Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday's Random Thoughts

I never blog about random things.  I try to be intentional about what I write so that it relates to the title of my blog.  I feel like sharing a few random thoughts today that sort of follow-up from yesterday's post.

  • The boy I mentor did awesome last week so we had pizza for lunch today!  Woohoo.  He's been doing amazing and it surprises me how much happiness I feel just because he's doing his school work and behaving appropriately.  I wish that I had a picture of him walking through school carrying that pizza box.  He was so proud of himself for being rewarded.
    • We talked while we ate pizza and I told him about a dream I had last night.  There were two birds trapped in my house and I was trying to set them free.  His analysis of my dream:  "Well, it must mean that you are stressed out or it has something to do with your childhood".  He actually said this to me.  He's only nine years old.
    • He loves pizza and ate four slices.  There was one left and I offered it to him.  He said, "No thanks.  Let's share it with that nice lady at the front desk".  How wonderfully sweet he is.
  • Why don't I practice yoga every day?  I absolutely love it.  I feel so much better afterward.  It alleviates any back and leg pain, it stretches my entire body, relieves stress and opens me up emotionally.
  • The construction going on at my office is in full swing.  It was so loud today that I tried drowning out the noise with my iPod.  I just had a combination of music and drilling in my head.  The noise is so intrusive - I actually feel different.  Out of sorts.  I've always appreciated the trade (my husband has been in the trade all his life) but I have a much deeper appreciation for those individuals who do this type of work every day. 
  • I entered my first photography contest last night.  I did it just to do it.  We'll see if it goes anywhere or if I get any more passionate about it.  Maybe it will motivate me to compile a portfolio and start actively getting my photos out there. 
  • I've been reading a lot of A to Z Challenge posts and I get a little anxious when I find out that people are already finished writing their 26 posts.  I feel like I'm the only person who hasn't.  I am a procrastinator and I work best under pressure.  I always have been.  I've written ten posts so far - that is huge for me.  I guess that I just need to focus on what works for me.  I do admire all those other bloggers, though.
Happy Monday.  May your week be full of wonder, humor, creativity and enjoyment.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Getting Into the Groove

I'm really getting into the groove of being productive.  I'm preparing for the A to Z Challenge (as best as a procrastinator can), cleaning house, editing photos, getting into an exercise routine, reading my bible, writing and preparing for my work week. 

I have to prepare for my work week because it is going to be a doozie.  I am aware of this and won't be surprised when things get crazy.  Have any of you ever prepared for an audit?  It's stressful and a lot of work.  Especially when it is just another project added to your already overfilled workload.  We're also in the middle of renovations at work so I have to try and focus amidst the sounds of hammers, electric drills and saws as new walls are being constructed.  Hey, when you work in the non-profit sector, you have to be ready for anything.  Being flexible and easily adaptable helps me get through times like this without losing my sanity.  Plus, now I have an excuse to listen to my iPod at work.

One of the things that I am really looking forward to is seeing the little boy I mentor.  He's been doing much better and, if he did well last week, we get to have pizza tomorrow.  When I saw him last Tuesday, his teacher told me that he had five good days in a row.  I was so proud of him.  He asked if we could make a deal.  I told him that it depended on the deal and that is when he proposed being good for the entire week and being rewarded with pizza.  Of course I agreed.  He deserves it.  I prayed for him last week and I find out tomorrow morning whether or not we will be having pizza for lunch.  I'm much more hopeful today than I was a couple of weeks ago.  If he didn't do well, we will try again and set another goal.  I love that he keeps trying.  I love his persistence and determination (even if his motivator is pizza). 

I used to hate Sundays.  I'd get what I called a "Sunday feeling" and it was a combination of depression, crunchiness, lethargy and anxiety.  Now, my Sundays are wonderful because I use them to be creative, free myself from unnecessary worry, mentally prepare for the week and get into a good place physically, emotionally and mentally.  Sundays are my Getting Into the Groove days and I love them!  Happy Sunday to all.

Coquina Cross
Mission of Nombre de Dios
This is where Christianity began in America.  It is a place of beauty, peace, history and reflection.
I love it here.  The sacredness fosters my connection to God and helps me get into the groove.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Art of Simplifying: Less TV

I've been taking little steps to simplify my life.  Actually, I've taken some big ones as well.  I moved from California to Florida with the intention of simplifying my life.  It is working.  Florida is home and my head is clear here. 

