, and over the last few days, about why that fear is justified. There are middle schoolers chanting hateful things at ethnic minorities, graffiti with obvious hate messages, people beat up for appearing to belong to the LGBTQ+ community, women harassed on public transportation. Is there an actual increase in these incidents, or is it just being reported on more often? I don’t know, and really it doesn’t matter. It’s happening. The fear IS justified.

I’m not going to hash out the issues that made me choose to vote for Clinton over Trump. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to assume that most of you who voted for Trump made your decision carefully, perhaps prayerfully, and simply chose different legitimate priorities. Clearly we disagree, but Trump has won the election fair and square, so we have to move from there. I consider America’s endorsement of Trump to be a challenge, and I am up to it. I have the beginnings of a plan. Would you like to know what it is? I  bet we can find common ground there.

wp-1478965011446.jpgFirst, I’m going to show all the love I can. On Wednesday morning, when my children were sad and disappointed, I instructed each one of them to dig deep within themselves and find all the extra kindness and love they could muster and show it to everyone they came across. I want us all to double our efforts in that area every single day. If hate and fear have been endorsed and even ONE person feels more comfortable spreading that, than I want to be part of those who will smother that hate everywhere it springs up. The news will cover the hate faster than the love, so we’ll have to patient and steady and back each other up with that love, but I want to be part of that movement. I’ll wear a safety pin every day as an outward sign. I will continue to teach my children that this is the most important thing they can do, and that God demands it of us.

 

Second, I will try to hear the rest of you. You Trump supporters who are angry at the liberal reaction to this election, if you can express your feelings without anger, I want to hear why you chose him. I will try to squash my own confirmation bias and read even-handed pieces from reliable, authoritative, non-biased sources about the issues you find most important. I have several articles in the queue already, and Hillbilly Elegy is already ordered and on its way to me. I will engage in rational discussion with anyone who is willing about which issues should be most important, how they should be handled, and what the consequences might be of those solutions.

Lastly, I will not endorse or be part of protests that involve shouting “Not my president.” I will not threaten to move to Canada. I will not feed the hatred of “the other side.” I will give Trump the respect of the office he was legitimately elected to. I will likely disagree with MANY of the decisions he will make as president, but I will find productive ways to express that. I will maintain my faith in the democratic system, and work harder within it to effect the change I believe in.

 

 

 


Leave a comment

All American Saturday

20160611_183154-1.jpgGood heavens, we are blessed. I worked this morning, so I missed some excitement. The middle kid had a double header, and he played fabulously. YAY for baseball! A homerun, to RBIs, a slide into home, and he was awarded the game ball. The girl had a softball game and she also played well. It was hot and everyone kept their chin up and pulled through.

When I finished work at one, I hustled over to the end of the boy’s game in time to hear the coach award him the game ball. We gathered the family for a trip out for ice cream because you HAVE to celebrate that kind of game, right?

Then home to watch these rascals soak each other with squirt guns. There was some bickering and general whining, but still a good time. Then we cooked hotdogs and brats on the grill for dinner. Now I’m watching these kids work on throwing and catching in the back yard.

FOR REAL? This is my life? I’m this lucky? This privileged? Yeah. I am. Now, what am I going to teach my children? How am I going to give them the empathy I want them to share with the world? For now, I’m enjoying watching them thrive in this privilege, but please never let them  forget that it IS privilege! Never let ME forget!

 

 


Leave a comment

Progress

When I’ve used the term “progress” in blogging before, it was always with a specific, determined, defined goal. “Progress” toward my degree. “Progress” toward losing weight. “Progress” toward catching up with the laundry. This week I’ve been thinking about progress in a slightly different light. This week’s progress, or this month’s, even this year’s, has been less defined. There will always be intermediate goals along the way, milestones, other objectives to achieve, but all this progress is part of something bigger. The progress I’ve been paying attention to lately seems so much more a part of the over arching flow of our lives.

