Monday, September 01, 2014
It is time to make a labor of love toward myself. It is a new day, a new week, and a new month and as a teacher, kind of like a new year as the school year has just started recently, but more importantly for me, September is always my NEW YEAR's resolution time. My birthday is later this month and it seems to always be a time of making plans, making changes, making a difference. I see my new year as the time to start anew with a clean slate and a fresh attitude.
The past year was tough for me. I have struggled; I have experienced some serious losses; and I have had some major challenges (both my own and those my son has had to deal with). So, I am looking out over the new year, month, week and day and seeing fresh hope and fresh opportunities for me.
Today I went to church and was thrilled and overjoyed to see a very dear friend who has been away for the past 2 years walk through the doors at church. She was in fact the person who drew my stepmother and I into attending this particular church. She was there for both of us and also for my father during his years when he was bedridden. She and I have continued to maintain contact, but she left this church under some very difficult circumstances. Several of the members of the church were extremely hurtful to her. She allowed herself to become overwhelmed and to be driven away. Those same people profess to be caring but were not kind at all. I know it took everything in her to walk through the doors today and she did it for one of my close friends whose birthday is this week. I wept tears of joy, but I KNOW that she had tears of pain mingling with the joy that most of the congregation felt today. I have kept her in my prayers and hope she will be able to return at least once in a while.
I fixed brunch today and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. I made two casseroles one a breakfast casserole with hash brown potatoes, sausage, eggs, and cheese, and the other a lunch casserole with hash brown potatoes, chicken breast, and topped with cheese. They are SUPER easy to make, feed a lot of people and I could cook them while I was in church - kept oven temperature low and they were perfect when we were done with the service. Best of all, the clean up was simple too, They young man who does brunch with me brought a Jello mold with fruit in it and there was a birthday cake for my good friend whose birthday is Wednesday - she will be 77.
Another woman at church brought me 4 brand new Love Inspired - Suspense books - she gets four each month and brings them to me after she is done reading them. I really love reading these because they are upbeat and have a strong spiritual foundation. I knew what I will be falling asleep with this week.
On the way home from church, the leaves were falling from the trees already - mostly just from one type of tree, but still yellow leaves falling in the road made me think that the beginning of my favorite season is about to start. There will still be some hot days but mostly the nights are getting cooler (even had 45 degree mornings this past week). I love autumn and I love the feeling of expectation that comes with this time of year. I feel like the really tough chaos of the first weeks of school have started to settle into some semblance of a routine. The kids are starting to settle down. The routines are starting to be less strange. It is a GOOD time to make changes and to get serious about reversing the struggles of this past year.
My wish for each of your dear friends is that you also, feel ready to make some changes that will make a difference for you. I am going to be making changes and know that for me the changes that I make in September are those most likely to be lasting and to move me forward.
When we make changes in our physical and emotional lives, we often send out ripples of change all around us. We change those closest to us, but we also change those we encounter occasionally.
Be blessed, bless those around you - hope, faith, love, and joy are all contagious and they make a difference to you and the world around you as well. Share your best and most wonderful self with others today, this week, and this month and . . . if like me, you are looking at a "new year" then throughout the rest of your new year too.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
My son was born 47 years ago today. In fact, I just looked at the clock and exactly 47 years ago, I was just being handed my darling baby boy for the first time - he was born at 1:35 p.m. and now it is just after 2:00 p.m. He has brought me such great joy, so many tears, and has taught me so much. He has grown and changed and developed into an amazing man. I still remember the baby I held back then.
I remember the chaos he brought into me world. I remember the JOY most of all. i wanted that little boy more than anything in the world. I had great visions for him and imagined so many scenarios of how he would grow and be everything I was not - successful, brave, courageous, confident, and popular - I don't know that he ever became the vision I had for him, but who he DID become is someone who makes me incredibly proud. I wasn't always so accepting of him not being MY VISION of him. I struggled. I was embarrassed often. I was at the end of my rope more times than I can count. He JUST refused to fit into my molds. . . . but the person he is now and that he has always been is simply incredible. CHALLENGING - certainly - Problematic - DEFINITELY - Easy - NEVER . . . but he is kind, caring, generous, competent, supportive, intelligent, willing to do anything for anybody. He is a MAN that a mother can be proud of. I love the HIM he chose to become and only wish that I could have accepted that all along since it would have made life easier for ME. It probably made him stronger that he had to resist becoming someone other than MY IMAGINED HIM and actually become the GENUINE and REAL HIM. I love him and wanted to share this with you.
Just because they don't become who WE imagine them to be doesn't mean we have failed, it simply means that they are who THEY are not who we think they ought to be.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ED. YOU BRING ME GREAT JOY
Be blessed as much as I have been and share those blessings with all around you. I think I learned it from my precious son Ed.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
The first week of school is over and I am still alive. It is always a stressful time, changes are continuous and whether good or bad, they mean adjustments, chaos, and stress. BUT . . . . . .
if all of that weren't enough, THIS week my darling son Ed had doctors' appointments on Monday (first day of school and I got to drive 3+ hours each way to his doctor and home well after 10 p.m. although I was up and moving by 5 a.m.), Tuesday (another early day but I was so exhausted by the time we got home, I fell into bed and went right to sleep), Friday (another 3+ hour drive each way AND discovered we did NOT even have to be there and they could do NOTHING), I also had a baby shower on Wednesday and didn't get home until almost 10 p.m. I had 3, 4, 5, and 7 students in my class this week at different points during the week. They were in and out like crazy trying to get them where they really belonged. I ended up with 4 students at this point and so far they are really starting to come together as a class.
My week was supposed to continue through the entire weekend and be REALLY stressful but also fun, however it would have meant another (yep, third this week) 3-4 hour drive into the chaos of Washington D.C. traffic during a Nationals' ball game. It would also have meant getting up early today, staying overnight somewhere, and then driving home LATE Sunday night. Fortunately, my darling son is as tired of driving in city traffic and making LONG trips and although he REALLY wanted to go to the party since it would have been a joint b-day party for him as well, so he agreed to skip the party.
So, now, the weekend is stretching before me with no special plans.
I REALLY REALLY needed to have some down time. All of the late nights meant I was walking and not using the POOL - the SAME pool that provides my exercise, relaxation, socialization, de-stressing, meditation, and healing - and the same pool I was NOT able to use except ONE time all week long. All of this stuff would have made less of an impact IF I had the time to be in the pool. Thankfully, I will be able to get there tomorrow. I will also have the time this weekend to make some realistic plans for next week. I want my SCHEDULE and ROUTINE to get back to NORMAL again.
I have done better with my eating this week because I have been so busy. My schedule at school is different but I like it. I actually have time to interact with the other resource teachers and also with the general ed kids - at least one day each week for each. I also have my planning period without having to have my students in my room and trying to work with others around because these students I have this year don't have MAJOR behavior problems but the ones last year did. It also means I will not be so isolated and will not feel like I am so alone.
Be truly blessed - count your blessings and be grateful - bless others with being the BEST and most wonderful YOU that you can possibly be. Don't let all of the chaos and stress around you drag you down - don't let yourself have "ONE OF THOSE WEEKS" too often. The occasional week like that just helps to remind us of how important it is NOT to let them happen too frequently. Chaos disturbs the healthy functioning of our bodies and our minds. Keep both functioning at their best by maintaining some type of balance. Keep your sense of humor and more importantly keep your sense of JOY. Take time to recharge.
Celebrate the small blessings when they arrive unexpectedly.
My best moment this week was when I went to my baby shower. The mom-to-be is the wife of my stepmother's grandson. They are expecting their first baby in September. She is due right around my birthday AND I have already decided that she will be my adopted granddaughter. I live closer to them than the rest of the family and have already volunteered babysitting duties and plenty of hugs and special times. I thought it was one of the nicest things I have seen in ages. The parents rent their house from a local church. They do NOT go to the church. The women's group hosted the baby shower and there were about a dozen women and they brought homemade blankets, quilts, afghans, and all kinds of other things. They played the best baby shower games - one was to have each person write advice for the mom on index cards that were then given to her. Then there was a Bingo game where each person filled in the squares with what they thought would be in the gifts and then when the gifts were open we covered the items we had written down. There was a lovely cake and punch and they had each person fill out an envelope with their own name and address on it so the thank you notes could be written and sent. They even stamped the cards that would have to be mailed and told the mom to just drop off the others at the church to save herself the postage and they would give them out.
Be open to the blessings that others bring to you as well as those blessings that YOU are to those around you. Be open to JOY, LOVE, GRATITUDE, PEACE, SERENITY, and KINDNESS - it makes YOUR world a more wonderful place to be. YOU make a difference in MY life and hopefully, I do the same for yours. Namaste
Saturday, August 16, 2014
This week was a LONG one - first of all, I had to get up EVERY day and go to work - that may not seem like much but summer has barely started - not even time to unplug my battery charger on my life - still in the getting used to feeling relaxed mode. Then my son had doctors' appointments that interfered with my own schedule and we had a lot of juggling to do here and there. The financial fallout from my fiasco with my brakes is still hitting hard and so is the emotional fallout from the whole family thing - closure is great but it also is HARD to finally say our good byes. The there is the whole thing of major changes in everything at school and on my job. Lots of stress and then my darling son's schedule is really crazy and messed up - normally I get the early mornings on the computer and then late nights. Today I got up and he was online and didn't go to bed for the "night" until noon today and he was up yesterday morning too - really messed with my peace.
Having said all that, I let it go and simply went back to my room and read until he finally was able to go to sleep. I just like the peace in the mornings without having to deal with other people before I head out of the house. With everything going on this week - I KNOW my stress has affected him and he is also concerned about his upcoming appointments this week. He has appointments Monday, Tuesday, and Friday and what happens at them may determine whether he needs surgery in the near future or if it can be postponed. I am worried too so I know THAT impacts his sleep as well. I need to get my serenity back if I am to survive this next week as well as the past week. I managed to survive but struggled all this past week.
I do have a PLAN in effect for next week and in some ways will be grateful to be back to semi-regular schedule. Once the routine is in place, it gets easier to KEEP it in place. I am packing lunches and snacks and planning to get to the pool at least 3 days this week (M & F we have to be 3-4 hours from home so I expect to miss those days - but at least there will be walking on my schedule). Each day I will be doing more walking than normal with my students so that will help balance my activity a bit. I also am reenacting my scheduled minutes of calm throughout my day - taking 30 seconds at a time to think of and if possible say aloud something I am grateful for, then ask for patience and love to be my approach to dealing with challenges throughout my day) It has worked in the past so I am going to use it again this year - may need to start with every half hour instead of every hour though as it looks like it will be quite a challenge.
Yesterday afternoon we discovered we would be getting 3 new students in my class and they are all EXTREMELY challenging and have MANY difficult and aggressive behaviors - before that, all of my students were supposed to be non-aggressive and nonviolent - all but one of the students are NEW to me and so I am quite sure it will be an adventure for the next few weeks. I met one of the students and in the 5 minutes I was with him and his caregiver, he tried to bite her 20 times, was self-abusive, screamed, destroyed at least 10 things in the waiting room we were in, and tried to run away 3 times. He should be an adventure. He is NOT the most serious problem we are looking at however.
'Nough of the whining and complaining. I am ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED to being upbeat and positive as the kids arrive for the first time on Monday.
On another note, as many of you know I have been struggling with my program for several months now. Dealing with grief, stress, and worry have been totally devastating to me. I have in the past learned that while all of my healthy eating and healthy choices can sometimes be sidetracked and it is hard to get back on track without some novelty to give me an extra push. So, I was watching a PBS special today and have decided on my NEW addition to my sane, healthy eating plan. I am going to try to limit the amount of sugars in my eating by using a formula for determining how many teaspoons of sugar I am eating. The plan is to limit carbs and calculate how many teaspoons of sugar taken in per day - eventual goal is to get down to no more than 10 per day - BUT as I always do, MY PERSONAL PLAN is to reduce the number over time if I discover I am WAY over that goal. The formula is to take the total number of grams of carbs and subtract the number of grams of fiber and then divide by 5 to get how many teaspoons of sugar in the food. They said to use total CARBS and not just SUGARS since carbs turn into sugars. I will let you know if it helps. The theory behind this approach fits with my concern about inflammation and so it also makes sense to me and doesn't take away or deprive me of my healthy eating habits in other areas either. The idea is that sugar leads to inflammation, inflammation leads to most of our chronic health problems. I take anti-inflammatory supplements already but the speaker suggested treating the CAUSE of the inflammation and not just the SYMPTOM of inflammation. I think it makes sense. There are correlations between inflammation and BP, cholesterol, diabetes, and cancers - so it seems like this might be a reasonable addition to my already balanced goals for making healthy choice3s more often and moving away from NEEDING medicines to heal my body but rather doing it through the choices I make - both with food and activity.
Everyone - be blessed today with joy, serenity, peace, and kindness. Then share those same things with those you love and those you encounter throughout your day. You will make a difference in YOUR life and the lives of everyone you come in contact with. Furthermore, you will make your corner of the world a better place to live, love, and grow.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Today is Tuesday, time to take a risk on YOU. Yesterday I spoke of making a difference on Monday. Today is Tuesday and in keeping with the alliteration concept take a risk on Tuesday. Do you think you can? Of course you can do anything you set your mind to, especially if you put a little bit of ACTION behind the thoughts. Do you think you can NOT? Well, maybe you can't but you will never really KNOW unless you take that risk and try, because you definitely WON'T if you don't try at all.
I am not suggesting that you become a crazy risk taker, but rather that you take a few calculated risks. Say something to a stranger who looks like they need a kind word. Offer a smile, share an idea, make some changes, make a difference. The saddest thing in this world is when you look back over your life and don't have a lot to show except an incredible stack of coulda, shoulda, wouldas that fill you with regrets. How much better to look back at the spectacular failures that may not have worked for you but at least left you with memories and some stories to share and probably a few life lessons that you have built upon forever since.
Have a blessed day and take a risk, you never know, you might succeed and more importantly you might truly MAKE A DIFFERENCE in so many lives - including your own.
Bless everyone you meet by being the wonderful person you truly are - that unique, special, wonderful YOU.
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