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Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library

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Day 30: My Hopes, Dreams and Plans for the Next 365 Days

Hopes and Dreams for 2011This is the time of year when people start writing resolutions and planning to make big changes for the new year and, I can’t lie, I tend to do the same thing.  So writing this post should come easy but it doesn’t.  Every year I make grand plans and, for the most part, I do a good job of following through.  Until March.  I don’t know why, but March is my “quitting month.”

So this year, rather than writing out a list of resolutions, I will share my hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days (with the knowledge that, ultimately, everything is in His hands and it is by His will and not my own that I will have tomorrow).

There’s so much I want to accomplish.  I’d like to become a better writer.  Rather than writing “fluff” or filler posts, I’d like to write posts that get people thinking and sharing with me.  When I started this blog, I thought it’d be an opportunity for me to give information but I’ve come to realize that I’m much more interested in sharing information and learning from my readers.  The only way I know how to do this is to make my blog more thought provoking and my Facebook page more interactive.  So I’m letting you know now, I’m going to be expecting more give and take in the next year.  Argue with me, challenge me, share with me because that’s what I plan to do with you.

In my professional life, I’d like to become more tech savvy.  I like to think of myself as a geek but I don’t think I have the skill necessary but I do have the heart.  And that’s half the battle right, huh?  I have no fear of jumping in and trying things, but I need to create more opportunities for myself. Fortunately, I work in an environment where my boss encourages exploration and innovation.  So, it’s up to me to figure out the needs of our students and what I can do to better provide those services to them.

Personally, I’d like for my relationships with my family to be stronger.  Miss 17 is preparing to graduate from high school, the younger three are getting older and starting to create lives for themselves away from my husband and me.  And my husband and I are finally at that stage where we can have couple time.  There are so many big changes ahead for us…  I pray that we have the strength to weather the storms ahead and come out stronger and better on the other side.

And, most importantly, I want my faith in Christ to be stronger.  For many years I’ve neglected my faith and failed to raise my children according to scripture.  Moving forward, my goal is to draw them closer to Him.  Although I know the choice to believe in Christ is ultimately theirs, I’d like for them to have a stronger foundation.

What are your hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days?

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2010: The Best of Living Outside the Stacks

Ya know, I say this every year but I mean it this time, this year went by very quickly.  We’ve shared so much ~ you and I ~ you’ve been with me through job searches, college visits, temporary blindness and the other highs and lows that come with living.  So I want to take this time to tell you that I truly appreciate all of your love and support.   I pray continued blessings upon you and yours for a healthy and happy new year.

Here is a list of the best posts of 2010 from yours truly.  I look forward to sharing more with you in the new year.

January:  Sometimes a Fly is Just a Fly ~ Written after an American religious leader had stated that the devastation in Haiti was G_d’s judgement

February:  Family Ties ~ My younger sister called to tell me that she was being deployed to Iraq and it brought back memories of all the ways I used to torment her when we were kids

March:  I Have a Diagnosis ~ One of the scariest days of my life this year was when I woke up and realized that I’d completely lost my vision in one eye

April:  Women of Faith Wednesday ~  Sometimes being a mother is hard work and you really just want to run away, this is what happened when my “runaway day” came

May:  A Full Nest ~ A bird made a nest and laid some eggs right outside my front door, every week I took pictures and used them for my Wordless Wednesday posts

June:  6 Ways to Your Blog More Appealing to Companies ~ Every few months, some prominent “mommy blogger” will berate smaller bloggers for “giving away their services for free” but they weren’t offering tips on how to monetize their blogs so I offered a few suggestions which led to one of the bigger mom bloggers offering some helpful tips

July:  My Droid Hates Me and the Feeling May be Mutual ~ I upgrade my phone at every opportunity, so when I got the chance to get the Droid, I was so excited but I ended up HATING it

August:  Rolled Eyes, Broomsticks and Scenes from the Matrix ~ My mom had the uncanny ability to see around corners, behind her and through the back of my head

September:  If I Died, How Would You Know ~ Like many of you, I’ve made some wonderful connections online and I’ve often wondered how would I know if something happened to them or vice~versa

October:  The Banana Incident of 1978 ~ It’s no secret that I love monkeys but here’s the little known secret for why I hate bananas

November:  I Started Crying at the Reference Desk ~ While working at the library, Miss 17 called to tell me that she’d been accepted to Lock Haven University

December:  Things I Learn When My Kids Miss the Bus ~ One day my son missed the bus, so we ran some errands and grabbed a coffee and pumpkin muffin before I dropped him off

What are you most proud of this year?

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Day 28: What’s in My Grab Bag?

What do you carry in your handbag or wallet?

