“…a little bit of this, a little bit of that”

the ramblings and musings of an elementary music teacher and aunt extraordinaire

Already falling behind…. January 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 4:11 pm

I’m doing my best to keep up with the post a week thing, but January took off running before I was ready for it.

Really, I don’t know how my life got so crazy. The other day, I got a haircut. As I sat in the hairdresser’s chair, she asked me what was going on with me. It took me a little while to answer because I feel like I’m going constantly, but it was hard to put into words just what keeps me so busy. And I decided, that’s probably not a good thing. So, I’m analyzing the busy-ness to see what is necessary and what is just busy because I feel unnecessarily obligated.

That brings me to the post I mentioned last time. I’d like to put into writing some of my goals for 2011. Some are a little more frivolous than other, but here they are:

1. Continue weekly weigh-ins. I did well with the weight loss and fitness in 2010, and I don’t want to fall back. I used Weight Watchers online, and I loved it. The weekly weigh-ins kept me accountable, and I feel like they will be a very good habit as I switch to maintenance mode.

2. Stick to regular Bible reading plan. I started with an online program for getting through the Bible in one year. I’ve attempted these plans other years, but I haven’t made it completely yet. Since I do much better at keeping up with reading emails and my favorite blogs, I decided to make that work for me. This program allows me to subscribe via RSS, so I’m having it sent to my reader.  So far, it has been a great solution to keeping me up-to-date.

3. Consolidate my piano lessons.  Right now, my lessons are a little scattered.  I scheduled people per their requests when they spoke to me. That left me with some weird gaps.  Also, the new method encourages learning in groups, because it fosters creativity, helps avoid performance anxiety, and allows more fun, etc. So, I’m working on ways to make this happen.

4. Save up enough to replace the rest of my windows on my house.  I was able to get new windows on the front of the house, and their is a huge difference in the draft factor between the front half and the back half of the house.  So, I’m working hard to get the ones on the back replaced, too.

5.  Finish completely unpacking!  I’ve moved many, many, many times.  I counted 25 different homes/apts. where I’ve lived in my life. Those are just the ones I remember.  This means I hesitate to really settle in any place. I need to get over that.  I need to completely unpack and stop holding onto things that I might sometime use if I move to another  place.

6.  Finish a few more 5Ks.  I haven’t set an official number on this, but I’m beginning to really enjoy running, and I’m clearly feeling the health benefits.  So, I’d like to participate in a few more races.

7.  Cook the majority of my meals at home. Sadly, as I get busy, I fall back on nasty fast-food.  My goal is to make plans to eat better at home even in my busiest times of life.

This list pretty well covers my goals.  I may modify this a little, but I think this pretty well covers it.  Now to do it.


for Auld Lang Syne January 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 12:35 am

Yes, I had to use that phrase that so few people understand….. I learned this a few years ago from one of the music textbooks in my classroom.  “Auld Lang Syne” means “old time’s sake.”  The song is all about reflecting on the past, and that’s exactly what I like to do at this time every year.  2010 was a very interesting and challenging year for me. If I try to sum it up, it will either be completely incoherent or novel-length, so I’m going to list my highlights–highs, lows, significant, and mundane.

  • Started the year living at my parent’s house while house hunting
  • Bought a house in January
  • Moved into the house in the first week in April
  • Got serious about weight loss and fitness
  • Lost 35 lbs. and 22 inches
  • Woke up on Labor Day and decided to start running
  • Officially became a runner
  • Ran my first 5k on Nov. 20th
  • Paid off the last of my credit card debt that had been hanging over my head since a period of underemployment 7 years ago
  • Started a new piano teaching method, Simply Music–By the way, I LOVE it!
  • Started a 1-year Bible reading program
  • Made it to about May.  (This was the first time I attempted this type of program. I loved it while I did it, but sadly, let other life get in the way. I’ll be trying again this year.)
  • Survived and started another school year
  • Shocked myself by realizing how much I enjoy my job
  • Travelled absolutely nowhere!–This is very unusual for me.  This is probably the first year that has happened since I was in elementary school.  I could say for sure I took trips every year since late elementary school, because I remember most of them. It’s possible that 2010 was the first year ever in my life that I didn’t travel, but I’m not exactly sure.
  • Saw miraculous answers to prayers several times this year
  • Welcomed a new nephew on Christmas day! –This makes me an aunt 12 times over (or 14, depending on how you count–it’s a little confusing.)

That’s all of the major stuff I can remember right now.  Overall, it was a pretty good year—a year of personal growth, personal challenges, small victories, growth, miracles, and answered prayer.  [In a later post, I’ll list some of my goals for 2011.  I’m not really a resolution maker, because I feel like that tends to set me up for failure. However, I do like to balance my evaluation of the year that just ended with a little glimpse at what I’d like to see in the year ahead.]  I’m looking forward to seeing where the Lord will take me in 2011!


