Tuesday, April 03, 2018

March Goal Review and April Goals

March was an awesome month for reading and schoolish stuff, but not much on other fronts.  I'm still happy with how goal setting is working in 2018.

My March goals were:
 1. Read 4 books that are not school related, set in at least three countries that are not UK or US, and that meet at least 3 prompts on my reading challenge.--20 books read! 5 school related, 15 just for me, set in 7 countries not US/Canada/UK and met 6 prompts for the reading challenge.
2. Post on social media 5 times--yes, mostly Instagram, but I'm writing so more to come here in the future
3. Finish block 4 on Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow--no
4. Pack up my Neighbourhood Round Robin and send to stitchers who have volunteered to help me finish it!--no, must get this accomplished
5. Scan Flower's school workbooks (1/2 box in attic)--I thought the box was Flower's, but it was mostly Jewel's.  But I did scan them!
6. No chips for snacks--replace with carrot and cucumber sticks--LOL
7. Draw up a rough planning sheet to plan for next year school (starting early since I will have 2 in High School!)--yes

8. Participate in new Bible Study at church. Yes, even managed to land myself a job facilitating part of it.

My goals for April will be:
 1. Read 4 books that are not school related, set in at least three countries that are not UK or US, and that meet at least 3 prompts on my reading challenge.
2. Post on social media 5 times
3. Finish block 4 on Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow
4. Pack up my Neighbourhood Round Robin and send to stitchers who have volunteered to help me finish it!
5. Find and scan Flower's school workbooks (1/2 box in attic)
6. Sit down with girls and go over planning sheet to plan for next year school (do this after meeting with the local Coop to see if it is a match for us)

7. Celebrate with family at my cousin's wedding!
8. Meet with local A21 group regarding volunteer opportunities this year (their kick-off for year's activities is this month). 

Friday, March 09, 2018

ReEntry drama and humor post 4

I will never forget my first Sunday in England.  German had been there for a month before me, and had already begun to make connections at the little church that would be our home for the next several years. I was a little overwhelmed already, and now I was meeting these new friends for the first time.  The pastor came up to say hello, we were introduced and he promptly hugged and kissed me on both cheeks. I.was.not.prepared.for.that. And my introverted self said, "I will never get use to this."

For the first several weeks, there was this awkward dance when meeting someone. Is there a kiss, is there not a kiss? One cheek or both? It was a dance I thought I would never learn. But then, I learned it. And it became second nature.

And, now?  We are back in the States.  And I'm meeting loads of new people. There is this mantra that resounds in my ear as we meet people or greet people during that lovely time at church when they say, "Now turn to your neighbor..."  That mantra is, "Don't kiss, don't kiss, don't kiss." That ting that I was sure I would never get used to, now I miss desperately.


Friday, March 02, 2018

March Goal setting and February review





In February, my goals were:

1. Read 4 books that are not school related, set in at least one country that is not UK or US, and that meets at least 3 prompts on my reading challenge. I read 13 books (7 for school, 6 for me) set in 8 countries plus the US which met 3 reading challenge prompts!
2. Post on social media 5 times I posted 4 times on the blog, but I admit it, Instagram is my go-to for quick posts.  Still writing blog posts, but need to publish more.
3. Finish block 4 on Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow nope
4. Finish Romania block for Neighbourhood Round Robin  all but the flag
5. Scan Jewel's school workbooks (1/2 box in attic) yes
6. No chips for snacks--replace with carrot and cucumber sticks no
7. Talk to K & B about volunteer opportunities through church. Be intentional! I've met with K and then a more in depth meeting, and will look to do come on board A21 as they set up the plans for the new year. I've met with B and had planned to already be doing some work with international students but car trouble has prevented me.  Will start soon.

So, my March goals will be:
 1. Read 4 books that are not school related, set in at least three countries that are not UK or US, and that meet at least 3 prompts on my reading challenge.
2. Post on social media 5 times
3. Finish block 4 on Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow
4. Pack up my Neighbourhood Round Robin and send to stitchers who have volunteered to help me finish it!
5. Scan Flower's school workbooks (1/2 box in attic)
6. No chips for snacks--replace with carrot and cucumber sticks
7. Draw up a rough planning sheet to plan for next year school (starting early since I will have 2 in High School!)

8. Participate in new Bible Study at church. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Re-entry Drama and Humor--Post 3

When I was in High School, Christmas day fell on a Sunday.  I was quite indignant that my little Baptist Church was not having services, because it was Christmas.  The pastor's argument that church staff (that was him) didn't want to work on Christmas day any more than anyone else just didn't make sense.  Umm...your job is to promote...Christmas... and everything it represents. But, alas, there were to be no services.  I became even more indignant when I discovered that none of the local Baptist Churches, Church of Christ churches or Catholic churches were having services either.  But my teen angst was eased when the Methodist church announced that it would, indeed, have services.  My mother, reluctantly, agreed to take her huffy teen to the service. It was one of those most special church moments for me, since local people from all the denominations were there to celebrate the birth of OUR savior.  It made sense. It was good.  It was joy-filled. And I walked away from that moment thinking that if there was ever a day for the church to be open it was Christmas.  Yet it was the only Christmas morning in my growing up years that I ever celebrated AT church.

Our first Christmas in England, Christmas day was on a Tuesday.  Imagine my surprise to learn that my Baptist church in England was having Christmas morning services.  On a Tuesday! My cynical self expected there to be a handful of people. Instead, the church was crowded.  We happily sang, "Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning," which is the third verse of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." In this church, the third verse is only sung on Christmas morning.  It was a great tradition. All the kids brought toys they had received that morning and the pastor demonstrated how they worked, complete with riding a unicycle down the aisle. It was a happy, joyous occassion. We wished our church family 'Happy Christmas' and then families returned to their homes to continue their individual traditions.

After that, when folks would ask us if we were 'going home' [i.e. to the States] for Christmas, we would answer that we could not imagine not being with our church family at Christmas, so no we would not be traveling. Christmas morning at church was a part of our tradition in each of the four churches we were in while in Europe. It was a given. We would be there for Christmas.  We would sing our joy of Christmas' arrival, we would hug our friends and then we would have our family traditions for the rest of the day. Sixteen Christmas mornings at church.

Then we returned to the United States in September, so we were in the States for Christmas.  And there was so much I loved about Christmas.  It was the first Christmas in our marriage that we were 'home' for Christmas. We loved watching the niece and nephew open gifts. We reveled in the laughter and the food and the traditions. We, as an extended family, went to Christmas Eve candlelight services, and they were beautiful. But Christmas morning, something was missing. I was sad that I did not have a church service to go and sing with fellow believers to welcome the Christ child. NONE of the evangelical or mainline churches in our city had advertised services. Many had Christmas Eve services, but none Christmas morning.  There was one Catholic church down the road from us that held an early mass.  That was all. And it made me sad. And it made me miss my European brothers and sisters who seem to remember the reason for Christmas is more than commercialism and a day off. 

And I'm recording this because I don't want to forget how amazing worship on Christmas morning can be.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Re-entry drama and humor, post 2

Why on earth do we not include sales tax in the price that is posted???


I totally get that sales tax is used in many States.  We had value added tax on almost everything we bought in England.  We paid an extra 17.5% tax on everything!  BUT, the price that was on the tag already had the VAT added in.  So, I could look at the tag and know how much cash I needed in hand as I approached the register.


Here I am constantly getting to the register, planning to pay with cash, and then looking at the salesperson like they have three heads because the total they give me is not the total I'm prepared to pay.


It makes me crazy.

But, I'm not alone--because my girls are always saying the same thing.

So, if you work in retail and you happen to have someone like me staring blankly at you when you give the total, please be patient.  Maybe they are adjusting to separate sales tax from price. *sigh*



Warning that the next post in this series is a little more serious or bittersweet.

*sheep picture from www.morguefile.com (svklimkin)
 **The original intro to this series: Coming back to the US after so much time away has led to its own set of drama, and often humorous situations.  A couple of times a month I hope to record some of those times.  Mostly this is for our own sense of remembering later, but it also might help someone else who is encountering a "new-old" situation.

Friday, February 02, 2018

What's Saving Your Life--2018 edition


For the past few years over at The Modern Mrs. Darcy on February 2, which happens to be mid-way through winter, she has hosted a round -up of "What's Saving Your Life" posts.  The title may sound dramatic, but she explains (in lasts year's post):
"The idea comes from Barbara Brown Taylor’s wonderful memoir Leaving Church. Even though most of us can easily articulate what’s killing us, few of us pay attention to what’s giving us life.
Once when Taylor was invited to speak at a gathering, her host told her simply, “Tell us what is saving your life right now.” She says it’s too good a question not to revisit from time to time."
This year, with an international move last September and re-acclimating, and a new church and trying to find new friends and homeschooling a Kindergartner, an eighth grader and a Sophomore, and...well, suffice it to say I need to focus on some things that are saving me, not killing me.  So here are a few of my thoughts!

1. My crockpot
And by my crock pot, I mean this beauty that gets a workout 2-3 times a week so that I don't come up to meal time with the "what are we going to eat before we have to get (insert child's name) to (insert activity)" panic.


And I do not mean, this 'beauty,' that I have loved and carried with me (in an unpacked box because it wouldn't work there) for 5 international moves and finally unpacked because it will work here.  Except, it has lost its lid somewhere along the way. And, my family of tv lovers say I cannot, under any circumstances, plug it in. So, now I need to find another small crock pot, preferably before the SuperBowl on Sunday.

2. Having grandparents nearby. Seriously, we have never had the luxury of grandparent baby sitters. Last weekend when we needed to be able to focus on teens for the weekend, the grandparents took the youngest for two nights. It took so much pressure off, he had a great time and they had a great time (but were glad to sleep after he came home!)

3. Bean and Rice Tuesday
I got this idea from Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World as a way to remind our kids how blessed we are in choice compared to the rest of the world. It is great for me this year because it is a little means of identifying with those on the outskirts my life. It is fun to watch my kids relate to things they see in news or documentaries that affirm how blessed we are. And, it is one day a week I just know what we are having for dinner.

4. Bible Study at my new church
It is giving me a chance to get to know a few other ladies, who I probably would not have met otherwise, and to refresh my spirit.

5. Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate with marshmallows in my favourite Polish Pottery mug.
Yes it is selfish and a little indulgent, but it picks me up in the afternoons and warms me up on these cold days.


So, what's saving your life right now?

Thursday, February 01, 2018

February Goals and January Revisited



In January I set these goals:

1. Read 4 books that are not school related, set in at least one country that is not UK or US, and that meets at least 3 prompts on my reading challenge.
     I read 13(!) books in January, 8 were related to school so 5 were for me! They were set in Kenya, UK (4), US (2), France and 5 unspecified or referency. I've fulfilled 3 PopSugar prompts.
2. Post on social media 5 times
    I posted 3 blog posts in January and several Instagram posts as I am learning how to do that!  I've written 3 more posts, so they will be seen soon.
3. Finish block 4 on Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow--50%
4. Finish Romania block for Neighbourhood Round Robin--75%
5. Scan Jewel's school workbooks (1/2 box in attic)--did not even take them out of attic
6. No chips for snacks--replace with carrot and cucumber sticks--did great 1st half of month, only missed this a couple of time 2nd half of month
7. Research volunteer opportunities through church or local outreach center--have done some research, and now have a couple of people to follow up with and get their thoughts on 1-2 ministries through which our church works 

So, overall, it was a good month.

February goals (look a lot like January):
1. Read 4 books that are not school related, set in at least one country that is not UK or US, and that meets at least 3 prompts on my reading challenge.
2. Post on social media 5 times
3. Finish block 4 on Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow
4. Finish Romania block for Neighbourhood Round Robin
5. Scan Jewel's school workbooks (1/2 box in attic)
6. No chips for snacks--replace with carrot and cucumber sticks
7. Talk to K & B about volunteer opportunities through church. Be intentional!