All that to bring me to pointing out how different life is than when I started this blog. I started blogging for several reasons. Most obviously, I started writing so I could record some of the swirling chaos of home life with three children. They were growing up quickly and I hoped to produce some record they could look back on and enjoy, something to help them remember things but also to see the events of their childhood through their mother’s eyes. I started writing because I wanted to share with whoever might be interested a little about how wonderful I think these young humans are, how it’s a delight and a struggle to be responsible for raising them, and maybe just a little how I just love to share my thoughts and opinions on stuff. The other reason I started writing, maybe the least obvious but still valid reason, is that I wanted to create a good sized web presence made up of absolutely innocuous but truthful information about who I am. That almost seems silly, I guess, but I knew that I would be looking for library employment at some point, and any employer worth working for would surely do a Google search for a candidate. Might as well give them something to read. Later, adding my ePortfolio and resume information was just icing.

When I started writing I had just begun Library School. I had two mid-elementary school children and a toddler who hadn’t even potty trained, yet. I had pretty well hit my stride with motherhood, but adding grad school had thrown things into chaos, and I still believed I could tackle things like getting into shape and overhauling my eating habits. Ups and downs, successes and failures for the whole household, and more than three years later, here we are. The oldest child is heading to middle school with the next on her heels. The youngest has finished kindergarten and is so excited about all things learning. I’ve finished my degree and landed a job I absolutely adore. I’d love to say I’d stay there indefinitely, but for the part-time thing. I’ve got to be full-time with benefits somewhere in a couple years. Still, this job closed the hole in my resume and I can’t even describe the amount of experience I’ve gained there. Not to mention what I hope to learn from our new director.

I haven’t actually written about the job, have I? I was hired on at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, where I did my internship, as Public Services Librarian. It’s part-time, as I’ve said, but that has made for a bit smoother transition for our family to a two working parent model.

20160602_082632-1.jpg

A real sign for my office like a grown up!

Here we are at summer break. My kids will never all be in the same in the same school again. I’ll work some, hang out with kids some. I think it will be a great summer. I hope so!

There are some things that stay the same as we progress through these years. Parenting is dazzling and horrifying. Laundry is never completely caught up. Five people living in one house is an adventure. Children always need new shoes. We will probably never have a fully manicured lawn. I’ve made peace with all those things.

Let’s hope I can record a little more of the second half of 2016 than I did of the first half.


Leave a comment

#my8for16 update

 

It has been a day. The littlest kid is still sick, though on the mend, my phone decided to just brick itself, and all day I’ve had this nagging feeling that I’m completely behind on my homework. Well, since I’ve obsessively checked my “unofficial advising” transcript online for weeks, I’ve seen that my degree is, in fact, awarded. I’m certain there’s no real homework coming due. Then I figured out what it was. I haven’t updated anything about #my8for16 AT ALL.

I can’t promise this is a big, juicy update, but I guess I ought to touch on a few of them.

  1. Improving my health? Yeah, I’m doing that, I guess. I’ve been to Zumba classes at the rec center 3 or 4 times a week since the first “resolution solution” class on Jan 1. I like it. I mean, I hate it when I’m doing it, but I like it when it’s over. I feel a need to keep going back. And honestly, I hate it slightly less than I did in the beginning. That’s something. I’ve invested in appropriate footwear. I bought an unlimited pass for the month of February. I’m committed for the month, anyway. I think I may have dropped a few pounds, but I’m not getting on a scale.
  2. More whole foods? Sure. I started making my own instant oatmeal, quit buying “pancake syrup” in favor of maple, and I’m pushing more fruits and veggies. We still eat chips and processed lunch meats, among other things, but we’re making progress.
  3. No word on a job. Sent out a few resumes, but I haven’t gotten crazy about searching. That’s a job for next week, when I’ve got everyone healthy and my phone up and running.
  4. Declutter? Not so much. I have barely gotten Christmas cleaned up and put away. If I’m going to be home with a sick kid one more day, I’m cleaning out a drawer or two tomorrow!
  5. Charitable giving? I have done absolutely nothing on this one. It’s not really an excuse, but I guess I’m waiting to see what happens with the job situation. I should move forward.
  6. My closet? Still spilling into the room. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  7. Stop buying clothes? Well, not so much. I will say that I’ve mostly only bought workout clothes. That’s something, right
  8. Prayer journal? No. No journal. But I am trying to be more mindful in my prayers. I still intend to journal, but I’m behind on this one.

