A Moment in My Time

Preface: This is my SECOND blog post dated November 2009

Photo by Allan Mas on Pexels.com

.. so here are some random thoughts with no real direction. So I’ve been intending to do some blogging. I think I have intentionally stopped beau and told him that I needed to blog about something- chatted it out with him, and then lost motivation to write my thoughts and feelings out. poof. idea gone. well this is going to be my attempt to relinquish my previous thoughts and expand, reflect and delve into my thinking. (not like its prophetic or anything, just has been resting in my synaptic mind).

First, my drive. My drives this week have been entertaining, heart thrilling at times, and routine. Driving forty to forty five minutes each way to work, takes a toll on me. I realized this last week that I spend an extra ten hours a week just getting too and from work. It made me question the worth of it. Well it really is worth it, but I am excited to seek the possibilities closer to home. I want my heart to be in my community. I look forward to coaching, mentoring and maybe even leading a little bit more when I’m closer to home. I could honestly write a blog just about my drives every day. But I’ll let that be my own entertainment … unless….. there has been some quite lame blogs turn famous. Hmmmmm. hehe. I am not set up to be a professional writer. I’ll stick with teaching.

Second, my shopping adventure. So, I had Friday off last week because I worked fifteen hours on top of the regular 7.5 for two days so I didn’t have to come in on Friday. It was conference week, which is a whole other blog entry. So on Friday I went to the Kitsap mall and went cruising around Macy’s looking for some sweaters, pants and other things on sale. Found a couple things- and paid with my debit card! (trust me- it feels good). But I did encounter a couple women that I didn’t expect to encounter in Silverdale. Maybe in Bellevue, but not here. At 11 in the morning, I had a woman actually brush up against me and pretty much shoulder butted me out of her way so she could look in my size section of the clearance rack. When I said ‘excuse me’ she gave me the ‘what?’ look and kept doing her thing. Really?!? wow. The mall was dead- go look somewhere else till its your turn. I didn’t want to look in that section that bad anyways. Have your so called territory woman. Sheesh.I love to shop, but I hate that kinda stuff. Bleh.

Third, my weekend! I had the greatest weekend this weekend! It was so well balanced! I went on a great date with my hubby Friday night- did some costume shopping, had dinner at red robin(yum!), carved our pumpkins and then watched a scary movie! I then had a wonderful Saturday spending it with my lovely neighbors for their beautiful daughter, Paige’s 7th birthday at the pizza factory in port orchard. And celebrated our Halloween next door at the rogers’ house with the fam, friends and some wonderful neighbors!!! Played some fun flippy cup and took some fun pictures! It truly was one of the best Halloween’s I’ve ever had. Beau and I had so much fun being dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Smith! :0)

And lastly, I found out that my great friend (and now cousin) is pregnant! I am soo excited for Tiffany! I know that they’re going to be great parents and that they’re ready for the big, rewarding life change ahead. It always makes me excited and happy to see and hear about my close friends and family going through something exciting for them. It never hurts to be happy! :0) So I’m HAPPY! :0)

Well, I think I did it. Not the greatest blog, but it works. I’ve put my thoughts together (well out there) and we’ll see what happens for my next inspiration!

Till then, have a great week!

So I decided….

Preface: This is my very FIRST blog… dated October 22nd, 2009

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

…to start doing this! Blogs have always been something that I’ve always enjoyed READING by others, BUT doing it? That means I needed to write. I feel like I’ve written my share. And for it to be recreation? hmmm..

After long diliberated thought, I’ve decided to sit and write my first blog post. We’ll see how it goes. I know I am not choosing to do this for others’ entertainment. Am I doing it for me then? Am I trying to ‘show off’? or what? Nah, I simply think I’m motivated to do this to share my wonders, thoughts, experiences and the things that are making me happy.

At work we’ve had this motto for the year and it’s really stuck with me. I feel like I’m able to use it in different ways and this has become a new avenue of use. It goes like this, “Where are you now? Where do you want to be? How are you going to get there?” Sounds simple right? Well, I love to set goals, I am encouraged by others to achieve them, and when I get there- I can’t help but celebrate.

