I am thankful for... my family. B kissed me goodbye this morning and said, "I love you so much. Do you know how much I love you?" I visited Blaze and Dreamer for lunch today at school and they both insisted on giving me multiple kisses and hugs. Tonight we had a yummy dinner with my parents. I was hoping to see my father smile, at least once, and the ultimate, to get him to laugh. him. I did hear something that almost resembled a laugh from him at Thanksgiving. We had Nicole and her parents, Stan and Carol, over to join us for Thanksgiving. As I was introducing them to my parents, my father and Stan discovered that they both liked to introduce their wives as "my first wife" (just to confound people... they are both still married to their first wives!) Anyway my father definitely smiled at that and sort of laughed. Well, tonight I not only got multiple smiles out of my Dad (especially when Mom brought out the giant pony and the kids went crazy over it), but I heard a real genuine laugh from him. Mom had got a few birthday noise-maker toys, you know the kind that you blow on them and they roll out and make a funny noise. Well, the twins didn't get out to make things work at first, so B. was demonstrating. As B. took a deep breath and popped the paper out with its noise right in Annie's face, she jumped so far back with such a look of alarm - immediately followed by a grin and a giggle - that got my Dad laughing, too! (In fact, I'd say he was almost back to his old self tonight. He even talked quite a bit, and didn't fall asleep on us once!)
A few other random mentions from the past week:
I am going... to have a wonderful weekend going to Christmas tree auctions with the kids and a Christmas concert with my mom. I am also going to be up very late at night getting ready for a big training session next week in Pinedale. And grading final projects. And working on the Advent Calendar for Karen. 'Tis the season for extreme busyness. Lord, help me to stay close to you even in the midst of everything that needs to get done.
I am reading... I had a small break between the end of November and getting my 50,000 words finished for NaNoWriMo, and the final craziness of the end of the semester, so I just finished reading a fun book called "Girl At Sea" by Maureen Johnson - a young adult book (Stars and I went to the library while she was here over Thanksgiving and I never got past the young adult section to get to the adult section). This book had a nice mix of humor, mystery, beautiful places in Italy, romance, and - a nice surprise - very high quality writing. I hope to write a book like this some day! It's only detraction - it wasn't Christian.
I am hoping and praying... that Stars' granny wins her struggle with cancer. I have several other important prayers too that are too private to share on a blog. But you know what they are Lord. Thank you for the amazing conversation I had with Stars while she was here!
I am learning... that teaching is a lot harder than I thought. I have lots of teaching experience; but teaching University students it a lot different than teaching short "canned" classes to professionals. There is a lot more ground to cover; a lot more complicated subject material; a lot less direct interaction with the students (I had TA's teaching the labs) and the part that I found most confounding of all - test questions are REALLY hard to write! Getting the wording right is crucial.
On my mind... the reponse I want to write to a couple comments I got on my earlier post Why Tolerance Isn't Enough
Pondering these words... A quote that Nicole sent me, by a J.R. Miller:
"We dread pain! And yet the person who has not experienced pain has notyet touched the deepest and most precious meanings of life. There are things we can never learn except in the school of pain. There are heights of life we can never attain, except in the bitterness of sorrow. There are joys we can never have until we have walked in the dark ways of sorrow. Not to have sorrow, in some form, is to miss on of life's holiest opportunities. We get our best things out of afflication. I have refined you in the furnace of suffering. Isaiah 48:10