Try New Things

My punkin and I are generally always up for something new. I love adventures. I love to try new things and do things I’ve never done before. There’s something about getting out there that excites the soul and is just plain fun.

This past year we went to Wonder Works in Orlando. They have a ropes course where you hook up to a harness, climb a few floors up, and walk across obstacles. Exciting, right?! We waited in line for our turn, got to the top, and suddenly realized it was actually quite… frightening.

On some of those obstacles, there was nothing to hold onto. You had to hope your balance held out and just take steps of faith. It wasn’t as much fun as I thought… heart pounding in my throat… even though I knew we were safe! Little one felt the same! We stayed up there the whole time, though! If you’re there, be there!

Another time, we left Florida to get out of the path of Hurricane Irma. We traveled with friends to South Carolina, but when they returned, I thought… What the heck?! Let’s go to the Smoky Mountains! We are SO close! So we did, just my punky and me.

We drove through the mountains, hiked waterfalls, played in creeks – just the two of us. I make smart choices and I’m aware of my surroundings, but I never want fear to hold us back. We’ve got too much to see and do on this planet. We hiked 2 miles on one mountain with a steep drop on one side and my daughter only being 6 at the time! The waterfall was so worth it… and we saw baby bears in trees!

Life is fun.

I guess I’m writing this to say… Don’t ever let fear hold you back. Don’t let the What Ifs stop you from doing something new, adventurous, bold. It’s easy to talk ourselves out of things… but then again, it’s just as easy to go for it and just do it!

There is so much fun to be had, so many experiences to encounter. So many creatures to meet. Do you know there is a place in Florida where you can hand feed lemurs? Right?! They are adorable!

Every adventure, big or small, fills our life with good moments and amazing memories. I wouldn’t trade the adventures of Mommy and Rae for any tangible item in the world. We make life fun. We try new things. Sometimes we love it and sometimes we don’t. But the memories are there forever and we never regret embracing the occasion.

We could spend our life being afraid of the hypothetical or we can just be brave and live life anyway.

Choose Your Mood

Oh My Goodness, does that cold weather look amazing or what?!

To be fair, I live in Florida and it’s the hottest month of the year and it’s so incredibly humid, it’s just about unbearable. I read a meme on Facebook that said “Want to know what it feels like in Florida right now? Take a hot shower, don’t dry off, get dressed.” 😂😂 Truth.

This picture jumped out at me mostly for the yearning I have for some cooler weather… but also for the quote.

I was grumpy yesterday. Yes, it’s true, I get grumpy. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows. I was growly too. And a little bit unthankful. And focused on the negative. We all have our days, friends.

My daughter likes to tell me that she chose me. Before she was born, she found me and she chose me to be her mama. She’s told me this since she has been able to talk well enough to articulate it. Not sure if this is how it works, but I believe with all my heart that her and I are the perfect match.

So my girl, who has heard it all from me before, turned the tables on me yesterday. “Do you want to be grumpy or do you want to choose to look for the good things?” and “Do you really want to be mad and cranky? What is something good that happened today?”

Do you know that it can be very annoying to hear your good advice come back at you when you are in the middle of a bad mood? 🤣☠

She was right though. It took me a few minutes, or maybe 30, to admit it. I have so much to be happy about! I am abundantly blessed!

  • A beautiful old soul daughter who is the best thing to ever happen to me
  • Family and Friends (My Village!)
  • A place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, car to drive
  • Amazon Prime, Coffee, traveling, Favorite TV shows and movies, the weather, hugs, our dragon, books, library, art, music, theater, the sun, moon, and stars, beaches, Disney World…

You get the point.

It’s totally ok to be grumpy occasionally, to have a bad day, to get annoyed. We are humans, after all. But once you’ve spent a few minutes indulging in the feelings, we do have a choice to make. We can continue to focus on all the negative things, list them out, complain about them, wallow in them…

Or.

