Monday, February 6, 2012

Not Pollyanna, just Positive

There is a blogger called Galen Pearl who writes a blog called 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place.  I recently discovered her blog and am loving it.  Here are her 10 steps:

  1. Give yourself permission to be happy.
  2. Decide if you want to be right or happy.
  3. Give up the delusion of control.
  4. Feel your feelings.
  5. Make haste to be kind.
  6. Judge not.
  7. Practice compassion.
  8. Forgive everyone.
  9. Develop an attitude of gratitude.
  10. Be here now.

Although I never put it into these words before, it is the way I have tried to live.   

At times, I argue with my husband, my daughter sometimes talks back, I have carried balances on credit cards and, frankly, I eat waaaaaay too much chocolate.  I have suffered betrayal and loss.  I've had some pretty hard times.  I don't talk about those things here, though, or anywhere really.   In general, I call my sister or my mother, and complain some, get a little tea and sympathy, then try to get over it.  Not avoid it, but not dwell on it either.

Of course, things go wrong in life.  That's not what's really important.  What defines us is how we respond to those circumstances.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cousin Camp and Salma's Giveaway

Every other summer (more or less), my sisters and I gather up our mother, husbands, and kids and head for the beach at Hilton Head South Carolina for a week or so.  Each family gets a condo, we take turns cooking, and the kids all run in a pack.  I love those weeks at the beach.

We bring special foods to cook that my sister who now lives in Virginia doesn't get up there.  Once we arrive, my mom rents a whole row of umbrellas at the beach and we all rent bikes.  Everything is so close to hand:  pool, beach, and each other.  We only ever get in the car to go to Pirate's Island for our big putt-putt tournament:  girls against boys.

My husband is a great breakfast cook and I'm always an early riser, so the nieces and nephews always know they can rely on an early meal at our place with their uncle as chef.  Once I get my coffee, I bike down to the beach to lie under an umbrella, listen to the waves, and read, read, read.  I make the occasional foray from the shade to build a sand castle or swim with the little kids.  I don't like to be in the sun, though, so any long walks for me are limited to early morning or late evening.  Lovely lazy days.

If I don't feel like the beach, there's the pool, or someone's shady porch to sit on.  We play board games and cards, make puzzles, and cook together.  I usually have some hand-sewing or a knitting project, with which I have many little helping (ahem) hands.  Mothers who need a break from the constant demands of little ones have lots of help from older cousins, aunts and uncles.  (I'm happy to offer my napping services for the under-5 crowd.)  We have a few fiddle and guitar players who enjoy getting together, too.  Once the boys became interested in video games, they started bringing their Wii and now I routinely lose every game of "Mario Brothers Dance Dance Revolution."  But I keep trying...

Over the years, the little children have grown up and new babies have come along.  The once early-rising little ones turn into night-owl teens and twenty-somethings.  Some milestones have happened, like this past summer, 7-year-old Vava learned to ride her two-wheel bike with no training wheels.  I captured the whole thing on video and emailed it to any family who weren't there.  We generally celebrate summer birthdays, including Gem's.  (She is one who has changed into a night-owl 15-year-old.)  In the next couple of years, we will welcome new great-nieces and nephews.

In all, I am so thankful to be part of a larger family who love and support one another.

When Salma came along with her giveaway of scrapbooking software, I couldn't resist.  The simple Turn Up the Heat template brought me back to those easy-going, happy beach days of Cousin Camp.  If you're reading this, I hope you enjoy Salma's blog, Chasing Rainbow, and take a look at her giveaway.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cinquain Challenge

 Juicy, Fragrant, Sweet
Growing, Slicing, Bursting.  
Eat them right off the vine.

This is my Cinquain about home grown tomatoes.  It is possible that this world has something more wondrous to offer, but I haven't found it yet.

I found this fun poetry challenge on the blog of Princess Fiona:

Line 1:  One noun.  This is your subject.
Line 2:  Three adjectives which describe your subject.
Line 3:  Three descriptive gerunds (verb + ing).
Line 4:  One complete sentence that relates to your subject.
Line 5:  One noun that is a synonym of your subject.

Thanks, Fiona!  Now I feel myself beginning to wax poetic about yard eggs...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lazy Susan: She's a Tease

scene of good times with family and friends
I love my square dining table that seats 8 comfortably.  Square is wonderful because it's so sociable -- everyone who's there can talk together, or to their immediate neighbors, with no craning of necks or raised voices.  It is, however, difficult to reach a dish that may be all the way on the other side of its wide surface.  

a seemingly elegant solution
I found the perfect solution:  the Lazy Susan.

In theory, she's great.  I can put everything on the large disk in the middle of the table and it's all in reach.  Hypothetically, when I want the bread, or the salad, or more sweet potatoes, I have only to extend my hand.  

Unfortunately, so does everyone else.  Usually at the same time I want it.

Husband scores corn muffin

Just as I'm going for the salt, Gem spins it to the other side of the table.  I reach out for the beans only to see them whirl away in  Husband's quest for salad dressing.  The empty promises of Lazy Susan.  

Goodbye, Butter.  It wasn't meant to be.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 Reflections

Even though I have been completely AWOL for many months, dearest Salma thought to include me in her newest blogging venture, called 2011 Reflections.  You can read about it here.  I am going to take Salma's invitation to restart my blog as a blessing, and not worry about whether I deserve it.

Because one thing I learned last year is that blessings come when you least expect it – and have nothing to do with whether you deserve it or not.

In July 2011, I accidentally got a job.  I wasn’t looking for it. In the last few years, I have loved working very part time as an Early Steps provider and completely full-time as a mother and wife.  I had planned to continue that until Gem, now 15 and a high school sophomore, leaves for college in the fall of 2014.

I was spending a few weeks with my sister in Virginia while Gem was at a nearby science camp.  Cooking, working, and visiting with my Dearest Sis, playing, reading, sewing with the kiddos. 

My friend Lynn phoned from back home to say that a local public school (BCP) needed a teacher to work with preschoolers who have special needs.  She said that when I talked to BCP, I wouldn’t be able to say “no.”  I spoke with their special education committee over the phone.  Lynn was right.  When my husband agreed that I should give it a try, I did.  Gem and I arrived home August 1st and I started work on the 2nd.

Some of my unlooked-for blessings:
  • The children: They’re always the best part of teaching.  Each day shows me a new side to each personality.  I have always said that being a preschool teacher is the most fun you can have and still get paid.
  • My colleagues:  Because “my” kids are included in the “regular ed” (bad terminology, I know) classrooms, the teachers have to accept me into their domains.  In my experience, some teachers don’t play well with others.  At BCP I am fortunate to work with a warm, caring group of professionals who really put the needs of children and families uppermost.
  • Meaningful, fulfilling work to do every day.  
  • Learning that my family will pitch in with the housework.  I can’t seem to let go of my cleanliness/nutrition standards, but can’t keep up with it all on my own either.   Things aren’t so tidy as when I did it all, but it feels better somehow.  My favorite meal is when my husband makes breakfast for supper.
  • An unexpected financial cushion. 
 When you least expect it, a blessing might come to you.  Open your heart and let it in.