Category Archives: love

Where am I

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So I am embarking on a journey.

I want to be a writer.

I feel called to write.

I will write.

I AM A WRITER!

My daughter is my accountability partner as she is a writer as well.  An amazing one that that.

She is in an out patient treatment facility and has asked that as practice and exposure I write for her blog for the next few weeks.

I have practice writing every day (remember Dressember??) but that was super-hyper focused writing and had a concentrated purpose.  Now I am kinda flailing and not writing because I am not sure what to write, how to write, grrrrrr.

So frustrating.

ANYWAY, everyday is a new day and a chance at renewal.  So you can check me out blogging at cathyterranova.com

cooperation

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This word.  It is a hard word to understand.  It is a hard word to emulate.  It is a hard word to spell! (how many double letters are in that word anyway???)

(PS I am not a good speller due to the fact that I have been word processing since I was 12 and have had spell check to support this challenge)

Relationships can not work without cooperation and yet so many survive albeit, barely.  My marriage hasn’t always been the most cooperative.  It has taken hard work and effort on both our parts to try to work together and put our ego aside for the betterment of our life together.  I have realized, over the course of 18 years, that we are an amazing project couple.  I dream big and talk big. He brings me down to earth and helps me be realistic. Somehow he always manages to make whatever I dreamed up happen.  Sometimes it takes years (decades?) of talking and dreaming out loud.  Sometimes they seem like pipe dreams but I still speak them because I trust him.  Yes, he sometimes gives me a hard time (I want to make a green house out of wine bottles and I am saving empty wine bottles for this venture) but usually he listens and ponders and eventually figures out a way because he know I am a cooperative, flexible dreamer and really only want what is best for those around me.

Now, don’t get me wrong my husband isn’t perfect (although pretty darn close in my eyes) but he is a wonderful person.

He is a person who tries hard to please others.  Funny thing, so am I.  We both want those around us to be happy and to be well cared for in the circumstances that we can control. We can control how we make the other person feels. He can make me angry but on the flip side of that coin I can control how I react to his “issues” (and trust me vice versa). He can also make me happy (and 99.7% of the time this is what he does) and I can control how I react to that as well.

This type of cooperation has been what makes our marriage work, but not just our marriage, our relationship.  We choose on a regular basis not to be snippy with each other and to cooperate as best we can.  Does it always work?  Well, no but if we step back from the situation and look at it differently we are usually OK. And if I am honest, sometimes it takes me leaving the situation and coming back to it later to help with the cooperation.

OK STORY TIME!!!

I am getting a fire place!  A gas fireplace.  We are building the hearth and mantel.  He built the bones and I helped out along the way.  We decided on tile facade together and I set the pattern for it.  He had some ideas of his own and I started to get frustrated.  I felt myself start to fume.  So I chose to step back.  I chose to let things happen and let him do his thing.  Guess what….because I chose to step back and not get all irritated it all worked out ok.  We aren’t quite done (and no he won’t let me post pics) but already it looks better than I could have ever imagined.  AND we were able to cooperate and not fight over something so small.

Let it wash off your back like a duck.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Sleep on it.  All good cliches.

Trust me.  My marriage isn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!!

Just blessed

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So cliche.

At Christmas we say such cliche things.

You can look at and say, “Man, I am so over that!”

Or you can say, “Oh tradition!  So wonderful to have the same things said at this time of year.”

Some may even choose to just go against the whole idea of anything anyone has ever done and say, “Festivus for the rest of us!” (HA! Seinfeld, gotta love some old school sit coms.  They just don’t make them like they used to.)

Anyway, all I have to say today is that I am just blessed.

Blessed to live in the US

Blessed to work for the public school system

Blessed to worship how I like

Blessed to have friends over for dinner in the middle of the week

Blessed to go see movies with my son

Blessed to have 3 beautiful children

Blessed to have an amazing husband

I am just blessed

As cliche as it sounds, I am.  I am blessed! Part of my family just had a fantastic dinner with a family we have gone to small group with for the last (almost) 4 years (in Feb.). Lauren and I have shared so much and our boys are such good friends.  It is nice to have a closeness with a family, share a meal, & a faith.  So blessed.

