Saturday, August 16, 2014
This week was a LONG one - first of all, I had to get up EVERY day and go to work - that may not seem like much but summer has barely started - not even time to unplug my battery charger on my life - still in the getting used to feeling relaxed mode. Then my son had doctors' appointments that interfered with my own schedule and we had a lot of juggling to do here and there. The financial fallout from my fiasco with my brakes is still hitting hard and so is the emotional fallout from the whole family thing - closure is great but it also is HARD to finally say our good byes. The there is the whole thing of major changes in everything at school and on my job. Lots of stress and then my darling son's schedule is really crazy and messed up - normally I get the early mornings on the computer and then late nights. Today I got up and he was online and didn't go to bed for the "night" until noon today and he was up yesterday morning too - really messed with my peace.
Having said all that, I let it go and simply went back to my room and read until he finally was able to go to sleep. I just like the peace in the mornings without having to deal with other people before I head out of the house. With everything going on this week - I KNOW my stress has affected him and he is also concerned about his upcoming appointments this week. He has appointments Monday, Tuesday, and Friday and what happens at them may determine whether he needs surgery in the near future or if it can be postponed. I am worried too so I know THAT impacts his sleep as well. I need to get my serenity back if I am to survive this next week as well as the past week. I managed to survive but struggled all this past week.
I do have a PLAN in effect for next week and in some ways will be grateful to be back to semi-regular schedule. Once the routine is in place, it gets easier to KEEP it in place. I am packing lunches and snacks and planning to get to the pool at least 3 days this week (M & F we have to be 3-4 hours from home so I expect to miss those days - but at least there will be walking on my schedule). Each day I will be doing more walking than normal with my students so that will help balance my activity a bit. I also am reenacting my scheduled minutes of calm throughout my day - taking 30 seconds at a time to think of and if possible say aloud something I am grateful for, then ask for patience and love to be my approach to dealing with challenges throughout my day) It has worked in the past so I am going to use it again this year - may need to start with every half hour instead of every hour though as it looks like it will be quite a challenge.
Yesterday afternoon we discovered we would be getting 3 new students in my class and they are all EXTREMELY challenging and have MANY difficult and aggressive behaviors - before that, all of my students were supposed to be non-aggressive and nonviolent - all but one of the students are NEW to me and so I am quite sure it will be an adventure for the next few weeks. I met one of the students and in the 5 minutes I was with him and his caregiver, he tried to bite her 20 times, was self-abusive, screamed, destroyed at least 10 things in the waiting room we were in, and tried to run away 3 times. He should be an adventure. He is NOT the most serious problem we are looking at however.
'Nough of the whining and complaining. I am ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED to being upbeat and positive as the kids arrive for the first time on Monday.
On another note, as many of you know I have been struggling with my program for several months now. Dealing with grief, stress, and worry have been totally devastating to me. I have in the past learned that while all of my healthy eating and healthy choices can sometimes be sidetracked and it is hard to get back on track without some novelty to give me an extra push. So, I was watching a PBS special today and have decided on my NEW addition to my sane, healthy eating plan. I am going to try to limit the amount of sugars in my eating by using a formula for determining how many teaspoons of sugar I am eating. The plan is to limit carbs and calculate how many teaspoons of sugar taken in per day - eventual goal is to get down to no more than 10 per day - BUT as I always do, MY PERSONAL PLAN is to reduce the number over time if I discover I am WAY over that goal. The formula is to take the total number of grams of carbs and subtract the number of grams of fiber and then divide by 5 to get how many teaspoons of sugar in the food. They said to use total CARBS and not just SUGARS since carbs turn into sugars. I will let you know if it helps. The theory behind this approach fits with my concern about inflammation and so it also makes sense to me and doesn't take away or deprive me of my healthy eating habits in other areas either. The idea is that sugar leads to inflammation, inflammation leads to most of our chronic health problems. I take anti-inflammatory supplements already but the speaker suggested treating the CAUSE of the inflammation and not just the SYMPTOM of inflammation. I think it makes sense. There are correlations between inflammation and BP, cholesterol, diabetes, and cancers - so it seems like this might be a reasonable addition to my already balanced goals for making healthy choice3s more often and moving away from NEEDING medicines to heal my body but rather doing it through the choices I make - both with food and activity.
