Returning to where it all started

In a previous blog post, I wrote about the opportunity to return “home” after losing my Dad in June 2015. Here is part of it:

       Once back home in Norman, I dove into work and also into helping to plan the 50th anniversary of my grammar school.  One of my former teachers and I exchanged texts and emails on a daily basis trying to put together what we wanted to be a memorable, fun event.  As with most everything she does, she sets the bar high.  This was no different…and she met those very high expectations quite easily (well-done, Ardie Herring).  The evening was a success filled with alumni ranging graduates of the 1970’s to 2000’s and teachers, both current and former (including one we hadn’t seen in 27 years).  This short weekend “home” (to San Antonio) increased my pull even more to be there on a more permanent basis and I headed back to Norman this time with a determination to do whatever it took to move closer to family.  In late October, I received a text from that same former teacher I helped with the reunion (see how it pays off to keep in touch) about an opening at my old grammar school.  A week later, I interviewed with the committee and a few days after that, I accepted the job of Admissions Director.  Two weeks later, my house was ready to be put on the market and my Mom, middle sister and I drove two cars full of my things down to San Antonio.

I have now been on the job and back home 11 months and am so grateful for the opportunity. My days fly by and I am immersed in many different aspects of the school that gave so much to me a long time ago. People frequently ask me what it’s been like to now work for a school that I once attended. Invariably, I’ll smile and respond with this, “The experience has been really neat. I won’t lie-I do find it weird at times to be back here, on the other side. But I love that the reputation of this school is still strong. My hope is that the kids who come here have the same experience I do.”

Sure, I was one of those girls who “played school” in my room but did I picture myself getting a Masters degree in Higher Education in Oklahoma only to return to my grammar school to use it? Heck no. God has a funny way of planting new opportunities right smack in front of us when we least expect it. I went from working with 18-25 year-olds to working around 3 year-olds to 15 year-olds. My day starts with greeting kids and getting them out of the car to putting them back in the car in the afternoon. My favorite part of the day, as crazy as this sounds (and if you saw it in person, you’d understand the chaos), is when my co-worker and I supervise sibling care…the holding tank if you will. This is the area those kids who have a sibling in middle school wait with us until the bigger kids are dismissed. The grades range from PK3-4th grade. The little ones are adorable. They tell you about their day and are such little innocent sponges.  I love getting hugs from the first and second graders (I’m no longer the new person whom they don’t know-yay!!).

As I noted earlier, on tours, prospective parents enjoy hearing that I went to school at Holy Spirit. They ask what has changed, what brought me back here and if I would send my own kids here (if I had children). Without a doubt, the answer is yes. When I walk into classrooms and see the way our kidimg_4237s are behaving, the respect they have for adults when they walk into a room makes me very proud. Come to think of it, they make my job easy too.

So as I near my one year anniversary, I am simply grateful for having this opportunity.  Be ready for those unexpected moments-you never know what’s around the bend and are usually glad you turned the corner to find out

 

Read, Write and Get Paid…wait, what?

I would bet that, like me, that are many people out there who love reading books and also enjoy writing as well.  The two things tend to go hand-in-hand.  Many instances after reading a really good book, I’ve wrote a blog about it or shared my experience on Facebook to let others know they should read or download the book.  Have you ever wanted to let an author know they really did a great job of capturing your attention and hooked you as a reader?  Imagine if there was an opportunity that you could get paid for doing just that.  Well, actually there is….Online Book club, an internet community for book lovers, has a chance for readers who are interested in writing reviews to get paid to do so.  This intrigued me because well, as we know, I love to read…and write and have been told I’m not too bad at it.  If you are interested in learning more, click here.

Product Review: Roku & Sling TV

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of paying an arm and a leg for cable television.  I kept hearing about Sling TV and “cutting the cord.”  At first, I was hesitant because I was pretty spoiled from Direct TV and having so many channels at my finger tips.  What I realized, however, is that between Netflix and the channels Sling offers, I would be just fine.  So as of a week ago, I did indeed “cut the cord.”  I already had a Roku stick so I hooked that up to my tv and signed up for Sling.  Granted, I don’t get all the channels I had before, but they’ll do for now.  My bill will be a flat $40/month and I am just fine with that.

Anyone else cut the cord and happy  with the results?  By the way, Roku products can be ordered here:
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Book Review: Murder on Moonshine Hill

I had the pleasure of reading this book in advance of its publish date.  I would encourage all of you to download it on August 23rd when it is released.  You will thoroughly enjoy the latest from Joan C. Curtis.  Here is my review:

Riveting and engaging from the start, Murder on Moonshine Hill is yet another book of Joan Curtis’ one can’t put down. Thrust back into the never dull life of Jenna Scali, the reader follows her along as Jenna reconnects with an old friend she hasn’t seen in years. Being invited to her wedding after years of being apart has Jenna curious enough to grab her go-to buddy Quentin and head for the mountains of North Carolina. The trip is full of mystery as she arrives at the somewhat secluded hotel for the weekend. What was intended to be a short trip quickly turned into a maze of questions and drama surrounding the surprise murder of someone in the immediate group.  Not one to shy away from a good scoop, Jenna goes into detective mode and grows closer to her friend in ways she didn’t see coming. This book keeps you guessing and glued to the story of friendship, murder, suspense and more. Well done Joan Curtis!

This book can be purchased on Amazon: //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=marystwocents-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01HWOR4J6&asins=B01HWOR4J6&linkId=2f005fe2004ad270b4c50de872e240cb&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF

May Crowning

flowers from May CrowningSo often we go through the motions of life, not really fully appreciating the little moments right in front of us. We’re so anxious to hurry up and get done and move onto the next thing. If we’re not careful, life will pass us by and we’ll be stuck wondering “What just happened?” This past Wednesday at the Holy Spirit School weekly mass, we held the traditional Crowning of the Blessed Mother. I knew vaguely what was going to happen but when I walked into the church to find our middle schoolers gathered in the back by the baptismal fountain with a flower in one hand, and clutching their buddy’s hand, I couldn’t help but smile. The entrance hymn started and the procession began. 8th grade teachers and staff watched with pride as a mix of students walked hand-in-hand with their buddies down the aisle. Cell phones and cameras were raised to capture the moment and parents beamed. I turned to my Mom and said, “I don’t remember doing that when I was here.” Apparently my Mom’s memory and that of my 5th grade teacher’s is better than mine as they both agreed we did in fact participate in May Crowning. Well, regardless, this year’s was absolutely beautiful. Thanks to this job, I have been able to sit back and appreciate all the different ways that our school commemorates events like this. When I saw our 8th graders walk down the aisle, with their buddy looking up at them in awe, I simply smiled. Shortly after returning to my office, I immediately sent out an email to our Middle School Religion teacher (aka my 5th grade teacher) and a few other key individuals telling them congrats on a job well done.

In this thing called life, let’s remember to soak up the little moments….

Looking Back on 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, I thought this was a good time to reflect and look back on an eventful year.  One of the many “highs” of the year was my trip to Hawaii in early February to cheer on the OU Softball team in their first games of the season.  From the team starting off with many wins, to learning (read: attempting) to snorkel, to stopping multiple times along coastline to take breathtaking photos, soaking up history at Pearl Harbor…the trip was a blast and one I’d repeat in a heartbeat.

hawaii 2015

View from room at Hilton Hawaiian Village

While that was only the beginning of 2015, the year seemed to go by fast and with a monumental event like losing a parent, you realize just how fast life can go.  From early spring, we knew my Dad’s days were numbered and saw this as an opportunity to start preparing ourselves (not everyone has this chance and we were grateful for the time).  Dad started to go downhill and throughout the whole ordeal of being on hospice, he maintained a great attitude, still having the energy to roll his eyes and yell at the TV for some political comment made on Fox News.  Dad passed peacefully on June 6th and with no regrets.  We were so touched by all the phone calls, notes and people showing up at the various services to be there for us.  My sisters and I were once again able to see just how many lives our parents have touched.

Once back home in Norman, I dove into work and also into helping to plan the 50th anniversary of my grammar school.  One of my former teachers and I exchanged texts and emails on a daily basis trying to put together what we wanted to be a memorable, fun event.  As with most everything she does, she sets the bar high.  This was no different…and she met those very high expectations quite easily (well-done, Ardie Herring).  The evening was a success filled with alumni ranging graduates of the 1970’s to 2000’s and teachers, both current and former (including one we hadn’t seen in 27 years).  This short weekend “home” (San Antonio) increased my interest even more to be there on a more permanent basis and I headed back to Norman this time with a determination to do whatever it took to move closer to family.  In late October, I received a text from a former teacher (see how it pays off to keep in touch) about an opening at my old grammar school.  A week later, I interviewed with the committee and a few days after that, I accepted the job of Admissions Director.  Two weeks later, my house was ready to be put on the market and my Mom, middle sister and I drove two cars full of my things down to San Antonio.

While we knew it would be hard, we also made this past Thanksgiving an inspirational and productive one.  For a while now, my middle sister Kathy wanted to do something to honor our Dad.  After bouncing a few ideas around, putting them on paper and getting the green light from her very practical husband, our new venture of Live.Simple was born.  I would love for you all to read “Our Story” about how it all began.candle

I’ve been told that all of the “firsts” are hard…holidays, birthdays and various events without those people we’ve lost.  The tears Continue reading

Elsa & Fred

Dear Friends,

Due to Norman and the state of Oklahoma turning into a winter wonderland yesterday, I had the day off thanks to our conscientious university president, David Boren.  At first when I woke up to find no freezing rain, I shook my head and wondered why school was cancelled.  But as I slowly made my way to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee and proceeded to enjoy 2 full, uninterrupted hours of my favorite morning show, CBS This Morning, I began to be okay with not having to rush into the shower and off to work.  I sipped my coffee in peace and eventually thanked President Boren for the unexpected day off.  After catching up on a few of my recorded shows like Downton Abbey, I decided to flip on over to Netflix.  One of the first suggestions that came on the screen was Elsa & Fred.  I clicked to read more though it didn’t take me long to want to watch.  As if the sweet, romantic plot wasn’t enough, here is the list of main characters: Christopher Plummer, Shirley MacLaine, Marcia Gay Harden and Christopher Noth.  Need I say more?  I have always been a sucker for romantic comedies and good dramatic movies and this certainly met my expectations.  I won’t spoil the movie but here’s the gist: Elsa (played by MacLaine) befriends her new neighbor (Plummer) by getting him out of his apartment and brings him out of his crusty-like appearance.  The two end up being great companions for each other and falling in love.  I would highly encourage you to watch it sometime.  The acting is great, plot is good and cast…well, they’re all award-winners so you can’t go wrong there.

Oh, and a shout out to my friend Betsy who has a movie blog of her own.  I certainly don’t have the vast knowledge she does of movies.  You should check out her list of suggestions and critique of movies.

Stay warm!

Mary