Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weird is Better than Boring!!

Soooooo :) I was thinking the other day and I realized that one reason I do not really relish the thought of being an adult is that adults are so...well...um...boring. There, I said it. But before you just label me as judgemental and immature, think about it. You're at the beach...what are the adults doing?? Sitting in their beach chairs (if they made it to the beach at all - some are still sitting in their beach houses). Sometimes they are reading in their beach chairs and sometimes they are just SITTING. Doing nothing. Staring into nothing. Sleeping occasionally. Now, don't get me wrong, when I am at the beach, I like to spend some of my time sitting and sleeping and reading and reflecting. BUT (and that is a big but) I also love to take walks, play ultimate frisbee, bump the volleyball around, play football, play cards, swim in the ocean, scream when I touch the slimy stuff at the bottom, jump the waves, ride on the boogie board, run from spot to spot trying to chase down the biggest waves, take the perfect jump pictures, and, of course, Hannah's and Maddie's and my favorite thing of all...walk on the squeaky sand and make seagull noises.

OK, now, you might say that that's just the beach. But, picture scene 2, the pool. Again, where are the adults? In their chairs just sitting and sitting. If they get hot enough, they might delicately venture into the water and sit there for a while. Now, think about kids..they do somersaults and flips and handstands and play sharks and minnows and chinese freeze tag and Star and Marco Polo and Categories and have jumping contests off the diving boards. Now, age aside, which category do you think I fit into? That's right - the kids, obviously. I like to play games at the pool not sit there like a zombie. Which is why recently, when I went swimming at my apartment complex, I immediately made friends with the kids in the pool. Normally, I don't have to worry because I have my siblings. But at my apartment, I don't, so I had to fix the situation right away. I instroduced myself to the kids in the pool, taught them how to play Star and played with them the rest of the time.

And you know, the list of boring adult behavior goes on and on. What do most adults do in their spare time? Watch TV and maybe read a book. Nothing ENERGETIC!!!! And when adults get together, what do they do?? Sit and talk. No games, no guitar hero, no FUN! And how often do you see adults riding bikes or playing sports?? Pretty much only if their kids beg them to. It's Sad. So, that is why I am never entering that boring adult stage of life. I may be an adult on the outside for situations like work and paying bills and important stuff like that. BUT - get me to the beach, the pool, to my free time, and my Kid Side can No Longer be Suppressed. Too bad if people think I'm weird. Like Hannah says, I might be weird, but you are BORING!! :P

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Why I love being a teacher

Summer break. Christmas break. Summer break. Spring Break. Summer break. and need I mention it again?? Summer break!!!! :) Actually, there are lots of other more important reasons as well, but there is no doubt that I adore having the summers off. I look at the start of each summer as the beginning of a time filled with all kinds of possibilities. Fun to be had...goals to be reached....new skills to learn....it fills me with excitement that tingles from my head to my toes and through every fingertip. I always set goals for myself for the summer because even though I want to relax and have fun, I do NOT look at the summer as just a time to kick back. No indeed! It is the time to DO everything I want to do but don't have time for during the year, to experience new things, to Live with more intensity than ever. This summer is no exception. It stretches before me, a magical space waiting to see what I will make of it. My goals are ready, my tired self has found new energy with the arrival of freedom, and now I eagerly embark to create two momentous, memorable, magical months. Summer, here I come!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ice cream, Chocolate, and Shoes

Stress is a very real phenomenon in many of our lives. Without doubt it is very real and present in mine! According to http://www.essortment.com/stress-relief-tips-15899.html, stress can be both positive and negative. It can be a positive motivator causing people to get things done, but chronic stress can also cause all kinds of problems:
"Stress affects thoughts. Thoughts of low self-esteem, fear of failure, inability to concentrate, worrying about the future, preoccupation with thoughts/tasks and forgetfulness can be present. Stress affects behavior. It can cause stuttering and other speech difficulties, bouts of crying for no apparent reason, laughing in a high pitch or nervous tone of voice, increased accident prone behavior, overeating, under eating and increased use of drugs and alcohol.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80% of health care is spent on stress related disorders. These ailments include hypertension, migraine, headaches, ulcers, anxiety, allergies, asthma, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Constant, chronic stress can also suppress the immune system thereby making the body more susceptible to disease, even the common cold and flu."

For a while, I thought I would try to figure out a way to live a less stress-filled life. But I've finally realized that I love being busy and having a full plate and that I have so many goals and plans and dreams that I love much more than being stress-free. So I have changed my goal from reducing stress to learning to manage stress. Here are some of my favorite ways to manage stress:

1. Exercise: This is a highly recommended way of dealing with stress and one that I personally find effective. It's hard to drag myself to the gym sometimes, but I almost always feel better when I make myself do it. Zumba is my favorite form of exercise. I dance away some of the tension as I get lost in moving to the music.

2. Eat ice-cream! :) This tip must be done in moderation or weight gain will result and cause further stress; however, there REALLY is something about ice cream and chocolate that can be very comforting, especially if you put on your comfiest stretchy pants and eat the ice cream right out of the container while lounging on the couch watching your favorite TV show.