We can start counting our blessings. Start listing all the good things that happened in the day. Each day is filled with both positive and negative. Start naming all the positives! Think about all the things in our life that we have to be thankful for.

Life is good. That’s what I ended up saying to my punkin. After pouting a bit. More than a bit. Don’t judge.

You’re right Raegan. Life is good and I am blessed.”

Mental Rehearsal

Yesterday, I wrote about the fact that my personal mountain to climb is healthy eating habits and avoiding fast food. The encouragement I received was so special. Thank you so much to those that reached out!

On the way to school, when often we would drive thru for breakfast, I asked my daughter to help me. I told her that I wanted to be more healthy and there was something that only she could do for me – Tell me No to Drive Thru. If anyone else were to tell me what to do, I’d get mad – but not my 8 year old who loves me and wants to help me be healthy. So I told her my struggles and asked for her help.

There’s two reasons I’m sharing this today. The first reason is because I believe it’s so important to share our struggles with our kids. They need to know that we fail too. If we hide our struggles and pretend we are all good, all the time, we become unrelatable. Our kids fail sometimes. They struggle. Will they come to a parent that, in their eyes, never struggles? Will they even think we understand? I think not. They can not relate to us.

By sharing our struggles with our kids, we let them know that we are not perfect either. That failure and struggle are a part of life and how we handle it is what is most important. By sharing our weaknesses, we show that we are still valuable and worthy of help and change… And we have the opportunity to model the right behavior and the right way to handle struggles and failures. We can show that we do not give up, we do not accept failure, we get up and try again. Then, when they need that advice, it’s not just words. They have seen it in action. So important.

The second reason I’m sharing is because of how my daughter reacted. We have both been in counseling for, let’s see, five years! Wow. During these five years, we have both learned so many strategies for coping, for thriving, for growing… and my 8 year old punkin fell back on one immediately. It made me laugh as much as it made me so incredibly proud.

She said, “Ok, Mommy. Let’s practice. Do you want to go to McDonalds?”

Slightly confused, I hesitated before asking, “Do you want me to say no?”

“Yes! We are going to practice this now. Say No,” she explained.

“Ooook. No, I do not want to go to McDonalds.”

The conversation continued with “Do you want to go to Wendys? Do you want some Burger King?”

I kept saying “No. Nope, Don’t want it.” Even though, to be honest, it all sounded good.

“Do you want a Chick Fil A Chicken Biscuit?” She asked last. That’s my favorite. Stinker.

“OOoooh that’s a hard one. No! No! I don’t want it. It’s not healthy!” I replied.

“Oh Mommy,” Rae said. “See? You are getting better at this already.”

I love my kid. 🙂

She knows that mental rehearsal is so important. Practicing what you WANT to be, pretending to be what you want to be, acting as if… these are powerful tools. They have the power to change your whole mindset. When you say what you want, even if you don’t believe it at the time, things shift in your brain… and if you say it enough, you even start to believe it.

This is similar to I ams. Speak what you WANT in your life – even if it doesn’t exist yet. Persist. Don’t give up… Keep saying it. You will change your life, beginning with your thoughts. This is your superpower.

I am healthy. I make healthy choices. I do not want fast food. I crave healthy real food to fuel my body. I feel good. I am healthy.

What I ams/mental rehearsal do you need to speak over yourself today?

Wake Up Call

Today is another day I don’t want to write. I do want to blog but the words that are at the tip of my tongue wanting to come out… the only thing I’ll be able to write about… I don’t want to say.

This weekend I was given a wake up call.

I had a migraine so severe and that lasted so long I ended up in the ER for IV meds. I get migraines every month, but never this bad and never for days at a time.

So what’s the wake up call? I know that PART of the problem is that I am at my heaviest weight ever and I am eating more crap than ever before. Fast Food all the time, chips, cookies, junk… I am seriously on a path of self destruct… and I don’t even know why.

