Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello '11. And then 12.

I've always had this thing with the number 11. At 11:11 I touch the digital clock and make a wish. Eleven is a good number. Ten, meh. 2010 was a hard one for me, I won't pretend otherwise. It started quite terribly. In a funk. It took months to dig myself out of it. I spent the first half of it fearful of turning 30. Much of the year felt like I was slogging through. Surviving. I had some rough classes, some irrational personal fears and worries, I had a bad attitude. It wasn't until summer that I started to perk up a bit. But maybe it was just seasonal affective disorder.

But 2011? Eleven has to be good, right? I feel hopeful about the new year. Alice, the best roommate-friend known to mankind, has been reading this book all about a woman's journey toward greater happiness. Alice loves books like these. From what she's told me, each month of the year this woman set a goal, small and slight, and then proceeded with it for the entire month, and into the next month and the next goal. Each slight improvement became habit. Each made her life feel more pleasant. And I think it is a good idea.

So here you have my 12 goals for the year:

1. January:
Go to bed earlier. Sleep is our friend. This is also my scariest goal.

2. February:
Read your scriptures and write a (minimum of) one sentence statement describing the personal significance of what you read. Every. Single. Day.

3. March:
You're turning 30. Spend each day of this month finding something to celebrate about yourself, your life, your body, your career, your relationships. Sing the song of yourself all month long. Write it down each day.

4. April:
Eat 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies every single day this month.

5. May:
Clean or organize something (a closet or cupboard, a load of laundry, anything) for 10 minutes every day.

6. June:
Move your body (at the gym, dancing in the living room, taking the stairs, hiking, doing some PM yoga) every day this month.

7. July:
Make your bed every day this month.

8. August:
Take a single picture that captures each day of the month.

9. September:
Read something you want to (not for school but for YOU) for a minimum of 10 minutes each day this month.

10. October:
Limit your computer time at home. 30 minutes per day tops. That's it. The exception: if you write a blog post.

11. November:
This is a month of gratitude. Make a statement of something you are grateful for each day of the month, on your blog, on facebook, to the students in your classes, your family, your friends. Appreciate life.

12. December:
This is a month of giving and sacrifice. Find a way each day to sacrifice and serve someone every day this month. It can be as simple as holding the elevator or letting a car merge in. It can be as grand as a service project. Spend each day this month intentionally, mindfully giving of yourself.

So what are your plans for the new year? I'm turning 30 and teaching and going to Cancun. That's all I know for sure. And isn't that the best part of a new year: the potential, the mystery, the hope of something splendid?

Happy 2011, friends!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Light and Dark

I don't share what I believe, what I know to be true, often enough. But I must share this fact: I know that my savior, Jesus Christ, lives. I know He loves me unconditionally. I feel nothing but warmth and encouragement, support and strength from Him. He is, simply put, love in its greatest, most selfless form.

I am imperfect. We are each so imperfect. Yet He is perfect. He came to this world for each of us, to cover for our imperfections. His only motivation: love for us, a love so deep that He only wishes for us to reach our greatest potential. During this season of presents and things and family and friends and light, I must take a moment to acknowledge the greatest light in my life: my knowledge of who I am and what my purpose is in this life. I am here to get better at being me. And this me is an eternal being created by a loving Father and Mother. And the individual who makes it possible for me to improve, to dust off my knees after each stupid mistake is my brother, my savior, Jesus Christ. During this season, I celebrate Him. For where would I be without Him? In this world so often choking with darkness, He is my light.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

In lieu of blogging, I've been up to some of the following (and please forgive the limitations of my point and shoot--yep, blaming the camera, not the photographer):

I made a gingerbread house. My first ever. From scratch. It was fun and frustrating and messy and the roof may contain a multi-grain club cracker. You'll never know. OK, the roof does have a club cracker--but the solution worked!
Next year, I'm going with the kit...or graham crackers.

I went to these kiddos' Christmas performance.
It was fabulous because THEY are fabulous!

He is kind of a rock star.

She was skipping along with the animated snowman at our favorite little (tacky) pizza place in the hometown.

And then there is this...
We went and saw the lights at Temple Square with the ward.
(Blurry, I know. But lovely nonetheless.)

I love the lights at Temple Square. But they have certainly toned it down in recent years. I remember it being a wonderland of billions of lights when I was a little girl. Every single tree was aglow. Not quite the same, anymore--but still,
one of my favorite holiday traditions.

Our new bishop was recently released as a Conference Center usher. He got us up on the Conference Center roof with his hook ups (OK, he still had his magnetized tag that worked on the elevator).
It was the best possible view. I love this photo! Thanks, Bish!

I'd like to call this one "I WAS ROBBED!"
Because I was. We had a door decorating contest at school with cash prizes and everything. The theme: Winter decor that matches your content area. What could be better than some Robert Frost action
for the English teacher's door?
Store bought decorations do not trump creativity.
That's all I'm saying.

My little 9th graders worked like gangbusters and had to deal with my neurotic, controlling self. My favorite conversation of the great door decorating day (upon discovering a clueless 9th grade boy taping masking tape in giant strips on TOP of the paper--not the little double-sided circle strips BEHIND the decor):

Me: Chayse, WHY are you taping it like that?!?
Chayse: Ummmm...
Me: You need to re-do that. It looks terrible, you can't have the tape showing! Do it like this.
(I demonstrate appropriate taping strategy.)
Chayse: Oh, huh. That makes sense. Oops!
Me: Sheesh! Who raised you?
Chayse: My dad.
Me: It shows! No sense of the aesthetic, whatsoever!

HA! Poor things! Yes, I am a control freak.

Finally, on Thursday we headed back to Temple Square. My dear Momsy scored tickets to the MoTab Christmas concert. David Archuleta was adorable as their guest. Perfect for the holidays!
I kind of love this woman!
Can't tell we're related at all, can you?
Waiting for the show to start.
(My favorite part of this photo: Allyson holding both of our Kindles--our waiting entertainment.)
The traditional "Besties" shot.
Thanks for taking our picture, usher-man.
The set was sweet!

It has been a busy few weeks. But I'm off school for two weeks,
Christmas is coming, snow is flying and I don't have to commute in it at an inhumane hour.
I LOVE this time of year!