Be Grateful #4

It's been cray-cray around these parts.  I actually hate using that phrase (though I appreciate the ingenuity of whomever invented it).  But "cray-cray" seems appropriate for bloggy land.  *haha*
Here is a picture my husband took a few weeks ago when we got enough flurries to cover the ground.  I didn't take many photos this weekend when we went home because the Pharrs were either sick or sore, and we just had the LEGO club going on.  It flurried today like it did in this pic, but nothing stuck because yesterday it was around 70!  A horrible front came through, gave me a sinus headache from heck, and then left behind the snow.  It's silly, but I keep praying we will get one good snow day this year!

Anyhoot, I must have scarred and scared all of you folks last week talking about my lady business, but I'm just keeping it real.  (You know you've been in some awkward doctor situations, too...  If you haven't, I ENVY you and your ability to keep your modesty in tact.  Seriously.  :)

Remember when I said I was interviewing for a job last week????

Wellllll, one of my supervisors (in one of the departments I teach who also teaches in the other department in which I teach) was on the committee, and one of my colleagues from that second department was on the committee, and then the director of this department for which I was interviewing sat in on my interview and praised my experience (for having collaborated with faculty, designed curriculum, worked under a grant, etc.)....

...if you're confused, I TOTALLY understand.  Now maybe you can understand why I am eager to have one job.  ONE job.  O-N-E.  Let me explain.  I currently work part-time in three departments just at this campus.   (I also teach for another school).  Two of those are teaching positions, and there is a lot of overlap between those two departments (English and Academic Skills).  Then in my third position, I work under a grant that works with faculty, staff, and students.  And I also collaborate with many others on the mentorship program I coordinate under the grant, including the one where the position for which I was interviewing is housed...

There was only one person on my committee and in the interview that I did not know, and we got to chat before my interview started because I showed up to the conference room BEFORE anyone had made it.  Then I panicked because I thought I was at the wrong place because the interview was NOT on the schedule.  Thankfully, my colleague walked by and asked about a conference room behind a faculty lounge.  And he's all like, "I'm on your committee. I'll show you THE WAY."  Sigh of relief.  Then more panic.  How do you act when you know everyone (or almost everyone) on the committee?!

Coming out of that interview, I felt fairly confident in my ability and in my colleagues knowledge of me as an employee.  I told my friend that if I didn't get it, I must have STUNK to high heaven in the interview!

Welllllll, I GOT IT!  They emailed me on Monday about being a finalist and requested I complete a background check.  Then this morning I got the call about the offer.

However, because apparently I'm the most difficult person in the world right now, I had to run around like a chicken with its head cut off today to determine what my schedule will look like.  See, Zach and I have been planning this EPIC vacation for years (basically, since we got married).  And we have booked lodgings and bought plane tickets and ordered an outlet adaptor for our appliances.  There's no going back on that bad boy known as the UK.

So I'll be taking a month-long vacation after I've only been in the position for a few months.  Typically, that wouldn't be such a big deal because I let them know up front.  However, since I am teaching three classes (with two taking place during normal business hours), that's just not gonna fly.  So I'm going to have to kiss one of my composition classes--if not both--good-bye.  Cue sad face.

I HATE leaving my students and the English department in the lurch.  (My Intermediate class is safe because it is housed in a different department and takes place after business hours.)  I would have preferred to cut Intermediate loose because composition is so much more fun!  I had to do this (leave my kids behind) the semester I got sick; I know, I know, neither of these situations are exactly in my control, but I'm still bummed.  (Because this position closed before we came back from break, I was hoping their decision would have been made BEFORE the semester started.  As you can see, that didn't pan out.)  I should know in the next few days what my schedule is going to look like.  I'm hoping I'll be able to ride out next week, so we can at least finish Unit 1, and the next instructor can step in after that.

So lots of feels over here today!  I'm happy and excited and nervous and anxious and sad (not to just leave my students but also my current grant supervisor, the folks in the Advising Center, and my giant office that will be traded in for a cubicle.  And I won't be seeing my husby as much since I'll be in a different building.)

