Tamed

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A month ago, they were fighting so much we had to muzzle them when they were in the same room.

What changed?

A slow transition to unmuzzled company.

Daily exercise.

Firm but loving handling: sitting before going out a door, sitting before feeding, etc.

Immediately redirecting any aggressive behavior.

Lots of positive reinforcement of good behavior.

 

Dogs are a lot like humans!

Soul in Manacles

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“If someone else can decide what will happen within you right now, isn’t that the ultimate slavery?”

Sadhguru

 

“He’s a narcissist and he’s dating that whore.”

This is something she said for over eight years. Eight years. She wore bitterness on her sleeves, she spoke of her ex-husband – their father –  like this openly.  In her desire to vent and let her ego shine, she cast a dark shadow on her sons.

What she didn’t realize was that she had no control over his actions, but she DID (and still does) have control over her own thoughts and actions. When we get angry about the words and actions of others, we have just placed manacles on our own words and actions. We have become slaves to others, allowing our moods to be swayed by them.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Kiss your ex goodbye, wish him well and move on.

 

 

Work Backwards

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I’ve attended several workshops for the National Board Certification Program through AZ K12. They have an excellent program. You can take one year to get certified, or two, or three.

NBCT leaves deadlines largely up to the teachers. But because there is no formal structure in terms of time, I was feeling uncertain. I started the work, but felt a bit overwhelmed. And then I realized I had to create my own timeline.

I know I want to complete it in one year.

I know what needs to be done.

Work backwards! In order to be prepared for the exam in May, I need to complete three components in five months. But I also want to leave myself time to get my work reviewed by others and make changes if necessary.

So, I am giving myself a little over one month for each component.

You’d think that giving myself this structure with deadlines would cause more stress. Au contraire!  I’m feeling MUCH better knowing I have five weeks to complete my first component. This enables me to measure my progress week to week. This will increase my chances of success.

Sometimes, I forget to work backwards, but it’s so helpful.

Is there a goal you have – personal or professional – where backwards planning might prove helpful?

Honoring All Who Served

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Thank you, Veterans of all colors and creed,

for today, we honor the actions behind your beliefs

Your love of our country – with her beauty and blemishes –

in contemplation, we hope to mirror your images

The Fringe

“A look at life in New York City during the 1970s and ’80s when porn and prostitution were rampant in Manhattan.”

IMdb.com

 

Me:  There are no Asian characters in this show.

Hubby: That’s because Asians don’t break the law.

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

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I pack my daughters’ lunches on school days. Yes, they’re teenagers and could do it themselves and no, I’m not spoiling them. I do it because it really is a pleasure for me.

Monday, I packed chicken quesadillas. I used Costco shredded cheese. Literally, it says “Mexican Blend Cheese“:

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Ava comes home and says, “The Mexican boys at my table saw my lunch and asked me why you use yellow cheese. I told them that I have a Korean mom.”

 

!

 

Tuesday, I packed garlicky pasta. Because I’m so nice and thoughtful, I taped a piece of gum on the thermos:

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No comment from the peanut gallery teens.

 

Wednesday, I packed Korean sticky rice and threw in some dried seaweed. Ava says she wants to be more vegetarian, so I thought this was perfect.

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She came home and said, “I got so much teasing over my Asian lunch.”

 

Thursday, I packed more Korean sticky rice and baked tilapia. But when I looked for small tupperware, I had none. I’ve decided to stop using plastic bags (you know, the ocean and all) and so I had to use the zipper pouches I wrote about before:

Wegreeco Reusable Sandwich & Snack Bags - Set of 3 - (Odyssey)

Yes, I put fish in a bag. 

That afternoon, Ava comes home and sighs.

“Could you please pack lunches that won’t get me beat up*?”

 

 

*Obviously, she’s not really getting beat nor bullied.

 

Inktober

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I should could be working on my National Board Certification, but I wanted to do this instead. Drawing and painting help me get centered, as long as I embrace imperfection.

This is the first in a series of lessons in Lisa Congdon’s Inktober challenge (Creativebug.com). I’m supposed to use ink, but I don’t have any yet. So I used watercolor. 

 

 

Lily

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Can this chameleon use anything else? Constructive criticism welcome! She is a character in my next children’s book and she might seem “bland” but she’s supposed to be.