This blog thing might be a way for me to share what i’m reaching for as well as where I am on that road, and then to share in the celebration of reaching the goals in my life.
Lol. I guess I can drop all the purpose setting mumble jumble. I am obviously back to work and back to the mindset of being an educator. I guess I ask for patience. Hehe.

I am watching Trauma the show right now. First time, probably like the second or third episode. WOW! Quite the intense show. I know its far from realistic but it really takes you back for a moment to think. Things, and life, could really change in a moment. It makes you appreciate the many moments you have. Not to a ZEN level, but definitely provides a little awareness to the reality of LIFE and what it is. It also makes me wish that I would be keeping in contact with people that I care about that I don’t see, or haven’t talked to in a lonnnng while. Why do I get caught up in the daily life thing? It’s not fair to the ones that I love and care about that I don’t have the convienence and opportunity to see on a regular basis. Thus, I must find a way to make that time. When I make that time, I am happier. I ALWAYS walk away feeling encouraged, inspired and enthusiastic!!! There’s not alot of investments of time that gives you those feelings.

I miss those friends that I don’t see. I hope they don’t flee. They mean too much to me. I must put forth the effort to reconcile and enjoy their company. They bring me joy. Always. Let my goal be this.

I am going to be honest. I miss Danielle and Jeff with dear Corabelle, Emily and Chris NOW Brooks!, haven’t met cute little Bay with dear Allison, and Megan and Heather! Megan- I want to get to know your hubby and get to know how YOU are, Heather and Grant and beautiful Amelia, I have sooo much joy for you and I often reminisce about our long-back game night. You’re GREAT! Oh and dearest Jen- sis- I love you dearly, I’m so happy for your happy. I can’t help but wish you were closer to home, but I always smile with the thought of you being my sis. I miss you. All of you- I miss you- DEARLY.

Nonetheless, I hope I was successful in a little bit of reflection. Who reads it? It doesn’t matter, but to me, I got a chance to reflect, which gives me a chance to act. Till next time…

A Time of Hope?

Preface: This was written December 1st, 2009: 12 years ago!

Background: This reflection was shortly after the Lakewood Police Officers were shot and killed very close to where I once lived. It was an incredibly hard time for many and finding hope was hard.

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Wow. I haven’t blogged in a long while, but you can count on the fact that my mind is always going. I’ve just chosen to talk about what’s on my mind rather than sit and write about it. I’ve had some great conversations with my husband (gosh I love saying that!) because of it. He’s such a good listener (even if he’s just “{uh-huh-ing}” to make me feel better) hehe.

So a lot of things have happened lately that have got my heart reaching out and my thoughts heavy. I’m very saddened by the ridiculously outrageous murders that occurred on Sunday. I know everyone knows what happened, so I don’t need to explain it. It frightened me at first, knowing how close that was to where I used to live a short time ago (same for you- Jen, Allison, Jamie, Dan, Keenan, Julie, etc.). It came pretty close to home. It’s unimaginable, and so awful. My prayers and thoughts are truly with the families, and I truly wish they knew that.

Whenever something bad, or remarkable happens, I’m always fascinated by the response of my students. Since I don’t have kids yet, I live vicariously through them! :0) But their sensitivity and shock is humbling. Its fascinating to me how the media plays such a role in their reaction to the worldly events! Media is a great tool of information BUT it also creates a heightened sense of anxiety. I had students respond both full of anxiety and worry as well as full of concern for the families. I guess I have also seen adults respond likewise. I just try to avoid the ‘hype’ of the media, yet use it to stay informed. I truly think I’m getting a little older ’cause I buy the Sunday paper every Sunday and I watch the news every night when I’m cooking dinner. That’s just staying informed right? right???? hehe

With all that I see in my life and all the events that happen in the world, everything comes down to HOPE. Do we have it? How do we restore it? How to we maintain it? How do we seek it?

I had some great conversations today with my coworkers and other district employees at my Response to Intervention summit today. We discussed how to make sure that we meet every students’ need- all meaning all. During our discussions we consistently came back to the idea that it truly is our job to encourage hope in our schools and classrooms in an era that makes it ok to settle with not having hope and just getting by. Every individual is great at something. Our job is to dedicate our time and efforts to truly helping them discover their success. All in all, having hope in all they do so they will succeed and be successful. They CAN get through it. It’s just they need to learn how.

I take on the honor of having the opportunity to sustain, regain and establish hope in the individuals that will be running our country in the future. As Barack says best: WE CAN DO IT!!!!

SO— RIP Lakewood Officers. You’re our heroes. You will not be forgotten.
To all– Let’s remain hopeful in our future and be at peace with today!

Picture Explanation

I realized that I posted something without explanation. The image in the header of my blog is not my own. Yet, it still has significant meaning. I can’t help but explain so the appreciation can be shared.

Ten years ago, I gained a new guardian angel. My beloved grandfather, Robert Hendricks, passed away, somewhat unexpectedly. I wasn’t prepared. I’ll never be prepared. Yet, I was able to capture some sincere last moments with him that I’ll treasure forever. This photo is a symbol of one of those shared moments.

See my grandfather and I spent lots of time in conversation. He was always heartfelt and his perspective was always valuable to me. From this, I treasure the last conversations we had. One of those were about the rigid climb of going up a mountain. He wholeheartedly wanted me to paint a picture representing the challenges and rewards of climbing a mountain. Now, I have not shared any time on the mountain with him, yet he was an avid skiier and a well-respected Ski Patrol member (and leader), so being on a mountain was part of his being. Considering this, I listened with my whole being about what he wanted me to paint. Some of his last words to me were how he wanted me to paint the mountain as sharp and rigid because life is hard and hard to get through.

Yet the most empowering description was the vividness of what it’d look like when you got to the top. He wanted it to be colorful and radiant. “The most beautiful thing you’ve seen- because it’d be worth the climb.”

The purity of this conversation will not be lost, as its treasured in my soul. Every time I see a radiant picture (such as above), I feel a connection to my guardian angel. Thank you Grandpa Bob. You are a part of my whole-being and I hope to make you proud in my living. May you be enjoying the radiant beauty from the climb ❤

Possibility in the “Pivot”

Before reading this blog post, I must give some background information. The post below was composed in February of 2017 (yes, 3 1/2 years ago). I was teaching fourth grade and had begun diving deeper into the journey of better understanding the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on our youth. It made me reflect and explore the educational system. Below is my initial reflection (2017) and current time response (2020). Enjoy. 

First and foremost, basketball has always been a part of my life. I played youth basketball through high school ball. To this day, it brings me stress-relief to go shoot hoops and hear the ‘swish.’ It is an exhilaration for me and at the same time it brings me peace. Comparatively, I connect it to my passion in education. I was inspired by my own educational experience thus wanted to provide the same for future youth. I was committed to the hard work necessary to achieve the ‘swish’ in my career. The exhilaration, the peace, the PROMISE it gave to me. Again, I am incredibly grateful for the gift of my heartfelt passion in education. And then comes the “pivot.” Don’t lift one foot, protect the ball, swivel, look for the open player, execute. Often times successful, other times not. Yet the goal remains the same- score points. (or induce a foul so you can potentially earn more points)<– that in itself could lead to comparison to the politics in education.

Image result for basketball and education

Speaking (or writing) from my heart, I am over-the-top happy and honored to be a teacher. I am grateful for the natural drive I have to be the best I can be for each child and family of my class. I want to provide the best opportunity and enriching education to each of my kids. If they are looking for a hug or someone to listen, I’ll give them that first. Sometimes without that- they won’t hear a thing I teach them. Again, this is why I find it to be an honor to be that someone for that someone who I believe is going to be that someone for someone else someday.

Yet- I am sincerely concerned about our educational SYSTEM. There is such a strong disconnect between the decision makers and the practitioners. Without getting too political (because that’s not my thing), I am really worried about the knowledge base of the leaders (of policy and funding) that are making decisions that greatly impact the leaders of our future America. Our kids.