 

So, that’s the update. Progress, but nothing earth shattering. I’m proud of my regular attendance at Zumba. I fully intend to keep that going. We’ll see how it works out.

FB_IMG_1454163791373


Leave a comment

New Year’s Resolutions #my8for16

Edited to update: I originally used the hashtag #8for16, but some company has a whole marketing thing using that. I don’t need my very own hashtag, but if someone else has already claimed it, I’ll change. So, I changed it to #my8for16. If others use it for other things, that’s fine, but at least it’s not part of some big campaign that I have nothing to do with. 

Christmas Day has come and gone, so naturally we’re all thinking about New Year’s Eve, right? We’ll celebrate in our various ways, and then we’ll all wake up the next day and it will be TWENTY SIXTEEN!

2-0-1-6! I just can’t really wrap my head around that, but that’s how I feel every year. Something feels a little different this year, and I’m a little wigged out about it.

I’ve always been so anti-resolution. I mean, it has always seemed like a great way to set myself up for disappointment, and isn’t life full of disappointments without me pushing my own? I like to think that I can just decide to make life changes whenever and I’ll stick to it, and make changes, and be better, and whatever. But I don’t. Not usually.

But I just finished my MLIS. I set a goal, a big one, and I went about achieving it. I’m pretty proud of myself. I might just have it in me to achieve something else.

If you know me, or if you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I’m still struggling with my weight. Getting in shape is always the goal that’s “out there.” “Someday” I’ll tackle that project. “Someday” is usually when I finish grad school, or when the littlest fella is in school full time, or maybe when I get a job and have a routine, or on and on. Well, some somedays are here and some aren’t but there will never be a perfect time!

An hour or so ago, I saw a post on Facebook by a neighborhood mom friend who happens to be a Zumba instructor at the community center in town. She was informing us that there will be a “Resolution Solution” class on New Year’s Day from 10-12, and that it will be fun, and we should come. “All fitness levels,” she said. “No judgement!” “A dance party support group,” she called it. I got caught up in the conversation and before I knew it, I’d registered for the class and promised to come! Huh? What? The word “resolution” is right there in the title of the class. This is so not me!

I’m going to try a little something different this year. I’m going to write down my #my8for16, 8 things I hope to accomplish or improve in 2016. I have faith that I can be more successful if I write them down, share them with an audience, check in regularly, and ask you all to help me be accountable. I will keep them simple, not too ambitious (remember that setting up for failure thing?), and I’ll try to check in with each, at least monthly, maybe on the first of the month?