3. Go shopping! This again must be done carefully; otherwise, you might break your budget and that will not help anything. But even if you don't buy anything (although a new dress and pair of shoes is a great help in any situation), just getting out and walking around and being around fresh sights and sounds can help you feel better.

4. Make a list of everything you have to do. This helps organize your thoughts and sort that confusing muddle of your mind into concrete tasks to accomplish.

5. Take a walk. Being out in the fresh air and sunshine does wonders for stress relief. Plus the act of walking makes you feel like you are leaving your problems far behind and helps clear your head and think through things.

6. Focus on one task at a time. Sometimes, when I have a lot to do, I look at the big picture and everything that has to get done, and I get overwhelmed completely. But a lot of times when I force myself to focus on just one task at a time, things don't end up being nearly as bad and overwhelming as I thought.

7. Talk it out. Guys probably never will understand this, but sometimes the only way to resolve things is to "talk them out." I don't know what it is about talking about things that makes them better, but somehow it just does. Sometimes I think that it's pointless to talk about something because there is nothing anyone can do, but when I finally DO talk about it I end up feeling SO much better! Just getting it off your chest and out in the open somehow takes away some of the pressure. And sometimes people have better ideas and advice than you give them credit for. Pick a trusted friend or family member and confide your troubles. Just be willing to do the same for them if they need a listening ear later on.

8. Pray about it. I almost didn't include this, because it seems so obvious, but it really should be the first thing we do. God has everything in control. If we (if I) could ever just realize that, we would all be so much more peaceful and happy. God can do anything and everything - leave it in HIS hands.

9. Step back and look at the big picture. Sometimes we see all of the little things we have to get done and we freak out. Think about which things really matter to get done and which if left undone will not matter in two years or even two weeks.

10. Take time. Take time to have your quiet time, eat, sleep, exercise, practice good hygeine, dress cutely, etc. Sometimes I think that I really just don't have time for these "extras," But actually they are essentials. Taking the time in the morning to have my quiet time, eat breakfast, and dress nicely for the day affects my entire outlook.

These are my personal favorites. I also looked on the website I mentioned earlier and they suggested these strategies as well: laugh, make time for fun, get rid of negative influences, and accept what you cannot control. I pretty much think what it boils down to though is this: Eat chocolate, consume ice cream, and buy shoes! :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

P.S. I Love You

Dear Mom,

Every year there is one day set aside that we celebrate mothers and all that they do for us. We buy them flowers, give them gifts, and seek to thank them for their impact on our lives. The question is - how can we in one day thank our moms for all that they do for us EVERY day - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? How can I thank you, Mom, for all that YOU do and are and mean to me?? I don't know how.

You are amazing, Mom. They say that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world and you have rocked TEN cradles! That should mean that you will have 10 times the impact on the world. You have undertaken the greatest task any one ever could - to raise up the next generation, a generation that with a Biblical worldview that can effect change in the world. And, yet, this noble calling entails much daily, mundane work. You cook, you clean, you rock sick children, you discipline, you teach, you train, you clean up throw up, you smile, you love, you hug, you support, you encourage, you plan birthday parties, you make every child feel special, you listen, you counsel, you stay up all night with the feverish and still get up the next day, you do laundry and laundry and laundry, you step back and let us make our own choices and then are there to pick up the pieces when we fall apart and don't even say I told you so. You do all of this willingly, every day, for all of us. You have done and do this for me, Mom. You lay down your life for us...for ME. Do you know that I love you? Cause I do. I know you don't feel like doing all of this every day of every year. But you do it anyway and keep on doing it because you love us. And I love you too. I don't even know how to tell you how much I love you.

As I have gotten older, we have become more than mother and daughter and become friends. I love giggling with you and talking about girl stuff and our early morning coffee chats when we are supposed to be having our quiet times. You are so strong too....I don't know how you keep going, keep smiling, never give up even when you are sick, tired, and discouraged. You tell us you are fine and remind us to get enough sleep at night with true concern in your voice, but the truth is you haven't slept enough for months or maybe years. Or maybe since you became a mom. Thank you, Mom. I love you for that. And I love the fact that you listen...even when your ears probably feel like they are going to fall off and even when you are so tired you fall asleep halfway through and we have to keep waking you up. Thanks Mom. I always know I can talk to you and that you will care. And thank you for doing special stuff for us even when some people (not me, I do have to say! :) don't get their chores done and make you sorry that you did something special, thank you for still doing a special thing the next time. I love you for that.

Thank you for home schooling us. I know it would have been easier to just send us all off to some school. Maybe then your task as mother would have been only 10 times impossible instead of twenty. But you cared enough to protect us and to instill in us the values that you believed were important. Thanks Mom, I love you for doing that for me. Thank you too for paying for music lessons and driving me to them and letting me practice (as much as you did! :) even when you were about to scream if you had to listen to one more minute and when you thought that maybe we could actually feed Taylor if we didn't have to pay for lessons and when you were pretty sure that the car could find its own way to lessons from going there so much. I love you for doing that for me.

Well, Mom, the list could go on and on and on forever. But the point is, thank you so much for all that you are and do for me and have done for me. You are incredible and beautiful - inside and out. I love you a million red m&ms. Happy Mother's Day! :)


P.S. - Did I mention that I love you?