Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas from Target (and other post-Christmas funsies)

So. Maybe you heard about the Target debacle. If not, let me recap this sad story: 

Multi-billion dollar retail store, loved and adored by many, skimps on security, allowing the identities of millions of loyal patrons to be compromised, subsequently ensuring that said patrons are in serious debt over the course of the biggest American holiday of the year. 

This is a true story, ladies and gentlemen. Worse? Your girl got the short end of the stick….all because I’m in love with the bullseye! 

A few weeks ago I was dawdling on my lunch break at work and decided to check the state of my finances. Upon investigation I noticed that I had roughly $1000 worth of fraudulent charges on my credit card for….wait for it….. Tanning bed visits, used auto parts, and AA&T Trac Phone minutes. Serially?

So, I called my credit card company who issued me a new card, reimbursed the charges, and all was happily ever after (you rock, Capital One!) Until December 16, when, upon awakening from my slumber I discovered that my checking looked like this: 

This was my face: 

It’s now exactly 11 days later and after seven calls to the fraud services department and a two hour visit to my local branch, BB&T has finally decided to get their act together and reverse the charges that were made for Trac Phone minutes, and a Dish satellite bill among other things… but only after they tried to tell me I was responsible for the overdraft fees incurred as a result of the fraudulent charges.  Wrong.

Listen, identity theft is no laughing matter. To say this has been a nightmare would be a major understatement. Thankfully it’s all straightened out and I’m now in the positive again; however….the moral of this story is that BB&T has the worst customer service, and I need to start using cash. As for Target, their CEO, Mr. G. Steinhafel, is offering customers a 10% discount on purchases this weekend as a result of their trouble. Gag me, Gregg. 

In other news, post-Christmas days brought the wonderfully precious wedding of my sweet highschool/lifeguard friend, Arielle. Both the ceremony and the reception were held in a local coffee shop in Fayetteville, NC that she and her new husband decorated themselves. So. Sweet. They are absolutely precious together! Congrats Cody and Arielle! 

First dance

My handsome date

VCA ladies with the bride

What has the post holiday season not brought? Paper grading and other miscellaneous school “stuff”. I really had a plan for organization over break...but, obviously, a plan was as far as it went. Luckily, teachers in my county have an entire day devoted to planning on Thursday before students come back on Friday. It’ll all get done then, right?

It also hasn’t brought a playoff spot for the Steelers. Maybe next year.


Hope your post-holiday days are spectacular. Savor the last few minutes of 2013 -- do fun things. Laugh :)


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Thankfulness

Imagine this: you’re standing in front of The Top Thrill Dragster (a very huge roller coaster, FYI). You’re terrified, because, well, frankly, many things could go wrong (not the least of which are losing a limb or getting stuck mid-loop, but I digress…). You want desperately to ride because you’ve driven five hours to do so and all your friends are hounding you. Reluctantly, you proceed to stand in line for hours so that you can experience a 20 second, 100 MPH rocket ride at a 90 degree angle.

You wait in line (for six years, more or less) and out of nowhere, you’re in the front. It’s your turn. Then, you’re strapped in, panicking, not sure what to do with yourself. Mouth watering, eyes watering (hey man, I’m NOT crying….), lump in your throat, delirious from the horror about to ensure. And then, 3,2,1, takeoff! 

In a frenzy, you blink (half because you’re scared and need an excuse to close your eyes, and half because it’s a bodily requirement or something) and before you know it, you’re stepping off the ride. 

That moment when you’re walking back through the rat maze after the ride, scolding yourself for keeping your eyes closed the whole time, still walking a bit crooked because inertia is funny that way, already debating whether or not you want to risk life and limb again because it was exhilarating and the most thrilling and exciting thing you’ve ever done, but at the same time mentally and physically draining….that’s exactly what it feels like for a first year teacher to make it all the way to Christmas break. 

(This, friends, is the best metaphor you’ll ever read….revel in it….)

(Okay, that’s enough reveling)

Making it to Christmas break is a huge milestone. I left the building Friday feeling a bit euphoric: I’m at the halfway point! Just when I thought I might like to throw in the towel because one too many people forgot their homework,  surprise, Jesus was born so I get a break and stuff. Yay, Jesus! 

Seriously though, I'm so grateful for a break. The last week of school I literally felt like I was physically dragging myself to work (the hilarity of that image gets me every time...) In the past couple of months I have felt so stretched thin with responsibilities and requirements, and still trying to be an awesome teacher that I haven’t really let myself attend to thankfulness. I’ve been caught up in "busy stuff"... I feel like there’s always something that demands my time and attention (we all know how bad I am at grading essays…), and the everyday wonderment and excitement about the little things seems to have taken a back seat.  I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t even have time to participate in the November thankfulness series that made appearances across news feeds nation wide (although I do try to find something to be thankful for every day), and even more shamefully, I admit that I might have even fallen into the trap of becoming a bit grouchy with responsibility (don’t act like you’ve never done it!) 

Christmas break though has helped me to refocus my thankfulness — to take the time to remember all of my blessings and to truly delight in them. Even in spite of all the complaining I feel like I do because of the daily grind, I am overcome with thankfulness for each and every day and the struggles presented therein. Somedays the struggles are  minuscule (I’m still having copy machine issues, in case you’re wondering….), and some days they’re a bit bigger, but I am breathing and working and living and loving. For these blessings, I am thankful. 

Currently, I’m sitting in my mom’s kitchen, listening to the sound of her metal spoon stir our Christmas Eve dinner, my brother engrossed in a Duck Dynasty iPad app, my dad wrapping last minute gifts, and my sweet doggies resting as peaceful as the baby Jesus in the manger. Tonight I am thankful. For these people and their constant support — their constant words of encouragement on all of those days when I thought I might be a failure. For the past five months and the lessons they’ve born. For sweet, smiling, seventh graders and their enthusiasm about, well….everything. For my health. For passionate teachers that give the rest of us baby ducklings a ray of hope. For sweet new opportunities and possibilities. I am thankful. 

And to think, all of this was made possible by a King in a straw bed. Revel in his love….that’s the REAL blessing this Christmas. 

Wherever you are this Holiday season, take a minute to be thankful. Forget the paperwork sitting on your desk, the goals you have to meet, the meetings you’ll attend after the new year….and focus on this exact moment and the blessings that have made it possible.

With love,


But the angel said to them: "Do not be afraid for I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, The Lord.” — Luke 2:10-11