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The Angel on I~10

I~10When I was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, I used to drive up to my parents’ house in Mississippi just about every weekend.  Just me and my then 6 month~old~daughter, in the car, cruising…  I loved those drives because I’d pump up the music real loud and sing to the top of my lungs.  Anyway, this particular weekend, I had driven up to Mississippi to pick up my new~to~me car (a custom painted 1985 Pontiac Fiero, thank you very much).  I loved that car and still have an affinity for Fieros.  For whatever reason, the car wasn’t ready for me to drive home, so I borrowed my sister’s car and began the drive home at about 10:30 or 11 PM (stupid to be driving by myself with an infant that late at night, I know ~ and remember this was 1993, before everyone had cell phones).

About half way onto one of the loneliest parts of the I~10 stretch between Mississippi and Louisiana, the car broke down.  Right there on the side of the road.  It just died.  Now let me set up the picture for you:  it was about 1 something in the morning, and on the right side there were nothing but trees, then a two~lane one~way road, a divisor with more trees, then another two~lane one~way road with trees on the other side.  Very few streetlights anywhere.

I sat in my car staring at my daughter for what felt like hours, but was really only half an hour.  I wasn’t sure what I should do:  should I get out of the car and walk along the side of the road until I reached a gas stop or sit in the car and wait for daylight?  The whole time I was sitting there, I never saw a car pass me and, quite honestly, I was scared.

I decided to risk it and walk.  So I gathered my daughter, her diaper bag, my wallet and a flashlight and started walking.  A few steps in, a trucker pulled up behind me and stopped (I kept right on walking, fully aware of the rig behind me, but I figured if he was gonna kill me, he was gonna have to catch me first).  I heard a male voice yell: “Excuse me!  Miss!  Excuse me!  Someone told me there was a lady walking with a baby on the side of the road who needed help!”  I stopped dead in my tracks.  I hadn’t seen a vehicle pass me while I was walking, how could this be?  And the other side of the road was blocked by trees…

I slowly turned around and saw a man standing a few steps in front of his rig, his arms raised up to the sky like he was being held up by someone with a gun.  ”Please, get in the truck.  I don’t want anything to happen to you and the baby.  I’ll take you to the truck stop so you can call someone.”  I stood there staring, not sure if I should get in the rig, run or just stand there.

I decided to put my faith in Him and get in the rig, but as I did, I silently prayed:  ”Please, God, if this man is dangerous or planning to kill me, let him leave my baby alone or take us both out at the same time.  Amen.”  I sat so tight up against that door, I felt like I had the imprint of the handle in my side for weeks.

Anyway, the trucker and I road in silence to the truck stop where I darn near broke the door trying to get out of the rig.  Inside, the trucker handed a waitress a wad of bills and said “Bring the baby some oatmeal and get her a soup and sandwich, keep the change for yourself.”  He looked at me, “Call someone to come and get you.”  What?  I had pretty much assumed this man was hanging bodies in the back of his rig and now he was buying me food and over tipping the waitress?

I called family members and a couple of long~time friends and they all said they couldn’t come and get me.  Yeah, seriously.  Let’s just say the friends and I no longer speak and it took me years to forgive the family members.  I ended up calling the man who would later become my husband to come and get me and he arrived in no time flat.

I have to break in the story to tell you that I’d had a date with the hubs~to~be scheduled for that very weekend and I stood him up.  I didn’t call to cancel, didn’t let him know I was going out of town or anything…  I was just flat out rude but oh~so~excited about getting my car.  So when I called him, I was fully expecting him to tell me to go pound sand, instead, he got clear directions as to my location, left his job and came to pick me up.  Not only did he come and get me but he gave me the keys to his truck so I could have transportation until my car was fixed.

After making sure that someone was coming to get me, the trucker sat at the end of the counter and waited.  I walked over and asked him his name and he refused to give it to me.  I said “thank you” and he simply nodded.  When my ride arrived, my now husband asked to meet the trucker but he was gone.

To this day, I don’t know the trucker’s name or where he was from but I do know that from that point on I believed in guardian angels.  I know this man was an angel sent by God to protect me and my daughter from some unknown danger…

And, well, God was also playing the ultimate matchmaker.

Have you ever experienced a random act of kindness?

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Day 27: Monday Mingle, My Worst Habit and Makeup~Free Monday

Monday MingleMonday Mingle is hosted by Jenn at Eighty MPH Mom. If you’d like to participate, simply create a short vlog in which you answer the questions and then hit up the linky. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants.  After all, isn’t that what mingling is all about?

This week’s questions were submitted by Paula from Thrifty Momma’s Tips and they are:

1. What first name would you have chosen for yourself?  Why?
2. What city or country have you visited that has the coolest name?
3. If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My Makeup~Free Monday tip for this week is to donate clothing and/or makeup to a women’s shelter.  By doing something good for someone else, you do something good for yourself.  And what could be more beautiful than helping someone else out?

For more information about Makeup~Free Monday, checkout The Beauty Bean.

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