Welcome fellow blog party participants!
So, by way of introduction, I present my
TOP TEN TIDBITS ABOUT TINA!
9. a social networker. I took the techno-plunge about 18 months ago, joining Facebook and The Homeschool Lounge and starting two blogs all in the course of a week. I'm home a lot (more on that in a minute), which I love - but it also means I don't get lots of regular, "real-life" interaction with other adults. Social networking doesn't replace the face-to-face, of course, but it's been a great tool for me - and I've met some incredible people I'd never otherwise have the pleasure of knowing;
8. health-conscious. I don't always make the wisest choices yet, but being healthy and fit is important to me. A "great week" in that arena means consistently "eating clean" and making it to the Y five or six times;
7. a musician. I've been a singer for as long as I can remember, crooning along with Tammy Wynette or Donny & Marie as a kid or making up (much to my brother's chagrin!) my own little ditties on long car trips. And then I picked up the French horn in fifth grade and the trumpet in ninth. I haven't played either horn with any consistency for a few years, but now I'm back to singing - this time on my church's worship team;
6. a writer. As do so many, I dream of one day penning "the great American novel," and perhaps I will. At this point, I instead have the start of a novelization of King Lear on paper and the roots of some children's books and a memoir á la The Glass Castle in my head. And I write regularly for two venues: The ChatterBee (a website for users of the All About Spelling curriculum and other language arts aficionados) and Celebrate Kids, Inc. (a wonderful ministry for which I serve as staff writer). You can read my Celebrate Kids archives by clicking here;
5. an advocate. One of my favorite quotes comes from Maggie Kuhn, an early 20th century activist, who said, "Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind - even if your voice shakes." Finding my voice has been a bit of a journey, but now that I have it, I certainly make use of it for any cause in which I believe! Of course, I want to add "in love" to the "speak your mind" phrase because that's the key element to any form of advocacy...but getting that concept to be a natural part of how I behave is a work in progress (!);
4. a teacher. For nine years before I had children of my own, I taught in public secondary schools in my city; my students were immigrant kids from Thailand, Laos, and Latin America, and my job was to help them learn English. But I've known for years that my focus would shift if I were blessed with children, and so I left the classroom when my older daughter was born without one backwards glance of regret. I was my daughters' early childhood teacher and have also provided childcare services for other people's infants and preschoolers since I've been home. And now I am the girls' primary educator in our homeschool, an endeavor we plan to continue all the way through to their high school graduations;
3. a mom. God has blessed me with three daughters, two of whom (Rachel and Abigail) I am privileged to be raising with His help and by His grace. The other, Anna Vivian, was called home to Heaven before she was even born, but she is no less my daughter than her younger sisters. Anna would be 11 this spring; Rachel and Abigail will soon be, respectively, nine and eight. They are my "Irish twins," having been born as they were less than one year apart...which is a whole story in and of itself! And, simply put, they are my heart;
2. a wife. I've been married for over 20 years to the man I met my very first day on campus where we attended college. I often joke that our marriage is a sign of God's sense of humor - because we're so very different from each other in many ways. But, more accurately, we're a sign of His faithfulness. Because - no matter what - we're committed to each other and to our marriage, and that tenacity can only come from God;
1. a Christ-follower. Numbers 10 through two really list in ascending order the main roles I "play" in life - all important to some degree (some obviously much more so than others), but none (even being a wife and mother) the real essence of who I am. That honor rather belongs to my position as a dearly-loved adopted child of God. Of course, that's not through anything I've done; instead, it's a gift I've been given by Him after simply being willing to place my faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2.8-9). And it's certainly not something at which I'm "perfect" - not by a long-shot! But that's the point of the title of this blog. I am - indeed - BEING MADE NEW each and every day...involved in the process of being conformed into Christ-likeness. That's something with which I'm not always comfortable and whose end-product won't be fully evident until I see Jesus face to face. But it's the journey I love being on nonetheless.
By the way, the top three prizes I'm interested in winning are blog makeovers (because, after seeing so many wonderful-looking sites, I'm experiencing a bit of "blog envy!"):
1. INTL # 11, offered by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates
2. INTL #16, offered by Premades for a Purpose
3. INTL #8, offered by Mary Hess Designs
I also would be blessed by any of the following, all gift cards:
US #11, US #31, US #32, US #52, US #55, US #73, US #74, US #87, US #95, US #107, US #112, USC # 3, USC #8, USC #15, USC #25, USC #32, USC #36, USC #37, USC #39, USC #40, USC #44
In closing, I want to share a bit of wisdom about this amazing but potentially-overwhelming UBP...which is actually a suggestion from Robin over at PENSIEVE, #104. If you're like me, you want to visit as many UBP blogs as you can...and you want to do it this week while the party is still going on (so no one feels neglected, lol!). Yet, we all have real lives, too - and, in fact, our real lives are all plenty busy! So Robin suggests focusing your attention on the blogs that end in the same number as your UBP number. Thus, my number is #225, and so I'm going to put my attention toward hitting all the blogs that end in 5. Along the way, I'll stop elsewhere if I see a title that draws me in, and I'll go back to others (maybe the 0's in my case to keep it divisible by 5, lol?) after that. I am, by nature, an organizer (and my husband's not inaccurate nickname for me is "Rou-Tina!") so a plan of attack appeals to me. Maybe it will you, too. :^)