The thing about being blessed is that many of us have no idea how blessed we are.  We take advantage that things will always be the way they have been. We shouldn’t, we should savor every moment.

I try to remember how blessed I am without being arrogant about it.  I try to look at the gift of life, liberty, & pursuit of happiness I have been given and remember that not everyone has those blessings.

This month I am reminded of that as I talk to people about IJM and my Dressember event.  I ask if they are reading my blog and tell them they should.  I ask if they know that there are 29.8 million slaves in the world today.  When they say no and get that far aways look in their eye, I just encourage them to come here and read about my self discovery.  I hope that they are and that it is ok to not realize.  It is ok to still be learning about the world.  No-one is expected to know everything about everything.  But once you are exposed to it you can no longer feign ignorance.  I am trying to learn and do.  I am trying to teach so others can help too. I am not perfect.  Never will be.  I am not better than others, that’s not my thing.  But I do want to be better than I was last year.  I want to share what I have with others.  I want others to be blessed.

A new dress

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I woke up late again.

Seriously, is this a Dressember thing?

Maybe it’s because I am staying up late blogging after my family goes to bed.

They are so distracting during the day.  Wanting this and that.  A girl can’t get a break to write. 😉

But maybe it is just the writer in me that wants to stay up late when inspiration strikes best then the sleep deprived teacher gets up late for work.

Due to waking up late I wore a dress you haven’t seen yet.  I know the dress I wore on 12.13.14 was new but you knew that was coming ;).

Anyway, the dress today wasn’t a new dress it was just one I hadn’t planned on wearing this Dressember.  It is to summery. You know the dress that has the amazing color and is sleeveless? The maxi that wants gold sandals and makes you feel like a Grecian princess? Yeah, that’s the one I wore today.

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Ok so maybe the sitting, the cat, and the c cardigan don’t really show off the princess BUT what you can’t see is the polka dotted leggings OR the polka dotted pink and green fuzzy socks.

Really this isn’t about the dress but I am having fun owning my own quirky style of clothing (or is it I need to have clothes on, quick, what’s clean?)

Today one of the assistant principals said, “I heard you were doing a dress thing?”

We were in the bathroom and I proceeded to tell her all about IJM and their mission in life and the fact that after they rescue the enslaved people they give them after care and make sure they are reasonably safe.  She seemed impressed by that part.  I don’t think many of us give a thought to what happens after.  Are they given a safe place to go or do they just get released to fend for themselves and we all rejoice? Let’s be honest, most of us don’t think about people who are living in slavery every day.  We don’t consider that our clothing may have been made by slaves.  The dress I am wearing in this picture may have been made by slaves.  I am coming to an awareness that most of us to not want to face because it is a hard pill to swallow.  Where did my clothes come from? I don’t like to shop for clothes much anyway but now when I look for clothing I am questioning their origin.

I, like most Americans, buy my clothes on the cheap or at sale prices.  I don’t “have” money to spend on expensive clothes.  But do I have money to spend? The answer to that is yes. Yes I do! Could I work towards trying to spend my  money with more conscience? Yes I can.  It is a choice like every other one we make in the day.

Will you join me in making a choice this month?  Instead of buying something you may not need will you help out my donation campaign?  That is what dressember is all about for me.  It isn’t about all the pictures of me wearing dresses.  It isn’t about my quirky sense of style.  It is about helping to free slaves from around the world.  It is about justice for those enslaved and about helping those who cannot help themselves. Will you help?

The busiest season of all…

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…Is the holiday season.  It doesn’t matter what you celebrate.  I happen to celebrate Christmas in all it’s glory.  We enjoy time worshiping and fellowshipping with family, friends, eating delicious meals together, and of course the giving and receiving of gifts.  My children are old enough to know exactly what they want and usually pick it out.  We have always had a very limited budget on their gifts and have made that clear to them.  We started this when we couldn’t afford much but continued the tradition because we didn’t want Christmas to become a “want” fest or a “pout because I didn’t get it ALL” fest.

This limit means that they sometimes can choose to have grandma and mom collaborate on a gift that may be more expensive than my budget allows. It also means that they can connect money from birthday past or future to get a larger gift.  The limit also makes them very aware of the cost of their toys and the power of thinking about how you spend your money.

Our family has always been a giving family.  We have family in El Salvador that we help on a regular basis.  It is nice to know that they benefit from what we are able to give.  Recently we have also been helping out a family from our community with some basic needs and building relationships. I believe that our frugality in giving to our children (during holidays) has allowed us to save and be able to give to others more generously.

The hardest part of the holiday’s is BUSY-ness.  I hate that we are so busy during this season of the year.  So busy that we wake up tired, go to bed tired, don’t get done what we want to (see boxes of Christmas ornaments STILL in boxes in my living room), and then end up feeling incredibly stressed out and cranky.

I want that to stop.  I want to have an afternoon like I did today.  I went to visit a friend because our boys had a sleep over.  I kept looking at the clock thinking that I had to rush but time nearly stood still for 2 hours. We chatted and laughed.  We listened to each other and chatted with our children.  It was a wonderful rest in an otherwise incredibly busy time of year.

Tomorrow I go back to the grind.  We have 5 more class days left until “winter break” AKA Christmas break for 2 weeks.  That will be filled with busy too.  (I know I will eventually write about that so you’ll have to wait and see what that busyness looks like.)

The best part of all this busyness is that I can control my busy.  My friend at work had nothing planned for the weekend, on purpose.  She decided that she needed to control the busy in her holiday season.  I admire that ability to control the busy.

What if you couldn’t control the busy? What if there were someone telling you when to wake up, when and what to eat, if you could sit or stand to work, and you had no choice but to listen? That sort of busy you couldn’t control.  I know I have said this statistic before but the number kept rolling around in my head, according to IJM there are 29.8 billion people in slavery.  They are kept busy without controlling why or how they are busy.  It isn’t because they are taking children places or making fun gifts for family and friends.  It isn’t because they are working at a job they love.  It is because they are in bondage.  I am trying to help make a difference for people in bondage.  I am asking that people who read my blog this month learn more about modern human slavery, say a prayer for those who are fighting slavery and those who are in bondage, or donate to my giving campaign. I am wearing dresses all month.  This is way out of my character but it is my choice.  I am able to choose to wear a dress.

Please consider stepping out of your comfort zone this month and learning about this human tragedy that is a very real and pressing issue.

What a wonderful Saturday!

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Today began with an alarm that was set for 6:22 PM.  I had a meeting to be at at 7:30 am and a friend who needed a ride to the meeting coming at 7:00 am. ACK!

Still wore a dress though.  Didn’t feel like it and it would have been so easy to just wear some sweats and a tshirt.  It was 29 degrees when I went out this morning.  Not my kind of dress weather.

Got home from my meeting and went to a wedding for a very dear pair of friends.  Such a beautiful celebration of love. I made a point of taking a picture with the bride so you could see how beautiful she was today.

On the way home I had to stop and get gas from the “cheap” gas station.

For some reason, we are always in need of entertainment at every moment of our days.  There is a TV on the gas pump that shows news and other clips of interest.  The first time I saw this I was a little ticked that I couldn’t have the outside noise while I pumped gas, have a few minutes away from the constant bombardment.

Tonight, when I stopped for gas I heard an interesting article about instagram.  Apparently they have a lot of people who use instagram. Try 300 million!

What if all those users took a stand for something they believed in as opposed to making it all about themselves?

I have to say I post pictures of food, my cats, kids, and random tchotchkes.  Every once in a while (when it isn’t Dressember) I post pictures of myself but usually there are other people in the pictures.