 

 

Good Company

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Photo from Everson Mayer

I’m in a room of about 100 teachers from all over Arizona. I feel blessed to be here. We’re all pursuing National Board Certification. Sure, we get a (small) financial award, but the biggest reason that we’ve shown up is that each of us will deepen our teaching practice and bring more to each of our 30 – 180 students each day.

The great majority of teachers are exceptional people.

 

And then there are these bigots (who ought to lose their jobs):

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13% of their student body is Latin-American. Idaho needs to do better for the children.

 

 

Today’s Challenge

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Next Book Title Votes from my sixth graders

Can you stop thinking?

Try it.

Say, I will stop thinking now. Then, wait.        Wait.                 Wait.

How long before a thought comes?

Try it again.

This is practice and you’ll get better.

We grow up believing that people who think are smarter.

Of course, one needs to think in order to achieve or produce.

But most of the time, we have 12,000-60,000 thoughts a day and research has shown that over 90% of those thoughts are repeated thoughts from the day before. Completely unnecessary.

This is the gateway to personal power and inner peace.

 

Truth of the Day

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One of my sixth graders told me, “I feel like the older I get, the faster time goes.”

 

All: I didn’t catch the beautiful essence of this woman. Anyone with tips – I welcome constructive criticism.  🙂

Motivation

 

I am sitting at the open window (at four a.m.) and breathing the lovely air of a spring morning… Life is still good, [and] it is worth living on a May morning… I assert that life is beautiful in spite of everything! This “everything” includes the following items: 1. Illness; I am getting much too stout, and my nerves are all to pieces. 2. The Conservatoire oppresses me to extinction; I am more and more convinced that I am absolutely unfitted to teach the theory of music. 3. My pecuniary situation is very bad. 4. I am very doubtful if Undine will be performed. I have heard that they are likely to throw me over.”

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 

 

“You absolutely have to believe in yourself. Man, you’ll get rejected hundreds of times. You have to believe in yourself if you’re going to succeed.”

Jon Bon Jovi

 

Confidence – noun, a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. 

Tchaikovsky was plagued by depression and also a hypochondriac. Somehow, he persevered and produced prolifically.  Bon Jovi and Tchaikovsky both possessed the drive to create music. This high level of motivation enabled them to overcome obstacles such as rejection and mental illness.

 

 

*photos from Unsplash.com

 

 

Bless This Union

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Photo by Jeremy Wong-Unsplash

This is the very best article I have ever read on marriage. It’s by Byron Katie.

If you are ready, reading this will feel like sitting in the light of truth.

It will feel like bathing in authenticity.

If you’re ready, reading this article can change all of your relationships – for the better.

My favorite line:

There’s no way to truly join your partner except by getting free of your belief that you need something from him that he’s not giving. 

I was raised on conditions. I had to prove my worth in order to be loved. And I grew up and did the same to those I loved. I think this is the root of many dysfunctional relationships.

 

 

Audacity

Source: Wikipedia

My daughter told me a fellow classmate asked her what her last name was.

Ava: “My last name is Wipff”

Girl: “W-i–f-f?”

Ava: “No, W-i-p-f-f.  P, as in pterodactyl or pseudonym.”

 

 

 

 

No News is Good News

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I’ve avoided watching/listening to news for two weeks now. I didn’t realize how frequently I was checking it and how awful it made me feel.

Since I’ve stopped checking in with CNN, NPR, Fox News, etc., I have:

  • read a book (my cousin’s (!) – Beloved Sa Mi)
  • made major headway with my second children’s book
  • voted early in the general election for Mesa, AZ
  • completed the pre-candidacy phase of the National Board Certification for Teaching program

Most importantly, I’ve felt clearer and more centered. 

If the news is getting you down, why not cut it out of your life?

Teaching

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After six weeks of intense coursework, I have completed my pre-candidacy for National Board Certification. Now, the real work begins!

 

A Cause for Celebration

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A Seattle storefront

I just turned 50 and everyone is asking me how it feels

“amazing, wonderful and miraculous!”

At 27, I got in a horrible car accident (I was on a scooter)

Had I entered the intersection seconds sooner, I would have died

 

 

At 34, I gave birth and almost died from blood clotting

 

I had breast cancer 8 years ago

now I’m cancer-free with a beautiful family and a job I love

 

My new (and just fired) financial advisor said,

“I won’t say your age out loud”

as if growing older is shameful

as if getting older is bad

 

Last night, a friend of mine told me

she has a friend who has three months to live (cancer spread)

that woman is a mother and in her thirties

to her, turning 50 would be a miracle

 

Turning 40…50…60…(70…and on)  is a miracle

It should be embraced (!)