I’m going to try my best to not make this a RANT-page, but I feel deep in my heart concerned about the health, happiness and dedication of our kiddos as well as the impact it has on our future and the career of education itself.

And this leads me to the BIG question; HOW CAN WE FIX THIS?

As stated above, I have heart but so does everyone else. As an optimist, I have hope. As a realist, I hold worry and deep concern. As an educator, sometimes the day determines what I feel more of- hope or concern. Today I hold one more than the other. It’ll be your job to guess (or infer) based off my writing for today.

I sat down to write today because common sense thoughts kept floating through my head and through great conversations, I felt the need to see the words concretely put together for me to see….. maybe to create an action plan or simply to make sure that I was being clear in my thoughts. Who knows, maybe I’ll achieve both- clarity and action. Thank you for baring with me as I conceptualize both.

My initial thought (and theme) to this post was developing a recipe for a great educational system. Ya- that was over optimistic! Haha! I have always held the belief that the leaders making decisions for the kids  are considering all the barriers our students, teachers and families are needing to overcome. Yet, as I further in my career, I realize how they are unable to know if they are not EXPERIENCING it themselves, or that the “LAYERS” are so thick and deep and ever-changing, it has become weathering to best understand, so they’ve given up or turned a blind eye.

————————————– 3 1/2 years later…————————————————————

Wow. Since writing this, I have had the honor to have a position change (became an instructional coach for 2 years) and then a position shift (due to double levy failure) and now taking a year of leave (due to Covid). Life has DRAMATICALLY changed for me during this window of time, yet I have more HOPE in some ways and still CONCERN in others. I’d like to elaborate on both.

First, I must CELEBRATE the focus of EDUCATION right now. Social Emotional Learning and the mental health of our kids has become more of a focus in education decision making (policies, practices, curriculum design). For this reason, I am incredibly grateful for the whole child, whole school, whole community shift. With the Social Emotional Standards, Multi-Tiered-Systems-of-Support, Positive Behavior Interventions and Relationship-Focused Behavior Response, we are setting up our kids for lifelong success.

Yet, Covid has DEFINITELY raised a brick wall barrier to overcoming some challenging Social Emotional and Developmental needs. Though I believe that putting Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs FIRST and Bloom’s Taxonomy as Secondary Support (and/or integrating the two)- our kids will be ok. As stated before, I believe we will have innovators, creative problem solvers, resilient, and independent hard workers. Yes, in the future we may need to strengthen our social skills and our collaborative problem solving capacities, YET, that is possible. Let’s lift each other up, stay connected in creative ways, be honest about how we are feeling, check in with each other, and embrace the history changing journey we are on. Here’s an article on potential great technological impacts on education and our youth for the future.

maslow's hierarchy of needs five stage pyramid

With that, I also need to remain honest about my concerns. Its incredibly hard and uncomfortable for me to still remain concerned, yet I am moreso then ever. Having the gift of being able to collaborate with leadership and consult decision making and actively engage in problem solving protocols, I have only gained respect for the PEOPLE leading the way in education. They are committed and are truly working from their heart when doing the hard work. They want the best outcome for all of their stakeholders. Yet, this is where the educational system becomes the barrier. More times than not, the ‘politics’ or the ‘language’ or the ‘fragility’ make an impact on moving forward with valued work. For this reason, I still remain concerned about the system itself.

YET- this is where my HOPE comes in! The impacts of COVID response may be a blessing in disguise. Change is hard. Radical change is CRAZY hard. Engaging in HISTORICAL change has a PROFOUND impact. Therefore, we are being exposed to the inequities, the systemic challenges, and the hardships of the out-dated educational system. This excites me because we can now advocate, innovate, design what we’ve always known to be best for our youth. Neuroscience and Education are working together like NEVER BEFORE. (and yes, this is a MAIN reason on why I’m kind of twitterpaited about the potential shifting in practice). Also, think of the technology skills that we ‘never had time’ or ‘not enough resources/money’ for that are being developed at an exponential rate?!?!? Who knows what’s going to come out of this time. Great things in the end. It can only be great things. (I know that’s hard to believe RIGHT NOW, but we must nurture and celebrate the innovation of these ‘new times’). 

Our educational system was designed during a time of very different societal needs. It has made little adaptations to reshape based off our current societal needs. Our teachers and leaders have radically changed what ‘school looks like’ in the last 6 months moreso than it has in the last 39 years of my life (and longer). Let’s celebrate the “pivot” that our educational system is making. Be ok with it’s lack of perfection (its shaping up to be one of the greatest historical changes in educational history). Contribute your voice with positive intent (be aware of your emotional response: be passionate but be respectful). And from the bottom of my heart- please continue to advocate for our basic needs to be met (emotional/physical safety, food, rest, relationships) FIRST, then provide meaningful learning opportunities. Continue to give GRACE as we strive for GRIT. Here’s some information about the current “Every Student Succeeds Act” yet my question is: how do you see/experience this at the local level? Is it implemented equitably?

As we are all 6 feet or more apart, I encourage you WHOLEHEARTEDLY to seek SERENITY during this time. Be empowered by the possibility of NOW. You are a part of HISTORICAL change. Feel empowered by this gift of being validated in focusing on putting your HEART into your work and not so much HARD into your daily work. You can demonstrate CARE first and not CURRICULUM. The learning WILL happen when you commit to empathy and social emotional needs. 

I wrap up this reflection with a song. Bon Jovi wrote a song to inspire us to do what’s right during the current times. Let this speak to you. We got this crew!

DO WHAT YOU CAN Written by Jon Bon Jovi (edited)

Here’s the song performed on YouTube:

Tonight they’re shutting down the borders

And they boarded up the schools

Small towns are rolling up their sidewalks

One last paychecks coming through

I know you’re feeling kind of nervous

We’re all a little bit confused

Nothing’s the same This ain’t a game

We got to make it through

When you can’t do what you do

You do what you can

This ain’t my prayer

It’s just a thought I’m wanting to send

Round here we bend but don’t break

Down here we all understand

When you can’t do what you do You do what you can

Our kids sit home in isolation

TV news is always on

When you can’t do what you do You do what you can

This ain’t my prayer It’s just a thought I’m wanting to send

Round here we bend but don’t break Down here we all understand When you can’t do what you do You do what you can

Love your neighbor and your friend Ain’t it time we loved a stranger They’re just a friend you ain’t met yet We’re gonna get through this together

Until I see you once again When you can’t do what you do You do what you can This ain’t my prayer It’s just a thought I’m wanting to send Round here we bend but don’t break Down here we all understand When you can’t do what you do You do what you can

Comic Relief.

I find myself slightly handicapped when it comes to humor and wit. Therefore, I hope that you’re not anticipating laugh-out-loud-humor, but rather start-your-day-with-a-smile read. 🙂 Nonetheless, I was inspired to sit and write as I found humor in the time-and-place of my current situation. Enjoy. (Take a sip of coffee, take a deep breath, stretch a little, smile)

Here is my current setting (what surrounds me as I compose this post):

  • 8 am on Sunday morning
  • Coffee in hand (blue agave syrup+plant-based creamer+chocolate coconut collagen)
  • Sunny and currently 64 degrees
  • Golf course: Tee box: Hole #7

As I sit here reading my inspirational book, (The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey) I am amused by the responses from the golfers as they tee off. They can’t see me as I’m sitting on my deck (as I sit far enough off the course), yet I hear all of the things. Here are some of my notations:

  • Jesus is our Savior (but not always of your golf game ;-))
  • When you yell at the ball to get in the hole, it will not listen to you no matter how assertive you may be
  • Yelling at yourself does NOT improve your game (and throwing your club doesn’t help your score either)
  • Trees are NOT your destination (I hear more trees being hit than grass)

For these reasons, I find comic relief in the pattern of behavior and language. Now- not all passing golfers display these patterns, yet this morning, the majority do. Is this a temperature check on the mental health of our community? Oh. Of course I’m going to go there. 🙂 Social Emotional Status Check.  Function of Behavior Assessment of Golfers. Haha..

