Closet organization, simplification, reconsideration.

 So far it has been a rather unproductive summer, but isn't that, by definition, what summer should be?  Lazy, relaxed, sleepy days poring over books and avoiding work and heat? No?
Well, anyway, my first goal for the summer was to go through the mess that was my closet, which contained probably 8 years worth of clothes.  My goal was to simplify my wardrobe, keeping only the few things I know that I will wear and getting rid of any ill-fitting, out of style, or worn-out items.  I also wanted to organize the closet to make it more user friendly and easier to access all of my clothes.  And finally I wanted to sort the clothes that didn't make the cut into piles to sell, donate, or alter.  You can see the finished, organized, product to the left... this is my temporary organization system, as one of my longer-term goals is to select a permanent closet system to install that does NOT involve a set of parallel hanging bars!

I ended up with several laundry baskets and bags of clothes to donate or sell.  Here's how I made decisions:
  • Sell:  any clothes that were name brand and still fairly new styles I took to consignment stores to sell. 
  • Donate:  I try not to donate anything that is in TERRIBLE condition, but chose older styles that consignment stores would not buy back.
  • Give away:  I kept some of my name brand clothes to give to friends, as we sometimes do clothing exchanges.  I kept specific sizes that I knew were appropriate or clothes that I knew they would want or need.  
Finally, I held back a few clothes that were ill-fitting to be altered.  I bought a couple of Groupons for alterations a few months ago so I knew I could get some of my favorite items altered for a reasonable price.  Here's how I made my decisions.
Denim pencil skirt... one of my staples.
  • Favorites:  Clothes that I wore often or that I loved and couldn't bear to part with made this cut!  For example, a denim pencil skirt that was one of my staples, that made it easy to find something nice but still casual-me to wear to work, so it is well worth it to have this one altered!
  • Expensive or name-brand items:  I had a few items that I got from Anthropologie or JCrew on sale, that I didn't spend a lot of money to purchase, but that were worth more than what I would get back by selling them or donating (obviously).  So these items made it to the "alter" pile.
  • Now or later:  I divided my "alter" pile up into "now" and "later" piles... although having clothes altered saves money over buying new items, the cost can still add up.  So, I chose  3 items that I wore most or that are in season to have altered first.  The rest of the items are grouped together in my closet and I will take a few at a time to be altered later, spreading out the cost. 
Anthropologie dress...met my second requirement for the "alter" pile AND is in season now!
JCrew pant

So, that's the story of how my once-disastrous closet got it's organized groove back!  I know cleaning closets can be overwhelming, especially if you have years worth of clothes that you've hoarded away, stuffed into every nook and cranny of available space in the dark, deep places of the closet.  You've probably kept those clothes thinking "I'll be able to fit into those again one day!" or "I can't get rid of that, it's nostalgic!" or "I have to keep this, it's my only dressy black dress!"  Like me, you are probably overwhelmed by the range of purposes that each item of clothing fulfills and hate that you cannot seem to simply have one or two tops, one or two pants, one or two dresses like all of those Real Simple articles advertise!  You probably have your fitted t-shirts, your dressy t-shirts, your cleaning t-shirts, your running t-shirts, your slightly-stained-but-still-wearable-under-a-cardigan t-shirts, etc.  It can be daunting to make decisions, and then immediately after purging your closet of the burden you begin to think about buying new clothes to fill it back up!  Well, I'm fighting that urge and taking stock of the absolute necessities before each new purchase!  I want to keep my closet empty enough so that every item is visible and I can easily take a visual inventory of my needs.  I want to buy only when I have a need to replace.  I want to avoid excess.  I want to avoid overly-trendy items that I wear once and then realize that it was a terribly disastrous idea!  These are my new goals for my closet!

Who knew I could be so inspired to write so much about my closet!  Well, stay tuned for upcoming posts about future summer projects and my goals for Summer:  The 2nd Half.


breaking the blogging fast... and summer goal #1

i have no excuses for the sabbatical, although i think the increase of tweets and status updates has a definite indirect relationship with the decrease in blogging...
i debated the best way to break the fast... should i write one massive blogging binge with all of the thoughts, stories, projects, and ideas that have passed since my last entry?  who would even venture to read such a thing??  so instead, i will just start right back up as if no time had passed, beginning with my #1 goal/project for the summer... tackling the dreaded closets.

i have been putting off the extensive purging of the closet for some time now.  as my fellow perfectionists well know, it's impossible to take on a task under the following conditions:
  • the desired end result is yet unknown
  • there is not sufficient time or energy to do the job "right"
  • there is not sufficient time or energy to do the job all in one sitting
as a result, my closet looks like this:

 there are several problems:
  • space:  the closet is spacious, but very deep, with two parallel clothing bars; i tend to use the one in the front and forget entirely about the bar in the back. 
  • organization:  there is NO organization system.  and i doubt there is an organization system that exists that actually fits my space, which means a custom-made or hand-made system will be needed... one requires money and the other my husband's time :)
  • doors.  ug.  ly.  and inconvenient.  sliding doors.  i just want to see the whole closet at once!
my #1 goal with this project is to SIMPLIFY... i would like to have LESS, less stuff, less clutter, less unused stuff, less, less, less.  i want everything in my closet to be something i will use and for it to be more easily accessible so that i will remember that it exists and actually USE it.

so, step one (must get done THIS week before vacation to CO!):
cleaning the darn thing out!  must get rid of all the clothes that are old, worn out, or inappropriate sizes!  this is a tough task.  i hate the old rule "if you haven't worn it in a year get rid of it."  it's hard to part with some things, you know?  i hold on to some things out of sheer stubbornness, because i paid money for it and feel obligated to get more use out of it.  and then there is the challenge of trying to simplify when there are so many different clothes with different purposes:  the dressy clothes for weddings/funerals, the somewhat dressy work clothes, the casual work clothes, the clothes for staying at home, clothes for housework, clothes for hiking/biking/running/swimming/fill-in-the-blank-activity, clothes for sleeping, clothes for sporting events, winter clothes, summer clothes, etc.  arg!!!  it can get rather overwhelming!

step two, which will be a future post, is to determine an organization system.  with my other summer goals, it is yet to be determined whether i will finish the closet project or not this summer.  but, setting my perfectionistic need to wait to start a task until i can accomplish the ideal aside, i will tackle this task in smaller bite-size chunks.  stay tuned for updates on this and other summer goal projects!


to resolve or not to resolve?

i have never been a big fan of making new year's resolutions. as long as i can remember. call it rebellion against the conventional or trying to be out-of-the-box or non-conformist or avoiding the trendy thing. possibly all of the above. and it's possible that in the last 3-5 years i hated the idea of making resolutions more than ever because i felt more despondent about my lack of progress in every aspect of life, so the idea of trying to set goals i might actually be accountable to overwhelmed me. luckily, i wore the rebellious-nonconformist-untrendy thing like a badge of honor which cleverly disguised my despondency. so so cunning.

about 3 years ago i wondered if maybe i hit my personal peak as a college student. athletically, intellectually, socially, and professionally i was a bright and shiny star of energy and potential as a 21 year old. aren't we all? it would forever be the measure against which i compared myself. as an adult, in my post-collegiate years, i felt overwhelmingly that i wasted all of that potential. i walked away from my dream of teaching in the inner-city because i was afraid to go out and pursue that dream alone. what kind of person does not fear danger but fears being alone? i've never been afraid of the conventionally terrifying things. but i was afraid to go after my dream. and that made me feel like a disastrous failure for years. i allowed my teaching certificate to expire, which felt like a stab in my heart after all of the hard work i put into earning that license. i gradually became squidgier and softer and less of a bad ass athlete, but no less competitive, which only made the pain of losing my athleticism more acute. my identity as "one of the guys", sporty-mendy, runner-girl was in jeopardy and i was floundering without my sense of self. i put more and more distance between myself and other people to shield myself from embarrassment, judgment, and the overwhelming compulsion to compare myself to others that seemed to be getting "it" right. damn the 21 year old mendy. she was making my life a misery, the memory of her.

i am fortuitous, however, to have a scrappy personality that is able to bend without breaking. i may not be a resolution-setter but i know how to put one foot in front of the other and walk uphill into a strong wind. the first "step" was getting my teaching license reinstated, second "step" masters program in special education, third "step" applying in KCK, fourth accepting the EBD teaching position at Washington High, fifth, 6th, 7th... opening myself up to dreaming again, to loving my students, to finding my "home" at Washington, learning from and befriending coworkers, leaning into the good things, completing my masters, and giving a damn about being better at my job everyday that i'm there. amazing what momentum that created for me.

next big step has been my journey this past year, reclaiming my sporty self. starting to run again and rediscovering that i'm actually pretty good at it! doing my first half marathon in almost 4 years and not allowing my progress to fizzle into smoldering embers the weeks after the race. getting stronger, faster, slimmer, more confident, less anxious about EVERYTHING.

so, no, i usually don't make new year's resolutions. i just try to make forward progress, however small the step. i'm generally pretty good at setting goals for myself throughout the year, short-term and long-term goals, professional goals, personal goals, goals for reading, goals for cooking goals for dressing better for work, goals for making it to that next block on a run, goals for running 5 miles, 6 miles, 8 miles without stopping, goals to not look at the clock when running on the treadmill or not look at the clock when at work, goals for positive interactions with students, redefining my goals when i've failed, reevaluating the appropriateness of the goal... i make a lot of goals. so if you must know, i resolve to continue with the same progress that i've been on for the past year. i resolve to reinstate my 2o-minutes-a-day-of-cleaning plan now that my house has been massively cleaned from top to bottom during this break. i resolve to keep running because of that guy i saw in the gym that could barely walk but he was there and he was trying! i resolve to keep returning to the path after i've strayed from it (henri nouwen-ism). so happy new year.


what have i been up to?

i apologize for the irregular blogging! i've discovered facebook and twitter and work full time and run and watch sports (football and basketball season overlapping causes me to double my daily sports-intake if you can imagine!) and hang out with friends and it's all just a lot to do, isn't it? well, so i figure it's time for me to recap what i've been up to... using pictures!

first up, the annual hutson's holiday breakfast for my students. they were so excited about it, they could not stop asking me all week, "ms. hutson, are you really going to bring food for us on friday? really? can i help cook? can we put peppers and turkey in the eggs? and cheese? can we have cheese? can you get cranberry juice too?" it was great. it was a completely normal time with students that i don't often have "normal" with. they took over the griddles, served each other, asked to help clean up, plugged their laptops into my speakers to play music for the whole group... very festive atmosphere and i LOVED it.

after celebrating my students, it was time for me to partake in my OWN celebrations:
going to see KSU beat #21 Alabama at the Sprint Center:
and celebrating the end of the 1st semester with my awesome co-workers... with epic breakfast (for dinner!):
and then some quality time and a rousing game of settlers of catan with my good friend Katie, her husband, Micah, and Kirk:

during the break, we had a lot of great time with friends and family and also a lot of time in the car (b00). but at least we had good music (what i'm listening to lately: gungor, quiet corral, the black keys, the head and the heart, the civil wars, mumford and sons, vintage waterdeep, and vintage mariah carey christmas album). got to see all of my cousins and their spouses on my my mom's side (the kinder family) for the first time in a long time! and spent some time with kirk's side of the family and the rundle family, singing and playing piano. also spent time with some good friends and felt like my heart was just filled up!

so, this weekend my brother and sister and brother's girlfriend will be home for a late buchheister family christmas and then next week it is back to school! i will follow up with more photos from my family time... hopefully! i'm just so busy, there's a lot of football and basketball to be watched...


food journaling... a year later

i'm not sure how many of you know this about me, but last year before thanksgiving break i decided to start keeping track of the food i ate in a food journal. it's been a year and i've decided to share my some insights i've discovered about myself in the past year. do you want to hear the end results now or should i save that for later? hmmm, i think i'll save that. you'll just have to read on, i suppose.

so, here's the background info:
i was athletic in high school and college, loved running and playing soccer, and never had to be "careful" about food. i gained weight so very gradually during college and post-college that i didn't ever experience any major "warning signs." i remember taking nutrition class at KSU and keeping a food log for a week and thinking that pastaroni and bagels were healthy foods. what the what?? hahaha! delusions of a sporty-girl addicted to carbs! so, over the course of the 8-10 years after high school i steadily gained weight and found myself frustrated, annoyed, and embarrassed. frustrated because i really did NOT want to inconvenience myself with having to be thoughtful about what i ate or having to workout to maintain weight instead of just enjoying it. annoyed because i could not do what i used to be able to do physically and, as you all know, i'm highly competitive, with myself especially. so that was a problem. and embarrassed because so much of my confidence, what i liked about myself, was my athleticism, my sporty-girl identity, and a high level of activity. i was even a personal trainer, but kept gaining weight throughout the entire time i was employed as a trainer. it was embarrassing.

the necessary kick-in-the-ass:
so last year i was playing indoor soccer 2-3 times a week for a few hours, which i loved. but i ended up with a stress fracture in my hip that left me unable to run or do anything high impact for 6 weeks to several months. i was so discouraged when i discovered this because i was barely maintaining my weight and now i would not be able to maintain my high activity level. it turns out that was exactly the kick in the pants that i needed! i decided to find an online food journal. it was the week before thanksgiving and i felt like a crazy person for starting to track food right before holidays, but i thought, "what have i got to lose?"

the so-laid-back-it-can't-be-mendy-buchheister/hutson's-plan plan:
1. so, for the first week of tracking food, i allowed myself to continue to eat what had become "normal" for me so that i would get an accurate picture of the situation.
2. i set a weight loss goal for myself for the next year that i felt was both ambitious and achievable. i calculated that to lose 30 lbs in a year i would need to average about .6 lb weight loss per week. that is not unreasonable when you break it down that way, in my opinion. but it was crazy to think that in a year's time i would be back to the weight i was in 2002! the online food journal automatically calculates the net total of calories to consume in a day based on my height, weight, and weight loss goal of .6 lb per week. it was not unreasonable, so i was feeling optimistic.
3. i made a rule for myself that i would make NO rules for myself other than to daily log my food. this was big for me, because i'm a rule-follower to a fault and i didn't want to set myself up for devastation by creating a list of food do's and don'ts right before the holidays. in fact the only other rule i adopted was that i was allowed to have a binge day once per week. more on that later.
4. i anticipated the glitches. i knew that perfectionistic me would overanalyze and stress over how accurate the calories were and i just decided to let it bother me for the first week or so and then get over it! i figured that even if the online tracker wasn't 100% accurate, i was still doing something to monitor the food i consume which is better than nothing. i also knew that i may plateau and not have weight loss that looked like a perfect negatively trending graph. i knew that regular exercise was going to be tough with the stress fracture and then the stress of school... all potential obstacles.

the craziest part of the whole experience is how much my anxiety over food/appearance/weight decreased almost immediately. by anticipating glitches it took the surprise attack element away from any obstacle that i encountered. by giving myself a binge day it took away the stress of a "bad" eating day that normally would have turned into a bad eating month for me. i didn't have guilt or shame over a binge day because i had planned to have one. so, the next day i was able to get back on the proverbial horse instead of flogging myself with the guilt! i didn't stress over periods of slow or no progress because i knew that i was doing all the right things and that it would eventually work itself out. i didn't stress about how long it would take me to lose weight because i could relish the idea of the next milestone (i remember thinking, "i can't believe that by my birthday i will have lost 10 lbs!" or "by summer i will be feeling so much better!"). i didn't cut anything out of my diet, still enjoyed eating out, drinking soda, and other favorites, but just didn't overdo it. if you're reading this still, you probably know me well, which means you probably know how big of a stress-ball i am almost every minute of every day of my entire life. so, you understand how big of a deal it was to have all of that ANXIETY lifted off of me. i think that i lost the first 10 lbs in anxiety alone. not using hyperbole, i'm sure it's a scientific fact, sure of it.

from march to may i saw almost zero progress. the stressy mendy would have freaked out, but i reminded myself that it was the most stressful time of the school year which is probably having an impact on the #'s. i told myself that i would reevaluate at the beginning of summer and kick the workouts into a higher gear. so, over the summer i started running a little bit for the first time since the stress fracture, enjoying running trails which kept me injury free, and i swam almost every day at the outdoor pool, which i loved because it was like being a kid again (shout out to manhattan city pool!). by the time the school year started in august i finally felt like i was starting to SEE a difference. after getting back on track with weight loss over the summer, i plateaued again for the first 2 months of school, but i started training for a half marathon again (something i hadn't done in 3.5 years!), and could feel myself getting stronger and healthier. even though i did not lose lbs during that time i really started to notice a difference in the fit of my clothes, so that's fun!

