365 Reminders – Wise Words Wednesday

365 reasons

Maybe it’s the weather, or the new year, or taxes, or this darn head cold, but I have really been fearful lately. I find lingering doubts and worries popping up in my mind and permeating the corners of my heart.

There isn’t any one thing that my fears are focused on, but a lot of little things hindering my happiness.

Worry about friends who are ill. Worry about those who’ve lost loved ones recently. Worry about my own children’s health. Worry about my kids and getting along with others. Worry about being the best wife and mom I can be. Worry about meeting the needs of my students. Worry about our late library books. Worry about what to make for supper. Worry that I just know I am forgetting something… Silly, silly worries.

For all the millions of things I have to worry about, there is one number that packs a powerfully positive punch…365.

The phrase “do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times. Continue reading “365 Reminders – Wise Words Wednesday”

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Thank Goodness for First World Problems

 

In this weekend’s snowstorm, the power flickered, the internet and satellite tv went down, and the roads were too treacherous to go anywhere (most places were closed anyway). Based on many Facebook posts, Tweets, and my children’s behavior, one would believe the snowpolocypse had indeed arrived. Losing these luxuries was simple proof that we are blessed to have such silly first world problems.

I said a small prayer of thanks that these were our biggest problems. I added a prayer of petition for the safety of the farmers, road crews, and first responders still out working in the hazardous conditions. We are so lucky to have these people serving our communities.

I also reflected on a recent phone conversation with my friend Kary.

She has taken over the Random Acts of Kindness Club at Fatima High School and we were discussing some opportunities for community service projects. Kary was excited about the contacts I shared with her and the ideas we came up with, but she shared that there has been a bit of a problem with getting a great turnout from her group members. “They are all just so busy with sports, jobs, friends, and other things,” she said, “All these kids are good kids; they just have too much going on.” I agreed that it was a problem, but at least we could be grateful that it was our biggest problem for the club.

“It’s just another first world problem,” I told her and she laughed. Continue reading “Thank Goodness for First World Problems”

Don’t Be Like My Cactus

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January 2nd – Photo of Christmas cactus

Don’t be like my cactus.

For Christmas, my sweet friend Sarah gifted me with a beautiful Christmas cactus. The bright green was a very merry addition to my holidays.

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December 24th – Photo of Christmas cactus

When I received the cactus on December 13th, it had some small fuchsia blooms. On December 22nd I noticed the blooms had gotten larger. The morning of December 24th I was pleasantly surprised to find them in full bloom. With their vibrant arrival, I found a brighter sense of the holiday spirit and shared that with my family and friends. Each time I caught a glimpse of that Christmas cactus, my heart blossomed with a new floret of holiday fervor. Continue reading “Don’t Be Like My Cactus”

The Leaves of Change – Monthly Positivity Challenge

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While the leaves of fall turn their colors naturally, change does not come so easily to rest of the world.

For this month’s positivity challenge, I want you to consider one change that may allow you to enter into a new season of beauty in your life.

A season of beauty doesn’t necessarily have to do with changing your physical self. It can include changes in faith, patience, humility, acceptance, or simplicity. Choose to do something that brings a more beautiful light or outlook to your existence. Brighten your daily encounters with a more hopeful view or a greater appreciate for the diversity that you experience in others.

Some simple but significant changes to consider for your spiritual or emotional self include:

  • Practice quiet meditation for 5 minutes each day; select a mantra that will bring about the change you seek, such as “I appreciate the good in others,” “My time is a gift and valuable to myself and those whom I share it with,” “Peace begins within me, let that peace find me here.”
  • Smile, greet, or politely acknowledge all you meet, especially those who you don’t normally pay attention
  • Compliment others on jobs well done or their appearance; make note of it
  • Be conscious of the words you use when speaking to your family, spouse, or coworkers; keep a log or jar of unkind or impatient words. Making note of the not-so-nice things we say forces us to select less “noteworthy” negativity when we speak.
  • Schedule time for things that will reduce futures stress:
    • pick out your clothes the night before
    • make a grocery list before going to the store and stick to it
    • make a budget and stick to it
    • plan a game night or movie night with your loved ones
    • share your schedule with your spouse or significant other
    • clean as you cook allow yourself to enjoy time with your family after dinner
    • fold each load of laundry after taking it out of the dryer (this way you don’t have mountains of laundry to fold later)
  • Pick up trash or use recycling bins, even if the refuse isn’t yours
  • Reduce time spent on social media
  • Increase time telling stories or sharing memories with friends and family
  • Clean out cluttered drawers
  • De-clutter your desk
  • Clean out your car
  • Say an extra prayer each day for someone or something other than yourself
  • Keep a journal of positive things or share one positive experience from the day with your family members each night

Season of Change 3We can’t consider change without including a few healthy, physical progressions. With physical change, gradual will get the job done most every time.

Continue reading “The Leaves of Change – Monthly Positivity Challenge”

Cave

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Photo by Pete Johnson on Pexels.com

It’s only when we fail to stand our ground that we cave.

Only when we fail to be true to ourselves, we cave.

When we fail to be honest, we cave.

We fail to believe; we cave.

Fail only when we cave.

 

The times when I have felt least successful are those when I felt I caved to insecurity or scrutiny of others. It was in allowing the foundation of what I knew was right to crumble. I let my emotions cascade in an avalanche of uncertainty around me. I caved.

One instance from junior high, where I personally caved, still haunts me.

In 6th grade, recess changed the social dynamic for everyone at my school. The 6th grade girls were assigned the parking lot between church and our grade school along with the 7th and 8th grade girls for recess. There were no soccer goals, basketball hoops, or kickball fields in this lot. As someone who always loved sports and being active, this move was not an exciting one for me. The other girls seemed perfectly happy to sit on the steps next to church and clump in tightly knit circles gossiping away our precious free time. Recess was not much fun as far as I was concerned, but I made the most of it floating from group to group, checking to see what the topic of conversation might be, or if there was a chance of athletic ambition from anyone.

One day I ran to talk to one of the 8th graders, who played basketball on the school team with me. She was talking to two others girls and I was excited to see if they wanted to talk basketball.

As soon as I entered their circle, one girl took me by the arm and turned me around. “You are like a wart. We want to burn you out of here,” she said and pushed me in the opposite direction of their conversation. Continue reading “Cave”

Energy Walked into a Room…

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We all know the joke: A man walked into a bar…. he said, “Ouch.”

Well, the same holds true for when our energy enters a room. It speaks for us. Hopefully what our entrance energy says is much less painful than that of the man and the bar in the joke.

Keep in mind as you step into each space that your confidence, joy, sadness, insecurity, positivity, energy, or exhaustion debut just as you do.

Don’t let the energy you expel zap others. Continue reading “Energy Walked into a Room…”

What Would Your Things Say About You? – The Narrative Assignment

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My sister and I in our rocking chairs. Circa 1982

What would your things say about you?

The narrative assignment for my COM 101 class is not an easy essay. And I LOVE it! It is my favorite assignment to give and to grade.

In this assignment students are to compose a narrative of their life story as told by one object from their life. They are to personify one thing, and, from the perspective of that stuffed animal, tree, table, or whatever item they choose, the students are to share their defining moments from birth to present day.

This is a daunting task for students because some don’t have any one item that has been present for their entire life. Some claim that they haven’t done anything worth remembering. And still others whine that they can’t even remember what they had for breakfast, how are they supposed to remember what they did in grade school?

My response: It’s your story to tell. You better do the research. Your stuffed animal isn’t going to do it for you.

