I’ve never worked in a paper clip factory. I never thought about what it would be like to make paper clips all day long. I had not considered what it must be like to have a career solely based on those cartons of curved, organizational magic… that is until I opened my most recent box of paper clips.
Upon lifting the lid to a brand new box, I discovered a very long chain of clips connected to one another. Surely, this is not a normal product of the paper clip making process. Someone somewhere took the time to construct this impressive chain of fasteners. Perhaps their intent was to frustrate the recipient of the chain, or maybe its creation served to pass the time during an unfortunate shut-down at the plant, or it could be that the chain’s maker was just trying to make a connection with someone else in a unique way. Whatever the reason, I was now the intrigued owner of a very long paper clip chain.
When I showed my daughter, she said, “That’s cool, but now you can’t use those paper clips.”
“Why can’t I use them?” was my reply.
“Because then you wouldn’t have the chain anymore,” she stated and walked away.
I guess she was right. I needed a paper clip, not a chain of them, but there were Intentergy moments in those links.
At family gatherings, does your family segregate meals dividing its members between the “kiddie” table and the “grown-ups table”?
If your family does, this is a post for you.
If your family doesn’t, this is still a post for you because we could all use some blessings sent with good intentions (even if they didn’t start that way).
Dating back farther than my memory serves, my mother’s family has hosted all of its meals with separate tables for children and adults. As our legs and attitudes grew, my cousins and I lamented the fact that we were forced to dine at the “kiddie” table. My grandmother used to always tell us to be grateful because at least we weren’t like “the Dooley’s down the road.” Grandma would continue on with the story that the sweet Dooley family had ten (10) children and not enough chairs, so at meals they had to sit on the floor.
My grandmother also maintained the practice of saying, “And all for baby Jesus,” at the end of every meal prayer.
As a teenager, I maintained the practice of being a pain in my grandmother’s rear.
At one holiday meal where I feeling particularly disgruntled at my “kiddie table” status, (I’m sad to say I don’t remember the holiday or year), I followed up my grandmother’s closing blessing, “And all for baby Jesus,” with, “And God bless the Dooley’s. May they all have chairs to sit on.”
Recently, I had the opportunity to share a morning with Gus and Fitz, two of our little friends from church. Other than the snuggles, the best part about having little friends join us is that they find joy in the toys that my kids have outgrown. On this particular visit, Gus discovered the phlat ball. The phlat ball has suction cups and a spring inside, so that when smooshed together it holds its flattened shape for a short time and then pops back into a sphere. Gus also thoroughly enjoyed of all the Paw Patrol toys. Soon he discovered that the Ryder figurine could lay on the phlat ball until it popped, and Ryder would go sailing.
No matter how many times it happened, Gus never failed to be excited about the prospect and result of the phlat ball propelling Ryder through the air.
Watching that kind of joy made me wish I could always be so enthusiastic about the simple pleasures in life, even when I know they are coming.
Today I hope you will take time to relish the simple stuff in your life, even if you know it’s coming.
Be sure to take in some fresh air and sunshine. Celebrate the reliability of your schedule and ability to be a part of your professional team. Do a happy dance for the dependability of dinner with your family, or the thundering sound of tennis shoes arriving home from school, and the quick hugs as your kiddos make their way to the snack cabinet. Give up a quick prayer of gratitude for the goodies you have to eat. Find pleasure in your pillow when you lay your head down tonight.
If you find joy in the simple things, joy will find its way to your more often… especially when you know it’s coming.
“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”
Holding in the things that bother us and keeping big problems to ourselves can be detrimental to our health and relationships. A constant spewing of our issues can also cause others to be desensitized to our downfalls. On the other hand, shedding light on what makes us shine brightens the world around us. Tooting our own horns is a healthy way to say “Woohoo!” when we do something great, but can make us come across as cocky. We have to find a balance between what makes us rant and what makes us rave.
As we enter a holiday season unlike any we’ve experienced, let’s take stock of all that is good and worthy of appreciation. Celebrate the talents and skills that make us successful and unique. Set our weaknesses and shortcomings aside. (You are probably the only one who notices these anyway.) Quit throwing pity parties and start throwing “I’m a Bad Ass”bashes.
We have arrived at the time of the year when giving thanks is officially the cool thing to do. There’s an entire holiday dedicated to the act of gratefulness. With the Thanksgiving spirit in mind, the Intentergy Positivity Challenge for November is to challenge yourself to 30 days of intentional thanksgiving.
My personal 30 Day Challenge is to write and send or deliver a thank you letter to someone each day in November. Keeping up with my tradition of card-making and lifting spirits with homemade greetings is something that brings great joy to my life and, hopefully, those that receive my cards.
If card-making isn’t your thing, consider sending Thank You texts or emails. You can also support local shops by purchasing cards to send to those for whom you are thankful.
That whole put-on-a-smile all day, every day thing is exhausting.
There are plenty of days when I feel like my smiles are used up before I even get out of bed.
Earlier this week, I channeled my inner Dolly Parton when someone asked my how I can stay so positive when people can be such jerks sometimes.