1)  I'm thankful for this new opportunity and for the opportunities I've had the past two years working at this campus.  I've got my first big girl job since I graduated!  I'm excited to see what the future will hold.  :)  I'm also thankful that my husband has been appointed interim Director of Student Life in addition to his role as an advisor and as a TV coordinator.

2)  I'm thankful for how supportive my husband, our families, and our friends and coworkers have been as we embark on these new journeys.

3)  I'm thankful for a free weekend that can be used to prepare for this transition.  I'm going to be getting ahead on cleaning, making cleaning products, and freezing some quick meals, so I'm blessed, not stressed.

4)  I'm thankful I'll have another week now before I get to enjoy that wonderfully tasty Bowel Prep or Go Lightly.  And that's a misnomer, if I've ever heard one.  (I had to move back my colonoscopy to do orientation.)  But we are still going out to dinner to Mimi's Cafe this weekend--this time to celebrate my new job!  

5)  I'm thankful my cousin has dilated to NINE CENTIMETERS!  She went in last night to be induced, and Keegan is almost here.  When I told my husband how far along she is and how that means she is very closed, he said, "That's just not right."  (Yep.  Ten centimeters is just not enough.) Next time you see me, I'll likely be bragging about my new little cousin.  :)

Be Grateful #3

Zach and I went ice skating with our friend Amy.  I didn't exactly skate.  I skate-walked about 15 feet, getting slightly comfortable with it until I noticed that the ice was no longer meeting the side of the rink.  So I froze and began a death grip on the railing until we decided we were done.  I was too afraid to turn around and skate-walk back and out of the rink, so I slowly side-stepped that 15 feet to the exit.  Of course, I HAD to turn around--my back was against the wall--to get out, but I was FROZEN.  I was so afraid I was going to fall if I let go.  So Zach had to get back on the ice, grip my right side firmly while I continued to hold onto the railing with my left, and spin me across the last five inches of ice and out the rink.  I'm RI-DIC-U-LOUS, y'all.

Tonight, I'm in a mood.  I almost didn't do this, but I figured it would probably be the best thing to rectify this mood.  Cultivating an attitude of gratefulness does take work, and I'm hoping my moodiness does not negate my thankfulness.

1)  I am thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to my husband and me at work last week.  Zach has been given the opportunity to test run a position in addition to his current advising and video production duties.  While it will mean some extra work and night events, he is being compensated with a little more money and time accommodations.  This is a position that was recently vacated, and they can't open until the new fiscal year; he has expressed interest in it, and several folks are in his corner and encouraging him to apply when it opens, so this will let him see if it would be a good move.  And I have an interview for a full-time position on Friday morning!  I am excited and nervous and anxious.  This would be something to make me feel like I really belong (it's hard working three part-time jobs at one place) as well as allowing me to continue my work with the mentor program, some advising, and collaboration with faculty.  I'm just not sure how this will jive with my three classes this semester as I can't exactly drop them now that they have started.  And there is that whole "I-need-a-month-off-in-June-to-travel-the-UK" thing.  Please send prayers and good thoughts at 11 on Friday that I will be led where I am supposed to be.

2)  I am thankful we scored some awesome deals this weekend:  $60 in credit on Living Social!  Free lotion at Bath and Body Works!  Old Navy clearance steals!  We also got in a little date--a walk through our park across the boulevard and dinner at Olive Garden.  (I love their salad and breadsticks!)

3)  I am thankful we got Monday off in memory and recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Next year, I'm going to try to make it a day of service.  (I forgot this year.  I guess I can technically serve my husband, but it's not quite the same thing, is it?  I know my first ministry is at home, but I feel I should get out in my community.)

4)  I am thankful I discovered two fantastic documentary series this weekend:  The Business of Being Born and the Up Series.  The first one looks at alternative birthing options, and the second has been following 14 British children since the age of 7 (in 1963/1964) with an update on their lives every seven years.  I've spent my free moments watching the Up Series; I'm not quite current (56 Up) as it hasn't been released on Netflix yet.  (I think it was just released stateside.)  It has been a fulfilling, heartbreaking, eye-opening, shocking, joyful experience watching these 14 individuals grow up before my eyes.

5)  Speaking of births, I am thankful we got to welcome another healthy baby into our family this past Saturday.  Zach's cousin Alexis went into labor, and she and her husband were surprised with baby boy Will!  (She had a c-section scheduled for the 31st.)  He is named after Alexis' grandfathers, including the one she shares with Zach, so that is pretty cool.  Their first son, Walker, is named after her husband's grandfathers.  I'm also excited to have learned that one of my best friends from college is having a little girl.  Katie will welcome Isabella (Ella) Kate sometime in late May or early June!  And baby Keegan (my cousin's baby) should be here anytime now.

6)  I am thankful for lazy Caturdays.

7)  I am thankful for having had a fairly good--if anything, FUNNY--experience at an OB/GYN clinic on Monday.  (No, I'm not preggers.  But I feel like I should be expecting because when I was on Facebook today, there were FIVE baby-related posts from my friends BACK-TO-BACK.  Everyone is like, "Look at what I made!  See my baby smile/laugh/walk/eat/go to school/cure cancer!"  And I'm over here going, "My cat is sitting on a tower TALLER than meeeee."  We're just not ready to be responsible for the future cure-er of cancer.  Or of Crohn's Disease.  ;)  See, I can't take the typical oral birth control because of my risk of blood clots, so I had to start seeing a gynecologist as opposed to my general practitioner for my lady business.  That made me a little nervous.  Oh, and he's a male doctor.  Apparently, that weirds some ladies out, which I can kinda understand, but I'm probably about as uncomfortable with a man as with a woman, so...whatevs.  I think?)

Can we just acknowledge how awkward it is for someone to be in your business like that?  I hope I'm not being too personal, but GOODNESS.  And I have to mention that I forgot to shave my legs and repaint my toenails.  I don't know what I was thinking!

And Zach came along to the appointment because we were out running errands together.  He was going to stay in the waiting room since I was getting a quick exam, but as I watched couple after couple go through the doors, I realized the other ladies in the waiting room would think he was the BIGGEST jerk in the world (or maybe my brother?) if he didn't go back with me since most were there for pregnancy-related appointments.  And that was when I realized I hadn't shaved my legs, so he HAD to come back with me because I was so embarrassed and didn't want a manly-man doctor to think I am undesirable due to my hairy legs because, HELLO, here is my husband to talk to you about my lady business, Mister Dr. sir.

(I am the girl who, when she sprained her ankle, scooted on her butt to the bathroom, hurled herself into the tub, and shaved her legs BEFORE going to see campus health clinic about the bum ankle.  I'm not one of those chicks who views leg hair as extra warmth in the winter.  My nurse there tried to make me feel better about my hair legs by saying that after I apologized for them.  YES.  I APOLOGIZED FOR MY HAIRY LEGS.  It's not like they even touch 'em, but I felt bad they had to look at that five days' stubble.  I tried to console myself by thinking that nine-months-pregnant woman probably can't shave their legs anyway because of the baby being all up in their business.  My rib cage already gets in my way.  I can't imagine what they deal with.)

It was probably good that Zach came along since he helps me remember everything I need to ask my gastroenterologist, and the GI doc has to clear me to take even the lowest dose or progesterone-only BC.  Zach was also there to help me make fun of my elementary-school-photo-backdrop-looking drape I had to wear during the exam.  And when we were at lunch after the visit, I asked him what he thought of my new doctor (since this man very well could deliver our child someday FAAAAAAAAR in the future), he said that my doc was the best "hoo-hoo" doctor he had ever visited.  Which is true as he has never visited one previously.  (I guess I haven't either...)  I'm glad we can act like eleven-year-olds about serious junk like my lady business.

After telling that story--which you may not find funny at all but gross or disrespect or irreverent--I am smiling and feeling better.  Posting this gratitude journal is such a good thing.  :)

(FYI, the caption to my photo was added after I got over my mood.  That was also another funny story I will have to remember.  I am so SILLY.)

Potato-Leek Soup

Today, I'm linking of with Kelly's Korner for her SUYL Soup link-up!  I made this last weekend again and posted this last year, but I wanted to share it again as it is wonderful and is great for lunch throughout the week.  I LOVE soup, especially vegetable ones, because I feel like I'm getting something good for me without eating a sandwich or salad all of the time.

I first made this a year ago when I put forth the effort to incorporate more fruits and veggies in my diet.  As someone afflicted with Crohn's, I have to be careful with eating vegetables and fruits, especially raw ones.  This recipe is actually based on one in my Crohn's and Colitis Foundation cookbook, so I felt okay trying it out when I was recovering from a bad flare and surgery.

Vegetables are good for us; they are not bad for us. Disease is bad for us, and you know why? Because Satan is the author of disease. God promised me the food of every seed-bearing plant and every tree that has fruit with seed in it (Genesis 1:29), so, by golly, I'm going to have them as food because He keeps his promises.  Besides, potatoes and carrots are easy on the stomach, and the leeks and onion are cooked well so as not to bother me at all.  I like this with some of those Sister Schubert frozen rolls or saltines!


-Wash and dice two leeks.
-Peel and dice a medium onion.
-Melt four tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot or Dutch oven, add leeks and onion, and sauté until tender for 5 to 7 minutes.

-Add three and 1/4 cups of chicken stock or broth to the pot. Because we try to save money as often as we can, we use a chicken base from Sam's and mix up some water with it. I would, however, like to start making my own stocks someday in the future (I said this a year ago) because they offer some great health benefits. (That's why we eat chicken soup when we are sick!)
-Peel, wash, and dice four carrots and add them to the pot..

-Peel, wash, and dice three large potatoes or five small to medium potatoes and add them to the pot.

-Add 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of thyme, and 1 bay leaf to the pot.

-You may need to add a bit more stock or add some water to cover all the veggies. Heat to boiling, then cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. Be sure to remove the bay leaf before serving!

Voila! You have easily made POTATO-LEEK SOUP!  It's not the prettiest soup, but this is just delicious, and the seasonings are just perfect in it. Thyme has become one of my favorites to use!  I think adding some kind of protein (probably chicken since chicken stock is used) would take this soup over the top.

What I Wrote Wednesday

Last week, I sent a little card to my cousin Erin, who is pregnant and on bed rest.

You can see a bit of the card through the envelope.  It is from a set Zach got for me on our first wedding anniversary (paper) with my name and a bird image.  (He used my maiden name and initial as that is what he calls me.  My first name and maiden name go together very well and are usually said in one run-on breath!)  He also got me a wax stamp, which I used, but as you can see, I dribbled a bit of the wax!

Today marks the 29th day of bed rest, and little Keegan Michael has made it to 37 weeks (technically, full term)!  So my newest second cousin should be arriving any day now.  I can't wait to see Erin and her husband Nick meet their son and grow as parents, and I can't wait to love on that baby.  :)

Erin and Nick have been together since we were in high school and went to the UCA together, where Erin and I were roommates for two years, our roomies helped Nick put together his proposal, and we were all in their wedding, etc. etc. etc.  (Nick proposed on the football field after the homecoming game, and then they got married in front of the school fountain.)  In short, we (Erin, Nick, our roommates, and I) have a long history together.  My cousin was probably my first friend as our dads lived in the same town when we were small, so we were just blocks from each other for a few years.  And after my parents divorced and we moved to another town nearby, Erin and I ended up at the same middle school through high school.

I'm so thankful for my cousin and for all our memories.  And I can't wait to have many more, starting with Mr. Keegan!

Erin and I as babies
We are about six months apart.

I hope you aren't afraid of clowns!  Also, I'm pretty sure the kid in the back went to high school and college with us...

 Maybe we were running away together?  I suspect we were about five or so here.

Easter 98?
We were in middle school/junior high and ever so awkward.

my high school graduation in 2003
Since Erin is six months younger, she just missed the cut-off date and started school a year later.  We were getting slightly less awkward here.

NYE 2006-2007

 This is with our roommate Emily in 2007.  Our other roommate Rose had to have emergency surgery to have her appendix removed and ended up having to withdraw before the spring semester was over.  We took silly pictures with chalk messages on the sidewalk next to our apartment and put together an album for her.  This was the year we started living together and began our "sorority," the Omicron Omicron Omicrons.  That's why we are attempting to make the "O" face.  ;)

celebrating Emily and Erin's birthdays in November 2007

my college graduation in 2008

Erin's bachelorette party in May 2008

Erin and Nick's wedding on May 31, 2008

Phillip (Nick's fraternity brother) and Emily's wedding on May 23, 2009

 my wedding on September 19, 2009

 my reception on December 20, 2009

 with Kristen, Erin's sister, at our family reunion (September 2010)

Erin's favorite holiday is Halloween, and as her birthday falls shortly after, she and Nick usually host a Halloween party.  This year, they did a murder mystery.  Rose went as a Hollywood glamour gal, I was a peacock, and Erin was a western can-can girl.  We had so much fun trying to capture a photo of our Omicron faces!  (I posted more of our Halloween adventures last year.)

 at the baby shower Erin threw for Kristen to welcome baby Zachary (June 2011)

at Erin's baby shower thrown by Rose and two other friends (December 1, 2012)

I love you, cuz-cuz!!

Be Grateful #2

1)  I'm thankful that I only got a warning instead of a ticket when I was speeding last week (56 in a 45 zone).  Whoopsy.

2)  I'm thankful for all of the yummy food I have cooked over the past three or four days:  potato-carrot-leek soup, roast beef, molten lava cakes (from a really good mix!), and caramelized French toast with poached pears.

3)  I'm thankful I survived my first day of classes.  Woo.  Teaching back-to-back is rough on this gal.  I don't know how you primary and secondary school folks do it.

4)  I'm thankful our kitties (well, Dinah) is enjoying their new cat tower.

5)  I'm thankful we are getting a Marshall's and HomeGoods soon!

6)  I'm thankful my friend Katie finds out if she is having a boy or a girl next week.  And that baby Autumn is two months old!  And I could go on and on about all my nieces and nephews...

7)  And I'm especially thankful this week that we are going to the UK FOR A MONTH!  We have booked lodgings in Edinburgh, Keswick, and Bath, and we have bought our plane tickets!  We are flying in and out of Manchester and used our credit card points to pay for the tickets.  As we did this, we just had to pay the difference on what our points will cover, and the difference was just a little over half of what we thought it would!  And Zach has already ordered my birthday present; apparently, it is the biggest one he's ever gotten me, and it is something I can use on our trip.  (I think I know what it is, but I don't want to ruin the surprise...  I'll let you know after May 1 if I'm right!)  And when I have a bad day at work, I am just going to focus on my trip and let the semester fly by.  :))))

I'm loving...

Wow!  Yesterday's post was my 200th!  That's crazy to consider.  Of course, I started this little ole' blog back in December 2010 after we moved to the far side of Arkansas, so it's about time I rolled past 200.  *lol*  I'm doing better about chronicling our life here, but I hope to do even better this year.  :)

This week, I'm loving:

I got two bags of these on clearance after Christmas, and I finished the second bag today.  *shame face*

This season has been emotionally turbulent and honest.  Ah, I can't hardly take it...especially that there are only TWO more episodes...

Zach got these for me for Valentine's Day, but he was afraid I would be disappointed--I'm not sure if he was worried getting sheets would be disappointing or if these specific sheets would disappoint me--BUT I LOVE THEM!  They have brightened up the room and feel so regal.  :)

I've been walking for at least 30 minutes a day except for Monday when I worked A-L-L day.  I've been adding a few extra minutes each day to make up for it.

While we have watched the available seasons, I still find these books to be so surprising and freshly written.

I've been enjoying poofing my hair...

...because when I wake up after sleeping on the slightest of damp hair, it looks like this.  *HAHA*

Cheetos Puffs.  'Nuf said.

I'm compulsive about watching ALL of a show.  Back in the day when there was still a George and an Izzy, I used to watch this religiously with some of my college friends.  But then it started getting a bit out there and too soapy dramatic (as in a soap opera).  However, when I was recovering, I watched sooo much TV and started catching up on shows I watched for a time but quit.  I know what happens at the end of this season (leading into the current one), but I am interested to see it play out.

I used part of my Christmas money to buy some costume jewelry from JCP and Charming Charlie.  I got the loveliest Twenties-inspired necklaces in emerald, sapphire, and rose quartz colored gems.  Since I've always been drawn to silver, I've always had plenty of them, but lately, I've been wanting some gold.  My mama also got me this darling peacock pin that doubles as a pendant from Hobby Lobby (their Timeline by Bead Treasures line--it was a 20s/30s piece :).

What I Wrote Wednesday

I decided that since I failed last year, I would try to send more cards and letters this year.  Last week, I mailed my dear friend Monica a card.  She just recently had baby Autumn (in November), and I've only gotten to hang with them once since then.  :(  I miss her so much and can't wait to see Autumn (and Rob!) again!  She's already growing so fast, and it's a joy to watch Monica become a mama.  :)  Here's a little trip down memory lane...

 back in 2006--our first picture together
Monica and I actually met on Facebook before we met in real life:  Originally, Facebook was just for those enrolled in universities, and Monica was in a few of my classes sophomore year.  I had to miss a few days in October, and I sent a message to a few folks that had added my two literature classes about the assignments I missed.  And we never looked back!

 This is with our dear friend Katie on Monica's birthday in 2007.  We were at the Electric Cowboy, and if you know us, you know that really isn't our kind of place.  *haha*  Senior year, we were a trio; if you saw one, you always saw the other two.  We had so many fun times together (as you can see by this picture)!

For example, here we are at Monica and Katie's graduation in December 2007.  Katie is actually now expecting a baby, and we find out this month if baby J is a boy or girl!

And this was on my graduation day in May 2008.  :)

Zach and I had a joint bachelor/bachelorette party the night before our wedding in 2009.  We went to The Flying Saucer, where we met, with all of our friends.

This was after Zach and I graduated with our Master's degrees in 2010.  We were at The Flying Saucer again with our friend Whitney (who was partially responsible for Zach and my match!).

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiere in July 2011
We are nerds.  (Hey, we were English majors!)

At Monica's shower this past fall 

meeting Autumn Gabrielle Elizabeth
We all matched!

I just love my dear friend and am so glad my card helped her have a great day.  I already know who I am writing next!

Be Grateful #1

Well, we have returned to the daily hustle and bustle of everyday living.  My classes start in one week! I am halfway ready and halfway prepared.  I've worked on various things but haven't completed any.  I am still dreaming of the holidays, and it doesn't help that we haven't had time to take down our decorations yet.  (It's happening this week!  We have a kitty tower to put up...)  It also doesn't help that I have bronchitis (sorta), finished my antibiotics yesterday, and still have drainage issues with a cough that comes and goes.  I'm just praying it doesn't turn into pneumonia.  I have toooooooo much to do!

Zach, Will, me, Matt, Lexi, and Mama
Will had to dress up as Phil Robertson (from Duck Dynasty) for church for some reason.  (I didn't ask.) That's why he is wearing all camo; usually, he is dressed to play football!
Also, I didn't get to fix my hair that morning, so it is WILD!

1)  I'm thankful we got to spend lots of time with family this weekend, even if it meant being away from home another weekend.  Saturday, we travelled to Batesville for the Pharr family Christmas with all of Zach's aunts and uncles and cousins.  I don't know some of them as well because they do live far away, and additionally, we have missed the last three gatherings in four years because of various reasons.  But Zach and I spent the night with his aunt Brenda and uncle Davey, so we could travel to Lonoke the next day; that allotted us an opportunity to visit just with them (as well as his cousin Lindsey and his uncle Chuck, both who also stayed since they live in our part of the state).  I didn't get any pictures, including the traditional full family shot, because I know lots of cameras were clicking, and they will eventually be sent to us.  On Sunday morning, we drove down to Lonoke to have Christmas with mama, brother, niece, and nephew finally.  (We had to head back home early at Christmas because of the snow and missed seeing them.)  We all had a lovely time over lunch, opening presents, and watching part of The Walking Dead.  *haha*  I'm so thankful God has seen that old wounds have been healed and that broken relationships have been mended.

2)  I'm thankful I've only gotten almost bronchitis.  (The doctor said it looked as if my body is trying to get it, but it's not full blown bronchitis yet.  At least it wasn't full blown last Thursday...)

3)  On that note, I'm thankful I can work from home when I feel cruddy.

4)  I'm thankful for my husband.  Very few things make my heart sing as when he turns to me in the car randomly and says, "I'm glad you're my wife."  He is my best friend, my champion, my lover.  We both understand that when we got married, we also married into each other's family, and I am thankful for that understanding and for the love we have for each other's relatives.

5)  I'm thankful for the new gold sheets Zach surprised me with!  He got them for Valentine's Day, but he was worried I wouldn't be pleased with them and didn't want me to be disappointed on the holiday, so he gave them to me early.  :)

6)  And it may be silly, but I am thankful Downton Abbey has started again.  Who's with me???

7)  I'm thankful for the good evaluations my students gave me.  Yes, it is nice to have my self-esteem and ego boosted, but mostly, I am happy to see that they are learning and enjoying my classes, even when they find them challenging.

8)  I'm thankful I got approved for the Remistart Extended Access program for this year.  This will help with our out-of-pocket costs for my Remicade treatments, which I have every other month; the medicine itself costs around $3,000 in Arkansas, which means it is worth $18,000 for the year.  We don't have to pay anywhere close to that amount because our insurance is GOOD, but since I still only work part-time, it does help to have some assistance.

9)  I'm thankful for randomly cheap raspberries at Sam's, so we can have raspberry chocolate chip ice cream.  As well as raspberries stuffed with white chocolate chips.  :)

10)  I'm thankful it's a new year with fresh opportunities and second chances to become a better me.  I feel a bit silly, but I am taping this (somewhat altered from the original in The Help) next to my bathroom mirror:  "You are kind.  You are smart.  You are beautiful.  You are important.  You are loved."  Because we all are.  :)

How is your New Year going thus far?

A Prayer for the New Year

Rachel from Suburban Strut posted this prayer today, and I just had to share (with a few tweaks):

Dear Lord,,
Help me be a better me.  Help me see how you made me beautiful and perfect in Your eyes. Be with me as I make my everyday decisions that hurt how I feel about myself.  Whether it is the meal I choose to eat or the event I didn't say no to, show me the way I am to live this one life You have given me.  Take all these worries and burdens off my shoulders and show me all my blessings and what I have to be thankful.  You have given me this wonderful life and please let me see it as beautiful as it really is.  I know Lord that with Your help, I will be able to see the changes that are needed to live an even fuller life. With Your help, I will be a better wife, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, worker, etc.  Please show me the way.

Won't you join me in praying this for your life this year?  :)

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We rang in the New Year at Fred's Hickory Inn with some friends.  This is the second year for the Inn to host a NYE party, and I hope we go back for their third year!  The party included champagne, appetizers, and party favors to make midnight festive, but we also had dinner and drinks throughout the night. (Ah, that smoked sirloin will be had again...)  I enjoyed a bellini and a spiced apple wine; both were enjoyable and festive and made me wish we had visited Fred's earlier in December.  :)

What is funny is that we actually missed midnight here: we watched the countdown for the east coast at 11 and kissed and made noise then, and we were expecting them to replay it for the central time zone to no avail.  Oh, well.  We still got to make some noise and kiss a little after midnight. Then we were home and in bed by one.  That is a perk to living down the street from where you were partying!

Here is to an even better 2013!