Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Today was the 8th anniversary of my son Michael's death. It is always a difficult date for me. Even when my other son, Ed and I don't talk about it and don't consciously recognize the date, our bodies and our minds leave us just out of sorts. Today Ed couldn't sleep and was just not feeling quite right - then he looked over my shoulder and saw me mention Michael in a post and he said, "Oh, no wonder I couldn't sleep last night and couldn't sleep today either!" He has been up for more than 24 hours. Not SICK, just not feeling right. I too have been feeling weird and a little out of sorts.
BUT . . . this year I fought back. After I went to the pool, I went to my step-nephew's house and babysat for Claire Elizabeth. It is the first time her parents have gone out alone since she was born on September 3rd. They had everything arranged and all contingencies covered. In addition to the obvious precautions, they even left Mommy's car with a car seat IN CASE I needed to take the baby somewhere. Dinner was prepared and delicious and there was even a homemade single serving apple crisp for my dessert. The baby was an angel - she woke up 4 minutes after they left, drank her bottle; I changed her diaper and her outfit; then I snuggled her for the next 3 hours. It is amazing how a baby snuggle can heal the pain of almost anything. I remembered holding my son Michael in my arms just like that. I remembered without pain and with great love, and somehow, this year's anniversary was not as painful as they usually are.
I also was able to celebrate the return of my favorite water instructor. She had emergency surgery 3 weeks ago today and she was back today and able to teach our class. She said she thinks she gained a few pounds over the past couple of weeks so she couldn't wait to get into the water and work us REALLY HARD. Everyone was really overjoyed to have her back.
School continues to go well and my student who started the year only coming for one hour per day is now up to 3 hours per day and still - 7 weeks down the road - has not had any serious behavior problems. Easing into school slowly seems to be working to help him adjust to us. I hope he continues to do so well, but even if he doesn't, we have established a relationship and have some ideas for coping IF/and/or/WHEN he has problems.
I am tired because I got up early this morning to see the BLOOD MOON - lunar eclipse - unfortunately it was too cloudy to even see the moon much less the eclipse.
Everyone be blessed and remember life is about 2% circumstances and 98% how you deal with them. Be a blessing to others around you, not by being something you are NOT, but simply by being the wonderful, special, unique, and precious YOU that you already are. You deserve the best and therefore, you can GIVE the very best, since you ARE the very best. Nobody else can be YOU as well as YOU can.
(*HUGS*) and wishes for sweet dreams without any calories, sweet treats without regrets, and sweet peace and love to sweeten the less than sweet challenges you face throughout your life.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
I have had an incredibly filled month - lots of doctors' visits for my son, lots of computer issues, two new great nieces born since my last blog, lots of just feeling tired, a couple of out of state trips. School has been going strong and really well. I have turned into a senior citizen and now am officially on Medicare and have NO PLANS to slow down even the tiniest bit.
I started this school year worried and concerned because EVERYTHING seemed to be changing and I was feeling overwhelmed. As so often happens, the worries were a waste of time as most of the MAJOR changes and crises have turned to either be blessings in disguise OR minor blips on the pulse of my life. I have been BUSY but really happy. The CRISIS ridden, CHANGE intense world I was preparing to have swamp me, hasn't materialized but I used an awful lot of energy worrying about it. So, what is the message this has for me now?
First of all - as a believer, I SHOULD have known that if I simply trusted and had faith in the Lord, I would have KNOWN that worry is almost ALWAYS wasted energy. I admit to being a flawed human being and to being guilty of doubt and unbelief. I should have, could have, and would have KNOWN this IF ONLY I didn't have that gene that makes me want guarantees and to be able to put my fingers in the nail holes. I should have KNOWN but that niggling doubt that comes from not being a PERFECT believer left me wanting and cost me a LOT in time, stress, and heartache. Maybe I will one day learn my lesson as well as I TEACH it.
Second of all - I have learned that I am stronger than I think I am. I am more competent and maybe even a little more confident now. I have learned that strength doesn't necessarily come from NOT doubting but simply moving forward despite my doubts. I have learned that what seems overwhelming because it comes from changes and challenges does not ALWAYS mean that they are negative, difficult or even unwelcome. Sometimes what seems to be meant for evil can be turned to good.
Thirdly - I felt truly loved and supported. I FELT the family and friends caring and love. I have always KNOWN that love and caring but I have not always FELT it. I FELT and still FEEL cherished and truly appreciated. I learned that the people I love and care for really DO love and care for me as well. I had many small tokens of love offered to me. I learned some valuable lessons and taught others a few along the way. Small gestures of love and kindness reaped great joy and brought great solace for me and also for those I care about. I learned to let go and LET GOD a bit more. I learned that when I practice the little actions that I often share in my posts on the walls of my teams and on my activity feed that they REALLY work as I might hope and sometimes in ways I can't even imagine.
Finally - while I haven't actually lost weight, I haven't gained weight this month either. I have been switching things up with my exercise and my eating. I have been trying new ways to listen to my body and to work toward my goal of getting healthier. The small changes have made a difference in my life. I took the "REAL AGE" test on my birthday and found that although I have aged a bit since the last time I took it a year ago, I have ONLY aged by 6 months AND am 7 years younger than my chronological years. I have found myself making more and more healthy choices. The choices I have been making are small but they seem to be helping me to move closer to my goals.
My NEW schedule has turned out to be wonderful. My new email system is no big deal. My new IEP demands are relatively minor and most of them are things I have already been doing because they make sense. My new evaluation system is not AS BIG a deal as I expected and one that I am quite prepared to tackle. My class - despite many changes - is wonderful. My one student I was most worried about has turned out to be much easier to deal with and I haven't had any problems so far. My other students are eager to learn, NON-aggressive, NON-violent, and actually considerably more capable than the students I have had in the past 10 years. I look forward to going to school. I enjoy my job in a way I have not enjoyed it in quite a while. I am HAPPY. I work harder than I have in many years, but feel like I am making UNBELIEVABLE progress. I have been able to vary my schedule and my activities more than in the past. I love how the year is shaping up. I am constantly looking for new ways to present the material and new ways for the students to work together. The training I missed in August (cost me $250) is being offered in October on a Saturday and I will be able to go and to earn the money I thought was lost. I will also be able to attend two other trainings in November that will help me to deal with the challenges of the new IEP requirements AND the new Common Core standards I am expected to teach. I am feeling empowered and hopeful.
My plan is to keep focused and keep working toward my goals health-wise, career-wise and in all areas of my life. I plan to stay as active as possible on SP because all of you have brought me hope, joy, and love. I plan to stay active in my fitness pursuits - including my walking, my strength training, and my pool time (have already walked 500 miles plus since April first - even with my cane). I plan to stay active and strong in my extra-curricular school activities (concession stand, Local School Improvement Committee, and mentoring). I plan to stay active in my church activities (vestry, delegate to state and regional conferences, preparing brunches, reading the lessons, and passing the chalice during services). Finally, I plan to continue to attempt to be the BEST ME I can be and to spread love, joy, hope and kindness whenever, wherever, and to whomever I can.
Be blessed and make your every second on this Earth meaningful, generous, and loving as possible. You can be an agent of change and make your little corner of the world a better place. You can make your seemingly small life the stuff stories are written about. You can make a BIG splash and effect change throughout the world simply by being the BEST YOU that you can possibly be - flaws, weaknesses, and all. They matter less than the intention to be all that you can and to improve whatever and whoever's lives you can.
Monday, September 01, 2014
It is time to make a labor of love toward myself. It is a new day, a new week, and a new month and as a teacher, kind of like a new year as the school year has just started recently, but more importantly for me, September is always my NEW YEAR's resolution time. My birthday is later this month and it seems to always be a time of making plans, making changes, making a difference. I see my new year as the time to start anew with a clean slate and a fresh attitude.
The past year was tough for me. I have struggled; I have experienced some serious losses; and I have had some major challenges (both my own and those my son has had to deal with). So, I am looking out over the new year, month, week and day and seeing fresh hope and fresh opportunities for me.
Today I went to church and was thrilled and overjoyed to see a very dear friend who has been away for the past 2 years walk through the doors at church. She was in fact the person who drew my stepmother and I into attending this particular church. She was there for both of us and also for my father during his years when he was bedridden. She and I have continued to maintain contact, but she left this church under some very difficult circumstances. Several of the members of the church were extremely hurtful to her. She allowed herself to become overwhelmed and to be driven away. Those same people profess to be caring but were not kind at all. I know it took everything in her to walk through the doors today and she did it for one of my close friends whose birthday is this week. I wept tears of joy, but I KNOW that she had tears of pain mingling with the joy that most of the congregation felt today. I have kept her in my prayers and hope she will be able to return at least once in a while.
I fixed brunch today and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. I made two casseroles one a breakfast casserole with hash brown potatoes, sausage, eggs, and cheese, and the other a lunch casserole with hash brown potatoes, chicken breast, and topped with cheese. They are SUPER easy to make, feed a lot of people and I could cook them while I was in church - kept oven temperature low and they were perfect when we were done with the service. Best of all, the clean up was simple too, They young man who does brunch with me brought a Jello mold with fruit in it and there was a birthday cake for my good friend whose birthday is Wednesday - she will be 77.
Another woman at church brought me 4 brand new Love Inspired - Suspense books - she gets four each month and brings them to me after she is done reading them. I really love reading these because they are upbeat and have a strong spiritual foundation. I knew what I will be falling asleep with this week.
On the way home from church, the leaves were falling from the trees already - mostly just from one type of tree, but still yellow leaves falling in the road made me think that the beginning of my favorite season is about to start. There will still be some hot days but mostly the nights are getting cooler (even had 45 degree mornings this past week). I love autumn and I love the feeling of expectation that comes with this time of year. I feel like the really tough chaos of the first weeks of school have started to settle into some semblance of a routine. The kids are starting to settle down. The routines are starting to be less strange. It is a GOOD time to make changes and to get serious about reversing the struggles of this past year.
My wish for each of your dear friends is that you also, feel ready to make some changes that will make a difference for you. I am going to be making changes and know that for me the changes that I make in September are those most likely to be lasting and to move me forward.
When we make changes in our physical and emotional lives, we often send out ripples of change all around us. We change those closest to us, but we also change those we encounter occasionally.
Be blessed, bless those around you - hope, faith, love, and joy are all contagious and they make a difference to you and the world around you as well. Share your best and most wonderful self with others today, this week, and this month and . . . if like me, you are looking at a "new year" then throughout the rest of your new year too.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
My son was born 47 years ago today. In fact, I just looked at the clock and exactly 47 years ago, I was just being handed my darling baby boy for the first time - he was born at 1:35 p.m. and now it is just after 2:00 p.m. He has brought me such great joy, so many tears, and has taught me so much. He has grown and changed and developed into an amazing man. I still remember the baby I held back then.
I remember the chaos he brought into me world. I remember the JOY most of all. i wanted that little boy more than anything in the world. I had great visions for him and imagined so many scenarios of how he would grow and be everything I was not - successful, brave, courageous, confident, and popular - I don't know that he ever became the vision I had for him, but who he DID become is someone who makes me incredibly proud. I wasn't always so accepting of him not being MY VISION of him. I struggled. I was embarrassed often. I was at the end of my rope more times than I can count. He JUST refused to fit into my molds. . . . but the person he is now and that he has always been is simply incredible. CHALLENGING - certainly - Problematic - DEFINITELY - Easy - NEVER . . . but he is kind, caring, generous, competent, supportive, intelligent, willing to do anything for anybody. He is a MAN that a mother can be proud of. I love the HIM he chose to become and only wish that I could have accepted that all along since it would have made life easier for ME. It probably made him stronger that he had to resist becoming someone other than MY IMAGINED HIM and actually become the GENUINE and REAL HIM. I love him and wanted to share this with you.
Just because they don't become who WE imagine them to be doesn't mean we have failed, it simply means that they are who THEY are not who we think they ought to be.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ED. YOU BRING ME GREAT JOY
Be blessed as much as I have been and share those blessings with all around you. I think I learned it from my precious son Ed.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
The first week of school is over and I am still alive. It is always a stressful time, changes are continuous and whether good or bad, they mean adjustments, chaos, and stress. BUT . . . . . .
if all of that weren't enough, THIS week my darling son Ed had doctors' appointments on Monday (first day of school and I got to drive 3+ hours each way to his doctor and home well after 10 p.m. although I was up and moving by 5 a.m.), Tuesday (another early day but I was so exhausted by the time we got home, I fell into bed and went right to sleep), Friday (another 3+ hour drive each way AND discovered we did NOT even have to be there and they could do NOTHING), I also had a baby shower on Wednesday and didn't get home until almost 10 p.m. I had 3, 4, 5, and 7 students in my class this week at different points during the week. They were in and out like crazy trying to get them where they really belonged. I ended up with 4 students at this point and so far they are really starting to come together as a class.
My week was supposed to continue through the entire weekend and be REALLY stressful but also fun, however it would have meant another (yep, third this week) 3-4 hour drive into the chaos of Washington D.C. traffic during a Nationals' ball game. It would also have meant getting up early today, staying overnight somewhere, and then driving home LATE Sunday night. Fortunately, my darling son is as tired of driving in city traffic and making LONG trips and although he REALLY wanted to go to the party since it would have been a joint b-day party for him as well, so he agreed to skip the party.
So, now, the weekend is stretching before me with no special plans.
I REALLY REALLY needed to have some down time. All of the late nights meant I was walking and not using the POOL - the SAME pool that provides my exercise, relaxation, socialization, de-stressing, meditation, and healing - and the same pool I was NOT able to use except ONE time all week long. All of this stuff would have made less of an impact IF I had the time to be in the pool. Thankfully, I will be able to get there tomorrow. I will also have the time this weekend to make some realistic plans for next week. I want my SCHEDULE and ROUTINE to get back to NORMAL again.
I have done better with my eating this week because I have been so busy. My schedule at school is different but I like it. I actually have time to interact with the other resource teachers and also with the general ed kids - at least one day each week for each. I also have my planning period without having to have my students in my room and trying to work with others around because these students I have this year don't have MAJOR behavior problems but the ones last year did. It also means I will not be so isolated and will not feel like I am so alone.
Be truly blessed - count your blessings and be grateful - bless others with being the BEST and most wonderful YOU that you can possibly be. Don't let all of the chaos and stress around you drag you down - don't let yourself have "ONE OF THOSE WEEKS" too often. The occasional week like that just helps to remind us of how important it is NOT to let them happen too frequently. Chaos disturbs the healthy functioning of our bodies and our minds. Keep both functioning at their best by maintaining some type of balance. Keep your sense of humor and more importantly keep your sense of JOY. Take time to recharge.
Celebrate the small blessings when they arrive unexpectedly.
My best moment this week was when I went to my baby shower. The mom-to-be is the wife of my stepmother's grandson. They are expecting their first baby in September. She is due right around my birthday AND I have already decided that she will be my adopted granddaughter. I live closer to them than the rest of the family and have already volunteered babysitting duties and plenty of hugs and special times. I thought it was one of the nicest things I have seen in ages. The parents rent their house from a local church. They do NOT go to the church. The women's group hosted the baby shower and there were about a dozen women and they brought homemade blankets, quilts, afghans, and all kinds of other things. They played the best baby shower games - one was to have each person write advice for the mom on index cards that were then given to her. Then there was a Bingo game where each person filled in the squares with what they thought would be in the gifts and then when the gifts were open we covered the items we had written down. There was a lovely cake and punch and they had each person fill out an envelope with their own name and address on it so the thank you notes could be written and sent. They even stamped the cards that would have to be mailed and told the mom to just drop off the others at the church to save herself the postage and they would give them out.
Be open to the blessings that others bring to you as well as those blessings that YOU are to those around you. Be open to JOY, LOVE, GRATITUDE, PEACE, SERENITY, and KINDNESS - it makes YOUR world a more wonderful place to be. YOU make a difference in MY life and hopefully, I do the same for yours. Namaste
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