the end results:
i ran my first half marathon since 2008 on november 20. i did not hit a PR by any means, BUT i felt so much more fit from this training than i had for the previous 5 half marathons i had done. i was more disciplined and consistent during this training than ever before. AND i made myself a plan for maintaining the long distances starting the week immediately after the event. always before i was so exhausted after the half that i wouldn't do anything for weeks afterwards, then i'd have to start back from scratch. well, not this time! not only do i feel more fit, but i've had basically no knee problems, no shin splints, no plantar fasciitis, etc. awesome!
secondly, i did manage to lose 25-30 lbs in the last year, just like i had set out to do! i was not sure if i was going to hit that goal or not, but i had determined not to beat myself up over it if i didn't because for a whole year i was faithful to the food journal and i only made forward progress or plateaued, never gained any weight, not even 1 lb. in the end, though, i came really darn close to the goal and am continuing on with my next goal for the next year. so, i'm feeling really pretty good.

i know weight is such a sensitive issue and it's hard not to sound braggy when we talk about our successes. but i'm pretty proud of the progress i've made and feel like i learned some valuable insights about myself. so, i thought i'd share.


i'm a choir nerd...

...so, of course, i am loving the new season of "the sing off" on NBC. you may remember my obsession with committed.

hey people. this is why high school arts programs are important. because they give kids the chance to become this...
and this...

good stuff.


bathroom reno

really i just like to talk about renovating the bathroom but avoid actually doing any work. but, someday i will get around to the bathroom reno and then it will be beautiful. i'm going to share the plan with you all, plus some pictures that are the inspiration for my future bathroom, and maybe you can help me make some decisions.
here's my inspiration:
i like black and white complimented with BRIGHT colors (fiery orangey-reds, or limey/lemony yellow). i want black walls, but will probably do white bead-board or subway tiles 3/4 up the wall so it won't be super dark. we'll definitely paint the clawfoot tub black around the outside. love that. i like white towels but let's be realistic, they'll stay white for about 3 minutes. so, i'll probably find bright towels, maybe even some pattern. i'll know it when i see it. here are 3 inspiration bathrooms, all pretty similar. the medicine cabinet we have is identical to the ones in the first two pics and the train rack i want to get is similar to that in the 3rd photo.
so here's the plan:
*gut the whole bathroom and put in new drywall, lighting, electrical, and rearrange the plumbing.
*install new window.
*paint door/frame white.
*put in craigslist clawfoot tub, pedestal sink, and metal cabinet for storage. reuse existing toilet. purchased old fashioned looking medicine cabinet from restoration hardware. use gift certificate from RH to purchase a "train rack" for towel storage.
*still need:
1. lighting. probably will do recessed lights plus one or two sconces either above or on either side of the medicine cabinet.
2. fixtures for shower (see right), hand towel hook or ring, toilet paper holder, and a door knob. probably will buy new except for the door knob (want a cool vintage glass knob, i think).
3. flooring (maybe tiny hexagonal tiles, white with a few black added in as was customary in most bathrooms from 1930's bungalow homes or hardwood painted a glossy white).
4. decide whether we want to do white subway tiles partway up the wall or nothing but paint. what do you guys think? see inspiration pics above.

we also need to decide on a layout. it's a tiny bathroom, so not a lot of options.
here's how the layout is currently but more awful because the ugly counter top stretches the whole length of the wall where the sink is:
here's another option:
and here's my favorite option so far:
i feel like this 3rd option hides the ugly toilet but also gives us the most space around the sink. my tall light blue metal cabinet will sit across from the toilet for storage and the train rack will likely hang right above the toilet.
thoughts? suggestions?



in the past two days, i've had some tough conversations with students. tough, but good, i think. working in public school is challenging in so many ways, one of which is that we have all of these pressures and academic standards, and this high calling to push our students to academic excellence, but yet, sometimes life just gets in the way of those things, as important as they are. i sometimes catch myself inadvertently pushing away opportunities to slow down for a much-needed conversation because there's this need to hurry kids to class, make sure they don't miss instruction, can't take any extra time, go, go, go... anyway, i'm glad i slowed down for these moments:

i talked to a student who was coping with a difficult milestone, the 1-year anniversary of a best friend's suicide. the student shared about their friendship, built on the common ground of abuse suffered, her friend's heartache upon discovering she was pregnant at 14, and the moment that she learned of her friend's death. we talked about what it means to be strong, that it's ok to grieve, but also ok to be grateful for her own strength and life. i challenged her to help re-write her friend's daughter's life story, to make it a happy, joyful story, and to watch out for her friend's daughter so that she would not have to go through the same sorrows that her young mom experienced in her short life. there's no way to undo what this student has experienced already in her life, but at the very least, i want to LISTEN to her story.

today, i had a chance to talk to another student. he's been in the foster system forever, moved from home to home, has a behavior disorder which means he's a "high needs" placement. this means he's probably felt unwanted in most situations because he can be, frankly, difficult. i have a lot of students in this same situation: their transcripts are a mess, they are usually credit deficient, because they are moved frequently, change schools several times a year, they have no healthy relationships or attachments to anyone, they have no family or friends, just "workers" (case workers, therapists, psychiatrists, judges, POs, teachers... professionals, in other words). they have experienced pretty horrendous childhood traumas resulting in removal from their home. they come with a variety of mental health issues: PTSD, RAD (reactive attachment disorder - failure to form normal attachments due to abuse, neglect, etc), bipolar disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, ADHD, ODD (oppositional defiance disorder), conduct disorder... the list goes on. i've noticed some of my male students with RAD seem to just be severely detached... they talk about extremely heartbreaking situations in a very impersonal, unaffected way. anyway, this student today walked into my room because he has basically given up on trying now that he knows he's being moved again. he talked, unemotionally, about the list of procedures and consequences he'll likely face when he's transferred: drug treatment, probation, probably some time in JDC. i said to him, "it sounds like a bunch of consequences that don't mean anything to you." he said, "they can't do anything to me, there's nothing they can take from me, i already have nothing." he wasn't upset, just very, very candid. we talked about his perspective, what he thinks is wrong with the system, what he would do differently; he thinks re-integration with families should be the rule, not the exception. i asked him if he thought there were any circumstances in which a kid should not be re-integrated. i asked him if he thought he had been spared anything difficult by his parents' rights being severed. he said, "whatever it may have saved me from, my life still ended up being crap." i asked him if this experience has made him consider what he will do differently when he's on his own. he talked about not wanting kids until he's older, he's had some life experiences of his own, has some stability, so that kids won't seem like a burden to him or he won't resent them. my goals in this whole conversation were to validate his perspective, to get him to speak on a more personal level (hard for some kids with RAD), and to speak to him as one adult to another. you know, the reality is that people who work with foster kids aren't bad people, i know that in some cases there is just no good answer. when you are faced with leaving a kid in a dangerous situation or removing them from their family, that's not a good choice to have to make. but, it doesn't matter what the reality is, what the truth is, what matters is HIS perception of what has happened to him, because it is that perception of his experience that is shaping who he is and who he will become. he's going to have difficulty in all of his relationships for the rest of his life because he went from one terrible childhood experience straight into somewhat less-terrible-but-not-great foster homes. and, sadly, some foster homes are as abusive as the homes kids are removed from to begin with. it takes a lot more than one conversation and a few weeks of a "relationship" with a kid to make a difference, but my only hope is that he felt that i listened to him, i respected his opinion, and that there was no where else i wanted to be at that moment than having that conversation with him. should i have tried harder? should i have forced the conversation a certain way, to advise him, to try to say some comforting words? how can we ever know what is the right thing to do or say in any moment? i don't know. i'm always unsure of myself. but, i felt like it was such a delicate moment, like if i tried too hard, said too much, i might disrupt it, kill it. so, i held back and reset my expectations. i think that is ok, too.

well, that's all for now. just wanted to share.


couch time

a friend of mine calls it "couch time"... that time when you just need to sit and pour out your thoughts and worries and listen to sage or sympathetic advice. i like that term. i'm pilfering the term.

anyway, this week's "couch time" for me came in the package of another goodie from isaac anderson of jacob's well. this time about joy. this is good for me to hear. i'm not good at joy. my two primary thoughts when listening to this, however, were:
1. joy doesn't have to be the ONLY thing i am able to feel at once. i know, i know, joy isn't really a feeling, but for the sake of this thought of mine, let's just run with it. anyway, a person is capable of experiencing joy and fear, joy and sadness, joy and heartache, trouble, worry, grief, weariness, etc at once. because joy is less about all things being ok and more about experiencing all things WHILE simultaneously walking with jesus, who gives us full lives. lives that are full of all of those emotions and experiences and yet still we live.
2. isaac references a biblical analogy of joy as an object, a burden really, that one might carry around on one's head, like laundry, or a basket of food, or a load of bricks (have you SEEN those crazy national geographic photos of workers in, like, indonesia or malaysia or somewhere carrying literally loads and loads of bricks using only their heads??). this reference was vivid for me as i pondered thought #1. if joy is experienced simultaneously with myriad other emotions, positive and negative alike, then joy really is like this great burden on my head. it's there, with me, but it may not always be the easiest burden to lift. strange that i think of joy that way? it resonates with me, though, because sometimes to have joy is strangely very difficult for me.
anyway, you should listen. perhaps my thoughts will be more coherent after a listen.

Click here to listen: Joy - Isaac Anderson


the un-blog

i'm so terrible about blogging as soon as school starts... i think it's because all other areas of my life come to a screeching halt! i abandon projects on the house, i neglect my yard, i don't clean, i don't cook anything creative, i don't go anywhere or do anything interesting, and i decrease my already minimal social activity. i thought maybe i would have to turn this into an un-blog, like instead of being a blog about home renovations, photography, cooking, and decorating i would have to start writing about my FAILURE to do these things. remember when i had the anti-decorating post showing off my piles of dirty dishes and unmade bed? well, i don't think i'm quite that desperate yet, but felt the need to post about something, ANYTHING, so...

i actually feel i've done pretty well so far this school year: i've had TONS of work, with my new position as the special ed department chair (in addition to the same job i already had as special ed teacher for students with emotional and behavioral disorders), but i've managed to keep quite a few other things on my social and personal agenda! here's what i've been up to:

*reading: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand; loving the stodgy old Major and his ever-changing perceptions of people he might have once viewed through prejudicial lenses.

*running: not really that much. want to do another race in the near future but having trouble figuring out how to fit running in with work during the week. best time for me to go would be right after i get home, before dinner, but it's been SO BLASTED HOT. and i'm so darn tired right after work that usually i just plop down on the couch and then there's NO chance! i've thought about starting a series of unglamorous facebook posts about running... you know how people will post their workouts, like "i ran 29 miles and felt great!" well, good for you! aren't you just awesome! i kiss the ground you walk on! so, i thought about posting things like, "i plodded for 5 miles and felt like dog poo!" or "i dragged myself along for 3 miles and my face exploded like a bubbling volcano of fire!" what do you guys think? i think they would be very popular posts. anyway, i created a training plan for myself on runnersworld.com and do plan to give it a good effort, but so far i'm logging most of my miles on the weekends and laying big old goose-eggs on the weekdays.

*sweating: the theme of school this year so far has been: let's-see-how-many-days-the-AC-can-break-down-before-the-students-start-to-riot-and-teachers-resort-to-violent-episodes. plus we had a power outage last friday in which we first evacuated to the football field and then were told to re-enter the building and try to conduct class with no power (no lights, no AC, no phones, no computers, no projectors, no intercoms, no security cameras, no metal detectors, no common sense... oh wait, that last one is purely editorial).

*socializing: i have managed to have enough energy this year to not entirely abandon my friends! i've had some quality time with co-workers, the Timmers, Laura and Tiff for brunch, Laura and Sporting KC for some excellent soccer:
and soon to come i will be enjoying some KSU football and US Women's National Team Soccer (again with Laura... i'm getting lots of good Laura-time!).

it's amazing how full my life is now that i'm not taking classes AND working! yay!