J is for Jesus Be a Fence #AtoZChallenge

Okay, I crowdsourced this one on Facebook because I was stumped. I had one idea (jokes) and a suggestion from my daughter (job), but I wasn’t super excited about either one. THEN, my glorious FB peeps came through with a barrage of suggestions that included:

  • Jam, Things That Are Your
  • Joy
  • Jesus

And I was like, omg, I’m going to do Jesus Jams. No, Joyful Jams! And a friend was all “JOYFUL JESUS JAMS” and I was like, “OMG, I totally got it now!”

So, I present to you the gospel song that keeps giving: “Jesus Be a Fence.”

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I is for Improvement

As I collected my students’ papers today, some of them said they felt so much better about these papers compared to the ones they were getting back. Why? “I know I did better on this one. I can feel myself improving.”

Yes, I said. Good. That’s what it’s all about: seeing how you’ve improved from the beginning of the semester to now–even if you don’t get the grade you want.

They weren’t so sure about that grade part, but they did acknowledge that it felt good to see their progress.

Blogging from A to Z is a challenge that runs through the month of April.

For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for J.

H is for Healing #AtoZChallenge

My daughter has depression and suffered from a pretty bad breakdown a few weeks ago. After some digging, we figured out it was a new medicine she tried that threw everything out of whack and caused her depression, which was in remission, to spike. The thing about depression, too, is that it was a slow slide, so it wasn’t obvious at first. But everything suffered, especially her schoolwork.

Thankfully, as noted before, my daughter has–along with a mom who pays attention–pretty amazing doctors who were able to help identify and rectify the situation. She has new meds, and she is on her way back to herself again.

Blogging from A to Z is a challenge that runs through the month of April.

For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for I.

Rereads abound!

I have reached the stage of my life where my body literally rebels against me trying to work on Saturday. I had plans to finish grading Saturday, but instead I took not one, but two naps. Two! I was just exhausted.

It’s cool, though. I finished grading this afternoon and will write up an assignment sheet before I go to sleep tonight–unless I fall asleep first. We’ll see how it goes.


This week on the blog, I started the A to Z Challenge, so it has been pretty busy around here. I posted some things, basically:

I forgot the hashtag for some of my posts, but all of the lettered posts are part of the A to Z Challenge. My theme, btw, is gratitude.

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G is for Gratitude #AtoZChallenge

My friend suggested I write about why I chose to use gratitude as my theme for the challenge. “Do a deeper dive,” she said, “and explain why it means so much to you.”

It wasn’t that long ago that I spent most of my time focusing on what I didn’t have or how I wished my life were different. And because I was a student at the school of Oprah, I would suggest people do gratitude journals and such because she said they worked even though I didn’t really know why.

In the past few years, I have learned that gratitude is an important part of my life because, much like acceptance, it keeps me focused on the present and helps me to shift my thinking so that I see all that is good and right around me–even when it feels like everything is going wrong.

Gratitude as I practice it is, in short, keeping the focus on what I do have and what is going right in my life instead of focusing on what’s missing or wrong.

For example, one time I ran over the curb and blew my tire. This was not a good thing that happened. It was inconvenient, I don’t actually know how to change a tire, I knew it would cost money to repair/get a new tire, etc.

However, in that same day, I found a lot to be grateful for:

1. The blowout happened at the grocery store, which worked out perfectly because I had to pee so bad. Soooo bad. Like, I didn’t even care that much that the tire was blown out at first because I had to pee.

2. I bought what I needed from the grocery store and, as I was checking out, the cashier asked how my day was going, and I told her not great because of the blowout. I hadn’t even noticed, but standing in front of me at line were my friend and her husband. “Do you need help?” they asked.

3. My friend’s husband changed my tire. While he was working on it, a guy from a restaurant who ran to the store to get syrup saw my friend’s husband changing the tire and gave him some tool thing that made it easier. (Also, two or three other people asked if he/we needed help.)

4. I, of course, had no money to buy a new tire. I went to Sears and because I had such good credit, I was able to get a store card to put the tires on (all of my tires actually needed to be replaced). Not only were they having a special on the tires, but I was able to get them with 0% interest for 18-24 months.

Now, old me would have bitched about the fact that my tire blew and now I had this new bill. New me was able to see all of the good things that happened to me that day even while I was dealing with something that was a hassle.

Here is another, more personal, example of gratitude working in my life:

I hate Father’s Day. (I also hate Mother’s Day, but for different reasons, but that’s a discussion for a different time.) I mostly hate it because my (step)dad and I did not have the best relationship while I was growing up, and my biological father is an absentee deadbeat. There are other reasons for my dislike of it, but you get the gist.

One particular Father’s Day, I was feeling especially resentful and angry that the day existed. But I had learned to try gratitude as a countermeasure for those feelings. So rather than revel in my rightness at how I was done so wrong by these men, I got out pen and paper and started writing a list of all of the good things my (step)dad had done for me.

After I wrote the list, I felt so much better and I was so much less angry. In fact, I appreciated my dad and all that he had done for me. I acknowledged that he wasn’t perfect, but he also wasn’t all terrible either.

In less than thirty minutes, my whole attitude had changed–and all because I practiced gratitude.

I wasn’t planning to do the A to Z Challenge this year. But ever since the election, things have been rough. The news has been terrible. It feels like the world is falling apart. Or at least that’s how it feels when I watch the news or I’m on Twitter. And that may be so. However, every day, all around me, small miracles are happening if I pay attention to them. And that’s why I chose gratitude as my theme for the challenge. Because I wanted to spend the month of April focusing on all that is good around me to counteract the large scale attention that all that is bad attracts.

Blogging from A to Z is a challenge that runs through the month of April.

For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in Monday to see what I pick for H.

F is for Follow-Through

Last summer, I applied to be an AP reader with ETS. While there is a main application, there are also follow-up bits and bobbles they occasionally ask you for. I found some of it tedious, and it felt like it was all for naught. But today I was invited to be an AP reader for English, and I am thrilled.

Even if I hadn’t gotten the job, I would have been glad I completed the process. Otherwise, I would have been constantly second-guessing whether I should have done it or not. And I would (and do) know what to expect for next time.

I also watched my friend defend her thesis today. Nothing says follow-through like completing the defense process. I’m so proud of her and so glad she invited me to be a part of her day.

Blogging from A to Z is a challenge that runs through the month of April.

For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for G.

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#MustReadin2017 Spring Check-in

E is for Electronic Bill Pay

Today, I got a notice from my utility company saying that my payment hadn’t been received. I was very confused because I am pretty on top of paying my bills. I double checked my checkbook (more of a check notebook, actually) and saw that I had marked both payments for the month. Then, I decided to check my bank’s bill pay.

Sure enough, I had not sent in my payment on March 15.

Since the payment was already accounted for in my check ledger, I just clicked the button, entered the amount of the payment and hit send. And the utility company will have my payment tomorrow without me having to make a single phone call or leave my house.

I am grateful for electronic bill pay.

Blogging from A to Z is a challenge that runs through the month of April.

For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for F.

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D is for Doctors #AtoZChallenge

I love my primary care physician, my dentist, and my daughter’s pediatrician. I also loved my previous doctor who LEFT ME (no, I’m not still bitter. Ahem).

The point is medical professionals who are awesome are great, and I know everyone doesn’t have that experience. In fact, I didn’t always have that experience. My daughter’s first pediatrician was awful, for example.

But now! It is the opposite! Why, just the other day, we asked my daughter’s current amazing pediatrician how much longer my daughter could be seen in the office since she’s 18. And she can be seen there until she’s 21!

But I would have been okay if the cutoff were earlier because then my daughter could switch to MY doctor who is equally fantastic.

See, my doctor came highly recommended to me by a friend, and I then in turn recommended her to my mom. In fact, I would tell anybody in town to go see my doctor because she is awesome.

What my doctor and my daughter’s doctor have in common is that they both LISTEN and PAY ATTENTION. They are also really nice, and I have never once felt rushed by either of them. I feel completely at ease with both of them. And, as noted above, my daughter feels the same way about her pediatrician as I do.

My dentist is super chill and her office is swanky and the cleaning chairs are actually MASSAGE CHAIRS. It is amazing. She is amazing.

Yay for awesome doctors.

Blogging from A to Z is a challenge that runs through the month of April.

For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for E.

C is for Co-Workers

The people I work with are aces, especially the ones who work in my unit.

Just today, I had conversations that ranged from what classes to take at the local gym to frustrations with students. I also got to talk to a history professor who wants to use banned books in her class (to which I did a happy dance and emphatically encouraged).  I had to borrow one co-worker’s key to get into the lab, and I called another in a panic (who doesn’t work in my unit!) because I couldn’t find information about a meeting that started in less than ten minutes.

I would almost never make a decision about textbooks or assignments if I didn’t have these wonderful people to bounce ideas off or steal ideas from.

And I would get all of my work done on time and be a boring and lonely person.

I am grateful for my co-workers.

Blogging from A to Z is a challenge that runs through the month of April.

For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for D.