Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Green Chili Eclipse Corn on the Cob

We are up in Washington for the. Eclipse and to see family. The dinner menu was rib eye steaks,baked beans and corn on the cob. I decided to use some of the New Mexico green chili to spice up the corn. Before wrapping them in aluminum foil  I added  a little olive oil, Mrs. Dash and wrapped the corn in green chili. Experiments don't always work out but these heat infused corn were incredible.

When we got to Steilacoom we made a second batch for Cam and Britt. She told me I had to share on my blog. It was just that good. It is always fun when I learn a new way of doing something. Especially when it turns out so delicious.

In Him,

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Receiving the Answerrs I Desire-This Time

Retirement life with a full time job has been a gift this past year. Finding my right fit at FIT was just the direction God intended for me that I hadn't even thought of. Thank you Heather for being able to see what I couldn't see. Working with babies and wee ones who have developmental delays, are exposed to harmful drugs at birth and families who just need support and encouragement is such a gift in my life.

I couldn't conceive working all summer when I am used to a work free summer What about going on adventures with my Ronnie B. to spend time with family? Then in a staff meeting a former coworker was coming back part time since that was all that was available. Poof. I had my part time position and she had a much needed full time paycheck. Summer solved.

The last couple weeks it has occurred to me that even part time I don't have the flexibility to spend time with my Mom or see our kids and grandkids enough. I took some flack at work for once again going on a trip. My heart says I have the job path that I am supposed to be on but my head was thinking I may need to quit and just substitute. That seems logical since I would have no paperwork and complete flexibility. So I prayed for direction. Last Friday I got a call from a family I love working with. CYFD called them and the mom was in a panic. She said she called her husband and he was on his way home to support her. Then she said I was her second phone call. Not that I could solve anything but she just needed to talk to me.  Yep, I had my answer. Early Intervention is the place for me..Today God gave me even more confirmation in a staff meeting. I was getting teased for my upcoming trip to the eclipse when my director spoke up. She said she got approval for me to work     80-100 hours a month instead of 20-25 a week. YES! Now I can have the flexibility to spend time with my family while supporting and encouraging families with needs in my community.

God is good
All the time
All the time God is good

Of course I don't always get the answers I want. Lissa is not with us for her 8th grade year and my grandkids don't get to meet us for the eclipse. But this week I asked for direction and I not only got confirmation but a second message to confirm I had heard it right. So FIT-Families, Infants and Toddlers remains the perfect FIT for me and my retirement/work lifestyle.  

In Him,

Monday, August 7, 2017

Our Stuff, Ridding Out and Boxing Up

What do moving, remodeling and garage sales have in common?
You rid out stuff you no longer need, want or should have bought or kept in the first place.

We all store stuff for a variety of reasons. Some things are given to us by treasured people in our lives so the thing itself becomes precious for how it makes us think of them. We have a drawing that our grandgirl, Kayla did for us. It doesn't hang on the refrigerator which might make sense. This creative piece is taped lovingly to our bedroom door. It has been there for a few years now right where she placed it. 

As Ron and I go through packing up stuff to protect our stuff from the destruction and construction of a major remodel, we are noticing all the things we love and all the things we never should have given a spot in our home. I can't tell you how many times yesterday we called out to each other asking 'Why do we have this?' or 'Where did we get this?' Or who the heck does this belong to?.

Each of us has tucked away stuff that we never use or display. As we rid out all this stuff  in our house we are thankful for an upcoming, block garage sale and for online garage sales. Heck, our old analog TV hasn't even been picked up when we posted it on Free Cycle free of charge. I see a few dump runs in our future. Repurposing is preferred and if we can make a buck or two all the better. 

This cleaning out phase of construction takes longer than we thought because we are also encountering boxes of pictures and infant handprints that belong to our now adult children. Taking pause to breath in the memories of our life together is well worth the time spent. In a few months we will be placing the stuff we decided was worth keeping onto its new place in our refurbished home. I am convinced we will pause once again to appreciate just how precious life is even with all the sawdust and construction noise that will inevitably take longer than we expected. Like unwrapping those Christmas ornaments we are so happy to see again each year, our stuff will be with us again. There will just be much less of it. Hmmmmm~room to go shopping to fill all the extra space our old TV and so many other items left behind. Now I am excited!