Usually I can point to anxiety, depression, events, stress… but right now my life is pretty good – and yet here I am, trying to slowly kill myself. I’m really angry at myself for it too – which is not productive.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from meditation it’s to notice what is going on, without judgement, let it go, and move on. So this is my attempt at noticing that I am out of control and that I want to do better.

It’s not the first time I’ve wanted to better. (That’s the judgement part coming in.) I’ve failed before. (That’s self doubt.) I don’t think I can do it. I just can’t. (Very negative affirmations and lies. LIES.)

My mind is a roller coaster. So why am I sharing? Heck if I even know. It’s the words that are here, ready to be said, so I’m saying them. I’ve mentioned before I don’t know what I’m going to write until I sit down, pray for guidance and start writing. And then I follow through because someone, if even that someone is only me today, needs to hear it.

Failure once does not mean failure always. Failure multiple times STILL does not mean failure always. Whatever mountain you are facing, I believe that you can climb it. I need to apply that same belief to myself right now. My first thought is, of course YOU can climb it, but not me… but that’s just more lies. We can both do whatever we put our minds to, no matter how hard it seems, how difficult the climb, I believe we can make it.

Maybe not in a straight shot. We may struggle through it. I’m quite sure there will be ups and downs, but shall we start? Shall we begin?

I joined weight watchers and I know that my first step is to cut out drive-throughs. So that’s what I’m starting with. My first steps.

What’s your mountain? And what will be your first step to climb it? I’d love for you to share. Let’s climb together.

Rest is Coming

It’s Friday, a beautiful day for many. It means we reached our goal for the week. We made it through, hopefully did some amazing things, added to other human’s piles of good things, laughed at ourselves, and built up ours and other’s precious confidence.

For many of us, it’s the last day of the work week. We can breathe a little easier knowing that rest is up ahead. We face the day with a lighter step knowing that it’s the last reading block, the last center rotation, the last math lesson of the week. #teacherlife

We have worked hard, very hard, and will continue to do so today. But then. Yes, then, we have two days off. As much as we may love our jobs and know the importance of what we do, especially as teachers, we need these days off.

Days to recharge, to not hear our name called 507 times in one hour, to pee when we want to, and dare I say it? Maybe even take a nap? Ok, Mommy friends, I hear you laughing. We still got mommin to do. But even that – we get to focus on just our babies for the next two days and that’s beautiful too.

Fridays are just a little easier because we know rest is coming.

It’s a little like life. There are times we walk through dark valleys. Deep darkness, sadness, tragedy, loss, trauma. It’s hard during those times. Bone shaking, heart dread, barely breathing, hard. But there is rest coming. There is always rest coming. If we can just keep moving forward, sometimes one breath at a time, one step at a time, we are moving towards the rest.

Dark valleys don’t last forever. The sun will shine again. One day it will be easier to breathe and you won’t have to think about every step you take. One day, you will smile again and realize the tide is turning. It won’t happen over night, but every day that you push through, you are closer and closer to the rest. The reprieve. The beginning of something new.

I believe that often the worst things that happen in our life eventually lead to the best things in our life. It’s been my experience, anyway. When we can get through the darkness, we able to look back and realize it was meant for good. If we can trust that God knows what He is doing in our lives, then we know that good, sweet, rest is coming.

I wrote about a time in my life when terrible things happened. I prayed in anguish for help and God didn’t respond the way I wanted him too. In fact, He said NO. My best friend used this story in her blog and I feel led to send you to her post – my story and her thoughts on how God is always working out what is best in our life.

You can read it here: https://braveblessedandbeautiful.com/2019/08/07/grace-wins-protecting-grace/

Today’s post took a sharp turn to a place I wasn’t expecting… but I’m running with it because it most likely means someone needs to hear it.

Thank you for those that read and like my blog! It’s such an encouragement to me every day! Happy Fri-Yay! Enjoy your weekend!

Worth My Time

To my students:

Your smiles are worth my time. That’s why I dance, use silly voices, and do ridiculous things in the classroom sometimes. I like to see you smile.

Your tears are worth my time. Tears because you are going through so much at home, more than I know, and more than any kid should have to face.

