Monday, January 21, 2019

Smooth Sailing

Good Monday morning.

Last week we marked the fifth anniversary of Reagan's diabetes diagnosis. I shared some thoughts about that; you can read those by clicking here if you haven't yet done so & would like to rectify that. 

Over the years of blogging I've realized people have varied interests. What a revelation, right? I've had people give me both positive &, yes, negative feedback about blog content. I appreciate all feedback; I honestly mean that. The negative feedback is usually not specific in nature, but it is rather a general comment about topic preferences. I don't always read when you talk about a book, or something along those lines. That is fine. It's unlikely I'll cease reading & discussing books, but you are free to not read, & you can even walk huffily away from the computer & mutter something about my unhealthy obsession with a handful of books I may've mentioned a few thousand times over the years.

A few of you text or message me when you see grammatical &/or spelling errors, & you guys are the real MVPs. Please, if you see an error, tell me. I WANT TO KNOW, otherwise it just sits there forever & ever, & the thought of that is the stuff of my nightmares.

I've also realized people want closure regarding things I share here. To that end I will tell you that, yes, I still very much want to sell our home & buy another one closer to the children's school. Trey is opposed to this idea, & so for now that is, sadly, where that story ends. For now. I remind you of the words of Lady Thatcher . . .

I will tell you that I a large, growing part of me wants another dog. I've discovered a rescue in Benton, Louisiana that rescues small dogs from shelters where often small dogs simply do not do well. I kind of stalk their Facebook page now. As with the new house situation, Trey is proving to be an obstacle. Stay tuned. 

I say all that to say this: Today's thoughts will be a mash-up of what's floating my boat this morning. Sometimes I write filled with a rush of emotion; that was the case last week. Sometimes I write with sparks flying because I am angry. Sometimes I write with a huge, goofy smile on my face because I've read a book that, in that moment, I believe is the best book ever. This morning finds me, for a variety of reasons, well-rested, happy, & flitting about my home on a pretty even keel.

As I typed on an even keel, my teacher-brain kicked in, & so if you're curious the origins of that phrase have a nautical meaning. Apparently a keel is some important part of a ship that serves to keep the ship righted. I say (or think) even keel often, & truly since Reagan's diagnosis there is ever before my mind the image a smooth, flat line (a line I can now actually see on her pump display) indicating steady sugar numbers. That's the diabetes game we play constantly. Too high: you lose. Too low: you lose. Balance is the key, & one of these days I am likely to write a post in which I explain why diabetes is a metaphor for life. That day is not today, but I don't want any of us to remain in the dark about the origins of on an even keel. Here are a couple of nice visuals:

Language is a bit fascinating to me, & so thank you for indulging my interest in the origins of this common phrase. I feel led to tell you I am on an even keel this morning because it seems most everyone has a gripe today. There are a great many people who've allowed a football game to ruin their mood. I of course cannot in any way relate to this.

I watched a little bit of the Saints game. I didn't see the terrible no-call live, but I have seen video of it approximately five hundred times because it is the most popular video on Facebook & Twitter at present. It was a missed call, obviously. It was terrible officiating, no doubt. I had some LSU/Texas A&M emotional flashbacks. I am not emotionally invested in the NFL. I think the organization as a whole is a total mess, & so I am watching all this unfold as an outsider with no vested interest. I find myself in the odd position of being seemingly the calmest person in my social media feeds. 

I have decided to use the few minutes I'll spend writing on this fine Monday morning to tell you about a handful of things that are making me smile today. There is a lot of righteous indignation flowing online today, the topics ranging from NFL issues to the continued government shutdown to dreary winter weather to the sad state of our national media (who continue to beclown themselves time after time in their rush to frame & propagate a narrative).

My mood is certainly somewhat influenced by the lazy day we're having here at the house due to the MLK holiday. Here's what's going swimmingly for me at present (besides the joy I find in using the nautical metaphors I'm weaving throughout this post):

---> I do not hate this weather. I know some of you do. I've lived in Louisiana my entire life, & it is unfathomable to me how anyone who's spent much time in this state could wish cold weather away. You know it'll go soon. Ladies, you know soon enough you'll return from running simple errands & look & feel as if you've run a marathon, forced to change the formerly clean & fresh shirt & bra you put on just a few hours prior. Enjoy the cold. Wear your turtlenecks & scarves & corduroy. Soak it up. It will be be gone soon, & it will be one hundred degrees outside, & the humidity will choke you.

---> I am participating in a read-along via a Facebook group. It's been one of my most pleasant Facebook group experiences to date. Usually I am added to Facebook groups against my will, & shortly thereafter my notifications blow up with posts & photos related to a group I never consented to join, & I feel irritated & violated. Just an FYI: this is a terrible, terrible way to attempt to sell people something. Stop doing this, ladies!  

Anyway, I follow author Sally Thorne on Twitter. She's the author of The Hating Game, a book I love a lot. Her second novel will soon be published, & to generate chatter about it she decided to host a read-along of The Hating Game on Facebook. I saw her advertise this on Twitter, & I of course rushed to beg her to add me to the Facebook group, which *she did.*

My new BFF Sally created a Google doc she shared with the group. Those interested in covering a chapter signed up for that chapter, & as we read through the novel at a pace of about a chapter or two a day people post their respective questions. Everyone answers the questions & gushes & laughs about this book we all love so much. I am not reading along with them chapter by chapter since I'd literally just reread the novel prior to the announcement about the Facebook group, but I have commented a time or two and, AND, over the weekend Sally Thorne hearted one of my comments. She is actively participating, & it's just a lot of fun. 