 

Fearing aging is fearing life

Our culture is kind of sick in that way

The good news is,

we don’t have to buy into it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harvey? Frank? Kevin?

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Good day, everyone!

I am working on my second children’s book and I’m seeking input regarding the title. The book is about a chameleon who complains a lot. Could you please vote here

Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Frank the Fretter
Kevin the Complainer
Gary the Grumbler
Ben the Bemoaner
Dan the Disagreeable
Larry the Lamenter
Harvey the Hypercritical

 

 

One Who Knows

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She is a porous entity

absorbing her surroundings entirely

and, reaching maximum capacity,

she overflows

 

 

About this poem: Once in awhile, my oldest daughter will reveal her thoughts out of the blue and surprise us with her insight. Judging by her actions, she appears to be the stereotypical self-centered teenager – concerned about social engagements and image. However, the other day, she expressed concern that her sister’s friend does not engage or commit as fully as her sister does. Plagued by thoughts and concerns because she is so sensitive and observant, she will reach maximum capacity and have a panic attack.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s All You

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Photo from Saffu

If you’re “climbing a ladder” in your work and you feel tired and discouraged, I recommend giving Seth Godin’s podcast a listen. If you have children who are considering a career in music (as I do), have them listen to it as well (click the link below):

Seth Godin’s Akimbo Podcast: You’re It

With echoes of James Altucher’s “Choose Yourself,” philosophy, it’s a must hear. Always a little ahead of his time, Godin offers sound advice regarding “going for it” and not working to “pay one’s dues.” Don’t buy into outdated and ineffective advice.

 

 

 

 

Seattle, Solitude and Self

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I’m going to Seattle – flying out of Phoenix – alone.

I’ll walk to Bruce Lee’s burial site and I will utter his famous words:

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”

I’ll walk a mile to the Korean Bamboo and slurp kimchi tofu soup which is the fare of my clan.

I’ll venture into the Seattle Art Museum, study Iskra Johnson’s Color Bath and art from Jodhpur, India.

I’ll go to the Space Needle and, standing on the rotating glass floor, look at the bustling world below me.

At night, I will write and paint and bask in the hushed moonlight.

In my sojourn, the silence will allow me to hear myself. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Recommendation

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I just saw a documentary called “Twinsters” on Netflix (Thanks Erin)!  It’s about a 27-year-old Korean adoptee who finds out via social media that she has an identical twin who grew up in France. Their ultimate meeting and journey to South Korea is fascinating.

It’s a feel good testament to love, which might be just what you need to see right now.

 

The Sign

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In the airport, waiting to depart

What’s this? Our flight’s been delayed 

Five hours (!) – Why? It’s raining in Phoenix

Disappointment, fear and anger encroach

 

Is there any other way to get home sooner?

I ask the counter lady

I’m sorry, all flights are backed up

I laugh then, because her name tag reads “Zen”

 

 

 

 

A Clean Diet

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There’s lots of talk about “clean diets.” If you want to start eating well, but don’t know where to begin, look to the Mediterranean Diet. It’s one of the most universally agreed upon regimens for feeling good:

Key components of the Mediterranean diet*

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise

(I would add: limit caffeine, sugar and fried foods).

*From The Mayo Clinic

Watercolor & Resist

 

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I’m traveling and I left my fine paintbrush at a friend’s house. So I thought I’d try wax resist using a white art pencil and on the lettering and then paint over it. It “kind of” worked out. A white crayon might work better. I’ll paint this bag again when I get home. It was fun!

Flavor of the Month

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“My kids are around pit bulls every day. In the ’70s they blamed Dobermans, in the ’80s they blamed German Shepherds, in the ’90s they blamed the Rottweiler. Now they blame the Pit Bull.” 
― Cesar Millan

Death and Dying

When we think of our loved ones who have passed, we tend to get sad.

I invite you to look at “death” in a different way. It’s taboo in our culture to think of the passing of a loved one as anything but tragic, but Byron Katie says we are being self-centered and selfish (we, the survivors) when we think this way. 

View her video(s) here