Your fears are worth my time. Fears over school and tests and FSA. Fears that an 8 or 9 year shouldn’t have but do, because of the pressure you feel from others. Not from me, though. I won’t add to that.

Your I’m nervous about this test, anxious about the bus, not feeling well, head hurts, foot fell asleep, tooth just fell out, something is stuck in my ear is worth my time. You’re doing the best you can, little human.

Your adoration, Ms. Knight you’re beautiful, Teacher you’re the best, I love this, I love you, here’s a picture I drew for you, is worth my time. In fact, it’s the best part.

Your frustration with things that are too hard for you, main idea, subtracting across a zero, phonics, comprehension, inferencing, handwriting, thinking outside the box, is worth my time. Too much is being asked of you, but I’ll do my best to help. Learning differences are not disabilities. We will attack this from a different angle and I will help you.

Your quirkiness, the interesting things that make you – you, is worth my time. Look, I’m a macaw, Did you know I got a chicken and named her pecker? I’d rather work on the floor, I’m going to try to sit in your lap even though you’re my teacher, how did you know it was me after I got my haircut? Yes, I see you. I like the quirkiness, actually. You are interesting and unique and no one else is just like you.

Your self worth is very much worth my time. If you don’t leave my class with more confidence than you came in, then I didn’t reach my goal. I will teach you that I ams and believing in yourself are a superpower. They are your power and I hope you take it with you for the rest of your life.

To my students: I became a teacher because your life is worth my time.

Laugh at Yourself

I’m going to piggy back off of yesterday’s post where I said not to take yourself too seriously. Life is fun and tricky and silly and sad and runs the gamut of emotions, we all know that. The big things in life… we do need to handle those with care. But many of the little things in life… we put too much energy into those things. We let little things upset us, get us off our game, cause frustration, anger, and even temper tantrums. Yes, with adults too. Just doesn’t always look like lying down on the floor kicking and screaming. Thank Goodness.

Does it really matter if you are stuck in traffic? Or can you put on some of our favorite music and dance like no one is watching? Even though they sometimes are… hey, give them a show. They are stuck in traffic too!

Here’s one for me… does it REALLY matter if the person in front of you is driving 10 miles BELOW the speed limit? I can feel the pressure building in me thinking about that one, gotta work on that!

Does it really matter if you forgot to spray the new brownie divider with cooking spray and the brownies come out in a crumbled mess? Or can you take a picture, laugh about it, and eat brownie bites instead?

Is it really the end of the world if you spill your coffee, coke, or favorite drink? I mean, I get it, it’s upsetting… but you have a choice to make in these situations. Allow it to ruin the rest of your hour, morning, or day… or roll with it, laugh, and choose happy instead.

Happy is a choice. We will always have annoying little things happen in our day. Just is. You can tally up them up, complain about them to everyone, forcing your brain to then really watch for all of the things that go wrong, just to add to your list, and be miserable.

Or.

You can laugh it off. Chalk it up to normal every day life. Make a meme out of it. Share it with a friend in a way that makes them laugh. That 1 inch binder you ordered off of Amazon for your daughter for school that was smaller than your hand when it showed up? Seriously, it’s funny.

Post your brownie fail on Facebook – make others laugh over the ridiculousness. Really, turn it into something funny, laugh at it yourself, and use it to make others laugh and BOOM, your day will be a million times better.

AND by focusing on the happy, you will be training your brain to look for more things to be happy about. Your brain will be learning to take little annoying situations and make them funny.

Life is better that way.

Don’t take it too seriously

A funny, lighthearted story for you today.

Once upon a time, my bestie and I took our families out of Florida to escape the path of Hurricane Irma. We ended up in South Carolina where we all (9 of us) crammed into one crummy hotel room. I froze them out because I’m a polar bear and they are summer (but they love me anyway, thank goodness) and we had a few adventures.

One such adventure was to visit the Beef Jerky Outlet at the request of her oldest son. I’m game for anything, literally, so off we went. We enter the store and immediately notice that there are free samples. Yum!

My punkin and I head to the free sample bin. I read the names around the edges (there were like 6 – 8 different samples in there) and all of them sounded fiery hot. Names with words such as hot, flaming, torch, etc. I go for the only one that doesn’t have a synonym for hot in it’s name, but also not really paying attention to the name. I grab two small pieces – Rae takes one and I take the other. She was six at the time.

I pop the piece in my mouth and she basically licks hers, being slightly cautious, as many kids are. Immediately, we die.

No, for real, it was the hottest, most spiciest thing I have ever tasted. Our eyes are watering, we are gagging. The heat level from one tiny bite is just dumb. I spin back to the bin of samples and realize, nice and big over the whole bin, it says HOT ZONE. I look down at the name of the jerky I just ate and fed to my daughter… it’s name is… The Reaper. Dun, Dun, Dun.

We rush to the water fountain and take turns trying to get the fire out. Not that it’s helping much.

Meanwhile, my bestie? Laughing. Her. Butt. Off.

Oh, isn’t that what best friends are for? I’m laughing right now just thinking about that moment. Even though our mouths were burning, Rae and I were both laughing too. What had we done? What will it take for me to be a bit more observant? Wanna know what else was all around the store? Many, many other bins of free samples… none of which were HOT.

Out of curiosity, I asked the store cashier which was the hottest jerky they sold in the store? You know it. The Reaper. Still laughing and shaking my head at myself. Memories are the best things.

Moral of the story today? Laugh at yourself. Laugh at your silly mistakes. Show your kids that even adults make mistakes and it’s OK. Learn from it. In some cases, be just a bit more observant. Please.

Enjoy life, even the crazy, spicy bits. Hang out with people that will laugh with you. Try new things. Don’t let setbacks make you hide from life. If one thing doesn’t turn out the way you expected, try another.

Life is fun. Roll with the punches and do your best to enjoy it.

And don’t eat the Reaper.

Add to the Piles of Good Things

That is Princess Elena. One of our fav princesses when my punkin, Rae, was little. Another thing you shall learn about us is that we are huge Disney Addicts and we don’t apologize one bit for it. We love Disney World!

This particular day was the first day we met Princess Elena. We heard her tell another family that she likes jokes and since punky loves to tell jokes, I encouraged her to tell Princess Elena one. So she did. My favorite, most favorite, of this picture is how pleased Rae looks that Elena is cracking up at her joke. Princess Elena was all in, as far as jobs go. She was going to make every person feel special – and she did it very, very well. She added to my daughter’s pile of good things that day. I love her for it.

Last night, I was watching Doctor Who (of course), and one of my favorite quotes from the show came up. It’s the eleventh doctor talking to his companion, Amy, when she felt like she hadn’t made a difference. She was sad.

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and… bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things.” – Matt Smith, 11th Doctor

I love this description of life in general. It’s all a pile of good things and bad things… and every day we have the opportunity to add to other human’s piles of good things. So do it. Just go ahead and do it. All Day.

How do you add to piles of good things? It’s. So. Easy.

  • Be kind, kindness is everything
  • Smile at people, even if it feels weird
  • Let your face light up when you see your children or students or spouse.
  • Help someone. With anything.
  • Hold the door. Hold the elevator. Hold someone’s hand.
  • Look people in the eye and listen to them. For Real.
  • Give your humans your undivided attention for a conversation.
  • Send a little treat to your co-workers.
  • Donate to something.
  • Mail someone a letter. Or an email. Or a text. Send a video!
  • Hug someone. Kiss someone (if appropriate of course, haha).
  • Snuggle. Watch a movie with your kid. Eat popcorn with M&Ms.
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line.
  • Compliment people. Everyone. As much as you can.
  • Believe in people. Let them know you believe in them.
  • Be kind, kindness is everything.

Go ahead, do it.

#momstronglife
%d bloggers like this: