Monthly Archives: January 2015

Dream BIG…

…It’s the key to success (after you turn it into a reality). I’ve always dreamed of writing. I would go as far to say, I was born to write. Even though writing is a big dream of mine, I’m a girl of many passions and many BIG dreams. My issue with dreamers though, is that often times the dream is just that…a dream. When I began teaching 10 years ago, I was a part of a very strategic teaching organization that was hefty on goal setting and achieving. They didn’t just make us create goals, they made us create action plans to accompany them. At first, I thought, “wow this is so much work!”  Retrospectively, mapping out how to achieve the goals we set as teachers was brilliant! At the end of the school year we looked at data that either showed how we met or didn’t meet the goal. Having the action plan served as a key component to explain why we did or didn’t meet our goals.

Fast forward a few years, applying the same technique to my personal life seems like a good idea. Lately, I’ve started to write my dreams down with an accompanying action plan. I wish that someone would’ve taught me to apply action planning to my personal life years ago (maybe some of dreams would’ve come true a long time ago, lol). From here on out when I engage in goal setting, I will always include an action plan.

Don’t just Dream BIG. Put a plan of action into place and actually see your dreams come true.

EXAMPLE (not my actual goal):

Goal: Lose 20 pounds in 6 months

Action Plan:

1. Workout 5 days a week/minimum 30 minutes

2. Include cardio, strength training, and stretch training

3. Eat 6 meals a day (3 full, 3 snacks)

4. Go meatless at least 1 day a week

5. Go raw at least 1 day a week

6. No food after 7pm

7.  Follow a calorie planner

8. Record monthly progress

9. Take pride in the small steps 🙂

Let’s Be Friends

Let your friends be the friends of your deliberate choice. This speaks volumes to me. I have been reflecting on relationships (mainly friendships) over the past few weeks. It’s fascinating to see how my friendships have evolved over time. Some have withstood many years and others have come and gone. As I was reflecting, I began to wonder “What is a friend?” “What does friend really mean to me?” Webster defines friend as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.” People in a friendship was defined as “people in a relationship (the state of being connected).” After reading those definitions, I started to wonder about the type of connection I have to people, especially those I consider my friends.

When I watch my young children “make friends” it seems so simple. They go up to another kid at the park, ask their name, and start playing. They’ve made a connection, and they share a mutual affection over the slide or the sandbox. Often times my children have offered their new friend a snack or invited them to play with their toys. It makes me proud that they have the social skills and boldness to meet new people. Fast forward to adulthood – meeting new people is a task that stays on the horizon. However turning those people into friends is another ballgame. As adults we are a part of many different circles — work, sports, social clubs, religious organizations, and the circles of our friends/acquaintances/colleagues/and family. The net is cast wide to meet new people and make friends. So how do we build lasting connections?

Putting my own friendships under the microscope… I can say the basis of our friendship is the connection we’ve made over a number of things (childhood, family, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc). The tricky part is staying connected and maintaining the mutual bond. There are two key ways to maintain a friendship, in my opinion:

1.  I firmly believe in any type of relationship, you get what you give. Relationships are a 2-way street. If one person is putting in all of the work (checking-in, making sacrifices, suggesting plans to hang out) and the other person never does that or always fails to respond — that is not maintaining a mutual bond. I have friends that live near and far. I think it’s important that we keep in touch, however, I shouldn’t be the friend putting in all of the effort and vice versa. Human nature causes us to feel wanted or even flattered when people close to us make efforts to connect with us. If we keep that in mind, our friendships can stand the test of time.

2. Once we’ve mastered maintaining the mutual bond, we have to practice keeping the connection. Relationships are built on attraction. There was some characteristic you found and you liked in the people you have in your circle. We must always remember that when maintaining connections to our friends. I appreciate being the friend that my friends can talk to and come to whenever they are in need (knowing that I will help them out). I am drawn to people who are loyal, honest, and willing to make sacrifices when I’m in a place of need. When I consider my friends and how to keep our relationship going, I have to remember the qualities in them that I first connected with.

I can say that the friends who make up my circle now, are definitely here by my deliberate choice. Even though we have ups and downs, I know that because of our connection and mutual bond, our friendships will stand the test of time.

What kind of connections are you making with the friends in your circle?

Just Send Me a Postcard Already

So. Over. Winter.

We’ve only been in the Winter season officially for 2 weeks. 2 weeks! That’s it. Yes, I’m already over it. Maybe my disdain for this season has a little something to do with my day.

I was totally prepared for the frigid cold temperature this morning. I made sure to lay out heavy coats, hats, gloves, and scarves. I even thought ahead…I went to start the car and get it warmed (mostly so I wouldn’t have to deal with kiddie complaints of a cold car). I took the house key off the ring, and went out to start the car. Goal accomplished: Complaints were non-existent as we drove to daycare (yay mommie).