I had an immediate thought while I was at the gas station: what if all 300 million people posted about freeing slaves once an hour, a day, a week, or even a month?  What if?  People I talk to are surprised that I am doing this project.  Maybe because it is me or the dresses.  I think it is more because of the slaves.  It is something we teach our children is history.  It is the now story though and needs to be addressed.

I know I cannot save everyone who is enslaved but with your help I can help to rescue one. Go to my Dressember donation site, say a fervent prayer for those enslaved, or go and check out the IJM website to see what else you can do to make a difference.

I know today’s blog wasn’t really moving or an epiphany like past posts but seriously, if we are on social media’s we shouldn’t just play the PC line and “not step on toes” but try to show people how much we can love others and use it to help as many as we can.

I am working on it and trying to be brave by stepping out. You should join me.

Exhausted on day 12

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I am exhausted. Like take a nap at work exhausted (I didn’t BTW). There is no reason for me to be exhausted. None at all, but I am exhausted. I started my day planning my nap.

I woke up this morning so tired. I was also cold.  I stumbled out of bed and to the shower.  Turned it on so the water, warm in the basement, could travel up the pipes, cold from disuse for the past 24 hours, and be moderately warm when it hit my back as I washed myself for the day ahead.  The water covered me with warmth like bed sheets keeping me from the cold December morning. I don’t remember most of my shower. My eyes were burning like I hadn’t slept in days. I felt like the morning after being up all night for finals, a baby who wouldn’t sleep, or any number of other reasons people don’t sleep and feel tired in the morning.

I thought about that nap all day. I left work on time and went to my mom’s to take a nap but instead ended up doing other things. When I left to go get my son at school I napped(-ish) while I waited for him to come to the car. Then headed to target for milk (I have teenage boys,  need I say more?). Finally. I get home and to my bed. A nap!

But that was to be put off so I could help get something from the carport and into the basement. Finally, after wanting a nap since 545 this morning….at 455 this evening I get a nap. A laying down, under covers, pillow under head nap. But I could only rest for 20 minutes because I had a wedding rehearsal to go to.

Normally this sort of day would be one to complain about due to having to cram so much into one day. But reflecting on my purpose this month I have no reason to complain.

I get to choose all of those things. I have the luxury of napping. I have the luxury of buying milk for my children. I have the luxury of attending weddings and celebrating beautiful things.

All of this because of a nap.  I wanted to just nap.  I had the blessing of working with students all day at a job I enjoy.  I could quit if I wanted to do so.  No-one would track me down if I quit.  I would be able to find another job with reasonable ease.  I may even make more money at the new job.  I am truly blessed.

In case you haven’t noticed I am raising money for IJM to free people from bondage.  People who do not have the luxury of showers, warm comfy beds, jobs they want to go to in the morning, weddings to attend, and so many things I often take for granted.

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Today’s dress is a repeat.  I am already deciding what next year’s campaign will look like.  I don’t know if in a year I will finally be brave enough to wear the same dress 31 days in a row.  That is a big commitment with all the holiday festivities and teaching high school.  Making the commitment this year to participate in the adventure has been eye opening and refreshing for me.  I am so glad I am not even half way done and more is yet to come. The writing every day is helping me stay focused to my purpose.  If even one person can be freed during the campaign then that one starfish has been saved. I don’t want to take things for granted any more.

That being said, I am still exhausted and I have another long day ahead tomorrow.  I am going to bed.

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday the 11th day of dresses

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If today’s dress looks familiar, that’s because it is.  I wore it on Saturday.  I have had people comment on how they don’t have 31 dresses or how they just could’t do this because they would be uncomfortable.

Last year, I thought the same thing and that is what kept me from participating in Dressember last year.  Quite frankly, if this Dressember event was only about fashion or a dress I wouldn’t be participating in it.  I am not one for being fashionable (enjoying fashion is another story!  I love seeing amazing designers work come down a runway).  I am typically a “is it clean? I’m wearing it” kinda girl.  It really doesn’t even matter to me if I match, Because matching is, well, overrated IMHO.