I’m in! January 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 4:29 pm

I’m signing up for the WordPress weekly post challenge. This will not be the post for this week, because that would be a lame cop-out, but I think the weekly goal is a good, manageable challenge for me. So, here goes!


My new favorite thing August 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 9:14 pm

Please forgive this little commercial, but I have found something I love. I get no compensation for this promotion. I simply love it too much to keep it to myself.  It’s goat milk soap, and you can find out all about it at goatmilkstuff.com.  Back when I lived in NJ, I went to church with lots of great people.  One family in particular was very memorable.  I knew them, but mostly because one of my dearest friends is a mutual friend of theirs.  Since that time, we’ve all moved away from NJ, but I’ve been able to follow their story through our mutual friend.  She’d tell me about each of their new children. (They have eight.) She told me they’d moved to Southern Indiana. When she told me they had gotten some animals on a farm, I was not at all surprised.  When she told me that PJ, the mom, had started making her own soap, it seemed like par for the course. I had known PJ to be very driven and resourceful, even making all her own yogurt. Then, PJ’s homemade soap turned into a business.  Then, I started hearing from all of my mutual friends who had tried the soap.  They were raving about it. Finally, I tried it myself.

It came in the mail and I couldn’t stop sniffing the box. It looked very cool, and it smelled amazing! (I borrowed the picture from my sister. I hadn’t thought enough to get a photo, and after my raves she ordered, so I borrowed hers.)  Then, I tried it.  It felt great on my skin in the shower. I don’t know exactly why, but I felt cleaner after the first shower.  I knew my skin felt great, but three days later while I was watching a movie at my sister’s house, I caught myself rubbing my arms, because the soap had made them feel so amazingly soft.  The most amazing thing is that even my elbows were soft.  That might not seem like much to you, but that has never been true for me before. Since then, I’ve gone on to try the laundry stain treatment stick and the laundry soap.  Both things cleaned better than anything I’ve ever tried on laundry.  I tried a bath bomb. It left me smelling heavenly, and it left my skin feeling like silk. I’ve tried the lotion stick and have nothing but good to say about it.  I tried the bug off lotion while picking blueberries with my mom and sister.  They used traditional bug spray and got eaten alive while the lotion kept me from getting any bites at all.  I also haven’t smelled a single one of their scents that I didn’t like.  They give three free sample bars of soap with every order. They are great for travel, but they also help me try lots of scents.  (I intend to eventually try every one.)  They are constantly trying new formulas to be able to expand their product line–they’re currently testing shampoo and body wash. I, for one, will continue to be a loyal customer and will be quickly willing to try new products. I have loved everything I’ve tried, and  I know that everything they make will be great quality.


Change of plans July 20, 2010

Filed under: family,what I'm learning — marlise @ 11:24 pm

Do you ever have the kind of day where what actually happens doesn’t look a thing like your to-do list for the day?  Well, today was that kind of day for me, and I have to admit I kinda thought it was awesome.  Normally, I have morning piano lessons on Tuesday, but for this week, one student was out of town and the other planned to come in the afternoon.  So, I slept in a little bit.  I got up around 8:30 and worked out. I’ve gotten back into Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.  So, working out means as little clothing as possible, lots of sweat, and lots of pain.  After working out, I sat in front of my window air conditioner in my shorts and sports bra while eating my breakfast.  My plan after that was to run some errands, do some laundry, and clean before an appointment at noon. I had just finished my last bite of breakfast when I heard a knock at the door.

One down-side of my new place is that my front door has no peephole.  It has a window, but the window is too high for anyone shorter than 6 feet to see anybody on the other side of the door.  So, I ran down the hallway to grab a t-shirt from my bedroom so I could be at least a tiny bit less indecent when I opened the door.  I opened the door just in time to see a Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet drop to the ground.  By then, it was too late to do anything but talk to the gentleman on my front step.  The pamphlet read, “Is God really there?” He explained that some people think that with all the catastrophes in the world, God has abandoned us.  I said, “I very strongly believe God is very much involved in our world today.” He seemed stunned by that response. The conversation that followed was very interesting.  The gentleman, Harry, told me of his conversion.  He was Jewish, and lived on a kibbutz in Israel in the early 70s. He had also been quite a gambler. Then, one night, someone gave him a KJV New Testament. He read in there that he needed to ask Jesus into his heart. He said he did so and God immediately removed his desire to gamble.  Then, three days later a Jehovah’s Witness approached him and he converted. I was intrigued by his story but also very saddened. He had come so close to the Truth, but he just kept going a bit too far.  We talked for quite a while about his belief that a literal hell does not exist. He also talked about His belief that while Jesus is God’s Son, he is not actually God. For everything he tried to say, Harry would quote little tidbits of Scripture. I would finish the verses he started, and sometimes the part I used to finish the verse contradicted what he was saying. After quite a lengthy, but friendly, discussion, he thanked me for my time and for challenging him, told me he had really enjoyed the discussion and offered me the pamphlet as he went to leave.  I politely declined and waved goodbye.

A few things struck me about this conversation. First, I felt a little inadequate and embarrassed at how little Scripture I could recall to direct him to real truth. Secondly, I was encouraged that he really enjoyed talking to me even though I openly disagreed with him on most of his points. In spite of my inadequacies, God could be working still through that conversation. That thought was incredibly encouraging and invigorating to me.

At this point, it was nearly 11, and I still looked a mess from my workout. I quickly hopped in the shower and got cleaned up and dressed to be decent for the noon appointment. The appointment was a window salesman.  This was a result of a card I filled out at the county fair last week. I had entered a drawing for new windows, and they were following up on every entry with a sales call. I agreed to let them come do a free estimate. I knew that I couldn’t afford to replace all the windows in my house right now, but I was curious to hear the estimate because I’d like to replace them eventually, and I needed to know at least a rough idea of how to plan.

The salesman showed up and did his whole demonstration.  He was very excited to find out that I was a Christian school teacher. In fact, I had to move my Bible over on the kitchen table so that he could set up his display, and that made him even more excited to see my Bible.  He told me his testimony, too. He had been an Army ranger and a rough person before his conversion. He stayed and talked of God and spiritual issues for 2 1/2 hours. He left incredibly disappointed that I didn’t agree to buy any windows right then and there.

Now, it was 2:30 and I had piano students coming at 4. So, I grabbed a quick lunch, did the load of laundry that I had planned for the morning and spent the rest of the time cleaning and fielding three unexpected phone calls. I taught the lessons and headed to meet with my Bible study group.  I’ve had the privilege of leading a study group of awesome ladies since last fall. God drew this group together and created some incredible friendships. We are still meeting during the summer to just keep up on each other’s lives, but it’s very casual and very little real studying right now. Tonight, I was thrilled to hear what God is doing in their lives.

I may or may not get to my grocery shopping tomorrow. There will be another window salesman here at 1 tomorrow afternoon.  Hopefully, this one won’t take quite as long.  For today, I’m just thrilled at how God dropped so many unplanned items onto my agenda. I know it might sound strange, but I was thrilled to know that God orchestrated all those things to happen on the same day. I was also humbled at how ill-prepared I felt. I’m praying that I can depend more fully on God and become better and better prepared to answer His unexpected appointments in my days.

P.S.  I also just found out that my youngest sister is expecting another baby. This will be her fourth under 4 years old. We couldn’t be more thrilled! I was just telling someone tonight, and it still sounds so strange….Nine years ago, I didn’t have any nieces or nephews at all. Today, my sister is expecting my 12th, and I am a great-aunt twice over.  How did that happen?!?  It’s crazy!!!


Fireworks July 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 10:23 am

Fireworks displays are much more entertaining when narrated by a feisty 3-year-old. Actually, now that I think about it, it might just be my niece. Last year she was only two, and she made the show extra-entertaining. Last year, after every single blast, she said (in her best “wowed” voice) “Whoa! That was good one!”

This year brought just as many good quotes. Some came from her and a few memorable ones came from adults.

On Monday night, we got together with all of the family who was in town. My brother-in-law had gotten quite a stash of fireworks. (BTW, Indiana’s fireworks laws are pretty awesome.)  His good friend had also gotten a large stash. So we decided that combining the shows, parties, and families for the evening would make the show and celebration even better.

We all headed to the seriously-mosqito-infested yard in the country to have space to set off the explosions. Here is just a small sample of the quotes heard during the evening’s activities:

  • After the pyromaniacs in charge of the display said something about “The paper, the paper!” One of the adults responded, “What? Justin Bieber?” My 3-year-old niece yelled, “Justin Bieber! Justin Bieber!….[pause]….but I don’t like beavers!”
  • “That was TOTALLY WICKED!!!”  [Also heard from my 3-year-old niece, after several explosions.]
  • “I’m tired, but I don’t want to yawn, because I’m afraid a mosquito would fly into my mouth.” [This came from an adult.]
  • Regarding an adult who will remain unnamed: “Why are you standing all the way over there?”  Response:  “Because I have mosquito bites in places I can’t scratch where everyone can see me.”

Ant update June 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 2:39 pm

I almost forgot to update….

My kitchen seems to be completely ant-free!  The vinegar seems to have done the trick.  I also found another tip online that suggested borax.  I’ve been using it for laundry for a while, so I had plenty on hand.  Since they seemed to be coming in by the baseboard, the tip suggested putting some of the borax in a turkey baster and using that to get the powder into the cracks.  It seems to have worked!