Thursday, June 15, 2017

Faith of Our Fathers....and Mothers

My faith journey has covered many different trails, but through it all, I have recognized a need for God in my life.  I was baptized a Methodist and grew up attending church and Sunday School each week before going to Grandma's for dinner.  My dad was Sunday School superintendent and my mom was often in charge of summer Vacation Bible School. We sang wonderful hymns embellished by a wonderful pianist who I had the pleasure of taking lessons from, and the minister knew just how to modulate his voice to keep people from falling asleep.  

In fifth grade, we moved to a nearby town where my father had moved from owning a grocery and feed business to owning a grain elevator.  Based on his customers' suggestions, we attended the Lutheran church.  My sister and I went through confirmation and were active in the youth group.  Unfortunately, they asked for money a lot and made comments about how if people couldn't tithe, they should not be there.  That is the memory anyway.  This occurred after my father had a heart attack and money was tight.  Eventually, my family quit attending.    

This could have easily ended my faith journey, but I was involved in another youth group with several of my high school friends.  I have such great memories of the Cherry Box MYF--a Mennonite church youth group.  We sang, prayed, played games, and learned more about the Bible with great enthusiasm.  During church services, the congregation sang four-part acapella and the hymn sings with the two nearby Mennonite churches were some of my favorite times.  It didn't hurt that they also had the cutest boys...haha.  I dated one of the young men in high school, then again in college, so when I had a chance to join the church I was re-baptized to signify my conscious decision to follow Christ since my earlier baptism was as an infant.   

The youth group was very vocal about their disapproval of the Catholic faith, to the point that in college, several of us tried to convert another girl away from Catholicism because it was so "evil."  Her brother was a priest, and years later, I really regret the stress we must have put her through.  When I started teaching and met the man who is now my husband, I told him on our first date that the one thing he could never ask me to do was join the Catholic church.  I eventually asked to attend church with him so I could see him earlier on Saturdays.  This led to many questions, so he suggested I look into the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at a local parish.  

The sponsors of the RCIA classes explained things in a way that I could understand and accept, so Easter 1989 I was confirmed, and marriage preparation classes followed.  Many of the mysteries of the Church still puzzle me, but the history and ritual are very centering and I am continuing to learn and grow in my faith.  That faith helps me understand that some things are just beyond our ability to comprehend.  Future posts will be more about recent readings, music, and experiences, but this varied background was important for me to share.

A Daily Battle

My health has been a daily battle for quite some time.  Over 20 years ago, a well-meaning doctor put me on fen-phen, birth control pills and allergy medicine all at the same time.  Within a month, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  When we decided to have one more child at age 36, I developed gestational diabetes, which then a few years later led to a type 2 diagnosis.  (It may have been related as much to genetics, inactivity, and obesity if I'm being totally truthful.) 

Also, because of my high blood pressure and age, I could not go back on birth control.  I said I needed it because of mood swings, which I thought were hormonal.  The kind doctor then prescribed an antidepressant.  Fast forward a couple years to having pressure in my chest and the first of three stress tests.  The doctor said maybe I should see a psychologist because there was nothing physically wrong.  After several meetings with her, medication has been adjusted and I have a diagnosis of some sort that explains many behaviors and I live a pretty "even" mental existence.  I still keep thinking I should be able to handle things without medication, even though I have seen and read all about chemical reasons for depression.

To add to the mix, throw in high cholesterol, premature ventricular contractions, bone lesions, a thyroid nodule, arthritis in several joints, thoracic spondylosis and being a glaucoma suspect.  If I let myself dwell on all of this, it would be easy to have a non-stop pity party.  Instead, I have chosen to work with a trainer for two solid workouts each week, walk more and watch what I eat, at least most of the time.  I dabble in essential oils and aromatherapy as well as some great natural supplements that keep me healthy most of the time.  

Five years ago, I finished a half-marathon and a 20K, then went on to get my group exercise certification and lead classes for almost two years.  A friend of mine posted a quote that said: "Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you just ate."    I know that moving and losing weight will keep me healthier for a longer period of time, and it also seems to help stress as well.  

I can be a stronger, healthier person if I continue to move away from the comfort zone of the recliner and emotional eating, and get moving!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What? Who? Why?


Another blog from another educator?  Do I really think I have something new to say?  Do I really think I'm an expert on anything?  The answer to both of those is a resounding...maybe. I also know that I am a person who needs to reflect to gain the most from my experiences  This blog will be a place for my personal reflections on my work, my home, my health, my spiritual journey, and anything else I need to get off my chest.


I saw a quote once that said 

“I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am ”-T. Cooley

I am done with this.  I want to be me.  This may be the best part of being over 50.  I am a 30 year veteran teacher who still loves to learn, a wife for 29 years who still loves her husband, and a mom of three sons who still marvels that we are all still alive.  I teach PK-3 general music and I'm in charge of the gifted program from our K-12 district.  I have taught in 4 schools in two states, worked with over a dozen administrators, and held positions as band director, choir director, musical director and elementary music teacher, along with gifted facilitator, and various other duties as assigned.  Most days I love what I do, and spend my "free time" trying to figure out how to do it better or learning something new to make me a better person.


As I stated earlier, I am a person who needs to reflect.  My husband says I think too much.  Possibly, I am guilty of overthinking.  This blog will give me a chance to do a brain dump. I can get some of the ideas out of my head so I can focus on more on specific tasks.  I know I am easily distracted, so this will be a coping mechanism.  Also, I just may have something to share that someone else hadn't thought of yet.