All I could do was quote Dolly, “I’m not happy all the time, and I wouldn’t want to be because that would make me a shallow person. But I do try to find the good in everybody.”
I’m not gonna lie. This week was a doozy. We lost a good friend to an automobile accident, learned the illness of another friend had progressed for the worse, and that we will lose our sweet uncle very soon. Students gave pitiful excuses. My children couldn’t seem to get along at all. It was a doozy.
Before I had to channel Dolly’s words of wisdom, I really was in a funk. A coworker called me out on it and so I dropped the shallow happiness quote on them.
My sister-in-law Shelly has a sign on her kitchen wall that says, “There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.”
I have always really liked that sign.
I recently received a stamp set for card making and in that set was a very similar expression. It was a welcome surprise, as I had already decided Shelly’s sign would be my inspiration this month. (It seems this message was calling me.)
“There is always something to be thankful for.”
My own post-it note…so I wouldn’t forget what I had read.
I know right now everyone is working on New Year’s resolutions or resolving to not make a resolution.
As you make your resolutions, consider taking time this year to write or say the things for which you are grateful.
Orfor those of you avoiding New Year’s resolutions, it is always a good idea to show gratitude for the blessings in life.
“There is always something to be thankful for.”
Not too long ago on Facebook, I saw an image of a post-it note. On that post-it note, it said, “What if… today you woke up with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”
Whenever people tell me it is their birthday, I always tell them, “I am so glad you were born.” Most look at me like I am crazy or just laugh at me. I am genuine in this statement.
Had that person not been born, never would I have had the opportunity to meet and know them or celebrate the anniversary of their birth.
My mom doesn’t like celebrating her birthday. She prefers to call them “pass-overs.” She wants them to “pass right on over.” There isn’t anyone I am more grateful for being born than her so I always try to make her day special (even though she doesn’t like it).
Here’s the thing. Too often we wait for birthdays or anniversaries to show our excitement for someone’s existence. Today be sure to share with someone you know how glad you are that they were born. Find a way for your genuineness to shine through and your gratitude for their role in your life to be clear. Appreciation is one of the best gifts we can give.
Professional development is a topic that makes most people groan in despair. I really have no problem with professional development. In fact, I have served on many professional development teams in the past. As a fairly new employee to State Technical College of Missouri, I have the benefit of taking part in the professional development programs offered, including the “new” teacher services. While I am not a “new” teacher in the sense of experience, I was definitely “new” to the collegiate teaching scene.
Upon completion of my first year at State Tech, I received an invite to meet with Angie, the Professional Development Coordinator. Her invite stated that she just wanted to visit with me about the successes and any concerns from my first year to form an instructional mentoring partnership. (Sounded fun and fancy to me and Angie said she was willing to have donuts at the meeting.)
When we met, Angie and I discussed what we believed to be successful about my first year and I shared my concerns (which wasn’t much). She listened, shared stories about her own experiences as an adjunct professor, and discussed ideas for addressing my concerns. (She even remembered the donuts!) To conclude our meeting, Angie thanked me for my time and presented me with a brand, new composition book to use as a journal of my teaching. She did not realize just how special that notebook was.
I have always had an obsession with notebooks and journals. Writing is one of my favorite outlets and I have a little bit of a list-making obsession. For the last few years, I have re-purposed the notebooks left behind by my students as they move onto the next year’s courses. I don’t mind recycling, plus some of those kids drew really great sketches for me to enjoy every time I use their discarded notebooks. When I was in grade school, my favorite notebooks were made from recycled paper. I loved the tint of the gray pages and the softness of writing on the thicker sheets. When my friend Erica gave me a journal for my birthday a few years ago, I was so excited. A new notebook just for me! I used that journal to begin the writing for my blog.
When Angie presented me with this new notebook, my joy was instantaneous and I thanked her with a huge hug. Who knows what great things I can do with those fresh, lined pages!Continue reading “Take Note”→
For my birthday I received an experimental gift… an iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner.
I have wanted one of these robot vacuum cleaners for a few years, but hubby isn’t too certain we need one. While I am feeling spoiled by Uncle Glen’s loaner vacuum, I am also aware that there are terrific lessons to be learned from his generosity.
Uncle Glen gifted the vacuum to me so that I might have the opportunity to see if I even liked it. The vacuums are costly and hubby is afraid it will damage things in our home so I haven’t pushed too hard for the purchase.
After a week and a half of utilizing my borrowed gift, I have compiled as list of lessons taught by my iRobot:
The iRobot really helps in picking up hair and dust. It is not so great with bigger crumbs and sawdust from the farm. Just like life, you can’t get rid of all the yucky stuff; some of it takes manual labor to remove.
The iRobot takes away from my time sweeping and vacuuming, but runs for a long time and is kind of noisy on the hardwoods. Progress can be noisy.
The iRobot has made my kids very aware of how dusty the floors can get and therefore they are more eager to have them cleaned. (Hubby is afraid of what the robot vacuum will break; I am more afraid of how soon the kids will break the robot.)Continue reading “Experimental Birthday Gift”→