The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Here we are at the end of another school year. I am so grateful and proud when I think of the growth from 5th grade to the end of 7th. There was a time when school was so difficult for my son and I did everything in my power to make sure that one day he would be successful all on his own. For those of you who have followed our journey with ADD, I made the decision after Christmas to take him off his medication. I was nervous but he wanted to give it a try so I reluctantly agreed. The end result was nothing short of amazing. He is completing his work on his own, handing it in most of the time and his confidence has grown leaps and bounds. What I’ve learned is there are good teachers, great teachers, and horrible teachers and parents just need to fill in the gaps when something is lacking. I am so disappointed that my sons team this year did not follow the plan to email me about his grades, his focus and the quality of his work. I believe communication is crucial especially at a time a student is transitioning off of medication, not to mention it is part of his 504 plan. They didn’t think twice however to email me the handful of times when his behavior was less than perfect. Just today I received an email from a teacher who intended to send me a message notifying me that Chase made a comment during his class. The problem is that instead of sending the email only to me, he typed the words while the whole class read them on the projector in the front of the room. Of course, he was emailing me to apologize but can you imagine the embarrassment and humiliation Chase must have felt in those horrible moments as his classmates were reading these words? Personally I don’t understand why I even got an email home. Was this grown man not able to handle this situation on his own that he felt an email was even warranted? Remember, I have begged for communication when it comes to his progress and school work but never do I get an email regarding that. I end this year a little sad. It’s so disappointing that behavior seems to be more of a concern than learning but I have decided to let that ship sail and focus on the positive. There was a time my son couldn’t complete a single paper on his own and now he is rocking it all on his own.

I guess what I would like everyone to know is that it is devastating for a parent to watch their child struggle in school. Some people believe ADD exists and others think it’s just a myth but parents do what they feel is in the best interest of their child. They don’t need to be judged or shamed because they choose one way or another, they need love and support because this can be a very difficult time. It’s easy to have an opinion but the only way to really understand a situation is to live through it yourself. Be kind. Be empathetic and keep opinions to yourself unless you are asked to give some advice. There are enough critics, sometimes people just need the support of a friend,

A Painted Lesson

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Last night I tried something that I have never done before, a painting class. If there is one thing I can say I’m not with absolute certainty, it would be artistic. Looking back I never remember being good at any type of crafts. In fact, as a child, my least favorite class would have to be art. But, I realize that it’s important to push myself to do things I am not good at and things I purposely avoid. Those are the very things that make us grow the most and teach us the most about ourselves that we desperately need to face and know. The painting was a tulip scene. The first step was painting a sun. I laughed hysterically after class because if I did this activity at age 5 or 6, my sun would probably look exactly the same. Next, we were told to draw stems. To be honest, this was the hardest step of the whole project. I could not, no matter how much I tried, paint a fine straight line. I could feel the uncomfortable insecurity start to creep in. It settled in my shoulders and I could feel myself sinking lower and lower in my chair. I actually contemplated stopping right then and there and not picking up another brush. Something crazy happened right about that same time that made me chuckle to myself. Good Lord, if I was going to let something as silly as painting a fine line stress me out, how would I make it through a seriously stressful event. I decided I didn’t care what my painting looked like. I was going to relax and have fun creating whatever the final product would be on the terrifying white canvas. The more I relaxed, the better I painted. And…I even started to enjoy myself. I love discovering new things about myself and conquering constraining insecurities. I love to grow so much that I feel a little bit taller with each tiny bit of growth. Sometimes, it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay to be terrible at something and do it anyway. It’s okay to laugh at myself and do something that makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to display a painting that is less than amazing. It’s even okay to feel proud that I finished a painting at all. What do you think? What is the last thing you did that really made you feel insecure and uncomfortable?

Sometimes We Forget

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Sometimes we forget to be grateful as we wake up in bed each morning. 

Sometimes we forget to love and appreciate the blessings in our lives.

Sometimes we forget that today may very well be our last.

Sometimes we forget to not get caught up in the little things that will never matter.

Sometimes we forget that the past is in the past.

Sometimes we just forget that we only get one dance around the sun.

Sometimes we forget….and a simple tornado that touches down in your town reminds you. Everything gets back in the right perspective and you are reminded to live smarter, live better and be  kinder. You are reminded that you will not get this day back so you spend it wisely. Sometimes it takes a big, scary storm to help you see a whole lot clearer and then you remember. You remember to love, you remember to live and you remember to be grateful for every single minute you have. Sometimes we forget but eventually we remember to spend our days surrounded by love and let things like regret and anger slip away. 

The Happiness Myth

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Happiness. Where do we find it? We look for it in a multitude of  places only to be reminded it comes from inside of us. What if we don’t feel any happiness inside? What if we don’t even believe it is in there? I imagine it must be so frustrating for someone that searches their own soul only to come up empty and discouraged. I do know our perception of our own lives has a direct influence on the way we feel. Our attitude and our outlook are extremely important.  I guess what it means is that no one else can make us happy but someone can sure make us feel happy. Is there really a difference? Maybe we should focus more on what makes us feel happy and simply do more of that. The struggle to feel happy can be a long and frustrating one. We look at people around us who are always on top of the world and we can’t help but wonder, what is wrong with me? Maybe it’s not realistic to believe we can be happy all the time. Maybe the concept of happiness is just a myth. I do know that when we make a conscious effort to do the things that make us happy and spend time around people that make us feel loved and happy, life is more enjoyable. Simple as that. Maybe the gift of happiness in wrapped up in the little things that make us feel big like a call from an old friend or a random act of kindness. Maybe it’s in a warm cup of coffee or a piece of our favorite pie. Maybe happiness really can be found anywhere if we stop searching so hard to find it. What do you think? 