I also don’t like to do things because the crowd does them.  This however, is very different.  I am wearing dresses because other people in the world are disenfranchised and need a voice.  I have a voice and it has an audience.  It may be a small audience of 10-15 per day but it may grow it ways I couldn’t imagine.

Here’s where I tell the starfish story.

Each year in my sophomore class I have my student’s do a county required research paper.  Topics have included but are not limited to: what college do you want to go to, what do you want to be when you grow up, where do you come from, how to buy a bed (or other furniture), etc.

Anyway, last year I began to hear more and more about people around the world who were hurting.  Why hadn’t I heard about them prior to this or maybe it just didn’t register with me (self-centered often?)? In January of 2014 I got the book The Locust Effect and I have to be honest, I have yet to read past page 20 it is a raw and tough book to read.  All the sorrow and suffering contained in those first few pages was enough for me at this point (I will try to finish it because it is important information).

I shared a few statistics from the book with my students because last year I decided the random research paper needed to be something of worth and my students wrote papers about social change.  They were in awe with the statistics and the paper idea.

To encourage their teen abilities (because they are larger than we give them credit) I told them the starfish story:

A couple was walking down the beach in the coming darkness of evening.  Every few minutes the man bent over to pick something up and throw it in the water.  This happened 5 or 6 times before the woman asked, “What are you throwing in the water? Shouldn’t you put that in the trash?” The man didn’t immediately answer but continued walking and leaned over again shortly to pick something up and showed it to the woman. “See, it’s a starfish.” And with that he threw the starfish back in the water.  The couple continued walking along the shore line and again the man bent over to pick up a starfish.  The lady asked, “Why are you wasting your time?  It is likely that the starfish is already dead.” The man took the flash light that they had been using to help them see a few feet in front of them and show the beam out farther down the surf.  “See all the other starfish that are out there? What if they aren’t dead yet and just need help getting back in the water? They all need help. While I may not be able to save all of them, if I try and save one or two or as many as I am able, I have made a difference for those starfish.”  With that the lady bent over and picked up a starfish and threw it in the water too.  “Now there will be twice as many starfish that will be saved” she said as they continued to walk along the beach picking up starfish and throwing them in the ocean as they went.

You may have heard that story before. My students hadn’t. I embellish it and change it a little bit every time I tell it but the basic story stays the same: you only need to rescue what you can and that will be enough. My students took away the biggest part, they can be world changers even if they only reach one person with their desire to make change in the world.  You never know what will happen with that one person, how far their reach will go.

IJM does what it can but it can only do so much without the help of people like you and me.  We are the other person and IJM is the man throwing the starfish.  We think he is crazy for a few minutes and then realize his work is important to the greater good of the world.

What greater good will you do today?  Will you learn more about IJM’s purpose?  Will you pray about the people that IJM helps free from suffering and slavery?  Will you donate to the cause through my giving site on dressember? Will you find and read The Locust Effect? (link to my daughters bookstore website is HERE) What will you do?  Please help in some way. There are people out there who need a voice.  Be their voice.

Day 10

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Today is the beginning of a very busy set of days for me.  I won’t bore you with the details.

I have nothing profound to say today.

I feel bad for that.

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Me and mah honks!

 

 

What I do have is support.  A feeling that I am cared for. A knowledge that I am loved.

That in and of itself is a profound statement.  If you have that you have a lot more than many people in the world have.

That is what I have for today.  I know it isn’t much where the written word is considered but it is a lot in the grand scheme of things.

There are people in the world who don’t even have the support of their parents or other family members, let alone friends who they can count on for love and support.

Support is a big deal for everyone on the planet.  It reminds us that we are important, because we are.  Every one of us is important (yes, even the ones we don’t like). We all have purpose and will impact someone on this planet.

If I could have a wish granted (that didn’t have all the movie caveats) it would be that the world would be free of slavery by the time that the pope has proposed and that all the people who are now free would have support.  That they would have at least one person they could look to and say, “They care about me. I matter to them.”

But what do they say about wishes? If wishes were horses, beggars would ride?