Her second novel, 99% Mine, can be found on Amazon ---> here. It officially releases January 29. You should read The Hating Game between now & then if you've not read it. I mean, if you're a woman & you enjoy light, fluffy romantic books featuring tall, handsome men (who're emotionally closed off) as a way to block out life's stresses, you should read The Hating Game. 

---> My teaching schedule this semester is lovely. Spring semester teaching began last week. Occasionally someone asks me if I am still teaching high school English, or they ask me a question that indicates they never knew I left adjunct teaching to teach high school English for two years. In my head I am thinking, Can you please just read my blog? I do not say that aloud, though. That would be the verbal equivalent of forcibly adding someone to a Facebook group, you know? 

If you're a regular here you know I taught as an adjunct for our local community college for many years, & then two years ago I left my adjunct life to teach high school English full-time. During my time teaching high school I learned a lot about myself, I learned a whole lot about British literature & history, & I met a handful of young people I like to think benefitted from our time together in much the same way I did. 

Anyway, I am now back in the adjunct saddle for a variety of reasons about which I won't elaborate further at this time, & I am happy to be there. I am teaching Fundamentals of Communication, which I taught in the fall as well, & that is it. I teach two sections of this class on Tuesdays & Thursdays, & the rest of my time is spent being a mom & reading & being a relaxed person whose life isn't dominated by essay grading . . . & it is really nice. I am paid for teaching two classes, but since it's the same course I only have one prep. If you're a teacher you know what all of that means, & you know how happy it makes me. My sections are relatively small, each around fifteen students, & again, if you're a teacher you know how happy this makes me. 

---> I am reading an interesting book (keep reading . . . it's not The Hating Game). Back in October of last year my mom gave me a copy of Becoming Mrs. Lewis for my birthday. It is the January book club book, & I am slowly making my way through it. The book is not riveting in the sense that I cannot put it down (& I need to step it up if I am to finish it before the book club meets next week), but it is just a different sort of book. 

Written by Patti Callahan, it's historical fiction about the friendship between Joy Davidman & C.S. Lewis . . . a friendship that eventually led to marriage. Callahan writes in the first person, so she is Joy Davidman in the novel. My plan is to finish the book, & then, if I am not satisfied by the information the author offers in the afterward &/or author's note, I am going to have to further investigate how much of this is fiction, you know? I've realized I prefer historical fiction that places totally fictional people in actual historical settings (like, say, The Bronze Horseman). You fall in love with fictional people like my beloved Alexander, & you also learn a lot about the siege of Leningrad. It's a win/win. 

I've always known Lewis & Joy Davidman met because Davidman, once an atheist like Lewis, began writing him letters after she read some of his writing. They wrote many letters (Davidman living in America at the time while Lewis was in England) before meeting in person. I am reading the book, & it's interesting, but it also prompts a thousand questions about how much is fiction. I have a lot of questions. Ms. Callahan is writing as if she is Joy Davidman, & she is writing about highly personal feelings & emotions. I just want to know if she totally fabricated all of this, or if she had access to Davidman's diaries, or what?  

I get it. I too would have fallen in love with C.S. Lewis had he been my pen pal. Their story is fascinating to me. 

---> I am blessed. This is generic, I know. There's a lot I could say here to further elaborate on this point. I was reminded again of my many blessings all day long yesterday. I attended a wonderful church where I listened to my dad deliver an excellent lesson in class. Class was followed by a wonderful worship service during which I worshipped surrounded by my physical family & my spiritual family, all of whom are good people who love the Lord. I ate lunch with my family & a couple of our most favorite friends in the world. I read in my warm bed yesterday afternoon while everyone else stressed over the Saints game. I returned to church last night. We had a short devotional followed by our yearly business meeting. I know a business meeting sounds mundane, but I love our yearly business meeting. Money can & often does ruin churches, but I cannot imagine a more transparent way to handle church finances than the way they're handled at Jackson Street church of Christ. It's refreshing. I am excited about the year ahead for our church. It's a congregation that I think brings the Lord joy & honor, & if you're local you should consider visiting Jackson Street (on Jackson Street in Monroe). We start at nine thirty on Sunday mornings with classes for all ages. Worship follows immediately after class at ten thirty.

I'll end with this image:

This is one of my Facebook memories from this date several years ago. January 21 was the first day we were home from PICU with Reagan after her diagnosis. These were her numbers that day. They are horrendous. I don't love everything about Facebook, but I don't mind the daily memories Facebook prompts me to review. Sometimes they're a visible reminder of where you were & how far you've come. Diabetes is still diabetes, & it will always be a hard part of our lives (unless science shocks me & actually cures it), but I am no longer navigating diabetes with a blindfold on; I know so much more now than I did then. 

I was already in a decent mood when I woke this morning due to the aforementioned reasons I've detailed for you (& also due to a wonderful night's sleep last night), but wow, this photo that popped up as I drank my first cup of coffee was a jolt. Praise the Lord when you walk through the valleys, & praise the Lord when you emerge on the other side. I see these numbers & I am reminded of the quote I shared above from Louisa May Alcott: 

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.

Don't let NFL referees steal your joy. I know, believe me I know, the agony of falling victim to terrible referees. There's a life lesson there, though. I realize you Saints fans may not be receptive to it at the moment, but take a step back & focus on what's good in your life. Maybe read The Hating Game? 

Have a wonderful week, y'all. 


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