I love my kids. Not just my biological ones; the ones I see every day at school- my precious students. Now, don’t get me wrong, we have our days, but they are what makes teaching in NC worth doing. Yesterday, I woke up to stomach pain. Not the run of the mill kind of stomach pain, but the kind that doubles you over. I went to school because we had Special Olympics bowling and it was our last Friday outing to bowling. I teach students with Autism but don’t try to tell me that children with Autism don’t have as much empathy, because they just knew… and they responded. They were by turns kind and attentive and I was getting extra hugs. A couple of them stayed closer than usual. One noticed I was not my usual self and asked what was wrong. I was hurting, but also thinking about how lucky I am to have a job where I get to make a difference and I get back as much or more than I even give.
I have this one student who sometimes seems neglected. She is so sweet and she tries so hard. She is happy to be at school every day. One of the biggest treats of my life has been when my preschool grandson runs into my arms when he sees me yelling “BB!!!” Literally, the atoms fall out the bottom. But I also get this from her. Dalia [not her real name] runs off the bus to me each morning and hugs me. Her face literally lights up to see me. Doing what other job could I get this?
So today, I am feeling pretty lucky, blessed, and grateful. I am thankful I am a teacher of students with Autism. I am thankful for their love, their progress, and the stories and laughter they bring into my life.
I loved the pictures and the advice, but I could not help thinking that I would find it so much more effective if it had been stated in positive terms instead of negative [think, The Secret], so I rewrote it. I did it for me, but I thought you might like to have a copy, too. We forget this stuff and it’s so important. I have to daily battle perfectionism, beating myself up for real and imagined failures, trying to do too much for others, and so many more of these toxic behaviors. I forget to be grateful, I find myself complaining, and I allow others to rain on my parade. So, here is my new more positively stated version. You’re welcome :).
30 Things to Start Doing Now…
Spend time with the right people [people who lift others and don’t tear them down, people who value your worth].
Face your problems head on- that’s the only way you can solve them.
Be really honest with yourself.
Give priority to your own needs. Help others, but also help yourself. You are special, too.
Be yourself, even though the world will attempt to make you someone else. You are exactly the right you for this moment in time- celebrate that “you.”
Let the past go [so you can begin the next chapter in your life.]
Welcome mistakes- they teach you things.
Forgive yourself for every mistake you already made and let it go.
Happiness is a choice, it’s free- you can’t buy it and you won’t find it in all those things you’re buying.
You make your own happiness – other people can’t give it to you and you won’t be happy anywhere or in any relationship until you’re happy inside your own skin.
Be productive- too much time to think can be a bad thing and time wasted is opportunities missed.
Believe you are ready- right now! Step outside of your comfort zone and go for it!
Enter relationships for the right reasons- because you have taken your time, you don’t need anything from the other person, and together you make each other better versions of yourselves.
Have faith in new relationships- highlight the word “new.” When you let someone go, let go of all the baggage they left with you. They had a purpose in your life. New relationships will have a different purpose.
Compete only against yourself- meet your own goals and beat your old records. We don’t judge squirrels on their swimming and fish on their climbing. We all have different gifts and needs.
Delight in others’ good fortune. Jealousy is poisonous.
Stay positive- nobody likes to listen to constant complaining. Feeling sorry for yourself brings you down. Staying positive brings you up!
Forgive everyone for everything. Don’t hold onto it for even a minute–grudges hurt only you [trust me on this one].
Maintain your standards of behavior even when others lower theirs.
Own your behavior and decisions- you don’t owe explanations to others [some won’t believe you and others don’t care].
Get off the daily grind sometimes and step back to breathe and take a look. Sometimes it’s good to take a look at the forest instead of individual trees as they zip past.
Stop and experience beauty with one or more of your senses at least once a day [then let yourself feel gratitude for the moment].
Perfectionism kills productivity and creativity. Just do it!
Avoid the path of least resistance- greatness is found on other paths.
Be authentic. If everything is falling apart, you can fall apart and then put it back together again. Strong is sometimes letting others see you at your lowest.
Take personal responsibility for what happens to you. Your personal choices combined with your attitude determine your reality. The blame game is so tiring and it discredits you.
Be realistic about what you can accomplish. When you are spread too thin, you become ineffective and/or useless to yourself and others.
Worry less or not at all – it’s a big joy stealer and we need all the joy we can get. Worry won’t change things, but your choices from today on can….
Focus only on what you want to happen- that’s the SECRET. When you dwell on negative, you get more negative.
Every moment of every day you have something for which to be grateful. Wrap yourself in gratitude, roll around in it like a happy puppy, savor it like chocolate… and your world will transform. 🙂
I took this from the article too [I know, it’s so Oprah, but it is powerful nonetheless]:
Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
So, it’s been a while since I paid any attention to this blog. Mostly because my life goes at such a dizzying speed that I cannot keep up enough to document any of it. I really need to change the name of my blog, since turns out I wasn’t/am not quarter of the way to Menopause- at least not a quarter of a year from there. So much has happened since I began hyper-focusing on Menopause and how it might be wrecking havoc in my life. Changing my attitude and focus, well, that sort of solved the premature Menopause crisis. How did this happen? Well, I stopped looking in and started looking out. Shortly after I named my belly, I carefully began to watch as a friend began to shrink and come out of her shell so to speak. She was doing this crazy diet plan that I wanted no part of. I didn’t do liquid plans [turns out it wasn’t a completely liquid plan- yay]; I didn’t do such prescribed plans, and I would never do I plan where I had to purchase food!
Fast forward to Sept. when betty was so big I could not deny her existence and she was making my life miserable- I saw her in store window reflections that startled me, I saw her when I looked down in the shower [or out], I tried to pull my clothing over her or make buttons stay closed… well, you get the idea. That bitch had to go. So, I began researching this product and I found that it had chemistry behind it, that it was medically safe [the fact that it was promoted by some physicians did not influence me since I continually question why we give them such trust and responsibility with our health], and most importantly… that it worked. It worked fast and furiously and I wouldn’t have to think about the zone or the south beach or a point or a calorie or a carb. I would not have to have the perfect ratio of protein, fat, carb, and fiber because someone else was going to do that for me. I could take food off the radar and live my *&^%ing life.
Cue to Sept 28 when my shipment arrived. I’ll post the video later. I was excited to begin and ready to commit. Oct. 2nd was my start date, and today.. just a wee 83 days later [just shy of 12 weeks], I’ve gone from 196 to 167 this morning and turned all those numbers on their heads– including the big one I was aiming for- HbA1c. In fact, it’s down in the normal range again from pre-diabetic and I did that in 2 months!
So, on Christmas Eve, 2012, I am grateful for so many things, the primary being my family and their health and wellness and the love of an incredible man who is my best friend, but I am also grateful that my eyes were opened, that I was given this opportunity to change my health and improve the quality of my life. I am grateful that I have new self confidence that I can do this- I can take control of my weight and my health. My only regret is that I didn’t start this 20 years ago. I am living the secret, and now I truly believe that if I can see it- I can achieve it [which I have long subscribed to but did not believe where my weight was concerned]. And so, this morning, as I contemplate a one day reprieve commencing sometime tomorrow and lasting perhaps 4-8 hours, I am pausing at the precipice, and because of those numbers this morning, I will carefully consider each choice I have to make. This all fills me with joy. Merry Christmas!
I was watching Jimmy Fallon on a talk show this morning and he was talking about a new book called Thank You Notes where he basically writes satirical thank you notes to people for random things that have caught his attention or caused him some sort of discomfort. My interest was immediately piqued because I am all about gratitude. I think that a positive attitude is life changing. However, just like the next gal, I do get irritated about stuff. And, I often find myself marveling over the mundane and wanting to share my wonder. Here is a method for either sharing your wonder or your irritation using sarcasm [one of my favor forms of humor] and a way to do it in positive, gratitude-based form. How cool is that?
Jimmy Fallon reads these on his show. Here are some of my personal favorites:
Thank you, guy standing in front of me in the elevator at work this morning who I basically spooned with standing up. If only the elevator was playing some Ke$ha instead that music, I would have been all up in that piece.
Thank you, 2:30 in the morning, for always being the first sign that tomorrow’s gonna suck.
Thank you, beach season, for helping us identify the people completely incapable of shame.
Thank you, marshmallow Peeps, for being somehow much easier to snack on than real baby chickens.
Thank you, me from 3 months ago, for promising that I’ll get in shape during the winter. You lying sack of shit. It’s 4:00, put down the Cinnabon.
So, after hearing/reading some of these I decided to write a few of my own based on a recent trip to NYC.
Thank you, Delta airlines attendants for blithely telling us that bar code on the phone would work when you probably knew it never works. We got to wait in line for the TSA encounter twice!
Thank you, interesting cab driver who couldn’t pronounce Europe, for dropping us off at the entry point that turned out to be the absolute farthest from the gate we needed.
Thank you, Delta staff, for not telling us there was a shuttle that could have prevented us from dragging our stuff on a mile long trek across terrible carpeting and down halls where the people movers were not moving any people.
Thank you, smelly woman on the plane, for not standing up more than two times and allowing the cloud of funk around you to waft backward toward our seat.
Thank you, subway announcer speaking unintelligible ghetto speak, figuring out which stop we were at and how many more we had to go was like a brain stimulating puzzle and that, along with trying to figure out what the hell you were saying, gave us something to do on the long train ride to Coney Island.
Thank you, crazy rude cab driver #1, for not knowing how to program your little box and using such an unfriendly tone that we decided to find another cab. The seat belts were buried in the seat and had we stayed in your cab we might have been flung through the windows in an expressway collision on the way to JFK.
Thank you, 80’s boom box toting hoodlum at Nathan’s, we love sitting in broiling hot sun and being deafened by really annoying rap music while we eat our messy hot dogs.
Thank you, Monkey Room, for only putting four shrimp in my shrimp cocktail, at $4.50 per shrimp, I couldn’t have afforded more.
I could go on but I have to go to sleep because my trip wore me out. Bean, if you can think of any just comment them on here or email me and I will include them.
Oh, and thank you, Jimmy Fallon, for givingme a new and funny way to complain 🙂
It is Sunday, and the weekend is almost over, but I want to begin a blog on the positive. Cameron always wants us to tell the best part of our day and the worst part of our day when we sit down to eat, but I just want to focus on gratitude and things that give me joy. There is simply too much complaining and bitching and moaning in the world [in fact I am living with so much negative energy right now] that I often feel like I need to counter it by being more positive. I could focus on all the problems I have… which would fill several pages at least and might even be book length, but that would bring me and everyone else down. So this week, I plan to blog each day on the things in that day that bring me joy! If I need to complain, at least it will be countered by gratitude.
Joy #1: Today, the first moment of joy I experienced was at the altar rail. I am on the other side of it because I am a lay eucharistic minister and at that moment I was bearing the chalice for those coming to receive communion. Sometimes I get lost in thought and sometimes I am just transfixed by the motions and the words of the sacrament, but this morning I looked at the rail and there were six boys kneeling on the gospel side of the rail. All had their heads bowed and all but one had their arms crossed [indicating they intended to receive a blessing as opposed to communion] except for one, the oldest and largest who is about 16 years, who was receiving the Eucharist. After they left the rail, they followed Christy and her husband [the parents of two of the boys] back to the pews and each followed suit in kneeling and bowing or leaning their heads over the pew in front of them. I guess it was seeing all these boys and young men in church with their family taking up nearly three whole rows and watching the visiting boys mimicking what the others were doing that made me smile.
Joy #2: A quote in the bulletin: Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death. I had also heard in the lyrics to a song that morning…”praying to a God I don’t believe in..” Sometimes I have so much doubt and wonder who I am praying to, so this quote offers an interesting prescription. Oh, and here is the video of the song which includes the lyrics I refer to, not because it has much to do with this entry, but because it is a cool song.
Joy #3: Later, my daughter-in-law, Jennifer and I went to the nail salon. I was having a gel fill and she was having a pedicure. Having my nails done is a very relaxing experience. I get to experience a stillness that I don’t usually allow myself to very often since I am always running here and there or thinking of the next task I need to complete. So, when I have my nails done, it is almost like church in that I am quiet and still and I stay put for about an hour. My hands are in someone else’s hands and I have to allow them to go fairly limp so that she can turn and manipulate the nail as she fills, and files, and paints. There is the steady hum of a small fan embedded in the table, the warmth from the extension lamp overhead, and the gentle, lilting, cadence of Vietnamese with its decidedly musical qualities. I always feel like I could curl up and take a nap, I am so relaxed when I leave the nail salon.
I had my nails painted Midnight in Moscow. Which, unless you have been in Moscow at Midnight, you probably will not be able to picture as a color. Let me tell you that this color is most likely quite similar to midnight in a number of other locales. It looked like a rich eggplant or velvety dark brown in the bottle, but on my nails it looks, well, kind of gothic. I am not sure how many days I can live with it, but it is different and a departure for me.
Joy #4: A beautiful sunny day at the park. I went to meet Jason and his family at the park where they had organized a pick up game of kickball. They had invited some people from their church, and then had picked up a few more folks who happened to be watching them. When I arrived, I saw a couple of my students and invited them to join. We had people from age 4 to well, I guess, I was the oldest out there at 46, and only a couple of the players were any good at all [with quite of few of us being not only ignorant of the rules but blatantly bad]. I have been working on getting up a kickball team, but after today I am rethinking this. We had fun, but I am not a very good player. I am not sure why, knowing I have never been an athlete, I am trying to be one now. I pulled my leg right away sprinting to first base and had to push through with a slight limp the rest of the time. Now, you might be thinking, this activity does not sound like a joy, but it is… because it was sunny, and 60 and I am able to run and play with my family.. so it’s all good. But, like I said, I am rethinking this whole kickball league thing. The jury might be out until this muscle in the front of my left thigh recovers.
Joy #5: Tonight is the Academy Awards Show, so I am looking forward to that!!! I love award shows… I love seeing what the women wear– who looks fabulous and who looks, well, less than fabulous. Shana and I often talk on the phone during award shows discussing these celebrities like we know them and making funny observations. I love seeing which films were chosen in each category, because I simply love movies. I see a lot of movies– in the theater and on DVD. I have always wanted to have an Oscar night party and if I had a large room and a big screen TV, I certainly would, because I know lots of other people who love to watch award shows too and it would be a great reason to get together and enjoy some great food and drink.
Now, I feel I should make my predictions for the major categories, so here goes:
Best Actor in a leading role: I am pulling for Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, which, strangely enough I haven’t even seen. I have heard his performance is incredible, and I like him. Also, I don’t think George Clooney deserves it for Up in the Air… I don’t even know how he got nominated for this one other than this is a tough category to come up with the goods. I wish I had seen some of the other nominees in their respective movies, because I love Colin Firth and Morgan Freeman and I will frankly be happy if either wins.
Best Actress in a leading role: So, you know this is between Meryl and Sandra. Sandra outdid herself in The Blindside and had me believing she was a very southern Republican with a big heart, but Meryl became Julia and gave me a whole new appreciation for this zealous and enthusiastic chef. In fact, Julia, became one of my new heros and her marriage in this movie is the vibrant marriage I aspire to if I ever get married again. I will have a man who simply adores me, or I will have none at all. So, I am going with: Meryl Streep. I won’t be disappointed, though, if they give the gold man to Sandra Bullock. Gabourey Sidibe outdid herself in Precious, but she is too young and we don’t know what else she can do. I did not see Helen Mirren in The Last Stallion, although, I do love her, and aspire to look like her in my next few decades. Also, The Last Stallion sounds like something I want to see.
Actress in a Supporting Role: Monique. She made us hate her so much we wanted to kick her ass and we felt sorry for her at the same time. And, she’s a comedian– go figure. She made such a big splash that all the other contenders were jettisoned out of the pool.
Actor in a Supporting Role: I only saw one of these films, so I am going to have to go with Christoph Waltz from Inglorious Basterds since he clearly nailed it in his performance as a chilling Nazi narcissist.
The last one I will weigh in on is best picture. There are 10, count ’em, 10 nominees in this category this year– which seems a bit much to me. Avatar won at the Golden Globes, which is often a predicting factor… but honestly, I don’t think Avatar is best picture material. Sorry, James Cameron, Titanic was, Avatar isn’t. Not to say it won’t win, because it could… I will simply be disappointed if it does. I only saw six of the 10 films nominated, so I am at a serious disadvantage in picking a winner, but The Blindside did thrill and inspire me and Inglorious Basterds was impressive. I am not sure either of those should win, however. IB has a better chance than The Blindside, as I am not sure America is ready for a best picture win where Tim McGraw is a principal ‘actor.’ Up was the finest of animated pictures I have seen in many years, but not an overall BP category winner. Up and Away was not as weighty as you would expect a film in this category to be, so I am going with the stunning and emotion-wrenching Precious and I will be so happy to see Tyler Perry get some recognition for who he is and what he does given where he came from.
And so, I am off to make a pork roast, which with any luck might turn out to be joy #6 😉
So, today I was having a bad day. I was angry at my 17 year old son, which is a common state of being for me these days. I was angry at his lack of motivation, his failure to help with anything around the house, the way he ignores his responsibility and lives completely from his id, and with the general disrespect he has shown me on occasions too numerous to number in the past few years. I asked to speak to him in the living room. I asked for the conversation in neutral territory because of some advice I had read in some parenting book that said I should not ‘attack’ him in his space… that requesting time in a neutral space is a better choice. While I waited for him to decide to actually get up and comply with my request [which, trust me, he does in his own meandering time], I headed to [where else?] Facebook. I was led straight to a status from a good friend I used to teach with where he offered a link to his wife’s blog and an interview she did with their preschool daughter. I read this interview with such pleasure that I virtually forgot the onerous task I was waiting to confront. I smiled at her answers and scrolled down the page to read another entry about a recent bout at the emergency room in a foreign country after this same preschool girl, called Ladybug in the blog, had swallowed a hair clip. This narrative was so real and so funny, I got lost in it. In closing, Sheila references a portion of a Psalm that offers a bird or angel metaphor and relates this to mothering [or parenting]. An excerpt from this blog follows:
After Ladybug was x-rayed and the doctors pronounced that she will be OK and the hair clip will pass on its own (and she threw up a few more times at the hospital), she came home to spend the night throwing up here. My momma heart was so broken for her in her pitiful state and I was reminded of how our Heavenly Father is compared to a momma hen in Psalm 91:
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
When I have done something stupid (like swallowing a hair clip), or am sick and pitiful, my Heavenly Father wants to tuck me under His wings, much like I tucked Ladybug under mine last night. It was a long, rough night, but I’m her mom.
And as much as she has worn me out lately with bad decisions, bad behavior, and bad attitudes, I would never deny her the spot underneath my feathers.
When I got to this part of the blog, I dissolved into tears and the cold anger in my heart melted instantly away. I literally sobbed, wanting then only to take my son into may arms and hold him. You see he has reasons for his awful behavior, that I sometimes forget. The main reason is that he is a teenager and he is wearing his insides on his outside. But there are other reasons…. His dad and I separated when he was 12… in case you are wondering… a terrible age for this to occur. When he was 13, his Dad moved away and headed into a disappointing mid-life crisis that he weathered by acting out in anger in every direction. When he was 15, he was able to behave so badly that I sent him to live with his Dad. This turned out to be a blessing, because they built a needed bridge and made some wonderful memories. But then, when he was 16, his Dad was killed in a boating accident while on vacation, and my son’s life was turned over and shaken upside down again. This all happened to his brother, who was 22 when his Dad died, too. But for this child, who has always felt things deeper than most and who happened to be this very pivotal age, this tragedy upon tragedy almost did him in. He has a bad attitude almost every day, he makes bad decisions, and behaves badly, but I am his mother. And no matter how old he is, I can tuck him under my wing. Tonight, because of reading this blog, I did just that. When he came into the room to talk, I received him differently than I would have before my watershed moment. Coincidence? Well, I don’t think so. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that this was an answered prayer. So tonight, after this ‘bad day,’ I am grateful for my children, even the one with the bad attitude, for friends, for words, for insight, for faith, and for a change in perception that came at exactly the right moment ✠