Instead, we work tirelessly to work toward justice.  To find a way to support those who cannot support themselves.

The way I am working toward this end is by wearing dresses this Dressember.

How can you help?

Check out the IJM website to learn about advocacy, donate to my Dressember campaign, and or pray.

Monday #2!

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I had an epiphany today at work.

The announcements for the day ahead came on at 7:32 right after the pledge of allegiance and moment of silence.  One of them was about a collection for donations to the local animal shelter and, if memory serves, it said “bring in warm soft blankets for poor puppies and kitties at the shelter so they can have a safe and warm holiday.”  Do dogs celebrate holidays?  Do cats? How do you wish an animal happy holiday and what is that holiday called? What kind of traditions are included in these holidays? How do the blankets make the animals in the shelter safe?

Ok before I continue, I feel I must say these two things so you don’t think I am heartless towards animals who have no voice….

I honor the school club that is taking donations for the animal shelter.  I think it is a good thing to take care of animals we have deemed domesticated in our US culture. I am glad it is something the students can buy into and feel a sense of philanthropy.  It is a good thing to collect these blankets.

I have two cats who rule the house.  The kitties were found and rescued from New Orleans after Katrina hit. I love them.  They are very important to me. Their desire to sit on my lap or the keyboard of the computer while I am working is very endearing.  I have a neighbor who has dogs and they are the sweetest things ever!  I grew up with a cute little black cocker spaniel and then when I was in college my parents got a dalmatian that helped teach my kids to walk (not really but she treated them like they were her puppies). I think animals love their humans.  Who else always greets us at the door no matter how long we have been gone from home?  Who isn’t afraid of us when we have the flu and will sleep curled up even when we are so ill we can’t reciprocate? Their love knows no bounds. They are important to our way of life.  We, as people living in the US, find them necessary and often as important as humans.  What other culture has cards for “grandcats” or “granddogs” (the pets of your children who may or may not have children)? Just saying.

As I was saying, before I got distracted, we were in school this morning…..

My first period was taking a test so I had some time to muse.

In second period I had to teach but luckily we were talking about The Canterbury Tales. I love Chaucer! I began to think back to the satire presented in many of the characterizations and one in particular, the Nun’s characterization. He like this character but finds some of her choices to be a bit odd for her profession.

I don’t want to go into detail or bore you with a lecture about the nun but, the short version is – Chaucer was pointing out that she loved animals so much that she fed her doggies fancy foods and became distraught when mice (who carried many diseases) were ensnared in a trap.  Her job as a nun in the 1300’s was to care for the poor, ill, widowed, orphans, among other disenfranchised people of the time. She doesn’t seem to be good at her job as Chaucer never mentions her taking care of humans at all.

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Excerpt from The Prologue of The Canterbury Tales The characterization of the nun

 

As I was reading and considering this passage I began to think about our US culture.  Most of us aren’t nuns so maybe it isn’t our “job” to care for the disenfranchised. Maybe that’s why it seems that we care for animals so much but have a hard time believing that there are 29.8 million people held in slavery today. The staggering number of people that are held with out their consent is mind numbing, and it is so much easier to ignore it than it is to face.  So instead of talking about how to solve human suffering we talk about how to help animals in need.

This month I am wearing dresses every day, all day to bring awareness to human trafficking in the world.  I realize I am blessed to live in a country where I can choose what to wear, who to worship, to work outside the home or inside, to go out with ma honks on a Friday night , & so many other freedoms that are taken for granted every day.  I do not like to wear dresses. But every day I am considering the freedom more and more, to be able to choose whether I like wearing a dress or not.  This adventure is so much more than just a dress even after just 8 days of participation.  It is an awakening to a world that is in need.  It is an awakening I needed.

Will you help?  Here is a link to my donation site. If you are unable to give check out the IJM website and learn more about the very real tragedy of modern day human trafficking.  It is clear and present danger to many around the world.  Do not hold blind eyes to it any longer.

And because I am wearing dresses all month…here is today’s picture:

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