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I really need to post more often…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

I noticed that the last time I posted to my blog was back in MARCH!!!  Wow.

A few things have changed since then.  It’s amazing how different life can be in 9 months.  And no, I didn’t have a baby!

Ever since I went back to work, we’ve wanted to move closer to our jobs near Atlantic City.  We both had an hour commute each way and it was really overwhelming (even though we rode to work together most days).  Two hours in the car everyday really is difficult.  First, it’s exhausting.  It was also really cutting into our family time.  So for our quality of life, we decided to move closer to work.

We have worked hard to stick to a budget the last few years, got out of debt and put ourselves in a great financial position.  This allowed us to upsize into a much larger home.  This was also a great time to move because Emily is just starting middle school (6th grade) and Matt is just starting high school (9th grade) – both would be changing schools regardless.  And Andrew is now attending community college, so his school is no longer an issue.

And…as a bonus – we work near the “shore” (New Jersey-speak for the beach).  So we were fortunate enough to move close to the beach!

We had a few criteria. We wanted to live close to the beach (0bviously).  We wanted the kids to be in an excellent public school system.  We wanted low property taxes (relatively low anyway – NJ is awful with taxes).  And we wanted to be within 30 minutes of work.

We also loved the charm of our older home in Pitman (built over 100 years ago), but wanted something newer and updated.  We had 5 people sharing one bathroom for 15 years – it was time to expand.

After a few offers that didn’t work out, we were lucky enough to find the perfect home for us – just a 5 minute drive from the beach in Ocean City and a 20 minute drive to our jobs.

Marmora House

We moved into the new house in July and love it!

Since I’ve always dreamed of living near the ocean, I decided to decorate with a coastal theme.  I’ll share some photos of the inside of the house in future posts.  But for now, let me just wish anyone reading this a merry Christmas – I’m looking forward to catching up in future posts (honest!).

Home with lights

 
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Health Woes

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

After having some sleepless nights recently, I discovered that my blood pressure is high enough to require treatment with medication (I took my blood pressure at home and figured I needed trudge myself into the doctor’s office).

To add to this, my blood work showed a high level of A1C  – which is an indication of prediabetes (or diabetes, depending on which website you reference).

I was actually having diabetic symptoms, so I asked the doctor to run the test.  I kind of figured those would be the results.

Both diabetes and hypertension run in my family – the former on my father’s side and the latter on my mother’s side.  I REALLY need to get myself back to a healthy state.

I have a follow-up appointment next week – I’ll let you know how it goes…

 
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Getting Ready for Dance Competition Season!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just had to share this photo of my cutie-patootie Emily at her dance competition dress rehearsal for the musical theater number Grease:

Emily Grease

Can’t wait to see them perform!!!!

 
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What Can I Say On Facebook?

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 9, 2013 in Family Stuff, Uncategorized

What do you say when someone posts something on Facebook that is obviously directed at you (and not in a good way)?  Do you address the comment?  Or do you let it go?

Today I posted on Facebook about my FAA furlough frustration.  My husband and I (both FAA employees) will each have to take 11 days with no pay between April and September of this year.  A few hours later, one of my friends snapped back with her own post and said that I was “whining”, that at least I have a job and that at least I got 30 days notice.  Then one of her friends said that she was tired of hearing about a small paycut when others have to attend job fairs.

Ouch.

I thought long and hard about how I would respond.

I did respond – directly.  I said that I couldn’t help but take her post personally, that I was grateful for my job and then I removed my “whining” post about the furlough.

Was it insensitive for me to post about my 10% pay cut while others are out of work completely?

What is an acceptable Facebook post and what is not?

Should I post about having a cold while others are suffering from cancer?  Should I post about small damage from a storm while others lost their homes in hurricane Sandy?   Should I post about losing 5 pounds while others are morbidly obese?  Should I post about my children while others are infertile?  Should I post about my vacations while others are home-bound?  Should I post about receiving a promotion while others have lost their jobs?

Life on Facebook is not real.  Everyone filters their lives – only showing the best (or worst).   Facebook doesn’t offer enough characters to post an entire thought from start to finish.  Only some pieces in the middle that show just a glimpse of who we are.

I recently had an acquaintance announce on Facebook that she was getting a divorce.  Apparently, this had been going on for almost a year.  There were no indications this was happening in her life.   On Facebook, everything was great.  Photos of her son, posts about the weather, posts about her job…no posts like, “My marriage is headed downhill” or “I want to be single again” or “Does anyone know a good divorce lawyer?”

I think I may stop posting on Facebook for a while.  If I have to second-guess everything I post for fear I may offend someone with my joys/frustrations because someone has it better/worse, Facebook has lost its value to me.

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Church Politics and My Spiritual Search

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Before I suspended my blogging, I mentioned that I was on a spiritual retreat called the Walk to Emmaus.  I was so moved by that experience, that in the years since, I have served on a Walk and now serve on the Garden State Walk to Emmaus Board of Directors.

I have served as the Secretary for the Emmaus community for the last 2 1/2 years and have been trying to use my technological and organizational skills to improve communication in the community through Constant Contact, detailed meeting minutes and (gulp!) action items.

I also sponsored my brother to go on a Walk last year – I thought it was just the lift he might need during his cancer battle.  Instead of being moved by the experience, he ended up moving others with his story – God works in his own way (I’m just glad I was a part of it).

Prior to volunteering with Emmaus, I also did a TON of volunteering with my local church.  I was the leader of a women’s circle, started my own scrapbooking ministry, played in the bell choir and served as the chair of the Staff/Parish Relations Committee.  I went on to also serve on several other committees including Trustees (where they asked me to chair – TWICE – but I turned down the position).

But today…I feel disconnected from my local church.  I no longer serve on any committees and haven’t attended a worship service in months (although I continue to attend adult Sunday School every week).

How did this happen?

This time, I can’t blame my changes on going back to work.  I guess I really can’t blame anyone, really.

During my time as the chair of Staff/Parish, I was very stressed.  VERY STRESSED.  In fact, I actually had a panic attack that caused me to end up in the emergency room with chest pains.  Why?  I felt manipulated into doing things I didn’t agree with because of pressure from others.  I sat in meetings where other folks literally got out of their seats and screamed in my face.  I left several meetings in tears.  Not very “churchy”.

I also had to pull my son Matt out of the church youth group because he was being bullied there.  In several different incidents, the other children stole his iPod, played keep-away with it, held him down on the ground with his arm twisted behind his back and on one trip, pulled his seat belt from behind on the church van so that he couldn’t move.  The leaders did nothing to intervene and so since we didn’t feel he was safe, he stopped going.

In addition, we have a new pastor whose preaching style just doesn’t resonate with me.  He’s a super-nice guy, great with pastoral care and very educated – brilliant, even.  However, to me, his sermons seem a bit scattered, unclear and at times, are aimed very far below the congregation’s spiritual knowledge.  With our previous pastor, I learned new things all the time.  She was able to show us new perspectives on the same scriptures.  However, since he took over, I have not learned for years.  I find myself cringing during church services and constantly checking my watch, praying for time to go faster.

Now, I realize that worship is not meant to entertain.  My spiritual growth should not be dependent upon church leadership.  It is my responsibility, not his.  I get that.  But let’s face the truth – the most successful churches are those with good leaders.  Leaders that teach, inspire, pull the congregation together – leaders that others want to follow.

I’d like to say it’s just me that feels this way, but we have lost many members of our congregation in the last few years – some whose families have been in this church for generations.  I have shared my concerns in many different ways – I have not been silent about my concerns.

So why haven’t I left like so many others?  One day a few months ago, I walked up to the Sunday School wing to drop my kids off.  I saw my children’s handprints up on some artwork on the ceiling.  I thought about all of our memories at this church and the people that are our church family.  And I decided to give it a little more time.

But our church family is broken.  I feel like I hardly know anyone there anymore.  Going has become a chore.  I’m no longer reading my Bible like I used to.  I still pray everyday, but I know something is missing.

God intended us to worship together – to gather in his name.

For me, this is especially important because my husband is a staunch atheist.  I don’t have much freedom to worship or pray at home, so that time at church is even more important. But that’s a post for another time.

For now – I’ll stay in prayer and lean on my Emmaus family…

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Feeling Out of Sorts

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Oct 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

The last few weeks have been really strange – I just haven’t felt like myself.  No major changes, just lots of little things have me out of my normal routine.  And I’m such a creature of habit – I LIKE routines.  Routines are comforting to me – at least to a point.  There are times in my life where I like to shake it up a little bit (and during the entire transition, I second guess myself and wonder why I didn’t just stay in my comfort zone where i belonged).  But for the most part, I like to get up at the same time, have the same breakfast, go to work at the same time, drive the same way…you get the idea.  If I have to even take a detour that takes me down a different road, I sometimes have a little panic attack. 

Anyway, the last few weeks have definitely had me out of my routine.  Two weeks ago, I spent the first part of the week on travel in Washington, DC for work.  And for a woman who doesn’t like change or surprises (I should mention here that I also don’t like surprises.  That includes gifts, surprise parties, unexpected visitors…I even wanted to know the sexes of all of my children before they were born.), I do like to travel.  Well…I like traveling once I get wherever I’m going.  And I like planning a trip.  I just don’t like packing or getting to the airport/train station – that part REALLY stresses me out.  Part of the control freak in me, I guess.  This trip, I took the train to DC by myself – something I’ve never done before.  I did enjoy the train much more than driving and I do like Washington.  It’s such an amazing city – everyone there seems to have a purpose – a place to be and a job to do.  I stayed in a really nice hotel and got to catch up with some friends while I was there, too.  Wish I had some money to spend – there were some fantastic stores near my hotel…but I’m sticking to the budget.

