Friday, August 23, 2013
A Hundred Affections has moved! Sorry, Blogger! Wordpress just fit my needs a little better!
Still the same blog, just has a new home. There are a lot more posts over there that I never duplicated over here.
If you'd like to come by, my new address is ahundredaffections.wordpress.com
I hope you will!
Sunday, July 28, 2013
(Spoiler Alert: I was somewhat devastated to find out that the movie was filmed in Toronto; the cast never stepped foot onto PEI, although some scene shots were filmed on PEI. I was crushed to know that I was not walking the same hallowed steps of Anne, Gilbert and Diana.)
It’s a crazy and silly obsession from the outside, but for those who were sucked in, you know exactly what I mean. You and I are kindred spirits who just haven’t met, because our common bond with Anne. Outsiders don’t get that.
Friday, July 26, 2013
I always feels a little melancholy after we say goodbye, because on some level, I know there will never be another occasion where we will be thrown together like that. So, essentially, it’s “Goodbye, thank you. I had a genuinely nice evening in your company, but I will probably never see you again. Enjoy your life!”
And for some reason, that makes me sorta sad. There was something so human and connective about the whole interaction, but it was so isolated. Even if it ends up with, ‘That was great. We should try to get together sometime’ – you know it will never happen.
So what sparked this somber train of thought? A party I was at Saturday night with my husband. His friend Danny was turning 50, and Danny’s 21-year-old daughter Danielle threw him a surprise 50th at her mom’s (his ex-wife’s) house. I didn’t know anyone but Danny, and James (my husband) knew only a few of Danny’s family members and friends. So we sat at a table with another couple, John (Danny’s ex-wife’s husband) and Danielle.
This couple was about 15 years old than we are, but we genuinely had a really nice conversation. James and Marty talked sports, Roseanne and I talked about our yards and how much we hated yardwork; Marty and Roseanne were going to Blake Shelton concert Sunday night, so we talked about our mutual like (I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘love’) of country music. Sincerely, it was a really enjoyable evening. But in any other universe, I don’t think anything would have drawn us to even speak, let alone ever be friends.
It was the same with John. He told us all about his methods of replanting his hostas and trying to plant hibiscus this year, about the party Danielle had thrown the night before, about the story behind their house as they had it built. It was the same with Danielle – telling us about her internship doing research on hamsters’ brains (Whaaattt?!? She’s really smart), about her upcoming trip to St. Maarten, about her cheerleading experience when Lehigh made it the NCAA Final 64.
All of these random groups of people you sincerely enjoyed conversing with, but will never see again.
It’s a weird, surreal phenomenon to me. It feels like there should be something more after that, some kind of follow up: How was the concert? How did your hibiscus hold up over the winter this year? What happened to the hamsters???
But those questions will never get answered – or even asked – because I will never see them gain.
And this happens all the time: with the lady at the yard sale, with the people you are tailgating next to before the game starts, with the people you wait in line with for an hour at the amusement park…these random chance encounters that are enjoyable for the moment but will never go beyond it. And you feel just a smidge disappointed and maybe even a little sad that they won’t – even though this is totally normal, happens all the time, and is an unavoidable fact of life.
So, if those encounters only ever amount to just those isolated moments, did they matter? Were those minutes wasted if they never translate to anything more significant, lasting or meaningful?
To that, I have to say yes. Because if I say no, then what is the sum total of these “wasted” minutes in our lives, all of these experiences with random people that never go anywhere beyond the moment? They add up to nothing? Do you know how many wasted minutes we would have in our lives, then? Ugh. I just can’t stomach that.
So yes, I have to say they matter because the alternative is too nauseating. But, deep down, I do believe they matter. But why? Why do they matter?
The answer to that didn’t jump right out at me, but here’s what I came up with:
Because if they didn’t, then most of our life doesn’t mean much. We have lots of these random encounters. Our lives really are just strings of these small events connected together. I just can’t believe that they (and by extension, our lives) don’t matter.
Because you never know when a conversation can change someone’s life. Or yours. And even if it doesn’t change that person’s life, you certainly can add enjoyment, entertainment, or encouragement – and probably get it in return.
Because every person is important. Every person deserves to be valued and listened to, even if the topic is not necessarily relevant or meaningful to you. Everyone deserves to be respected, and it is good for our character to do this.
Because you really can learn something from everyone, some little nugget of truth or wisdom that you can assimilate into your own life.
Because I believe God is in control, even of those chance encounters. Everything said and done can potentially have a ripple effect in eternity. And we should treat every encounter that way.
Because, in the grand scheme of things, maybe these random moments with these random people aren’t – or at least don’t have to be – random after all.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Today is Opposite Day over at The Daily Post, so today I'm trying something different on my blog. Instead of my normal writing, today I am posting a poem, in the form of a picture.
I'm not a poetry writer, but I can appreciate a great poem when I see it.
Here's one of my favorites:
I'm not a poetry writer, but I can appreciate a great poem when I see it.
Here's one of my favorites:
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Since I've had a real summer, that is. Everyone thinks that teachers are so lucky because we get the summers off. While that is true, that hasn't been true for me. I've been teaching for 12 years, and I've worked for 11 summers. I realized pretty fast that I couldn't afford to not work a summer. Unlike our other LI teacher counterparts, we do not receive a bulk paycheck at the end of the school year - or any paycheck at all over the summer.
Well, in the fall, I decided to save my pennies and put aside a little stash so I wouldn't have to work this summer - or at least, not work as hard. While it was tight throughout the school year, it paid off (no pun intended). So, this summer, I'm doing a little Bible curriculum writing, which will generate some cash, but it's not the same as having a get-up-get-ready-put-in-a-day-at-the-office kind of job (the doctor's office, that is - which had been my part-time second job for about 9 years).
So. It's summer. While I dream of the day when I can have a leisurely vacation and just wake up when I want, stroll to the beach, shop to my heart's content...umm, that will not be this summer. And let's be real...who actually does that? (Beside the L.I. Princesses?) Already, I have a feeling that my summer agenda might be a little ambitious. I know I'm lucky compared to most people who just have a 2 or 3 weeks of vacation a year, but when I look at my Summer Project list, it feels like summer is too short. However, I do have a few goals and things to accomplish, and I am beyond excited to get going on it. True, it's only July 3, but I know how fast the time goes. Chop, chop - not a day to be wasted!
Here are my goals:
Project #1: House Clean Up: We have been in our house for three-and-a-half years, so we haven't had too much time to accumulate junk, but we have our fair share. So, cleaning out the office (i.e. the-room-for-things-with-no-home room) and the basement are on the list. We have a shed that is yet to be put together, covered with tarp, sitting in our yard; once that is assembled, lots of the stuff in the basement will be moved there. I would love it if I could transform the basement into some kind of usable, livable space by the end of the summer.
Project #2: Minor Re-models: Our bedroom needs to be painted and decorated. I haven't done too much with the bedroom besides paint, hang curtains and put up our wedding picture. But the room is small and doesn't have a lot of light. The current colors and decor are a little too claustrophobic for that space. I also want to paint the kitchen and see how I can spruce it up. Those 80's formica cabinets are tying me down a bit, but I'm exploring how I can work around it.
Project #3: Yard Sale-ing: Already started this one with some friends, and I've gotten the bug. Because of the Project #2, this is a valid use of my time (she said, as she tries to convince herself). However, if I'm not careful, it actually could nullify Project #1. But I'm optimistic. There are a few pieces I am looking for, so if I can discipline myself to just focus on what I need, I think it will be time and money well spent.
Project #4: Menu Planning and Cooking: I'm a terrible cook, hand's down. I try, but if a recipe can be messed up, I'll be sure to find the way. Regardless, I'm determined to give it a college try. I've already made a few desserts from Pinterest. I know, not 'real' food - but the ball is rolling, and I feel less guilty about the time I waste on Pinterest if at least a dessert can come out of it. I've got a few good apps to help me organize my recipes and form a menu (Pepperplate is one of my favorites right now for gathering recipes and making a menu. Ziplist is another great one to gather recipes as is Pinterest). The school year is too crazy to spend energy learning all this, so if I am going to get a handle on this, it's gotta happen this summer.
Project #5: Landscaping: My green thumb is about as good as my cooking thumb. My friend Karen LOVES gardening and landscaping and planting flowers. Me? Not so much. I don't enjoy it, and I'm not good at it. I am all about the perennials. Our front yard is pretty shady, so I've had some trouble trying to find flowers that are shade-friendly. Again, my goal is to get them planted this summer so next summer, they will take care of themselves.
Project #6: Blogging: Again, I've tried this so many times that it is embarrassing. But today is proof that I'm not giving up. I'm going to keep writing on this blog, although my master-blogger sister has been helping me come up with ways to really nail this down. I'm back and forth between a few names, ideas, etc.,but I don't want to wait until it is solidified. I am going to write anyway and deal with the secondary stuff...secondarily.
Those are my big projects - too ambitious??? Probably, but go hard or go home, right? I have a few other smaller items on my to-do list...hanging out my nieces, working on some school projects, getting in a good work-out schedule, getting a handle on clean-eating, catching up with some friends, exploring some cool features of L.I. that I pretty much ignore through the year. How am I going to get all this done, you ask? I'm not sure. I know that being organized and planning have to come into play, but who want to plan out their whole summer? Well...me.
So, we'll see how it goes. But at least for today - Project # 6: check.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
According to Macy's (and we all know they are the authority on all this), Santa's arrival at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off the Christmas season. I don't know if they officially declare it the end of the season on New Year's Day, but that how I see it: the holidays are officially over on New Year's Day. (And please - they have to be; I cannot keep eating like this one.more.day. It literally feels like 40 Days of Gluttony. In every way.)
Obviously, we all know that NYD isn't just the end of the season; we all know it represents the start of a whole new something else (even though the only difference between one year to the next is just a span of few seconds).
For me, I do like to look back a little, before I look ahead. And it is actually kind of convenient for me: my birthday is December 31, so on New Year's Eve, I not only get to finish off the calendar year, but chalk off another birth year, too.
So I was doing a little thinking about 2012 as we were approaching the end of this year...trying to reflect on the good and the bad. There were definitely good things about 2012, but as I looked back, I definitely felt like this was one of the harder years. Not awful...just tougher. Not to be depressing, but from my perspective, the first word I thought of was LOSS. Very good friends lost their mom this year. An old youth group friend lost his wife. I lost my unborn baby. Hurricane Sandy. Newtown, Connecticut. To name only a a few.
That's not to say that there weren't some bright spots and many ways I saw God's faithfulness. They definitely were there. But the past year would definitely fall in the more 'challenging' category. If I'm honest, I am not sad to see 2012 go.
So, looking ahead to 2013...
James and I talked about the new year a little over dinner last night. [And I even got him pause the Bowl Games today to look at the budget I came up.] But I am actually one of those people who likes to resolutions. I made some last year, and while not perfect completion, I did make progress. So being motivated by results...we started talking about...well, not maybe not resolutions, but some hopes and anticipations -and yes, probably some resolutions mixed in there - for the new year. And here are a few I came up with:
*Church Involvement: About this time last year,we prayed and made a choice to seek a church closer to our home; it just got too hard to be involved with our church being 40 minutes away with the nightmare-ish 347 in our way, thwarting our every attempt. We actually were very blessed to find a church fairly quickly...one that is literally 3 minutes away, right in our neighborhood, actually. We spent the year getting to know this small, simple, sweet body of believers - and we think it's time to get involved. And I'm excited about that.
*Health: Well, it's not a new resolution, just a continuation of last year's resolution. I made progress last year to get back to the gym, zumba, eating better...and I love how I feel when I'm taking care of myself. I managed to get off 75% of the weight I gained after being married, so I'm hoping to cross that one off the list, stat.
*Spiritual: I was telling James that I felt like I've spiritually plateaued a bit. And I can say for sure, that in the past few months, Jesus has definitely been stirring my heart and drawing me close to Him again. I had an amazing growth spurt in my relationship with Him some years ago - probably between 2005-2007. But it's been a while since I've experienced Him like that. I know I can't re-create that, but I can create opportunities and space in my life to spend quality time with Him. And I love how I feel when I do that.
*Personal: I don't know how to put this one into words, but I'll try. I want to be braver. Take more chances. I know that sounds cliche, but I don't mean 'do more adventurous things.'
If this makes sense, I want to be less afraid to be myself. To be courageous enough to obey God in the moment and not stall. To step out and talk to someone...about God, about anything. To be more willing to offer myself to others. To not shy away from opportunities to get involved or be uncomfortable or put myself out there or feel awkward. To be less self-conscious and more conscious of others. To be bolder. To be less afraid of the future. To worry less. To be at peace and trust God more. To be OK with not having to (well, not being able to) control every detail of my universe.
When I think of the person I want to be, I think of someone who is calm, serene, takes the challenges of life in stride with grace and courage and peace. Someone who is willing and available to give of herself to others, without always measuring and calculating and controlling. I want to be more of that person this year.
Sure, there are more things I'd like to accomplish - financial clean-up, organizing my house, projects I've procrastinated on, being better professionally, investing in sharpening some rusty skills - but those are things would like to do. I think I would like most of my energy to go toward letting God renovate the person I'm supposed to be.