Either way, I am grateful for the gift of the morning sun, talking birds, light breeze, warm coffee, and good reading (and entertaining golf-gaming).

If you’re inspired to go for a round of golf today, feel free to release the stress you have held captive (we all have it bottling up), but in doing so- please wave and say hi, talk nicely to yourself, limit the tree impact, and find humor in your experience (laugh at the outcome of your hit- don’t get mad at the ball- it did that because of you). 

Enjoy your coffee. Thanks for sharing the experience with me. May it bring a smile.

Image result for golf smile

Dopamine over Cortisol

Looking back at my almost 39 years of life, I’ve truly experienced a lot of ‘major events’ in history. Yet, there has been no time like now. 9/11. Iraq War. Those were incredibly impactful things as it changed a lot of people’s lives (including mine). Yet, I feel like the COVID crisis has ripped open systematic problems and has radicalized our lives, thus pivoting a lot of practices.

We wonder the level of impact on our youth. Yet their resiliency depicts their capacity to overcome. What if these kids become the most adaptable, innovative, imaginative workers of our time? They will definitely have stellar technology skills which leads me to believe that we have new technologies unfolding in the youth that are seeking resolution to everyday problems. #goodtimetoinvestinouryouth

Yet I am equally concerned about the impact on the social-emotional development of our already-troubled children. Technology has been a blessing as well as a curse. It changes the growing brains and rewires our chemical reactions to what brings us meaningful feedback (what causes the release of cortisol (stress hormone) or dopamine (happy hormone)). The concern this creates for me is two-fold. One- engagement: will students be able to truly engage in their learning when delivered from the same resource they seek entertainment? Secondly- if we are providing engaging lessons that release dopamine (like video games do), are we conditioning our youth to continue to seek reward through technology engagement? (Watch this video for a great summary) Yeeks.

See the source image

I want to ensure to empower our youth to explore and be curious about the physical world and how it can provide powerful ‘dopamine’ releases. Yet I also want to encourage our tiny human beings to develop innovative and creative solutions to world (or everyday) problems. As educators, we must commit to developing more real-world integration into our lessons. #fieldtripsathomeeveryday #interviewsomeonespecialvirtually #buildempathythroughinteraction

By golly, I feel like I could engage in some rich discussion about how our world is changing as we experience collective shifts and build new ways of building relationships and resolutions. I am honored to be a part of this history change, yet I am challenged on how I can meaningfully contribute to the ‘new world problems’ and the innovative opportunities that are unfolding. As I continue to engage in deeper thinking and navigate new perspectives, I know I will be called to action where my heart and mind align.

Image result for Heart and Mind Quotes

For now, I remain encouraged by collaboration. Having the opportunity to engage in complex conversation with coworkers, explore new topics with close family members, navigate tough decisions and have crucial conversations has only made me closer to others and better understand myself.  In truth- I have learned more about myself, my family, and my friends because we’ve been able to collaborate (virtually or socially distanced) as we’ve been making sense of the new times. For this reason, I am incredibly grateful for the person I’m becoming through this challenging, life-changing, historical time.

Though we each hold worry (our amygdala is hard at work!), may you find peace in conversation and collaboration. May new opportunities arise to strengthen relationships, perspectives and life direction. May you feel more empowered than overwhelmed. May you feel embraced more than isolated. Together, we can change the future. Our youth can be a strong example of our choice to invest in them. The future will be bright, its just uber hazy right now. Coming together (in whatever way is safest), will strengthen our future and help inspire new things to grow.

We've Got This Quotes

For my dear educators (parents included as we are partners now), hold this true to your heart in your planning for your resilient pedagogy:

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I believe in YOU. I believe in our YOUTH. I believe in our RESILIENCY. Let’s commit to find creative ways to release more dopamine than cortisol!