You Write It Wednesday

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What is your most admirable quality?  

So many times we focus on what is wrong with us instead of what is right with us. Imagine if we could look into a magic mirror that only allowed us to see what is great in is. Does that mean we deny the fact that we are imperfect and full of flaws? Of course not, but it does help us change the way we perceive ourselves into something positive. Love who you are and take pride in your uniqueness. We are all different and we are all beautiful. 

 

Dancing With Disappointment

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Have you danced with disappointment? I guess at some point we all have. For some reason or another, I attract people who disappoint. I attract people who make broken promises, who never follow through. I used to think there must be something really wrong with me. Why do people find it so easy to let me down? I am so dependable and it hurts to not have someone who is the same. I think differently now. I believe people are really broken. They let themselves down and their lack of follow through goes far beyond their small interaction with me. It takes a great deal of strength and perseverance to stop taking things personally. People are who they are and they don’t intentionally set out to disappoint the ones around them. I believe there are people who will just never get their act together because they just can’t, no matter how hard they try. So what do we do with these people who continually hurt us or drag us down? We must learn to accept them and love them the way they are. The battles they fight go deeper than what the human eye can see. We must choose to look the other way and admit this is just a part of who they are. It’s okay to dance with disappointment but it’s important to remember we have the power to choose a different partner. Dance with love and forgiveness and acceptance. That is one dance worth staying on the floor a couple minutes longer.

Enough

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Enough. One little word packed with so much power. I have spent years fighting. I’ve walked around the world dressed in my best boxing gloves always in ready stance. I’m not really a fighter. I don’t fight people. I’ve learned slowly over the years to disengage in petty arguments that will never change the reality of the circumstances in front of me but it took such a long time. What I did fight for a long time were circumstances. I would fight with thoughts in my own head that would eat up special time I would never get back. My emotions would fight against what was and over the loss of what I thought should be. Silly wasted time. I’m different now. I take a deep breath and I let the reality set in. I feel whatever emotion comes along and I accept things for what they are. This moment has to be enough. Every moment does. We cannot pine over what should have been. We cannot spend precious moments struggling against something we can never control. We simply must sit back and take in the ride. Be where you are and know this moment too will pass. Relax into what is and don’t resist. Flow and flow and flow. That is the best way to get from one place to another. No one enjoys swimming up stream. It’s exhausting and the current will eventually win. Accept and move on and don’t waste a single moment taking a glance back. Don’t allow yourself to become stuck on something you do not have the power to change. Breathe and remember enough is enough.

Just Don’t Say It

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If you can’t be kind, be quiet. I refer back to this quote often when I have the choice to say something ugly or keep it to myself. One thing I learned recently is that too many ugly words from too many people can be a precursor to depression somewhere down the line. Words hurt. They scar, especially ones you don’t really mean that you say in jest or out of anger. Someone on the receiving end could be taking those words straight to the heart until slowly over time they finally crack that heart in two. 

Why I am bringing this up now? It’s simple really. I had a few people over this past weekend to watch the fight. I take great pride in keeping my house pristine but I have one small sink in my kitchen island that serves as a junk drawer. Everything I need to find but have no place for gets thrown into that sink. One particular person took notice and let me know it in her play of words that my sink is pretty disgusting. I have a beautiful home. I am very proud of it and the fact that I do my best to stay on top of it and keep it looking nice. I can’t help bet wonder, of all the compliments she could have given, why choose to insult someone? Seriously, almost nine times out of ten, the insult is the drug of choice. So, back to why I’m writing this blog post, say something nice. Choose words that build someone up and not ones that tear them down. Think of the person on the other end and remember they have feelings. They want to hear they’re awesome rather than be reminded of even a single flaw. Your words have great power. The question is, what will you do with that power?

To Warm Your Heart

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There is so much kindness in the world if we dare look for it. I have often wondered how empty my funeral service would be. I’ve traveled around so many times over the course of my life that I never seem to have any roots. I have a small handful of friends who I make in each town but truth be told, if I were to die tomorrow I know nobody would bother to come. My close family would be there of course but outside of that, do I really matter enough to anyone to make the trip? 

Yesterday, I saw a post about a homeless veteran who had passed away. There was concern the services would be empty because the man didn’t appear to have any family. What happened next was both encouraging and beautiful. Total strangers filled the service out of pure respect and kindness. So many beautiful stories like this one are often swept under the rug, downplayed by stories of division and violence. I thought this particular story should be front and center to offer hope for the ones who have become hopeless in this world that is sometimes hard to understand. Love one another and let kindness spill from your mouth, your hands, your heart. Namaste. 

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Be A Ray of Sunshine

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I have worked really hard on being less negative. I have noticed that after a conversation with someone who is extremely negative, I am left discouraged and drained. Imagine if you are surrounded by only negative people day in and day out. How do you think you would feel? Imagine being surrounded by happy, upbeat people. Can you imagine the difference? I do believe we have to be very careful to balance out all types of people in our daily interactions. It’s okay to spend less time and conversation on the people who bring you down. Who wants to hear doom and gloom time after time? I imagine these people as heavy, dark clouds. I prefer the sunshine and I try hard to be more like a sun shower than a full blown thunderstorm. I haven’t quite reached perfection yet but I am getting better every single day. Your thoughts have a lot to do with your personality. Check in with them once in awhile. Good thoughts=positivity, bad thoughts=negativity. It’s as simple as that. Remember thoughts become things so why not choose something positive for yourself. Be that ray of sunshine in someone’s day, that glimmer of hope, the smile on their face. You will attract someone with the innocence of a kind word or a smile but I guarantee you will drive someone away with a crappy attitude. Which will you choose?