Monday, November 20, 2017

Soulmate

Most people think their spouse is supposed to be their soulmate.

I know I did.

I think this belief is propagated in Disney Princess movies. Our Prince Charming, Aladdin, Eric, or Flynn is supposed to be perfect and someone we can live happily ever after with.



Did you know that you can have more than one soulmate?

I'm not talking about polygamy, polyamory, adultery, or any of that stuff.

I'm talking about redefining the term Soulmate.


Sounds right. Thanks Dawson's Creek.

But no where does it say that this person has to be your spouse, the opposite gender, or the same age. No where does it say that this person remains in your life forever. No where does it say that this isn't several people, who may or may not be in your life at the same time.


At different times of our lives we will need and want different types of relationships.


How do you know if you have found a soulmate?

1. Indescribable Connection

Firstly, you will feel a sense of having known this person for all of your life. They will 'get' you. You will 'get' them. 
  • You may experience HUGE changes when you meet. You may shift directions entirely. You may experience emotions you never knew you could feel - extreme highs and lows.

2. Intertwining passions 

This is probably how you will meet. You both will love the same things. When you get together and work on those things, you will challenge and inspire each other to greater heights than ever before. You feel the need to team up and conquer something.

When we get together we pop off like Fourth of July - Hollyn
3. Complete Ease

There is no guilt, no nerves, no shame when you are around your soul mate. Despite what society, religion, culture, has to say, when you two are together, everything is perfect. No one has to understand you, but you.
  • You will know what the other person is thinking or feeling intuitively.
4. Mutual Growth

Lastly, you both will grow together. You learn from each other's failures and when you are apart, you still grow and learn. You bring out the best in each other.

The hard part:

Sometimes, once the lesson is learned, the person will drift away, having completed their mission. You will never forget them.

Here's the part you need to understand.

This is not the same as a Life Partner.

Soulmates can be your Life Partner, but they don't have to be. It's only in recent times that we expect our spouses to be in tune to us. Think about it.

(Or read here.)

Your spouse is your Life Partner.

What is a Life Partner?

Your relationship is based on being physically present and creating new memories.
You both feel a sense of financial and emotional stability by being together.
You resonate with each others beliefs, ideas or religion/philosophy.
Your relationship is based on logical or intellectual decisions.
You get along like best friends- your relationship does not suffer from extremes.
You enjoy getting to know each other and learn about your differences and similarities- everything about each other feels new and exciting.
You feel attracted to each other physically and resonate with each others values.

http://foreverconscious.com/the-difference-between-soulmates-and-life-partners

This distinction has helped me greatly and I hope it helps you, too.



Saturday, August 5, 2017

Championing for Students Who Fall in the Cracks

Image result for back to school image

Back to school is a busy time for me: classroom set-up, lesson planning, copying, new unhappy parents...

I am a teacher and a parent in the United States. I was going through teacher training as changes were already made and being implemented in the fields of Standardized Testing and Special Education. I held some strong beliefs back then about both and I still have them now, even as I've watched the two areas merge.

The parent I talked to held to the belief that students were put into Special Education to fill a 'quota' so the school could get their 'money' from the government. This father was right, however, the student in question wasn't attending a Title I school. I didn't talk about this fact, go into any politics, rather, my focus was on the student.

His concern was valid for his child, that his child was placed, or tracked, into the wrong 'track' for him.

This is what I was championing for back in college. This is what I would grow combative over, what made my heart both bleed and rage; students who fall through the cracks and get left behind in a system that doesn't cater to the 'in-betweens'.

In this case, the student and his dedicated family were not given the chance to learn what the skills he needs to succeed. They were told the school was doing what was best and the student was thriving and doing well. Sure, when you don't challenge a student to their full potential and he picks up on everything easily because he's not 'dumb', then he will thrive. He will look like a star.

But as he grows up, he will not be given the same opportunities once he is 'tracked' into a low achieving education system. The barriers that existed when he was small do not exist now that he is older. The excuses they used to place him are no longer valid. It's time for him to fly.

As a teacher, I have an obligation to push my students, to teach them as much as they can learn. I have an obligation to challenge myself to learn more to stay ahead of them.

I feel this is my calling, this role, to champion for the little guys who get stuck in the cracks. I'm donning my armor and getting ready for this fight. It might take 3 years to get him on 'track', but it will be worth it.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

New Doghouse and Firepit = New Backyard

I wanted to share some of the things that made me happy this week. For one, we FINALLY finished building the new doghouse.


We added a covered wing for lounging. It is a doggy resort and spa now with the pool. Sadly, I noticed two small holes in the pool. They are high enough on the sides to allow a decent amount of water to remain, but that means a new pool for next year.




Secondly, since the old doghouses needed to be burned and my fire bowl was destroyed, I needed that fire pit I've been dreaming of for years.



Here's a couple videos of the demolition.


Sorry the second one is tilted. I don't know why it didn't auto adjust during filming. I know I'm supposed to film in landscape, not portrait, so I turned it, but it didn't turn with me!

With the new firepit and new doggie resort, it feels like a new backyard. Cleaning up and creating a space for something I love, fire, is a great investment.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Get on With Living and Loving

I made this meme using a quote and an image:



I like the way the devil and the angel remind us about eternity, while also about living and loving to the fullest in one image.

Plus, it's pretty hot! I saw it years ago and saved it. If you know who made it, let me know so I can give proper credit.

My husband said, "Hey, I just said that last night!" because he did say we'd better spend whatever time we have together before we don't have it anymore. As you get older, the years tick by faster and faster!

It also reminds me not to play it safe. Sometimes we have to take risks, little leaps of faith, put our trust in people or things in order to get to accomplish our goals; step out of our comfort zones.

Be intentional today.

Identify what you want your life to communicate and contribute, then set some goals.

Again,

  1. What do you want to contribute with your life? 
  2. What is your message?
  3. How will you get there? What steps do you have to take?

Overraction: What Do You Do If Things Get Out of Hand?

A friend said, what happens if you face your fear and the reaction is WORSE than you expected??

This is a valid question. I shouldn't say that if you face your fears, everything will work out okay. Sometimes it doesn't work out okay.


Step One: Reevaluate the situation. If you have time afterwards to debrief, review with yourself why things got so out of hand. What was said, by whom, when did the emotions really amp up? What was the turning point?

(I had a co-worker, the same one in the previous post, who became irate at one point in the course of our working together at the working situations. They pointed all failures at me. Our conversation was documented, by me, as I tried to puzzle out what else to do.)

Step Two: Perhaps you need to apologize for something you said, but don’t make excuses and promise not to do it again. You have to do it again! This was your fear, and it will remain in control of you if you don’t figure out a way around it.


(I don't remember making excuses, but continuing to try new things. I don't remember apologizing, either, which may have been a mistake, but the situation was a condition of our employment and these things happen. We can't prevent them all. I reached out to my support team for strategies. We had to deal with this and face it every day.)

Step Three: Prepare yourself mentally. Next time you need a new game plan. Explain how and why you are feeling what you are feeling as they happen. Yes, even out loud to another person. Communication helps you gain perspective and ground you and calm you.

(I had to help explain how the person in crisis was feeling. During crisis, I had to remind my team of procedure, the agreed upon steps to try from my support team and training. We had to debrief, what worked, what didn't, after the crisis moment was over. Then we could plan for the next time.)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Overcome Your Fear and JUMP IN!


This little PowerPoint (you will have to click through) gives my three steps to overcoming my fears and taking life by the horns. 








Step One: You need to get curious about your fear. Analyze your thoughts, your location when they happen, who they happen around, and what your react is. Do you leave? Do your palms get sweaty and you become tongue tied? This is like analyzing a setting in your writing. Be descriptive and cover all the senses.

(I used to have a co-worker that I needed to confront. I idolized this person because they had more experience and I went to them for advice. However, I was higher in rank and felt manipulated into their ideas on how things should work. They would get really mad when I tried to do things differently, as was my prerogative as the superior.)


Step Two: If your best friend came up to you and said they were struggling with a fear, you would brainstorm with them, comfort them, and motivate them to try to face it, right? Why don’t you do that for your own fears? Replace your negative thought with positive ones and be grateful for what you do have. Ground yourself in the study of your surroundings, and shift your focus and perspective. Not everyone has this fear.


(I had to think about confronting her and her being angry with me. I did talk about this with another person and learned that they had similar feelings about being manipulated. I didn't feel alone and took comfort in this unity. I began to plan what I would say to her and how I would change the environment in my favor.)


Step Three: Then it’s time to do one small thing to face your fear. Speak up with an introduction, get closer to the thing that scares you. Many times I imagined a situation would turn out worse than it was once I had to face it. The reactions I expected didn’t occur, or they were much milder.

(When I finally confronted her, she was upset with the change I'd made. It worked out that the change was sorta her idea, however it didn't work out the way she wanted. She was put in charge of a group, but didn't get to have lunch break with her favorite conspirator anymore. Would she figure out a way to make this happen, so she could get a lunch break with her again? Probably. Would she figure out a reason to make another change in her favor, possibly. This time, I would be ready. All changes can be undone.)

Note: Since we cannot control everything, we have to let go of the illusion of control. It’s okay to cry, to ask for help, or to shake and tremble as we move closer to the thing we fear. Take deep breaths. Jump In!



(I certainly am in control of this situation, as I am the highest rank in my department. I needed to find unity and support for my actions and decisions in order to go through with them. I needed to gain some perspective on the situation and allow myself to jump in and make changes. I had to admit that not everything in my department was peachy, that I did not have control, in order to gain it back.)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Minimalism can lead to Adventure


I made this meme today. It's kinda funny because the knight needs things like armor to have his adventures. I guess they are not adventures if they aren't dangerous. 

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/3d/8b/59/3d8b596a77d8a6dc362c604a0655f837--hugo-movie-book-quotes.jpg

I'm not saying to not be a little prepared. What this meme means is to save up for things you find great enjoyment from, experiences, rather than simply things.

If you are lacking in adventure, maybe it's time to re-prioritize your spending.

Are you buying collectibles, nick-nacks, antiques, or other items that do not bring you joy? Maybe they do bring you joy for a time. Maybe they do serve a purpose. Do you have any that don't continue to serve a purpose and you can sell?

Create an adventure savings or a rainy day fund.

You don't even have to plan your adventure. You can be spontaneous.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/7c/9d/e3/7c9de3a938826194aea909ea187cfd73--adventure-quotes-adventure-travel.jpg

Give yourself permission to have fun.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Library Living Room Wall

Our big project this summer was to turn one wall of our living room into a library. This inspired us to make our entertainment system a display worthy of video game hall of fame.

Before:



You can see behind my sons and nephews that the bookshelves we had were full to bursting and quite unattractive, yet eclectic.

We went to Lowe's for all of our supplies from paint, to rail shelving, to cube storage.

http://www.2acheck.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/lowes-home-improvement.jpg

The far wall is painted this luscious chocolate color by Valspar called Deep Earth. It complemented the espresso bookshelves well. I painted the screws and washers we used to mount the wall, but the brackets and rails being black seem to disappear into the background.

After:



Ignore the teaching materials on the ottoman and you can see the finished product. There are more cubes behind the chair in the corner.

The decorative lamp in the middle space is standing on a 3-cube unit on it's side to give it proper height. We removed the glass shade and used an old fashioned globe style bulb to give the library an old industrial feel. Maybe a little steampunk?

The desk lamp version of this with a long ovular bulb is behind the chair.


We all have commented how inviting the living room is now! We just want to curl up with a good book and read, or turn off the lights and play a video game or watch a DVD.

What I really want is new living room furniture. The couch is falling apart, the ottoman lid is broken. The only piece still intact is the recliner!

I feel a library such as this deserves a chaise lounge. Don't you?

Fight Writer's Block and Find Your Missing Muse

I've been eerily silent lately. Summer has been a busy writing time for me. With my co-author as my muse and help from my techie husband I've written a Sci-Fi short story about a robot named X4-R, or Xar who contracts a virus and spreads it to others that results in the destruction of his home and an exit from their planet into space.

I am now beginning to work on lesson plans for the upcoming school year while my muse is on vacation visiting family. (Grr.)

Seriously, all I can write is microfiction. Or type up his manuscript which I've been working on for years.

I'm trying not to stagnate!!

While stepping back from a work is good practice in order to come back to it with fresh eyes, when you're not finished with a piece and it's not time to edit, stepping away for a break creates a block in the flow of energy. It also makes me depressed.


Some of the ways in which I fight back against my missing muse are to:


Read. I've devoured books this summer, most of which to honor my muse as they are his favorites.

Color. The monotony of coloring busies the right and left brains just enough to let the mind wander. You can get some problem solving done as you enter your subconscious and sort of daydream your worries into submission. This also works with cross stitch. I have a huge lion I've been stitching for 14 years. I just do a little when I feel the need to get into this subconscious flow. I used to do it on particularly bad period days when the cramps were completely unbearable and all I could do was sit, but after my ablation, I don't have those anymore.

Write microfiction. Just getting a small idea out, writing to a prompt or challenge on ficlatte.com, can ease the desire for writing something when there seems to be no direction for such creative outlet.

Brainstorm. I have been following my muse so closely that I have forgotten how to brainstorm for myself. That's why writing Xar felt so good. I wanted to do something awesome. I had it critiqued and it got great reviews and I tweaked it. It is set to go into our short story anthology. Yet I need to keep writing my own things as Elsha Hawk, too. Get out a blank sheet of paper and just write everything that comes to your mind. When you begin to focus on one, expand it and write a few paragraphs or a character sketch.

Review old writings. Looking back into writer's notebooks, into old online microfiction, I search for one liners, or single lines, that are really good and really inspiring. Then I take them in a new direction. I've changed entire stories that way. Once I started with a cultist community that lived in the clouds who met a rival cloud community, but it changed to an island community where a stranger washed ashore and challenged their beliefs.

Doodle. Speaking of character sketches, perhaps you can draw people better than I can and you prefer to wake up your muse by drawing a character from your brainstorming session. You could also just pick up a pencil and doodle, entering that subconscious space until you've worked out where you need to be.

I don't listen to music and get inspired very often because I'm partially an auditory learner and so I pay too much attention to the music to enter that subconscious space. Some people, however, are able to do this.

Paint. Notice a trend? Creative pursuits that allow you to space out and enter that subconscious zone.

Puzzles. I get crazy when I put together a jigsaw puzzle. I sing out loud to myself, get rather loopy and silly, and say some crazy things. There's something about the quiet and concentration and failure and determination during a puzzle build that puts me in a mood of restlessness. I am determined to finish it, to not let it best me, but I want to get out of it so much that I escape into humor.


I'm sure you have other ways. Why don't you share them with the class? Leave a comment!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Two Faces - Putting on a Good Show

I came across a quote today posted by Daily Plug on Facebook.

It's frustrating knowing how terrible of a person someone actually is, but everyone loves them because they put on a good show.
This is why I now have a few gray hairs.

Image result for Gray Roots (not my head!)

See, I fell for the show for a year and half. I learned from a person who was wise, kind, had a HUGE heart, and big opinions. I learned to have a thicker skin, to be more pessimistic and see things from a different point of view. I learned many skills I needed to survive. This person was a mentor.

Until I grew.

I grew from my study of them. I learned. As I grew, I tried to do what they do, to take the control that they possessed, which was my right. See, I was their ranking superior. I treated them with the respect of a peer and even a superior for a while when I was learning. As I grew, though, I needed to take over. They needed to phase out.

They didn't like that.

I cried myself to sleep. I talked to a few people about it and got some great advice. This person was going to make a mistake, say things to the wrong person, or tick someone off, and as long as I was keeping my nose clean and butt covered, I'd be fine. I knew they were trying to cover their own butt, so I had to cover mine.

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This meant documentation. If anything went amiss, I needed to write it down. This person was good though, both in the way they performed their job, and in their good-natured heart. I began to examine what things upset me as well as what things upset them.

It was about control and action. They wanted control and quick action on events and trials that occurred in the workplace. I was supposed to have the control, the power, and I like to think before I act. I also do not like confrontation, so I did not have good conversations with them. I was not going to cry at work.

This person continued to offer up suggestions for the way I should do things. Sometimes I followed them and sometimes I didn't. I made schedule changes that they didn't like by having them switch lunches to supervise kids instead of have lunch with their best friend. I planned things for myself to do and they sat back and scoffed when I didn't do them their way, sending me 'warning' comments across the room. (It was a cooking lesson and they were a better cook, so they had comments about timing of parts of the meal and heat settings on the stove.) But I was the superior in rank in the room. If it didn't work out, it was a teachable moment for all of us. Not everything had to be perfect.

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Fortunately, this person moved away. In the time leading up to this, I tried harder and harder to take control back. The person was not happy at all. They began to push others away with their complaints and negative attitude. I talked to others who also worked with this person and found out THEY were putting on a show of liking the person, too. I felt better. It wasn't just me.

Image result for others see a two faced pserson

I saw beneath the mask. I wasn't alone. Others could see beneath it, too. It's just not polite to talk about what you see behind the mask because it's often so ugly. Sometimes you need to know that others can see it, too. It makes living with the person more bearable.

I learned many things.

1. Life is short and you so have to make decisions, sometimes quick ones.
2. Say no and don't fret about what others think. Sometimes you have to be the bad guy. Sometimes you have to yell. You can go back later and debrief.
3. Document everything that can be traced back to you. Every action that another person will find out about. Make sure that if you use electronic communication that big issues go through email or paper notes and not texting or messaging.
4. Find a good friend to talk to about things. Don't keep it all inside. If your good friends still see the mask and not what's behind it, find a co-worker or someone else who might understand.
5. Cry. Go ahead and cry it out, in private or in public when appropriate.
6. Evaluate your own actions, your own masks. Make decisions. Change things. Grow. If you need time, take it.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Anxiety

What happens when things don't go the way you want them to?



That's what Anxiety is.

I used to say my biggest fear was the unknown. I had to be prepared. For everything. I wasn't the kid at the pool with a life vest, inflatable ring, goggles, flippers, and snorkel, but I did study so I was ready for the test, pack extra socks and undies when I went camping, and never ran out of shampoo before market day.

I still have to be prepared.

Now that I'm grown up and wading through the streams of life, I know that sometimes I'm going to hit deeper water and the current may sweep me along beyond my planned destination.

My over-planning cannot save me when life throws me a curveball. But I still try to control what I can control. I overthink things. Sometimes this is great, as preparatory, so I can change gears on the fly. Sometimes this causes me depression.

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Case in point: when my best friend stops talking to me, stops responding to anything. Not one like on a post on Facebook, not one snapchat message, not one text - for several days.  What if the little snippet I sent them, some little outpouring of love, was misinterpreted? What if they think I'm smothering them? What if they don't want to tell me, so they stop talking?

http://hodgepodgedays.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Anxiety+Girl.jpg


It's happened before. Misinterpretations happen.

You know what else has happened before? They were having a really rough time.

So do I keep sending little encouraging notes, or do I back off and say a bunch of neutral apologetic things? If they don't talk to me, I'll never know.

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Meanwhile, I cry. I cry big ugly sobs and huge tears. They are GONE. I mourn them like they left me. I FEEL abandoned.

And most likely, they are just swamped with work.

Then I crash. I feel like an idiot. They never really left me. I'm so stupid.

I'm already depressed from the extremes my anxiety has taken, so feeling like an idiot can add to this depression. It's not an extreme depression, but it is a low place.

Abandonment makes me angry. Facing the fact that I am making myself look like an idiot for listening to these feelings makes me angry. I want to retaliate. Do something extreme. I want to treat myself to show the world that I don't need them. I want to eat rich, live rich, and soothe myself in illogical ways.

I need to stop myself and redirect myself to something positive, something I won't regret later.

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Unless my friend talks to me. THEN I know things are all okay. Only they can cheer me up.

I know that once we talk again, it will be like we never parted. This time of emptiness is a bump in the road. This isn't the first bump. It won't be the last. Yet, every time this happens I experience the same pain anew.

This time I did not sink so far into mourning. I guess that's progress?

This time I tried really hard to remember that it's probably their job, it's probably okay if I send small notes once a day, and that the time will come when they will talk to me again. And the hope is that it will be like we never parted.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Marvelous May - Choosing to see the good for Mental Health Month

May is always a good month for me. It's my anniversary month (15 years this year!), my birthday month (older than 15), Mother's Day, and a break from work at the end for Memorial Day.

https://www.thetech.org/sites/default/files/birthdays.jpg

It's also Mental Health Month.

I love this inclusive infographic about self-care. Self-care is SOOO important.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cn1aUmaUkAA8J3Z.jpg
I'm trying to count my blessings every day this month by seeking out things that make me happy. Day one, my husband gave me a bookmark.


Day 2, he sent me two GIFs. (ha ha punny) One was a crystal and one was a watch because those are the gifts you traditionally and modernly receive on your 15th anniversary.

I'm determined to make May the best month, to live up to its reputation, but it's entirely all about my ATTITUDE and choosing to SEEK AND FIND THE GOOD.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

My Baby Turns 10

My youngest turned 10 years old this weekend. Now, 10 year old boys are still crude in their behavior and language and they don't quite 'get' the world around them. They see the top layers and nothing underneath. They should have a decent grasp on manners, but they forget in their rush to enjoy life how to use them. They laugh at jokes you didn't think they understood, and soon you realize that they don't completely. They still need hugs and reassurance because they still have fears, but they want more independence and a later bed time.

When I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday, he couldn't decide. The available options for parties in this town were all done before he was 9; bowling, bouncing, laser tag, roller skating (not cool since 1st grade), and Bogey's fun center which isn't fully open due to cooler temperatures.

My husband suggested a movie. 2 hours of 10-year-old boys seated and mostly quiet?? Yes! So we met at the movie theater and paid for the earliest (and cheapest) show tickets. It cost a lot less than a party at one of those overused establishments.
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But you can't have birthday cake at the theater. So we took the boys over to the Mall food court and enjoyed the cupcakes there.  (Generic food court picture.)
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The boys asserted their independence by wandering into 2 stores on their own a few yards from our table. I think the store clerks had little heart attacks, but when I and another Mom showed up, they calmed down. Plus, in true 10 year-old fashion, they bought candy. It was more about buying candy with your friends in the Mall than learning a lesson about spending your birthday money unwisely on a 4 dollar bag of gummy bears. (One smaller than the one pictured.) That's a lesson for another day!
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Monday, March 27, 2017

No More Muffin Top

I pulled on a pair of jeans yesterday and thought it was just the jeans.

It wasn't until today when I pulled on a second pair that I believed it.

No more muffin top!
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This makes me really excited. I've watched the scale's numbers descend since December, but I hadn't really seen the results on my body until the jeans hugged my hips and laid nicely against my belly.

Diet and Exercise, people.

I've been making sure I have a balanced and healthy lunch, a breakfast that is filling but not sugary, and a dinner that includes a protein and a vegetable. Then I watch the snacks and treats closely.

Usually, I can do about 5 miles on the elliptical, but recently I began stopping after the first mile to do 10 burpees, then after the second to do about 6 more, but after mile 3 I hit that 'runner's high' where my legs don't burn and I just go. Then I stretch out and do some ab exercises.

If I don't have time for an elliptical workout, I do some HIIT exercises or make sure I get a few extra walks into my day.

Some days are harder than others to get in any exercise, and we all need rest days. I used to be guilty of eating poorly on rest days. One change I had to make was to stick to my 'work diet' on weekends as closely as possible. Otherwise I am way too tempted by sweets!

The point is, watch what you eat and get what exercise you can.

Think about it, plan for it, and do it. It feels great.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Physical Health - Say No to Fad Diets

As I age I find myself more concerned about my health. To prove this point, a small group of 3 women, two of which with children my exact age and one who is closer to my age, were standing behind me in church before the service began talking about their fad diets and how much they lost or wanted to lose and what health reasons they had for doing so. I thought to myself, "Is this going to be me in 20 more years when my children are may age now?" and I also thought, "Will I be this concerned about my body in 20 years?"

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The answer is No and Yes.

No, in 20 years, as long as I take care to educate and train myself, I won't be obsessed with fad diets and X-number-of-day programs. I don't believe those are healthy for you.Image result for fad diets not healthy
Image result for fad diets not healthy


Yes, I will be just as concerned about my physical health as I should be. I want to be here for another 20 years. I want to be healthy and active for another 20 years. I want young adults to look up to me the way I look up to them and ask, what's your secret?

I won't say that I tried every fad diet known to man.

There is no secret. It's that I eat right all the time, not for some X-Number-Of-Days and I take my vitamins, a multivitamin every day, not some drops you add to water for so many days, and I exercise in ways I find fun.

In 20 years I probably won't have this blog, but I hopefully will have my body. Healthy choices start now.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mental Health - Art of Shawn Coss

While May is the official Mental Health Month, I saw this post (a few months late) and had to share it.

I find art to be a beautiful and dramatic form of expressing feelings there are no words for. When it comes to mental health, art is a great way to share what's going on up there.

A friend shared this art on their facebook timeline, and perhaps you have seen it because it has 3.1million views, but Shawn Coss illustrated a few mental illnesses for Inktober and it speaks to people.
       
Every year thousands of artists get involved with Inktober, where for 31 days of October, you ink a drawing for each day.
I decided to go off the usual prompt and focus on mental illnesses and disorders.
Major Depressive Disorder

I'm sharing the depression one because it shows the fight it takes to just get up when you feel like you are being dragged down.

Bipolar Disorder

And also the bipolar one, because I have several friends who are afflicted with this.

Go HERE to see the rest. Go to his facebook page and follow him if you want to see more of his work.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Forgiveness

Image result for missing puzzle piece

I've known a piece of the puzzle was missing for a while.

When these words were spoken, they hit me in the heart. They even left me with an action step.

"Just as we exercise and eat well for the health of our body, we practice forgiveness for the health of our soul."
Three things I have to say.

1. Forgiving yourself is the first step to loving yourself and having happiness.Image result for forgiveness

Oh man. This one is tough. Not forgiving yourself is a surefire way to fall back into your old ways, your old hurts, your old habits. I've been dealing with a cycle of depression and pain, and while it is not clinically bad, at the heart of it is this inability to forgive myself for the hurt I caused myself and for the guilt. I chose to stay in a state of wallowing in heartache. I did not accept the truth. I chose to blame others for my feelings. That doesn't make any sense! And it doesn't solve any problems. The answer is Forgiveness.


2. Just as there are no levels of love, there are no levels of forgiveness. It's a sliding scale.

I have done research on the types of love. The problem all researchers get into is how to define and classify love. They break things down into 3-6 categories, then when two of them interact, they call that another form of love. It's all true and well and good, but just as the eyes can see variations in colors into the millions, so love feels and is different in variations outside of those combinations. There are more intense colors and more intense feelings of connectedness than can be classified.

3. You have to PRACTICE.

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Love in a marriage is hard to maintain. You have to work at it. That's because it is beyond the emotional highs that got you there. The love changes. It becomes something more comfortable and less exciting. Forgiveness requires that you practice it to do it. It is beyond the emotional lows that got you there. Forgiveness is more than the quick "I'm sorry" that slips out when you break someone's prized vase. It requires that you choose to actively not remember, yet still learn from it. It requires that you not hold something over another. You let it go. Don't hold grudges.

That being said, I find it easier to forgive others than myself. It's easier when the hurt you feel is caused by some small infraction.
Image result for forgiveness

The same holds true for yourself.

Never are my students more mad than when they are mad at themselves. That disappointment shatters your world. The fact that you are less than you thought you were, when your self-esteem crumbles, it breaks you. But you have to forgive yourself. Sometimes that means talking to others that you were angry at. You might see the folly of your feelings.

So what's my action step?

Well, I need to stop blaming my feelings on a sweet, innocent person who has no idea that I am projecting my feelings onto them. See, I assume they would feel and react as I would if our roles were reversed. I admit that I would act terribly and feel some negative things. But without asking or talking to them, I'm left with speculation and assumption. That's foolish. People are all different. I might find it easier to forgive myself if I am absolved from my thoughts that this other person would react negatively to me.

Your action step is to Extend Forgiveness, not when you feel like it, or when you feel like they deserve it, or even wait until they ask for it. Extend it now!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Night to Shine

I've had a couple weeks of being down in the dumps. Many things conspire and unite to bring me down. It's a bad time of year. I find myself needing to work on the Spiritual leg of my wellness triangle in order to improve the emotional/mental leg. In order to support myself emotionally, I need my friends to help my soul find its center.

So, I reached out to a couple people for chit chat and I went to church, where I reconnect with my Spiritual center. I also volunteered at Night to Shine which was awesome. What a great way to forget about your troubles, help others, have fun, make new friends, and be awesome!

What I did:
Set up, with help, the sensory room. A Sensory room is a quiet(er) space with less light, noise, and lots of HUGE pillows and a few chairs or bouncy workout balls for people to get a break from the dancing and eating and push of people.

In my room there was a special guest: Hawkeye the therapy dog!
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Immediately after this event Hawkeye was featured in the local paper.

My picture during Night to Shine is not in the photo album, so you can't see me. The album does not come close to depicting all the fun that was had. My tutoring student went and his mother asked if they were going to do it again next year. I said they want to. It was an amazing event!

Then it was my parent's 40th wedding anniversary. 40 years, people! The hubby and I decided that we needed to take them out to a fancy place for early dinner and it had to be some place new. We picked the Hibachi grill here in town, called Tokyo. It's kinda like this:

http://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2016/10/22/636127007005155735-739091968_hibachi%201.jpg

We prepped them, because they do not eat food like this, that they could order steak and chicken and it comes with one little shrimp. My father asked if he needed to bring his own fork. No, Dad, you don't have to eat with chopsticks.

My mother tried shrimp for the first time. It was seasoned with the sauce that they put on everything, but she tried it! I mean, she wouldn't even eat the soup made of chicken broth...

They didn't quite get the whole show, because we were seated to the side, and they refused to allow the man to fling zucchini into their mouths, but they got out of the house and had a little dinner and a show and they didn't hate it. That's a win. You need some wins in your 40 years of marriage, don't ya think??


Well, I must go now to do other things to keep my wellness triangle balanced.
https://image.slidesharecdn.com/thewellnesstriangle-140813145457-phpapp01/95/the-wellness-triangle-3-638.jpg?cb=1407941767
Physical: I have been consistently hitting 5.25 miles on the elliptical. If I go for a walk with the dog we go about 2.25 and he makes me jog sometimes. I still can't jog or run for more than a sprint. It hurts my knees and shins. But I am working on it.

Emotional/Mental: I will work on maintaining connections to friends. I will try to lift them up when they need me so that perhaps they will lift me up when I need them.

I also have been writing more and felt the desire to write more. This is a good thing. I've been keeping up on learning about building my author platform. It's time to begin to flesh out the framework.

I'm taking care of my pets. Let's face it, petting the cat or dog is soothing. And with the weather (winter here) being so mild, I've been able to walk the dog and get some extra physical health in.

Spiritual: It is high time I started highlighting or underlining scriptures in my ne Bible, transferring them from my old Bible. It's a good way to refresh what I know. Plus, the new Bible has study helps so I can learn more.