 

2009/2010

So, I’ve been stirring about sitting down and writing during this time. Among the other things I’m composing, reading and researching, I came across a token from the past. Over 10 years ago, I had started a blog that I COMPLETELY forgot about. Therefore, before I compose anything new (don’t worry.. I’ll have another one coming soon), I’d like to share my FIRST blog from 2009/2010… the first year of my marriage ❤

https://whoawuhhsmith.blogspot.com/2009/ <– here it is ❤

Uncertainty.

To begin with, I’m straight forward uncertain on how this blog will unfold. I appreciate the pureness in thought and the craft of composition, therefore, we will see how this unfolds in one sitting. I hope it is cohesive and creates reflection and inspiration as intended.

If life were linear with identifiable mile markers, would we find value in our everyday happenings? We’d know what was coming next, so we’d just let it unfold right? Good or bad… it’d be coming anyhow.

Yet, life is not certain. The events that unfold in our lives are mostly products of our choices right? Key word: MOSTLY. Yet, the more I live life, I’m understanding how to navigate uncertainty.

I’ve always thought of myself as RESILIENT. I’ve overcame some difficult things. Though because I can demonstrate the power to overcome, that doesn’t mean I’m immune to difficult endeavors. For heaven’s sake, I may have passed the test in knowing how to overcome, but I don’t want to necessarily apply that skill on a routine basis. Thank you for your confidence in my strength, yet let’s be real, I want a vacation. 🙂

So recently I’ve explored some of my fear-based responses. Identifying that I am making decisions in fear of a potential future unfolding sounds foolish, yet we do it all the time (and yup I’m guilty for engaging in this practice). Yes, there are rational reasons for choosing to NOT do certain things, YET by understanding what’s led to that decision, allows for a holistic decision. We are wired to protect ourselves and those we love, so we try to lessen the risk of potentially harmful outcomes.

Yet with these protective practices, are we able to navigate our life in developing our whole selves? What’s a healthy dose of prevention? How do we navigate life and receive the growth, grace and gifts as we should embrace?

So a short anecdotal story: My mom and I had an amazing day together filled with great conversation and connection. We traveled to the Puyallup Fairgrounds and shopped our first Pinology market (can’t wait for the next). In our travels, we discussed life, love and all the things in between. As our time together evolved, we ran into people that we hadn’t seen in a long time. We ran into a couple of my friends that gave me giggles and smiles, as well as a childhood friend whom I haven’t seen in 25 years as well as my high school drama teacher (who was a change-maker in my life.) As the day came to an end, we both realized we were meant to be in the places we were throughout the day (sweet parking spots and chance encounters). Thinking back on this day, it makes my heart smile. I told Beau that it was one of the best days spent with my mom. Want to know why? I let things unfold as they should and I didn’t stress about the details (traffic, parking, weather) or worry about any UNCERTAINTIES. I let it be and let it unfold. Because of this, I feel more alive and enriched because of how I spent my TIME today. 

I share this short story with you to encourage reflection. Are there things in life that you wish were more CERTAIN so you can challenge yourself to grow or experience life? I am talking about the little things (not having a long line at the store/coffee shop) to the bigger things (health in the future). How might needing this certainty interfere with embracing the day and what it may bring to enrich your future?

I know life is short and we do our best to make good decisions to set up for a happy and healthy life. Though we are humans, and we make mistakes, thus life is not perfect. We strive to navigate our lives to develop our best ‘pathway to positive outcomes.’ We seek to understand so we can best respond to what life brings us. We build our strength (of mind and body) to help us overcome and be resilient. Yet, we need to remind ourselves to simply take a deep breath, let it be and let life unfold.

So I wrap this up by concluding by saying “that just happened.” I don’t have a profound premise to what initiated this blog entry (and it’s been 2 years since I’ve written!) so thank you for reading my reflection on the last thought of my day. I brought you into my reflective thoughts and took the risk of sharing them. 🙂 The process of composing this brought me joy, therefore I hope it created reflection and encouragement. 

As always, here’s a song in connection to the idea of this post. May you choose to “DANCE” when feeling uncertain and have the courage to see what unfolds.

