Monday, January 07, 2013
I'm in the midst of getting my kids motivated for school and my youngest was asking about my friends from waaay back when I used a wagon to get to school and then she asked, "Why?" as in why were they my friends and it reminded me of the letter that was emailed the world over that encouraged people to be encouragers.
So, in this spirit, SparkFriends, drop me a line. Your positive words strengthen me in my personal battles.
I will return the sentiment.
The inspiring letter, circa 1998:
ALL GOOD THINGS
He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary's School in Morris, Minn. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million. Very neat in appearance, but had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischievousness delightful.
Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable. What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving - "Thank you for correcting me, Sister!" I didn't know what to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.
One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice-teacher's mistake. I looked at Mark and said, "If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!"
It wasn't ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, "Mark is talking again." I hadn't asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it.
I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark's desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room.
As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me. That did it!! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark's desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, "Thank you for correcting me, Sister."
At the end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen carefully to my instruction in the "new math," he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in third. One Friday, things just didn't feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves and edgy with one another.
I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled. Mark said, "Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend."
That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" I heard whispered. "I never knew that meant anything to anyone!" "I didn't know others liked me so much." No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again. That group of students moved on.
Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip - the weather, my experiences in general. There was a lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a side-ways glance and simply said, "Dad?"
My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something important. "The Eklunds called last night," he began. "Really?" I said. "I haven't heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is." Dad responded quietly. "Mark was killed in Vietnam," he said. "The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend." To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark.
I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, Mark I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me.
The church was packed with Mark's friends. Chuck's sister sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps. One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water.
I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to me. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. "Mark talked about you a lot," he said.
After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chuck's farmhouse for lunch. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me. "We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."
Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.
"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it." Mark's classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home." Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album." "I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary." Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said without batting an eyelash. "I think we all saved our lists."
That's when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.
Monday, January 07, 2013
"One week into the New Year and a Monday, could it get any more cr@ppy? I had this plan -see; it was going have me a supermodel by summer and claiming the Nobel Peace Prize by whenever they hand out that thing."
I am so done with setting myself up with too much.
I'm back in the workforce. It was a few solid weeks of busting my arse until my hands were burning from exhaustion. I had entered into Chambermaid Purgatory by getting hired during the Resort's busiest time of year (oh, thanks for the penny poker tips dudes, and thank you Zsa Zsa Gabor for the $10!). It has slowed down and I'm on damage control at work from having so many guests and likewise at home.
I'm on a mini-break from Monday cleaning. Today is really my Saturday and my house is in chaos.
Where. To. Begin?
I had put on blinders with the new job because I couldn't manage both. I have been burning thousands of calories a day and trying not to beef up my caloric intake with sugars as I go. I've never ever been one to figure that fitness/caloric intake thing out to work in a preventative fashion, or, so I thought. I've been bringing lunches (new to me) and eating breakfast (not just coffee!). A few days I was wanting more time to do other things and I've contemplated drive-thru. I remembered how Sparkers were saying how that habit laid poor food choices for them and the habit of convenience is miserable to break. So, I figured it was best not to start.
Side note: I considered taking up smoking with all the smoker's flux over the holiday. Have you ever noticed that a smoker is all frazzle and then when they have that cigarette they're all Zen-like? I mentioned it to my hubby that I was thinking of it. I needed a 'pacifier' instead of food. He pointed out that my gum was my 'pacifier' and that and that was the wiser choice. I said how expensive gum chewing was at a pack a day. He just gave me that 'look' as he stood outside in the cold curbing his addiction. His was expensive in more ways than one. Ya, what was I thinking? Best not to start that one either.
The kids are looking forward to going back to school to get a vacation from vacation. Our house was full from the start and there is so much to purge. We're detoxing from a surplus of self-indulgence, slothfulness and gluttony.
Where to start?
I asked our Future's so Bright Team their favourite quotes:
KARENE10: "If you believe it...you can achieve it "
WISHICOULDFLY: “If you are going through hell, keep going.” (or the kitchen)
I*AM*BLESSED: "Remember...wherever you go...there you are" (point those feet in the right direction)
Mine is: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are right."
and today as I look at all the things that need to be taken care of I remind myself that, "Rome wasn't built in a day."
SparkPeople Motivational Quotes:
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
I successfully went from obese to healthy with SparkPeople. I daily chose to work hard towards healthy. I'm going to let go of the 5-10lbs that I've been maintaining to settle in the middle of my B.M.I.
This is Part One of Two Challenges that I'll be doing.
My focus is:
Equipping myself with positivity to combat the negativity.
Let's make 2013 *A*W*E*S*O*M*E*
Sunday, December 30, 2012
On my SparkPage I wrote a little blip for each week of my journey to healthy. I don't know how many times in the year since I've repeated, Week 52.
I keep that Weight Log there to remind myself how it's done; One Day at a Time CHOOSING to care about my being.
One of the things that helped me was purging my home of my enemy. They're allowed supervised visits, but, for the most part they've been denied custody. Once in a while I let them in cuz, well, I'm a sucker for seduction. I get blinded by the lies I'm fed.
"One bite won't hurt."
"You're missing out on the celebration."
"You're SuperWoman now that you're healthy and you're 'Magically Delicious' (thank you Chubbs & Pudding), so, you should eat sweet things...you know...to remain sweet. Ya."
Apparently, I'm easy to seduce and my enemy is all over the place again. Just because, it looks good, smells good and tastes good DOES NOT mean that it is good.
My scale notified me this morning that it's time to love myself enough to stop hurting me.
Today I choose to not feel like crap by not feeding myself crap.
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