education · women · writers · writing

“1385”

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A belated (if there ever could be such a thing) Teacher Appreciation gift given to me today by one of my most eccentric 6th graders.

One of my favorite poems thus far:

“Secrets” is a daily word

Yet does not exist –

Muffled – it remits surmise –

Murmured – it has ceased –

Dungeoned in the Human Breast

Doubtless secrets lie –

But that Grate inviolate –

Goes nor comes away

Nothing with a Tongue or Ear –

Secrets staped there

Will emerge but once – and dumb –

To the Sepulchre –

 

That this student could appreciate great works such as this and create her own thoughtful writings makes my heart optimistic!

education · Moms · money · Personal Success · talent · women

Workshop Wisdom

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by Roman Mager

I attended a workshop on educational leadership today. I walked away with lots of good stuff but one quote that stuck with me was:

Get what you want. Find a way.

Being a leader means helping others lead, really. Supporting others to be the best they can be is one of the biggest objectives and one of the most challenging.  One vital channel to this goal is to make others feel appreciated and help them in their jobs.

Make your staff feel valued by obtaining resources that they need or want for their work. Show them that you appreciate what they do and that you consider it important. “Get what you want. Find a way.”

This is really the secret to success, isn’t it? What do you want? How can you find a way to get it?

 

 

 

Health · Personal Success · women · writers · writing

What Makes You Tick?

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When I use the “chuck it” with my dog, Opal, she runs as fast as lightning. I’ll throw the tennis ball 6 or 7 times and when we’re done, Opal is exhausted and happy. And then she’s mellow for the rest of the day. She is kinder with other dogs and she’s a delight to be around.

When I skip my own workout, I feel sluggish. I don’t have as much energy. When I force myself to work out – despite fatigue – I feel energized and I’m ready to take on my work.

Sometimes, the “magic pill” is just hard work.

What is it for you? Meditation? Yoga? Weight lifting? Set yourself up for success and do it, even if you don’t feel like it.

education · Health · Moms · Personal Success · women

A Letter to the Anxious

Dear Fellow Fretter,

I’ve always been a bit high-strung. I’ve always been a worrier.

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I used to spend more time worrying than taking action to stop the worry.

As I begin the last half of my life, I want to be a warrior.

warrior

I’m reading Tolle, Singer, the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

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Bday gift from sis…

I’ve read all kinds of books and learned a lot. But I heard Elizabeth Gilbert the other day on  a podcast and she said something that clicked (!)

She was talking about her writing process and she said she writes in seasons….you know, as in nature.  She said something like this (totally paraphrasing): There’s the quiet (winter) phase, where’s she’s in between projects and thinking, getting inspired. Then she begins research (spring), and she writes (summer) and then does the whole marketing tour bit (fall). And the cycle begins again.

The part that struck me as shockingly KIND to herself was that she gave herself time to just think, rejuvenate, get inspired. She sees it all as an integral part of her creative process.

Wow.

You mean, you don’t have to keep working and sweating?

It made sense to me. Of COURSE, even nature takes breaks. Parts of it die in order to enable other things to grow. This applies to every career, every job, every role in life.

So yes, make your To Do lists and set goals. That is important. But be sure to take the time to relax, re-energize, and follow the cycle. Calmly get each step done. No need for stress.

 

 

 

 

 

comic · Health · Personal Success · Silence · women

How I Got Back on Track

 

When my daughters were six and seven, I realized something shameful.

I had a tummy paunch and was telling myself it was post-pregnancy fat. Yep, six years after giving birth, I excused and denied my mottled middle.

My moment of reckoning occurred at a Cold Stone Creamery of all places. We were eating our favorites: Ava with her Chocolate Devotion, Josie with her Strawberry Blonde and me with my Coffee Lovers. Boy, were we having a great time!

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Before I get further with this story, I want to make something clear: there is nothing wrong with love handles or a bit of pudge. As long as YOU’RE OK with it. I was not OK with my weight. I wore loose clothing and felt badly when I undressed. It’s just me….I feel best about myself when I am fit. I have a small frame and I feel uncomfortable with excess pounds. This is not a judgment about other people. It’s about me confronting something I was unhappy about and how I changed it.

Continuing…We got up from the table when a very fit woman walked past the window.

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She walked just like this…

“Wow, she’s fit,” I said, wistfully.

“Mommy, you look good too, everywhere except your tummy.” Josie said.

As with all children, her words rang true. I had let myself go a bit. I licked the final bits of Coffee Lovers off my upper lip. I fought tears. And I sighed.

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I was ready to change.

In the next year, I lost 7 lbs. and got fit again. I had more energy and I was in a better mood much of the time. How did I do this?

I simply changed my habits.

Instead of going out for ice cream, I took the girls out for walks. We didn’t stop going out for treats entirely, we just cut back.

Instead of eating when I felt bored or stressed, I started jogging and doing yoga again. BUT, I made it a habit and I rewarded myself each time. According to Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit), this is THE key to success.  I woke up an hour early every day. I put on my workout clothes which I laid out the night before. After my workout, I had a glass of water and a cup of coffee. I reveled in feeling the endorphins run through my body and my coffee became my reward. I told myself, “No workout, no coffee.” I like coffee a LOT. That was enough to keep me going.

Honestly, I believe I am in better shape now than I was 25 years ago.

 

 

Is there something you want to change? How can you develop habits to make it happen? It’s easier than you think! I highly recommend Charles Duhigg’s book, “The Power of Habit.” It’s very entertaining and informative.

 

*Photos from unsplash.com

 

women · writers · writing

A “Fitting” End to the Day

Yesterday was a busy day. In addition to a full day at school, my daughters had an orchestra rehearsal which ran from 6:30 – 8:30pm an hour away from home. This requires planning of dinner, commute and homework.

Our two teenagers are more interested in snapping and editing selfies than looking out the window or talking to us, their parents. They read their instant messages and scroll Instragram. They laugh and trade one-liners that I don’t understand. I’m not privvy to their virtual world. When I try to understand and ask questions, I am met with sighs and sarcasm. I’ve learned how to adapt: I basically talk to myself every morning or sing to the radio as I drop one off to high school and take the other one to work/school.  At 13 and 14, my daughters are physically beautiful specimens – fortunate with the gene pool (1/2 Korean, 1/2 German-Scottish-French). They are blissfully ignorant of their luck in aesthetics and parents. Heck, they totally take it for granted. They take everything for granted.

I’m (nearly) 48. I take care of myself and exercise regularly. But my Morning Mirror Time is a fraction of theirs. I apply light makeup and give my hair a quick brush in a matter of 5 minutes. Literally. I just can’t be bothered. Yet, I consider myself above average in appearance. You can tell I was once very pretty, just by looking at me.

In any case, I’m a teacher and I dress for the job. I have a very comfortable dress, v-neck, that goes just below my knees. Here it is:

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It looks better on.

I bought it at a boutique shop near my house. The salesperson ooh’d and aah’d when I modeled it for her. I thought maybe I looked a little frumpy. No, she said, you look perfect. I have not had anyone ooh or aah in several years despite my augmentation following breast cancer surgery 6 years ago. Cancer gave me the chest of my dreams: from 34A to 34C.

Well, I wore this dress yesterday. All day. I’ve worn this dress at least 10 times before for various occasions. No one has complimented me, but that’s OK. I don’t need compliments. I’m almost 50 for Pete’s sake. I don’t dress for others, I dress for ME!

My daughters and I were eating dinner before their Phoenix Youth Symphony rehearsal. Food that I ordered by phone. Food that I ordered and picked up and brought to them, lovingly. As I got up to throw trash away, the 14 year old sighed heavily while eyeing my dress.

“What?” I looked to see if there were food stains on it.

Another sigh. Exceptionally heavy. “Mom, I just wish…I just wish you’d wear something….better.”

Suddenly, she gets all Tim Gunn on me. Really? I’ve worked all day with 90+ students. Attended an IEP meeting before school started. Ordered food with my bare hands…and now this?  I expect her to follow it with (in gay voice), “It doesn’t even work conceptually.

“Why do you say this to me AFTER I’ve worn it all day?”

She looks up at her father who has just entered the room. As usual, she completely disregards my question, my feelings.

“What’s going on?” He asks.

“Mom’s dress.”

All three give me a hard look. Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum and Michael Kors, all are staring at me. Judging me. I feel bloated.

Tim speaks.

“Her dress, it looks like a Powerpoint.”

All concur.

I drive home. My hands, gripping the wheel, smell like Greek chicken and tzaziki sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Gunn

 

Personal Success · women · writers · writing

Self-Publishing for Newbies

While I wait for my illustrators (daughters, 13 and 14) to submit more art, I’ll tell you how I created my first draft of Esther, Mia and the Stars (a book about a girl who gets bullied and how her best friend and school helped her).

 

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PPT slide with placeholder (Ava created a much better graphic).

I created the story line and broke it down by “scenes.” Each scene then got its own Powerpoint slide. I know…PPT is BORING. It’s passé. But it was for my eyes only. It helped me visualize the book and run through it quickly. I could drop kick each illustration (or placeholders) easily. This helped me “see” the book readily and troubleshoot quickly.

 

Tip: Consider  using Google Slides.  This way, you’ll have access to your project wherever you go and you won’t lose it!