This song reminds me of high school. I truly think this song was played at one of our Senior Year events and I remember crying. Therefore, it has true meaning to a time that I had in my life in ‘spreading my wings.’ 

 

“I hope you dance” by Lee Ann Womack

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
Don’t let some Hell bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider
Give the Heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
and wonder where those years have gone.)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

Dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
and wonder where those years have gone.

A Million Little Things

As a great friend reminded me, “the list will always be full, and it will always be there.” Yes, this is very true. Yet we determine the value and weight of the items on the list.

It brings me back to one of the best professional development trainings I’ve ever been to: Leader in Me founded in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Happy People (https://www.leaderinme.org/what-is-leader-in-me/). An essential tool to help “Put First Things First” was the quadrant of organizing priorities (https://www.franklincovey.com/the-7-habits/habit-3.html). This tool forever changed my mindset on approaching the tasks of the day INTENTIONALLY.

Another fantastic practice that I’ve been inspired to participate in regularly is setting a daily intention. This mindfulness practice that was dearly inspired by Lyndsey Morris from Generation Wellness (https://www.generationwellness.com/). She introduced “accountability buddies” that you set daily intentions with and then share your gratitudes with at the end of each day. I’ve been doing this with two other friends (we call ourselves Team Marigolds) and it has allowed me to feel uplifted and reflective in order to achieve my goals.

These are all great things to remain mindful and intentional about my daily investments. Yet, achieving things off “the-never-ending-always-growing-and-multiplying-list” does not always provide the long-term fulfillment that life has to offer. I must always consider these things:

  1. By accomplishing _________________, am I building others up?
  2. When I invest my time into ____________________, am I inspiring myself to be my best self?
  3. Am I neglecting family and friends by focusing on _____________________?

Life is short. It’s going faster and faster as the days go by. Weeks are going so fast, it’s almost scary. Watching my 5 year old grow as a Kindergartner creates a humbling time awareness. Therefore, the ‘million little things’ that are going through my mind, things started-but-not-yet-finished, the laundry, the dishes and all the other things are far less valuable than spending time with those that I love.  Embracing the memories that unfold as well as the value of their presence should be the utmost priority.

But I wonder. That’s been my truth and has always been important to me, but DOING it has been hard to follow through with. Is it because of the LIST, or is it because of the ENERGY lost from doing things on the LIST? Either way, the cost of valuing ‘getting things done’ has a cost. I value my family and friendships far more than the small things on my to-do-list.

As the title clearly states, “A Million Little Things,” this communicates more than the to-do-list of all of the ‘things’ to do. It goes deeper. The show “A Million Little Things” clearly shows the complexities of just ‘doing the everyday life.’ It shows that even though you’re closely tied to those around you, it still doesn’t mean you know the daily struggles of those closest to you. Sometimes the struggles are disguised in their hard work and determination. They are happily distracted by their alternative focus. Embracing our struggles can be the scariest thing. Yet the most courageous. This is why it’s so important to love each other and accept each other through good and bad times. And honestly, simply by ASKING questions we can be more ATTUNE to each other. Be curious, be open, be YOU.

To tie the big ideas of this blog together, I think there are some key ideas to keep in mind as we take on the day we are in and the days we have ahead.

Let’s embrace the opportunity of today and the promise of tomorrow by being hopeful and optimistic.

Let’s celebrate our achievements and not grieve the incomplete.

Let’s be intentional. Let’s work to build positive outcomes. Let’s inspire others.

Stay connected to self and with the relationships that matter most to us by asking questions and being reflective.

In conclusion, I leave you with a song that truly communicates the MUST-DO’s on our to-do-lists that give the best lifetime investment and payback. Through all things, may we be humble and kind.

Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw

You know there’s a lot that goes by the front door
Don’t forget the keys under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church ’cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won’t be a waste of time
Always stay humble and kind
Hold the door say please say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind
Don’t expect a free ride from no one
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flying
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
I love you ain’t no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind
When it’s hot, drink a root beer 🙂, eat a Popsicle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin’
Don’t forget turn back around
Help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind