Monday, June 18, 2012

What Something Means

“John was going at it immediately and intuitively, grooving on it.  I was going at it in terms of underlying form.  He was going at it in terms of immediate appearance.  I was seeing what the shim meant.  He was seeing what the shim was.  That’s how I arrived at the distinction.  And when you see what the shim is, in this case, it’s depressing.  Who likes to think of a beautiful precision machine fixed with an old hung of junk?”
--Robert M. Pirsig
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

            This upcoming school year, I will be teaching a new class.  For the first time, I will be teaching seniors!  Not only will I be teaching seniors, but I will be teaching honors seniors earning dual-credit through the community college.  It’s a little intimidating to say the least.  Therefore, part of my summer is being spent preparing for this new juncture in my life.  As part of that preparation, I am reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  I will be honest—I tried to begin this novel months ago.  I tried and failed.  I didn’t give it much of a shot either, as I only read the first chapter and was so bored that I put it aside for the next couple of months.  I must say, it was a little frightening.  I thought to myself, “If I cannot make myself read more than the first chapter of this book, how in the hell am I going to get seniors in high school to not only read this book, but enjoy it and learn from it?” 
            Fast forward a couple of months, when literally made myself read past the first chapter.  Regardless of how bored I am, I have to teach this book first semester, so I have to read it.  I’m so thankful I pushed past chapter oneJ  Don’t get me wrong, some parts of the book are still utterly boring.  However, I have always enjoyed philosophy and the philosophical teachings in this book are interesting and thought-provoking.  For example, I have been thinking about the section of the book that I put at the beginning of this all week long.  In the novel, the narrator talks a couple of different times about what something means vs. what it is.  I have never really thought about the difference, but it really seems to fit a lot of things in my life right now. 
            Friday, I went for my six weeks post-chemo checkup with my oncologist.  Also that day, I was able to get my port out and I had to get bloodwork.  Going into this appointment, I was least nervous about my port removal, as putting it in was no big deal.  However, taking it out was another story.  While they sedated me for the first, they did not do so taking it out.  Not only do I not relish the idea of someone slicing me open while I’m awake, no matter how small the cut, I also have a VERY hard time sitting still and quiet.  However, this is what I had to do for 45 minutes on Friday, more than a little scared.  Not to mention the fact that they certainly did not put enough of whatever local anesthetic on my incision spot.  What they did put on wore off by the time we got to the stitches part—I didn’t say a word though because I was so ready to be done that I didn’t want to prolong the process.  Walking out of the room to go find my mom afterwards, I was thinking about how much I disliked the experience and complaining to myself.  Then, for some reason, my mind wandered back to my senior novel.  I stopped the negative thoughts in my head because I thought of the difference between what something is and what it means.  If I simply thought about what that experience was—it sucked.  It was long, scary, and painful.  However, if I thought about what it means—AMAZING!  It means that my port was out!  It means chemo is over!! It means I’m a survivor!  Woo hoo! 

On another note- the rest of my appointment went well.  The doctor is putting me on a pill called Tamoxifin (think I spelled that right?) for a while since my tumor was estrogen positive.  It has been proven to cut the rate of occurrence.  While it can have side effects just like any other drug, most of the people I’ve talked to on it have handled it well.  While my tumor was positive for both progesterone and estrogen, it was only just so—therefore he said that if I decide in a few years that I want to have another baby, I would be at no extra risk in doing so.  I will have to be off the pills I’m on now though, but he was also not worried about that.  So… we’ll see what Josh and I decide and what the Lord has in store for our family.  Right not I’m going to enjoy the little girl I have because she’s pretty greatJ  I go back to the oncologist in three months for another checkup.

Now it’s time to pray for the rest of my medical issues the next few weeks.  Next Tuesday, June 26, I go back to the surgeon for my 6 month checkup.  It seems like such a big milestone-6 months since the cancer was taken out.  So- I’m pretty excited, but nervous at the same time.  I really feel like all is well, but I will be much happier to hear it from the doctor as well.  So, I’m praying to God to continue to take care of me for this appointment.  Then, I turn around on July 2nd and get tissue expanders back in.  My philosophical musings apply to this as well.  As it is—it’s another surgery with drains so that’s a downer.  However… when I think about what it means—It means that life goes on and that I get to be put back together againJ  Thankfully, I get to celebrate with my amazing family and friends on the 30th before surgery.  Since they are so amazing, I know they are coming to celebrate with me, to celebrate me getting through chemo and hopefully an end to ugly part of the past 6 months.  I will be celebrating them though, celebrating the fact that God has blessed me with such great people in my life.  <3


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Place of Peace--Teachers Write Tuesday Quick-Write

"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives." --Albert Einstein

Tuesday Quick-Write: 
Write for two minutes to describe a very specific place.  If you’re just free-writing, it can be a place that you love, or have visited, or a place that frightens you.

When many people think of their favorite place, they imagine some far-off land with gorgeous scenery or some picturesque city.  However, one of my favorite places is my crowded and cluttered living room.  If someone else walked into my living room right now, they might think a tornado had somehow snuck into the house, terrorizing only this one room.  Toys are scattered about the room, along with hats, slippers, blankets, and pillows.  From my eyes though, this room is full of laughter and fun, peace and snuggles.  This room is where I spend the majority of my time with my daughter.  As I look at the “mess,” I recall all the fun we have each day, especially on quiet mornings.  My hands can still feel the cool plastic of the Little People toys that Grace and I use to play “house.”  She especially loves the tiny yellow-and-blue-clad baby.  My head can still feel the scratch of Grace’s sombrero that she loves to put on my head and the soothing gentleness of her cool hands as she rubs its still-bald surface.  My ears still happily hum with the sounds of “Mommy!” and “Hugs!”  They can still hear my baby girl’s tinkling giggles and big belly laughs.  My mouth is still quietly humming the songs we sang today and thinking of the stories we read.  My arms, of course, remember the many times Grace runs to give her mom a big hug, warming me right to my very soul.  My chest is still warm from where my daughter laid her head to be rocked to sleep.  As I recall all of these wonderful sensations from my day, I am happy with my mess of a living room.  So happy, in fact, that I am leaving it a mess and writing insteadJ

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Making" Time to Write

"I must govern the clock, not be governed by it." --Golda Meir

How many times do I think to myself, "I wish I had more time to do _____" (Insert random activity here)?  However, being a mom, wife, daughter, teacher, friend, etc. keeps me pretty busy.  With the exception of making time for my daughter (which is both for my own benefit and hers), I often do not make time to do things for myself.  However, this summer, I am joining hundreds (yes, I said hundreds) of other teachers and librarians in an online writing camp called Teachers Write with author Kate Messner.  I'm excited, and at the same time worried that I won't be able to find the time to concentrate on my writing.  Ironically, Kate's first "assignment" for us was to think about just this topic- "making" time to write.  As she said to us, we will never just "find" time to write, we have to make it.  So, this is something I am doing for myself this summer:)  I encourage others to do just the same.  Make time to do something for yourself!  It might be writing, but it might not.  Find time to read a good book, exercising, or playing golf--but find something you enjoy:)

Here's my plan:)  I want to share it with everyone because, just like Kate said, people are more likely to accomplish tasks that they share with others.

1.  Since I need to make time to write and not except time to just magically fall in my lap, I'm going to have to cut back on something.  Therefore, instead of spending part of my evening after Grace goes to bed randomly perusing the internet, I'm going to cut back on that and focus a little bit of time on writing:)

2.  When will I write and for how long?  Right now, I'm going to start with a easily attainable goal and say that I will work on writing for 15-30 minutes a day most days of the week.  Obviously, life sometimes throws me curve balls, so it might not be every night.  During the summer, I plan to devote a little of my time once Grace goes to bed.  Once school starts in the fall, I will probably devote a little of my "quiet time" before school to writing.

3.  Where?  When I write at home, I plan to be in my comfy clothes in my comfy recliner with my laptop.  At school, I'll be sitting at my not-so-comfy desk, but surrounded my pictures of baby girl:)

4.  Finally, Kate asked us to share our plans--Well, I'm sharing them with all of you:D

I hope everyone has a happy Monday!