One recent conscious step is watching less TV.  Normally, we'd always have the TV on in the background of life at home.  Not any more.  My husband and I are both involved in different creative endeavours and either working in silence or listening to music.  I love how music can create various atmospheres in your home. 

Watching less TV has simplified my life by removing unnecessary distractions.  I'm no longer using TV to escape.  Instead, I am utilizing the time I have in the evenings to be creative, inspired and connected to my family.  It is a simple way to live and I love it.   

Happy Monday.  Embrace the beauty of living a simple life.   

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Remembering Grandma

Today is my grandma's birthday.  Her name was Dessie and she died in 2010.  I really miss her.  She was a classic grandma:  kind, funny, quiet, cute, loving and modest. 

Dessie May
As we both got older, I noticed her transitioning into a more assertive woman.  She was born in 1926, never learned to drive and did not work.  It was her duty to care for her family and she did it with love.  The first time I noticed her becoming more independent (or just tired of caring for others) was at my mom's house.  After dinner, my grandpa mentioned that he'd like a piece of pie.  Grandma's response, "Well get up and get it yourself".  We all laughed so hard, I almost peed my pants.  Even my grandpa thought it was funny. 

She could bake anything and she was really good at it.  At church events, everyone always gravitated toward her pies, cakes and cookies.  My favorite were her chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.  Why didn't I ask her for the recipe before she died?  That's one of the things I hate about death:  if you don't find out everything you want, you're going to lose out.  There are a lot of things I wish I would have asked her; however, I didn't.  So, I just need to wait until I see her again.  I know that she is in Heaven.  I know that she is with my dad.  I can't wait to see them both.  Happy Birthday, grandma.  I love you so much.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bedtime Reflections

For the first time in a while, I am feeling really productive.  I have been very cognizant about finding balance in my life and things are starting to fall into place.  My work is not overwhelming me like it has been the past few months.  Writing and photography have integrated into my daily routine.  I'm finally transcending out of the funk I've been in and practicing yoga again as well as exercising. 

My newest adventure is learning how to play the ukulele.  I've been wanting one and a few days ago my husband surprised with a brand new beautiful uke.  I haven't read music or played an instrument in over 18 years.  Music is another creative outlet that I am happy to reconnect with.  More to come on my ukulele adventures during the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Time just flies by.  When I glance at the clock and see that it is 9:00, I think of all the things I still want to accomplish before bed.  I don't feel pressured or anxious, just excited and full of adrenaline.  My prayers about embracing creativity and happiness are being answered right before my eyes.  I came across some scripture the other day that I fell in love with:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 

Walking with God, Florida-Style

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tears & Leadership

I think that I have mentioned in another post that I am a mentor.  I visit with a little boy at his school once a week and we have been friends for over a year.  He's amazing and so full of potential.  I love talking with him.  We can talk for an entire hour.  We tell each other stories, brainstorm ideas, discuss the future and talk about our lives.  He also has some emotional issues and it is difficult for him to manage his feelings.  When I walked into his classroom last week, he was in tears.  It was a bad day.

I can't remember what I had planned for the two of us but it didn't matter.  He was in trouble and very, very unhappy.  We weren't allowed to leave his classroom so I pulled up a chair and sat with him as he cried.  After a few moments, I told him the only thing that felt natural, "I've missed you".  We started talking and he eventually stopped crying.  I gave him my undivided attention.  I listened to him talk, we discussed the inappropriateness of his earlier behaviors, role played ways he could have acted differently, worked on a math test and talked about animals.  I never let him off the hook when he misbehaves or manipulates situations.  I do remind him how smart he is, how compassionate he can be and how extremely creative he is. 

I don't know how long this boy will be a part of my life but I am appreciative of every moment.  I sincerely want the best for this child and I pray that he achieves lifelong success.  I've learned so much from him.  His raw emotion and tears of frustration foster my leadership capacity.  I can't plan the words that I say to him when he is upset, I just have to feel my way through.  I take a deep breath, give him my full attention and speak with authenticity and love.  I believe that those who exercise positive leadership must be authentic as well as compassionate.  These are qualities that allow us to do adaptive work, help others reach their full potential, find meaning in chaos and act as change agents.  This boy has taught me how to be in the here and now.  I will be forever grateful for our relationship.