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My childhood rocking chair today

To help them get started, I share a roughly drafted intro to my life, as told by my childhood rocking chair. I give them a glimpse into what my life was like in the beginning and how to narrate using an item that arrived after my birth. Many find the example helpful.  Some try to copy my words and plagiarize by changing the item and dates. Whatever their approach might be, they all have the same task: Tell their own story while bringing to life a special object.

Have you ever tried to tell your story?

At 19, 39, or 89 it is not an easy task. I have to say, the particular group of students I have now moved me with the tales they told. The stories of self-discovery, loss of loved ones, and the ways they conveyed hope for the future exposed me to raw talent, emotion, and understanding for who they are as individuals.  Continue reading “What Would Your Things Say About You? – The Narrative Assignment”

Trying to Paleo My Pancakes

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Some of my friends have made positive and serious dieting choices in order to improve their health and live a more wholesome lifestyle. I will be the first to admit that I am intimidated by their diets. These ladies are so careful and mindful of the food they put into their bodies; I feel like an elephant trampling through our get-togethers with my chocolate, sugar, and wheat-filled foods. (I don’t have chocolate, sugar, and wheat in EVERYTHING, but I do like them A LOT.)

Last weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to have an overnight girls’ getaway. Woohoo…

That was until I started to think about what food I should bring. What if I brought something someone is allergic to or something that they had spent the last 10 months avoiding??? What was I going to do?

I did what any modern age, intelligent woman would do… I found recipes on Pinterest.

All four of us really like breakfast and we all LOVE pumpkin. I found a recipe for Paleo Pumkin Pancakes. It was super exciting because the recipe only called for five ingredients, and I had all five on hand.

(Link to the Paleo Pumpkin Pancake recipe)

As my nervousness over meeting everyone’s dietary needs continued, I shared the recipe in a group message. My friends all said the pancakes looked “perfect,” so I planned to make Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes. What could go wrong?

Continue reading “Trying to Paleo My Pancakes”

I Miss Paul Harvey

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While radio never stops and has played a pivotal role in entertainment for centuries, it does not seem to command the attention of every waking hour as it did in the past. When I was growing up, my waking hours started around 4:00 a.m. helping milk cows. Each of those mornings we were joined in the milk barn by the sounds and stories of Paul Harvey. Even after we left the farm in 1994, my listening continued as I began waitressing breakfast at a local restaurant. It didn’t matter where I was, Paul Harvey’s voice drew me in and transported my mind to the stories and people of whom he spoke.

Monday through Friday Mr. Harvey shared his commentary on the affairs of the world in his News and Comment. At the end of each weekday broadcast he would sign off with a chipper, “Good day.” On Saturdays he shared The Rest of the Story. After telling an always impactful version of one adventure, discovery, or invention, The Rest of the Story was always smartly summarized with, “And that’s the rest of the story.” The reliability of his demeanor made him more than a voice on the radio. He became someone I felt I knew. He became someone who was an active part of my life. He was like family. Continue reading “I Miss Paul Harvey”

Ultimate Advice to Give???

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As the school year races our way, planning for new student orientations are revving up. By some lucky star I have been selected to speak at the Power Up for new students at my college in August. The theme is the “Ultimate Guide to Success.” (Not sure how I feel about being ‘ultimate’ yet, but I am going to try.) 

After I received the email inviting me to give the speech, I lay awake in bed hoping some earth-shattering ideas would come to me for the presentation. The one thing I fear most is to give a “typical” start-of-the-year speech. Instead of flashes of inspiration my 7 year-old appeared. Apparently, he couldn’t sleep either. So I asked him what I should say to help students start the year. (Why would’t we ask a 7 year-old?)

He gave it some serious thought and said,
“Tell them to do their best and forget the rest.” (Thank you, Paw Patrol.)

Then he went on to say, “Tell them to ask questions.” 

Wait a second.

That was pretty good advice. Isn’t asking questions the scariest part of learning?

Third, my budding genius said, “Tell them it’s okay to fail.”  Continue reading “Ultimate Advice to Give???”