Monday, October 24, 2011

Finding my voice

It's been over two years since my first diagnosis with nodules on my vocal chords. Gotta tell ya, it's been an incredibly disappointing thing to struggle with. Everybody's got their issues. This is mine. I love to sing. I love to talk. I'm raising two very verbal and expressive girls and I can't for the life of me figure out how I would raise them without my voice.

My life has always centered around my voice. My singing has always defined my identity. I can't remember being asked what I like to do or what I'm good at without answering "singing!" right off the bat. The last couple of years has eliminated that for me. No more choir. No more solos. I participated in our church's Easter choir and it just about killed my voice. I had nothing coming out.

I know God has allowed this for me. He has greatly humbled me. But I'm glad to know I have a very full life, despite losing my ability to sing for now.

I remember being pregnant and watching women move in ways my body couldn't do, thinking, "will I ever be able to touch my toes again?" Lately I feel that way when I hear people sing! It feels like I can't even remember being able to sing all of those soprano lines that I sang so effortlessly all my life.

Well, enough whining. I saw the ENT again today. A camera tube was shoved up my nose and down my throat and he said, "yep. You have nodules." If he took them off through surgery, I would risk permanently altering or damaging my voice. No thank you.

My personality is energetic and expressive. My voice reflects that. I will be trying to put into practice all I know about singing correctly and applying it to my speaking voice. If you happen to be around me and I'm talking loudly, maybe tug on your ear and get my attention. Please don't tell me I'm talking too loud. It will just upset, embarrass, and possibly anger me. Tug on your ear and hopefully I'll take it gracefully and quiet down my voice. I so badly want my voice back!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hard thing about working

I love teaching math. I love building relationships with jr. high kids. I love the quiet moments of prep and grading I get to have at my desk in the mornings. I really hate not being super mom.

Besides just not having as much time as I would like to clean my house and plan meals, the only negative thing about my part-time teaching job is that I'm not as available for my older daughter. I haven't been able to volunteer in her classroom yet, although I'm hoping to soon. I don't get to take her to school and she goes to a friend's house for a half hour in the morning before being taken to school. Evidently, she's fine with going to school with a friend, but she doesn't want to tell her whole class that her mom doesn't take her to school. What's that about? Some kind a second-grade pride thing... And I missed her jog-a-thon. I would have taken the morning off and run with her, but I was already taking the next day off to go with her sister on a field trip, so I needed to be at work. So sad! She and I love to run together and that is totally something I would have been at if I hadn't been working! A friend took this picture of her at the jog-a-thon and I just had to share it. What a pretty girl! I'm not sorry I'm working. I love what I'm doing and I know God planned it for me. It is allowing Allie to have an amazing, Christ-centered kindergarten year and she has grown by leaps and bounds already in just one month. But you just can't have it all. I'm missing my first-born a little bit...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gotta love a crockpot

If you're pressed for time and love to make your family yummy, home-cooked meals and you AREN'T using your crockpot... well, you're just making your life much harder than it has to be! I'm working every morning now and usually don't get home until at least 12:30 - and that's if I was able to keep my afternoon free to be home. Yes, there have been a few more nights of corn dogs and even a take-out pizza here and there. But I am trying to think ahead and I found myself needing a few more recipes for the crockpot. I tried 2 last week and we really liked both of them.

Slow Cooked Mac and Cheese (call me terrible, but I got this out of a cookbook I bought as a wedding gift for someone. I had to look through it and write a few down before I gave it to her!)

1 pkg macaroni
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed cheese soup
1 cup milk
4 cups shredded cheese
1/8 tsp paprika

Cook macaroni and place in crockpot and add butter. Combine eggs, evap. milk, soup, milk, and 3 cups of cheese. Pour milk mixture over macaroni and stir. Cook on low for 4 hours and add rest of cheese; cook until melted.
*I didn't claim this to be a light dinner! You could lighten it with skim milk and the low fat evap. milk. I used cheddar cheese, but I think it would be yummy with pepper jack, too.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff
I got this idea from a random stranger. She suggested I look up a recipe for a crockpot chicken stroganoff. I finally tried it last week and it was really good!!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed but not cooked

1/8 cup margarine

1 (.7 oz) package of dry italian dressing mix

1 (8oz) package of cream cheese

1 can of cream of chicken soup

Cook cubed chicken with butter and dressing mix in crockpot on low for 5-6 hours. It sounds kinda weird with no liquid, but it worked well. Add cream cheese and soup and mix well (let it heat up a bit before you try to mix it too much). Continue cooking for another 1/2 hour or so, until all heated through. Serve over egg noodles.
*I got that off of, but it's not letting me post the link. There were some good suggestions for variations for this recipe. I think it's a winner!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Here's the proof

I have always loved Amy Grant. I grew up idolizing her and dreaming of getting to sing with her on stage. Nine years ago I won a contest on our local Christian radio station and won the chance of a lifetime to get to meet my favorite famous person backstage before her concert. My bestest friend, Connie, was able to come with me and it was absolutely unforgettable. And only she knows how silly I sounded when I finally got to talk to my idol.

In September, I celebrated my 33 birthday and Rich and I went to the Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant concert with Connie and Russ. It had been a long day and I didn't have time to even reapply my makeup. Connie told me, "You're going to be in a dark room. Nobody will even see you." So I rushed out the door with no makeup, and forgetting my camera and my picture from the time I met Amy Grant, just in case I was able to meet her again and have her sign it. I mean, what are the chances???

So we got in line to claim our groupon tickets right when we got to the concert venue. Almost immediately, a woman who worked for KLOVE came up to Connie and asked her if she wanted her last two backstage passes to meet Amy and Michael. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? She said we had to go right away. I didn't have time to buy anything for Amy to sign. I didn't have my camera. I didn't have my picture with Amy! I hardly even had makeup on. But whatever! I was about to meet her again!!!!!!!!!!!!! There were two KLOVE employees in line with us and they offered to take pictures for me and email them later. So these pictures are the best I have.

We met Michael W. Smith first. I told him I was at his "Change Your World" concert and he said, "That was back in '92..." I think Connie was pretty star-struck :) He was so nice and it was really fun to get to meet him.

Here I am, with my two best friends!

I explained to Amy that I met her 9 years ago and had NO IDEA I was going to get to meet her again, or I would have had my picture for her to sign. The first thing I did was just tell her I love her. She was so sweet! I also told her about the movie my good friend, Wendy, made for my 30th birthday. It was a slideshow of my life and it ended with my picture with Amy, saying we were best friends. So I told Amy, "So in case you didn't know, we're best friends." Yep, I was a dork the second time I met her, too.

I mean, come on. She's awesome! Next time I WILL get the courage to ask her to sing with me. If I've met her twice, I'm sure to get a third time someday! I can't wait!!

And the concert was wonderful!!