Saturday, January 31, 2009

Reflecting on our Words

If you've made resolutions in the past only to find them broken within weeks of the new year, you may want to think about focusing on a word during the year instead. I got the idea from Caroline at The Zen in You. She has a list of words posted if you need a bit of inspiration.

Several friends and I have decided to post reflections on our words as the year goes by. This is our first post! Joining me in this adventure are AVT Coach, Miruspeg, McMGrad89, and Octamom. I hope you enjoy reading about our words. You can share the journey with us by posting a comment about your own word of the year.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's a Match!

With the Australian Open under way, I couldn't resist posting a photograph taken of Andy Roddick and me at a charity tennis event in 2004. He was in the middle of two phenomenal years. He had just won the U.S. Open in 2003 and was runner-up at Wimbledon in 2004.

Now he's made it to the third round of the Australian Open having defeated Xavier Malisse of Belgium on Wednesday. Ranked 9th in the world today, he'll face Frenchman Fabrice Santoro in the next round.

But I digress; here he is, with me, at the charity tennis event!

Looking at the photograph, you might think I was a little more excited about getting my picture taken with him than he was about getting his picture taken with me. But the camera, you see, just caught him at the wrong moment.

This is how he actually looked when he first saw me walk into the room...

Well... not really.

I pulled the second photograph off the Australian Open Web site.

But a girl can pretend, can't she?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Blessings and Joy

I used to clean house on Saturdays. I mean really clean. Then I became a mom and a teacher, and somehow, on Saturdays, cleaning became the farthest thing from my mind... which makes me feel guilty. My husband will go into his office for half the day on Saturday, then come home to find me -- blogging, or reading, or scrapblogging. After my busy week, I seem to just collapse on Saturday.

Until this past Saturday.

I cleaned.

And I found joy in it.

With my iPod playing in my ears, I listened to a song and was reminded of the wonderful life I have. I remembered to count my blessings. And I fully embraced the joy that was in my life at that very moment. Even though my week had been busy, stressful, and tiring.

You see, I had an epiphany of sorts. I was reminded of how wonderful my husband is, and how he probably changed my life more than I know. Together, we've created a home for our family. A home that deserves to be cleaned and scrubbed and shined.

This is not some "gotta have it cleaned up" perfection issue. It's just a simple act of caring for one's home. And when the floors and countertops shine, when the clothes are all clean and put away, when a fire is crackling, and the lamps cast a soft glow, I feel it.
And it's Joy!
Postscript: (Okay. Who did it? I woke up the day after writing this and found my house in a mess again. How, exactly, did that happen?!)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

She Always Knew She Could Fly....

Sometimes she jumps for joy; at other times, she just jumps.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What Did Your Wednesday Look Like?

I found this idea at Lisa's blog, it's the little things, and thought I would recap my day in a similar way.

Here's what my Wednesday looked like:

Lack of sleep
Rush to work
Word of year
Advisement here

Teaching students
about new things
Looking forward
to what tomorrow brings

Homework helper
Essay grader
Blog updater
Sleep comes later

Since that's a little cryptic... Today in advisement, we were to have our students complete a sheet about their resolutions for the year. Well, now that I'm on to a word for the year, I couldn't resist sharing that idea with them. So, after they had completed their resolutions chart, I told them about choosing a word and shared mine with them (faith and joy). I pulled up Caroline's post at The Zen in You about words and read over the list with them. I was thrilled to see how serious they took this. Several decided on the word "courage." Others chose "health." One chose "improvement." I can't think of them all now, but it was very encouraging to see them give this some thought. Although I must say they made their decision MUCH quicker than I did!

Friday, January 2, 2009

And The Sun Shone Brightly...

I confess. Yesterday when I needed to be cleaning up for our New Year's Day party, I kept sneaking into my office to read just a few more pages of A Thousand Splendid Suns. By doing this off and on over the course of hours, I managed to get half way through the book before our guests arrived, and I still had a decent home to invite them into.

Although I was tempted to sneak a few pages in during the party, I enjoyed our company so much, I was able to sweep the temptation aside. Until they left. And then I began to devour a book that absolutely stole my heart.

If you haven't read Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns, or his first international bestseller, The Kite Runner, you should put these on the top of your "To Read" list for 2009. For me, they were my daughter's world cultures textbook brought to life as I read about life in Afghanistan before, during, and after occupation of Russian and Taliban forces.

I fear that many Americans take for granted the wonderful opportunities and freedoms we enjoy. These two books are eye-openers. Although fiction, Hosseini bases many of the characters and events in the stories on real people and events that have transpired in that war-ravaged country.
I hope you'll let his masterful writing send you on a powerful journey into the hearts of Afghanistan and its people. You can also visit Hosseini's Web site, which includes videos of him discussing the books and his work to improve lives of Afghani men, women, and children.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Faith and Joy... My Words for 2009

If you follow Caroline's blog at The Zen in You, you've read about choosing a word for the year. This is an excellent idea that can actually take the place of resolutions. Instead of coming up with big goals to achieve, you focus on a word during the year instead.

To make sure I would choose the best word for myself, I looked at lists and gave much thought to the word I would choose, but none of the words really popped out at me. I thought of gratitude, discipline, balance, and grace... all good things to strive for, but none of the words sounded right.

It seemed that no matter what path my brain took, I kept going back to the word "faith." My problem with faith is that I have faith in God, but I don't internalize what that word really means. Instead, I worry... about everything! If I truly have faith, I must leave everything in God's hands. Then, there will be no reason to worry! So, my decision was made. My word for 2009 will be "faith."

And "joy!"

I couldn't stick with just one word. I figure that "faith" will free up some space in my life, which in turn will allow me to embrace more completely the "joy" in my life.

If you're interested in taking this journey, you can read more about a word for the year here at The Zen in You and at Christine Kane's blog. Best wishes during 2009!