In Him,

Sunday, August 6, 2017

First Flat Screen in 2017

My thoughtful husband has a value system that believes you don't replace and toss out items in life unless they don't function. In our society of upgrade and recycle he doesn't always fit in. This is why we still have our 1975 camper van sitting in the driveway and his down jacket from 5th grade still hangs in our closet.  Yesterday we said goodbye to our 2000 Sony Trinitron not because we needed a flat screen, HD, smart TV, but because ours simply rolled over and died. We both realized how convenient this new purchase will be and what a gift to have internet in a jumbo version. Being in our early 60s makes eye sight a bit more challenging.

Whether Ron and I do life right by clinging to older versions of everyday items is not for me to say. I do know it is better for our landfills and our budget. But this blog is not an environmental statement. Paper plates and paper towels are staples in my kitchen. So I am clearly not one to judge. One good thing about waiting is that the price was much lower than those who bought flat screens a decade ago. We also got a SMART tv which weren't around a few years ago. Trust me, we need the Smart in our TV because we aren't as sharp as we were a few decades ago. This tv almost didn't need us to set itself up. It is even smarter than I could have imagined.

Ron and I are excited to use this new purchase. HD is incredible! Luckily, we are still functioning so we will be around a bit longer to enjoy it and not sitting out at the curb to be recycled ourselves.

In Him,

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Barber Residence Plans Are Complete

We have plans!  It has been over a year to get to this point but we are about to begin remodeling our home and adding a second story master suite. A couple of things motivated us to change our home. One bathroom is most inconvenient, especially when our kids and their families are visiting. Next this old 1948 home desperately needs a new roof and stucco. So it made sense to make the changes while we were completing those much needed repairs. Ron always disliked the look of our flat roof and it made it impossible to fly his American flag he got from an aircraft carrier. Lastly, it is time for a king size bed and we so like being outdoors that we are installing fold away doors that open to 8 feet. This will allow us to push our bed out onto the patio when it is warm and live inside and out. Heaven.

This project got delayed when our creative architect had health issues then moved to Texas. She is in her 80s and still brilliant at design but it was time to move on to a fresh start. Now we are working with Laura who is quick and efficient. Our stalled project has allowed us to have creative input from both these talented ladies as well as Steve who just reviewed our plans.

Seeing the Barber Residence official plans spread out on our dining room table is so cool. This is really going to happen. Of course it will be inconvenient for a few months with all the construction and displacement. But we will have a home that is repurposed for our life in our retirement years. Taking so long to get here also allowed us to save up the money so we can fund the project without a loan. That feels great as we won't be adding extra monthly payments to our budget. Well, that is the plan anyway. Of course remodels tend to go over budget as I know from watching DIY network.

Ron had done much of the design and his vision is all over these plans. I am not the visual one but have contributed a few ideas. I can't wait for this adventure to begin. Yes, I am looking forward to sleeping in our little RV and being in the midst of the chaos. We have already been boxing up our lives and storing them away. In fact, Ron and I slept in the camper last night. It is cozy~comfortable.

You all can remind me of my positive thoughts in the next months when I write a cranky blog full of complaints about construction.

In Him.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Parents and Teachers Partnering~ Lead to Student Success.

I have been reflecting on what makes a student successful and motivated in school. School is about to begin all across our country. Parents are out buying the cutest clothes, popular backpacks, and all those school supplies. What matters most is not what parents buy but the investment of time and attention they give to their kiddos education. What I wanted from parents as a retired educator was simple. These contribute more to a students success than even the most reliable mechanical pencils.

~Communicate and partner with me on a regular basis.
         Find out what your child's teachers preferred way of communicating in and then check in at            least once a month. I prefer once a month texts to just check in.
~Spend the time reviewing homework.
         Just giving them a spot and time to do homework is not enough. Chat about it.
~Every assignment turned in on time and completed is more important than As and Bs.
         Once they get behind there is no catching up. More assignments are coming.
~Be present. Come into my classroom and see what we are doing.
         Just assuming you know what is happening is not cool. Come and bring your lunch.
~On time and present unless there is barf involved.
         Kids feel connected when they are in school regularly and on time. Tone of day is set early.
~Speak with me about concerns.
          Going to the principal should be for when we can't solve an issue. Badmouthing a teacher is destructive not productive. Rarely kids do need to be moved but save that for the extremes.
~I don't need Avon or jewelry gifts.
           Teachers spend so much of their own money in their classrooms. A gift card to a teacher store or Office Max is much preferred. Although we do love our Starbucks cards too.
~Let my principal or superintendent know if I am succeeding.
           Write an email or letter. If you call it stops there. An email can go in my file and matters more.
~Realize I have a life outside school.
           You are not aware of the struggles I go through because I don't bring them into my class. If I am absent more one semester know there is probably a reason for it. Don't assume I am giving up or just don't care. My 24 year old son committed suicide while I was teaching. I only took 2 weeks off. I hated being away from my kids at school and came back as soon as I could without burdening them with my pain. Most families never knew why I was out.
~Know that I teach because I love teaching your children.
           If you ask a plumber why he is a plumber he will say for the money. No plumber says he does it because he likes to see shit flow freely through the pipes. If you ask a teacher why she teaches her answer will be the kids. The pay is sufficient not stellar. Summers off is nice but most of us are planning how to improve for the next year and taking classes during the summer.
~Partnering with you is the best way to help your child succeed so it is worth repeating.
           Don't only contact me when there is a problem. Keep in touch even when things are running smoothly. It will help them continue on that good path.
~We are not enemies.
          It is as hard for me to call and tell you about a problem as it is for you to hear it. Let's work to solve issues together.

      I feel so blessed to have been able to impact students over several decades. My heart swells when. I see adults succeeding who sat in my class. As a special education teacher, I was lucky enough to have students for several years. What wonderful relationships we developed. Being a teacher was something I wanted to be since first grade. Looking back being a teacher was even more wonderful than I could have imagined. Thank you parents for trusting me with your most valued gifts.

In Him,

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mud Deep Towing Adventure

What a crazy evening with a big adventure. Ron has been remodeling an old 1977, 19 foot motor home. He has worked tirelessly on this project. Yesterday after completing the interior and roof, he just couldn't get the darn thing started. It seemed to be an electrical problem so he put in a new distributor and tried everything he could think of without success. So the next option was to tow it over to our friend's auto shop. By this time it was beginning to get dark. We also had his truck, his Blazer, and our 1975 camper van behind it. This sounds like a simple shuffle of cars and away we go. Not so easy. You see our monsoon season has begun and it had poured several inches of rain in. The last few days. So we were knee deep in mud getting the vehicles moved.

We started trying to pull it with me in the back steering and Ron in the camper van. Soon we realized two wheel drive was never going to work. It was fun to watch the camper spinning and gyrating all over but we weren't making much forward progress. So we switched to the four wheel drive Blazer and away we go! It then became clear that I was not strong enough to turn the steering wheel when I almost went up our neighbors driveway across the street rather than down the street to the shop. Seems you have to have power to have power steering and our lack of power was why we were towing it in the first place.

After we switched places and Ron's assurance that I was capable of this, we were off. We both had our cell phones on speaker so we could talk to each other the whole way across town. This wasn't a time for chit chat but to point out the obvious when we were slowing down for a red light or to make a turn. Our top speed was 16 and our turning speed was 5 mph. Luckily,  there wasn't much traffic on this now dark Sunday night and no cops found our activities suspicious enough to pull us over.

I told Ron I felt like my Gramma Peabody. She was always helping my grandfather with big adventures like this. Memories of her kept a smile on my face as I inched my way through the streets of our town. Now I know I can tow an RV. Who would have believed it. I wonder what other hidden talents I have just waiting for the opportunity to surface.

We have a secret plan to give this vintage RV to Natalie and Nate in San Diego.  They have a tribe of friends who were excited about the possibility of the camper van but the RV allows them more room to all camp together. The added bonus is when Ron and I are visiting them we won't have to pay for a hotel. They are all hipster artist types so I am sure this motorhome will get more colorful in the years to come. Who knows it may even become and AirBNB in the heart of San Diego. Either way I am excited and so glad we were able to tow it without too many problems. A side yard full of mud ruts will just remind us of our adventure.

Shhhhhhhh, don't let Natalie know our plan. We didn''t want to tell her in case we couldn't get it running.  There is also a plan brewing for the camper van but it is too soon to tell about that.  I trust all of you to keep our little secrets.

In Him,