Here we go…

#my8for16

  1. I’ve got to improve my health. I don’t want to be so specific that it feeds that failure thing. I’m not going to say “I’ll lose 60 pounds” or “I’ll be able to run a 5k.” Those are both worthy goals, and I’d love to say I’ll do that this year, but if this time next year I feel better, eat better, and can wear more of the clothes hiding in the back of my closet, we’ll call this resolution MET! (How about, I’d like to wear a belted sweater by next NYE?)
  2. I’d like to feed my family more whole foods, less processed foods, and get them more involved in food preparation. Again, I’m not going to say that I want each kid preparing their own lunches each morning, or for Girlie Bird to be able to cook dinner once a week. I will say that I’d like for them to have more tools to be able to find their own foods in the kitchen, prepare them responsibly, and clean up after themselves. I’d like to have more nutritious options available, and rely less on quick “convenience” processed options.
  3. I’d like to be working full time by the end of the year. I HAVE to find a job , full or part time, in the early part of the year, but a part time start into this world of working parent would be great. That can’t last long. I’d like to be working full time, or at minimum on my way to working full time, by this time next year.
  4. I’d like to find more ways to declutter our lives. Clean out a drawer a week, or take a load to Goodwill each week? I tend to put these tasks off because they aren’t fun, but I intend to push myself more when it comes to tackling them. I want more space and less STUFF in my house this year. Grad school and homework was my regular excuse for not doing these things, and THAT’S over! Along with the theme of keeping things decluttered and cleaner, I’d like to keep my vehicle cleaner. I’ve got three munchkins who often work against me, but usually after they’ve left a few things behind, I just get lazy and let the whole thing go to hell.2014-new-years-resolution-be-more-awesome
  5. I’d like for us to make more room in our budget for charitable donations. If I’m working, there’s every reason to believe that there might be just the tiniest bit of extra wiggle room in the household finances. In addition, I’d like to find places I can pinch a few pennies into a “giving jar” of some sort. I have to think more about this, and of course discuss it with my co-chair, but I think we should be giving a few more dollars to something.
  6. I’m going to figure out a better storage system for my closet. Maybe I have to move some things into the hopefully soon to be cleared out basement, or something. What I know for sure is that my closet is woefully undersized in floor space, and I’ve got  shoes spilling out ALL THE TIME! I don’t think I have a particularly large collection of shoes. Ladies, back me up, I can feel my husband laughing as I type this. Regardless, they don’t have to be thrown on the floor of the closet to spill out all over the room all the time. There has to be a better way.
  7. I’m going to stop buying any clothes for myself. No. For real. This isn’t a wish, or a “I’d like to…” this is a ban. When I’ve lost some weight, and gotten in shape, I may make a plan and a budget and do some shopping, but for the time being, I’m not going to allow myself to spend money on clothes for myself.
  8. I’m going to keep a prayer journal and list. That’s not for public consumption, but for myself. I pray, I pray all the time, but I always feel so random and scattered. I know that God hears my random and scattered prayers, but I feel like I would benefit from attempting to organize my thoughts and meditations.


Leave a comment

After the stress

I’m all done. If you follow me on Facebook, or just know me in real life, you have heard this already. I’m sort of shouting it from the rooftops these days. ALL DONE! No more homework, no more assignments, no more papers, projects, or discussions. Tomorrow is graduation, and though I have elected not to attend, I’ll be officially a Master of Library and Information Science. A librarian. For real.

20151215_121607It’s not like I’m not busy anymore. It’s Christmas, after all. That’s the main reason I chose not to attend the graduation ceremonies tomorrow. The thought of dragging everyone up there for a 6pm ceremony, then bringing everyone home overtired and late, just didn’t appeal. Plus there are several other things on the calendar for Saturday, including a piano recital for the two big kids.

But somehow my brain is still processing this lack of school thing. For almost four years I’ve been in the thick of studying, or preparing for the next wave of classes. I’m having trouble just accepting that there is no next wave. Sure, I have to get a job now, and who knows what challenges I’ll find next, but this challenge has been met. And conquered. I’ve reached the shore and climbed out of the water. There are mountains to climb, and jungles to explore, but I think I’ll just sit here on the beach for a bit and enjoy my cocoa and cookies. Okay, maybe that’s not the best image.

Christmas is shaping up to be as lovely as anyone could want here. Except the weather. Not that I want to complain about something nobody can change, but I could use a few flurries. Or at least weather cool enough to force me to close my window at night! It’s like being back in Georgia. We may have to turn on the AC to run the gas fireplace on Christmas Eve this year. That’s just wrong.

Still, we’re rolling in blessings and I’m determined to remember each of them when I say my prayers at night. Enough blessings to induce guilt sometimes. I pray every day for ways to show my children how blessed we are. May they never, ever be unaware of how fortunate they are. I can’t stand to spend any more effort participating in the social media drama of the political discussions this month. I also can’t imagine remaining silent forever on some of these topics. But for the rest of 2015, I will enjoy these blessings with my family. I’ll keep teaching my children how blessed they are and encourage their compassionate natures. We’ll focus on the lessons of a tiny baby born in poverty who brought divinity to mankind. There’s no greater blessing than that one!