Fast forward 10 hours. Everyone told me about the fantastic day they’ve had on the ride home. Moods were pleasant. I was happy.

At home. As I attempted to unlock the door, I realized the house key was missing. Insert frustration and anxiety. Rewinding the day, I remembered I took the key off the ring to start the car.

I left 1 Jelly and the Bean at the door, while I ran (as fast as I could over the snow and ice) to get the key from the car (all while holding Jelly 2, my purse, and my teacher bag). Got to the car. No key. Insert expletives. As my fingers began to burn and baby Jelly’s nose started to run, I thought “Oh crap” I need to get the others. It was disrespectfully frigid outside. During the 15 minutes it took to rummage through the car, I decided that I’m totally over Winter. I think Bean is too. He asked if God could bring back summer. We finally found the key and went in the house to defrost.

With all of the school non-closings in my area and accident reports as a result, I just think Winter looks better on a postcard. As a child growing up in Atlanta, I dreamed of snow days and winter white holidays. It was my dream to make snow angels, build a snowman, and have snow ball fights. Some of those dreams became a reality. However, it wasn’t until I moved to the northern East Coast that I really became acquainted with snow. The first few Winters here, I made snow angels and had snow ball fights. After falling and spraining my neck, slipping and bruising my tailbone, and shoveling my car from underneath mounds of snow — I can say the dream of blissful snow days has faded. The idea of staying home on a snow day sounds fun, but the reality of all that has to take place after the snow day negates the fun. Seriously, I’d rather “experience” Winter on a postcard.

I know we have many more weeks to deal with this whole Winter thing, all I can do is hope for the best. Good luck to all of you dealing with Winter too!

Sshhh, it’s quiet…

…Said no mother ever! In a home with children (I’m convinced of any age) there is ALWAYS noise. Before I had children I’d like to believe my hearing was pristine. Insert nearly 5 years, and hello hearing aides (not literally but at this rate, who knows what the future holds). I love my 3 children dearly. They are all unique and have something both simple and complex to bring to the family table. However, spending every waking moment with them over the last 2 weeks of winter break has been a test that I clearly did not study for. This test mostly consisted of days of fighting, whining, crying, and begging with a few minutes of laughter, smiling, singing, and gratitude. You’d think with my 10 years of teaching experience, I’d be used to all that encompasses childhood drama, BUT it’s something very different when it comes to your own children. It’s like they were born knowing the exact cord to pick to strum your guitar.

Today marks the last day of our precious extended mommy and kid time together (until Spring Break). While most teachers are dreading the wake up call back to reality tomorrow; I couldn’t be happier about returning to work. I’ve gained some true pearls of wisdom during this time. Most importantly, I am NOT cut out to be a stay-at-home-mom. No offense to SAHM’s — you have entered into a new level of awesomeness in my book! I’ve also learned that I do not want to add anymore children to our family (I don’t even want a pet right now). Thankfully, my husband made that a permanent solution a few months ago. However, if there was any doubt that we weren’t finished yet…now we are. Lastly, I’ve realized that this stage in my children’s life is by far the most precious. Even in midst of the noise, I will attempt to cherish every moment.

P.S. As I wrote this post I fed the kids breakfast, changed a diaper, and patched up a boo-boo all to the background noise of crying, fighting, and screaming. I’m reveling in the joys of motherhood!

New Year, New You…Blah

res-o-lu-tion: the act of answering (solving)

With the turning of a new year comes change, hope, and rejuvenation. People contemplate long and hard on how to reinvent themselves. Social media sites are swarming with resolutions and plans for change. I totally get it, you had a shitty year with your spouse; you were a mediocre parent; you didn’t give your all at work; you screwed up with your friends. Do you think just because the calendar turned, it’ll make all of last year’s heartbreak and disappointment disappear? No. Making resolutions are great. Creating a personal plan for change is excellent. However, “faith without works is dead.” If there is no action behind your resolution, it means nothing, People have to make that list of what they strive to do better in the new year. They simultaneously have to create an action plan.

I have 4 areas I want to strengthen this year:

1. Myself

2. My marriage

3. My family

4. My career

Action Plan:

* create a vision board

1. Continue therapy (tell all coming soon); Continue exercise plan

2. Continue therapy; Participate in husband challenge; Pray daily

3.Take a more gentle approach to parenting; Ignore the advice (aka criticism) from non-parents (a later soap box post)

4. Get certified in another area; Take the required credit classes for licensure renewal; Actively seek summer employment

The action plan is the solution of the resolution, without it you’d still be left with the same problems from last year.

Happy New Year!