Everyone - be blessed today with joy, serenity, peace, and kindness. Then share those same things with those you love and those you encounter throughout your day. You will make a difference in YOUR life and the lives of everyone you come in contact with. Furthermore, you will make your corner of the world a better place to live, love, and grow.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Today is Tuesday, time to take a risk on YOU. Yesterday I spoke of making a difference on Monday. Today is Tuesday and in keeping with the alliteration concept take a risk on Tuesday. Do you think you can? Of course you can do anything you set your mind to, especially if you put a little bit of ACTION behind the thoughts. Do you think you can NOT? Well, maybe you can't but you will never really KNOW unless you take that risk and try, because you definitely WON'T if you don't try at all.
I am not suggesting that you become a crazy risk taker, but rather that you take a few calculated risks. Say something to a stranger who looks like they need a kind word. Offer a smile, share an idea, make some changes, make a difference. The saddest thing in this world is when you look back over your life and don't have a lot to show except an incredible stack of coulda, shoulda, wouldas that fill you with regrets. How much better to look back at the spectacular failures that may not have worked for you but at least left you with memories and some stories to share and probably a few life lessons that you have built upon forever since.
Have a blessed day and take a risk, you never know, you might succeed and more importantly you might truly MAKE A DIFFERENCE in so many lives - including your own.
Bless everyone you meet by being the wonderful person you truly are - that unique, special, wonderful YOU.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Today is the start of a brand new week. It is fresh, undamaged, and unpolluted so far.
Today is a day that can make a difference. Make a decision to make today marvelous, miraculous and meaningful. The type of week you and those around you have can be CHANGED by the choices that you make about how you are going to face your week. Recently, I have been a little stressed. I have been feeling overwhelmed. I have been forgetting one of the most important rules for success in any area of my life - MAKE CONSCIOUS, DELIBERATE, INTENTIONAL CHOICES about my life. Even wrong choices are better than NO choices. How can that be, stop and think about the stress and wear and tear on our hearts, souls, and bodies when we don't make decisions, but simply let life push and shove us around. We destroy ourselves with indecision and inactivity (both mentally and physically).
Choose your image for the week - sometimes looking at the day or even the week or month as a fresh snowfall that hasn't ever been stepped on yet, or as a blank canvas that has yet to have a single mark put on it - choose the image that works best for you. There are probably a hundred similar ones that might work. Making choices/decisions, and taking control over your actions can really make a difference.
How can I personally make a difference? That is a question that I need to answer each morning and sometimes each moment during my day. I can make a small difference by having a plan. I can make a small difference by measuring food but by sharing love, life, and hope. I can make a small difference by taking a few steps - both literally and physically and metaphorically and mentally.
Maybe today isn't the day that I will make the choice that miraculously changes the world or even me, but then again, may it IS. You too have great power and great impact on your own life and also on the lives of all the people you come in contact with. I learned this when my son Michael died years ago. People told stories about how his friendliness and open love touched their lives. I had the feeling that I was discovering a MICHAEL that I didn't even know - not because I didn't know he was wonderful and special to ME, but because even people I barely knew took time to tell me little things he had done that mattered in their lives. I knew he mattered to ME; I knew he mattered to my family and friends, but I really didn't know how much he mattered to so many strangers. If a man who had no money, no fame, no "professional job title that suggests being a caregiver" but rather drove a truck, worked as a laborer, and who never married or had children could leave a legacy of small acts of kindness and love, think about how much greater impact YOU might have on this world if YOU made a difference today. Think about what small, easy changes you could make that would ripple forth and REALLY change the world we live in. Instead of trying to do BIG things, do little things with a wholehearted effort.
Changing YOUR eating and exercise habits may seem small, but how great might the impact be if you changed them in a positive way? You could change your eating and exercise habits and have more energy, need less health care, volunteer more, react more quickly in a crisis, enjoy your children/grandchildren more, live longer, participate in more community activities, create more works of beauty. In other words simply by being healthier yourself, you could make a difference. But, the IMMEDIATE impact would not be ALL that would be felt. If you did those things, your DH, children, grandchildren, and even great and great great grandchildren might be impacted. They too might live longer and healthier lives. They might also have an impact on others. The ripples could go out from your simple choices and changes to become healthier and change LOTS of others. Your friends might decide to make a few changes too, because they like seeing YOUR progress. Even strangers might decide to make some changes in their eating and exercise because they see you having MORE FUN, being MORE ACTIVE, etc. The ripples could be rippling forth even years down the road. Who knows?
You can make a difference in your own life but that life will touch many other lives and whether we talk about the eating and exercise components or the other pieces of your life - you MATTER and MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the lives of others. Like a smile that is contagious, so are acts of kindness and love. A helping hand, a kind word, a smile, a gentle touch, all of these things ripple forth. The long-term effects of our kind deeds are immeasurable and similarly so are the effects of the unkind deeds.
THINK - what one or two things can you do today to make your blank canvas into a beautiful, vibrant, creative joyful image of a live worth living and well lived? After you think of those couple of things, go out today and do them. Make a DIFFERENCE in you and you will make a difference in the world around you as well.
Be blessed and bring love and joy into your life and your surrounding world.
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Yesterday my day started EARLY (3 a.m.) Woke up and had breakfast and was in the car by about 3:45. We drove ONE hour to pick up my step-nephew and THEN headed out to Arlington Cemetery. The trip was about 150 miles - why leave so early?? when we had to get there at 8 a.m. ? Well, we rural dwellers consider a dozen cars HEAVY TRAFFIC and only see that once in a blue moon. Normal rush hour traffic for me means waiting for 1-3 cars go by to let me get onto the MAIN road - once in my entire 30 minute drive. Some days I don't even see ONE car. We were heading into rush hour Washington D.C. traffic. When we had gone about 30 minutes, we heard a HORRIBLE sound coming from the front of the car, around the brakes - NOT a good sign when in rush hour traffic.
Ed and Dalton and I had no intention of stopping. Bottom line is that since I was already losing $250 in stipends for the training I had to skip to go to the changed interment ceremony, I was NOT going to miss it or be late. We became obsessively cautious and babied the car and cringed every time we tried to slow or stop but we finally got ALMOST to Arlington only to discover that our directions didn't work, there was road construction and the route was closed so we had the JOY of being lost in D.C. at 7:45 a.m. in a million cars of rush hour traffic. We eventually found the entrance to Arlington after stopping for directions 4 times, making an illegal U-turn on the Memorial bridge, barely escaping several accidents, with bladders overflowing in all three of us AND panicking because ALL three of us consider being 15 minutes early as ACTUALLY FOR US BEING LATE. We arrived 15 minutes later than the time we were SUPPOSED to be there, but still in plenty of time. Ed dropped me at the WRONG building and drove off to park. I didn't dare stop to use the restroom though because I called him to come back and get me and didn't want him not finding me. Got back in the car and drove the the RIGHT building and literally ran past my precious family members to get to the restroom. WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!
I walked out of the bathroom stall and was immediately calm cool and collected. My sister, my great niece, and my step-sister-in-law were in the restroom too. Everywhere I turned, I saw more special people. We were not the last ones to arrive. We were also NOT the first ones there. Everywhere I turned, there were loved ones - a total of 45-50 of us. We were a pretty diverse group - youngest was 4 (unless you count the two girls that are due in September) and the oldest was 90; people had traveled from Florida, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia; about half were Helen's family and about half from my family; three were in wheelchairs and 5 had canes; some devoutly religious and some atheists or agnostics; some ex-military some flower child anti-gun, anti-war, anti-killing folks; some were Navy, some Marines, some Army, and some Air Force; most were Caucasian but some were African American - some were tall and some were short -tallest 6'7" and shortest adult 4' 10" - overall, you could say we were a REALLY MIXED bag. the love and the interactions between people were amazing and embraced me in a cocoon of love. Not one person was present who I would not have selected as a friend is they were not family. Only non-family member who was there was our pastor who also had traveled to be there.
The ceremony was very memorable, bringing tears to me eyes and the eyes of most of us. The honor guard was gorgeous. The playing of taps and the gun salute reminded us of the great solemnity of the ceremony. The people from Arlington were gracious and kind. The weather was perfect - 75 degrees, a breeze blowing and sunshine.
When the ceremony was over, we wandered around, visited other loved ones where they were interred, and the kids ran and played and got to know each other since they hadn't really even met to there recollection. It was joyful watching them = 2 were Helen's great-grandsons, 2 were my sister's grandchildren, and 1 was my cousin's grandson; all but one are VERY shy, a little cautious with strangers (either adult or child); and all of them really neat kids.
My family went out to lunch at a nice place near Arlington and we continued to visit. The meal was good and I didn't overdo it at all. Had fresh fruit instead of fries and didn't have dessert. Then came the good byes because while I wished I could stay and visit longer, without working brakes, we figured we better get heading home before the MAJOR rush hour traffic started. We managed to get out of the parking lot by about 2:45 and rush hour starts about 3:00.
Our trip home became more interesting when the rain started and came down like a deluge, adding the spice of poor visibility to our already exciting no-brake journey.
We arrived in the "big city" near us where we go about once a month to do major shopping and started looking for a repair shop with a mechanic who would work on the car IMMEDIATELY since we did not want to take any more risks especially with rain, winding roads, and mountains - after all, we may be CRAZY but not INSANE. We FOUND one and they even had the mechanic stay late to do the job (he was supposed to leave right after we got there). After I picked my jaw up when they gave me the cost, I settled down and read while Ed and Dalton walked to the Dollar Tree to get themselves a drink. I got a pleasant surprise when I got the actual bill though, because Ed had a card and it saved me almost $50.
When we left the repair shop, I thought it would be smart to get some gas. Found a place nearby where the gas was 40 cents cheaper than at home and filled up my tank. I won't say I was LOW on gas what with worrying about the brakes, but my 16 gallon gas tank took 15.75 gallons.
Headed home, exhausted but JOYFUL and relaxed. Dropped my step-nephew Dalton off where he is staying (for those keeping track, this is the young man who wanted to live with Ed and me and who I had refused with a bit of TOUGH LOVE). Discovered that he is staying with three young men in the family's house while their parents drive truck. All three of these kids are ones I have known from school for about 10 years and that Dalton has known even longer - he used to babysit them as the oldest is about 10 years younger than he is. They greeted me with hugs, I introduced my son Ed to them and we stood around a visited for about 90 minutes.
We then drove another hour home and it was almost 9 p.m. by the time we got home. We hadn't eaten dinner so Ed scrambled some eggs and I messed around on SP for a little while and then went to bed. It was a nice way to end the day.
The stress and the cost of the brakes had every muscle in my body sore and tired, but the love and the relief let me relax totally and I woke up this morning at my normal "school day time" feeling totally rested. I have to figure out what I will have to juggle financially, but know that one way or another, it will all work out.
Friday, July 25, 2014
It has been a looooooooooooooooooooooooongggggggggg week and the chaos is about ready to begin in earnest.
Yesterday my son and I left the house at 5:30 a.m. to head to his 3 doctor's appointments. He had EMG. EEG, CTScan, and surgeon appointment. Net result is that he needs to have injections before they will cover the surgery that both he and the surgeon agree will NEED sooner or later especially since he is in constant pain BUT that insurance seems to think are necessary to check off before they pay for the surgery.
At around 2:00 we got out of the hospital and went to linner - that magical combination of lunch and dinner - went to Golden Corral. Both Ed and I love veggies and GC normally has some of the best. They had a GREAT variety but every vegetable was overcooked, gray and soggy - YUCK. The 2 forms of squash, Brussels sprouts, 3 types of cabbage, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, carrots, green beans, etc. ALL YUCKY. Couldn't eat any of them. So, when that plan failed, we hit the other stuff, some salad stuff but even that not the greatest. Got wonderful yummy pot roast, chicken breast, and then hit the desserts. Took about two bites total before I realized that even they weren't that great either. We won't discuss the ROLLS - YUMMMMMMMMM. Overall linner wasn't very satisfactory but we drank water and headed out toward home.
We stopped at about a million stores, bought groceries, picked up some necessities here and there and meandered toward home. I found a new swimsuit at a reasonable price and Ed found some socks, and a few other things. We refilled the gas tank at the station about an hour from home because the price was 15 cents less than at home. Went to the library and picked up a bunch of books by the wonderful mystery writer James Patterson. He is prolific and I have read a few in the past but this summer have read about a thousand of them that I hadn't read before.
Finally, at about 8:00 p,m. we arrived home. I had a phone call from my sil asking why I hadn't responded to the invitation to her daughter's shower. I pointed out that I hadn't received the invitation, or more accurately, I had received a brief invite that said, shower Lauren's house July 26 and then immeditately got another message saying CANCEL previous message. I assumed that I would hear more later especially since I don't even KNOW Lauren. Well, I somehow got left off the informational list and so never planned for it. So, I said of COURSE I would be there, and arranged things so I can be there. Now starts the chaos.
Tomorrow's baby shower starts a whole run of scheduled events. I have things now scheduled for July 26 & 30, August 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, and 31st. Among those are multiple showers and b-day events for both kids and adult family and friends. Oh, yeah, and school start up events, church obligations, and school trainings, and . . . . . .on and on and on.
For some this might not sound overwhelming, but for someone whose entire life demands during the SUMMER months tend to be "GO TO POOL" and "GO TO CHURCH" this will be a really chaotic time. All involve traveling for at least 2-4 hours from home (costing gas money I can't afford as well as time that I have plenty of but that I have enjoyed spending in pool and in books. Oh well. . . .
I embrace the chaos and the excitement, and the challenge of making this time meaningful and FUN. . . so if I appear to disappear for a bit, don't worry about it, I will be making the most of MY chaotic and fascinating life.
Everyone be blessed, bless those around you as well as yourself with your love, kindness, and joy.
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