The day after I got back from DC, I went on an amazing 3 day Christian retreat called the Walk to Emmaus.  I can’t begin to describe what a wonderful spiritual experience I had – I felt surrounded by God’s unconditional love in a way that is unlike anything I have ever felt before.  I didn’t know anyone going in to the retreat, but came out feeling so close to the women I met there.  I’d like to volunteer to assist others in the future with their walks and hope that I can make their experiences as wonderful as I found my own.

But as incredible as my spiritual experience was, the actual physical experience was not as incredible.  After staying at that fabulous 5 star hotel in DC, the accommodations at the retreat were much more…rustic.  And during the weekend, we experienced a “double nor’easter” (whatever that is) – it basically amounted to temperatures in the 40’s and driving rain for 4 straight days.  Oh…and did I mention that the buildings were only heated with space heaters?  And that we had to move outside from building to building to eat, sleep, worship and even go to the bathroom? 

So after a weekend of very little sleep in a confined area with lots of other women while spending time outside in the cold, driving rain and no heat…surprisingly, I got very sick with the flu when I got home.

And I’ve been sick for the last 9 DAYS!!!!  It’s been weeks now since I’ve been in my normal routine – I haven’t been exercising because I’ve been away or I’ve been sick or I was in physical therapy for my hip.  And while I was away, my eating habits were off too.  They fed us SO much while we were on that retreat!  The food was fabulous, but they gave us dessert at EVERY meal!   And I felt so bad wasting the food that they had cooked for us – plus it was SO good…

But so far, so good.  I haven’t gained any weight – I guess I really only ate bad for those 3 days.  I’ve picked back up on the exercise – I’m not sore, so I guess I wasn’t away from it as long as I thought I was. 

I’m looking forward to feeling like myself again. 

Oh…and here are some “before and after” weight loss photos.  Andrew went to homecoming this weekend and when I saw this photo of him and me, I remembered that I had this other photo taken at his 8th grade graduation about a year and a half ago.  Thought they would make an interesting contrast – this was June, 2008:

P6110028 

And this was last weekend, 50 pounds lighter:

PA240041 

I got thinner and Andrew got much taller…

 
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Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

July is certainly a busy birthday month for our family – today is Andrew’s 15th birthday!  I can’t believe it – he’s 15 already. 

We were going over his class schedule for the fall (he’ll be a sophomore in high school this year) and mixed in with his regular classes he mentioned that he’ll be taking driver’s ed.  Wait…back up…what did you say????  Driver’s what????  It just seems crazy to me.  Isn’t this the same little boy who was just playing with Power Rangers and loved watching Barney and now he’s talking about driving a car?  When they say it goes by so fast, they are not kidding.

Enjoy every moment – I know I did.  I love you Andrew (hope that doesn’t embarass you too much), but no – you are still not driving my car for a VERY long time. 😉

Happy Birthday!

andrew

 
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Things they are a-changin’…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

More changes are coming to the Torrence household this year. It looks like my part-time job is turning into a full-time career. This is happening for several reasons:

1. My employer keeps asking me to switch to full-time.
2. We could use the extra money to get out of debt quicker.
3. Most importantly, we NEED the extra money to pay for some unexpected expenses (think April 15th).

So as of next week, I am a full-time employee working a 40-hour week (I was working only a 24-hour week previously). And my income will almost double (a good thing).

I am not so sure how I feel about this change, but I have to say that in this economy, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to have a good-paying, secure job (or even any job at all). I’m going to just keep reminding myself as I am getting up everyday at 5:30 in the morning to get everyone out the door by 7:00am…

 
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Ever have one of those days?

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 7, 2009 in Uncategorized

It’s been one of those days already – and it’s only 8:30 in the morning!

I woke up with a horribly stiff neck…cut a hole in my brand new sweater when cutting off the tag…spilled fruit down the front of myself while packing my lunch…forgot to charge my phone… realized there was no toilet paper in the bathroom (too late)…got locked out of my car in the rain…placed another order for a replacement sweater and got frozen out of my account because I couldn’t remember the password…and now my Internet connection at work is extremely flaky so I can verify whether or not the order went through.  It’s got to get better as the day goes on, right?

 
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Welcome to the 21st century (part 2)…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 29, 2008 in Family Stuff, Uncategorized

I’ve become a part of another technological advance recently – I’m now on Facebook (see the new link at the upper right of my blog).  I created an account about a month ago but didn’t really do anything with it until the last few days.

And now I’m finding that half of my church is on the site…as is half of my high school class (most of whom I haven’t seen in the almost 23 years since I graduated)!  It’s so much fun to hear from people you haven’t seen in a while – and it’s even a good way to keep in touch with those you see more often.

So…if you have a minute, look me up on Facebook – I’d be more than happy to be your ‘friend’. :)

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